Faith and Feminism in Pakistan
Religious Agency or Secular Autonomy?


“An essential read for those interested in better understanding the many dimensions of the sensitive subject, women’s political actions in Musli cooters”

-Halden Moghissi, York University, Toronta


“Through a critical feminist theorization of the relationship between starm and Semism in Pakistan, Afya Za takes on provocative questions that incite ut britantly”

-Shahrzad Mojah, University of Toronto


“This book is guaranteed to make its readers sit up, take note of the power of its argument, the variety of its expression and the sheer audacity of its claim”

-Farzana Shah, Making Sense of Pakistan


“This book should not tall to shorten the journey to the salvation of not only Pakistan’s Muslim women but also of women in all Muslim majority countries”

-LA. Rehman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan


“A superb and much overdue study of the history of feminism in Pakistan. It will make waves in the academic world and in politics, and rightly so.”

-Aamir R. Matti, University of California, Los Angeles


“Those who want to understand the tensions between faith and feminism in Pakistan should read Afya’s account of what we faced during the War on Terror”

-Asma Jahangir, Human Rights lawyer


Are secular aims, politics, and sensibilities impossible, undesirable and impracticable for Muslims and Islamic states? Should Muslim women be exempted from feminist attempts at liberation from patriarchy and its various expressions under Islamic laws and customs? Considerable literature on the entanglements of Islam and secularism has been produced in the post-9/11 decade and a large proportion of it deals with the “Woman Question”. Many commentators critique “the secular” and “Western feminism,” and the racialising backlash that accompanied the occupation of Muslim countries during the “War on Terror” military campaign launched by the U.S. government after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Implicit in many of these critical works is the suggestion that it is Western secular feminism that is the motivating driver and permanent collaborator – along with other feminists, secularists and human rights activists in Muslim countries – that sustains the West’s actual and metaphorical “war on Islam and Muslims.” Faith and Feminism addresses this post-9/11 critical trope and its implications for women’s movements in Muslim contexts. The relevance of secular feminist activism is illustrated with reference to some of the nationwide, working-class women’s movements that have surged throughout Pakistan under religious militancy: polio vaccinators, health workers, politicians, peasants and artists have been directly targeted, even assassinated, for their service and commitment to liberal ideals. Afiya Zia contends that Muslim women’s piety is no threat against the dominant political patriarchy, but their secular autonomy promises transformative changes for the population at large, and thereby effectively challenges Muslim male dominance.


Publisher: Folio Books

Publishing date: 2018

ISBN: 978-969-7834-00-6

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 240

Rights: Pakistan, India

Availability: In Stock

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Religious Agency or Secular Autonomy?

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