On July 9, 2021, Dr. Shakir (Muhammad Usman) presented his paper at the Sixth International Paris Conference on Social Sciences (via Zoom). The paper, “The Idea of Female Muezzins and Imams in Islam: A Challenge to the Pakistani Patriarchal Forces,” was well received by the audience. The abstract of the presentation follows:
This research article explores the dynamics of discrimination faced by Pakistani Muslim women in contemporary history regarding the issue of the legitimacy of female imams and muezzins. Although there are no authoritative statements affirming that women cannot become imams within the religious scripture of Islam, women from Muslim communities around the world in general and from Pakistan, in particular, suffer under patriarchal structures and dynamics. This makes it difficult for women to assume the imam and/or muezzin positions, as they are often ignored and denied basic opportunities to practice their religious rights such as offering prayers in the mosque. In Pakistani society, contrary to what religion preaches, women are not allowed to hold sacred or higher religious positions. Since 2002, there has been a 17% quota in an attempt to have female representation in the parliament, but it is a symbolic representation and most of the women who enter the circles of power are both related to the patriarchal and feudal structure and dependent on them, so their seats are used by these patriarchal forces to remain in power. A transformative theoretical underpinning structures and constructs an understanding of the situation, with the help of scholarly interpretations within the framework of modern-day social interactions. Using hermeneutics and transformative research theory, this research paper discusses how female segregation in the mosques is a patriarchal construction and how the idea of female religious leaders, muezzins, and imams, could be transformative for Pakistani society and could challenge the established patriarchal social system in the name of religion.
Dr. Shakir is our first Jan Warner Visiting Scholar, and we congratulate him on this international scholarly contribution.
Image description: A poster for the conference, with a narrow orange frame, shows autumn leaves in the upper left corner and the Eiffel Tower on the right, with the Parisian urban landscape in the bottom range of the view, which is sketched in muted yellows, browns, and black. The announcement, in red font, dominates the center of the poster, reading, on the first line, 6th international; Paris, (on the second line); conference on (third line); Social Sciences (fourth line). Below that, in two lines in black font, is July 9-11, 2021, and Paris-France. Beneath that, in red font, are three lines: the application deadline date and the website. Three lines of orange font are sideways on the top left of the poster: Participants from 15 countries; free conference proceedings book; and free article publishing in international journals.
There is a certificate of participation, which is the first two lines of the image, below which is twelve lines of information against a background of Parisian architecture in pink . On the right side of the certificate are dark blue and gold lines in a sideways V shape, along with a small circle logo in blue and orange.