Islamic Feminism in Mohja Kahf's Selected Poems

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As an Arab American, a Muslim and a woman writer, Mohja Kahf challenges the stereotypes and misrepresentation of Arab and Muslim women. Her style is always marked by humor, sarcasm, anger and confrontation. “The Marvelous Women,” “The Woman Dear to Herself,” “Hijab Scene #7” and “Hijab Scene #5” are examples of Kahf’s anger of stereotypes about Muslim women and her attempts to fight in order to eradicate them, in addition to her encouragement to women who help her and fight for their rights.
In “The Marvelous Women”, Kahf praises women who have a strong desire to fight in order to have their rights and eliminate the patriarchal system. She also describes how women’s stories and experiences help her to write poetry, which is her way to confront the stereotypes against women.
Mohja Kahf opens the poem by describing women’s state in the society. She says, “All women speak two languages” (2003, 51). First, women speak “the language of men” (51) because of the patriarchal system since women have no voice in the society and cannot express their opinions and thoughts. Second, women speak “the language of silent suffering.” (51). Their stories give them voice especially the stories of inequality and injustice. However, Kahf’s wonderful friends speak a third language, which is the language of queens because they are strong, courageous and wise.
In the second stanza, the poet says that women are the cause that make her write poems because of the stereotypes against them, which give her a strong desire to challenge. Therefore, she takes women’s stories and writes them in poetry. She describes herself as a “seamstress” and without the dresses of women, she would be a seamstress without work, but her friends give her their dresses (their stori...

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