We Asked 14 Muslim College Women What Empowers Them—Here's What They Told Us

Since the beginning moments of history, women have put in the work to move the world forward. Women are game-changers and conversation-starters. And in order to empower women, we must listen to and support other women.

In celebration of​ Muslim Women's Day, we are raising up the voices of Muslim women in our community. So, we asked fourteen Muslim college women what made them feel empowered as a Muslim woman—here's what they told us.

 

"As a Muslim woman, I feel empowered when voicing my opinion and standing up for other women. As a Florida State University student, I'm involved in various women-centered organizations on-campus. Being a part of the executive board of organizations like the Women Student Union has allowed me the opportunity to help other women on-campus and be representative of women who look like me."

- Musammat, Florida State University

"What empowers me as a brown, Muslim woman is the fact that a lot of people try to bring us down. They try to tell us what's right and what's wrong, and yet every time we rise. That's empowering."

- Zoya, New York University

"Being able to access communities, whether in real life or online is incredibly empowering for me because I am able to read the stories of other empowered Muslim women and learn from them. Through these forums, we are able to show solidarity for one another in times of crisis, and uplift each other. Empowerment is not about showing the world that I am confident and comfortable in my identity as a Muslim woman, rather it is about believing in myself and being able to positively contributing to the world."

- Sidra, Barnard College

"Seeing successful Muslim women around me inspires and influences me every day. It boosts my self-confidence and makes me feel empowered."

- Sarah, Brookdale Community College

"My hijab! It’s amazing how a piece of cloth empowers you so much. I feel like my hijab says look at me beyond my physicality because I am so much more than that."

- Wassila, University of Cape Town

"Seeing other Muslim women in the media breaking down societal preconceptions is amazing. It normalizes us and conveys the message that we are a part of society and that we are doing great things just like other non-minority racial/ethnic/religious groups!"

- Sofia, Yale School of Medicine

"Knowing that I am a representation of my religion. This allows me to think of my actions and behaviors and be the best version of myself."

- Hibah, Michigan State University

"Having a solid foundation of values for my decisions as a Muslim woman makes me feel empowered. Instead of being impulsive or deciding each action according to the situation, having a framework to navigate decision-making is gratifying. The stories of smart, independent Muslim women at the advent of Islam like Aisha, Zainab, Maryam and Fatimah and those of Muslim women in contemporary times like educator and poet Suhaiymah Khan, Kashmiri sociologist and political poet Ather Zia and artists like Sumairah and Barooja empower me each day."

- Saadia, Ashoka University

"Society looks down or has a negative view of Muslim women. They think that we have no control and say in our lives, that we must follow these strict rules, yet that is not true. I feel empowered as a Muslim woman by showing others that you do not have to cover up or restrict what you say just to be Muslim. Being Muslim is about spreading peace and reducing judgment. When I tell others I am Muslim they are always shocked as I do not fit the 'stereotype'. But, I always feel so empowered when I explain that I am and how I was raised to follow the beliefs of the religion more than the cultural aspects."

- Nisha, George Mason University

"Wearing my hijab and writing about my experiences."

- Reedah, Ryerson University

"Coming from such a religion of peace, I feel empowered knowing the real message behind the religion and knowing that I am not what the media portrays Muslims to be."

- Nargis, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

"Having the ability to define what my faith means to me, as well as the ability to practice and showcase my dedication to it in a way that’s personal, rather than what’s stereotypically expected from a Muslim woman. In addition to empowering me, it encourages my fellow Muslim women to do the same for themselves."

- Fatou, Howard University

"Being a Hafiza makes me feel empowered. Having memorized the Qur'an, I feel a strong connection to it and it reminds me of the value I hold in our community as someone who can teach it, recite it, and lead prayers."

- Insha, California State University, Long Beach

"What makes me feel empowered is knowing that the struggles I face daily, I am not alone in them. I have people to help me—we’re are like a big family."

- Kadiatou, Jefferson Community Technical College