Interview with G. Willow Wilson

Rearrange Your Head: An Interview with American Muslim Convert and Memoirist G. Willow Wilson | RDBook | ReligionDispatches.

Sheikhas and alimas [female spiritual and religious authorities], if you can find any — and you have to look pretty hard — will totally change the way you think about Islam and gender. There is a long and revered tradition of female scholarship in this religion, but it’s dying out. Most of the female scholarship we have now is part of a new tradition—postmodern academia—not a continuation of the old. Old school sheikhas, educated the traditional way, will rearrange your head. In Egypt I met a Syrian sheikha in her 80s who’d spent years in isolation studying and meditating, and she was one of the most spiritually feminist people I’ve ever encountered.