Muslim Sisters Organization

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muslim women's group in sudan.

The first woman recruited to the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Sudan was Fatima Talib, who joined the organization in 1949. Women from the al-Mahdi family joined her, and they formed the Society for Women's Development mainly to provide an alternative to the leftist Sudanese Women's Union. After the October 1964 popular revolution, the Muslim Brothers, which supported woman suffrage, launched a new women's organization called the Patriotic Women's Front. The small band of Muslim women's activists broke new ground in Sudanese politics by supporting the idea that women have a voice in religion as well as in politics.

The strength of the Muslim Brotherhood grew during the latter years of the military regime of Jaʿfar Numeiri, who moved the Sudan toward Islamization and Islamism. In 1983 shariʿa was made the sole law in force in the nation. Hasan al-Turabi guided this process as attorney general under Numeiri; after Numeiri's popular overthrow in 1985, Turabi reinvented the Muslim Brotherhood as the National Islamic Front (NIF).

In 1973 Turabi had presented his ideas about the emancipation of women in Islamic societies in a pamphlet, The Woman in Islamic Teachings. The formation of the Muslim Sisters Organization was inspired by this pamphlet. Turabi's view states that women are equally responsible for heeding the call of God. Oppression of women in Muslim lands is not a proper reflection of Islamic principles, which should accept the full participation of women in public life. Islamists in all Muslim societies should seek to reform this situation, rejecting traditionalism, promoting the renaissance of women, and shielding them from exploitation by misguided Western groups. The acceptance of Turabi's arguments by the Muslim Brotherhood permitted the movement to adapt, making it part of the process of social modernization.

see also gender: gender and law; gender: gender and politics; muslim brotherhood; numeiri, jaʿfar; shariʿa; sudan; sudanese civil wars; sudanese women's union; turabi, hasan al-.


El-Affendi, Abdelwahab. Turabi's Revolution, Islam and Power in Sudan. London: Gray Seal, 1991.

carolyn fluehr-lobban

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Muslim Sisters Organization

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