I came across this article and I think its worth the effort to read it,
I'll post 'snipits' of it here though!
"You are not qualified to talk about Islam". How many times have I heard and read that same line, again and again? And more often than not, the same sentence is uttered or written by precisely the sort of self-trained autodidact whose own knowledge of Islam came from whatever he or she read on the internet or some cassette he bought at the local market.
This is the point that is often lost in the over-heated debates that take place between Muslim progressives and the more conservative Ulama in our midst. Whenever there is an attempt to question, debate, reform or develop the normative religio-cultural praxis of Muslims anywhere in the world, we often see the same reaction from conservative Ulama who will never accept that those who didn't go to the same schools as they did have the right to speak on matters of religious praxis.
If, for instance, a Muslim feminist were to abide by the rules set by some conservative male Ulama, they would be forced to conform to all the standards set by men: They would have to start from the beginning, go to the same schools as the ulama did, read the same books, dress and behave the same way, etc. But in the end, they would still be faced with yet another barrier to their participation into the discursive domain: "No, you are not qualified to speak on Islam. Why? Because you are a woman of course!"
Muslim women are more intellectually emancipated and equipped than ever before. Rather than silencing the voices of Muslim women who are trying to understand and make relevant Islam for the age we live in, the conservatives among us should learn to listen to the critical and often constructive comments of others instead. If Islam is indeed a universal religion, then it has to be open for discussion for all. If Islam is indeed for everyone, then everyone has the right to have a say in it.
Read the whole article
I think it is important not to fall into the cultural aspects of Islam
and unfortunately so many people do! I look forward to a day when
Islam is taught from a non-cultural perspective and all kinds of
cultures are accepted to be as Muslims!