Asra Nomani was amazing last night. She is a courageous woman who is seeking to build a movement like those that led to sea changes in Judaism and Christianity. All of us who believe that both women and men are made in the image of God, and that our cultural biases (we all have them!) too often get in the way of what God is seeking to say to us, can get behind Asra and support her important work.
Her book, Standing Alone in Mecca, is next on my list!
She talked last night about Hajar, or Hagar in Jewish & Christian texts, who as a second wife to Abraham was cast out with her son, Ishmael and left to die in the desert. God came to Hagar, though, and promised that her son, too, would be the father of a great nation.
Hajar stands as a sign and beacon to all women who have become outcasts. Because they have been cast aside by men in their lives. Because they are second or third or fourth class citizens in their own homes, for whatever reason. Because other women consider them to be a threat. Because they are caught in systems that place lesser value on them and their lives. Hagar is the reminder that God gathers up and protects those whom society - historically led by men - have said are unclean or unholy. God calls them holy.
Thanks be to God!
And thanks be to God for Asra! And Hajar!