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Islamic History – Women in Islam and Modernity

Modernity is characterized as a way of thinking about the universe in which everything is malleable and can be changed with enough effort from humans. These features contribute significantly to what makes modernity more dynamic than any prior social order. As with other faiths, modernity has compelled Islam to interact with the traditional with the contemporary, the religious with the scientific, and the personal with the universal, both voluntarily and reluctantly. To think that Islam has ever had a unified answer to modernity is to commit the cardinal sin of this complex debate. This is a common error made by authors of books on “modern Islam,” which often depict the faith as part of a “clash of civilizations” or as one that can’t keep up with the times. There are almost as many distinct ways Muslims have responded to modernity. However, many academics and theologians, including the Muslim and the non-Muslims, have the propensity to attempt to filter through these several formulations and choose one that seems to be more “genuine,” depending on the standpoint being discussed. This is done for a variety of partisan reasons, most commonly to cast a negative light on Islam by inferring that all Muslims are angry and violent or to demonstrate that Islam is compatible with modernity by highlighting that certain groups within Islam are tolerant of and even embrace modern values. In addition, more and more Muslims are engaging in education and pursuing careers in science and technology. This has led to a greater appreciation of these advances and an increased desire to use them to improve the lives of Muslims. The article Hughes Encounters with Modernity postulates three ways Muslim thinkers have responded to the modern world. That’s fundamentalism, nationalism, and modernity. Fundamentalism is described as a movement or mentality that emphasizes literal and rigid devotion to a set of fundamental principles; nationalism is a movement or mentality that emphasizes literal and rigid devotion to a set of fundamental principles, and modernity refers to a time frame covering the history of literature from the early 1900s to the early 1940s. This essay aims to show why Umm Kalthum’s views fit in fundamentalism and modernity and not in nationalism, as described by Aaron Hughes, among other key aspects discussed below.

Umm Kalthum fits into modernism in the following ways. Umm Kalthum’s songs covered many topics, from love and longing to social issues and political events. Her songs often centered on themes of social justice, patriotism, and the struggle for freedom and liberation. She was also known for her deeply poetic lyrics and ability to connect with her audience and bring their emotions to life. In that sense, her songs were very much concerned with modernity, as she was a keen observer of her times and an outspoken commentator on social issues. Umm Kalthum is widely regarded as an icon of modern Arab culture, and her music is still widely enjoyed by many people today. Her style of music, which combines traditional Arabic music with more modern influences, has been embraced by a new generation of listeners. Umm Kalthum’s music has been featured in films, television shows, and radio programs, and her influence is still felt in modern Arab culture.

Fundamentalism is a movement or mentality that emphasizes literal and rigid devotion to fundamental principles. Umm, kalthums fits in fundamentalism in the following ways.[1]. Umm Kalthum is viewed by many as a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism and is often used to inspire people to live a more pious lifestyle.[2]. Umm kalthum is also often celebrated and revered by Islamic fundamentalists, who see her as an Islamic faith and culture icon. Also, Umm Kalthum songs have been seen as a way to strengthen adherence to traditional Islamic teachings and to provide a basis for resisting cultural and religious influences from outside the faith. Kalthum provides a unique perspective and approach to Islam that applies to many different contexts.

Arguably, Umm Kalthum does not fit in any nationalist context since her music was not explicitly nationalist, nor did she make any political statements that could be linked to a particular nationalist movement. She was an Egyptian singer and actress known for her powerful, expressive voice; she became one of the most iconic singers in the 20th century and was beloved by many throughout the Arab world. Many of her songs were about love and loss, not politics. However, kalthums music focused more on expressive singing style, culture, and spiritual themes than any particular nationalism. This instance shows that umm kalthum does not necessarily fit into the definition or framework of nationalism.

A destitute town 120 kilometres north of Cairo was where Umm Kalthum was born. Official birth records were not routinely provided in Egypt during the period, particularly in rural regions; therefore, several sources place her birth anywhere between 1898 and 1904. Umm kulthums career and life is that she was a renowned Egyptian singer and actress whose career spanned six decades[3]. Umm Kulthum was widely considered the most famous female Arab singer of all time, and her music has been credited with bringing together people from different countries across the region. Umm kalthum was iconic of versatile talents since she was an Egyptian singer, songwriter, actress, and musician. Umm Kulthum was known for her powerful and expressive voice, which she used to sing about love, social justice, patriotism, and religion. Umm kalthum had a distinctive singing style, which combined traditional Egyptian music with a modern edge. Her passionate performances and wide vocal range earned her the “The Star of the East.” Umm Kulthum dedicated her vocal abilities to the revolution by singing national anthems and other songs to inspire the people. She became known as Egypt’s “voice,” thanks to Nasser. Umm Kulthum was also an advocate for women’s rights and was a strong advocate for the advancement of women in the Arab world.[4]. Umm Kulthum believed that music could bring people together and unite them, regardless of religion, gender, or ethnicity. She used her platform to champion social causes, including women’s rights and support for refugees. She also raised funds for charities and spoke out against injustice. Umm Kalthum was a pioneer in Arabic music and instrumental in introducing Western musical styles to the Arab world. Umm Kulthum was a prolific songwriter, having composed over 500 songs in her lifetime. Also, Umm Kulthum was a strong believer in the power of education and an avid supporter of educational opportunities for women. Based on Umm Kalthum’s achievements, she was awarded several honors during her lifetime, including honorary degrees from universities in Egypt and the United States. She is still remembered and beloved in the Arab world today, with many of her songs remaining popular decades after her death. Umm is considered a legend up to date, with many of her songs covered by other singers and her inspiring style to generations of performers.

The chapter of choice from Kamaly is on fundamentalism. Umm Kulthum can be identified with fundamentalism which best describes her. Umm Kulthum is a term used to refer to a conservative Islamic school of thought that follows the teachings of the Qur’an and hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). This school of thought is closely associated with traditional Islamic values, such as the strict enforcement of Islamic law and the promotion of religious piety.

In conclusion, Umm Kalthum fits into modernism and fundamentalism, as discussed. Umm Kulthum’s life is an inspiring example of what can be accomplished through sheer dedication and hard work. Her voice, music, and artistry have left an indelible mark on the modern world, a legacy that continues to resonate with the young and old. Her legacy has transcended generations, giving hope to all those who aspire to reach their highest potential, no matter the odds. Umm Kulthum’s spirit is a testament to the power of modernity and how it can be used to create something that is long lasting.


HUGHES, AARON W. Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. Columbia University Press, 2013.

Kamaly, Hossein . “A History of Islam in 21 Women | Oneworld.” Oneworld, December 1, 2001.

[1] HUGHES, AARON W. Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. Columbia University Press, 2013.

[2] Kamaly, Hossein. “A History of Islam in 21 Women | Oneworld.” Oneworld, December 1, 2001.

[3] Kamaly, Hossein . “A History of Islam in 21 Women | Oneworld.” Oneworld, December 1, 2001.

[4] Kamaly, Hossein . “A History of Islam in 21 Women | Oneworld.” Oneworld, December 1, 2001.


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