International Seminar on Women Ulama “Amplifying Women Ulama’s Voices, Asserting Values of Islam, Nationhood and Humanity”

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The term “ulama” is often associated with male. In fact, “ulama” can be applied to both female and male, which are characterized by: a) holding strong knowledge on Islamic studies; b) understanding and implementing prophetic roles in expanding universal values of religion as rahmatan lil alamin (Blessing for the whole universe), c) care of social issues, d) promote critical thinking in tradition, e) being agent of changes with more constructive and evaluative way.

In Indonesia, the role of female ulama has been institutionalized as formal organization, that serve millions members such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdatul Ulama. The organization like Aisyiah and Nasyiatul Aisyiah, have been engaging women from Muhamaddiyah basis in women empowerment. Like Muhammadiyah, Nahdatul Ulama, claimed as traditionalist, is also active in promoting women empowerment and social changes under the leadership of two organizations called Fatayat and Muslimat. Other minority organization like Persistri, as wing organization of Persis (United Islam), is trying to respond to the need of women in gaining more knowledge and participating in social life (tafaqquh fid-dien). Lajnah Ima’illah, an Ahmadi women-led organization and Muslimah Ahlul Bait Indonesia (Muslimah Abi), a syiah based organization, also show strong passion in carrying out prophetic roles towards promoting public awareness on education, health, economic empowerment etc. In the context of nation state, Indonesia female ulama developed productive collaboration with male ulama and practitioners during the fights for independence of Indonesia, and promote unity of the country, as well as preserving nationhood principles.

The institutionalization of the role of female ulama in global level shows different patterns but contributes to social justice. Some networks like Women Living under Muslim Laws and Musawwah are well-known in producing and disseminating new approach to Islamic text, which is more women-friendly. They bring together female ulama and practitioners to do collective action to promote Islam from gender perspective. Other networks such as Muslim Women Network, Jewish Muslim Women Network, African Muslim Environment Network, are engaging directly with women confronting violence against women, environmental degradation, education, health, radicalism and terrorism etc in the form of collective action. The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), a network among progressive Muslim in Asia, also engages female ulama in responding to crisis during conflict and disaster.

There are four objectives we would like to achieve:

  • Develop common knowledge about “ulama” from the perspective of history, socio political cultural context, roles and concrete contribution of women ulama in the advancement of women and human civilization
  • Facilitate a forum for women ulama overseas to share their experiences and analysis in promoting Islamic teaching in the field of women empowerment and social justice covering strategy, obstacle, and challenge in mobilizing community for social change
  • Build strong analysis on critical issues relating to violence against women, child marriage, migration, and preventing violence extremism from perspective of acadimia, ulama and practitioners of women empowerment
  • Identify strategies to further develop the knowledge base and sharpen analysis on these issues, to be used by advocates to influence policy and practice in the region
  • Contribute to the formulation of religious fatwa about contemporary issues on women and Islam on the basis of lived experience of women, Islamic texts, national and global instruments
  • The International forum will be held on, April 25, 2017 in IAIN Syekh Nurjati, Jl. Perjuangan Cirebon West Java-Indonesia.

There will be no registration fee. Participants of International Forum on Women Ulama are requested to download application from at  or participants can also use online application that is available on the website. Submission of application can be sent to

Participants who need visa should send application not more than MARCH 31st, 2017. However, if you are free-visa participants, your application should be received by the organizer on April 7th, 2017, March 17, 2017