The Noble Struggle of Amina Wadud

A film by Elli Safari

The Netherlands/US | 2007 | 29 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 07922


On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud shocked the Islamic world by leading a mixed-gender Friday prayer congregation in New York. THE NOBLE STRUGGLE OF AMINA WADUD is a fascinating and powerful portrait of this African-American Muslim woman who soon found herself the subject of much debate and Muslim juristic discourse. In defying 1400 years of Islamic tradition, her action caused global awareness of the struggle for women’s rights within Islam but also brought violence and death threats against her.

Filmmaker Safari follows this women’s rights activist and scholar around the world as she quietly but with utter conviction explains her analysis of Islam in the classroom, at conferences, in her home, and in the hair dresser’s shop. Wadud explains how Islam, with its promise of justice, appeals to the African American community. And she links the struggle for racial justice with the need for gender equality in Islam. Deeply engaging, this film offers rare insights into the powerful connections between Islam, women’s rights, and racial justice.


“Extraordinary…an important document of a woman who is making history.”

Laury Silvers Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, Skidmore College

“Incredibly valuable…Gender struggles are at the very heart of reforming Islam today, and no one represents these struggles more powerfully, deeply, and passionately than Amina Wadud.”

Omid Safi Co-Chair, Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion

"The compelling documentary provides...the viewer with a broader understanding of the multifaceted and diverse interpretations of Islam and with material for exciting analytical discussion and debate regarding the fluidity and changing nature of religion, religious practice, and the meaning of faith. In addition, the film outlines motifs of resistance, empowerment, voice, and agency."

Signs: Films for the Feminist Classroom


  • International Bunker Film Festival, Italy
  • Freedom Film Festival, Malaysia
  • Amnesty Int'l Malaysia Special Screening
  • African American Women FF


Elli Safari

Documentary filmmaker Elli Safari was born 1954 in Iran. She gave lectures about Iranian cinema in different Dutch cities from 1999 to 2003. She also wrote an essay about film director Rahshan Bani-Etemad, on the occasion of her winning the Prince Claus Award in 1998. (09/09)


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