This is a selection of articles written about Shamima Shaikh,
some while she was alive and others after her death


Recordando a una Guerrera Feroz y Compasiva

by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente

15 June 2016

Cuando hablamos de Feminismos Islámicos y de activismos por los derechos de la mujer en el Islam, hay algunos nombres que tienen un lugar bien ganado en el imaginario colectivo de las feministas: Amina Wadud, Fatima Mernissi, Shirin Ebadi, Asma Lamrabet, Kecia Ali, entre otras.  La mayoría de ellas pertenecen al mundo académico. A través de sus libros, ellas han instalado la causa del Feminismo Musulmán como una lucha legitima y visible, tanto dentro como fuera del Islam.

Read more: Recordando a una Guerrera Feroz y Compasiva

Recalling the Legacy of a Fierce and Compassionate Warrior

15 June 2016

by Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente

When we talk about Islamic Feminisms and activisms for women rights in Islam, there are some names that have a well deserved place in the collective feminist mind: Amina Wadud, Fatima Mernissi, Shirin Ebadi, Asma Lamrabet, Kecia Ali, among others. Most of them belong to the academic world. Through their books, they have installed the cause of Muslim Feminists as a legitimate and visible struggle, both inside and outside of Islam.

Read more: Recalling the Legacy of a Fierce and Compassionate Warrior

Activist Dies - The Post

SHAMIMA Shaikh, acclaimed pioneer for the rights of Muslim women in South Africa and station manager for the Mayfair-based Islamic radio station The Voice, succumbed to cancer on the same day that her final inerview with the media appeared in POST last week.

Mrs Shaikh, 37, started out as a student activist during her days at the University of Durban-Westville, defyind tradition at the time which precluded Muslim women from taking part in male-dominated religious activities by leading a group of women into the Pageview mosque in Johannesburg to pray.

Read more: Activist Dies - The Post

Badass Ladies of History: Shamima Shaikh

“Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, either man or woman. The one of you is of the other.” – Qur’an

Shamima Shaikh was a woman whose life was dedicated to the struggle for justice, as well as continuing the deep commitment she held to upholding what she believed was the true message of the Qur’an: justice, peace and love. She considered herself an Islamic feminist, and worked within Muslim communities for women’s rights as both an activist and a journalist.

She was born in 1960, in what was then known as Louis Trichardt (today known as Limpopo Province) in South Africa. She was the second oldest sibling out of six. Her parents, Salahuddin and Mariam Shaikh, raised her quietly in Pietersburg until she completed her matriculation in 1978. She would head off to the University of Durban-Westville, where she would spend a year, only to return to home for unknown reasons. She later returned to university, where she studied Arabic and Psychology, as well as awakening her desire to become involved in social justice. At the time of her return to university, the political climate of Durban-Westville had been charged, mostly due to the new apartheid reforms that had been passed in South Africa. She became involved in the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), where members had been working towards ending the oppressive environment in the academic environment. She would only stay with AZAPO for two years after completing her time at university and would go on to teach at primary and secondary schools located in Pietersburg, as well as marry her partner Na’eem.

Read more: Badass Ladies of History: Shamima Shaikh

If this be madness... - Farid Esack

By Dr Farid Esack

Published in Women in Action, Phillipines, February 1998

Shamima Shaikh (37), South Africa’s leading Muslim gender equality activist passed away in the early hours of last Thursday at her home in Mayfair, Johannesburg when her physical body succumbed to cancer. Shamima left behind her husband, Na’eem Jeenah and two sons, Minhaj (9) and Shir’a (7).

Shamima was a member of the National Executive of the Muslim Youth Movement and former editor of the progressive Muslim monthly, al-Qalam. More recently, at a time when other co-religionists were denying women the right to be on air, she served as chairperson of the Muslim Community Broadcasting Trust, which runs The Voice, a Johannesburg Muslim community radio station. It was, however, as a gender activist within the Muslim community that she made her mark. She spearheaded the formation and headed the Gender Desk of the Muslim Youth Movement. In this capacity she rapidly became a thorn in the flesh of conservative Muslim clerics on the now defunct Muslim Personal Law Board who were keen to develop and implement a set of Shari’ah laws which would entrench gender inequality.

Read more: If this be madness... - Farid Esack

Obituary: Shamima Shaikh - 1960-1998

Shamima in the Mail & GuardianShamima Shaikh was born on 14 September 1960 in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. She was the second of six children born to Salahuddin and Mariam Shaikh. Her first school years were in Louis Trichardt, until the family moved to Pietersburg, just over 100 km south.
After completing school in 1978, Shaikh studied at the University of Durban-Westville, which was reserved, under South Africa's apartheid laws, for students of Indian descent. In 1984 she completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Arabic and Psychology. These were politically charged years at university, and she got involved in the Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO) for the next two years.

Read more: Obituary: Shamima Shaikh - 1960-1998

Shamima Shaikh - Fighter for Women's Rights - Horizon

Horizon Newspaper

Shamima Shaikh (37) Muslim women activist, journalist and campaigner for gender equality, lost her long battle against cancer recently.


Shamima was former editor of Al-Qalam, the Muslim Youth Movement-owned newspaper and one of the founders of the Johannesburg-based Muslim radio station The Voice. She was Chairperson of the community broadcast trust that owns the station. Shamima launched her battle for human rights and gender equality in 1978 as a student activist at the University of Durban-Westville.

Read more: Shamima Shaikh - Fighter for Women's Rights - Horizon

Famous Feminists: Ms Shamima Shaikh

By Tina Price-Johnson

Shamima Shaikh was born on 14th September 1960, the second of six children of Salahuddin and Mariam Shaikh. Her family moved from Louis Trichardt (in the Limpopo Province), South Africa to Pietersburg (now called Polokwane), where she graduated from high school. Ms Shaikh then attended the University of Durban-Westville, at that time an institution listed by the apartheid government as reserved for students of Indian ethnicity.

Whilst studying Arabic and Psychology at University Ms Shaikh became involved with the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), a political group which was inspired by the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) which was founded in the 1960s to fight apartheid in South Africa.

In 1985 Ms Shaikh was elected to the executive committee of her university’s Islamic Society. The society supported a call for a general boycott by the Federation of South African Trade Unions through the Muslim Students Association of South Africa group. On 4th September Ms Shaikh was arrested for distributing pamphlets encouraging a boycott of Durban white-owned businesses. Ms Shaikh was held in a cell with the President of the MSA, Na’een Jeenah, and from this time they development a personal relationship. Neither were charged, and in 1987 they married and eventually had two children.

Read more: Famous Feminists: Ms Shamima Shaikh

A letter to Shamima - Tahir Sitoto

By Shaikh Tahir Sitoto

Dear Shamima

The last we saw of you, you were a living mortal – your spirit fighting, refusing to give up. That memory still lingers. We remember the many moments we shared both in times of joy and sadness. The moments of struggle and celebration.

Read more: A letter to Shamima - Tahir Sitoto

Death of a Muslim Joan of Arc - Faried Esack, Mail & Guardian

OBITUARY: Shamima Shaikh, former editor of the progressive Muslim monthly Al-Qalam, and the leading Muslim gender-equality activist, dies at age 37.



20 January 1998, Mail & Guardian


SHAMIMA SHAIKH (37), South Africa's leading Muslim gender equality activist, passed away in the early hours of January 8 at her home in Mayfair, Johannesburg. She had cancer. Shaikh left behind her husband, Naeem Jeenah, and two sons Minhaj (9) and Shir'ah (7).

Read more: Death of a Muslim Joan of Arc - Faried Esack, Mail & Guardian

The (South) African Queen: Remembering Shamima Shaikh

By Safiyyah Surtee, 4 June 2009

Shamima and Na'eem at a "beach defiance" protest, 1989

Muslimahs who work hard in shaping the depiction of themselves and their sisters in the media, and who are engaged in Islamic feminist discourse to dispel cultural and literalist concepts unjustly attributed to them, are often left flattened under the heavy heap of misrepresentations and stereotypes by both Muslim and non-Muslim agencies.

I would like to dedicate my post for the week to one such South African woman, who fought against all types of oppression, especially against the oppression of Apartheid, Zionism and misogyny.

Shamima Shaikh (1960-1998) was a journalist, media activist and Islamic feminist. Both her life and her death were symbols of struggle for the rights of Muslim women. I found it very difficult to articulate the magnanimity of Shamima’s life, so I turned to her husband, Na’eem Jeenah, for insight:

Shamima’s mission in life was to struggle for justice; whether against white racists propping up apartheid or Muslim misogynists who wanted to ‘keep women in their place’.

Read more: The (South) African Queen: Remembering Shamima Shaikh

Warrior of the gender jihad returns to her maker after a life well lived


By: Staff Reporter

Sunday, January 18, 1998

The silence after the prayers for Shamimah Shaikh, who died on January 8, is broken by tributes from family, friends and comrades. They talk about a defiance and a fighter’s spirit that will never die.

The Seido Karate Hall in Brixton, Johannesburg, is full. It is Saturday, the 16th day of Ramadan.

Shaikh, who was 37, comes alive in memory. Deeply spiritual, she sought justice and challenged whomever stood in its way.

Read more: Warrior of the gender jihad returns to her maker after a life well lived

The mad courage of Shamima Shaikh’s activism for mosque reform

, Thursday, 23rd October 2014, in Aquila Style,

How a Muslim woman who fought for gender equality had her sanity questioned in a South African mosque. By Merium Kazmi

Contrary to popular belief, Islamic history is full of stories of extraordinary Muslim women. These women have assumed positions of power and respect by challenging cultural norms of women’s role in society, and contributing to their communities’ wellbeing and development. These range from the heroic contributions of many female members of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) family, to philanthropists like Fatima Al Fihri, who in Fez, Morocco built the University of Qarawiyin, the world’s oldest and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, we also have strong leaders, such as Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo and also the world’s youngest female president.

It is unfortunate that at times we learn of these brave women only after they have passed away. For many of us, Shamima Shaikh is one such individual. A Muslim from South Africa of Indian descent, Shamima was a journalist and activist who strived to relay the Qur’an’s messages of peace, justice and equality to both a burgeoning community of fellow Muslims and the politically charged atmosphere of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. She became known for the strength and tenacity with which she fought for the rights of women – rights she believed the religion of Islam guaranteed her.

Read more: The mad courage of Shamima Shaikh’s activism for mosque reform

Women's Rights Champion loses her Fight against Cancer

The Star, 16 January 1998

Shamima Shaikh (37), a leading human rights and gender activist, died of cancer on January 8.

The courage with which she battled the disease was the same quality which made her a fearless campaigner for women's rights, a democratic and free South African, and the Muslim Youth Movement.

She is survived by her husband and two young sons. A commemoration will be held at the Seido Jodo Hall in Mayfair West tomorrow at 2:30pm.

Why we miss her? - Femina

By Sharon Sorour-Morris

Femina magazine

Shamima Shaikh (37), who died of cancer in recent months, was South Africa’s leading Muslim gender-equality activist, highly respected for her tenacity and bravery in the face of fierce opposition from conservative elements in her community. She led a rebellion of Muslim women worshippers at a mosque in 1994 and started an ‘alternative’ congregation where gender equality and all its implications for lslamic thought and practice were the norm.

Read more: Why we miss her? - Femina
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Journey of Discovery:
A South African Hajj

by Shamima Shaikh and
Na'eem Jeenah


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