Feminism in Islam: A Critique of Polygamy in Mariama Ba’s Epistolary Novel So Long A Letter

in Hawwa
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Abstract

This paper calls for an understanding of feminism in Islam as a unique approach to feminism with potential contributions to world feminism. The paper analyzes Mariama Ba’s epistolary novel So Long A Letter within the context of a feminist approach in Islam. This paper’s primary focus is Ba’s critique of polygamy and her celebration of female bonding in the face of male oppression. Ba explores her themes through an epistolary exchange between two intimate friends who both suffered the abuse of their polygamous husbands and highlights the contrasting reactions of the two women in regard to the mistreatment by their husbands. Within a distorted misinterpretation of religion, the analysis reflects on how Islamic teachings are exploited by some Muslim men in order to gratify and justify their base desires under the guise of a transcendent sanction.

Feminism in Islam: A Critique of Polygamy in Mariama Ba’s Epistolary Novel So Long A Letter

in Hawwa

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References

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3

Fernea Elizabeth W.In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman’s Global Journey (New York: Doubleday1998) 414–422.

4

Badran Margot“Independent Women: More Than a Century of Feminism in Egypt,” in Arab Women: Old Boundaries New Frontiersed. Judith Tucker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press1993) 129.

11

Frank Katherine“Women Without Men: The Feminist Novel in Africa,” in Women in African Literature Todayvol. 15 (London: James Currey1987) 18.

12

Violi Patrizia“Letters,” in Discourse and Literature: New Approaches to the Analysis of Literary Genresed. Teun A. Van Dijk (Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company 1985).

21

Quoted in Abdel Kader SohaEgyptian Women in a Changing Society: 1899–1987 (Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publisher1987) 53–54.

30

Ogundipe-Leslie Molara“The Female Writer and Her Commitment,” in Women in African Literature Today 15 (London: James Currey 1987): 5.

52

Minai NailaWomen in Islam: Tradition and Transition in the Middle East (N.Y.: Seaview Books1981) 4.

53

Badran Margot“Feminism and the Qur’an,” in The Encyclopedia of the Qur’an 2 ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Leiden the Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill N.V. 2002): 199–203.

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