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The Veil And The Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation Of Women's Rights In Islam Paperback – Dec 21 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (Dec 21 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201632217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201632217
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 17 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Muslims suffer from a mal du present just as the vouth of Romantic Europe suffered from a mal du siecle. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25 2003
Format: Paperback
I found the first half of this book to be very well researched, with her logic based on solid foundations. I very much liked her conclusions about Muslim women in politics, and felt that she backed her case up well with her research. However, this 'fell apart' in the second half of the book where she relied on many common traditions without subjecting them to the same vigorous research process she did those in the earlier part of the book. I respect her conclusion that Islamic law regarding women was unable to reach the ideal the Prophet (sas) would have liked to see in his community, due to the patriarchal society which existed at the time, and that as Muslims we should be striving to achieve that ideal as we have progressed from the ignorance and patriarchy of those times. Unfortunately I found her evidence to be somewhat lacking in authoritativeness, and I hope to find another work which expands upon that point with a proper academic foundation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Summar on July 19 2007
Format: Paperback
A fascinating look into the world of men and women in Arab and Muslim cultures. Unique perspective...thoroughly enjoyed it although I wish the author had been more optimistic throughout
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 21 2004
Format: Paperback
Fatima Mernissi's careful research is fascinating and challenging. Here is a brilliant Muslim woman on a quest to separate the wheat from the chaff in her tradition. Like the great scholar Al-Bukhari, she exposes cases of fraudulence, where self-interested parties tried to impose their own prejudices as articles of faith. But at the same time Mernissi reveals an inspiring earlier version of Islam, where devotion to real partnership and equality prevails. I think Mernissi's work is at least as important as any recent writing by Christian scholars toward uncovering the historical Jesus and the original face of Christianity.

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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By "aarif1" on March 27 2004
Format: Paperback
I liked it. Mernissi gives you an understanind of how hadiths work, shows you proof that Hadith may have been well contaminated with personal bias as well as cultural bias. Good overall.
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By A Customer on Dec 17 2002
Format: Paperback
Dr Mernissi tackles a difficult subject with scholarly insight and a writing style that is eminently readable. The subject she has chosen to write about is incredibly difficult and involved (as she herself acknowledges) sifting through tomes of text in order to find answers. She makes no bones about her slant ...it is evident from the very first page. She believes that the verses of the Quran pertaining to the "Hijab" were revealed in a given context and have since been unfairly interpreted (by a male elite) resulting in centuries of the exploitation of women. Having established these parameters she then proceeds a systematic process of contextualisation - sociological, linguistic, historic etc. The process is fascinating and the evidence compelling even if you are inclined not to follow her conclusions. This book is not written in standard 'scholarlese' thus allowing her to retreat to charming vignettes of her own upbringing as a woman in a deeply conservative Islamic society. I suppose the book requires some (but not a great deal) of background knowledge of Islam. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Fatima Mernissi's book is a fascinating excursion through her own journey of discovery. She takes us from a man's put-down of her with the Hadith "those who entrust their affairs to a woman will never know prosperity", to an enlightened understanding of the historical context in which the oppressive traditions of Islam arose.
After explaining her background in the introduction she deals with the above hadith and how it came about, she analyzes the role of women in early Islam and especially the prophet's apparent view of women and a very in-depth and detailed discussion of how the veil, or hijab, came into being for Muslim women.
She shows that the denial of women's rights was not the intention of Allah, as the source of Holy Law, nor of Mohammed, but arose in the context of the pre-existing social values of the Arab world of the time, and of the vested political interests and power struggles of the period following Mohammed's death.
The study is very detailed and quite arcane, and although Ms Mernissi takes a lot of care to explain terminology and context, it really requires some background knowledge of Islam and Arabs. The book's main target audience is Moslem women, to show they do have rights within Islam, and possibly Moslem men. I believe westerners can learn from it, but are probably better served by reading more general books on Islamic history and culture. In particular non-Moslems need to understand that Islam is not a single culture, but in reality many traditions under one umbrella, in much the same way that Christendom encompasses many religious and cultural traditions.
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Format: Paperback
I originally bought this book for my thesis. I read it from cover to cover and could not put it down. It offers a variety of points of view on Islamic history that one will not find when reading the traditional history books. It gave me a whole new insight on how Islam really works. I think one should have background information on Islam before reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
I used this book 6 years ago for my thesis on Islam and feminism. It cleared up many preconceptions I had about Muslim women and the religion of Islam itself. I never revisited my research about Islam until September 11, 2001. This books shows the historical reasons behind oppressive interpretations and explain Muhammad's egalitarian vision. I use this book to educate people and show that the violent, woman-oppressing Islam is a product of hisotry and culture and not religion. This is not a time for merciless overreaction; it is a time to learn about those things few understand.
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