Advertisement

Competing Agenda: Feminists, Islam and the State in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Egypt

  • Margot Badran

Abstract

In Egypt the ‘woman question’ has been a contested domain involving feminists, Islamists, and the state. This chapter explores their competing discourses and agenda in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Egypt and how they have shifted over time.1 Divergent discourses arose in the context of modern state and class formation, and economic and political confrontation with the West. These multiple discourses have been sustained in strikingly different political and economic cultures as state and society continually negotiate changing realities.

Keywords

Arab World Arab Woman Lower Middle Class Official Discourse Islamic State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Karen Offen, ‘Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach’, Signs (Autumn 1988) no. 14, pp. 119–47Google Scholar
  2. and Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986),Google Scholar
  3. appendix. For definitions of feminism in the Egyptian historical context see Margot Badran, ‘The Origins of Feminism in Egypt’, in Arina Angerman et al. (eds), Current Issues in Women’s History, (London: Routledge, 1989).Google Scholar
  4. In this chapter the various meanings of feminism should be gleaned from context and Margot Badran, ‘Independent Women: Over a Century of Feminism in Egypt’, Old Boundaries, New Frontiers, forthcoming; Margot Badran, ‘Dual Liberation: Feminism and Nationalism in Egypt, 1970s-1985’, Feminist Issues (Spring 1988).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    See Margot Badran, ‘Huda Sha’rawi and the Liberation of the Egyptian Woman’, Oxford D. Phil thesis, 1977 and ‘The Origins of Feminism in Egypt’, and Judith Tucker, Women in Nineteenth Century Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. and Fatima Mernissi, ‘Democracy as Moral Disintegration: The Contradiction between Religious Belief and Citizenship as a Manifestation of the Ahistoricity of the Arab Identity’, pp. 36–43 in Nahid Toubia (ed.), Women of the Arab World (London: Zed, 1988).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    See Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke (eds), Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing (London: Virago and Bloomington & Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    See Deniz Kandiyoti, ‘End of Empire: Islam, Nationalism and Women in Turkey’, and Afsaneh Najmabadi, ‘Hazards of Modernity and Morality: Women, State and Ideology in Contemporary Iran’, in this volume and Margot Badran and Eliz Sanasarian, ‘Feminist Goals in Iran and Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s’, paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association Meetings, San Francisco, 1984.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    See Laverne Kuhnke, ‘The “Doctoress” on a Donkey: Women Health Officers in Nineteenth Century Egypt’, Clio Medica, 9 (1974) no. 3, pp. 193–205.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    On the hijab in nineteenth-century Egypt see Qasim Amin, Tahrir al mar’a (The Liberation of the Woman) (Cairo, 1899).Google Scholar
  11. see Valerie J. Hoffman-Ladd, ‘Polemics on the Modesty and Segregation of Women in Contemporary Egypt’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 19 (1978) pp. 23–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. see Mostafa Hashem Sherif, ‘What is Hijab?’ The Muslim World (July–October 1978, nos. 3–4, pp. 151–63.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983) pp. 130–63.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See ‘Abd Al Razek, ‘L’Influence de la femme dans la vie de Chiekh Mohamed Abdue’, L’Egyptienne (August 1928) pp. 2–7.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    See Juan Ricardo Cole, ‘Feminism, Class, and Islam in Turn-of-the-Century Egypt’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 13 (1981) pp. 397–407Google Scholar
  16. and Thomas Philipp, ‘Feminism and Nationalist Politics in Egypt’ in L. Beck and N. Keddie (eds), Women in the Muslim World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    See Duriyya Shafiq, Al kitab al abiyad lil huquq almar’a al misriyya (The White Paper on the Rights of the Egyptian Woman) (Cairo, 1953).Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    The most complete study of the Muslim Brothers remains Richard Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (London: Oxford University Press, 1969).Google Scholar
  19. 30.
    On language, feminism, and cultural authenticity see Irene Fenoglio-Abd El Aal, Défense et illustration de l’Egyptienne: aux débuts d’une expressionfeminine (Cairo: CEDEJ, 1989).Google Scholar
  20. 31.
    Interview with Al Ghazali, Cairo, February 1989. On Zainab Al Ghazali see Valerie J. Hoffman, ‘An Islamic Activist: Zaynab al-Ghazali’, in E. Fernea (ed.), Women and the Family in the Middle East: New Voices of Change (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  21. 34.
    Fatma Ni’mat Rashid, ‘Muqarana bain al mar’a al Misriyya wa al mar’a al Turkiyya’, Al Misriyya (1 May 1937) pp. 10–13.Google Scholar
  22. 35.
    See Norma Salem, ‘Islam and the Status of Women in Tunisia’ in Freida Hussain (ed.), Muslim Women (London: Croom Helm, 1984), pp. 141–68;Google Scholar
  23. John Esposito, Women in Muslim Family Law (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1982), p. 92;Google Scholar
  24. 37.
    See Badran, ‘Huda Sha’rawi and the Liberation of the Egyptian Woman’, and ‘Independent Women: A Century of Feminism in Egypt’, and Akram Khater and Cynthia Nelson, ‘Al-Harakah Al-Nissa’iyah: The Women’s Movement and Political Participation in Modern Egypt’, Women’s Studies International Forum, II (1988) no. 5, pp. 465–83.Google Scholar
  25. Selma Botman, ‘The Experience of Women in the Egyptian Communist Movement, 1939–1954’, Women’s Studies International Forum, 2 (1988) 2 pp. 117–26;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Guiseppe Contu, ‘Le donne communiste e il movimento democratico feminile in Egitto al 1965’, Oriente Moderno (May–June 1975) pp. 236–48.Google Scholar
  27. 40.
    See also Safinaz Kazim, ‘ Al Ra’ida Nabawiyya Musa wa In’ash ddhakkira al ‘umma’, Majallat al hilal (January 1984). (The Pioneer Nabawiyya Musa and the Reviving of the Nation’s Memory).Google Scholar
  28. 41.
    Muhammad ‘Atiya Khamis (ed.), Al harakat al nisa’iyya wa silatuha ma’al ist’mar (Feminist Movements and Their Relations with Imperialism) (Cairo: Dar Al Ansar, 1978).Google Scholar
  29. 45.
    Kathleen Howard-Merriam, ‘Woman, Education, and the Professions in Egypt’, Comparative Education Review, 23 (1979) no. 2, pp. 256–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 46.
    Yvonne Haddad, ‘The Case of the Feminist Movement’, chap. 5 in Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982) pp. 54–70Google Scholar
  31. Yvonne Haddad, ‘Traditional Affirmations Concerning the Role of Women as Found in Contemporary Arab Islamic Literature’, in Jane Smith (ed.), Women in Contemporary Muslim Societies (Lewisburgh, Pa., 1980).Google Scholar
  32. 47.
    Bint Al Shati’ wrote two autobiographies: Sirr al Shati (Biography of Al Shati) (Cairo: 1952) and ‘Ala jisr: ustur al zaman (On a Bridge: A Myth of Time) (Cairo, 1967).Google Scholar
  33. See also C. Kooij, ‘Bint Al-Shati’: A Suitable Case for Biography?’ in Ibrahim A. El-Sheikh, C. Aart van de Koppel and Rudolf Peters (eds), The Challenge of the Middle East: Middle East Studies at the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam: Institute for Modem Near Eastern Studies, University of Amsterdam, 1982).Google Scholar
  34. 48.
    ‘Amina Said’ in E. Femea and B. Bezirgan, Middle East Muslim Women Speak (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  35. 49.
    On the double burden see Mona Hammam, ‘Women and Industrial Work in Egypt: The Chubra El-Kheima Case’, Arab Studies Quarterly 2 (1980) pp. 50–69.Google Scholar
  36. 54.
    Hamied N. Ansari, ‘The Islamic Militants in Egyptian Politics’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 16 (1984) 1 pp.123–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Said Arjomand (ed.), From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam (Albany: State University of New York, 1984);Google Scholar
  38. R. H. Dekmejian, Islam in Revolution, Fundamentalism in the Arab World (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1985);Google Scholar
  39. Ali Dessouki (ed.), Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World (New York: Praeger, 1982),Google Scholar
  40. esp. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, ‘Islamic Militancy as a Social Movement: The Case of Two Groups in Egypt’; John Esposito (ed.), Voices of Resurgent Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  41. Nazith Ayubi, ‘The Political Revival of Islam: The Case of Egypt’, International Journal of Middle East Studies (December 1981) pp. 81–99;Google Scholar
  42. Fadwa El Guindi, ‘The Emerging Islamic Oder: the Case of Egypt’s Contemporary Movement’, Journal of Arab Affairs, 1 (1981) pp. 245–61;Google Scholar
  43. Yvonne Haddad, Contemporary Islam and the Challenge of History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982);Google Scholar
  44. Hassan Hanafi, ‘The Relevance of the Islamic Alternative in Egypt’, Arab Studies Quarterly, 4 (1982) pp. 54–74;Google Scholar
  45. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, ‘Anatomy of Egypt’s Militant Islamic Groups’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 12 (1980) pp. 481–99;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Gabriel Warburg and Uri Kupferschmidt (eds), Islam, Nationalism and Radicalism in Egypt and the Sudan (New York: Praeger 1983);Google Scholar
  47. 57.
    The literature on women’s turn to fundamentalism and veiling includes: Fadwa El Guindi, ‘Veiling Infitah with Muslim Ethic: Egypt’s Contemporary Islamic Movement’, Social Problems, 28 (1981) no. 4, pp. 465–85;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Fatima Mernissi, ‘Women and Fundamentalism’, Middle East Reports (July-August 1988) pp. 8–11;Google Scholar
  49. Zainab Radwan, Bahth zahirath al hijab bain al jam’iyyat (A Study of the Phenomenon of the Veil among University Women) (Cairo: National Centre for Sociological and Criminological Research, 1982)Google Scholar
  50. and John Alden Williams, ‘A Return to the Veil in Egypt’, Middle East Review, 11 (1979) no. 3, pp. 49–54.Google Scholar
  51. 58.
    See Amina Sa’id, ‘Hadhihi ithahira ma ma’naha’ (This Phenomenon, What Does it Mean), Hawa (18 November, 1972);Google Scholar
  52. 59.
    Zainab AI Ghazali, Ayyam min hayati (Days of My Life) (Cairo: Dar Al Shuruq, 8th printing 1986).Google Scholar
  53. 62.
    On elite women in the work force early 1980s see Earl Sullivan, Women in Egyptian Public Life (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986)Google Scholar
  54. and for a general survey see Ann Mosely Lesch and Earl Sullivan, ‘Women in Egypt: New Roles and Realities’, USFI Reports, 22, Africa (1986).Google Scholar
  55. 65.
    See Aziza Hussein, ‘Recent Amendments to Egypt’s Personal Status Law’, in E. Femea (ed.), Women and the Family in the Middle East, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985) pp. 231–2Google Scholar
  56. 66.
    For more on this see Enid Hill, Al-Sanhuri and Islamic Law Cairo Papers in Social Science 10, monograph 1 (spring 1987) pp. 125–29.Google Scholar
  57. 67.
    For an account of her experience in prison see Nawal Al Saadawi, Mudhakkirati ft sijn al nisa (Cairo: Dar al mustaqbal al ‘arabi, 1985) trans. by Marilyn Booth, Memoirs from the Women’s Prison (London: The Women’s Press, 1986);Google Scholar
  58. and for her reflections inspired by prison see Safinaz Kazim, ‘An al sijn wa al hurriyya (On Prison and Freedom) (Cairo: Al Zahra’ lil A’lam Al ‘Arabi, 1986).Google Scholar
  59. see Marilyn Booth, ‘Prison, Gender, Praxis: Women’s Prison Memoirs in Egypt and Elsewhere’, MERIP (November–December 1987) pp. 35–41.Google Scholar
  60. 69.
    See Nadia Hijab, Womanpower: The Arab Debate on Women at Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) pp. 29–35;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Howard Merriam, ‘Egyptian Islamic Fundamentalism and the Law’, and Sarah Graham-Brown, ‘After Jihan’s Law: A New Battle Over Women’s Rights’, The Middle East (June 1985) pp. 17–20.Google Scholar
  62. 73.
    See Mahmud Saif Al Nasr, ‘Shaikh Sha’rawi wa imra’a al Khati’a’ (Shaikh Sha’rawi and the Sinful Woman), Al Ahali (3 July 1985) 8.Google Scholar
  63. A popular book written by Sha’rawi is Al Mar’a kama araduha allah (The Woman as God Wanted Her to Be) (Cairo: Maktabat Al Quran, 1980).Google Scholar
  64. On Sha’rawi see Barbara Freyer Stowasser, The Islamic Impulse (London: Croom Helm, 1987).Google Scholar
  65. 75.
    Zainab Al Ghazali, ‘Al Jamiyyat al nisa’iyya’ (Feminist Organisations … ) Al Dawa (November 1979) no. 42.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margot Badran

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations