The concept of Islamic feminism provides a dialectic relationship that suggests that the two very different and seemingly irreconcilable trajectories of Islam and feminism are joining forces to achieve gender equality and social justice. It also evokes the question of which weighs more than the other, and prompts queries and worries about Islam, egalitarianism, and the oppression of Muslim women. This paper examines the Islamic feminism’s order of precedence in the predicament of defending women versus defending Islam. By employing feminist methodologies and the method of textual analysis, this article probes whether the Islamic feminist project is solely about women’s rights advocacy, and considers whether defending Islam is a pre-ordained inevitability. These issues are examined with reference to Rajaa Alsanea’s Islamic feminist novel Girls of Riyadh. The novel depicts the lives of four young Saudi women and themes of love, relationships, marriage and divorce. It challenges traditional assumptions about Saudi Arabian society. The author of the novel has been caught in a crossfire of criticism for the novel’s audacious and non-conservative depiction of Saudi life and culture. Girls of Riyadh aims to lay bare a deliberately hidden side of life in Saudi Arabia.
Bendouma, Noureddine and Kerboua, Salim
"Islamic Feminism at the Crossroads between Apologetics and Defending Women: Rajaa Alsanea’s Girls of Riyadh in Context,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
1, Article 11.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss1/11