Mernissi, Fatema

Fatema Mernissi is a contemporary Moroccan feminist writer. Born in Fez in 1940, she studied political science at the Sorbonne and at Brandeis University, where she earned her doctorate.

Mernissi is largely concerned with Islam and women’s roles in it, analyzing the historical development of Islamic thought and its modern manifestation. Through a detailed investigation of the nature of the succession to Muhammad, she casts doubt on the validity of some of the ahadith (sayings and traditions attributed to Muhammad), and therefore subordination of women that she sees in Islam, but not necessarily in the Qur’an.

Mernissi’s first book, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Islam, is a historical study of role of the wives of Muhammad. For Doing Daily Battle: Interviews with Moroccan Women (1991), she interviewed peasant women, women labourers, clairvoyants and maidservants. In 1995, Mernissi published an autobiography, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood.

Other works of Mernissi include

Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World (1992)
Forgotten Queens of Islam
Scheherazade is not a Moroccan
Islam, Gender and Social Change
Mernissi is currently a lecturer at the Mohamed V University of Rabat and a research scholar at the University Institute for Scientific Research, in the same city.

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