Journal Article

Gendered Domesticity in the Life of the Prophet: Tawfīq Al‐Hakīm's <i>Muhammad</i>

Ruth Roded

in Journal of Semitic Studies

Published on behalf of University of Manchester

Volume 47, issue 1, pages 67-95
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 0022-4480
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1477-8556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jss/47.1.67
Gendered Domesticity in the Life of the Prophet: Tawfīq Al‐Hakīm's Muhammad

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Tawfīq al‐Hakīm was among the first of a group of Egyptian intellectuals who returned to their religious‐cultural roots in the 1930s to compose accessible life stories of the Prophet Muhammad in a variety of new genres. His play Muhammad (composed in 1934–1935) was unwieldy and neo‐traditional, but attempted to dramatize Muhammad the man for Egyptians. The approach to gender in Hakim's play is the outcome of this dialogue between classical texts and familiar, complex domestic situations. Hakīm's interests notwithstanding, the role of women in the life of Muhammad was not restricted to the domestic sphere and was intertwined with the battles of that time. He portrays women as victims of warfare, but not necessarily weaker or more passive than the men are. The play may embody feminist messages or subliminal warnings of the power of women, but it is not a simplistic misogynist drama, despite Hakīm's reputation.

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Subjects: Middle Eastern History ; Middle Eastern Languages ; Literary Studies - World ; Biblical Studies

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