Alifa Rifaat is a well-known writer in the Arabic world. Originating from Egypt, she was capable of writing about the everyday episodes of life among ordinary Egyptian families. In most points, her dedication is more toward the role and life of a woman struggling for personal independence and understanding on the part of men. This is why, based on Rifaat’s short story Distant view of a minaret, the feelings and desires of an Egyptian married woman have transformed into a more distinct personal intimate intentions but not change as related to relationships with a husband.
The story is an explicit evaluation of short scene in a life of a family which follows the prescriptions of Qur’an in everyday life. They are in marriage for a relevantly long period of time, but the main heroine is still dissatisfied in her sexual relationships with husband. Such a brief evaluation makes the whole observation of contemporary Arabic reality as referred solely to fulfill personal needs of men. However, in the first half of the twentieth century a so-called interposition of first feminists was in the evidence in Egypt due to Huda Shaaravi. Turning back to the reality drawn up by Alifa Rifaat, little had changed since that time.
Men are still inclined to put their women to shame as though it should be taken for granted initially. On the other hand, one should take notice of sincerity in intentions of the majority of married women who do not find harmony, satisfaction, and adornment on the part of men. According to the narration in the story, the marriage turned out to be a whole “fake” since the very outset. The intimate life of Egypt families is at risk for female part in such a divine union, i. e. family. Women’s inequality as compared to men is beyond disagreement in Egypt so far.
It is a problem for the entire Arabic Islamic world. It seems that suchlike continuation of life in marriage without experiencing love and making love at large is what makes women in Egypt so unhappy. Moreover, the question is that since marriage the main heroine could not fail to complete the intercourse herself in the bathroom after each time of making love. That is the problem of social life in Islam. That is where changes should take place in the Egyptian society. However, women are still in minority within suchlike society. It is not just an issue of one single family, but it is spread nationwide.
This idea is supported in another short story by Rifaat titled The Flat in Nakshabandi Street. Thereupon, one should take a glimpse at how a woman is treated in the Islamic world. Based on the example of Waheeba, a word of a man provides a “mercy” for a woman if every detail in everyday activities is done correctly. There is nothing a woman can hide from a catchy eye of a man. Everything seems so in the world governed and occupied by men. Further still, ending on a sour note, the story incorporates the sorrow of a betrayed woman, as it is often seen in real life of Egyptian families.
To sum up, looking at the Egyptian reality in the second half of the twentieth century, there is still a particular barrier in relationships between a wife and a husband. Disgrace and dishonest attitudes of a man are taken for granted within the Egyptian society. Thus, there are many distinct things to do in Islamic social life in terms of gender equality. Bibliography Rifaat, Alifa. Distant view of a minaret: and other stories. Edited and translated by Denys Johnson-Davies. Hamburg: Heinemann, 1987.
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