Book Review: Distant View of A Minaret by Alifa Rifaat

Book Review: Distant View of A Minaret by Alifa Rifaat


“Distant View of A Minaret” by Alifa Rifaat (1930 – 1996) is a collection of fifteen short stories depicting lives of women within a traditional Muslim society.

Rifaat shows Muslim women who wish to adhere to strict religious teachings and they see men as the ones who do not follow their religious obligations towards women. She challenges this behaviour but her criticism is far from the feminism as perceived in the Western world.

The main subjects in these stories are marriage, death, sexual fulfilment, physical and emotional abuse, loneliness of loveless life, the inability to communicate one’s feelings to others, ageing and relationship between husband and wife from woman’s perspective portrayed within the religious norms and moral values of Islam. Those themes were dealt with such frankness that I have not seen in many contemporary books. Rifaat’s stories shows women who have views, opinions but still within a religious conservative framework.

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