This paper analyses excerpts from the English version, Far from Madina and reveals two different approaches to the translation of the French feminine gender into English. While the first approach aims to evade the feminine gender in words revealing the courage, independence and ingenuity of the female characters, the second approach seeks to highlight the feminine gender in words confirming preconceived assumptions about Muslim women, assumptions that present her not only as an oppressed feminine subject, but also as a passive victim of male power. Works of Francophone Maghrebian female writers such as the Moroccan Fatima Mernissi, the Tunisian Emna Belhaj Yahia and the Algerian Assia Djebar illustrate how French, once the language of the coloniser, has become a tool of empowerment in their struggle for gender equality in Islamic societies. She writes:. Muslim extremists intended to restore social, economic and political stability by implementing strict patriarchal Islamic rules, which included depriving Algerian women of their freedoms and preventing them from any participation in public life. In this semi-fictional novel women figure as historical subjects who, far from being passive actors in a culture dominated by men, are active participants and agents in the creation of their own religious and cultural memory.
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Loin de Médine
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1. Feminine gender is maintained in the English text:
The story revolves around a group of women contemporary with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. An English translation by Dorothy S. Blair was published through Quartet Books in Ziauddin Sardar reviewed the book for The Independent : " Far From Medina is not only a work of extraordinary brilliance, it is also a significant book for Muslims. Its importance lies not so much in the creative synthesis of authentic formative history of Islam with the tools of fiction, but in demonstrating that the same words can lead two equally pious and righteous individuals to opposing actions. Assia Djebar's ijtihad , her new insight, makes the formative words of Islam breathe fresh air while turning the spotlight on hitherto secluded areas of Islamic history.
Access options available:. Therefore, rather than opposing an orientalist feminist reading to one faithful to the sources of Islam, I propose that this approach allows Djebar's text to retrieve the legacy of feminist contestation within Islam. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.