|Biographical detail : ||Internationally noted feminist
The book, ‘Beyond The Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society’, (1975), a study of the lives of Arab women shot Moroccan writer, Fatema Mernissi, to international fame. A revised edition was published in Britain in 1985 and in the US in 1987. ‘Beyond the Veil’ has become a classic, especially in the fields of anthropology and sociology on women in the Arab World, the Mediterranean area or Muslim societies in general.
She has written many articles and books on women in Morocco and women and Islam from a contemporary as well as from a historical perspective. Fatema’s ‘The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Islam is a quasi-historical study of role of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was first published in French in 1987, and translated into English in 1991.
‘For Doing Daily Battle: Interviews with Moroccan Women (1991), Fatema interviewed peasant women, women labourers, clairvoyants and maidservants. In 1995, she published a memoir, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of A Harem Girlhood. Other works of include: Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World (1992) Forgotten Queens of Islam
In her research related to women’s role in religion and her impression and observation of Europe Fatema draws comparison between Eastern and Western women in her book, ‘Scheherazade Goes West’ – Different Cultures, Different Harems. She uses the institution of harem as the focal point and famous raconteur Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights as the symbol for women to evaluate the differences. Pakistan’s noted writer and columnist Zahida Hina has translated the book in Urdu – Scheherazade Maghrib Mein.
Fatema Mernissi was born into a middle-class family in Fez. In 1957, she studied political science at the Sorbonne and at Brandeis University, where she earned her doctorate. She has become noted internationally mainly as an Islamic feminist. She is currently a lecturer at the Mohammed V University of Rabat and a research scholar at the University Institute for Scientific Research, in the same city.