Beyond the Veil

Beyond the Veil

Male-Female Dynamics in a Muslim Society

9780863564123 June 2011 Paperback 224pp

About the Book

Does Islam as a religion oppress women? Is Islam against democracy? In this classic study, internationally renowned sociologist Fatema Mernissi argues that women’s oppression is not due to Islam because this religion celebrates women’s power. Women’s oppression, she maintains, is due to political manipulation of religion by power-seeking, archaic Muslim male elites.

Mernissi explains that early Muslim scholars portrayed women as aggressive hunters who forced men, reduced to weak hunted victims, to control women by imposing institutions such as veiling, which confined women to the private space. In her new introduction, she argues that women’s aggressive invasion of the 500-plus Arab satellite channels in the twenty-first century, including as commanding show anchors, film and video stars, supports her theory that Islam as a religion celebrates female power.

About the Author

Fatema Mernissi (1940–2015) was a leading advocate for women’s rights in the Muslim world. In 2003, she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature along with Susan Sontag. Mernissi’s works have been translated into thirty languages. She is the author of Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Muslim Society.


'If a reader were to select only one book in order to gain insight into women's status and prospects in Islamic society, this study should be the one chosen for its clarity, honesty, depth of knowledge and thought-provoking qualities.'
Arab Book World

'A fascinating book'
Scotland on Sunday

'Fatima Mernissi is a true feminist, candid, articulate and persuasive. One of the most fascinating and instructive features of Beyond the Veil is the way Ms Mernissi approaches her subject, and the distinction she draws between sexual inequality in the West and in Islam.'
Jerusalem Post Magazine

'This classic work not only describes life beneath the veil but analyses it ... from within.'

'Mernissi's book should be considered as one of the most successful analyses of the position of women in a contemporary Islamic society.'
Archiv Orientani: Quarterly Journal of African, Asian and Latin American Studies