Comparative Analysis on the Portrayal of Women Characters in Three Prominent Novels from the Islamic World

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


This study was undertaken to analyze the similarity of women’s handling by the Islamic societies in different Islamic and/or Arab countries in the world as reconstructed in the novels randomly selected. These countries from which these novels are taken are Afghanistan, Egypt, and Iran, and these countries are deemed to represent both the Islamic and Arab world, two synonymous terms with minor difference. In these novels, the themes and the entire stories are all about women’s life; as to how they are treated by the social systems, by men, and by the Islamic religion at large. In these novels, women are characterized as subhuman according to the exploration of this study. In all of the three novels, women are found to be items of commodity to be sold or exchanged or spared anytime if men like to do so. The governments in the settings of the novels do almost nothing to protect the human and citizenship rights of women’s. Based on the Scripture of the Holy Koran, elites of the Islamic religion have formulated a law called Sharia, and according to this Law, especially women are expected to preserve certain rules such as wearing veils (hijab, burqa, chador, etc.), avoiding cosmetics and ornaments, not attending modern schools other than religious ones, not going out of their houses or homes without being accompanied by male escorts, not making love out of marital bond, not speaking to a man unless spoken to, not joining the working force as employee, etc. The study shows that women are victims of polygamy and underage marriage to a man even of as high as forty and above years of their senior. They are sexually abused by incestuous sexual relationship and when such happenings are identified, women are punished by flogging and/or stoning to death due to trespassing the Sharia Law of adultery while on the other hand the men who commit the same crime or sin are given deaf ear by the systems. Based on the findings of the study, it is strongly recommended that religious scholars all over the world in general and Islamic elites of all sects in particular need to reconsider their religious dogmas and rituals and revise them in accordance with the human consciousness of the 21st century so that religions and modern societies of the present world could go side by side without one condemning the other due to lack of sound interpretation and application of scriptures. If any measure is not going to be taken in time, it seems that the population would gradually revolt against some of the rules that it considers are hindrances for the reign of social justice as the closure of churches is said to have been a sign of such phenomenal happening in Europe and other western countries.



Three Prominent Novels from the Islamic World