8. Endnotes


1. As Ahmed states the word `awra is a highly complex notion. It connects women, sexuality and shameful and defective things. Its meaning includes the parts of the body that are shameful and should be concealed (1992: 116).

2. Sexual and other services are the wifely duties but not necessarily the bearing of children. There is thus no special emphasis on women's generative capacity, in contradistinction to past and present oral culture. It should be borne in mind, though, that the orthodox perspective is discussed which was influential but not the only voice (Ahmed 1992: 92-93).

3. In Khul-Khaal: Five Egyptian women tell their stories (Atiya 1982), one of the women related that her mother went to religious lessons. Her daughter asked her what Sheikh Ahmad taught her that day. Her mother replied: "He said that a woman must care for her husband, that she must wear clean clothes before going to bed, that she should smell good. A woman before she drifts off to sleep should ask her husband three times, 'Is there anything you desire?' And if not, then she can sleep" (1982: 59).

4. Fitna also means a beautiful women or a femme fatale whose attraction makes men lose their self-control (Mernissi 1975: 4).

5. I do not intend to suggest that this is exclusive to Islam or the Middle East. It is a familiar conception in the West as well.

6. For more details about their defense strategies see Van Nieuwkerk 1995 chapter 6 and 8.

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