International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305


A re-reading of the Egyptian Zaynab al-Ghazzali, the muslim brotherhood and the islamic feminist movement in contemporary society

Ibrahim Olatunde Uthman
Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 21 September 2011
  •  Published: 30 November 2011



This paper focuses on the activism and feminism of the Egyptian Islamist, Zaynab al-GhazzālÄ« al-JubaylÄ« (1918 to 2009) in order to examine how she has thought about Muslim women’s roles in both the political and Islamist struggles of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The existing literature while attesting to Zaynab al-GhazzālÄ«’s eminent position in both contemporary Islamic circles and feminist discourses, have failed to show how her feminist activities intersect with that of the Muslim brotherhood. As against the secular gender and feminist postulations of Muslim women like Fatima Mernissi, Ahmed Leila, Assia Djebar and Nawal Sadawi, this paper examines how Zaynab’s feminist activism and the organization of the Muslim Brotherhood intersect in their Da‘wah approaches and contributions to the revivalism of ‘authentic” Islamic feminism in contemporary society. This paper will ground itself upon Zaynab’s autobiographical work, Ayyām min â•“ayātÄ« to show how Zaynab and her sisters, using the Muslim brotherhood’s struggles, were able to employ the Islamist female agency even under the unfavourable brutal regime of the then Egyptian President, Jamāl ‘Abd al-Nāsir (1375 to 1390/1956 to 1970).


Key words: Zaynab al- GhazzālÄ«, authentic islamic feminism, Egypt, Muslim brotherhood, female agency.