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Underlining religious sidelining: Islamic Feminism and Marxism in Mohammed Umar’s Amina

Monday 8 April 2013

Having received scant critical attention, primarily due to the tendency to be read as an ideological manifesto rather than as a well developed piece of literature, Nigerian novelist Mohammed Umar’s novel Amina (2005) is considered by critics to be representative of Marxist overtones, comprising references to literary and political works also closely associated with Marxist thought on the conception of an equitable society. Nevertheless, as this study shows, it is possible to delineate an ostensibly Islamic framework within which the novel and its characters emphatically operate, prompting the novel’s main protagonist Amina to take up the cause of women’s rights, social justice and economic welfare in her society. As this analysis will demonstrate, the obvious Islamic influence on Amina’s mission for women’s socio-economic justice and equity are evident in the explicit references to and reproductions of Islamic texts in the narrative—the Qur’an, the hadith and more particularly the Prophet Muhammad’s farewell sermon. Read within an Islamic feminist framework of feminist political action as found in the Qur’an and Islamic literature, proposed by notable feminist thinkers Margot Badran, Miriam Cooke and Hiba Rauf, among others, this paper will posit Umar’s re-examination of concepts that are typically associated with Marx’s ideology, and that are eagerly labeled as Socialist, resulting in a conceptual and theoretical imbalance that accounts for the marginalization of religion in postcolonial literatures.

See online: Underlining religious sidelining: Islamic Feminism and Marxism in Mohammed Umar’s Amina