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Medicines of the SoulFemale Bodies and Sacred Geographies in a Transnational Islam$
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Fedwa Malti-Douglas

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520215931

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520215931.001.0001

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Gender and Spiritual Vision

Gender and Spiritual Vision

Chapter:
(p.48) Chapter Three Gender and Spiritual Vision
Source:
Medicines of the Soul
Author(s):

Fedwa Malti-Douglas

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520215931.003.0003

The reader of Karîmân Hamza's powerful spiritual autobiography watches as the young woman moves from a secular lifestyle to a fully religious one, along the way covering her female body. But Hamza's My Journey from Unveiling to Veiling is more than a story about a female body that must be covered. It is also an eloquent demonstration of the power of the Arabo-Islamic tradition in the contemporary Arab world. Karîmân's spiritual journey is defined with reference to Islamic mysticism or Sufism, and specifically to medieval male mystics. Gender and mysticism might seem an odd couple indeed in the context of the contemporary revival movement. But Karîmân demonstrates that this odd couple is alive and well. Not only that, but mysticism is a prime mover behind the young woman's complete integration into her new spiritual family and away from her biological one. Along the spiritual path, the reader of the journey also participates in other experiences that partake of the spiritual and religious, including dreams and the pilgrimage to Mecca. The physical pilgrimage adds a transnational level to the geographical discourse, as Karîmân joins a community in one of its most important religious rituals.

Keywords:   Karîmân Hamza, spiritual journey, Muslim women, Islamic mysticism, Sufism

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