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46. Violations Of The Gender Equality Principles Revealed In The Novel Inside The Kingdom By Carmen Bin Ladin


1.1 Background of the Study

Today more women are involved in the discussion and reformation of identity than any other time in the human history. Therefore, people might think of feminism as a recent phenomenon. However, Weiner (1994) argues that feminism has a very long history and every era has had its women movement. Moreover Fadl (1991) asserted that gender and gender related issues have attended the conception of the earliest human society.

While gender and gender related issue should be viewed as far from new, what is modern, as Fadl points out, is the emergence of the gender debate and the interest of academia in “gender studies”. Further he suggests that learning about Muslim society and about gender relation in particular is part of the modern encounter of the west with Islam.

The issue of women in Islam is highly controversial. It is commonly assumed that women are particularly oppressed in Muslim societies and the oppression has something to do with Islam (Fadl, 1991). However, Ragab quoted in Wahab (1997) warns that this is not due to Islamic ideology but misapplication of the ideology in the societies. She also argues that much of the practices and laws of Muslim countries have, to some degree, based on the cultural and traditional customs. Further, Wahab (1997) says that Islam claims to value gender equality and equity because The Quran and Sunna clearly reveal women’s role and responsibilities as well as their rights and opportunities.

The gender issue is a very interesting topic, to say the least, in seminar, mass media and not to mention in literary works. Warhol and Herndl quoted in Green and Lebihan (1996), argue that gender leaves its traces in literary texts. Talking about literary work, novel is one of the kinds.

Literature is part of my major. As is the case for English literature department students, I have consciously attempted to conduct a research for the purpose of completing the final project. It provides me with the opportunity to gain insight into the gender issues by making an analysis of violations of the gender equality principles. In this study, the novel entitled Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin is the topic under discussion.

1.2 Reason for Choosing The Topic

Gender is one of the enduring topics of debates. The gender issues seem never to come to an end. Even more, the gender debate in the Muslim societal context have been a growing trend.

Inside the Kingdom, The International Best Seller Novel in 2004 is based on the true story of the author. In the story, the gender issues are highlighted. It tells us about women’s lives in Saudi Arabia. The story describes that Saudi Arabia is a place giving no space for women. Living under the oppressive custom in Saudi Arabia which abides by Islamic norms seems to give her no freedom of living equally with men.

1.3 Statement of the Problems

The problems are stipulated as follows:
(1) Is gender one of the themes of Inside the Kingdom? If it is proved that gender is one of the themes of the novel, the next question would be addressed.
(2) Is there any violation of the gender equality principles revealed in Inside
the Kingdom? If it is proved that there is violation of the gender equality principles, the next question would be addressed.
(3) How are violations of the gender equality principles revealed in Inside the Kingdom?

1.4 The Objective of the Study

In accordance with the statement of the problems, this study aims at:
(1) conforming that gender is one of the themes of Inside The Kingdom.
(2) conforming that there is violation of the gender equality principles revealed in Inside the Kingdom.
(3) describing (if any) the violation of the gender equality principles revealed in Inside the Kingdom.

1.5 The Significance of the Study

It is expected that the findings of this study would benefit the readers, especially those who are interested in gender related issues, in understanding the novel entitled Inside the Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin. It might be helpful to sketch some of the ideas of the gender issues in Muslin societal context.

Since this study is constructed within the Islamic perspective which has not been adequately explored, it would give the readers some new viewpoints on the topic under discussion which might be different from the mainstream.

1.6 The Organization of the Study

This study has been accordingly divided into five chapters. The first, an Introduction, contains the background of the study, the reason for choosing the topic, the statement of the problems, the objective of the study, the significance of the study, and the organization of the study.

The second, the review of the related literature, covers the discussion on Islamic feminism, understanding gender in Muslim societies, gender equality in Islam, Muslim societies and gender equality, and Wahhabi theology in Saudi Arabia.

The third chapter, method of investigation, describes the object of the study, the procedure of collecting data and procedure of analyzing data.

The fourth is the analysis revealing the gender issue found in the novel using the Islamic perspective.

The final chapter presents a brief conclusion of the study.
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