A sociological criticism of the ISIS behavior toward women in the novel Ala Maedat ul-Da’ish by Zahra Abdullah

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master student in Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Gulf University, Bushehr

2 Associate Professor, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Gulf University

3 Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, Persian Gulf University, Bushehr


Introduction: Sociological criticism is an appropriate method of analyzing literary works, including realistic novels, which studies and examines different classes of society, different behaviors, attitudes, practices and actions in the social structure within temporal and spatial periods. This view of criticism puts the society, the author, and the literary work in a living relationship and discusses and evaluates it. In fact, literary critics become fully aware by exploring the society created in the literary work at a certain time and place in which the characters originated, so that he can use the method of sociological criticism to interpret the literary work as the author's reaction to society. He examines himself and thus analyzes his perceptions of the environment and culture of that community. Sociological criticism of the contemporary period gradually spread to the Arab world, and writers in various Arab countries have so far used this method to criticize social unrest, women's rights, patriarchy, and cultural poverty in society. One of the modern approaches in investigating literary works is "sociological criticism of novels”. It analyzes the relationship between social structure and society changes in a fictional and literary content. As a matter of fact, sociological criticism of novels examines and criticizes the society's artistic reflection which is depicted in an imaginary world. This literary method with a feminine approach is a new attitude that has a wide potential to include the main and long-standing topics related to women.
 Methodology: Zahra Abdullah is one of the social realist writers in the Arab world who has used the method of sociological criticism with a feminine approach in the novel Ala Maedat ul-Da’ish. As a social work with a feminine approach, this novel concerns issues including captivated women’s rights, cultural poverty, patriarchy, social disorders under the name of Islam by men in ISIS. Furthermore, it illustrates the wounds and sufferings that women have been exposed to due to the occupation of Iraq. In this social novel, she focuses on the nature of the society, its function and impact on the personalities of women captured by ISIS, and the impact of the social, political and cultural situations of that time and place on the characters and events of the story. It draws a picture. In fact, the novel Ala Maedat ul-Da’ish, as a feminist literary work, criticizes the actions of ISIS men and their crimes in the name of Islam and against women.
Results also Discussion: The purpose of this study is to investigate and inspect ISIS's behavior towards women in the novel Ala Maedat ul-Da’ish, based on the framework of sociological criticism of novel in literature using a descriptive-analytical method. The other objectives of this study include discovering the image of ISIS based on Arabic novels from the sociological point of view of literature, examining and explaining the behavior of ISIS terrorist forces against women, and familiarizing those interested in the situation of women and ISIS-dominated society with ISIS-based novels.
Conclusion: The findings of this study demonstrate that the author of the novel has been able to open a new window to the recognition of different aspects of Iraq's occupation and enslavement of women by ISIS. The findings of this study acknowledge that the authors of ISIS-oriented Arabic novels are able to open new avenues for the understanding of various aspects of the occupation of Iraq, trafficking in women, behaviors leading to suicide, physical and psychological abuse against women by ISIS forces. Causes of women’s tendency to ISIL terrorist group and the psycho-social injuries of the women affiliated to the group show the status of divorced women and single girls beyond traditional Arab communities and social and cultural disorders of Arab communities, especially in Egypt and Iraq.  In this article, to obtain the required data, the literature on the variables and the relationships among them were used by referring to the existing sources. The research method is the study of sociology books, sociology of literature and content analysis and several critical novels focusing on ISIL from a sociological perspective. The results show that the novel has a feministic nature; the men in the story are described as selfish, tyrannical, insensitive and lustful, who do not understand women and their femininity and are not aware of women except their bodies. The predominant demand throughout the novel is to create security and improve the situation of captive women.  Zahra Abdullah deals with all kinds of violence against women and considers the despair, failure and frustration of women effective in the commitment of these acts of violence. She describes women in the Iraqi society in such a way that they cannot achieve their true status in any religion, whether Islam or non-Islam.


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