Article - Women, Saints and Sanctuaries

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19 Apr 2012
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Monday March 12th, 2012
Article: Women, Saints, and Sanctuaries
Article: Women, Saints, and Sanctuaries
Mernissi, Fatima (1977). Women, Saints, and Sanctuaries. Signs, Vol. 3, No. 1, Autumn, 1977,
pp. 101-112.
Key Points from the Article:
- The shrine was seen as a place where women can come with their problems and seek help from the
saints
- Most shrines are closed in the evenings
- 20 cents is equivalent to 15 dirhams
- Mernissi does not go to the shrine to pray, whenever she wants something she asks god directly.
- There are more women than men in the sanctuaries, makes the comparison of a hospital (where
women have no power and control, take orders from the doctors) to a sanctuary (where women are
empowered)
- When women first enter the sanctuary they often go to the tomb first
- The sanctuary is not a religious space, it must be seen as an informal women’s association. Most saint’s
sanctuaries are not mosques, nor is it a common place where orthodox Muslim prayer takes place
- Two important functions of sanctuaries involve sexuality and fertility
- There are plenty of women saints that enjoy same rights and privileges as men
- Sanctuaries, which are the locus of anti-establishment, anti-patriarchal mystical figures, provide
women with a space where complaint and verbal vituperations against the system’s injustices are
allowed and encouraged.
- The saint plays the role of psychiatrist, help women adjust to the oppression of the system.
- Sanctuaries as anti-establishment arenas, male saints as anti- heroes.
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