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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Abir Hamdar

Hamdar, Abir (2009). Jihad of Words: Gender and Contemporary Karbala Narratives. Yearbook of English Studies 2009 39(1/2): 84-100.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper discusses the discourse of female jihad in contemporary Karbala narratives of Shi'i Islam, specifically Twelver Shi'is. It argues that a gender-dynamic transformation has emerged with regard to the transmission of the Karbala narrative, as well as a renewed attention to the role of women in the aftermath of this battle. Today, the retelling of the story of Karbala involves positioning the role of women within a discourse that can only be described as a 'Jihad of Words' that the female descendants of the Prophet, such as Zaynab, undertook. Moreover, the paper highlights the fact that the gender-infused themes within the Karbala narratives have been influenced by contemporary socio-political events in certain countries such as Lebanon and Iran.


Special Issue on Literature and Religion