Nawal el Saadawi's classic tale attempts to square Islam with a society in which women are respected as equals is as relevant today as ever.
'People have become corrupt everywhere. You can search in vain for Islam, or a devout Muslim. They no longer exist.'
Kafr El Teen is a beautiful, sleepy village on the banks of the Nile. Yet at its heart it is tyrannical and corrupt. The Mayor, Sheikh Hamzawi of the mosque, and the Chief of the Village Guard are obsessed by wealth and use and abuse the women of the village, taking them as slaves, marrying them and beating them. Resistance, it seems, is futile. Zakeya, an ordinary villager, works in the fields by the Nile and watches the world, squatting in the dusty entrance to her house, quietly accepting her fate. It is only when her nieces fall prey to the Mayor that Zakeya becomes enraged by the injustice of her society and possessed by demons. Where is the loving and peaceful God in whom Zakeya believes?