The Relationship between Naguib Mahfouz and the Islamists: The Real, the Exaggerated and the Fabricated

Elham T. Hussein, Mohammed A. Al-Badawi, Fatima M. Muhaidat


The attitude of the so-called Islamists towards the Egyptian Noble Laureate is often represented as one of tension and resentment. However, the current study argues, this monolithic representation of the attitude the Islamists presumably have always had towards Mahfouz is oversimplified and misleading because it conceals an extremely complex and multifaceted reality. More precisely, the researchers show that although the Islamists have had their disagreements with the writer, and although they repeatedly objected to some of his works on religious grounds, they have also played an important role in discovering the talented writer and introducing him to the public; creating and renewing (whether intentionally or unintentionally) curiosity and interest in his works; and providing approbation of (that sometimes amounts to religious legitimization to) some of his most controversial works. Quite often the over-dramatization, and at times fabrication, of the conflict between the Islamists and Mahfouz is carried out in order to serve political and ideological ends.

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English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)   E-mail:

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