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Article

Redha tu Ikhlas”: The Social–Textual Significance of Islamic Virtue in Malay Forced Marriage Narratives

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
Academic Editor: Maznah Mohamad
Religions 2021, 12(5), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050310
Received: 7 March 2021 / Revised: 15 April 2021 / Accepted: 19 April 2021 / Published: 28 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
What accounts for the endurance of forced marriage (kahwin paksa) narratives in Malaysian public culture? How does one explain the ways popular fascination with forced marriage relate to assumptions about heteronormative institutions and practices? In a society where most who enter into marriages do so based on individual choice, the enduring popularity of forced marriage as a melodramatic trope in fictional love stories suggests an ambivalence about modernity and egalitarianism. This ambivalence is further excavated by illuminating the intertextual engagement by readers, publishers and booksellers of Malay romantic fiction with a mediated discourse on intimacy and cultural practices. This article finds that forced marriage in the intimate publics of Malay romance is delivered as a kind of melodramatic mode, a storytelling strategy to solve practical problems of experience. Intertextual narratives of pain and struggle cast light on ‘redha’ (submission to God’s will) and ‘sabar’ (patience), emotional virtues that are mobilised during personal hardship and the challenge of maintaining successful marital relations. I argue that ‘redha’ and ‘sabar’ serve as important linchpins for the reproduction of heteronormative institutions and wifely obedience (taat). This article also demonstrates the ways texts are interwoven in the narratives about gender roles, intimacy, and marital success (or lack thereof) and how they relate to the modes of romantic melodrama. View Full-Text
Keywords: forced marriage; consent; Malaysia; romance fiction; women’s media practice forced marriage; consent; Malaysia; romance fiction; women’s media practice
MDPI and ACS Style

Izharuddin, A. “Redha tu Ikhlas”: The Social–Textual Significance of Islamic Virtue in Malay Forced Marriage Narratives. Religions 2021, 12, 310. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050310

AMA Style

Izharuddin A. “Redha tu Ikhlas”: The Social–Textual Significance of Islamic Virtue in Malay Forced Marriage Narratives. Religions. 2021; 12(5):310. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050310

Chicago/Turabian Style

Izharuddin, Alicia. 2021. "“Redha tu Ikhlas”: The Social–Textual Significance of Islamic Virtue in Malay Forced Marriage Narratives" Religions 12, no. 5: 310. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050310

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