Distant View of a Minaret – Badriyya, “Badriyya and Her Husband”

Badriyya is idealistic and naïve, and her hope that her marriage to Omar
will resemble a fairy tale is her downfall. She ignores Omar’s shortcomings
because she still believes Omar will rescue her from the “long, dark tunnel” of
her life. When he talks about his big plans for starting his own café, she
thinks of him as “ambitious,” even though her uncle tells her Omar is all talk.
When Omar stays out late at night and comes home drunk, Badriyya believes his
explanation that he was scouting out possible sites for the café. Badriyya wants
so badly for Omar to be her knight in shining armor that she refuses to question
anything he says. The alternative to life with Omar is a life alone: if she
divorces him, she’ll once again feel as though life is hopeless and dark.
Like many of Rifaat’s female characters, Badriyya is sexually
unfulfilled—though married, she is still a virgin. She hints at sex, but Omar
tells her that he must concentrate on starting his café. Badriyya is completely
powerless in this marriage. However, she is eventually jolted from her
idealistic dream when a shopkeeper tells Badriyya that Omar is sleeping around.
Though she’s unsure whether she’ll have the strength to turn Omar away when he
tries to come home, she hopes she does. Her fear isn’t rooted only in the end of
the relationship; the harder part is giving up her dream of being
saved.