Aisha begins life as a Portugese peasant, but finds her existence there too stifling and goes to Paris where she becomes the nanny for a bourgeoise couple. Encouraged by her employer, Aisha begins courses in the Sorbonne as well as falling into an affair with him.
Her world falls apart when her twin brother, Jose, arrives in Paris, converts to Islam and immolates himself as a protest against the cruelty of the modern world.
Aisha fades away almost to the point of death without her twin, but she is pulled back into life by the sheikh who brought Jose to Islam.
When the shiekh is unjustly deported to Morocco, Aisha journeys through the Atlas Mountains to find him - and in the process she is transofrmed to her very being.