• Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ancient Arab female rulers and the only de-facto female Caliph in history - Do Arabs hate women?

Discussion in 'Arab Defence Forum' started by Saif al-Arab, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab ELITE MEMBER

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    As per a discussion on the Arabic Coffee Shop thread, I decided to create this thread.

    Due to certain perceptions nowadays, rightly or wrongly, I have often come across, especially from non-Muslims, the view that Arabs (in particular but this could be said about other majority Muslim ethnic groups in the world) apparently abhor their own women.

    Such views have almost always been tied to certain state practices (laws in place in other words, often fairly recent ones) that somehow magically removed the general affection and respect that women are given in Arab culture and most other cultures.

    To me that has always been a bit baffling and quite frankly ignorant.

    As we all know, democracy, supposedly, originated in modern-day Greece. However it was nowhere near even remotely comparable to the kind of democracy that we see in today's Western world.





    However when I took a closer look at history, as the history buff that I am (no hiding here), it came to my realization that those same, supposedly, anti-women Arabs, in fact had some of the oldest recorded and well-known female rulers in the world. Not only ethnic Arabs but our pre-Arab ancestors who were native to our lands (Arab world) and who were mostly Semitic but not only.

    However for the sake of not complicating things too much I will stick to the ethnic Arab ones (those that we know spoke Arabic, were Arab in ancestry or partially Arab) and who ruled areas where some of the first Arabs emerged in history 3000 + years ago as an ethnic group (obviously our ancestors prior to that existed - in fact they are the oldest known defined cultures, but not with an Arab identity, nevertheless still native to our lands) and where they have left clear traces in their way in the form of numerous World UNESCO Heritage sites.

    Some have been described in religious scriptures (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) while others have (simultaneously as well) been described in Roman, Greek, Assyrian etc. sources as well as Greek historians, the first real historians in the world as we know them today, in the form of Herodotus who has written a lot of works about Arabia as this part of the world was known to the ancient Greeks.

    Arab female rulers such as Queen Sheba and Queen Zenobia for instance who emerged in Arabia. Queen Sheba (almost 3000 years ago), Queen Shamsi (ruled almost 3000 years ago) Queen Zabibe (almost 3000 years ago as well), Queen Mavia (1600 years ago), Queen Yatie (almost 3000 years ago too) and Queen Zenobia (1750 years ago).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Sheba

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zabibe

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mavia_(queen)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yatie

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenobia


    [​IMG]

    Even an Arab women became de facto the only Caliph in history during the Fatimid era. Sitt al-Mulk (1021-1036).


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitt_al-Mulk

    Consider this thread as a pure curiosity as I don't want to write an essay nor is this some scholarly work and I have not covered all of the female rulers or even remotely anything in depth but I think that it deserves a thread on its own, especially the women Caliph, as there has been public talk, even among scholars in KSA, that women scholars are allowed to issue fatwas which became a reality late last year.

    http://www.arabnews.com/node/1169376/saudi-arabia

    Moreover this also serves as artillery for the Arab brothers here who probably have been met with such an stereotype at one point in their lives. I am talking about online here.

    @Gomig-21 @Hamilcar @fachfouch @HannibalBarca @SALMAN F @Malik Alashter @The SC @Falcon29 @azzo @Full Moon etc.
     
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  2. lastofthepatriots

    lastofthepatriots SENIOR MEMBER

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    Weren't Arab tribal pagans burying their daughters alive like the Hindus of India today, before the arrival of Islam?
     
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  3. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab ELITE MEMBER

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    Not watched this debate (I generally don't watch Al-Jazeera English and that Indian host - don't like the guy) but 650.000 people have watched it from a few years ago with that Egyptian "women activist" Mona. Speaking about my introduction.



    There is no historical proof of this. Besides it speaks about this practice among a few Arab tribes at one point in time. A practice that was practiced almost anywhere else at some point in time too if you dig into this issue which I have. Using logic, it would have been impossible if it was widespread, as Arab women outnumber Arab men. If Arabs really hated women, Arabs would not have the largest amount of ancient female rulers of all ethnic groups in the Muslim world and the region.

    It does not make sense. Never seen a single non-Muslim historian claim it as a fact of history either. In fact it's usually the other way around. They tend to highlight that Arabia was way more women friendly than the Roman and Persian empires and when digging into history, it appears to be the case.

    For instance how many Roman female rulers/leaders or Persian can you mention? I cannot mention a single one. Maybe there were 1 or 2 but it does not appear to be anywhere near the number Arabs had.

    And I have not even mentioned the many well-known women personalities in pre-Islamic Arabia shortly before the rise of Islam. Among them poets, leaders of clans and tribes and warriors.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  4. SALMAN F

    SALMAN F SENIOR MEMBER

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  5. lastofthepatriots

    lastofthepatriots SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yeah. Note that I did write 'tribal'. Not all Arabs were nomadic at the time, but it is mentioned in the Quran and by some scholars.
     
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  6. SALMAN F

    SALMAN F SENIOR MEMBER

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    Only few arabs were pagan many were jews, Christians and mandaeans also I think there was followers of prophet mani which they existed until the Abbasid rule
     
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  7. Taimur Khurram

    Taimur Khurram SENIOR MEMBER

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    Most people in Saudi at the time were polytheists and Jews.

    Christians formed a sizeable minority though.
     
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  8. The SC

    The SC ELITE MEMBER

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    Extraordinary Women from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation

    [​IMG]
    From the ​
    1001 Inventions House of Wisdom canvas © 1001 Inventions


    For thousands of years women left their mark on their societies, changing the course of history at times, and influencing significant spheres of life at others. In Muslim Civilisation, extraordinary women from different faiths and backgrounds worked alongside men to advance their communities. Their inspiring stories, charismatic personalities and determination to contribute to the development of their environment make them beacons that guide young women and men today.

    Women at the time participated in all fields of life. There were women who championed educational and cultural efforts like Fatima al-Fihri, others who excelled in mathematics such as Sutayta al-Mahamili, the medical field, administration and management, philosophy and the arts. Others played key political roles and ruled important territories in the Muslim Civilisation, some of those included Labana of Cordoba of 10th century (Spain), Sitt al-Mulk of 11th century (Egypt), Melike Mama Hatun of 12th century (Turkey), Razia (or Raziyya) Sultana of Delhi of 13th century (India) and many more...

    In celebration of International Women’s Day we pay tribute to some of these extraordinary women and highlight their contributions, hoping that new research into unedited manuscripts archived around the world would shed light on more women achievers from that period.

    Let us meet some of those amazing women.

    [​IMG]
    Fatima al-Fihri
    9th century

    [​IMG]
    The Qarawiyeen Mosque (Image Source) and al-Fihri figure © 1001 Inventions

    Fatima al-Fihri played a great role in the civilisation and culture in her community. She migrated with her father Mohamed al-Fihri from Qayrawan in Tunisia to Fez. She grew up with her sister in an educated family and learnt Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and Hadith. Fatima inherited a considerable amount of money from her father which she used to build a mosque for her community. Established in the year 859, the Qarawiyin mosque had the oldest, and possibly the first university in the world. Students travelled there from all over the world to study Islamic studies, astronomy, languages, and sciences. Arabic numbers became known and used in Europe through this university. This is just one important example of the role of women in the advancement of education and civilisation.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/2311

    [​IMG]
    Al-Ijliya Al-Astrulabi
    10th century


    [​IMG]
    Astrolabes (Image Source) and Al-Ijliya figure © 1001 Inventions

    The making of astrolabes, a branch of applied science of great status, was practiced by many include one woman from Aleppo (Syria), Mariam* “Al-Astrolabiya” Al-Ijliya (Al-'Ijliyah bint al-'Ijli al-Asturlabi), who followed her father's profession and was employed at the court of Sayf al-Dawlah (333 H/944 CE-357/967), one of the powerful Hamdanid rulers in northern Syria who guarded the frontier with the Byzantine empire in the tenth century CE.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/629

    *First name Mariam was provided by the Syrian Archaeological Society, but remains to be corroborated.
    [​IMG]
    Sutayta al-Mahmali
    10th century

    [​IMG]
    Illustration of a Seljuk woman (Image Source)

    Sutayta was taught and guided by several scholars including her father. She died in the year 377H/987CE. Sutayta did not specialise in just one subject but excelled in many fields such as Arabic literature, hadith, and jurisprudence as well as mathematics. It is said that she was an expert in hisab (arithmetics) and fara'idh (successoral calculations), both being practical branches of mathematics which were well developed in her time. It is said also that she invented solutions to equations which have been cited by other mathematicians, which denote aptitude in algebra. Although these equations were few, they demonstrated that her skills in mathematics went beyond a simple aptitude to perform calculations.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/629

    [​IMG]
    Zaynab Al Shahda
    12th century

    [​IMG]
    From the cover of Hilal Kazan's book "Jewels of Muslim Calligraphy: Book Review of “Female Calligraphers: Past & Present "
    (Image Source)

    Zaynab was a famous female calligrapher renowned for her work in fiqh (Islamic law) and hadiths, in addition to her husn-I khatt. She was highly praised and positioned, and was appointed as teacher of Yaqut, the last Abbasid Caliph. She was also the calligrapher in the Musa Palace. She was a brilliant, well-established teacher and many people had the opportunity to study with her and to receive their ijaza from her. The fame of Zaynab was well established when she was named Siqat al-Dawla because of her association with al-Muktafibillah, the Abbasid Caliph. She spent her time studying science and literature.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/768

    [​IMG]
    Gevher Nesibe Sultan
    13th century


    [​IMG]
    Nesibe Sultan Statue (Image Source) and Gevher Nesibe-Ghiyâthuddîn medical school and hospital combination of Kayseri constituted the first example of a medical madrasa in Islam (Image Source)

    Gevher Nesibe Sultan "was an early 13th century princess of the Sultanate of Rum, the daughter of Kilij Arslan II and sister of Kaykhusraw I, and the namesake of a magnificent complex comprising a hospital, an adjoining medrese devoted primarily to medical studies, and a mosque in Kayseri, Turkey. The complex (külliye in Turkish) that she endowed, is considered one of the preeminent monuments of Seljuk architecture. The hospital was built between 1204 and 1206, and the medrese, whose construction started immediately after Gevher Nesibe's death in 1206, was finished in 1210. The complex takes its name from the princess. The medrese within is known under a variety of names: the Gevher Nesibe Medrese; the Çifte Medrese (Twin Medrese); or as the Gıyasiye Medrese, after Ghiyath al-Din Kaykhusraw I, who was responsible for its construction. The tomb within the medrese is said to belong to Gevher Nesibe."(Source)
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/923

    [​IMG]
    Queen Amina of Zaria
    16th century

    [​IMG]
    Queen Amina of Zaria (Image Source) and Old Arabic Africa Map (Image Source)

    During Muslim civilisation, numerous women excelled in various fields in Subsaharan Africa. Among them was Queen Amina of Zaria (1588-1589). She was the eldest daughter of Bakwa Turunku, who founded the Zazzau Kingdom in 1536. Amina came to power between 1588 and 1589. Amina is generally remembered for her fierce military exploits. Of special quality is her brilliant military strategy and in particular engineering skills in erecting great walled camps during her various campaigns. She is generally credited with the building of the famous Zaria wall.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/629

    [​IMG]
    Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
    18th century

    [​IMG]
    The painting Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with her son, Edward Wortley Montagu, and attendants attributed to Jean Baptiste Vanmour (oil on canvas, circa 1717). (Image Source)

    Maybe she is not directly from Muslim Civilisation but the English aristocrat and writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) is today remembered particularly for her letters from Turkey, an early example of a secular work by a Western woman about the Muslim Orient. When Lady Mary was in the Ottoman Empire, she discovered the local practice of variolation, the inoculation against smallpox. Unlike Jenner's later vaccination, which used cowpox, variolation used a small measure of smallpox itself. Lady Mary, who had suffered from the disease, encouraged her own children to be inoculated while in Turkey. On her return to London, she enthusiastically promoted the procedure, but encountered a great deal of resistance. However, her example certainly popularized the practice of inoculation with smallpox in British high society. The numbers inoculated remained small, and medical effort throughout the 18th century was concentrated on reducing the risks and side-effects of the inoculation process.
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/638
    www.muslimheritage.com/node/672

    [​IMG]
    Further Reading
    [​IMG]
    © From the 1001 Inventions House of Wisdom canvas © 1001 Inventions

    To celebrate Women’s Day on 8th March, no way is better than reproducing a collection of articles written by FSTC scholars and associates on the achievements of women in Muslim Heritage in various fields. We focused in our work on this topic of contributions made by women in science, technology, medicine, social care, management and patronage.
    In view of the growing importance of the subject of gender and women in society, this collection of articles we present below represents some of what we currently know about some famous Muslim women. We hope that this will initiate debate and start the process of unearthing what could be a most significant find:
    www.muslimheritage.com/article/international-womens-day

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Jeddah Students role playing scholars from Muslim Civilisation at the 1001 Inventions Exhibition
    Image by artist Ali Amro created for 1001 Inventions.


    http://1001inventions.com/womensday
     
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  9. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab ELITE MEMBER

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    It was most likely (if it existed in history, no proof of it after all), a practice among a few Arab tribes in specific regions of Arabia at specific points in time. I have read about female infanticide in history and you can find sources that claim that such practices occurred in most cultures. It was by no means a widespread thing. Common logic dictates that. It would have been more credible if Arabs had no pre-Islamic rulers (in fact they had more than most others in the world, surely the region by far) and we know plenty of historical pre-Islamic personalities SHORTLY before the rise of Islam (a period that we learn in the Qur'an is a really bad period, supposedly, when it came to worship of God = era of ignorance - meanwhile nobody outside of Arabia were Muslims either so = era of ignorance using that religious logic concerned all non-Muslims hence the revelation of Islam which was a refreshment of old revelations all the way back to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) 4500 years ago ) as I mentioned that were famous poets, tribe/clan leaders and warriors. Quite progressive compared to the time period and what was around back then be it in West Asia, Europe or Africa.

    And who knows how many sources have been lost after the rise of Islam and whether or not some were deliberately destroyed in order to create a new narrative.

    Notice, I am only looking at this from a historical perspective and not religious as we should not mix those together.

    To make this short, some Islamist fanatics, to bash Arabs, spread a lot of bullshit in regards to pre-Islamic Arabia which does not survive scrutiny from historians, archeology, documents collected from non-Arab sources etc. This has to be said clearly.

    Hanifs (monotheists - the oldest monotheists in the world) as well as a minority of Zoroastrians in Eastern Arabia (Arabs) but that religion was/is not a monotheistic religion and way younger than the ancient pre-Islamic Semitic religions that were practiced from the time of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Arabians etc.

    The same ancient Gods were shared from Syria to Yemen and from Iraq to Egypt.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_pre-Islamic_Arabia

    Even Berbers (related people) in North Africa had somewhat similar Gods from what I have read.

    Arabs should not be demonized by non-Arab Muslims when those same non-Arab Muslims ancestors (according to Islamic theology and history) themselves lived in an "age of ignorance" and were polytheists.
     
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  10. SALMAN F

    SALMAN F SENIOR MEMBER

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    There was the hannifates which the prophet was one of them before Islam also some sources says khadijah(AS) was christian since her cousin waraqa bin nawaf lead christian priest also judaism was rich and influential in Yemen and many azdi arab Yemeni rulers were jews also Christianity was strong and Influential specially under the habashi rule
     
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  11. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab ELITE MEMBER

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    Never heard about her. Will read about her later today. Seems that we were pioneers in this area as well.

    Every truly anti-woman Arab should read what is posted in this thread and feel ashamed of himself. Using Islam as a cover and imaginary history that does not survive historical and archeological scrutiny.
     
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  12. Umair Nawaz

    Umair Nawaz ELITE MEMBER

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    what i dont understand is whats the western obsession with our women? Do they want to turn our women also like theirs? Who **** Dogs in their homes and r mostly rotten whores.
     
  13. SALMAN F

    SALMAN F SENIOR MEMBER

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    I am surprised that you didn't know about her since you are Hijazi I and you have more knowledge about Yemen and arabs in general than me
     
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  14. Saif al-Arab

    Saif al-Arab ELITE MEMBER

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    One of the oldest churches in the world were discovered in KSA less than 40 years ago. 1700 years old. Before Christianity became a state religion of the Roman empire under Constantine the Great.

    it's called Jubail church because it lies close to Jubail city.

    Jubail Church
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Jump to navigation Jump to search
    Coordinates: [​IMG]26°56′14.78″N 49°39′23.3″E

    [​IMG]
    Jubail Church
    Jubail Church is a 4th-century church building near Jubail, Saudi Arabia, discovered in 1986. It originally belonged to the Assyrian Church of the East, an ancient Nestorian branch of Eastern Christianity in the Middle East.

    The Saudi government hides it from locals and even archaeologists as the Kingdom follows a strict version of Islamic law and prohibits all non-Islamic forms of worship. Recently, they have put a fence around the church to prevent potential tourists from seeing it. However, the fences have not stopped locals from coming in to vandalize and damage the building. Churches are officially banned in Saudi Arabia and a limited number of Christians, mostly westerners, are permitted to worship in private as long as no Christian symbols are openly visible.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubail_Church

    I also recently learned that there were a progressive Arabian version of Christianity followed in Arabia and the borderlands.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miaphysitism

    Sadly this part of history has been neglected for 1400 years. It's a long time. Many ethnic groups (most in fact) did not even have a 1400 year old history (recorded) to begin with.
    But people in our part of the world (Arab world and in particular Arabia) have no problem with discussing historical eras that predate the 3 monotheistic religions. Religious sensitivity and all. Better live a lie.:lol:

    I honestly must admit that this entire topic was not something that I gave a lot of thoughts too simply because we learnt nothing about this in school. Topics like this were simply not discussed. Maybe at home with elders occasionally and it all returned to the same verdict (religious aspect) so it was not further discussed. However lately there has been a revival (not that Arabs are not aware of our history, lol) to scrutinize parts of our history more closely and find out what is correct and what is dubious.

    If other people can take pride in their pre-Islamic history why the hell should we Arabs not do it when our lands are home to the oldest recorded civilizations on the planet? Why not say, history is one aspect, and religion another? Discussing such issues is not a crime. The greatest Islamic scholars scrutinized everything. They discussed much more controversial topics than our scholars do today which is quite pathetic when you think of it. If the hardliners actually read some of the biographies of the scholars that they admire, they would get a shock themselves.

    Probably what annoys me is just the ignorance among some outsiders and fellow Arabs. That's probably what pushes me to study our great ancient history in detail.

    And since we live in a time period where Muslims are stereotyped with Arabs on the top or close to it because everything bad that happens in the Muslim world = Arabs (for the average Joe in Texas Afghanistan is Arab, Iran is Arab, Indonesia is Arab, Somalia is Arab, Boko Haram is Arab etc.), it does not help either. However that should never discourage any Arab from speaking the truth.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  15. HannibalBarca

    HannibalBarca SENIOR MEMBER

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    "You ask How strong I am?"...
    "Strong enough to take you down from Heaven"...

    Back On Topic...
    Women in the Islamic Period, enjoyed a special freedom when it comes to "seeking knowledge" and "belief" compared to their "Western counterpart"
    BUT... as any civilisation... it was possible, because of those women status in the Social ladder... Most of them are from Rich and powerful background...

    As for Today perception of Arab Women... let's be honest with ourselves, Things begun to change in this past two Decades... and even till now...Women in many Arab/Muslim countries are limited when it comes to think and take decisions on their own... IF you compare them with their Western counterpart...

    And such restrictive behavior is a curse among societies... Many think that restriction of Women will keep them away from Harm or Sensible thinking...as if Women couldn't choose btw Right and Good...

    Women are strong... Many among them struggled to rise among Men... They did more sacrifice than thousands of the opposite sex... Many are forged like true Gladiators... It was the case 1400 years ago and it's still is... and will mostly stay as it...

    As for the Bashing from Western societies or other Non-Arab societies... I think everything happen for a purpose... Many can't decide by themselves and always need someone else to push them to act... and Unfortunately... Many Arab/Muslims countries seems to prefer this "Tactic"...

    In the End, Things are changing for the better... Men shouldn't see it as bad thing/an Opposition to their "Title"... Women will keep giving Men, their status, at least in "Daylight/In front of others"... after That the King crown change head...

    PS: Truth doesn't matter much in our Time... Feelings do... We are in a "Feeling" Driven society... Therefore if you can't Change the society... Then Win by playing by the Rules...
     
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