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Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency of Any Islamic State:

 

Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency of Any Islamic State:

Was published in Arabic in our site

http://www.ahl-alquran.com/arabic/book_main.php?main_id=67

Translated by ahmed Fathy

 

A Foreword by the Author:

  This research has been published earlier in 1999 in the periodical of (Rowaq Arabi), issued by the Cairo Center for Human Rights. The title of the periodical no. 15 &16 is (Women's Rights between Civil and Religious Laws), and our research was published in pages 64:99. This research has been re-published in several other periodicals. This research is revised here; its author is a former Azharite researcher, who is still clearing his mind from the falsehoods and lies of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar institution.

 

Signature: Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

Preface: Women between Real Islam (Quranism) and the Earthly Man-Made creeds of the Muhammadans

Chapter One:

Real Islam (The Quran) and Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency of Any Islamic State

General overview – First: What Do We Mean by the Term "an Islamic State"? – Second: The Difference between the Concept of an Islamic State and the Rule during Middle Ages – Third: Equality between Men and Women in the Quranic Sharia – Fourth: Women's Labor – Fifth: Women's Right to Travel – Sixth: Women's Active Role as Partners in Establishing an Islamic State in History: The Pact of Allegiance: The Basis of Establishing an Islamic State: Women's Participation in it – Seventh: Women's Participation in Society – Eighth: Mutual Consultation (Shura) within An Islamic State and Role of Women in it – Ninth: The Quran Imposes a Balance between Mutual Consultation and Obeying Experts in Authority – Tenth: Presidency of State and the Concept of Trusteeship between Men and Women – Eleventh: Presidency of State and the Concept of Two Women Equal One Man – Twelfth: Is Islamic Mutual Consultancy (Shura) Considered an Imaginary Legislation? – Thirteen: The Stance of the Quranic Legislation Concerning Dictatorial Political Regimes – Fourteen: A Comparison between a Tyrant Woman and a Tyrant Man

  

Chapter Two:

Inherited Traditions of the Muhammadans and Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency

Foreword – First: Women and the Struggle to Establish a State – Second: Women Rule behind Curtains and Closed Doors – Third: Women Presiding Over Governments

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

 

 It has started when Dr. Nawal Al-Saadawi held a forum in Cairo in mid-1990s on Arab women. Among the attendees were Dr. Riffat Hassan, the Pakistani-American feminist activist and researcher. Dr. Al-Saadawi asked us to deliver a speech in the forum about the position of women in Islam from a progressive point of view. Most voices in the forum were ready to attack vehemently the position of women in Islam, based on the ignorant confusion between Islam (the Quran alone) as a religion and the earthly, man-made, fabricated creeds of the Muhammadans. The attendees waited for us to talk about generalities using oratory skills and apologia rhetoric to defend in an empty convoluted manner anything without any content. To their surprise, we chose a startling title to our speech: Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency of Any Islamic State. Another surprise was our methodology in tackling such a topic; this research is a legislative and Quranic study followed by a historical study that sheds light on the political participation of women in the history of the Muhammadans. This research travels within lines of historical accounts to show the hands of women who spun and weaved history from behind curtains and closed doors sometimes, and in some other times in public before everyone. Such surprises extracted an important comment from one female attendee who said to us that every one of them should read meticulously first before talking about things we do not know; many feminists were victims of auditory culture and oral modern traditions that either level accusations against Islam or support extremism. Supporters of both extremes do not read enough; they settle contently for what is heard, read, and watched through media and through school textbooks.

 

Signature: Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour. Virginia, VA, USA. 14th of July, 2007

 

Preface: Women between Real Islam (Quranism) and the Earthly Man-Made creeds of the Muhammadans

 

1- There is a difference between Islam as a religion and the earthly, man-made, fabricated creeds of the Muhammadans. Islam as a religion has descended in the form of divine books on all prophets of God despite their different tongues. The last divine book or message for all humankind is the Quran, revealed in Arabic and preserved by Almighty God until The End of Days. The religion of God, Islam, has but one source: God through His divine scripture: the Quran. "To Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth; and to Him religion is due alone. Do you, then, fear anyone other than God?" (16:62). Hence, God is the sole Owner of religion, and He created human beings free to choose either to believe or to disbelieve, either to obey or disobey. God revealed Islam to all prophets in their various languages to preach among various peoples. God ordained the Day of Resurrection, also called the Day of Reckoning, to judge all human beings in the Afterlife. As usual in history, after the completion of the revelation of the divine message, people fashion and fabricate earthly creeds ascribed falsely to God within false revelations of human beings and devils. Such man-made creeds express nothing but the whims and caprices of their fabricators and authors. Such creeds have nothing to do with the true religion of God, which is divine revelation sent to humans to guide and reform them. The man-made creeds corrupt people and support, endorse, and sanction injustice and corruption on earth by establishing tyrant states that rely on riding the earthly creed and its ecclesiastical clergymen. In some cases, clergymen rule within a theocratic state that claims to rule nations falsely in the name of God! Such corrupt clergymen claim to control this worldly life and the Afterlife! This is a most unjust notion toward Almighty God! Because man-made creeds express the desires and ambitions of their fabricators and authors, these creeds are influenced during their formation stages by historical and geographical factors; hence, it is natural to find rifts and conflicts among such man-made creeds despite the claims of its adherents to their belonging to the celestial Abrahamic religion. We can perceive this within the man-made creeds of the Christians who ascribe themselves falsely and forcibly to Jesus Christ. The Christians of all denominations differ vastly; for instance, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodoxy differs a great deal from the European Catholicism, and both denominations differ a vast deal from Protestantism. Likewise, the same applies to the man-made creeds of the Muhammadans who ascribe themselves falsely to Muhammad. There are vast differences among the Sunnite and Shiite creeds that led to bloodshed and massacres in history, and there is a great difference between the Sunnite and the Sufi creeds.

 Such rifts and conflicts among such man-made creeds that are attributed falsely and forcibly to Islam are reflected on the position of women. The Shiite creed followers elevate – a little – the position of women due to their worship and deification of Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad. The Sufi creed is based on the concepts of pantheism and the oneness of the universe as well as the claim to unite with God! This creed deifies women (with sexual connotations) and at the same time makes it the center of immorality or moral degeneration! As for the Sunnite creed, it considers women as (awrah) (i.e. in Arabic, intimate parts of the body!) that is to say: flawed erring vessels that lack religious piety and reasoning minds and that should to be covered, away from prying eyes!

 The local conditions that existed during the forming stages of any man-made creed influence the stance toward women. For example, in desert environments, women are considered as 'goods' owned by male relatives (fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands). Men in any desert tribe are the responsible ones for defending and protecting women and supporting them financially. To tribesmen, women are treated just like grazing cattle! That is why the Wahabi creed, direct offspring of the Sunnite extremist fanatical Ibn Hanbal doctrine, suits the desert environments perfectly. The opposite is true within agricultural environments, where central states are established to control rivers, agriculture, and peasants. In such localities, a peasant works along with his wife in green fields in addition to their work at home within stable households. The role of women here was so great that women held high positions in Pharaonic Egypt; we have female pharaohs/rulers of Egypt like Queen Hatshepsut, a powerful princess like Nefertiti, and an omnipotent Pharaonic goddess like Isis. As for today's Egypt, despite the dominance of the oil-rich Wahabi culture at these times of degeneration, decay, and decline, the Egyptian women still hold a high position in their households as wives, mothers, and daughters. The Wahabi women in the KSA still cannot travel without a male companion (mihrim) and are forbidden to ride vehicles by themselves. Hence, it is natural that the creeds of the Muhammadans have been influenced by surrounding conditions on the social, psychological, historical, and geographical levels. That is why each man-made fabricated creed has got an imprint which is dominant within the mass culture of a given nation in a given country. This might NOT cause troubles if we regard such stance of religiosity or religious attitude something human to be reformed and that can contain errors to be rectified or redressed. The core of the problem is when nations ascribe such man-made creeds and notions to Almighty God. This lends sham credibility and fake sanctity to corrupt notions and practices; when ascribed to Prophet Muhammad as done by the Sunnites, to Muhammad's relatives as done by the Shiites, or to the so-called saints or 'holy' men as done by the Sufis. The enormity of this dangerous crime against God is that the man-made earthly creeds acquire the sanctity due to God's religion, Islam in the Quran alone, via ascribing falsehoods of such creeds to God and to Muhammad. When we discuss such creeds, notions, and concepts, when dominant and prevalent in a given culture, people forbid such discussions vehemently and level accusations of blasphemy and apostasy against us. The imams, clergymen, scholars, and ecclesiastics of such creeds become deities, gods, or demigods who are untouchables that cannot be approached or addressed unless by being worshipped and sanctified as holy! This attitude we find clearly in dealing with writers of ancient tomes like Al-Shafei' and Al-Bokhari by the Sunnites, persons like Jaffer Al-Sadiq and Moussa Al-Kadhim by the Shiites, or persons like Al-Ghazali and Al-Sayed Al-Badawi by the Sufis. Inviolability and infallibility pertain to God alone and to the divine revelation given to Muhammad in the Quran; yet, both terms are ascribed to mortals by the followers of the three man-made creeds! Such enormous crime against God and His religion was prevalent during the Middle Ages, when religious duplicity, fraud, and swindling and making use of creeds to gain illicit money were the dominant features within Arab societies. At such times, most human activities used to be covered within banners of the man-made fabricated creeds ascribed falsely and forcibly to God and to Muhammad. Hence, countless 'religious' wars and persecutions ensued. Within all details of social dealings, people used to ask for fatwas (religious views or edicts).

 Natural result of all such conditions is that the role of clergymen, imams, sheikhs, monks, and rabbis was magnified, and they acquired sanctity as 'holy' men! The same applied to Europe, not just the Middle East and Arab countries in the Middle Ages. Hence, such clergymen and imams used to attribute their human thought and views forcibly to Muhammad and falsely to God to add credibility and sanctity to their persons, stature, and ideas.

 Europe was liberated from the control of the Catholic Church later on; creeds and tenets were confined to church walls, never to trespass into everyday life in the streets. Hence, scientific progress on all levels and aspects were made in Europe; Europeans began to explore the planet, to invent machines, and to colonize the old known world and the new one. Europe later on invaded the countries of the Muhammadans, leading to a renewed sense of awareness in Egypt and Tunisia by learning from Europeans in many respects. Gradually, many Arab countries began to get rid of the shackles of the earthly, man-made creeds and notions and the darkness of the Middle Ages. Yet, soon enough, the establishment of the KSA has led, using oil profits, to the revival of the worst notions among the fabricated creeds: Wahabism. The Wahabi creed is the direct descendant of the fanatical extremist Ibn Hanbal Sunnite doctrine. Hence, Wahabism combines the volatile and explosive components of fanaticism, bigotry, terrorism, extremism, bloodshed, massacres, and mass murders and rape for its foes as well as the endorsement of confiscating their money, possessions, and women! Hence, the Wahabi regressive culture has revived the notions that belittle, debase, and demean women and their position, chiefly under the claim that they lack religiousness and reasoning minds! Oil profits have allowed the current third KSA to spread Wahabism, all over the Arab world as well as within the countries of non-Arab Muhammadans, as the only 'true' and 'correct' form of Islam! The organizations, groups, agents, and leaderships of the Wahabis all over the world have gained the ill-reputed titled of Islamists. With such a bad title, they claim falsely that they alone are the sole representatives of Islam on earth! Shame on them! Women have paid a heavy price for such prevalent culture due to their being erroneously convinced that Islam includes such falsehoods as niqab (the full veil covering the face and the whole body), veils (cloth covering hair, ears, neck, and cleavage), and head scarves (cloth covering hair and ears), hence the deception and injustice done to most women and female children!

2- Given the above background, we tackle now the issue of women within Islam (real Islam is exclusively the Quran alone). The divine legislation within the Quran or any previous divine message or book cannot possibly be biased to men and against women; both genders are the creation of God. Yet, patriarchal societies dominated the Middle Ages, when men controlled and monopolized all aspects of life. Men have fabricated the masculine man-made creeds all over the world. Among other usages of such creeds, men used to make use of these creeds to control and to take advantage of women. Hence, within such conditions, women appeared to be lesser in degree in comparison to men. that is why women within Islam are in dire need for modern religious thought and jurisprudence to elucidate and clarify their human rights and social rights. This is what we endeavor for in this research concerning women's right to aspire to the post of president of any Islamic state.

 A research carrying such a title elevates women and their rights drawn from the Quran to the top of the executive authority body within a republican state. Such a title arouses curiosity and endless queries, especially in our era when the regressive backward thought of the fanatical Ibn Hanbal doctrine dominates our culture. Such extremist thought is the father of Wahabism, which in its turn has shoved and crammed women into sacks called niqab and imposed a curfew on them so as to make them never dare to step out of their houses! Wahabism has stuffed minds of women with mythologies of the man-made, earthly creeds that belong to the Middle Ages, convincing women that such scandalous falsehoods and insults are the Sunna (traditions) ascribed to Prophet Muhammad! The methodology adopted in this research can easily refute such falsehoods and remove injustice done to women via such creeds. We have written above, using this methodology, on the vast difference between Islam (the Quran alone) and the man-made fabricated creeds of the Muhammadans as well as the difference between the Quran and the schools of thought and practices of the Muhammadans. Accordingly, this research is siding with the right of women to become presidents of any Islamic state, and this view is supported by evidence within the Quran. The Quran alone is Islam as followed and applied by Muhammad during his lifetime, and his moral character is based on it. This research later on retraces the mobile historical reality of women within the political conflicts and struggles aiming to reach authority and rule, and how many women approached such struggles with their own terms and ways as per laws and givens of the political struggles within the Middle Ages. The contrast between the Quranic facts (in legislations and Quranic stories) and the historical reality (within battlefields and intrigues of palaces) exposes the corrupt distorted nature legislations and laws of the Sunnite/Salafist/Wahabi creed that their propagators should feel ashamed of themselves. Such Wahabi notions have been the result, or rather corrupt rotten fruit, of the political, social, and psychological conditions that led to many episodes of persecutions and torture in history that oriented men toward women as tools to vent their frustrations and bent-up fury. Oppressed men usually in eras of tyranny vent their ire and their frustration resulted from lost ambitions on women in general, and the male views, vision, and stance vis-à-vis women are certainly colored with such oppression. If such oppressed men had religious views or thought of their own, women are shown veritable hell within the patriarchal fatwas. Such a sad fact entails a separate research.

 

 

Chapter One:

Real Islam (The Quran) and Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency of Any Islamic State

 

A general overview:

 It is possible to summarize in a few lines the true stance of Islam toward a woman who is a president of an Islamic state.

 Within the Quranic methodology of legislation, the permissible and allowed is NOT mentioned. Hence, anything that is NOT clearly mentioned in the Quran as illegal, unlawful, and impermissible is allowed. Allowing things is the ordinary state of affairs, whereas prohibited things are only exceptions. If the Quran were to mention all the non-prohibited things, this would have entailed countless tomes! Accordingly, the Quranic legislation – likewise in man-made laws and legislations – focuses only on commands, orders, and duties as well as on stating clearly prohibitions and the impermissible things. Hence, if something is NOT stated clearly in the Quranic text as prohibited (or haraam in Arabic), we can conclude then that is is lawful, possible, and permissible. One cannot allow or endorse things and actions prohibited in the Quran. Likewise, one cannot possibly declare as haraam what is not mentioned as such in the Quranic text. In sum, since the Quran does NOT tackle the issue of omen becoming presidents within any Islamic states, then this is permissible and possible. This view is clear enough, but it needs a detailed research to prove it within the Quran. In Chapter One, we discuss in a Quranist method the protests and refutations that face women when discussing the concept of a woman president within any Islamic state.

 

First: What Do We Mean by the Term "an Islamic State"?

 We hold the view that Islam is a religion and a state; yet, our visions about this differ a vast deal from the fanatical fundamentalist Wahabi/Sunnite/Shiite movements that aim at crating theocracies based on their Middle-Ages visions of creeds, and the differ a great deal as well from secular thought that removes religion from any given state or country. We adhere to the notion that any state in Islam must be a civil state based on direct democracy. Such a state should NEVER undertake the task of conversion of others to other creeds or religions and the task of making them enter Paradise! This state should never interfere in citizens' creeds and religions; guidance on the spiritual level remains a personal, individual responsibility. The main task of the civil state in Islam is to impose justice in this life and care for citizenship rights equally for all citizens regardless of their faiths, colors, and races. Yet, absolute equality may injure the path of justice. The absolute rights of citizens include the absolute right to achieve and attain justice and the absolute freedom of religion and thought. Moreover, citizens have relative rights in the wealth of the state based on individual endeavor within political participation and within the security of the state. Such relative rights balance the benefit of individual citizens and the benefit of society at large; one citizen can never be allowed to monopolize or confiscate the wealth and/or authority of a given nation. Both wealth and authority are basic rights to all citizens within a given society, not for some individuals. This is a topic to be discussed at length in another book/article, not here; suffice it here to say that we assert the right of women to aspire to become presidents in any Islamic state.  

 

Second: The Difference between the Concept of an Islamic State and the Rule during Middle Ages

 

1- The dominant view against a female president of state gains its popularity from inherited notions and concepts concerning the political authority in the Middle Ages. At that era, the sultan/caliph/king was a tyrant who used to claim that he owned the land and all things, possessions, and people on it! His orders and decrees could never be revoked. This was the common state of affairs in the Muhammadan Middle East and the Christian West at the time. Unfortunately, some traits of such tyranny still persist in the countries of the Muhammadans today. Accordingly, no one at the time could ever imagine a queen/sultana or a female caliph on the throne. We tend to sympathize with Middle-Ages oppressed and terrorized cultural elite, scholars, and imams. They used to imagine, bearing in mind the tyranny of sultans, that a female monarch or sultana would be more tyrannical and oppressive to prove herself worthy of the throne!

2- Yet, the real state of affairs in such eras was totally different. The mutual consultation within the democratic rule (shura in Arabic) within the city-state of Prophet Muhammad, Yathreb, in the 7th century A.D. used to differ vastly from the tyrannical rule since the first caliphs of the Muhammadans before the Umayyad Dynasty along with about 12 centuries of tyrants/caliphs/emirs. Sadly, tyrannical rule still persist in all countries of the Muhammadans today.

3- Hence, we need an overview concerning the facts of political rule within the real state of Islam, within the Quranic sharia and legislations in order to assert the right of women to aspire to become presidents.

 

Third: Equality between Men and Women in the Quranic Sharia

 

1- In order to understand the Quran and its sharia and legislations, we are to understand the Quran within its own terminology. The Arabic tongue, like any other human languages, is a living organism that evolves and changes constantly with the passage of time. The Arabic language has changed a great deal on the temporal and spatial levels. We know that certain Arabic terminologies have emerged via Arabophone Sufis, philosophers, theologians, scholars, etc. before them all, the Quran itself has been revealed, with its own terminology and concepts within which we should understand it. This topic entails another book or lengthy article, but we will mention some points pertaining to it within the topic of this book.

2- Let us remind the readers quickly of some Quranic facts that assert the equality between both genders: the word "spouse" in the Quran indicates both women and men and asserts the equality of both genders before the sight of the Lord. Certain Quranic contexts show if the term means ONLY wives or husbands. Please refer to the article on the term ''spouse'' on our website. The Quranic Arabic terms that denote "parents" and "ancestors" refer to both genders. The same applies to other terms in the Quran like the following: "O People!", "progeny of Adam", and "O Believers!". The Quranic commands concerning acts of worship like prayers and fasting are addressed to both genders. All general modes of address in the Quranic text are directed to all humankind, to believers, to people, and to progeny of Adam include both genders equally, unless the context dictates otherwise.

3- Let us quote examples of the Quranic equality between both genders:

3/1: Both genders belong to one father and one mother: Adam and Eve: "O people! Fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and created from it its mate, and propagated from them many men and women." (4:1), and this fact includes all humankind regardless of cultures, races, colors, and tongues: "O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is All-Knowing, Well-Experienced." (49:13).

3/2: There is equality between both genders in responsibility and reward: "And so their Lord answered them: "We will not waste the work of any worker among you, whether male or female. You are one of another. For those who emigrated, and were expelled from their homes, and were persecuted because of Us, and fought and were killed, We will remit for them their sins, and will admit them into gardens beneath which rivers flow-a reward from God. With God is the ultimate reward."" (3:195). "But whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, and is a believer-those will enter Paradise, and will not be wronged a whit." (4:124). "Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while being a believer, We will grant him a good life-and We will reward them according to the best of what they used to do. " (16:97). "Whoever commits a sin will be repaid only with its like. But whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, and is a believer-these will enter Paradise, where they will be provided for without account." (40:40).

4- Women were chief partners in establishing the city-state of Islam in Yathreb during the lifetime of Muhammad. Women were among the first early believers in Islam that immigrated to Yathreb. Women began in Yathreb to participate actively in shura and in admonishing others against evildoing and wrongdoing as well as in advising and preaching good deeds. The main feature of this city-state is shura or mutual consultation among the newly-founded community in an Islamic state. That is why the Quran mentions the concept of shura. Let us explore this in further detail.

 

Fourth: Women's Labor

 

 Islam never prohibits women from any work/job permissible for and done by men. The same applies to jihad or defensive wars; the Quranic excuses for NOT participating in such battles/fights of self-defense apply to both genders. "There is no blame on the blind, nor any blame on the lame, nor any blame on the sick. Whoever obeys God and His Messenger-He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away-He will punish him with a painful punishment." (48:17). Such excuses apply to both genders. Even in acts of worship like fasting and pilgrimage, conditions and excuses are general and apply to both genders: "…Whoever of you witnesses the month, shall fast it. But whoever is sick, or on a journey, then a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and does not desire hardship for you, that you may complete the number, and celebrate God for having guided you, so that you may be thankful." (2:185). "And carry out the Hajj and the Umrah for God. But if you are prevented, then whatever is feasible of offerings. And do not shave your heads until the offering has reached its destination. Whoever of you is sick, or has an injury of the head, then redemption of fasting, or charity, or worship. When you are secure: whoever continues the Umrah until the Hajj, then whatever is feasible of offering. But if he lacks the means, then fasting for three days during the Hajj and seven when you have returned, making ten in all. This is for he whose household is not present at the Sacred Mosque. And remain conscious of God, and know that God is stern in retribution." (2:196). Since Quranic commands begin with phrases such as: "O People!", "O Progeny of Adam", and "O Believers", the Quranic discourse here addresses and includes both men and women. The word "spouse" is found in all Quranic contexts that tackle issues like marriage and divorce; and contexts allude if the intended spouse is male or female. This asserts complete equality of status of male and female spouses; both are originated from Adam and Eve, and both have the same duties and rights as justice entails.

 

Fifth: Women's Right to Travel

 We have to clarify a certain important point in the context of Chapter LX in the Quran. This point is the right of women to travel alone and to immigrate and leaving their homeland to whatever locality according to their choice of faith and belief, just as any other men. This was achieved already by women among the early Muslims in the times of Prophet Muhammad; female believers immigrated to Abyssinia twice, like their male counterparts, and eventually within third immigration wave to Yathreb. Some of these women were unmarried virgins who travelled alone, and some were married and travelled along with their husbands. Some married ones travelled alone, because they were married to polytheists who fought against the early Muslims. These Quranic and historic facts assert the right of all women to travel and move freely without restrictions of any kind. Women can immigrate if so they wish; immigration was the hardest type of travel at the time to Yathreb, because it risked being chased and hunted down. Hence, in Islam, women can move and travel freely alone, and their husbands have no right whatsoever to prevent them, unless this is a written condition in the marriage contract. This is in real Islam: the Quran alone. As for the Muhammadans' Sunnite creed, clergymen have claimed for centuries that married women cannot travel without their husbands' permission. Sunnite clergymen and imams have stipulated that even unmarried women (virgins, divorced, and widows) must travel with a male companion or male chaperone! Such a chaperone is called in Sunnite jurisprudence (i.e. fiqh or theology) a mehrim; i.e., a man to whom she cannot get married, like their son, father, maternal uncle, and paternal uncle. This is insulting to women, of course; it is as if women are incompetent, incapacitated persons! Imagine a woman who after years of nurturing and brining up her son, he would be as an adult person capacitated who can come of legal age, whereas his mother remains incapacitated and incompetent, unfit to travel on her own! Her own son must gain full control of her! This is utter humiliation!

 

Sixth: Women's Active Role as Partners in Establishing an Islamic State in History: The Pact of Allegiance: The Basis of Establishing an Islamic State: Women's Participation in it

 

Islam is pioneer in defining what a state is; a contract between citizens and the ruling regime that includes certain obligation from both parties. Citizens owe certain duties to the state, and the state ruling regime owe to citizens protection, security, caretaking, and providing welfare. After the immigration of early female Muslims to Yathreb, their participation in establishing and managing this Islamic city-state was registered by drawing a contract or a pact of allegiance with the founder of this city-state: Prophet Muhammad. Chapter LX in the Quran, titled "The Woman Tested", mentions this fact: "O prophet! If believing women come to you, pledging allegiance to you, on condition that they will not associate anything with God, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor commit perjury as to parenthood, nor disobey you in anything righteous, accept their allegiance and ask God's forgiveness for them. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (60:12). Chapter LX is one of the earlier Quranic chapters revealed in Yathreb. This chapter mentions this allegiance/contract/pact between Prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims that included obeying Muhammad as the leader of this city-state. This was NOT obedience to him as a person, but to the ethical values drawn from true faith in God and in the Last Day. This is what we deduct from 60:12, a general allegiance pact. Of course, there was particular momentary emergency pact of allegiance entailed by the conditions of military defensive wars/battles when this Muslim society in Yathreb was facing the imminent danger of being attacked by the armies of the foes. Hence, the pact of allegiance included the commitment to defend the city-state; see 33:15, 33:22-23, 48:10, and 48:18. Anyhow, within the general and the particular pacts, it was swearing a pact of allegiance with Almighty God, and that pact should be respected and fulfilled, not just to the leader/prophet. Personal conscience was the only watcher over this pact and its keeping. Both the general and the particular pacts included men and women equally. Historical accounts ascribed to Muhammad's life story mention pacts with a delegation from Yathreb before immigration to it, and some other pacts with others; yet, such historical accounts never mention the general pacts with people residing and coming to Yathreb, described in the Quran. The Quranic verses remind the believers of such a pact and reproach some of those who were reluctant to fulfill the pact, and some other verses rebuke the hypocrites who were reluctant to defend the city and laud those who kept the pact and defended and fought well; see 33:15-22. In the opening verses of the Quranic chapters revealed in Yathreb, we find that the Quran prohibits the faithful from betraying God and His prophet as well as betraying the pact of allegiance. The Quran commands them to obey Muhammad; see 8:24-27. The term ''betraying the pact'' implies that a pact between the believers and God existed at the time and that some of them betrayed such a pact. In the closing verses of the Quranic chapters revealed in Yathreb, the command is repeated to the believers to obey God and His prophet and to face the military aggression of the polytheists by defending the city, not by weak and lame excuses,tendency to give up, or by running for dear life to live in humiliation. They are ordered in the Quran to defend themselves and spend money for the military defensive wars; otherwise, they would have been wiped out. In such a case, God would have brought other true believers better than them all; see 47:32-38. Stinginess was common among a category of believers; hence, we find the divine warning in the Quran to those who are stingy and advise others to be stingy, after repeating orders of the pact; namely, the belief in God with no other partners/deities, and charity with one's parents, relatives, orphans, neighbors…etc. see 4:36-37.  In order to face such stinginess and negligence of the pact, some Quranic verses were revealed to remind the believers to fear and believe in God and to side with His prophet/messenger as well as to spend for the cause of God and for His sake. Some Quranic verses rebuke them for not believing faithfully and truly in Allah alone as their God in their hearts and minds, as preached so many times by Muhammad. Such repetitive reproaches imply their tendency to often forget; see 57:7-8. Among the last verses of the Quran, the same theme is repeated; God has reminded them of the pact and how some of them had no faithful hearts and minds, warning them that He knows their hearts and minds; see 5:7. This pact was for anyone, male or female, entering Yathreb as a citizen of the newly-founded Islamic city-state. Parting away from the Middle-Ages culture that deprived women of their rights, women in Yathreb at the time had the same citizenship rights and positive, active political participation in this city-state; women had to swear a pact of allegiance with Muhammad and put their hands on his hand; see 60:12. Because of this event being new and unprecedented at the time, the Quran shows how women swore their allegiance to Muhammad and conditions stipulated in that pact of allegiance in this new phase in the lives of those female believers who immigrated to Yathreb (of course, these stipulated conditions applied to male believers as well); see 60:12.  It is clear that conditions stipulated in such a pact for both male and female believers can be summarized in application of faith and Islam (literally submission to God) in terms of faith tenets and in demeanor. To apply faith means never to adopt polytheistic notions/practices and not to fall into disbelief. In a nutshell, to believe that there is no God but Allah, as per the monotheism tenets mentioned in the Quranic Chapter CXII. To apply faith and Islam in demeanor means to deal peacefully with all human beings, by NOT to violate lives, possessions, and women of others; i.e., adherence to the higher values known to all, especially justice and stopping injustice. Hence the pact in sum meant to obey God, and therefore, equality between all Muslims, including Muhammad the prophet, was achieved. All of them were ordered to obey God, and accordingly, they were to advise one another to stick to all known higher values and to shun and avoid wrongdoing and evildoing. These pieces of advice were directed to and given by all male and female Muslims equally; see Chapter CIII. This is the first assertion of equality in Arabia in the 7th century A.D. Moreover, there were no castes or special groups for that; no clergymen or ecclesiastics were known within Islam to impose themselves over people or to control others by being above the law. Accordingly, in the city-state of Yathreb at the time, no obedience to a person/ruler, even to Muhammad; in 60-12, we find "…nor disobey you in anything righteous…" and this implies no blind obedience to Muhammad. We have mentioned many times before that there is a difference in the Quranic text between the terms ''messenger" and "prophet", the latter refers to Muhammad as a person in his dealings with others and his relations with them. That is why when Muhammad is rebuked in some verses, the term used is ''prophet" not ''messenger''. The term "messenger'' refers to and is associated with the message: the Quran itself. Hence, in 60:12, Muhammad as a person was not to be obeyed as a ruler of the city-state unless in the righteous things; this is NOT absolute, blind obedience. Righteous things here mean all higher values known to people, mentioned of course in the pact. If Muhammad as a ruler and leader was obeyed only in relation with higher values, and not as a person, then we can deduct that no one would dare to ask believers to blindly obey him unconditionally. That is why free people among the earlier ones formed the political rule: "no obedience for a mortal in what is considered disobedience for God". Hence, no obedience is allowed unless linked to obeying God, and His discourse the Quran. Obeying God is to follow the last divine message, the Quran, which remains after the death of Muhammad; see 4:80. That is why obeying Muhammad was not being done for him as a person, but it was obedience linked with his applying the Quranic commands. This is the interpretation of 4:59. This verse does NOT mean to deify a trinity consisting of God, Muhammad, and those in authority. Obeying persons must be derived from within application of all persons of the divine Quranic commands, applied by Muhammad and by those in authority at the time. Otherwise, believers were not to obey them. The same applies to all believers in all eras. If those in authority disobeyed God and the Quran, we are to disobey them and explain how they are disregarding the Quran, so as to clear the name of Islam from being abused in corruption, tyranny, and exploitation of others.

 In a nutshell, all human beings should obey God ONLY, and they are not to obey any orders that run contrary to the divine tenets and sharia legislations in the Quran. This applies to the general pact in the city-state of Yathreb and any other Islamic states, as well as to the particular pact of conditions that might entail defensive military actions.

 

Seventh: Women's Participation in Society

 

In the Quranic Chapter LX, we find a trace of gender equality in rights and duties in Islam; women have the right to participate politically and to have the same citizenship rights as men, because in the city-state of Yathreb, female believers had to swear a pact of allegiance just like their male counterparts. This political participation of women is asserted by the Quran not only on the legislation level, but also on both the application and historical level. On the level of application, a woman could voice her complaints and hold a debate with Prophet Muhammad, and when not satisfied, Quranic revelation solves her problem: "God has heard the statement of she who argued with you concerning her husband, as she complained to God. God heard your conversation. God is Hearing and Seeing." (58:1). The society of Yathreb in the time of Quranic revelation was akin to a beehive, seething with mobility and teeming with activity. The freedom of thought, expression, and religion within adhering to peacefulness allowed the formation of groups of male and female hypocrites who used to advocate wrongdoing and urge others to avoid good deeds. Other groups of true faithful male and female believers did the exact opposite; they urged others to perform good deeds and avoid evil ones: "The hypocrite men and hypocrite women are of one another. They advocate evil, and prohibit righteousness, and withhold their hands. They forgot God, so He forgot them. The hypocrites are the sinners." (9:67). "The believing men and believing women are friends of one another. They advocate virtue, forbid evil, perform the prayers, practice charity, and obey God and His Messenger. These - God will have mercy on them. God is Noble and Wise." (9:71). Hence the Islamic state at the time of Prophet Muhammad never interfered by preventing or supporting the former or the latter groups; its main mission was to protect and sustain the freedom of thought and religion and expression of political views peacefully, without persecution and coercion in religion. On the historical level, God has made the ideal example for all believers in all eras and localities two women: Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Moses' Pharaoh's wife. Moreover, God has made the worst example for all disbelievers in all eras and localities two women: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot; see 66:10-12. Let us be reminded of the example of the wise Queen of Sheba; see 27:22-44. The Quranic story of the Queen of Sheba is juxtaposed in the Quranic discourse with the story, recurrent in detail within many separate verses, of Moses' Pharaoh. To contemplate and reflect deeply on the Quranic verses, an often forgotten religious duty and act of worship, is to reveal such a contrast between two rulers and how they dealt with two different prophets of God. The female ruler, Queen of Sheba, was a winner who won her Afterlife, her throne, and her peaceful people and country, whereas the male tyrant ruler, Moses' Pharaoh, was a loser who lost his Afterlife, his throne, and his people. We do NOT imply here that women are better than men in ruling; rather, we mean that the Quranic stories give us a historical hint that a queen ruled once and was very wise, whereas most male kings/rulers were misguided.

 The contrast here is enormous between real Islam (i.e., the Quran) and the man-made Sunnite creed. The Sunnite creed prevents any woman to preside over anything, let alone a state. The Sunnite creeds prevents women to become judges, and the Sunnites assume that Eve was created from a crooked rib of Adam, and consequently, her female progeny cannot possibly be 'reformed' and 'rectified'. Hence, women in general in the Sunnite viewpoint are lacking in reasoning faculties and in religious piety! What shameful notions! Can we ever possibly say that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is born of a crooked rib of a man and can never be rectified or reformed?! This falsehood certainly contradicts the praise of her in the Quran. In the Western civilization, women could not gain their political rights until recently in modern history, but the Quran is ahead of all and any civilization in that respect.

 

Eighth: Mutual Consultation (Shura) within An Islamic State and Role of Women in it

 

 Democracy is a mere ruling system based on representatives of citizens in parliaments elected by the nation to deal with policies. Some democracies are based on the self-rule of nations via experts in various fields, or ''those in authority'' in the Quranic terminology. This type of direct democracy exists in some West countries, and is found in history of the Greeks. This type is to be found in the Quran within the term Shura (Arabic for mutual consultation) that includes all of the members/citizens in the Muslim society: men and women. A book of ours is published here on our website on the Islamic Shura and how it was applied by Prophet Muhammad in the city-state of Yathreb. Once he died, the tyrannical rule of caliphs intentionally ignored the duty of Shura found in the Quran. Let us give a glimpse about consultation in Islam in the following points.

 - The Quranic command/duty of Shura was revealed in Mecca, not in Yathreb; i.e. before the formation of the city-state, within Chapter XLII titled Al-Shura: "And those who respond to their Lord, and pray regularly, and conduct their affairs by mutual consultation and give of what We have provided them." (42:38). The mode of address in this context is directed equally to both men and women. Hence, shura is not confined to men. Features of shura here include the fact that it is ordered between orders of prayers and zakat alms. We conclude then that shura is a religious duty like prayers for every believer; no one can do it instead of a male/female believer, in households, factories, streets, workplaces, societies, politics, economy, and in all fields and aspects of life.

- Early Muslims applied shura in Mecca and Yathreb, within mosques: the locality of prayers, shura, and rule at the time, where all Muslims, men and women, gather together for mutual consultation. The call for prayers was then this phrase: "Congregational prayers!" After performing prayers, direct democracy was taking place within a shura council that includes all men and women. At first, some inhabitants of Yathreb could not get used to shura councils, and some used to be absent with no excuses. Some of them used to offer their apologies for Prophet Muhammad, and get out. Some of them used to attend and later on would stealth away from the shura councils. Hence, the last verses of Chapter XXIV, revealed in Yathreb, condemn such demeanors, make attendance of such councils a religious duty, and warn against divine retribution in case of disobedience: "The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, and when they are with him for a matter of common interest, they do not leave until they have asked him for permission. Those who ask your permission are those who believe in God and His Messenger. So when they ask your permission to attend to some affair of theirs, give permission to any of them you wish, and ask God's forgiveness for them. God is Forgiving and Merciful. Do not address the Messenger in the same manner you address one another. God knows those of you who slip away using flimsy excuses. So let those who oppose his orders beware, lest an ordeal strikes them, or a painful punishment befalls them. Surely, to God belongs everything in the heavens and the earth. He knows what you are about. And on the Day they are returned to Him, He will inform them of what they did. God has full knowledge of all things." (:24:62-64).

By the way, attendance of women in mosques was at the time a religious duty, often neglected nowadays. The Quran prohibits having sex with one's wife when one is retreated in mosques during Ramadan nights to worship for lengthy times. "…But do not approach them while you are in retreat at the mosques…" (2:187). This implies that women used to retreat in mosques along with their husbands for lengthy time of worship during Ramadan. Hence, women used to participate with men in all activities and acts of worship even inside mosques together; unlike nowadays, as the Muhammadans separate men and women in separate halls within mosques.

 - The religious duty of shura used to apply on Muhammad himself: "It is by of grace from God that you were gentle with them. Had you been harsh, hardhearted, they would have dispersed from around you. So pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them in the conduct of affairs. And when you make a decision, put your trust in God; God loves the trusting." (3:159). This means that Muhammad could not have possibly been the ruler of this city-state if he was harsh and hardhearted; he acquired his political authority over them from them and by shura. Hence, we can conclude that the nation is the source of authority given to a ruler, God is NOT this source, as presumed in the Middle Ages in Arabia and elsewhere. In Islam, there is no theocracy and we find no mottoes akin to "the divine rights of kings'', and the above-mentioned Quranic verse implies that as Muhammad acquired political authority from people, he had to pardon and forgive them if they had offended him and that he must consult them in the conduct of affairs, as they were the people of real authority. Because Muhammad was the executive authority in this city-state, those in authority, i.e. people of expertise and wisdom, should be with him to be consulted in every step. The divine order to Muhammad "… and consult them in the conduct of affairs…" included men and women and all wise people around him who gathered and helped in establishing this city-state: its original inhabitants and those who immigrated to it. we conclude from the above that Muhammad, despite divine revelation given to him, was ordered to apply mutual consultation with both men and women. As a political leader, he used to draw his political authority from the people: the nation. He never shunned them. Those rulers past and present who shun and spurn their peoples make themselves above Muhammad the Prophet! In other words, they deify themselves just like Moses' Pharaoh, unawares. Reinforcing our point here is the repletion of Moses' Pharaoh story in the Quranic text. This Pharaoh deified himself and destroyed his body, soul, people, and state. God made this Pharaoh a lesson to learn NOT to follow the path of tyranny, injustice, and self-deification. Yet, no ruler earned this lesson, past and present. The reason: the overwhelming power and ecstasy of authority sweep the mind!

 

Ninth: The Quran Imposes a Balance between Mutual Consultation and Obeying Experts in Authority

 

- The Quran imposes a balance between shura and obeying those in authority, i.e., in Quranic terminology, NOT rulers, but rather those men and women who own expertise in certain aspects/fields. Obeying them is within obedience to God in the Quran and within general conditions of applying justice. Quranic legislations are a few pages of the whole of the Quran volume, and all of them aim at one target: justice. Since Quranic legislations do NOT cover or tackle all aspects of life, this intentionally leaves room for shura (mutual consultation) especially among those men and women who have acquired experience in certain aspects/fields, provided that justice is applied and considered in all times, as well as the other aims of the Quranic sharia legislations: facilitation, removing useless restrictions, and moderation. Those in authority who have expertise should perform two things: to apply the Quranic verses and to to formulate new legislations if required, but within the aims of the above-mentioned Quranic sharia legislations aims. Within direct democracy of shura, consolidation of those in authority who have expertise, men and women of course, within a given society will be for the benefit of the whole nation. The Islamic mutual consultation makes the citizens the source of authorities; the nation is the major power, not rulers. Hence the real Islamic shura entails that those in authority who have expertise are to obey and be in service of the nation, the citizens, within a given society or country. those in authority who have expertise are mere temporary public employees responsible before the nation. They might be women or men, and the criteria here is experience and not gender of course. However, shura is not sufficient alone; it is useless if within a given society, we cannot find highly qualified persons who have expertise expertise within all fields/aspects. We are against the rule of technocrats as well; i.e., the hegemony and monopoly of power and authority by certain clout or group of experts or technocrats without being responsible within laws before the whole nation and without supervision. This is a form of tyranny which is actually against the Quran. Therefore, direct democracy of all citizens must go hand-in-hand with those in authority who have expertise, within a framework of transparency and prevalent justice. Accordingly, certain laws, application modes, and legislations may change in accordance with changes of the conditions within a given society. Hence, the role of those in authority who have expertise and obeying them within shura of all citizens assert the Quranic sharia laws that suit all eras and locations. Women are present here; they are half humanity and half society, the other halves of both are men of course. Hence, women should occupy the half of any shura councils within women who have expertise. Democracy in that manner and practice teaches all citizens within a given nation to bear the responsibilities and get trained in participating actively in managing affairs of society, because they are part of it on equal footing with others, with no discrimination based on gender, race, creed, religion, social status, financial status, etc. because citizenship rights are for all peaceful persons, regardless of anything else.

- Within any Islamic state, there is NO such a thing as the individual ruler, and this is shown in the following points.

1- All Quranic orders and commands are not addressed to rulers, but to the societies that include both men and women. Let us examine some of these verses. "O you who believe! If you support God, He will support you, and will strengthen your foothold." (47:7). "Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you." (47:38). "And prepare against them all the power you can muster, and all the cavalry you can mobilize, to terrify thereby God's enemies and your enemies, and others besides them whom you do not know, but God knows them. Whatever you spend in God's way will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged." (8:60).

2- The term "to judge" in the Quran signifies only court sentences, not to ''rule'' nations or countries. This verse exemplify this: "God instructs you to give back things entrusted to you to their owners. And when you judge between people, judge with justice. God's instructions to you are excellent. God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing." (4:58).

3- Even the term "officials" is never mentioned in the Quran except once within a context about dominant corruption within societies, and this word does NOT signify rulers. It comes within a Quranic context that prohibits bribing unjust officials or judges to steal or confiscate to oneself others' money/possessions. Such corrupt officials or responsible persons facilitate corruption of societies at large: "And do not consume one another's wealth by unjust means, nor offer it as bribes to the officials in order to consume part of other people's wealth illicitly, while you know." (2:188). Hence, a leader is not a ruler in the modern sense; leaders are the executive force, being women or men, in service of the whole community with their expertise and experience, and after the term of reign ends, such leaders are ordinary people once more eating food and walking through markets, just like prophet Muhammad. Thus, the Quranic sharia legislations do NOT oppose or prevent a woman president of any country as long as she is among those with expertise and specialization.

- All of the above is within the frame of shura, which can never be applied fully unless full power lies in the nation/citizens. If the nation is weak and submissive, rulers become tyrants who confiscate power and authority with their clouts, retinue, and military. Real rulers should gain their legitimacy and power within their degree of applying shura with people and those of expertise in all fields. Any government should fear the wrath of the nation/people, because it is in the service of the nation. If this given nation is strong, by its women and men, this should be the state of affairs in a given society. Otherwise, weak nations are controlled by tyrant rulers who perceive their people as cattle owned by them to be manipulated. This was the logic of Middle Ages in the history of the Muhammadans; even theologians claimed at such eras that a ruler have the right to kill one third of the subjects for the benefit of the remaining two thirds!

 

Tenth: Presidency of State and the Concept of Trusteeship between Men and Women

 

1- The concept of ''trusteeship'' in the Quran concerning men and their wives means simply that a husband is responsible for caring and providing for his wife and spending money on her needs after paying her dowry as well: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, as God has given some of them an advantage over others, and because they spend out of their wealth. The good women are obedient, guarding what God would have them guard …" (4:34). Without such spending, no trusteeship is given to a husband over his wife unless with her consent and free choice. A wife has the right to stipulate in the marriage contract that she holds the right to divorce herself and to hold the trusteeship over her husband. The marriage contract in Islam is the field of negotiations between both parties, with each part considering his/her stature and ability. Whatever conditions agreed upon in marriage contracts are valid for a lifetime, in accordance with the divine commands in the opening verses of Chapter V in the Quran for us to fulfill our commitments; see 5:1.

2- It is funny to note that those who argue against our above-mentioned view about trusteeship imagine that a state should be ruled by tyrants! The real Islamic concept of ruler/leader is totally against this conception; the nation/citizens/people are the ones who control and maintain the ruler who gets paid in return for being in service of society/nation, within a clear limited contract. Hence, we say that a woman can be better than a man in obeying and serving the strong nation/people, when she is their president.

3- We are NOT talking here about any woman haphazardly; we are talking about a woman with special qualifications that enable her to be a president in full authority within an Islamic state. We cannot imagine or envisage such a woman to be formerly a mere ordinary housewife.

4- We repeat that the culture of direct democracy linked to the real Islamic state entails awareness drawn from the basic tenet of Islam: There is no God but Allah. That is to say, there is no room to deify, worship, and sanctify mortals/human beings, be them prophets or otherwise, in such faith awareness. Hence, within a real Islamic society, no individual is elevated above the rest of citizens. This is justice and equality among human beings, men and women, within the framework of citizenship rights to every peaceful person, regardless of this person's race, color, and religion. Such awareness elevates the group mentality of a given nation, especially women's mentality, and most women thus can be active participants in public work who can acquire trusteeship, for this concept is not confined to men.

5- We assert that the status of women, as far as awareness, social activity, and social mobility are concerned, is the criterion to judge any given society to deem it backward and regressive or forward and progressive. This is shown in historical accounts of early Arabs in the lifetime of Muhammad and shortly after his death. This is in contrast to the Muhammadan women today who chose to be hided – physically, mentally, and figuratively – so as to be invisible and absent with the veil, headscarves, and niqab and to become mere goods/slave-girls to be bought and sold. This is in contrast to the Christian women who actively participate in their societies. Despite the progressive status of the West countries women, Christian and otherwise, they are still below the level of the rights of women in the Quran.

 

Eleventh: Presidency of State and the Concept of Two Women Equal One Man

Witness and testimony in trade deals

1- This verse is among the lengthy ones in the Quran: "O you who believe! When you incur debt among yourselves for a certain period of time, write it down. And have a scribe write in your presence, in all fairness. And let no scribe refuse to write, as God has taught him. So let him write, and let the debtor dictate. And let him fear God, his Lord, and diminish nothing from it. But if the debtor is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable to dictate, then let his guardian dictate with honesty. And call to witness two men from among you. If two men are not available, then one man and two women whose testimony is acceptable to all-if one of them fails to remember, the other would remind her. Witnesses must not refuse when called upon. And do not think it too trivial to write down, whether small or large, including the time of repayment. That is more equitable with God, and stronger as evidence, and more likely to prevent doubt-except in the case of a spot transaction between you-then there is no blame on you if you do not write it down. And let there be witnesses whenever you conclude a contract, and let no harm be done to either scribe or witness. If you do that, it is corruption on your part. And fear God. God teaches you. God is aware of everything." (2:282).

2- We find in this verse the Quranic order to write down deferred debts by fair scribes with witnesses, who are to be neutral. Witnesses are described to be two men or one man and two women. If scribes and witnesses get harmed, this is evidence to assert the existence of corruption and fraud within the society and the judicial system.

3- It is clear from the context of the above-mentioned verse the justification of such Quranic orders and commands; the general higher aims of fairness and application of justice in every era and country. The aims of the divine sharia, in all celestial messages, are the same everywhere and every time and clime, but the commands and orders are applied in accordance with variable conditions of society. In this verse, we notice the details of writing down deferred debts and the repeated reference to justice and fairness. Justification of bringing two women as witnesses is offered within the same context: "…if one of them fails to remember, the other would remind her…" (2:282). Hence, we must NOT heed the Sunnite notion of testimony of two women equals that of one man. In fact, the testimony of one woman equals that of one man. The Quranic justification is aimed at primitive social context of Arabia in the 7th century A.D., and such societies of primitive degrees of development still exist in the 21st century, and probably will exist until the end of time. The criterion of development in a given society is the degree of women's active participation in daily life, in markets, education, and other social aspects. In primitive societies, the justification of two women as witnesses will do. In properly developed societies, the Quranic justification is non-applicable in such cases; i.e., the testimony of one woman as a witness equals that of one man. We are talking here about an elevated degree of awareness within a society that applies shura and direct democracy as explained above in detail.

                      

A note on inheritance of women:

 

 

1- Some people claim that the Quranic commands of allowing the share of a man in inheritance to equal the double of the share of a woman cannot be compatible with a woman being president of state. This is a fallacy. Let us explain women's shares of inheritance in detail.

2- A woman inherits a share that equals half of a man's share in inheritance in certain cases; if she is a daughter or a sister and about to inherit one of her parents or siblings. Let us remember that a male inheritor (brother or son) has more burdens in comparison to his sister; he is the one to pay dowry, sustain and protect the family, spend on the household, and take care of it. As for the female inheritor (daughter or sister), she has no such responsibilities of spending on a household or having to pay a dowry; thus, it is NOT fair to make her get an equal share of the inheritance, UNLESS they share the same burdens and responsibilities equally. In that case, both female and male inheritors get an equal share of the inheritance. This happens already in cases when the father and the mother inherit their dead son. Both parents worked hard to bringing him up. If such a son dies and leaves a wealth, each parent gets one sixth of it if the dead son had progeny, and each parent gets one third if the dead son had none. We deduct here that distributions of                roles, responsibilities, and burdens do NOT detract the stature of women nor making her a 2nd class citizen after men at all. Suffice it here to say that God never discriminates between men and women in duties, rewards, punishments…etc. see 3:195, 4:124, and 40:40.

 

Twelfth: Is Islamic Mutual Consultancy (Shura) Considered an Imaginary Legislation?

 

1- Some may claim that the Quranic concept of shura is a utopic notion that can never be applied, and its times of application were mere exceptions in history. Most history of Arabs consists of eras of tyranny and persecution/oppression of women. Firstly, we assert the veracity of such a claim; the only state within Islam that applied shura or direct democracy was the city-state of Yathreb at the time of Prophet Muhammad. It ended upon his death. Since the first so-called caliph, tyranny reigned supreme, and it gained a worse aspect when caliphate became hereditary monarchy by the Umayyads and later on by the successive ruling dynasties until the Ottomans. Yet, what is important here is that the shura Quranic commands in the Quranic text are applicable. Let us remember that they were applied in the 7th century, at the time of Muhammad, with a huge success.

2- Let us explain the above last sentence in brief. Islam emerged in the 7th century A.D., during the dark Middle Ages of tyrannical empires. Islamic shura appeared within a hostile era and in midst of critical times and agents vehemently against it. Yet, shura reigned for a while within the city-state of Yathreb and managed to exist as an oasis of real direct democracy that defended itself against spies, hypocrites, fifth columns, and military attacks. Such exceptional conditions gave justification to make one person hold the full authority at the time: namely Muhammad. Yet, this did NOT happen; the opposite occurred when he applied direct democracy that enabled early Muslims to defend their city-state, owned by all of them, against outside veritable dangers. This unique city-state gave a practical lesson to tyrants who justify their oppressive measures and lack of civil liberties by maintaining security. Security is maintained further only by more liberties, transparency, and application of laws on everybody equally. The strength of the people of Yathreb at the time lied in shura and equality between men and women. Women were equal to men in everything at the time; women immigrated, fought, swore allegiance pact, and defended the city alongside with men. Women left their husbands, former creeds, and her folks for the sake of Islam. Women had their special pact with Muhammad, mentioned in the Quran. Here, women were strong in character by themselves with no aid from sons, husbands, or fathers, in the 7th century Arabia.

3- This is in contrast to the deteriorated conditions of women in the eras of backwardness of Salafism fiqh (jurisprudence) within the Sunnite creed. Women in such regressive eras were forbidden to travel alone. This Sunnite law/fatwa is still applied in some Arab countries until now!

4- All divine and man-made laws and legislations are applicable ONLY when people are able to apply them. Quranic verses aim at building a strong human character within what is possible to do, not the impossible. The Quran has aimed to turn desert Arabs in Arabia into a strong nation and a democratic city-state (in Yathreb) that managed to exist despite the dark tyrannical Middle Ages. Hence, the same may reoccur during our modern age of human rights and communication revolution that allow direct democracy to be realized.

5- The only obstacle or serious problem is the political tyranny of all caliphs after the death of Prophet Muhammad. It was the natural result of Middle Ages logic that manipulated creeds to justify crimes. That is why in the eras of caliphate, all erroneous social and political practices had to be covered by a shame veneer of religiosity by ascribing ALL to Muhammad in form of the so-called hadiths, and made-up fabricated historical accounts of his life! At the same time, shura has been deliberately ignored for centuries and so have been methods of discussion and dialogue in the presence of Muhammad. Such councils are referred to in the Quran: see 4:114, 58:7, and 9:61. All historical accounts about Muhammad totally have ignored to register more than 500 weekly sermons uttered by Muhammad every Friday; such weekly gathering was the weekly schooling for all believers. The reason: so as to replace such sermons with falsehoods and fabrications of narrated hadiths and made-up stories ascribed forcibly to Muhammad after his death to lend credibility and authenticity and legitimacy to heinous crimes of tyrant despots of the Middle Ages Arabia and the rest of the Empire. One of the main features of such tyranny was the persecution and oppression of women.

6- Such falsehoods and lies have been inherited for centuries as part of Islam, under the umbrella term ''Sunna"! the devilish clergymen and imams of all eras claimed that Sunna is divine revelation apart from the Quran! Some claimed that it overwrites/replaces the Quran. This is sheer madness and a most serious problem that persists until now. All inherited notions of fiqh and theology are considered holy, infallible, and sanctified! People now tend to forget that such schools of thought are man-made, not divine. Human beings tend to err, and theologians/imams had their schools of thought, and we ought to have ours. If we do not do just that, we are deifying Middle-Ages theology and thought as well as their authors! Such deification of mortals contradicts the Islamic testimony: There is no God but Allah. Hence, this serious problem/dilemma is easily solved by returning to the Quran alone as the sole source of Islam as a religion. Yet, the serious dilemma takes another dimension in the next point: how real Islam (the Quran) rejects dictatorships and tyrannies.

 

Thirteen: The Stance of the Quranic Legislation Concerning Dictatorial Political Regimes

 

 The Quranic sharia legislations concerning shura describes a unique time in history that is able to be re-created. What is the stance of the Quranic legislations vis-à-vis the majority of tyrannical regimes? Does the Quran endorse them or deem them unjust and to be changed? The issue of women and their rights delves deep into that framework.

 According to the Quran, the human existence in life is a test for all human beings. The basis of such a test is human liberty to choose either guidance or misguidance. This is the start, followed by the will of God to assert the choice of human beings. If one has chosen guidance, God augments one's faith and guidance. If one has chosen misguidance, God augments one's misguidance and misleading ways. This is asserted in 2:10, 47:17, 19:76, and 29:69. In the Judgment Day in the Afterlife is based on what one has chosen on one's own free will. This is applied to one's creed or faith. This applies to politics too. The unjust tyrant rulers, when acknowledged by people who obey them, remain in their thrones. God retains them as long as people accept them. Evidence: God in the Quran talks about unjust tyrants who deified themselves; see 2:258 and 18:79. Remember the story in the Quran about Moses' Pharaoh. Hence, if people accept tyranny of rulers, such rulers remain enthroned and will be punished for their crimes in Hell Fire in the Afterlife after the Day of Judgment. If people revolted against tyranny, God grants legitimacy to their revolution. Change begins with power and iron; see 57:25. But revolts essentially begin by changing those who accept submission and humiliation to make them accept power and strength and willingness to change for the better. Psychological change in personalities is hard and arduous; yet, when a nation endeavor for it, the will of God endorses this; see 13:11. When such awareness is elevated and willingness to change occurs, tyrants turn into hollow men of straw. Nations' self-rule leads to rulers/presidents who are in service of the people. Such servant of nations can be a man or a woman. Focusing on the topic of women as rulers, we are compelling reminded with the Queen of Sheba in the Quran. Let us tackle the Quranic stories and the idea of a female president within a tyrannical regime in the following point.

 

Fourteen: A Comparison between a Tyrant Woman and a Tyrant Man

 

We note the following points concerning the Quranic story of the Queen of Sheba:

1/1: The story of the Queen of Sheba asserts that the Quran does not mind at all a female ruler. The objection of Solomon was that she and her people used to worship the sun as a deity; Solomon sent her his message to worship Almighty God alone and submit to Him. He addressed her as a representative of her people; he acknowledged her as a legitimate ruler.

1/2: The Quranic story of the Queen of Sheba asserts that she had a retinue of consultants who believed in her rational reasoning mind. She was all wisdom when she did not take the message of Solomon personally; she perceived the dire consequences of military war against her country and her people: nations always pay the price of stupidity of tyrants. Let us remember the invaluable pearl of wisdom uttered by the Queen of Sheba: "She said, "When kings enter a city, they devastate it, and subjugate its dignified people. Thus they always do." (27:34). In modern history, we see tyrants who corrupt their countries and are humiliated by their super-powerful enemies, yet they deal unjustly and tyrannically with their own people. The rational, wise Queen of Sheba opted for a test and a chance to reconsider things carefully: "I am sending them a gift, and will see what the envoys bring back."" (27:35). Her wisdom is shown finally when she converts to Islam and delivers herself and her people: "…She said, "My Lord, I have done wrong to myself, and I have submitted with Solomon, to God, Lord of the Worlds."" (27:44).

2- The Quranic stories contain the example of female tyrant ruler Queen of Sheba, mentioned once, and the male tyrant ruler, Moses' Pharaoh, mentioned several times.

3- The unifying elements between the story of the Queen of Sheba and Moses' Pharaoh are as follows. Both were tyrant in terms of power; shura is the art of exercising power. When a nation is strong enough, the ruler is a mere servant for it. If rulers confiscate power, authority, and wealth, they become tyrants who impose their will and consult a retinue that is willing to obey and flatter them in a manner that increases the power and whims of rulers. Moses' Pharaoh drew his tyranny from owning the nation, people, lands, and military power of Egypt; he declared this fact publicly:  see 43:51. Pharaonic history asserts total hegemony and control of rulers of power, authority, army, and wealth of the nation on the banks of the Nile, thus establishing the central tyrant governors who never act unless by directions of the tyrant pharaohs. Likewise, the Queen of Sheba drew her tyrannical power by her unshared possession of authority and wealth; see 27:23.  Her retinue acknowledged this authority and submitted to her orders; see 27:33. Both Moses' Pharaoh and the Queen of Sheba were representatives of their respective peoples; that is the reason that when God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh, He told them: "But speak to him nicely. Perhaps he will remember, or have some fear."" (20:44). Likewise, Solomon acknowledged the sovereign rule of the Queen of Sheba when he sent her his letter. Yet, the reactions of the Pharaoh and the Queen differed a great deal, with consequences to their respective peoples, whose safety and welfare were the responsibilities of rulers. The main mission of Moses and Aaron was to save the Israelites from the Pharaonic persecution by convincing the Pharaoh to allow them to get out of Egypt; see 20:47.  Moses' Pharaoh was not convinced by the miracles worked by God through Moses and never allowed the departure of the Israelites, though his supreme power over Egypt, mentioned in the Quran, would have protected him if ever the Israelites posed a threat to him later on. Moses' Pharaoh's persecution of the Israelites led them to live in fear, cowardice, and humiliation; they could not even reach Palestine because they incurred the wrath of God unto them, for 40 years of diaspora in Sinai. Moses' Pharaoh' pride led him to chase the fleeing weak Israelites, under the leadership of two prophets, when they tried to get away from his injustice and tyranny. He drowned along with his family, retinue, and soldiers. They are the only ones mentioned in the Quran to suffer torment after their death and BEFORE the Day of Judgment. Tyranny is leading tyrants into self-deification: "…Pharaoh said, "I do not show you except what I see, and I do not guide you except to the path of prudence."" (40:29). Tyranny led to destruction: "So We took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the sea-because they rejected Our signs, and paid no heed to them. And We made the oppressed people inherit the eastern and western parts of the land, which We had blessed. Thus the fair promise of your Lord to the Children of Israel was fulfilled, because of their endurance. And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had built, and what they had harvested." (7:136-137).

 The matters were different with the queen of Sheba and her story with Solomon. As a prophet of God, he sent a message to her to believe in the One God; this is Islam: literally to make one's heart, mind, and body submit to God faithfully and to live in peace among people. This is the divine message conveyed by all prophets and messengers of God. The Queen of Sheba consulted her retinue: "She said, "O Counselors, a gracious letter was delivered to me. It is from Solomon, and it is, 'In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. Do not defy me, and come to me submissive to God.'" She said, "O counselors, advise me in this matter of mine. I never make a decision unless you are present."" (27:29-32). Despite the acceptance by her retinue of her full and supreme authority, she consulted them. She describes the message of Solomon as a gracious letter. She does not aim to invoke the anger of her retinue and their love of war. Her wise policy led her to a happy ending of righteousness and peace along with her retinue and people. In contrast, Moses' Pharaoh's hubris, lack or reasoning, bad policies, and tyranny led to his destruction and misery. This is the vast difference between the tyranny of male and female rulers. Tyrant female rulers are undoubtedly less violent and less fierce and wiser in comparison to the tyrant male rulers.

 

 

 

Chapter Two:

Inherited Traditions of the Muhammadans and Women's Right to Aspire to the Presidency

 

 

Foreword

1- The Quranic sharia legislation is what should take place, whereas the Quranic stories are focusing on the moral drawn from descriptive discourse; they are NOT source of legislation. We have tackled the right of women to become presidents within the Quranic legislation and the Quranic stories. We have proved that the Islamic shura gives all power and authority to the people/nation. Rulers are to be mere servants of the people; rulers can be men or women in accordance to qualifications and to being in service of the nation which holds the rulers responsible, as we have read in Chapter One. Moses' Pharaoh was a fierce tyrant who dealt tyrannically with two prophets of God and chased them along with the Israelites until his drowning and destruction. ""Go to Pharaoh-he has transgressed." And say, "Do you care to be cleansed? And I will guide you to your Lord, and you will turn reverent." He showed him the Greatest Miracle. But he denied and defied. Then turned his back, and tried. And gathered and proclaimed. He said, "I am your Lord, the most high." So God seized him with an exemplary punishment, in the last and in the first.In this is a lesson for whoever fears." (79:17-26). As for the Queen of Sheba, the wise tyrant who consulted her retinue and then opted for the wise decision and protected her kingdom and people from the tyranny of kings, she was saved and so were her  people. Hence, we can say that both the Quranic sharia and the uranic stories do NOT object at all to the concept of a woman president.

2- In contrast of the above, the inherited traditions of the Sunnite Muhammadans – which include historical accounts, oral and written stories, Sunnite legislations, theology, and jurisprudence – have two aspects: 1) the theological aspect that has followed the tastes, visions, whims, and caprices of the imams/scholars/theologians according to the theoretical methodology of Sunnite theology affected by real-life events, and 2) the realistic aspect registered in historical accounts. The latter is more influential than the latter, of course. Imams, scholars, and theologians were influenced, sometimes negatively and at other times positively, by the prevalent conditions of their eras as well tyranny of caliphs/sultans. Hence, their visions, edicts, and opinions reflect such turmoil. Any ancient Sunnite scholar is considered either a faqeeh (theologian) who formulated new legislations or a narrator/fabricator of the so-called hadiths, ascribed falsely to Prophet Muhammad centuries after his death. Such scholars formulated a series of narrators of any hadith until the series ends in one of the so-called contemporary companions of Muhammad. This lends false credibility to the narrated hadith. This is utter nonsense. That is how devilishly hadiths never end! They sprout and increase exponentially! The Sunnite creed scholars insist on the authenticity and infallibility of the narrators' series! We, Quranists, refuse all such nonsensical matters; they are fabrications that reflect the mentalities of their narrators/fabricators and their eras, and such falsehoods have nothing to do with Muhammad and with Islam. How come we trust any sayings narrated by people who died centuries ago?!

3- Having said the above, all narratives, historical accounts, fiqh (jurisprudence), and religious views and edicts (fatwas) are NOT part of the divine religion; they are not absolute truths. They are man-made discourses that fill countless tomes and volumes. We are free to discard, refute, or question them all, as goes to any other human schools of thought. We need modern religious thought to get out of the civilizational backwardness among the Muhamadans of the Middle East.

4- To make it possible for women to become presidents one day, they have to be on equal footing with men in either of the two routes: either participation in the formation of the state via revolts, revolutions, immigration, struggle, and war, or to inherit the rule/throne. These two routes were adopted by women in history within the history of the Muhammadans and the history of those outside the countries of the Muhammadans. Women in history tended to use their feminine/sexual ways to manipulate and control enthroned male rulers. In the history of the Muhammadans, most women who reached the throne as rulers/queens and ruled formally and actually were among the former slave-girls bought and owned by caliphs/sultans in the harem for carnal pleasures. In most cases, they were not free women. They used their ruse, avid desire, top mentalities, and sexual favors and temptation of men to reach the level of full control in politics and power. Such women used all tools available in their eras as well as their culture and political ruse to reach the power and authority. Such female rulers rose and fell exactly like their male counterparts in history. In their downfall, others were merciless toward them, despite their femininity; the political games were always ruthless toward the defeated and downtrodden rulers regardless of their gender, in accordance with the political culture of the Middle Ages.

5- Within tomes of history, we follow here briefly the chronological order of the endeavors of women to become sultanas/queens, until the last one, Queen Shagaret Al-Dor, who were enthroned in Egypt in 1250 A.D./ 648 A.H., and as we finish Chapter One by a comparison between the Queen of Sheba and Moses' Pharaoh, we finish Chapter Two by a comparison between Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and her contemporary last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad, who objected to the fact that a female ruler was enthroned in Egypt. Within the chronological order of the political endeavors and aspirations of women toward power and authority, we trace three aspects: 1) women struggle for the establishment of the state, 2) women ruling behind curtains, and 3) women ruler, Queen Shagaret Al-Dor, and how she excelled, surpassed, and outstripped the last caliph in Baghdad, contemporary to her era. We hope these aspects are logical and objective in their order; details of such aspects are as follows below.

  

First: Women and the Struggle to Establish a State

 

1- Usually, the movement of human history on our planet is based on two feet; one foot of men, and one foot of women. Yet, writing the history of the Muhammadans was a task undertaken by men. hence, male historians rarely mention women in their historical accounts. The Sunnite (exclusively male) theologians vented their ire, fury, and oppression on women to confine them behind closed doors of abodes. That is why the mission of ancient historians was difficult in tackling the role of women in making of history within royal palaces and outside houses in revolts, revolutions, and battle fields. In a brief research like this, we restrict ourselves to a brief overview to shed light on the ascending women endeavor in the struggle for the sake of establishment of a state until women rulers/queens/sultanas came into being.    

2- We have tackled the Quranic legislation of shura, which is the basis of power and authority of all the nation/people, which include men and women alike. Within this concept, it is of minor importance if the ruler is a man or a woman. The Quran refers to female immigrants and their pact of allegiance with Muhammad in the city-state of Yathreb. Some historical accounts of that era assert the cases of daughters and sisters who preceded their fathers and brothers in conversion to Islam and faced many hardships, persecution, and torture, as well as cases of virgin young women who deserted their folks to immigrate to Yathreb and refused to return to their parents. Some other women immigrated before from Mecca to Abyssinia to flee persecution due to their conversion to Islam. The women's immigration to Yathreb was follows by their swearing a pact of allegiance to the ruler of the city-state, Prophet Muhammad, to make sure they adhere to the rulings and legislations of the fledgling state of Islam, just like men. it is noteworthy that Muhammad made two pacts with Yathreb dwellers, called Al-Ansar, before his immigration to Yathreb. Witnesses of the second pact included 73 men and two women. Women used to participate in the establishment of the state and in its defense against raids. Details in a book titled "Liberation of Women in the Era of The Message of Islam" by Abdel-Haleem Abou-Shaqa, Part II, page 411, Dar-Al-Qalam Publishers, Kuwait, cover the story of a woman who said that women used to fight battles with Muhammad and brought water to men, serve all soldiers, and  dress the wounds of the injured ones, and women used to carry the dead ones back to Yathreb, and then pray in rows behind rows of men behind Muhammad after the call of prayers was uttered. Such scattered pieces in historical narratives assert the active role of women in the era of the Quranic message revelation and in establishing the very first Islamic state in Yathreb in the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Umayyads later on managed to turn such a civil democracy into a monarchy with inherited rule within their dynasty. This led to civil wars, whose first battle, called the Battle of the Camel, was led by Aisha, one of the wives of Prophet Muhammad.

3- Aisha

  Aisha was leading at first the opposition movement against the third caliph Othman Ibn Affan who was controlled by his relatives of the Umayyad family. Such opposition movements of her and of other men led to a revolt that ended in the assassination of this caliph. Aisha had never given her consent for the choice of Ali Ibn Abou Talib as the new caliph, and she headed the armed resistance against him, especially in the Battle of the Camel. We conclude from such bloody sorrowful tales of civil strife that the active political participation of Aisha was a thing she was accustomed to, and this led her to forget the divine order in the Quran given to wives of Prophet Muhammad to confine themselves to their homes; see 33:33. This order is NOT directed to all women, but to the wives of Muhammad. We conclude then that women's active participation in politics was something normal; otherwise, Aisha would not have possibly be allowed to interfere and revolt against two caliphs. The Umayyads made use of such civil strife to establish their caliphate based on passing the throne to heirs and successors who inherited power by their royal birth within the Umayyad Dynasty. Yet, it was not that easy to uproot all the shura- and justice-based Islamic democracy state.  The result: hundreds of thousands of killed ones in the way of the Umayyads to establish their monarchial caliphate. Other hundreds of thousands of killed ones followed in the way to unify the invaded countries of the Umayyad caliphate. Other heinous crimes ensued after establishing the inherited monarchy of the Umayyad dynasty; Yazeed Ibn Muaweiya, the second caliph in the Umayyad Dynasty caused his family to kill Al-Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, as well as his family members in the Iraqi city of Karbala, to demolish and raze Yathreb when its people revolted against the Umayyads, and to siege Mecca and desecrate the Kaabah shrine. Among those who participated in the revolts against the Umayyads were the Shiites and the non-Arabs in Iraq, the Copts of Egypt, and Al-Khawareg groups among the Arabs of Arabia.

4- Ghazalah Al-Kharijiya:

 Women participated in such revolts against the Umayyads, especially in the revolts of Al-Khawareg groups, despite that such Arabs of Arabia used to detract the status of women. Islam has changed this Bedouin culture of women's exclusion, and it has urged women to turn a new leaf in their lives in Arabian deserts. Wondrous examples of women who participated in military and political endeavors were undermined by historians; mostly, such historians copied narratives of the public about the participation of women within Al-Khawareg revolts and battle. Such registration occurred in writing after much time of oral traditions and narratives. Scattered verses of poems assert such narratives. We cite here the example of a woman called Ghazalah Al-Kharijiya, mentioned in verses of poetry as the wife of Shabeeb Al-Khariji who, among Al-Khawareg, revolted against the Umayyads. Shabeeb defeated and killed five military leaders who used to be under the control of the blood-thirsty, tyrannical, and formidable Umayyad vizier Al-Hajaj Ibn Youssef. Shabeeb later on attacked the Iraqi city of Al-Kufa, accompanied with his wife, Ghazalah, and Al-Hajaj fled before him and fortified himself in the citadel and palace of Al-Kufa. Ghazalah vowed to God that upon her entrance to the biggest mosque of Al-Kufa, she would pray using the two longest Quranic chapters, II and III. She did just that upon her entrance to the city along with her husband and seventy men. Al-Hajaj fled to the citadel away from Ghazalah, and this incident induced a poet to mock him in the following famous lines of verse:

 

A lion in dealing with people, but an ostrich in wars

Who flees once disturbed by the trumpets of wars

You could not dare to face Ghazalah in battle,

And you fled as fast as a small bird

 

 Historians described Ghazalah as the best among women who were fierce and fearless fighters in the cavalry in battles, and that she used to brandish and fight her sword skillfully on horseback. When Al-Hajaj was not able to face Shabeeb and his wife Ghazalah, the Umayyad caliph Abdel-Malek Ibn Marwan sent an enormous army of fighters led by Sufyan Ibn Al-Azd to reinforce the army of Al-Hajaj to defeat Shabeeb, who fled the battlefield after his wife, Ghazalah, and mother, Geheiza, were killed during the battle. Even her mother was a fierce fighter. During the forced retreat of Shabeeb, he drowned in a river. (Source: Fawat Al-Wafiyat, by Khalil Ibn Aybak Al-Safadi, 16/103-104-105).

5- Women fighters for or against Islam is the remarkable feature of women active participation in that era; Islam was the force that filled women with ambition to get out of the aristocratic passivity like the one enjoyed by women of high stature in the Meccan Qorayish tribe. Some women who at first fought against Islam later on converted to Islam and fought for it to atone for their previous enmity against it. Scattered lines of history tell us the story of Um Hakeem. She emerged in Mecca in the era of Prophet Muhammad. Her paternal uncle was Abou Jahl (aka Abou Al-Hakam Ibn Hisham), who was the leader of the Qorayish and Bani Makhzoom tribes in the wars against Muhammad and the early Muslims. Um Hakeem married the son of her paternal uncle, Ekremah, and fought with this family against Islam at first. Events succeeded one another, and early Muslims immigrated to Yathreb, and later on, the Battle of Badr was the first one between the early Muslims and the aggressive Meccan polytheists. Abou Jahl led the armies of the polytheists; he was defeated and killed in this battle. His son Ekremah and his wife Um Hakeem emerged into the role of leaders. Hence, Um Hakeem witnessed the second battle, named the Battle of Uhud, with her husband along with Abou Sufyan and his wife Hend. All parties of the Meccan tribes sought revenge for men killed in the Battle of Badr. The early Muslims were defeated this time by the Qorayish tribe, and Um Hakeem and her husband as well as Hend and her husband returned to Mecca, avenged. Ekremah went on his role with Abou Sufyan in fighting against the early Muslims in another battle mentioned in the Quranic Chapter XXXIII. Defeated Qorayish had to agree on a peace treaty to the dismay of Ekremah, who breached it as soon as possible. As a result, Muhammad had to surprise Qorayish with an army heading toward Mecca. Abou Sufyan and Ekremah had to submit and acquiesce along with other tribesmen against their will. Furious Ekremah and his friend Safwan Ibn Umayya urged others to resist Muhammad and his people by breaching the treaty and attacking them in the Kaabah shrine. Such events are ignored by most historians, but the Quran focuses on them and gives a period of the four holy months to pass to allow the rebellious aggressors to repent and make up for their wrongdoing; see 9:1-28. Historical accounts ignored to register such details mentioned in the Quran; rather, historians mention a minor battle, called Al-Khandamah, resulting in the flight of Ekremah and Safwan from battlefield. A poet who fled the battlefield said to his wife, in verse:

 

O for you to watch the battle of Al-Khandamah

When both took to flight: Safwan and Ekremah

 

 Later on, Ekremah fled from Mecca after most people of Qorayish tribe, as well as his wife Um Hakeem, converted to Islam. Um Hakeem met Muhammad and asked his pardon for her husband, and he agreed to allow for him, and Safwan, to return to Mecca in peace even while keeping his faith. Ekremah went at the time to Yemen and intended to flee to Abyssinia, but Um Hakeem overtook her husband to tell him of the good tidings and to accompany him back to Mecca. On her way to him, she travelled along with one of her male slaves, who tried to act treacherously against her and to rape her, but she managed to defeat and kill him. Ekremah lived as a wandering vagabond until his wife, Um Hakeem, found him. The couple returned to Mecca to find that Muhammad died, and they witnessed, in Mecca, the worst revolution against Islam and its history and against the history of Muhammad, a revolution that has been going on until modern times now; namely, the abuse of Islam in invasions and occupation of other countries and military aggression against them falsely under the name of Islam for the sake of material gains, wealth, power, and authority. This serious and fatal revolution began in the era of the first caliph, Abou Bakr. The Qorayish tribe began to seek to regain its supreme authority and power again after the death of Muhammad. Those who returned to Mecca from Yathreb joined forces with their folks of the Qorayish tribe. Such a pact was symbolized by making Abou Bakr the ruler/caliph. Other Arabs revolted against this hegemony and absolute power of Qorayish, especially when Abou Bakr commanded him to pay him the money of zakat (alms). Each tribe used to give alms to those who deserve help within each tribe voluntarily. God urges not to accept alms from hypocrites who do not deserve that honor: "Say, "Whether you spend willingly or unwillingly, it will not be accepted from you. You are evil people." What prevents the acceptance of their contributions is nothing but the fact that they disbelieved in God and His Messenger, and that they do not approach the prayer except lazily, and that they do not spend except grudgingly." (9:53-54). Abou Bakr was against the Quran when he commanded that zakat ought to be collected by him. This was like a tribute or imposed taxes, which were symbolizing tyranny, hegemony, and subjugation of all tribes under Qorayish and its caliph. Such friction and revolt caused the first civil war in Arabia after the emergence of Islam after the death of Muhammad. After crushing the revolt, Abou Bakr decided to direct a military attack by all Arabs to unify them all in conquests to occupy and invade all neighboring countries (Persia, Egypt, the Levant…etc.). Leaders of the Qorayish tribe convinced and urged all Arabs that to fight the Persians and the Byzantines and all other non-Arabs is a jihad for the sake of God! These erroneous, corrupt, and intentional misinterpretations of the Quran were spread to lend false quasi-religious legitimacy to military aggression that aimed ONLY at worldly possessions, wealth, power, and authority, under banners of jihad and ''victory or martyrdom''. To flung oneself into such aggression and battles to invade countries and steal, rob, rape, kill and confiscate all among peaceful non-aggressive peoples in all nations became a false show of strong faith! This matched the military tendency of Arabs at the time and their culture of stealing and robbing and gaining spoils. Hence, local raids/battles among Arabian tribes went into a larger scale; they went out of borders of Arabia to fight all peoples surrounding them especially the two biggest empires: Persia and Byzantium. Corrupt misinterpretations of the Quran led them to convince all Arabs wrongly that fighting is endorsed in Islam for the sake of coercing others to convert to Islam! This bad notion matched their desire for money, lands, wealth, and material comfort. Fighting in the Quran is ONLY and exclusively in cases of self-defense, not a form of aggression against the peaceful ones who do not persecute us in religion. The Bedouin culture of the 7th century that tended to aggression and belligerent nature of Arabs found the chance to re-emerge using religious mottoes to unify Arabs for political and pecuniary motives.

 Ekremah and his wife Um Hakeem converted to Islam in the time of such turmoil and upheaval caused by Qorayish and Abou Bakr. They were faithful in their enmity to Islam, and with the same faith and vehemence, they rekindled their ambition of leadership when conquests and civil wars ensued after the death of Muhammad. Both Ekremah and Um Hakeem led the Qorayish tribe army sent by Abou Bakr to Najd to fight Musaylama Al-Kaddab who claimed being a prophet himself. After civil wars, Abou Bakr sent them both along with Khaled Ibn Saeed Ibn Al-'As to conquer and occupy the Levant in 13 A.H. Khaled was not as excellent as Ekremah in military skills, but Abou Bakr could not trust Ekremah alone on top of the invading army. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab urged Abou Bakr to make Ekremah lead the army instead, but he was refused. Khaled was defeated due to his hastiness, and he fled before the walls of Damascus, while Ekremah fought fiercely at the rear of the army and defended its unity. Um Hakeem expertly fought, like men, the Byzantines along her husband in the Levant. During the battle, Ekremah sang poems in praise of his pretty wife who fought alongside with him and boosting his morale with her sword. Later on, Ekremah earned the leadership of one of the four armies gathered to fight the Byzantines in the Levant in a decisive battle. Abou Bakr ordered the leader of the Arab army in Iraq, Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed, to leave a deputy in his place and to hurry in the aid of Ekremah and the others in the Levant, shortly before the zero hour. All leaders agreed to share the leadership in terms of one day for each of them in a rotational sequential manner, beginning with Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed. The unified armies were reorganized in a new manner, and Ekremah was given the leadership of the front of the army, along with his wife Um Hakeem, filled with enthusiasm to prove themselves and make up for their past of fighting against Muhammad. Ibn Ishaq, the famous historian of the Arab conquests, mentions in his accounts that Um Hakeem used to fight with her sword along with her husband in battlefields, along with a group of other women fighters, who in some cases excelled in fighting more than men. Ekremah used to shout the following phrase at the Byzantines when the battle grew fiercer: "I used to fight the Prophet of God! Would I run away from you today?!" Ekremah shouted the following at the courageous ones in his army, when he would notice some weakness and hesitation among others due to the huge number of byzantine soldiers: "Who would follow me to death?!" The most courageous cavaliers would join him in his attack at the heart of the Byzantine army, resulting in scattering their rows and injuries and some deaths among the cavaliers with Ekremah. Um Hakeem witnessed the death of both her husband and her son in one decisive battle called the Battle of Yarmouk, led by Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed, who in the moment of their dying put both of their heads on his knees and tried to dress their bleeding wounds and gave them water. The last words of Ekremah to Khaled, before his death and that of his son, were the following: "They claimed we cannot be martyrs at all; the contrary occurred by the grace of God!"

 Um Hakeem participated in the small battles that followed the Battle of Yarmouk aiming at routing the remnants of the Byzantines out of the Levant. After the waiting period for widows imposed by the Quran, she got married to Khaled Ibn Saeed Ibn Al-'As, preferring him to Yazeed Ibn Abou Sufyan. Her husband gave her a dowry of 400 Dinars, and she wanted to postpone the consummation of the marriage until the final victory, but he told her that he might get killed or injured in the coming important battle in an area called Marg Al-Safraa. She relented to consummate the marriage before this battle, and her husband held a banquet for his friends and the cavaliers of the army to celebrate before the consummation. Apparently, a group of Byzantines knew about the celebration and attacked the celebration group suddenly, and thus, her husband got dressed quickly and flung himself at them out of his tent, and he fought them until he got injured and eventually died. Um Hakeem got dressed quickly and fought bravely with him and killed seven Byzantine soldiers with the pillar of the tent. The final battle between the Arabs and the Byzantines was fierce and enormous, resulting in killing all Byzantines in the area called Marg Al-Safraa. Um Hakeem survived but she lost her shields and her second husband. After the battles ended, she returned to Yathreb receded by her fame and high stature. After the waiting period for widows imposed by the Quran, she got married to the caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, to participate with him in making history of Arabs. Yet, historians failed miserably to do her justice; we have now but few lines about her in historical accounts of the period. (Sources: History of Muhammad by Ibn Hisham, Part II p. 410, Al-Istiaab by Ibn Abdul-Ber 4/1932, Asad Al-Ghaba by Ibn Al-Atheer 5/577, and Al-Isaba Fi Maarefat Al-Sahaba 4/426 ).

 

Second: Women Rule behind Curtains and Closed Doors

 

Women could not have the chance to rule behind curtains and closed doors within the Umayyad caliphate, and its capital Damascus, which did not last long enough to acquire stability; the Umayyads were busy quelling revolts and fighting in order to establish an empire that stretched between the borders of China and that of France. The authority of women emerged first in the Abbasid caliphate that lasted long enough in periods of stability, as the Abbasids lost control over more terrains and lands as well. Women inside palaces, especially slave-girls and concubines in seraglios, usually played a political role. It is noteworthy that most Abbasid caliphs were born from concubines, especially the series of successive caliphs among the progeny and grandchildren of one concubine: Al-Khayzuran, the mother of Harun Al-Rachid, the renowned redoubtable Abbasid caliph. He was the grandfather of all Abbasid caliphs succeeding him.

 Let us shed light on famous women in the political life of the Abbasid Dynasty.     

Um Salama:

 She was the unknown woman who stood behind the establishment of the Abbasid caliphate. She held supreme power and authority in the early Abbasid era. Yet, the historians of that era intentionally ignored her because they felt awkward and afraid; they only mentioned her name between the lines of historical accounts, for her husband was the very first Abbasid caliph Abou Al-Abbas, aka the Cutthroat, because he took delight in bloodshed. One Abbasid historian partially felt no fear, named Al-Masoody, mentioned Um Salama in his book titled "Moroj Al-Dhahab". She was Um Salama Bint Yacoub Al-Makhzoumiya, who got married at first to the Umayyad caliph Al-Waleed Ibn Abdel-Malek. After his death, she got married to the Umayyad caliph Hisham Ibn Abdel-Malek. She remained single for a while after his death, and she inherited large sums of money. She felt a desire to marry Abou Al-Abbas, who was then a handsome poor but overambitious youth, who accompanied is brother in the mission to destroy the Umayyad caliphate. Abou Al-Abbas got married to Um Salama to use her money to finance his call for himself among people as the upcoming caliph. He succeeded in establishing the Abbasid Dynasty later on. In the marriage contract, Um Salama stipulated a condition: her husband should never take other wives in her lifetime and never to have concubines or any salve-girls for his sexual gratification. She shared her husband's supreme power and authority once he became a caliph. Al-Masoody mentioned in his book that her husband never took a decision except after consulting her; he was totally under her influence, and he obliged her by never copulating with any free or enslaved women (source: Moroj Al-Dhahab Part II pages 206-207). Hence, we see that the Cutthroat caliph who murdered and massacred thousands of men, wiped out and razed cities, and uprooted the Umayyad Dynasty used to obey blindly his wife Um Salama.

Al-Khayzuran:

 She is the mother of all the progeny of Abbasid caliphs since her marriage to the third caliph, Al-Mahdi, until the last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad and the end of the Abbasid caliphate in Cairo, which hosted the remnants of Abbasid Dynasty, Egypt, by the Ottomans who invaded Egypt in 1517 A.D.  She got married to Al-Mahdi, the third caliph, the son of the second caliph, Al-Mansour. She gave birth to two sons who became caliphs successively: Al-Hadi and Harun Al-Rachid. The latter's progeny brought forth all the rest of the Abbasid caliphs. That is why we say that Al-Khayzuran is the great mother of all caliphs of the Abbasid Dynasty. For a long period of time, she enjoyed full control of and authority over the Abbasid caliphate during its flourishing times of strength and power. To maintain her full hegemony and control, she did not hesitate to kill her son: the caliph Al-Hadi. In the beginning, Al-Khayzuran was a mere bought slave-girl brought to the palace of Al-Mahdi the caliph who succeeded his father the caliph Al-Mansour. Usually, slave-girls would move from one household to another since their abduction by criminals and gangsters, and many men would have copulated with them. They were usually sold in slaves markets. Within such a horrid journey, slave-girls were taught how to please men and gratify them sexually, besides learning a measure of knowledge in fields of theology, literature, poetry, history, philosophy, etiquette, tidbits of wisdom, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments as well as general knowledge of daily life and society on all its levels. Hence, slave-girls who were brought to palaces of caliphs were fully knowledgeable in feminine aspects, mental aspects, and human conditions. Such was the case of Al-Khayzuran when she was probed semi-naked by the hands of Al-Mahdi, the then emir and heir to the throne, as usually done before buying slave-girls. The emir decided to buy her and said to her that her beauty is perfect, despite her legs that are rough to the touch of his hands, and she told him, to arouse him sexually, that he would need her much more when he would try her in bed, regardless of her legs that he would not see in the dark chamber! She became his favorite concubine in his seraglio, despite his wives among free women. She used all her feminine charm and her power over him to make him set her free and marry her when he became the caliph. She later on convinced him to prefer her progeny to his other offspring by his other wives. Eventually, he made his heir to the throne her two sons Al-Hadi and then his successor would be Harun Al-Rachid. Yet, her son Al-Hadi never felt content to his mother hegemony, full authority, and political power. He never looked with satisfaction to her meddling and interfering into the affairs of the caliphate. He looked doubtfully at the the processions of those who knock her door needing her help/intercession in any matter. Al-Khayzuran felt instinctively her son's animosity toward her ever-increasing power and she urged her husband, Al-Mahdi, to make her obliging son, Harun Al-Rachid, who was obedient to her, his heir to the throne, despite his being younger than his brother Al-Hadi, and to make Al-Hadi the successor of Al-Rachid. In the month of Muharram, 169 A.H. Al-Hadi declared his rebellion against his mother, Al-Khayzuran, especially when his father intended to gratify her wish. Mysteriously, Al-Mahdi died suddenly, and Al-Hadi became the caliph despite his mother. Conflicts arose between the new caliph and his mother, Al-Khayzuran. Al-Hadi was an agile, strong-built, firm, violent and revengeful youth with alertness and brimming vitality. Yet, it seemed that he held a temporary truce with his mother; the known historian, Al-Tabari, mentions that Al-Hadi allowed his mother only months to enjoy her power and authority, then to hand him full power over everything. He used to shout at her face to face, saying that women should never interfere in caliphate matters, this was not the fate allotted to them! He ordered his mother to keep to her chamber to spend time in prayers. Processions of those who sought the help, interference, aid, and intercession of Al-Khayzuran went on to her residential palace. Al-Khayzuran interceded on behalf of some wealthy man and asked her son the caliph to help him. He refused to oblige her request, threatening to kill the man who appealed to her and to confiscate his money. Al-Hadi shouted his wonder about such processions, and he commanded his mother to keep herself secluded in affairs of her household and her acts of worship. He ordered her as well to never receive any visitor at all among Muslims or non-Muslims. Hence, Al-Khayzuran lost all her power during the rule of her son Al-Hadi, who planned to remove his brother, Al-Rachid, from being the heir to the throne, putting his own son, Jaffer Ibn Al-Hadi, in his place. Al-Khayzuran had to stop her son at any cost; she had to kill him! Al-Rachid was her only hope to regain her former power and stature. Yet, this was not her only motive. Al-Hadi tried to kill her and Harun Al-Rachid using poison. Al-Hadi sent her, as a token of love, a grilled goose filled with poison, and Al-Khayzuran was about to from it but her loyal woman-slave advised her to test it by throwing a piece of the goose to a hungry dog, who died instantly! Al-Khayzuran got wind of another conspiracy against her son Al-Rachid. Attempt on the life of Al-Rachid was thwarted only by Al-Khayzuran, who sent some of her her slave women to strangle Al-Hadi in his sleep in 170 A.H., after 14 months of his caliphate. In the same night, she ordered Yahiya Ibn Khaled Al-Barmaky to make all men swear allegiance and fealty to the new caliph, her son Harun Al-Rachid. Al-Tabari asserts in his historical accounts that Al-Khayzuran was the actual behind-the-curtain ruler, not Al-Rachid, with the aid of Yahiya Ibn Khaled Al-Barmaky, until her death in 173 A.H. in Mecca. Her son Al-Rachid attended her funeral and walked in her burial procession full of tears and barefooted! (Source: History of Al-Tabari, 8/72, pages: 121, 188, 205, 205, 210, 212, 223, 230, 238, and 252).

 

Qabeeha, the mother of the Abbasid caliph Al-Moataz

 

 Qabeeha was the most beautiful concubine among the seraglio of the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakil, who adored her immensely and could not bear to remain away from her. She became nearer to his heart when she gave birth to his son, Al-Moataz, who was known at the time by the title Al-Moataz son of Qabeeha. Al-Moataz was known in his youth by his sharp intelligence, and hence, his mother Qabeeha urged Al-Mutawakil to make Al-Moataz heir to his throne instead of his eldest son Al-Montasser. Al-Montasser conspired against his father's life using Turkish military leaders, who managed to assassinate Al-Mutawakil, and later on Al-Montasser himself, the caliph Al-Mustaeen, and Al-Moataz and to subdue and humiliate Qabeeha herself. Qabeeha used to live her glory days of supreme power and authority I the caliphate of Al-Mutawakil. She controlled the Abbasid dynasty and caliphate when her son, Al-Moataz, became the caliph. Her foolish unsound policies led to the downfall of her son, Al-Moataz, and to her humiliation in her last days. Between her periods as the favorite concubine of Al-Mutawakil to her days of humiliation by the hands of the Turkish military leaders, she witnessed the greatness of the Abbasid caliphate during the reign of Al-Mutawakil, and the degeneration period of this caliphate in her last days. Qabeeha was among the factors that led to the beginning of the degeneration of the Abbasid caliphate. Historians tackled the unbridled passion of the power-hungry Qabeeha of supreme authority and hegemony. She urged Al-Mutawakil to throw parties and lavish banquets filled with splendor and extravagance to celebrate her son when he finished memorization of the Quran by heart. Al-Moataz became caliph at the age of 19, in 251 A.H., becoming the youngest Abbasid caliph ever. He was the firstAbbasid caliph to embroider his horses with gold jewelry. He fell totally under the control of Qabeeha who enlisted the help of Turkish military leaders to assassinate the deposed-by-her caliph Al-Mustaeen. She plotted for her son in many ways to get rid of his foes and competitors within the Abbasid dynasty and household. She controlled Turkish military leaders by making use of their rifts and inner quarrels. She used to confiscate huge quantities of money and jewels stored in hidden locations. Qabeeha used to incite conflicts and competitions among military leaders and soldiers of Turkish, Moroccan, and Circassian origin, to her advantage. The Moroccans accused the Turkish ones of assassinating and deposing caliphs, and the latter killed the leaders of the formers as a result of such insults. Skirmishes and inner fights ensued. Qabeeha tried another method of control; she urged her son the caliph at one time to stop paying the annuities of the soldiers, which reached to about one million of Dinars in 252 A.H., and to her satisfaction, Turkish soldiers revolted as a result against their leader, Wasif, and killed him in 253 A.H. Thus, Qabeeha and her son got rid of the alarming rising authority of Wasif that threatened her. At the same time, Al-Moataz gave the posts of the dead Wasif to another leader named Bagha, to incite enmity between this leader and Salih Ibn Wasif. At the same time, Qabeeha tried to repeat the same game with Bagha; she withheld the annuities of soldiers to incite them against Bagha, who understood the manipulation done, and attacked with his men a storehouse that contained some possession and money of Qabeeha, confiscating all of the loads on twenty mules, taking advantage of the temporary absence of the caliph in a brief journey away from Baghdad. Yet, some sentinels of the caliph ambushed and killed Bagha. The caliph ordered the burning of corpse of Bagha and the arrest of some of his soldiers in 254 A.H. Salih Ibn Wasif was the only option remaining to Qabeeha and her son to be the leader of the Turkish soldiers. Yet, Qabeeha plotted against Salih Ibn Wasif; she sent for Moussa Ibn Bagha to come to Baghdad to take the place of his father. At the same time, she made a deal with the vizier Ahmad Ibn Israel not to give any money to Salih Ibn Wasif to pay the annuities of the soldiers, in order to create an opportunity for their revolting against him and kill him. Salih Ibn Wasif understood the plot and entered with a military force into the palace of the caliph and the vizier to make his soldiers see that the vizier is behind their lack of money. The vizier was humiliated and beaten before the eyes of the caliph, and later on tortured to tell them by force the location of the due money. The caliph felt extremely afraid and could not protect his vizier.

 Qabeeha sent her orders to Salih Ibn Wasif to set the vizier free, but he ignored her. He managed to gather all soldiers of other origins around him, inciting them against Qabeeha and her son who withheld their annuities. He sent a delegation of soldiers to the caliph to ask for the annuities, knowing that the caliph was powerless and all money and possessions were in the hidden storehouse of Qabeeha. Qabeeha told her son she owned nothing, when he asked her to help him. She urged her son to wait for the arrival of Moussa Ibn Bagha to help in getting rid of Salih Ibn Wasif. Yet, Salih Ibn Wasif was faster; he arrested the caliph, and left him to the Turkish soldiers to torture him. They later on deposed him and appointed Al-Muhtadi as the new caliph in 255 A.H. Qabeeha ran away via a secret hidden passage from her chamber leading to outside of her palace. Salih Ibn Wasif looked for her everywhere in Baghdad. He later on found her and confiscated all her treasures, jewels, money, and hidden possessions. Apparently, he tortured and raped her, and later on banished her to Mecca. She remained there in utter humiliation until the caliph Al-Mu'tamid allowed her to return to the city of Samraa, until her death in 264 A.H. (Source: History of Tabari 9/175, pages 224, 349, 387, 388, 393, 395, 406, 441, 442, and 553, History of Al-Muntazim by Ibn Al-Jawzi 12/251, and History of Ibn Katheer 11/11 page 160).

 

 

Al-Sayeida Um Al-Muktader: Shaghab:

 

 "Al-Sayeida" (in Arabic, the great lady) was the formal title of the concubine Shaghab, who gave birth to the caliph Al-Muktader, who became caliph at the age of 13, and hence, Shaghab was the actual ruler of the caliphate, making her son under her full control for about 25 years until his assassination in 320 A.H. and her painful and sad downfall. Her story is narrated by Al-Tabari, who named her Naeim. Shaghab was a slave in the house of a lady called Um Al-Qassim Bint Muhammad Bint Abdullah, but the caliph Al-Mu'tamid saw, admired, and bought her as his concubine in his seraglio. She bore him a son, Jaffer Al-Muktader, who was to become a caliph later on. Soon enough, the caliph favored other concubines, and Shaghab was thin and of yellowish skin, and she could not compete with white blond concubines. She felt jealous of the 4000 concubines of the caliph. She entered into a series of endless conflicts with these concubines in the Abbasid seraglio. Hence, the caliph punished her and changed her name from Naeim to Shaghab (in Arabic, it means troubles!), and that name stuck to her ever since. Shaghab engaged in endless quarrels and fights and intrigues. She killed many concubines and wives of the caliph, including his new wife, the Egyptian princess Qatr Al-Nada (in Arabic, dew drops) famous for her beauty, who was the daughter of the ruler of Egypt Ahmed Ibn Touloun. Among the concubines who got killed by Shaghab a pretty one who stole the heart of the caliph was Dureirah (in Arabic, the small precious pearl), and he built a swimming pool for her, which caused the poet Ibn Bassam to satirize the caliph in a poem. When Dureirah died, the caliph wrote eulogies in verse to honor her while he was weeping her. Another victim killed by Shaghab was another concubine who bore to the caliph his son Al-Qahir, who was to become a caliph later on. Shaghab had to raise this son along with her own. Al-Qahir never forgot to avenge his killed mother later on. The caliph at first never knew the secret behind the mysterious deaths of his concubines especially those who bore him male children. Later on, he suspected Shaghab, but found no evidence enough to punish her. At first, he decided to cut off her nose, but he did not do that for her care of her son Al-Muktader and his son Al-Qahir. The caliph decided, however, to confine her in a certain palace which became her prison for a while. She brought up her son and in her sorrowful nostalgia for her better days with the caliph. She never had any friends but one, a slave-girl named Thamal, who brought all news to her and helped her in her intrigues and conspiracies. Confined in her palace-prison, Shaghab planned to make her son the next caliph; she controlled her son fully to the extent that he could never bear to be away from her and could not do anything without her aid. Thamal helped her to kill the pretty concubine Jeejeik Um Ali, the mother of the eldest son of the caliph who was to become heir to the throne. Jeejeik died peacefully, and the caliph never suspected her being killed. The caliph tended to get furious easily and used to punish others severely, to the extent that once he ordered his men to bury one of his military leaders alive! Yet, this caliph died suddenly in 289 A.H. Did Shaghab kill him? No historian is quite sure of that. Al-Muktafi, his son, became the caliph for a while, and Shaghab had to wait until her son became 13 years old. She poisoned Al-Muktafi, and her son, Al-Muktader, became the caliph, and Shaghab ruled the caliphate in his name for 25 years. Her first decree was to ban others from calling her "Shaghab"; instead, she called herself in the formal title Al-Sayeida Um Al-Muktader (the great lady the mother of Al-Muktader). Her second decree was to confiscate all jewels of concubines to take revenge from them, and she granted treasures to all slave-girls who helped her before, and on top of all Thamal, who was granted the major part of the confiscated jewels and was made the Supreme Judge of Baghdad in 306 A.H. to spite the religious scholars and clergymen of her age. This was an unprecedented act in the history of caliphate. Thamal used to examine legal complains of people on Fridays, presiding over all religious scholars, theologians, commissionaires, clergymen, and judges, who wait for her orders and verdicts. Thamal had power to fire viziers and all men in the retinue of the caliphate from their posts. Shaghab changed the name of Thamal into Um Moussa Al-Qahramana. At that time, a false hadith ascribed to Prophet Muhammad was prevalent, which goes like this: "No men would ever achieve success when they are led by a woman." Fabricators of that hadith made it up among other hadiths to criticize women who confiscated authority. High-stature imams and theologians, sanctified and made holy later on in other eras, kept their silence before Shaghab and her commands. During the 25 years of rule by Shaghab, many renowned theologians died: M. Ibn Abou Dawood Al-Dhahiri, Ibn Shurayh, Al-Jueneid, Abou Othman Al-Heiri, Al-Nisaaei, Al-Jibaaei, Ibn Al-Jalaa', Abou Yaali, Al-Astani, Al-Rawandi, Al-Tabari, Al-Zajaj, Al-Akhfash Al-Sagheer, Abou Bakr Al-Sajistani, Ibn Al-Sarraj, Abou Owana, Al-Baghawi, and Quodamah. Others who lived during the era of Qabeeha included the famous imams: Al-Bokhari, Moslim, Abou Dawood Al-Tirmizi, Ibn Maja, Al-Mazni, Ibn Abdul-'Ala, Al-Zubayr Ibn Bakkar, Al-Riyashi, Al-Zuhli, Dawood Al-Dhahiri, Ibn Mukhled, Ibn Qutaibah, Abou Hatim Al-Razi, Ibn Shabah, and Ibn Hanbal.

  Shaghab took violent revenge as usual from her foes when she became ruler: in 299 A.H., she confiscated the money of Fatima Al-Qahramana, whose drowned body was found in River Tigris. Other killed female slaves and concubines were the old ones who became maids of honor, gentlewomen, and Qahramanas. The persecution done by Shaghab and Thamal drew near some viziers as well: the vizier Ibn Al-Jaraah did not show enough respect to Thamal, and his money and possessions were confiscated, and he got fired from his post. Shaghab confiscated money and possessions of so many notable and elite people in Baghdad like the viziers Hamid Ibn Al-Abbas and Ali Ibn Issa. Shaghab manipulated and took advantage of everyone around her. Yet, Shaghab made some good deeds as well; she established a big hospital overlooking River Tigris in 306 A.H. She prepared an entire military by her money to defend Baghdad against the Qarmatians in 315 A.H.

  Conspiracies and plots against Shaghab and her son the caliph never ceased. Turkish military soldiers revolted once against Shaghab and incarcerated her and deposed her son. They appointed Al-Qahir as the new caliph. Yet, this plot failed, and Shaghab's son regained his throne and pardoned his brother Al-Qahir and speared his life. Yet, one of the revolts succeeded; Shaghab's son was killed by Turkish military soldiers and their leader Mo'nis Al-Khadim. Al-Qahir became the new caliph, and his first command was to imprison and torture Shaghab by his own hands and confiscated all her money and possessions and hidden treasures. He tortured her finally by hanging her by her feet upside down, to the extent that her urine descended to her face when she urinated. She was tortured to death. (Sources: History of Al-Tabari 10/139, History of Ibn Al-Atheer 6/119, History of Ibn Katheer, 11/175 pages 105:169, History of Caliphs, by Al-Siyouti page 604, History of Al-Muntazim by Ibn Al-Jawzi 13/253, and Fawat Al-Wafiyat, by Khalil Ibn Aybak Al-Safadi 16/167).

 

Lastly: Such are some examples of historical women rulers whose reign periods during the Abbasid caliphate were behind curtains and closed doors. Their political power led to the stifling of the voices of imams, scholars, and theologians, leading them to fabricate and make up hadiths ascribed falsely to Muhammad in order to detract the stature and position of women in general, to humiliate and insult them, and to confiscate their rights.

 

 

Third: Women Presiding Over Governments

 

 The high prestigious stature and status of the theocratic Abbasid caliphate prevented women from becoming rulers in the formal sense of the term; women ruled behind the façade of a male sultan/caliph who represented creed, theocracy, temporal authority, and spiritual power, according to the notions spread in the Middle Ages in this part of the world. Yet, such restraints were nonexistent in the regimes coming from the Orient, when they gained full control of the Abbasid caliphate in times of degeneration and decline until the end of its era. Such regimes included that of the Seljuks, the Buyids, and the Moghuls. Within such rule, women managed to preside over governments themselves with or without the presence of a lenient sultan/caliph. We present here brief examples in history.

 

 Al-Turunjan Um Al-Nushran, Wife of Tughril-Bey:

 

 She was the mother of a male child, heir to the Seljuk Sultan Tughril-Bey, who was her most obedient and docile husband. He used to consult her in every matter. She was famous for her piety, religiousness, charity, and giving alms to the poor. She was also known for her good opinion, firmness, and reasoning sharp mind and she died in 452 in the city of Gorgan, in current Iran. Her husband, the sultan, grieved and lamented for her death for a very long time. He carried her sarcophagus along with him to be buried in the city of Rey, in current Iran. While dying, she advised her husband to marry off their daughter to the Abbasid caliph, and her husband did just that. (Source:Fawat Al-Wafiyat, by Khalil Ibn Aybak Al-Safadi 9/352-353).  

 

Baghdad Khatoun:

 

 This was a Moghul Princess whose Moghul tribes came to Baghdad three centuries later and invaded Iran and Iraq and divided their lands amongst themselves. She was the daughter of Prince Juban, and she got married to Sheikh Hassan. Another Moghul sultan named Al-Nasser Bou Saeed loved and wanted her as a wife to him; hence, he waged war and defeated her father Prince Juban and took away Princess Baghdad Khatoun from her husband and married her. So as to appease and please her, he gave her unlimited power and authority in his kingdom that included north of Iraq, Azerbaijan, and part of Asia Minor. Princess Baghdad Khatoun asserted her authority by firing her new husband's maternal uncle, Ali Pashiya, from his post. Bou Saeed never interfered in her actions at all; on the contrary, he left all control to her in matters of power, rule, and authority. When he died, Arbakun became the new sultan; and he killed Princess Baghdad Khatoun in 736 A.H. (Source: Fawat Al-Wafiyat, by Khalil Ibn Aybak Al-Safadi, 10/175-176).

 

 The Seljuks in the 5th century A.H. found no qualms in the existence of women rulers; Princess Khatoun of Isfahan, in current Iran, was named Turkan, the daughter of King Tughraj, descended of a Persian royal household. Historians assert that she was a strong-willed, firm, intelligent and generous princess who led military armies, having ten thousand cavaliers at her service. Her husband, Mulkshah, died suddenly, and she had to control and to rule all affairs of the kingdom herself, guarding all money and possessions and safeguarded fully all routes of trade. She used to be the leader on top of armies in times of war, until her assassination, by being poisoned, in 487 A.H. (Sources: Al-Wafi, 10/381 andHistory of Al-Muntazim by Ibn Al-Jawzi 17/140).

 

Safiyya Khatoun:

 

   About a century later, the Ayyubid Princess Safiyya Khatoun was born (581-640) and was destined to rule. She was titled the "Owner", which meant she was like a powerful vizier. Historians say that she was a wise dignified Queen. This Princess was the daughter of the Ayyubid king Al-Adel, and she got married to King Al-Dhahir Ghazi Ibn Salah-Eddine, ruler of Aleppo, and mother of Al-Aziz, who succeeded his father as the ruler of Aleppo. Her grandchild was the Ayyubid King Al-Nasser, who ruled all of the Levant. When her husband and son died, she became the sole ruler of Aleppo. She acted like sultans and ruled wisely and made progress with justice, charity, good endeavors, and love for people. She annulled all sorts of taxes and injustices in Aleppo, and she used to give charity and much alms to the poor subjects. When she died, the three gates of Aleppo closed for three days as a sign of grief, as historian assert. (Sources: Al-Wafi, 16/328, Al-Mokhtasar Fi Akhbar Al-Bashar, by Abou El-Feda, 3/1710, and Al-Eibar fi Akhbar Man Ghabar, 5/265).

 

The Yemeni Queen of Zebeid

 

 Conditions were different with the mother of the Ayyubid King Al-Nasser Seif Al-Islam, the ruler of Yemen. This queen was a contemporary of Shagaret Al-Dor, the Queen of Egypt. When her son died, this queen of Yemen undertook successfully the management of affairs of the kingdom. She ameliorated conditions of the city of Zebeid, and she sent for an Ayyubid Prince to rule alongside with her to acquire legitimacy for herself as ruler. This Prince was Ali Suleiman, a quasi-Sufi in Mecca, who came to Zebeid and married its queen. Yet, this Prince was a tyrant ruler who filled Yemen with his injustices. He took up other wives besides the queen without her consent. He used to fight for his Ayyubid cousins, but he was defeated. As a result, Yemen was conquered and defeated by King Al-Masood Ibn Al-Kamel, who sentoff the defeated Ali Suleiman and his wife the queen to live in Egypt. (Source: Al-Wafi 15/391-192).

 

Shagaret Al-Dor

 

1- She was the most famous Queen/Sultana in the history of the Muhammadans. She was at first in the margin of the lines of history, but she moved ahead soon enough in the main lines to occupy a unique position in the history of the Muhammadans. Her history is linked to a critical time; the crusade of Louis IX in Egyptian city of Damietta, his defeat, and his being captured as a prisoner of war in the city of Mansoura. She witnessed the transitional period from the Ayyubid Dynasty to the Mameluke era. She was the very first Mameluke ruler, the Queen of Egypt, widow of the last Ayyubid Sultan. Her life began as a concubine of the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Salih Ayoub, and her life ended in a tragic manner unfit for a queen, but the political game is forever ruthless and merciless for all rulers regardless of their gender. She died miserably as she caused the death of so many people.

2- The redoubtable Ayyubid Sultan Al-Salih Ayoub was known for his absolute power, supreme authority and control, guarding his silence, dignity, solemnity, and shunning festivity and amusements. That is why we cannot say that he fell violently in love with Shagaret Al-Dor, a mere concubine of his. Yet, she managed to convince him to set her free from slavery and to marry her; this is the challenge she won, as she conquered his heart by her beauty, reasoning mind, and sharp intelligence. She bore him a son, named Khalil, who died early as a child, but she was formally titled Um Khalil.

3- Another chance occurred to prove the intelligence of Shagaret Al-Dor in critical periods: crusaders attacked Damietta, and its battalion fled the city and left to to the crusaders and King Louis IX. Meanwhile, the sultan was seriously taken ill during his planning to move the Egyptian army toward Mansoura to face the crusaders. Shagaret Al-Dor felt that her husband was dying, and she convinced him to sign and seal thousands of empty formal papers of used for issuing royal decrees. She formed a committee to manage the affairs of Egypt and supervise the military mobilization. When the Sultan died, she kept it as a secret from everyone for a certain period. She sent for his eldest son, Turan Shah, to come to ascend to the throne of Egypt. She made all people in the retinue and government to swear featly and allegiance to Turan Shah. She went on heading the military planning process and endeavors until she could defeat the crusaders and crushed his armies. Later on, Louis IX was taken prisoner in the House of Ibn Luqman, in Mansoura. 

4- Turan Shah reached Egypt to find that Shagaret Al-Dor had earned a decisive victory over crusaders and preserved his throne for him. Instead of being thankful to her and to the Mamelukes (i.e. military slaves bought and trained in martial arts) of his late father the former Sultan, he treated everyone contemptuously and preferred to them his own Mamelukes. He demanded from Shagaret Al-Dor all her money and possessions and that of the State Treasury. Shagaret Al-Dor felt that he had evil intentions toward her, and she advised the Mamelukes to kill him, and they did it. Thus, Shagaret Al-Dor began her route toward authority by plotting, intrigues, and conspiracies.

5- The notable and rich Mamelukes agreed on making Shagaret Al-Dor the Sultana and ruler of Egypt, with the right to seal and sign formal papers of the sultanate of Egypt. She used to sign using her formal title Um Khalil. Mosques imams acknowledged her rule as the Queen of Egypt and prayed for her sake on Friday sermons as the Queen of 'Muslims'. Her rule began on Thursday, the month of Safar, in 648 A.H. she wore the robe of sovereignty made of expensive silk embroidered with gold. Princes kissed the ground under her feet as customary at the time before a curtain. Her first decision was to hold talks with the captured French King, who eventually ransomed himself with the total sum of 400.000 gold Dinars.

5- The Abbasid caliph Al-Mustaasim denounced the fact that Shagaret Al-Dor became the ruler of Egypt, and sent a formal message, within which he mocked all Egyptians by saying that if they lack men, he will send them a man to be their ruler. Shagaret Al-Dor felt that she had to formally give up authority and rule behind the curtain; she got married to the man who was to be the first Mameluke Sultan: Ezz-Eddine Aybak.

6- Her giving up authority was just on the formal level; in fact, she held fast to the control and rule in all affairs. She ruled behind the curtain using her husband as a façade.  Before her marriage, two suitors competed to woo her: Ezz-Eddine Aybak the leader of the Mamelukes of the Sultan's palace, whose subordinate chieftain was Quotoz, who later on became another sultan, and Aqtay the leader of another group of Mamelukes, whose subordinate chieftain was Beibars, who later on became another sultan. Shagaret Al-Dor preferred Aybak because she felt that he was good-natured and easy to control. Aqtay his adversary was furious as a result; he conspired against the couple and ode red his men to rob and steal in the Egyptian capital. Aqtay was assassinated by Shagaret Al-Dor and Aybak. Later on, quarrels ensued between him and Shagaret Al-Dor because he felt annoyed and restrained by her authority and supreme power. Discord between the Sultana and Sultan led the latter to move away from the palace of Shagaret Al-Dor and to reside with his first wife, Um Ali, the mother of his only son, Ali. As a way to pave his route to be the full-fledged legitimate Sultan alone without Shagaret Al-Dor, he sent a message with a marriage offer to an Ayyubid Princess of Al-Mosul. When she accepted the offer, Aybak decided to make her reside in the sultanate palace instead of Shagaret Al-Dor, who felt threatened and extremely jealous, which blinded her away from reasonable thinking; she sent for Aybak under the pretext of discussing reconciliation between them, and she killed him at once. The Mamelukes subordinate to Aybak never felt content by such a turn of events, and those under Aqtay felt a great desire to avenge his death. Both groups of Mamelukes joined forces and imprisoned Shagaret Al-Dor and sent her over to Um Ali, who avenged Aybak's death by making her slave-girls beat Shagaret Al-Dor to death using strong wooden sabots. The corpse of Shagaret Al-Dor was thrown from the walls of the sultanate citadel, and it was carried in a sack to be buried. (Sources: Al-Solok, by Al-Makrizi, 1/361, History of Ibn Katheer, 13/99,Fawat Al-Wafiyat, by Al-Safadi, 16/120, Al-Eibar fi Akhbar Man Ghabar, by Al-Dhahaby, 5/222, Al-Noujum al-Zaherah, by Abou Al-Mahasin, 7, Husn Al-Muhadarah, by Al-Siouty, 2/39, and Shazarat Al-Dhahab, by Ibn El-Emad Al-Hanbali, 5-8).

7-Hence, Shagaret Al-Dor defeated princes and sultans among men, but was defeated by her heart and her dead husband's first wife.

 

Lastly: a comparison between Queen Shagaret Al-Dor and the Abbasid caliph Al-Mustaasim:

 

1- We conclude Chapter Two with this comparison, as we have mentioned above that this last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad denounced her being the sovereign of Egypt, and due to his protest, Shagaret Al-Dor gave up her status as the Sultana and only ruler of Egypt. We have read how Shagaret Al-Dor maintained the state and sovereignty of her husband the sultan and his son in critical times; the crusaders troops were attacking the Egyptian Nile Delta after occupying Damietta. The seriously ill dying sultan died, and Shagaret Al-Dor faced alone the fearful enemy marching toward the capital, in the absence of her husband's heir/son. Shagaret Al-Dor gained full control and managed all crises and kept out all dangers until she achieved victory. She captured Louis IX and smashed and crushed his army. When the new sultan, Turan Shah, denied her rights and refused to acknowledge her role in preserving Egypt and restoring the throne to him, she boldly removed him from his office and removed his dynasty, the Ayyubids, from the throne, keeping it to herself, thus establishing the Mameluke Era. That era of Mameluke sultans went on in Egypt from 921 A.H. to 1517 A.D. (i.e., until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt). All this was achieved by the Sultana: the Queen of Egypt, who was a former concubine in a seraglio of an Ayyubid sultan. What about the pampered filthily rich Abbasid caliph who was brought up within a ruling dynasty that reigned for more than 700 years?

2- Ibn Tababa, the historian contemporary to this caliph, describes in his periodicals this last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad as a weak, low-profile, impressionable person with no experience in rule and in the affairs of the caliphate, and he was an easy prey for those greedy ones around him. This caliph used to spend his time listening to music and songs and watching dancers in court. His retinue consisted of ignorant, mean, and greedy men living off him. This caliph was responsible for losing Baghdad, the Abbasid Dynasty and caliphate, and for losing thousands of lives of those killed. Rumors at the time had it that Ibn Tababa was a Shiite who was bent on venting his anger at the last Abbasid caliph, Al-Mustaasim, due to this historian's tendency to his creed. Yet, another Sunnite historian trusted by other scholars at the time, namely, Ibn Katheer, mentions in his books the same pieces of information like Ibn Tababa and agreed with his opinions. Ibn Katheer asserts in his books that the last Abbasid caliph used to adore storing huge amounts of money, to the extent that he confiscated to himself the money (about 100.000 Dinars) given to him as a trust by Al-Nasser Dawood, of the Ayyubid Dynasty, and people rebuked him for that deed.  This type of ad avarice and insatiable greed for money was the main reason behind the defeat of this caliph by the Moghuls.

3- Such avarice and greed of the last caliph, like his ancestors, led him to confiscate the annuities of the soldiers in this critical time when the Moghuls drew nearer to Baghdad. Ibn Katheer asserts that this last caliph disbanded the army soldiers and refused to give them their dues, and these soldiers had to beg in streets and markets and at gates of mosques. Poets composed verses to lament those soldiers and the decadent degenerated affairs of the caliphate and Islam.

4- The caliph who confiscated the money due to his soldiers was an extravagant person who used to lavish excessive sums of money over his subordinates, servants, henchmen, and slaves as well as men in his retinue who were used to confiscate other people's money and possessions unjustly. Such evil people were the ones who controlled and monopolized the wealth in Baghdad in such decadent and declining times by controlling the caliph, while scientists and scholars and artist would die of hunger.            

5- Let us cite some historical examples of the filthily rich servants and henchmen in the court of the last Abbasid caliph. Alaa-Eddine Al-Tibersi Al-Dhahiri used to receive the income of 300.000 Dinars as revenues from his assets and possessions, and he lived in the most magnificent palace in Baghdad. When he got married, he paid a dowry of the total sum of 20.000 Dinars, and the penultimate caliph, Al-Mustansir, gave him at the wedding ceremony a wedding gift of 100.000 Dinars, and promoted him to a higher post, and gave him a vast garden whose annual revenues were more than 200.000 Dinars. Another example was Mujahid Al-Dowidar, whose possessions and assets were beyond measure. He received wedding gifts worth more than 300.000 Dinars, and the last caliph gave him the gift of 300.000 Dinars. His annual revenues from his lands and assets were more than 500.000 Dinars. Another example was Ibn Fakhir, the senior steward responsible for the palace of the caliphate. His immense wealth was manifested in the fact that his palace included several bed chambers; each included a concubine, a slave-girl, a male servant, a female servant, a female servant for cooking his meals, another one for preparing and serving his meals, another for his clothes, another for his wine, another for his bed, and so on.

6- In contrast to this extravagance and palatial splendors and luxury, the most erudite scholars had nothing but the measly stipends of twelve Dinars per month. Such a sum was for each of the scholars in Al- Mustansir School. Other scholars like Ibn Al-Qooti and Ibn Al-Saaei, two famous historians at the time, used to receive 10 Dinars per month!

7- In such upside-down state of affairs, a declining empire about to end and witness its downfall (regardless of its banner: 'Islamic' caliphate, Byzantium, Persia, Rome, etc.), the horrid image was completed by the spread of bribery, wide-scale confiscations of properties and possessions of others unjustly, countless internal troubles and general unrest, as well as decadent demeanor of immorality while inhabitants of Baghdad immersed in trivial matters, ignoring the imminent danger of the Moghuls at the gates of the city.  

8- Al-Ghassani, the author of the book titled "Al-'Asjad Al-Masbuk", describes in his book the Abbasid caliphate in its last days as an eye-witness, writing that the Abbasid Dynasty cared only for feudalities and material gains and pecuniary affairs, ignoring the public interest of the masses. The Abbasids at the time were immersed in worldly matters and ignored injustices that were widespread within governors who were bent on raising taxes and squeezing money out of the poor subjects. Al-Ghassani was right when he writes that kingdoms might thrive with disbelief, unbelief, or total lack of faith, but they can never thrive and flourish with prevalent injustice. The Quranic verse that asserts this is as follows: "When We decide to destroy a town, We command its affluent ones, they transgress in it, so the word becomes justified against it, and We destroy it completely." (17:16). This means that when God, via His messengers or prophets, commands justice, the corrupt and filthily rich ignore the divine command and go on with their corruption, injustice, and immoralities, and hence, they deserve this self-induced or self-incurred destruction. "Your Lord would never destroy the towns wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous." (11:117). Hence, God has caused destruction to those who have been unjust and corrupt.

9- The last Abbasid caliph never understood such a lesson; he was indulged up to his ears in corruption and decadence with his mean, avaricious retinue, courtiers, henchmen, and men of the state. He disbanded his army soldiers and thus lost his caliphate and kingdom. He witnessed all sorts of humiliation before he was killed by the Moghuls who trampled over him with their horses and their feet until he died. They killed him after they have destroyed Baghdad totally and killed over two million inhabitants of the Abbasid capital. The famous historian, Al-Hamathani, writes in his book, titled "Collector of Historical Accounts", that After razing Baghdad, Hulago entered with his forces the palace of the caliphate. The last caliph was brought to him, shivering in terror. Hulago shouted at him and said mockingly that he was the caliph's guest and demanded all worthy and valuable things in the palace to be brought before him. All coffers and huge boxes containing precious stones, jewelry, gold …etc. were brought to him. Hulago gave them away to his men and servants as gifts, and demanded to know all the secret chambers and hide-outs and hidden storehouses of treasures that the caliph knew about. Under duress, the terrified caliph told him all about that, and especially of the underground grand basin in the garden of the palace, which was filled with golden bars, each weighing about 100 pounds! Hulago's men excavated and extracted all gold from this basin.  

10- Hulago mocked and taunted the last caliph as he owned all such priceless treasures and was stingy enough not to pay the annuities of his soldiers! Hulago later on sent a message to urge the sultan of Damascus to surrender to him or fact destruction and death, and in this message, he described the last Abbasid caliph, as a warning, as the greedy man who gathered all sorts of treasures but was a stingy, avaricious idiot who never bothered to gather able soldiers and loyal men around him.

11- Al-Hamathani tells us another scene between Hulago and the last caliph in the palace of the caliphate. Hulago ordered that the women of the seraglio of the caliph were to be brought to him. They were 700 concubines and 1000 slave-girls and female servants. The crying caliph tried to appeal and implore to Hulago to spare them, saying that they never went out of the palace, and that they had never seen moon and the sun. hence, his women were prisoners of the seraglio, just like the gold bars he buried! Such was his view concerning women, and females in general, and concerning Shagaret Al-Dor!

12- Al-Hamathani writes that all treasures and precious stones and jewels gathered by the Abbasid caliphs for five centuries were accumulated on top of one another by Hulago and the Moghuls, and appeared like huge mountains seen from afar! Hulago melted down all gold bars and built with it a court castle in Azerbaijan. (Please refer to our article: "Not In Defense of Hulago", written by Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, and published on our website, and firstly in (the governmental Cairo-based) Al-Ahkbar Newspaper in May 1990. This article was partially quoted by the Azharite sheikh M. Al-Ghazaly in his book titled "Our Intellectual Heritage" published in Cairo, page 108).  Such a person was the last Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, and such was Queen/Sultana Shagaret Al-Dor. Both ruled within the tyrannical logic of the Middle Ages. Which of them do we prefer, if we are to submit to tyranny anyway?!

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1- Rule consists of power, authority, and sovereignty, whereas shura (Islamic consultation), or real viable democracy, is the art of exercising power and authority and practicing sovereignty. The relation between any ruler and the people/nation/citizens is the decisive point that regulates and imposes the one who has power, authority, and sovereignty as well as the (non)existence or the extent of the shura (real democracy) in such a relation. There are tyrant rulers who monopolize power, authority, and sovereignty, ignoring the citizens/nation totally. Such tyrants consider themselves as the sole guardians or caretakers of the nation, and henceforth, such tyrants regard themselves as the only source of authority and legislations. Such tyrants are the consulted and the consultants! Consultancy of others is only applied within the scope of the tyrant rulers' power, authority, and sovereignty that are self-granted. A tyrant ruler's apparent consultants are usually the ones who seek to oblige and gratify this ruler, not to please the nation. The people ruled might gain some awareness and feel their power, strength, and influence, and this might lead the tyrant ruler to offer some concessions or compromise that might suit such raised awareness of the citizens. That is why councils of consultants may vary sometimes to include some free trends of free thinkers. Conflicts ensue between such free thinkers/citizens and the tyrant ruler. The formers try to shrink, limit, and lessen the power, authority, and sovereignty of the tyrant ruler, who in turn, through his cronies, try to support and consolidate his power, authority, and sovereignty. This is exemplified in the Middle East, where sham and false parliaments are mere façades or veneers of sham and fake appearance of democracy. Such partial consultancy or shura reflect the interests of the citizens who rely on free thinkers whose mission is to raise the awareness of people to revolt against injustice and tyranny. Free nations/peoples might gain full power, authority, and sovereignty by imposing their will on governments, changing governments, and impeaching them and putting them to questioning within laws. In that case, rulers are just servants who are in the service of the citizens; with a contract of one or maximum two rule terms or tenures. The citizens within a given country are the ones who choose freely, appoint, and depose rulers, governors, and all responsible ones in all posts, and may put them in trial if necessary. This is the Islamic rule, system, or regime of shura. Hence, it is all the same if the ruler is a man or a woman.

2- Dictatorship and tyranny are against Islam as a faith and as a religion, and an infringement and violation of the concept of state in Islam (the Quran alone). Yet, any form of rule is legitimate ONLY when people are content with it. that is why tyrants are deemed legitimate rulers, be them men or women, as we have learned in history. Perusal of history and the Quranic stories make us discern the fact that tyrant women rulers are less harmful and more compassionate than tyrant men rulers.

                  


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