Home اخبار عربية The image of Arab women before the advent of Islam and their political roles…

The image of Arab women before the advent of Islam and their political roles…


the book: queens Arabs Before Islam, a study in political history
Writer: Hind Muhammad Al-Turki
Publisher: Abdul Rahman Al-Sudairy Charitable Foundation, 1st edition, Riyadh 2008
Pages: 222 pages


I got woman Pre-Islamic Arabia played a prominent role in religious life, in addition to its natural role in the family and society, so it assumed priesthood and supervised the temples. At the same time, it had a significant political role and influence in managing the affairs of government. She participated effectively in the political leadership of some countries and kingdoms, and her role was achieved indirectly due to her proximity to the ruling circle, such as being the mother of the ruler or his wife of high status, or directly. She assumed power, like the Queen of Sheba and the queens of northwestern Arabia mentioned in the Assyrian texts, and the Queen of Palmyra, who had relations with the Roman Empire. We never believe, based on the fragments disseminated in the various compilations, that this role has an echo equivalent to it in the history books. Perhaps this is what gives the work of writer Hind Muhammad al-Turki, “Arab Queens Before Islam, a Study in Political History,” its double value.

This work focuses on redressing this grievance that befell the ancient Arab woman, and on clarifying her role in the political field and the extent of her participation in governance, and on “correcting some of the misconceptions and conclusions that some researchers fell – intentionally or inadvertently”, on her phrase: “of those who are accustomed to To ignore the fact that the Arabs are proactive in their cultural concepts, especially towards women. It highlights that “the ancient Arab civilization – through its appreciation of women – played a role in building the ancient human civilization pyramid.”


Studies that dealt with the political role of women in this era were often confined to focusing on the queens of Sheba and Palmyra, but the research expanded by looking at new archaeological discoveries such as what was found of ancient coins, drawings and rock friezes, or what is related to Arab queens in the Assyrian inscriptions, or the Sabaean inscriptions Or Nabataean or Palmyrene, or what was mentioned in Roman sources such as those related to the Queen of Palmyra, through letters exchanged between her and the Roman Emperor (Aurelian). Among the important Roman sources, the researcher mentions the impact of Historian Augusta, which is a collection of biographies of Roman emperors in the second and third centuries AD. It was written by different authors, and it contains letters exchanged between Emperor (Aurelian) and Queen (Zenobia) of Palmyra. In addition, the researcher tries to read some The Assyrian texts that mentioned the queens alone, and then sought to define the areas of their rule, and clarify the political relationship that linked them to the kings of Assyria.


What the researcher believes to be adding to the compilations of history is the social and religious role of Arab women before the advent of Islam. It is self-evident that she has an active role in building the family, and that through it she guarantees her participation in the public life of her society, but she was able to expand this role by gaining rights and granting her more important roles. In some inscriptions, there is evidence that she extracted her right to ownership, inheritance, and temple service, and to contribute to enriching her holdings. The two queens, Taalkhunu and Habuba, combined the religious and political powers. They were priests of the idol ten. As for Abkallatu, she was a priestess of the Queen of Arabia, according to some sources, and others stated that she was a priestess of an Arab goddess.

The city of Adumato ruled a rule that combines the religious and worldly authorities, so it was called (Talkhuno the Priestess). And (Burger) proves that the Arab queen’s name is (Taalkhono), and that the name Abkallatu that was found in the text was not her name, but a metaphor for her work as a priestess and a damsel.” .. () A sentence of which is the prick of Ilu overthrew them (i.e.) His majesty abandoned their tents and fled for their lives to Adumato which lies in the middle of the desert, the city of thirst where there is no food or drink.”

Priesthood in Arab countries was not only assigned to the queen, as there was a religious priestess who acted on behalf of the queen and supervised the affairs of the temple and religious ceremonies. In general, women had the right to occupy this high religious position in the Lihyani community. An ancient Arab kingdom, founded in Al-Hijr, west of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today, extended its authority for centuries BC, and disappeared after the independence of the Nabateans in the period between (107 AD – 150 AD). In view of the importance and influence of the temple, the women of the upper and rich classes took care of it. They gave one or two girls from their slave girls to serve the temple, and asceticism in the service of their idols. The researcher says: “The woman used to resort to the temple in all her affairs, seeking help and advice from it, and offering statues and offerings in order to achieve her demands.”


The researcher studies the status and role of women in their society in the ancient Near East, in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Levant, Anatolia in Asia Minor, and Persia. To look in its light on the status of women in the Arab countries. And it concludes that the role of Arab women was not limited to priesthood, ownership, and inheritance. The sources talked about her accession to power, and perhaps the two queens of Sheba and Palmyra are considered among the most famous Arab queens who were mentioned in ancient history. However, this should not obscure the existence of queens and wives of kings who contributed to the leadership of the state and the management of political affairs. They also participated in holding alliances, and among them was Atika bint Murra bin Hilal, who participated in the Ahabish alliance.

History in its appearance does not exceed news, as is the case in our impact. It came as a protest against the state of social oppression that women live in today in some Arab countries, and an implicit call for them to regain their right to a full role and active participation in political life, and a scientific response to those who say that they are short and incapacitated, away from emotions and convulsions.

Among the queens of northwestern Arabia, the researcher mentions Queen Zabiba (745 B.C. – 727 BC), and she is referred to in the inscriptions as the Queen of Arabia, and Queen Shamsi (the eighth century BC); She participated in the revolution against the Assyrian rulers, and was mentioned through the documentation of two Assyrian kings, and was referred to as the Queen of Arabia and her flight to the desert, the land of thirst. Among the queens, the researcher mentions Yataa (the eighth and seventh centuries BC), who sent an army led by her brother to the Queen of Arabia, and Jaffa, who ruled an area called Thakhrani and Baslo, contemporary to Jaffa, and was referred to as the Queen of Ichilo.

In addition, Queen Tabawah, who was taken captive and raised in the palace of Sennacherib, then was appointed queen and priestess over Adumato. And the queen, Adia, who had a leadership and political role, and allied with the leader of the Qedarites to confront the state of Assyria. Queen Zenobia, the most famous of them, ruled Palmyra between the Levant and Mesopotamia on the caravan route. She was the guardian of her son after his father was killed. She combined beauty, rigor and strength, and took the name of the Queen of the East.


The mention of Arab queens in the Palmyrene inscriptions and Roman sources was limited to only one, which is (Zenobia), “the great queen of the East”, but coinage represented one of the elements that filled some of the historical gaps and documented for us something of their biography. The Nabataean kingdom, which was established in the north of the Arabian Peninsula, left many inscriptions and monuments in the areas that it settled in or its trade realized. However, the reference to her queens was only mentioned in her coins, so the researcher mentions the names of the Nabataean queens according to the chronological succession of kings. Among them: Queen Khaldou, who is the first wife of the Nabataean king (Haritha the Fourth), and her image was engraved, and her name was minted during the first years of his rule. And Queen Shaqila, the mother of the king, Lord to the second (70-106 AD), who is the mother of the king (may God be to the second), supervised the political affairs of the state; As a trustee of her son, and during his reign, her name was engraved on the coin. And the queen is beautiful his wife, her portrait is engraved with picture Her husband is on the obverse, and her name is mentioned along with his name on the back.


Despite the many details and the absence of an accurate link between them, the reader of this book ends up with a number of conclusions. Among them is that the ancient Arab woman assumed her family role, and often leaked from it to the world of politics, so she had a prominent role, and her ability to implement a tight system that interacted with the course of contemporary political events during her rule was evident. Perhaps the closest examples that the research dealt with is the participation of Queen Bibi in paying the prescribed royalties with her neighboring kings, in order to preserve the political and commercial interests of her people. As for the queen, obeying, she contributed, when she was in a position of strength, to help the rebel (Marduk Paladin) against the Assyrian state when she sent an army led by her brother, Bustanu.

The researcher estimates that the rule of Arab queens before Islam was not only focused on tightening the political grip, but rather their interest in and interest in economic aspects went beyond; being a mainstay in the stability of society; The Queen of Sheba achieved considerable wealth for her kingdom, and this was evident through the gift sent to the Prophet (Solomon). The quality of royalties provided in the north of the Arabian Peninsula to the Assyrian kings indicates the extent of economic prosperity enjoyed by the kingdoms of queens in the north of the Arabian Peninsula. In general, the political relations between the Arab queens before Islam and the contemporary kings of their rule were based on the principle of preserving the country’s gains. Each queen was trying to make her relations with her neighbors commensurate with the interests of her people and her kingdom. The researcher finds in this a sign that women have reached a degree of political awareness, and that they have not remained isolated from external political events, but this would not have been achieved if the ancient Arab society did not look at women in a progressive way, and did not believe in their being an active social element in the issues of their society.

This effect leads to a thesis that revolves around the fact that the Arab queen before Islam enjoyed military leadership and political acumen. She was able to defend her kingdom and reach independence from any foreign dependence. Queen Zenobia was able to confront the armies of the Roman Empire and rid Palmyra of Roman dependence. Attempting independence in her kingdom, expanding her lands, and then expanding her circle of authority beyond the borders of Palmyra. As for the queen (Shamsi), she faced the Assyrian state and did not accept to bow to it, so whenever she had the opportunity, she rebelled and declared her independence.


History in its appearance does not exceed news, as is the case in our impact; It came as a protest against the state of social oppression that women live in today in some Arab countries, and an implicit call for them to regain their right to a full role and active participation in political life, and a scientific response to those who say that they are short and incapacitated, away from emotions and convulsions.

Perhaps this effect is to engage in a whole context of women’s research in the image of the ancient Arab woman. Among them, we mention “Excavations in the Literature and News of Women” and “Women’s Poetry in Andalusia” by researcher Hajar Al-Harathy, through which the idea of ​​the centrality of men rejects the inferiority of women in Arab culture, and “The Role of Women in the Islamic West from the fifth century AH to the middle of the seventh century AH” by Fawzia Karaz, which chose to chronicle the Islamic West, and to study its cultural and social face through the status of women in it, and the different roles that it played in the Islamic Middle Ages, so it presents different feminist models of those with active roles in society.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here