Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ramadan Challenge 10: Turkan Khatun of Iran, the woman behind her husband and son

These last 5 days I have focussed on women Muslim rulers from around the global Muslim community showing how historically women have actively participated and excelled in political and governmental affairs. Their stories demonstrate how the men and communities of their societies revered their decisions and intellect and therefore the common perception created that Muslim women are not liberated or educated is indeed a fallacy created by generations of media manipulation and cultural enforcements via media and education.

Another story like that of Shajarat al-Durr is that of Malik Shah's wife, Turkan Khatun (1092-94) from Isfahan, Iran. Following her husband's death, she took control of his army while preparing for the successful succession of her son Mahmud to the throne. She tied up his affairs and maintained orderliness in the throne while securing his wealth. Ibn al Jawzi describes her as being a forceful woman with great political acumen. 
Turkan Khatun was a Seljuk Queen, a people whose history began after 1000 AD and who were most dominant in Turkestan. They overran Ghaznavid Empire in 1040 and took over Persia and Mesopotamia. It is unfortunate that little is known about these forgotten Muslim women rulers of the past. Their research is not easily available on the internet eg: even when you google search Malik Shah or his son who succeeded him Mahmud, you hear nothing about the woman Turkan Khatun unfortunately.

It is unfortunate that we made little effort to preserve our history and the pride in it. Although we complain about how media shows us, as a community many of us take no pride in ourselves or do little to regain this pride hence falling into a dangerous trap of self-hatred.  
Not only were these women of superior acumen politically, they had the courage to take control of their own destinies without having to depend on others. They trusted their intelligence and used their wealth and power wisely for the betterment of their societies and the shaping of civilizations. 
They were visionaries and extremely courageous to take over the control of their armies in the absence of the men in their family, hence showing that the women of those days were taught how to participate in the battle field. The next 5 days of Ramadan Challenge, I will be focussing on brave women in the battle field who defied all our concepts of women and girls being different to the males in their family.  

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A wrap-up of the Muslim rulers studied so far:
Zubaidah bint al Jaafar al Mansur, Abbassid
Al-Udar al Karimah Shihab ad Din Salah of Yemen
Shajarat al-Durr of Egypt
Razia Sultana of South Asia
Soyembike of Kazan, Russia



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