Dr. Bahriye Üçok, Female Sovereigns in Islamic States, revised and introduced by Dr. Phil. Milena Rampoldi

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Before presenting the most important ideas of Dr. Üçok’s book and the conception of Islamic Feminism we would like to thank the author’s daughter, Kumru Üçok Mr. Aygun Uzunlar of the association ProMosaik visited in Ankara, for her kind permission to publish her mother’s book in English, German and Italian. With this first English publication the association ProMosaik wants to contribute to the gender dialogue in Islam and to the interreligious dialogue to promote justice and peace.

 

We are convinced that gender justice, as we have already shown on the basis of Prof. al-Ansari’s essay about political rights of women in Islam, is a vitally important aspect of a world made of diversity, justice and tolerance.This first English revised edition should also help us not to forget the writer who was killed by a bomb attack in 1990.

 

The first aspect Dr. Rampoldi stresses on when she comments Dr. Üçok’s book is the historical approach to the matter of women and political participation in Islam.

 

If we go back to history, we start understanding that women also participated in politics in Muslim countries. Starting from this historical reality, we can see how Islam originally granted extended political rights to women. And exactly these rights should be re-granted to women in Muslim countries today by overcoming segregation and exclusion. In the introduction Dr. Rampoldi explains how this exclusion was justified religiously, by manipulating and generalizing sources:

 

“The androcentric point of view asking for total exclusion of women from Islamic politics, which has succeeded for centuries, starts from two very daring conclusions: According to this tradition, women should not be allowed to govern because their governance means that empires WILL NEVER prosper. But there is an additional conclusion related to this starting point, and it is the exclusion based on Quran, Sunna and the consensus of Muslim scholars, on the basis of the Quranic verse 4:34, which does not relate to politics but to the relationship between genders in marriage, in which only the husband must financially support the family. Therefore, from the housewife many traditional scholars monistically deduct the un-political woman, who is not allowed to participate in politics and society. They even go a step further by affirming that female rule is even haram, i.e. forbidden by Sharia law. However, they take another step by affirming that women do not have the intellectual and personal skills required by a ruler”.

 

In opposition to all that, let us have a look at history: let us read the stories written by the Turkish author about women ruling in Muslim States from India to Egypt, from Bhopal to Salgur, from Acheen to Kutluk, to quote a couple of examples.

 

Let us understand Islam in PLURAL, let us discover the biographies and political struggles of women in Islamic countries, women who had to fight in a misogynic environment. What ProMosaik considers the great contribution made by Dr. Üçok is her “historical analysis concerning countries and cultural environments, conditions and modalities according to which women ruled States during Muslim history”.       

 

The world is colourful.

The world is a big, colourful mosaic made of so many different stones connected with intercultural and interreligious bridges.