The Evolution of the Harem

By: Alexandra Kinias —– During the golden age of the Abbasid Dynasty (750 AD – 1258AD), with its capital in Baghdad, the Islamic conquests reached their peak. The lands of the Islamic Empire extended from the Chinese boarders in Asia to Andalusia in Europe. The Arabs controlled the lands from Mount Sinai to the shores of the Mediterranean in North Africa and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The knights who fought under the banner of Islam conquered these lands for dominance, land expansion and spread Islam. These worriers were rewarded by receiving their shares from the spoils of … Continue reading The Evolution of the Harem

Return of the Harem

By: Alexandra Kinias Walking down the hallways of the opulent Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul was an intriguing experience. The lavish interior of the Ottoman Sultan’s residence was immensely admired by the visitors who listened to the tour guide’s explanation about the lack of historical references to prove the claims about the Sultan’s Harem. According to him they were legends woven by the fertile imagination of writers and poets. He went on with his defense as far as redefining concubines as women of services to the court rather than the Sultan’s mistresses, as the world came to believe. As a believer … Continue reading Return of the Harem

History of the Veil: Part 3: Early Days of Islam

By Alexandra Kinias After the rise of Islam, Prophet Mohamed in an effort to unite the tribes under its banner set new laws to govern the people and regulate the relationship between them. As a result, the status of women improved. Female infanticide ceased and for the first time women from certain tribes had the right to divorce, own property, choose a husband and inherit from their deceased relatives. Marriage was also organized, but neither polygamy nor slavery was abolished. On the contrary, the Islamic conquests brought more slaves into the Muslim lands, which later contributed to the dramatic changes … Continue reading History of the Veil: Part 3: Early Days of Islam

History of Veil – Part 2: Veil In Pre-Islamic Arabia

By: Alexandra Kinias Surrounded by the hostile terrains of the Arabian Desert and under its blazing sun, Arabs dwelled in diverse nomadic tribal communities. Each had its own laws, language and lifestyles. As the traditions, customs, and culture varied from one tribe to the other, so did their women’s status. And unlike river banks that attracted settlers and allowed civilizations to flourish, the nomads who roamed the harsh deserts left behind no monuments for archeologists to peek at their evolution.  However, Arabs were talented poets and their poetry passed on from one generation to the other. It became a rich … Continue reading History of Veil – Part 2: Veil In Pre-Islamic Arabia

History of the Veil. Part One: Veil in the Ancient World

By: Alexandra Kinias Painting of Nineveh Women by: Paul Batou With the passionate cries for wearing the veil,  the controversy it is causing in the West and since it only shrouds the bodies, heads and faces of Muslim women, it left no shred of doubt that it is an Islamic dress code. And how can one dare argue that when clerics, based on their interpretations of the holy scripts, left everything else behind and are condensing their efforts to preach, direct and scare Muslim women to comply with it after reaching puberty. However, researchers who have tracked the history of … Continue reading History of the Veil. Part One: Veil in the Ancient World