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Shajar al-Durr: A Case of Female Sultanate in Medieval Islam

Amalia Levanoni


     While women were occasionally able to influence matters of rule in Medieval Islam, it is likely that only three reached a formal position of power. The first was Radiya (d. 1240), the daughter of Sultan Iltumush, who ruled Delhi for three and a half years during the period of slave kings.1 The second was Shajar ad-Durr (d. 1257) who ruled in Mamluk Egypt for about three months, and the third was Tandu (d. 1419), the daughter of Hasan Ibn Uways, who ruled for about three years in the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia.2 Yet their experience did not form a precedent for change in Muslim concepts on the role of women in society in general and in politics in particular. We find that contemporary chronicles treated their active political roles as curious episodes and sporadic experiences while in Muslim political literature they are not mentioned at all.3

     Although all three cases occurred in Turkic societies which accorded, at the time, an elevated status to women, Shajar al-Durr's is the most interesting as a case study. Whereas Radiya and Tandu were born into ruling families, Shajar al-Durr was originally a slave girl and as such could not claim rule by inheritance. More important is that while the first attained power in Islamic societies which still maintained their ancient social and political traditions and thus could, a priori, accept women's rule, Shajar al-Durr ruled in one of the Arabophonic regions where authentic Islamic religious tradition, including political authority, persisted without interruption from the time of the Arab conquests. This tradition denied females any formal position in government. Shajar al-Durr 's position was further aggravated by the shaky situation of the Mamluk elite which supported her rule. It was not only an alien military elite of slave origins but at the time, it was in a state of taking its first steps in consolidating its social and political legitimacy after placing themselves instead of a legitimate Muslim dynasty, the Ayyubids, in a coup d'etat (1250).

     As Shajar al-Durr's case combined the attitudes of both Turkic and Arabophonic societies to women's position in government, this article tries to briefly trace her rise to power and indicate why her rule indeed remained an episode without further consequence for the position of women in Muslim politics.

     Shajar al-Durr had already been al-Salih Ayyub's favorite concubine for some time, when she became the mother of his son and then also his wife.4 Al-Salih Ayyub knew her already when he was governor of Amid (Diyarbakir), in southeast Anatolia, then a northern province of his father's kingdom. Following his father's death (1239), he became the ruler of Damascus but had to fight his Ayyubid rivals, for control over Syria, and his brother, al-Adil, for control of Egypt.5 Al-Salih Ayyub lost Damascus to his Ayyubid rivals through deception: when during a military expedition his army deserted him, and he was left with only his Mamluks and some officials, al-Salih Ayyub was captured by his cousin al-Nasir Daud and put into prison at al-Karak in Jordan.6 Shajar al-Durr and one of his mamluks shared his imprisonment with him, while other mamluks remained faithful to him and stayed at al-Karak until he was released.7 Shajar al-Durr and most of al-Salih Ayyub's Mamluks were Kipchaki Turks brought from the Eurasian steppes, and it was around their shared ethnic origin that they would thereafter cohere as an interest group.8

     During their stay in prison Shajar al-Durr bore al-Salih Ayyub a son, Khalil, and from then she was called Umm Khalil, even though the child died after only three months.9 It is worth recalling here that since its early beginnings Islam had given legal recognition to the share of sons of concubines in their fathers' inheritance, which of course did much to enhance their mothers' personal status. In matters of politics, moreover, mothers were often found to play a dominant and very decisive role behind the scenes of their sons' rule.10

     When al-Salih Ayyub ascended to power in Egypt (from where in a number of successful military campaigns against his Ayyubid rivals he gained control of Syria), it is not surprising that he trusted none of the military elements that had previously served him except his own Mamluks.11 Thus he began purchasing Turkic Mamluks in great numbers whom he entrusted with high military positions.12 In doing so, al-Salih Ayyub actually violated a custom common to Ayyubids and contemporary Islamic politics whereby ethnic mélange filled the military and administrative bodies, for maintaining political equilibrium and the army's loyalty to the regime.13 In addition, al-Salih Ayyub established new rules both in government and administration in order to centralize his regime. Thus he conferred the most prominent positions in the state not upon his Ayyubid relatives but upon those of his confidents who had remained faithful to him.14

     Shajar al-Durr's rise to power may be seen as the epitome of this policy. Shajar al-Durr "ran the affairs of the kingdom during his (al-Salih Ayyub's) absence on military expeditions. Her orders were obeyed, her decrees were carried out and she signed with the seal of Umm Khalil [wa-alamatuha wa-kanat Umm Khalil]."15 She also enjoyed extensive influence over the army since she was well acquainted with the way al-Salih Ayyub treated the emirs and mamluks and she was familiar with their military positions.16 Shajar al-Durr's authority clearly derived from her husband's strong and centralized rule and the way in which he had succeeded in imposing his will on the army and high government officials. Yet, al-Salih Ayyub could not delegate his authority to a woman without violating Muslim tradition. This he circumvented by a subterfuge, i.e., he delegated his authority to his dead son Khalil and then made Shajar al-Durr act formally on Khalil's behalf.

     Al-Salih Ayyub introduced court regulations which inter alia prevented direct contact between himself and position-holders other than the top officials in his kingdom – they were never received personally by the sultan but had to address him through courtiers.17 Together with the homogeneous composition of his army, this enabled his officials after his death to take over the running of the kingdom's affairs and leave his legitimate heir, Turanshah, his son by another women, as ruler in name only. As a matter of fact, it was Shajar al-Durr who ran the kingdom's affairs when al-Salih Ayyub grew gravely ill and subsequently, from the moment he died in November 1249 in the midst of the crisis created by the Frank's invasion of Egypt, the Crusade led by St. Louis of France. Needless to say, Shajar al-Durr was present in the royal tent during that battle, and she decided to conceal al-Salih Ayyub's death until she had secured the support of the army and the high officials in putting Turanshah, who was then the governor of the distant northern province of Hisn Kayfa (Hasankeyf) in southeastern Anatolia, on his father's throne.18 Not by chance did she share the secret of her husband's untimely demise only with al-Tawashi Jamal al-Din Muhsin since he was in charge of al-Salih Ayyub's Mamluks. As part of the late sultan's institutions, both Shajar al-Durr and the Mamluk army would have had to make room for the ascending sultan's own Mamluks and confidants. Thus, by helping Turanshah to the throne they sought to guarantee the new sultan's dependence on them and thus preserve their own supremacy. Turanshah's unstable character and his lack of familiarity with the Egyptian political system were also factors that encouraged them to act in this way.

     When al-Salih Ayyub's death was finally made public, the chief commander of the army, atabak al-asakir Fakhr al-Din Shaykh al-Shuyukh, at first formally carried out the functions of the sultan. Yet when Fakhr al-Din died (during a sudden attack by the Franks on the Muslims near al-Mansura, a Nile Delta town, 9 February 1250)19, no new atabak was nominated but instead Shajar al-Durr, in addition to the treasury which she already controlled, took over military affairs.20

     When Turanshah arrived in Egypt two weeks later (23 February 1250), he strove, like his father before him, to strengthen his power by introducing his confidants into the regime.21 Yet Turanshah lacked his father's political acumen and control over the army and the treasury, which deprived him of effective rule. He tried to relieve his frustration in childish threats against Shajar al-Durr and his father's veteran emirs and mamluks, and in a drunken bout would chop off the tips of candles with his sword each time calling out the name of one of his father's Mamluk emirs, adding that he would do the same to them.22 Needless to say, such behavior spurred his father's Mamluks to prevent him from carrying out his intentions. Indeed they murdered him at the instigation of Shajar al-Durr.

     Preserving the pattern of government their master had established in Egypt was of such importance to al-Salih Ayyub's Mamluks that they felt it gave them a moral justification for Turanshah's murder.23 Doing away with Turanshah of course also guaranteed that key positions remained in their hands. The same reasoning lay behind the Mamluks' decision at this point to make Shajar al-Durr sultana – her reign symbolized the formal continuation of the rule of al-Salih Ayyub. Shajar al-Durr had known how to rule the country during his lifetime, and her ascent to the sultanate, so they believed, would be the natural extension of her formal position in the past. It might well be that the Mamluks' Turkic origin was instrumental in their respect for Shajar al-Durr and their approval of her exalted position for in their homeland women were allocated active and high status (see below). In regard to her personal status as al-Salih Ayyub's political heir, the Mamluks argued that the same principle which had authorized her to rule during her husband's absence as the mother of his son Khalil, could justify her continuing to rule after her husband's death as well. In fact, Shajar al-Durr during her sultanate continued to sign with the seal of Umm Khalil.24

     Yet Shajar al-Durr's position as female sultan could only be temporary since a woman on the throne was an alien idea in Muslim political thought and ruling tradition. Muslim political doctrine held that the Muslim ruler, among other requirements, should be a man without mental and physical defects.25 Already her accession aroused technical problems as well as loud ideological protests. Shajar's inauguration ceremony was unusual in that she was not given the customary oath of allegiance by the emirs and high officials in the presence of the judicial high officials but, rather, she stayed in the Citadel's palace while small delegations of emirs would come in and pledge the oath one by one. Moreover, since women of the upper strata of Middle Eastern society were restricted to the indoors and Shajar al-Durr thus could not take part in street ceremonies, the state procession of the new sultana was abandoned altogether. During such state procession the new sultan was expected to ride through the streets of Cairo to the Citadel, accompanied by the emirs and preceded by the insignia of the sultanate.26

     The acceptance of the idea of a woman raised to a position of power in a society where all political and military roles were in effect restricted to men proved far more problematic, and in the end impossible. The Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad – then al-Mustasim who was the last caliph before the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258 – who was theoretically considered the source of authority of government in Muslim countries, conveyed his disapproval to the Mamluks in a condemnation which stated: "If you are left with no man fit to rule but this woman, then it is our obligation to send you one of ours to take the sultanate."27

     Moreover, as a woman Shajar al-Durr could not fulfill the role of atabak al-asakir, chief commander of the army, traditionally one of the sultan's most important duties. The solution was found in the co-rule of a man, a Mamluk emir, who carried out the tasks of atabak al-asakir on behalf of the queen regnant.28 This also served to reinforce the alliance between Shajar al-Durr and the Mamluks. The formal position of atabak al-asakir, characterizing the army's part in rule, would make possible the future transition of the sultanate to a Mamluk emir without further political upheaval. Thus Izz al-Din Aybak al-Turukmani "one of the middle ranking emirs", was agreed upon to be the new atabak al-asakir.29 Shajar al-Durr even went so far as to marry Aybak in order, as one commentary has it, to make him worthy of his new exalted role.30 It is worthy of mention that it was a common practice of Mamluks to marry their patron's widows. At the same time, despite the marriage she never allowed him to approach her.31

     This arrangement was kept in place for about three months, from May till August 1250. When in July news reached Cairo that the Ayyubids had succeeded in taking back Damascus, the Mamluks attributed their opposition to the fact that the sultanate had been relinquished to a woman. Thus it was decided to remove Shajar al-Durr from the sultanate and to have Aybak take her place.32 Later when other provinces joined the Ayyubid legitimists which was growing stronger under the leadership of the Ayyubid ruler of Damascus,33 Aybak was removed as well and temporarily replaced by an Ayyubid minor until Ayyubid opposition to the Mamluk rule had been extinguished,34 i.e., till the Mamluk victory in the battle of Kurra (1253) which signified the end of the Ayyubid struggle over Egypt.35 Rivalries which had been put aside temporarily, erupted again in full force and the Mamluks were left to fight for power among themselves. Aybak al-Turukmani, decisively assisted by Shajar al-Durr, came out the winner.36 During Aybak's five years of reign, Shajar al-Durr, as she had done since al-SalihAyyub's death, continued to hold the treasury and in effect run the country never allowing Aybak to intervene in state affairs.37 Left no other choice, Aybak spent most of his time with his army guarding Egypt's borders. When Shajar al-Durr learned about Aybak's intentions to marry the daughter of Badr al-Din Lu'lu' (607-57/1211-59), ruler of Mosul, she arranged his murder (655/1257). She was murdered three days later by his former wife, who was supported by Aybak's Mu`izziyya Mamluks from the ranks of which emerged his successor, al- Muzffar Qutuz.38

     Here it is important to mention that in the Euro-Asian steppes, Turkic Mamluks homeland included in the Golden Horde, the northern part of the Mongol empire (13th-15th centuries), Both the Mongol rulers and the population of the Turkish and Mongol tribes allocated active and elevated status to women in their society and continued to do so even after they had embraced Islam.39 Ibn Battuta the 14th-century Arab traveler, described women's position in the Golden Horde of his days as a unique phenomenon saying: "I have seen in this country the wonder of their exalting the women, for they have a higher position than men."40 Turkish women of all social strata were not restricted to the indoors and "did not wear veils [wa-hiya badiyat al-wajh]."41 Women of the lower levels of society were found to hold the occupation of brokers in the market and exhibited their wealth through their extravagant dress, carriages and entourage of servants and maids, while their husbands wore sheepskin hats and coats and looked as if they were their servants.42 Women of the upper class were treated courteously by their husbands and participated in public festivals and ceremonies.43 The queens, the Khan's four wives (al-Khawatin), took an active part in court councils and ceremonies, and they accompanied him even on his journeys.44 During the ceremonies there was no separation between and men and women as was the custom in Middle East Islamic countries.45 In the Khan's court, for example, it was the custom that when his first wife entered, he would stand and approach the door, take her hand and lead her to her seat at his right side. When one of his other wives came in, he would stand in his place while she reached him, then he would hold her hand until she was seated in her place.46

     It is worth of mentioning that the Mongol rulers of Persian Ilkhanate similarly preserved their traditional customs and continued to accord an elevated status to women in their society even after they had been exposed to Islam and the Arabophonic regions of their empire. In the Khan's court in Baghdad it was the custom that when his first wife entered, he would kiss her hand and lead her to her seat by his side.47 After the seizure of Damascus in 1260, the governor of the Mongol Ilkhanate appeared, accompanied by his wife, at the Umayyad Mosque for the investiture ceremony of Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Dakki as qadi al-qudat, the head of the judicial system in Syria. During the ceremony she was seated on a mattress, tarraha, between her husband and Qadi Muhyi al-Din.48

     Bearing in mind that the Turkic Mamluks of al-Salih Ayyub were born in an environment so favorable toward women, it might seem quite natural that they chose to put Shajar al-Durr on the throne. Yet they never went as far as legitimizing a women's rule. This may be explained by the fact that they were purchased as slaves in their homeland when they were still young and while in Egypt they were cut off from their background and became totally dependent on a master who trained them to be loyal to him and faithful to Islam.49 Moreover, it would appear that even though the Mamluks challenged Muslim political tradition when they put a woman on the throne, they were easily swayed by the political sensibilities widespread in the Arabophonic Islamic regions and quick, when the need arose, to replace her by a man. Later, when the Mamluks had consolidated their rule in Egypt, they never again allocated to women any formal roles in government, all the more since they were after all a small alien elite ruling a Muslim Arab country who needed to legitimize their position as traditional rulers.

     Finally, little historical research has as yet been done on women's role in the Mamluk household during the autonomous Mamluk sultanate.50 Should it prove to be the case that, as I suspect, women played a crucial role in the maintenance and functioning of the Mamluk household, as both a social and political unit, then we most likely will find the origins and model of that role in the significant part Shajar al-Durr succeeded in creating for herself in al-Salih Ayyub's household.

Amalia Levanoni is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa. She can be contacted at


Much of this material was originally published in the volume Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubidand Mamluk Eras, vol. III (eds.), U. Vermeulen and J. Van Steenbergen, Uitgeverij Peeters, Leuben, 2001. My thank are due to Uitgeverij Peeters for granting permission to reprint it in the present volume.

1 Al-Sakhawi, Shams al-Din Muhaammad Ibn Abd al-Rahman, al-Daw> al-lami li ahl al-qarn al-tasi, Beirut n.d., vol. XII, p. 16-17; M. A. Athar Ali, "Radiya, EI2, vol. VIII, p. 371. My thanks are due to Professor Frédéric Bauden for bringing this article to my information.

2 The Ayyubids ruled Egypt (1169-1250), Syria and parts of southeastern Anatolia (1183-1266).

3 Götz Schregle, Die Sultanin von Ägypten, Ŝağarat ad-Durr, Wiesbaden 1961, p. 71-76.

4 Ahmad Ibn Ali al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-Suluk li-marifat duwal al-muluk, (ed.) Muhammad Mustafa Ziyada, Cairo 1934, vol. I, p. 330; Muhammad Ibn Salim Ibn Wasil, Muffarij al-kurub fi akhbar Bani Ayyub, Ms. Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Arabe no. 1702 & 1703, 1702 fol. 353a, 354b. See also Schregle, p. 43-44, 45.

5 Ibn Wasil, 1702 fol. 323b-329a; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 280-288; Shams al-Din Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat al-ayan wa-anba> al-zaman, (ed.) Muhammad Muhyi al-Din Abd al-Hamid, Cairo 1948, vol. IV, p. 174; vol. V, p. 302.

6 Ibn Wasil, 1702 fol. 325a, 326b-327a, 329a, 330a, 331a; 1703, fol. 15b, 16b-17a, 19b; Ibn Khallikan, IV, p. 175; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 288; Hasan Ibn Ibrahim al-Yafii, Kitab Jami al-tawarikh, Ms. Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Arabe no. 1543 (this is actually al-Ayni's Iqd al-juman fi ta>rikh ahl al-zaman. See De Slane, Catalogue des Manuscrits Arabes de la Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris 1883, vol. I, p. 291 [hereafter al-Ayni], fol. 77a, 81b; Cl. Cahen, "La Chronique des Ayyubides d'al-Makin b. al-Amid", BEO 15 (1955-1957) (hereafter al-Makin), p. 147, 150, 151; Sibt Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Jawzi, Mir>at al-zaman, (ed.) J. R. Jewett, Chicago 1907, p. 479-80, 481; Qutb al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-Yunini, Dhayl mir>at al-zaman, 1954, vol. I, p. 141; Abd Allah Ibn Aybak Ibn al-Dawadari, Kanz al-durar wa-jami al-ghurar, (ed.) Abd al-Fattah Ashur, Cairo 1972, vol. VII, p. 337; Jamal al-Din Yusuf Ibn Taghri Birdi, al-Nujum al-zahira fi muluk Misr wa'l-Qahira, Cairo 1963, vol. VI, p. 307; Zayn al-Din Umar Ibn al-Wardi, Tatimat al-muhktasar fi akhbar al-bashar, (ed.) Ahmad Rifat al-Badrawi, Beirut 1970, vol. II, p. 246. See also Schregle, p. 39-40.

7 Ibn al-Wardi, II, p. 254; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 288, 316; Imad al-Din Ismail Abu al-Fida>, Kitab al-mukhtasar fi akhbar al-bashar, Cairo, vol. III, p 172; Ahmad Ibn Ali al-Maqrizi, Kitab al-mawaiz wa'l-itibar fi dhikr al-khitat wa'l-athar, Cairo, 1907, vol. III, p. 384.

8 A. Levanoni, "The Mamluks' Ascent to Power in Egypt", Studia Islamica, 72 (1990), p. 130-32.

9 Al-Ayni, fol. 114a; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 362.

10 Harun al-Rashid, the Abbasid ruler (786-809), for example, bequeathed the Caliphate to al-Amin, and the government of Khurasan to al-Ma>mun who was the son of a Persian concubine. See P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton and Bernard Lewis (eds.), The Cambridge History of Islam, Cambridge, 1970, p. 118-19.

11 Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 370; al-Makin, p. 152, 153; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 515; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 300; Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 337a, 340a, 340b.

12 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 324a, 359a; al-Makin, p. 152; Abu al-Fida>, III, p. 167; Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 343, 370, 470-71; Ibn Taghri Birdi, VI, p. 307, 320, 331; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 300; al-Ayni, fol. 84b.

13 David Ayalon, "Aspects of the Mamluk Phenomenon: The Importance of the Mamluk Institution", Der Islam, 53, p. 30-31; 54, p. 207; R. S. Humphreys, "The Emergence of the Mamluk Army", Studia Islamica, 46 (1977), p. 149. See also C. E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids, Edinburgh, 1963, p. 108.

14 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 350b-351a, 356b; 1703, fol. 51b, 52a, 60a; al-Makin, p. 147, 155-56, 157, 158; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 318-19, 320, 326, 329, 332, 338; Ibn Tghri Birdi, VI, p. 324, 326; al-Ayni, fol. 104a, 106a.

15 Ibrahim al-Misri Ibn Wasif Shah, Kitab jawahir al-buhur wa-waqa>i al-umur wa-aja>ib al-duhur wa-akhbar al-diyar al-Misriyya, British Museum (London), Oriental Ms. Or. No. 25731, fol. 64b; Ibn Taghri Birdi, VI, p. 373.

16 Ibn Abd al-Zahir, al-Qadi Muhyi al-Din, al-Rawd al-zahir fi sirat al-Malik al-Zahir, (ed.) Abd al-Aziz al-Khuwaytir, Riyad, 1976, p. 52.

17 Ibn Taghri Birdi, VI, p. 331; Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 67a, 74b; 1702, fol. 359b-360a; al-Ayni, fol. 109a.

18 Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 374, 375; Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 362a-b; 1703, fol. 76b-77a; al-Ayni, fol. 110a; al-Makin, p. 159; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 343-44; Schregle, p. 51.

19 Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 515-16; Schregle, p. 40, 47-48.

20 Al-Ayni, fol. 111a, 113a; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 351, 353; Maqrizi, Khitat, III, p. 385; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 520; Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 382; Ibn Wasif, fol. 61b; Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 78a.

21 Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 382; Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 87b-88a; Ibn Wasif, fol. 61b; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 359; Schregle, p. 49, 54.

22 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 371b; 1703, fol. 89a; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 520; al-Makin, p. 160; Ibn al-Dawadari, VII, p. 382; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 358-59; Schregle, p. 55-58.

23 Ibn Abd al-Zahir, p. 49-50.

24 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 373a; Ibn Abd al-Zahir, p. 52; al-Ayni, fol. 114a; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 362.

25 Muhammad Qamaruddin Khan, "al-Mawardi", in M. M. Sharif (ed.), History of Muslim Philosophy, Wiesbaden, 1963, vol. I, p. 726-31.

26 Ibn Wasif, fol. 62b; al-Ayni, fol. 114a, 115a; Schregle, p. 59-63.

27 Ibn Wasif, fol. 62b; al-Ayni, fol. 115a; Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 373a; Ibn Taghri Birdi, VI, p. 379; Schregle, p. 67-71.

28 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 374a-b; 1703, fol. 93a.

29 Al-Yunini, I, p. 55; Ibn Taghri Birdi, VII, p. 4; Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 373a.

30 Baybars al-Mansuri, al-Tuhfa al-mulukiyya fi al-dawla al-Turkiyya, (ed.) Abd al-Hamid Salih Hamdan, Cairo, 1987, p. 26, 27; Ibn Wasif, fol. 62b; al-Ayni, fol. 118b, 121a-b; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 522; Ibn al-Dawadari, VIII, p. 20; al-Yunini, I, p. 61; Ibn Taghri Birdi, VII, p. 374, 375. For a later date for their marriage see: Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 114a; al-Yunini, I, p. 59; Abu al-Fida>, III, p.191; Ibn al-Wardi, II, p. 278.

31 Al-Yunini, I, p. 60-61; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 402-403.

32 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 376a; Abu al-Fida>, III, p. 183; Ibn al-Dawadari, VIII, p. 13; Ibn al-Wardi, II, p. 268.

33 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 374b-375a, 376b, 376b; 1703, fol. 94a, 95b; al-Makin, p. 161; Abu al-Fida>, III, p. 182, 183; Ibn al-Wardi, II, p. 268; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 508, 518; Baybars al-Mansuri, p. 27-28; al-Ayni, fol. 114b.

34 Ibn Wasil, 1702, fol. 376b; 1703, fol. 95b; al-Ayni, fol. 115a.

35 Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 104a-b, 106b, 109a, 111b; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 384.

36 Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 112b; al-Yunini, I, p. 59; al-Ayni, fol. 124b; Ibn al-Dawadari, VIII, p. 25; Maqrizi, Khitat, III, p. 385; Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 525.

37 Al-Makin, p. 165; Schregle, p. 77-81. Shajar al-Durr actually kept reminding Aybak that without her assistance he never could have reached his position.

38 Ibn Wasil, 1703, fol. 120a; Al-Yunini, I, p. 45; Al-Makin, p. 165; Maqrizi, Suluk, I, p. 402.

39 On the status of women in Mongol and Turkic societies see: Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim al-Lawati Ibn Battuta, Rihlat Ibn Battuta, (ed.) Talal Harb, Beirut, 1987, p. 243, 343. Ibn al-Dawadari, IX, p. 269. See also: Ann K. S. Lambton, "Women of the Ruling House", in idem, Continuity and Change in Medieval Persia, Albany, 1988, p. 258-96.

40 Ibn Battuta (1987), p. 343.

41 Ibid., p. 343, 345-46. See also another edition of Rihlat Ibn Battuta, Beirut, 1960, p. 330.

42 Ibn Battuta (1987), p. 343; Ibn Battuta (1960), p. 330.

43 Ibn Battuta (1987), p. 342-43.

44 Ibid., p. 345-49.

45 Ibid., p. 342, 352-53; Maqrizi, Suluk, II, p. 346.

46 Ibn Battuta (1987), p. 345-46. For similar customs in the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia see: Ibn Battuta (1960), 332-33.

47 Ibn Battuta (1987), p. 243; Ibn Battuta (1960), p. 332-33.

48 Al-Yunini, I, p. 357.

49 The Seljuks and Turkmans, on the other hand, came into the lands of Islam in tribal groups with a strong consciousness of their patriarchal organization and for their own culture and religious attitudes. C. E. Bosworth, "Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks in the Islamic World", in D. S. Richards (ed.), Islamic Civilization, 950-1150, Oxford, 1973, p. 11. For the training of mamluks see: D. Ayalon, "L'esclavage du Mamelouk", Oriental Notes and Studies, 1 (1951), Jerusalem, p. 4-6, 13-15.

50 For the recent work that has been done on women in pre-modern Middle East, see: Fatimah Marnisi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam, Cambridge, 1994. F. Marnisi, Le harem politique, Bruxelles, 1992. Ruth Roded , Women in Islamic Biographical Collections, Boulder, 1994. Ruth Roded, Women in Islam and the Middle East, London, 1999. Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid-Marsot (ed.), Society and the Sexes in Medieval islam, Malibu California, 1979. L. Prince, The Imperial harem, Oxford and New York, 1993. Jonathan P. Berkey, "Circumcision Circumscribed: Female Excision and Cultural Accomodation in the Medieval Near East", International Journal of Middle East Studies, 28 (1996), p. 19-38. Marry Ann Fay, "Women and Waqf: Toward a Reconsideration of Women's Place in the Mamluk Household", International Journal of Middle East Studies, 29 (1997), p. 33-51. Madeline Zilfi, Women in the Ottoman Empire, Leiden, 1997. Nikki Keddi and Beth Baron (eds.), Women in Middle Eastern History, New Haven, 1991. J. Hathaway, "Marriage Alliances and the Role of Women in the Household", in idem, The Politics of Household in Ottoman Egypt, Cambridge, 1997, p. 109-24.



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