For me personally, the history of ruling women in Muslim history is a history of silence, exclusion, segregation and oblivion. Women strongly participated in Muslim politics and social affairs in the first generations after the Prophet Muhammad’s era. Then, step by step, the androcentric interpretations of Quran and Sunnah put women aside and caused their progressive horizontal segregation by prohibiting them from participation in the social and political life of the Ummah.
For Islamic feminism today, it is of central importance to stress the participation of women in Muslim history, and to show the insurmountable obstacles they had to shoulder to fight for their difficult and proscribed political career in male-dominated societies. To rediscover socio-political female power in Muslim societies today, it is essential to read books like “İslam Devletinde Kadın Hükümdarlar.”
It was written by Dr. Bahriye Üçok, a Turkish historian, Islam expert and feminist in 1965, as PhD thesis at the University of Ankara — where she also taught for years until her untimely in 1990 death by parcel bomb at her house. In order to reaffirm the importance of female political participation in our time, we must rediscover these forgotten books about Muslim rulers in history.