Despite the numerous studies which were written on women in Andalusia, Dr. Aid’a Khaled insisted on choosing the same topic for her thesis upon which she recently gained her Ph.D. Justifying her choice, she said, “none of the researchers has thoroughly tackled the issues of women in Andalusia.
Those researchers tackled the literary and cultural aspects and confined their interest to the poet woman, without studying the status of women in Andalusian society and her suffering when belonging to the lower classes. Also they did not examine the role and influence of slave girls in social and political life. Therefore, I addressed the topic of the Woman in Andalusia to uncover the secrets and conditions of her role.”
The thesis contains 400 pages divided into three chapters. The first contains the role of the woman in Andalusian society, the second is the role of the woman in literary life and the third is the role of the woman in political, scientific and artistic life.
After completing the research, Dr. Aid’a said in her conclusions ” Through my study, it became clear to me that the closer was woman to the age of Islamic openings, the closer was she to her Islamic spirit, thus became closer to bashfulness and away from triviality and obscenity. Whenever she drifted from that age and indulged in the core of Andalusian life, she became closer to deviating from the Islamic behavior and innocent creativity. She expressed herself courageously in poetry, flattering man as he flattered her; praising, satirizing and competing with man poem by poem, rhyme by rhyme, serious at one time and humorous at another.”
On the role of woman in the literary life, Dr. Aid’a said in her thesis: “in the literary meetings attended by men and women, Andalusian woman showed her poetic talent and developed it through competitions. Some may think that such talents did not inspire a capability to reach tangible creativity; however, the images included in her poetry have indicated that she enjoyed the readiness, nature, ability, efficiency and ambition. She did not differ from man in any field of science, literature and culture.”
Dr, Aid’a admits that what we have known about the literary traces of women in Andalusia are few and scattered in books. The original copies of the women’s work, especially the literary and historical ones in which women poets and writers were mentioned, are still uncovered. She refers the reasons for such a situation to the scarcity of these original writings, negligence of locating them in the world libraries, and the traditional misjudgment on the literature of women as weak and unequal to that of man.
In the chapter on the Role of Woman in Andalusian Society, the researcher said: ” …before that stage, the situation of woman has been fluctuating. But, she remained lower than man’s position from the Pre-Islam era to the Amoui era, in spite of the efforts of the Islamic Sharia’a (Islamic Instructions) to improve the status of the Arab woman.” However, the status of woman in Andalusia is tackled in seven sections that include the human elements of the Andalusian society, where woman was either a Muslim (Arab, Berber, converted to Islam, Sicilian and Mwaladin) or non-Muslim (Jews and Arabist).
The study also mentions the role of the free woman and the slave one in the aristocratic, middle and lower classes. It also elaborated on the logic woman who shared the burdens of life with her husband. The study described the slave women in Andalusia as:” they were divided into two categories: slave women for serving and slave women for pleasure.”
The study also elaborated the ways through which pleasure slaves knew how to reach men’s hearts and minds whatever their social class was. It also tackled the freedom of women, especially Waladda and Nazhoun who were the most famous women; the uniform and cosmetics and the ways of dressing and preparing banquets.
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The thesis mentioned the Islamic and Christian feasts – ways of celebrations – women’s visits to public baths, marriage between Andalusia and Christian Spain, particularly the marriage of Khalifas to Spanish girls, who played a role in transferring the ideas of Andalusian Muslims to the Christians in the north.
Regarding the role of woman in the political, scientific and artistic life, the thesis described the regime system in Andalusia, the state, Emirate, Khilafa, kingdom then last the Sultanate. It also depicted the role of the slave woman in political and social life and describes how she reached a position of power by her cleverness and deceit by her son. An example of this was Sobh El-Bashkinsia, the wife of El Montaser Bellah. The research said that the role of women in practical and religious life was prominent. This section mentions the role of women in writing, handwriting, architecture, especially mosques, in addition to social and charity activities.
The author of the thesis “Woman in Andalusia” says at the end: “it is really necessary to search for the role of women in Arab and Islamic history and recognize her ability to move and develop without being hampered by traditions.