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Malika I: Khayzuran & Zubayda

One born destitute, the other to opulence, two malikas, or queens in Arabic, open our six-part series on some of the most notable historic women leaders in Muslim lands.

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  • History

Malika I: Khayzuran & Zubayda

400

Malika II: Radiyya bint Iltutmish

Deftly symbolizing an aggrieved citizen’s quest for justice, the rightful heir to the Sultanate of Delhi donned a red robe on the eve of battle. She won the people’s support for four years of prosperous rule, but her rivals proved insatiable.

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  • History

Malika II: Radiyya bint Iltutmish

400

Malika III: Shajarat Al-Durr

First woman to claim an Egyptian throne since Cleopatra, Shajarat Al-Durr won an Ayyubid sultan and then a crusader war; founded a Mamluk dynasty and ruled as sultana de facto far longer than de jure— until her storied, violent end.

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  • History

Malika III: Shajarat Al-Durr

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Malika IV: Hürrem Sultan (Roxolana)

Though her Turkish name Hürrem meant “laughing one,” she proved better at breaking barriers —first by marrying the sultan, and later by directing more of the Ottoman Empire’s affairs than any woman before her.
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  • History

Malika IV: Hürrem Sultan (Roxolana)

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Malika V: Nur Jahan

Wife and mother, businesswoman, fashion designer, real estate developer, garden plan-ner, philanthropist devoted to women, battle commander, tiger hunter: For the woman with a royal name meaning “Light of the World,” those were all part of Nur Jahan’s main job—running the Mughal empire.
 
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  • History

Malika V: Nur Jahan

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Malika VI: Sayyida Al-Hurra

When she governed the Moroccan coastal city of Tétouan, the Spanish accused her of organizing piracy, while at home she won respect from both Moroccans and post-1492 Andalusian émigrés. On land and sea, hers was a life charted by crisis.
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  • History

Malika VI: Sayyida Al-Hurra


2021 Calendar: Flavors

2021 Calendar: Flavors

Cooking at home: Many of us are doing more of it than ever. Stories and recipes selected from our own regular “Flavors” section show just how delicious 12 months of discovery can be.
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The Westward Journeys of Buttons

The Westward Journeys of Buttons

We all use them. Most fasten; some decorate. A search for origins points toward the Indus Valley and China. By the Middle Ages, buttons reached Europe along with other garment techniques and fashion influences from lands east. Their stories are as interwoven as the textiles they make possible and as varied as their infinite designs.
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Artists Answer COVID-19

Artists Answer COVID-19

Amid this year’s travel bans, museum and gallery closures, lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, visual artists are responding with fresh imagery and creative collaborations across new platforms to articulate this moment and carry culture forward into the next.
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The Future’s Golden Fiber

The Future’s Golden Fiber

Jute grows in tropical wetlands worldwide but nowhere as organic and plentiful as the deltas of Bangladesh and India, where its golden-hued fibers are inspiring a new generation of biodegradable products from carpets to car seats, clothing to “bioplastic” grocery bags.
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A League of Their Own

A League of Their Own

In the era when baseball emerged as "America" National Pastime," the sons of Syrian Lebanese immigrants were smitten by the sport too— including a leftie slugger in Port Arthur, Texas, named Bill Anawaty.
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Sitar Master of Maryland

Sitar Master of Maryland

With a lifetime of training from leading sitar virtuosos, Alif Laila is one of few women to achieve international recognition with the mesmerizing instrument whose sound evokes the musical identity of the greater Indian subcontinent. She is as passionate about music as she is about encouraging other women.

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FirstLook: East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964

FirstLook: East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964

East Coast of Saudi Arabia, Circa 1952–1964
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Flavors: Tamia—Falafel

Flavors: Tamia—Falafel

An easy Sudanese recipe for this great snack or mezze/appetizer that is probably as popular in the West as in the Middle East, where it originated.
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The Dialogues of Don Quixote

The Dialogues of Don Quixote

Amid the fearful turbulence of the 17th century, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes invented a plot, characters and names that seemed innocently comical, but they cleverly cloaked his insistence that Spain recognize its historical diversity—and Don Quixote became the bestselling novel ever published.

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