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Afghanistan's IslamFrom Conversion to the Taliban$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294134

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294134.001.0001

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Women and Religious Patronage in the Timurid Empire

Women and Religious Patronage in the Timurid Empire

(p.56) 2 Women and Religious Patronage in the Timurid Empire
Afghanistan's Islam

Nushin Arbabzadah

University of California Press

This chapter sheds light on the foundational Timurid period in Afghan history during the fifteenth century that saw important and enduring religious institutions founded in the capital city of Herat and other urban centers. The chapter focuses on the ways in which Timurid women of the ruling class patronized shrine and mosque architecture with their own private funds. The most audacious of these female patrons, Queen Gawhar Shad (r. 1405-47), broke the longstanding traditional taboo that banned women from patronizing mosques. She built not one but two mosques; moreover, the mosques in question were not just ordinary places of worship but were prestigious Friday mosques, institutions that stood at the intersection of political and religious power. The chapter draws on original Persian records alongside contemporary European scholarship to provide an overview of Afghan women’s role in shaping the religious landscape of medieval Afghanistan.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Islam, Timurid, Women, Gender, Patronage, Architecture, Mosques, Shrines, Persian

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