Essay on The Harem – A Rare a Privilege of the Rich

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The Harem – A Rare a Privilege of the Rich Harems conjure up images of belly dancers moving through smoke in exotic settings. Religious justification of subjugating women to be servants and sexual slaves is a common misnomer as are the images of belly dancers. Descriptions of harems by writers and society may be misleading for they hold the forbidden fruit, women cut off from society existing for man’s sexual pleasure. In actuality, harems were a privilege of those who could afford them and while not outlawed by religion, not required either. The common conception of a harem that is true is the seclusion of women. The Sultan’s harem in Ottoman society during the latter part of the eighteenth century shows how…show more content…
The duties of these two offices were split with the Lady Intendant overseeing discipline and the Treasurer overseeing the economics of the Harem. The last two categories were Pupils and servants. Pupils were slave-girls in training for the higher positions, which they could only rise to if a position became vacant. Servants on the other hand were not trained to rise to any station.5[5] This extensive harem with its own governing was possible due to high economic position. A harem was not a religious invention as it only occurred if there was enough money to support it. Harems did not exist in Muslim countries until it was financially feasible, which occurred around the time of ‘Umar, the Second Caliph, when economic conditions in Arabia changed as Arab conquests expanded. Conquests of Syria, Iraq and other parts of Western Asia brought with them land and wealth. A wealthy class emerged out of these conquests with new societal impacts. Siddiqi describes the development the wealthy class brought: The appearance of feudalism, the effect of social contacts with the people of the conquered countries and the coming into being of a leisured class devoted to the pursuit of physical pleasures contributed to lower the general standard of sex morality among the Muslims. The kings and monarchs in the Muslim countries and along with them the courtiers and aristocrats developed the institution of
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