New Book: Queens and Prophets

Emran El-Badawi Discussion

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am happy to announce the release of my new book, Queens and Prophets: How Arabian Noblewomen and Holy Men Shaped Paganism, Christianity and Islam (Oneworld, 2022)

Arab noblewomen of late antiquity were instrumental in shaping the history of the world. Between Rome’s intervention in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab conquests, they ruled independently, conducting trade and making war. Their power was celebrated as queen, priestess and goddess. With time some even delegated authority to the most important holy men of their age, influencing Arabian paganism, Christianity and Islam.

Empress Zenobia and Queen Mavia supported bishops Paul of Samosata and Moses of Sinai. Paul was declared a heretic by the Roman church, while Moses began the process of mass Arab conversion. The teachings of these men survived under their queens, setting in motion seismic debates that fractured the early churches and laid the groundwork for the rise of Islam. In sixth-century Mecca, Lady Khadijah used her wealth and political influence to employ a younger man then marry him against the wishes of dissenting noblemen. Her husband, whose religious and political career she influenced, was the Prophet Muhammad.

A landmark exploration of the legacy of female power in late antique Arabia, Queens and Prophets is a corrective that is long overdue.

Read a sample:





Dr. Emran El-Badawi
Chair, Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Program Director, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
University of Houston