Saturday, March 7, 2009

Soraya Tarzi: Queen of Afghanistan

Queen Soraya Tarzi (1899-1968) was one of the most eminent woman of Afghan and Oriental history. She is the only woman to appear on the list of rulers in Afghanistan, although wife of King Amanullah Khan. She is credited to be one of the first and most powerful Muslim/Afghan/Middle Eastern female activists.

Queen Soraya was the first Muslim consort who appeared in public together with her husband — unheard of at the time. She participated with him in the hunting parties, riding on horseback, and in some Cabinet meetings. She was present at Military Parades with the king. During the war of Independence, she visited the tents of wounded soldiers, talked to them, offered them presents and comfort. She accompanied the king even in some rebellious provinces of the country which was a very dangerous thing to do at that time.

King Amanullah Khan publicly campaigned against the veil, against polygamy, and encouraged education of girls not just in Kabul but also in the countryside. At a public function, Amanullah said that "Islam did not require women to cover their bodies or wear any special kind of veil." At the conclusion of the speech, Queen Soraya tore off her "veil" in public and the wives of other officials present at the meeting followed this example.With the help of Queen Soraya, women were encouraged to get an education and in that attempt, 15 young women were sent to Turkey for higher education in 1928. Soraya was very instrumental in enforcing change for women and publicly exhorted them to be active participants in nation building.

In 1929 the King abdicated in order to prevent a civil war and went into exile. Queen Soraya lived in Rome, Italy with her family in exile, having been invited by Italy, which was a monarchy at that time.She died on the 20th of April, 1968 in Rome, Italy.The funeral was escorted by the Italian military team to the Rome airport, before being taken to Afghanistan where a solemn state funeral was held. She is buried in the family mausoleum in Jalalabad, next to her husband the King, who had died eight years earlier.


  1. it's good to hear that women like her has given so much to history and culture which is highly conventional...

  2. I'm astonished because Soraya Tarzi: Queen of Afghanistan seems like my grand mother I feel so proud for that because she was an incredible woman.

  3. What this means to me is that the teachings of Islam has deteriorated instead of progressed. it has turned gradually from a decent religion, to a teaching of self centered self styled mullahs who manipulated the explanations in the al koran for their selfish reasons. ALL HAIL THE KING AND QUEEN! of blessed memory, a good place shall not be denied them in the hereafter.