Harem (i)


‘Its prevalence among the Mohammedans has been established by the following passage of the Koran: “And speak unto the believing women, that they restrain their eyes, and preserve their modesty, and discover not their ornaments, except what necessarily appeareth thereof; and let them throw their veils over their bosoms, and not show their ornaments, unless to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or unto such men as attend them and have no need of women [eunuchs], or unto children.” […]

The inmates of the harem consist of a wife or wives and of any number of female slaves, some of whom are kept merely as servants to cook, to clean the rooms, and to wait upon the wives and concubines.

It is estimated, however, by the best informed travellers, that only one man in 20 has more than one wife. It is only the very rich that maintain populous harems, and many of these are content with one wife. In frequent instances the wife who will not tolerate a second spouse in the harem will permit the husband to keep concubines for the sake of having them to wait upon her. It is said that Mohammedan women do not dislike the seclusion in which they are kept, but take a pride in it as an evidence of their value. If the husband permits them to be freely seen by other men, they regard his liberality as indicative of indifference.’

– Ripley. G., Dana. C.A., Ed. (1879) The American Cyclopædia – A Popular Dictionary Of General Knowledge New York, United States: D. Appleton and Company (Entrance: “Harem” [between “Hare Lip” and “Harfleur”], written by Parke Godwin).

1 thought on “Harem (i)

  1. It is said that Mohammedan women do not dislike the seclusion in which they are kept, but take a pride in it as an evidence of their value.” – I strongly suspect that those are the words of someone on the outside of a burqa. Hiding a woman from the world is NOT a sign of her value, rather an indication of her man’s insecurity.

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