Al-hurra or al hurra (Arabic: حُرَّة, lit. 'free woman') was an Arabic title historically often given to, or used to referred to, women who exercised power or had a position of power or high status.
In a harem, the title al-hurra was often used to refer to a legal wife of aristocratic birth, to distinguish her status from that of the concubine bought at the slave market, who was referred to as jarya, and used to describe a Muslim aristocratic woman who was "free" in the sense that she was not a slave; it is related to the style Sayyida (Mistress or lady), the feminine word of sayyid (Master or Lord). However, while the title Al-hurra was given to women as an alternative to the titles malika (Queen), Sultana (female sultan) and Sitt, (Lady), there was no exact male equivalent to the title of al-hurra.
The title Al-hurra was often granted to women who wielded political power, but did not necessarily mean they were sovereigns: Alam al-Malika and Sayyida al Hurra, for example, bore this title. Both had political offices; not as sovereigns, but as political adviser and governor respectively.
Noted title holders
- Project, Living Arabic. "The Living Arabic Project - Classical Arabic and dialects". www.livingarabic.com. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
- Boloix-Gallardo, Bárbara (2014). "Beyond the Ḥaram: Ibn al-Khaṭīb and His Privileged Knowledge of Royal Nasrid Women". Medieval Encounters. 20: 383–402.
- Mernissi, Fatima; Mary Jo Lakeland (2003). The forgotten queens of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-579868-5.