Raqs Baladi as Old as History!

I Once Ruled Over Three Continents!

Salome comes from Shalome which in Hebrew (Shalom) and in Farsi (Salam) means Peace, Harmony, Wholeness, Completeness, Prosperity and Greetings!

Salome (/səˈloʊmiː/; Hebrew: שְלוֹמִית, romanized: Shlomit, related to שָׁלוֹם, Shalom "peace"; Greek: Σαλώμη), the daughter of Herod II and Herodias, granddaughter of Herod the Great and stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, is known from the New Testament, where she is not named, and from an account by Flavius Josephus.

In the New Testament, the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas demands and receives the head of John the Baptist. According to Josephus, she was first married to her uncle Philip the Tetrarch, after whose death (AD 34), she married her cousin Aristobulus of Chalcis, thus becoming queen of Chalcis and Armenia Minor.

The gospel story of her dance at the birthday celebration of her stepfather, who had John the Baptist beheaded at her request, inspired art, literature and music over an extended period of time. Among the paintings are those by Titian and Gustave Moreau.

Oscar Wilde's eponymous play, and its subsequent operatic setting by Richard Strauss, are among the literary and musical realisations which endeavoured to portray her.

The story of her dance before Herod with the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter led medieval Christian artists to depict her as the personification of the lascivious woman, a temptress who lures men away from salvation.

Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, notably in regard to the dance mentioned in the New Testament, which is thought to have had an erotic element to it, and in some later transformations it has further been iconized as the Dance of the Seven Veils.

Other elements of Christian tradition concentrate on her lighthearted and cold foolishness that, according to the gospels, led to John the Baptist's death. David Flusser, a scholar of early Christianity, believes that her "biographical profile suggests a normal, moral personality".

In Celebration of the Feminine Divine

Raqs Baladi has descended from a religious dance which bore sacral sense, praised feminine origin, goddesses of fertility and women in general. In the society of that time Belly dance symbolized what was considered as divine mission of each woman: process of conception of the child, incubation and childbirth. As early as 1000 B.C., temple engravings depicting dancers have been found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece.

They emergence of belly dance is connected with the ceremonies worshiping of the Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Greek Aphrodite, Mesopotamian Ishtar, Marduk and Innana, all of whom are personifying an image of Great Mother Goddess; The Feminine Divine, The Masculine Divine, Fertility and Power.

Khawla bint al-Azwar (Arabic: خولة بنت الازور‎) was an Arab female warrior during the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and was one of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (صحابه) and later a military leader. She has been described as one of the greatest female military leaders in history and was once compared with Khalid Bin Walid by the opponents in the battlefield. She was the sister of Dhiraar bin Al-Azwar, the soldier and commander of the Rashidun army during the 7th century Muslim conquest. Born sometime in the seventh century, daughter of Malik or Tareq Bin Awse, one of the chiefs of the Banu Assad tribe, Khawlah was well known for her leadership in battles of the Muslim conquests in parts of what are today Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. She fought side by side with her brother Dhirrar in many battles, including the decisive Battle of Yarmouk in 636 against the Byzantine empire. On the 4th day of the battle she led a group of women against the Byzantine army and defeated its chief commander and later was wounded during her fight with a Greek soldier.

Born sometime in the seventh century in Arabia (modern-day Saudi Arabia), Khawlah was the daughter of one of the chiefs of Bani Assad tribe. Her family was among the first converts to Muhammaden. Her father's name was either Malik or Tareq Bin Awse; he was also known as al-Azwar.

Her talent first appeared during the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab in 634, fought during the Siege of Damascus, in which her brother Zirrar (or Deraar) was leading the Muslim forces and was wounded and taken prisoner by the Byzantine army. Khalid ibn Walid took his mobile guard to rescue him. Khawlah accompanied the army and rushed on the Byzantine rearguard all alone. In her armor and typical loose dress of Arabian warriors she was not recognized as a woman, until she was asked by Khalid about her identity.

In the Battle of Ajnadin, Khawlah had accompanied the Muslim forces to provide medical attention to wounded soldiers. After her brother Diraar was captured by the Byzantine forces, Khawlah took a knight's armor, weapons, and mare, wrapping herself in a green shawl. She fought the Byzantine battalion, who were attacking Muslim soldiers. Khalid bin Walid, the leader of the Muslim forces, ordered the soldiers to charge the Byzantine. Many of the Muslim soldiers thought that Khawlah was Khalid until Khalid appeared. The Muslims defeated the Byzantines, who fled the battlefield. When Khalid found Khawlah, she was covered in blood. He asked her to remove her veil. After refusing several times, Khawlah revealed her identity. Khalid ordered his army to chase the fleeing Byzantines, with Khawlah leading the attack. After a search, the Muslim prisoners were found and freed. One of the Rashidun army commanders, Shurahbil ibn Hassana, is reported to have said about her that:

This warrior fights like Khalid ibn Walid, but I am sure he is not Khalid.

In another battle, Khawlah was captured after falling from her horse. After being taken to a camp with other women prisoners, Khawlah was to be taken to the leader's tent as he intended to rape her. Instead, Khawlah roused the other prisoners, who used the tent poles as weapons and attacked the Byzantine guards. According to Al Waqidi, they managed to kill five Byzantine knights with Khawlah taking credit for one, including the Byzantine who insulted her.

Many streets and schools in Saudi Arabia, are named after her. Jordan issued a stamp in her honor as part of the "Arab Women in History." Many Arab cities have schools and institutions carrying the name of Khawla Bint al-Azwar. An Iraqi all-women military unit is named the Khawlah bint al-Azwar unit in Khawlah's honor. In the United Arab Emirates, the first military college for women, Khawlah bint Al Azwar Training College, is also named for her.

Queens of Bellydance!

Egyptian Dance of The Pharaohs


Most Bellydancers used to be Queens, Princesses or Warriors.

Many of these warriors would kill and murder in order to Achieve Glory.

They were presented to the monarchs as heroes of their nations and got to spend a night with the King, they were the Queens of the Night.

Some of these dancers still cant let go of their swords!

Some still worship it and put it on thier heads, they only dance because they are haunted by the ghosts of the past & the people they have killed! Eventually they learn to dance instead and make amends for their sins of the past!

Many are still fighting and resisting dancing, some push the pleasures down (to a certain area) because sexual pleasures are more enjoyable than bellydancing half naked in front of lewd men for them!

Some put their scarfs on their heads instead of around their hips and many resist the urge to dance because its considered slutty in many cultures of the world.

They dont like to show skin & be sensual (which is a feminine thing to do) and even resist and wear the chador hijab (litteral translation "tent"; because they made love in them before) instead...

In India the women only show their belly (Sari) because thats all they are wiling to reveal...

Some have even been fighting the Islamization Process of (un-veiling) for thousands of years (i.e. Iranian Revolution) & hate unveiling their secrets...

Some even secretly worship their swords!

Because it saved their lives during battle!


Some made fun of the court dancers and even mocked them as sluts and instead fought and killed humans for glory in order to get the attention of the princes and kings and sleep with them...

These Princess Warriors never truly whole heartedly surrendered or accepted submission to God, unveiled and\or layed down their swords in order to become peaceful...

It is important to note that women all around the world dance sensually and it considered a very normal feminine thing to do all around the globe...

These women need to heal from these wounds of battle and this cannot be forced upon them, rather this is part of the healing & self-realization process...

It is also important to note that Bellydancing and Raqs Baladi are considered the Most Healing, Sacred, Mystical & Islamic dances of the Middle East...

You really have to be extremely humble & lower your ego and take a lot of nonsense as a musician in order to empower these strong independent women in every imagineable way...

It's really not that fun, not being the center of attention and getting all the love, respect and honor that is awarded and comes with playing Middle Eastern Classical Music and being a Classical Musician...

People look down upon Raqs Baladi musicians and refer to them as Motreb; a derogatory term, The same applies to playing at Bellydance venues instead of well established Classical music venues, which is seriously looked down upon as well...

Based on IMPERIAL & ROYAL COURT DANCE traditions, these strong willed and independent women need strong willed and confident men and in order to be empowered and you should always empower them and their domain & the domains they are located in...

May you be successful on your path of healing and self-realization and be joyous in all your endeavors, art and dance which has been passed on to us through-out history!

Hopefully by preserving this beautiful and joyous music and dance which traces its roots to Pre-Historic times along with these beautiful traditional rhythms (mizan, iqa, vazn, darb, dawr, adwar) that are played as Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dance rhythms or as accompaniment to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean melodies we can pass on the beauty of these traditions to the next generations.

-Shirzad Sharif

God Willing