There are hundreds of myths and misconceptions around the world and one of them is that Muslim Women are sidelined in every aspect of life. This is one of the weakest yet common concept that we hear from people’s mouth. Well, Salam Planet is here to counter this narration with facts and logic. Following are the six prominent Muslim Women scholars that you need to know:
1. Nafisa Bint Al-Hassan (762-824)
She was the great-great-granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad (Saww). Born in Mecca but spent her later years in Cairo. Due to her contributions to the religion, a mosque in Cairo is named after her. She was brought up with an extensive Islamic education which she learnt from great scholars, memorizing the Quran and learning Ahadith and Islamic Jurisprudence at a young age.
Nafisa Bint Al-Hassan was known for her excessive devotion to worship. Reportedly, she would fast during the day, pray all night and is known for performing Hajj thirty times in her life.
Do you know the creators of Shafi’I School of Jurisprudence and the Hanbali School of Jurisprudence are students of Nafisa Bint Al-Hassan? Those two most prominent scholars of all time were; Abu Abdullah Muhammad Idris Al-Shafi’I and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.
2. Umm Al-Darda Al-Soghra (7th Century)
Umm Al-Darda was not like a normal, casual girl since childhood. She refused to conform to gender norms and often prayed in the men’s rows and sat among males learning the Quran. The practice did not stop even when she grew up, she continued to pray shoulder to shoulder with men and went on to issue a fatwa allowing the practice. A brave thing to do!
Later in life, she grew up to become a jurist, Islamic Scholar and teacher of hadith and fiqh. Eventually, she began lecturing both men and women in the Damascus Mosque. In her words, worship is beyond normal thinking:
“I have sought worship in everything. I did not find anything more relieving to me than sitting with scholars and exchanging [knowledge] with them”
Due to her excellent knowledge, she was a reliable authority for Ahadith and even taught several prominent Islamic figures and scholars, including the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik Bin Marwan as well as the celebrated scholar, theologian and judge Hasan Al-Basri.
3. Shuhdah Al-Baghdadiyyah (10th Century)
Another prominent and pride of Islam and Womankind, Shuhdah Al-Baghdadiyyah was an honourable writer of Baghdad. Known by Al-Baghdadiyyah, she was born in Iran and died in Iraq. Among the women and around the world, she is known as Fakhr an-Nisa which means Pride of Womankind.
Her first teacher was her father who was the famous traditionist Abu Nasr Al-Dinawari, along with this she has been under the influence of many other scholars who accurately transmitted and explained Ahadith. Her teachings of hadith were held in high regard.
Her talent does not end here, she was known for her impeccable skills in calligraphy. The Dean of Cambridge Islamic College, Muhammad Akram Nadwi writes about her ‘In her time, there was no one in Baghdad who had handwriting like hers’.
4. Fatima Al-Samarqandi (12th Century)
Fatima Al-Samarqandi was taught by her distinguished father who himself was a jurist – Mohammad Al-Samaqandi. Under his guidance and teachings, she rose to become a respected scholar and jurist who issued her own fatwas. Next time when you hear someone say, Muslim Women are not brave, bring up the names of these legendary women and tell them they were brave at times when even the word ‘feminism’ was not introduced.
Al-Samarqandi mastered Hanafi Jurisprudence and the sciences of hadith, she also taught Islamic Sciences to both male and female students. She had been a personal counselor for Nur-al-Din Zangi, one of the most famous rulers in Islamic History.
She was a unique woman who valued luxuries over morals and thinking, maybe this was the reason that despite being pursued by kings and princes, she went on to marry one of her father’s students, who himself was a top Hanafi jurist – Alaa al-Kasani. She played a major role in Al-Kasani’s work as well by correcting and editing his legal opinions.
5. Fatima Al-Fudayliyya (18th Century)
The master of Calligraphy; Fatima Al-Fudayliyya, also known as Al-Shaykha Al-Fudayliyya excelled in different Islamic Sciences with a special interest in hadith. Through hard work and dedication, she became a reliable source on hadith with students attending her lectures and receiving certificates from her.
Many students, later on, became prominent scholars and figures including Sheikh Omar Al-Hanafi and Sheikh Muhammad Salih. Towards the end of her life, Al-Fudayliyya settled in Mecca where she founded a public library.
6. Amina Wadud (1952-Present)
Amina Wadud in 2008 sent shockwaves around the world when she became the first woman in Britain to lead British Muslims in mixed congregational prayers and delivered the Friday Sermon. According to her, ‘There is nothing in the Qur’an or the hadith that forbids me from doing this. The prophet did it himself during his time, when he assigned a woman to lead a mixed prayer’.
Amina Wadud is a convert to Islam when she was twenty-years old. She is a professor and international consultant on Islam, Gender and justice. She gives lectures on Islamic and gender studies in several universities and is known for her progressive and ground-breaking views on Islam.
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