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net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2
A Glimpse at Early Women Islamic Scholars * Dr. Mohammd Akram Nadwi
Both men and women today need to revive the rich Islamic heritage of Muslim women scholars. Related Links
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 The following is a transcript of a lecture delivered by Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi, a Research Fellow in Oxford University's Centre for Islamic Studies, on the role of women scholars in preserving and transmitting prophetic tradition (Hadith) in Islam. The original transcript has been edited by Imam Zaid Shakir to enhance readability. From the very beginning of the human saga, Allah makes it quite clear that men and women are equal beings created from one single soul, sharing the same father and mother, and subservient unto the same Lord. The verse mentioned above came to the Messenger of Allah (peace upon him) at a time when women were being humiliated and tortured. Allah says: […and when the female child, buried alive, will be asked: For what sin was she killed.] (At-Takwir 81:8-9) This refers to an ancient practice of the Arabs (and even some modern societies through abortion) who would kill their female children from fear of being humiliated in the community, or out of fear that they would not have the means to provide for them. Women Scholars of Hadith (Part 1) Women Scholars of Hadith (Part 2) The Story of the Qur’an Women: The Spiritual Aspect Position of Women in Islam: Economic Aspect Position of Women in Islam — Social Aspect Hadith Textual Criticism: A Reconsideration The Sunnah: A Source of Civilization What is the Sunnah It Is Reported That The Prophet Said…
Islam came to eradicate these ignorant practices, amongst others, and after twentythree years of prophetic teachings, it had conferred unto women a status that was previously unthinkable. The first revelation: [Read in the name of your Lord who created…] (Al-`Alaq 96:1) left the Prophet (peace upon him) severely shaken, for he could not comprehend such an event happening to an unlettered, orphaned, desert Arab.
It is related that he was consoled by Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) who believed in him and comforted him in a time of great need and distress. She was the backbone of his initial efforts for the advancement of the new faith, and a noble business woman of high lineage.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 After three years of secrecy he was ordered by Allah to call his own family to the faith. He (peace upon him) gathered his family and openly called upon the tribe of Hashim and the tribe of `Abdul-Muttalib to believe in his message. The Prophet demonstrated that women possess independent religious Towards the end of the narration of this event, he (peace upon responsibility that him) specifically says to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib (may has no connection to Allah be pleased with him): "I cannot benefit you on the Day their gender. of Judgment." He uttered the same statement to his aunt, Safiyyah bint ‘Abdul-Muttalib and to his daughter, Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with both of them). He added: "Ask me of my wealth in this world, but on the Day of Judgment I cannot avail you in any way." In this address the Prophet (peace upon him) specifically named two women and one man, demonstrating that women possess independent religious responsibility that has no connection to their gender. This independence in faith is exemplified by the fact that the wives of Noah and Lot (peace upon them) both rejected faith. Hence, the Qur'an affirms that even the wife of a Prophet is free to believe or disbelieve.
Furthermore, Umm Habibah became a believer while her father, Abu Sufyan, (may Allah be pleased with them both), was a staunch opponent of the Prophet (peace upon him). He possessed neither the power nor privilege to influence her independent choice. At the second Pledge of `Aqabah, a covenant that involved specific political and strategic obligations, the Prophet (peace upon him) took an oath from both men and women. He was not content to have women confined to their houses, totally divorced from any involvement in public affairs. Women Perserving the Qur'an
The Qur'an, the most sacred and important source in Islam, was memorized by many of the companions. After the Battle of Yamamah, where a large number of those memorizers were killed, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) advised Abu Bakr to issue a standardized edition of the entire Qur'an in the dialect of Quraish, whose protection he vouchsafed.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) issued such an edition. After his death it passed into the protection of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), and after his passing, it was given to Hafsah bint `Umar (may Allah be pleased with her) to be carefully guarded and preserved. During the caliphate of `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) it was noticed that divergent and erroneous recitations of the Qur'an were emerging among the newly converted nonArab people in places like Armenia and Azerbaijan. In the time of the Companions, the question never arose concerning the validity of learning directly from women.
`Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) then borrowed the edition of the Qur'an in Hafsah's protection (may Allah be pleased with her) to make six standardized copies to send to the major political and cultural centers in the Islamic realm. He ordered all nonstandardized editions to be burned. It is clear here that no one questioned Hafsah's trustworthiness (may Allah be pleased with her), as to whether she had altered the edition vouchsafed to her in any way. Women and Hadith Studies In the time of the Companions, the question never arose concerning the validity of learning directly from women. If we were to consider, for example, the books of Prophetic tradition (Hadith), in every chapter you will find women narrating as well as men. Imam Hakim Naisapuri states: "One fourth of our religion depends on the narrations of women. Were it not for those narrations, we would lose a quarter of our religion." For example, Abu Hanifah considers there to be four units of supererogatory prayer before the obligatory noon prayer, whereas the remaining Imams say that there are only two. The latter depend on the narration of `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), while Abu Hanifah relies on Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) and the other wives of the Prophet (peace upon him).
Abu Hanifah argues that since the Prophet (peace upon him), used to pray supererogatory prayers in his house, the narration of his wives (may Allah be pleased with them) is stronger.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Similarly, major events, such as the beginning of the call to the prophetic office, were specifically narrated by women. `Ai'shah alone narrates the tradition detailing the circumstances of the first revelation, as recorded by Imam Bukhari, immediately after the hadith mentioning that actions are judged based on the intention accompanying them. To give similar examples, we all know that performing ablution is essential for the validity of ritual prayer (salah). A female companion, Rubiyya bint Muawidh ibn Afrah (may Allah have mercy on her), whose family members died in the Battle of Uhud, was a great narrator of Hadith. "There are many men who have fabricated Hadith. However, no woman in the The companions would go to learn from her despite the fact that history of Islam Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, and has been accused `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with them) were all of fabrication." present in Madinah. She was regarded as the expert in the performance of ablution. Her students included the likes of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) the great Qur'anic exegete, and also a member of the family of the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah upon him). He never asked: "Why should I learn from her when I am from the family of the Prophet and great exegete?" The same is true for Ali Zain ul-Abideen, the great grandson of the Prophet (peace upon him) and a great scholar himself. Their philosophy was to go to whoever possessed knowledge, irrespective of their gender. Interestingly, there is no single Hadith which has been rejected from a woman on account of her being a fabricating liar. Imam Dhahabi affirms: "There are many men who have fabricated Hadith. However, no woman in the history of Islam has been accused of fabrication." In light of this, if the intellectual integrity of anyone should be questioned, it should be that of men. Women have always truthfully conveyed religious knowledge. Amrah bint Abdur-Rahman was amongst the greatest of the female Successors, the generation that came after that of the companions of the Prophet (peace upon him). She was a jurist, a mufti, and a Hadith specialist. Her narrations can be found in Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, and other compilations. She narrated how the Prophet (peace upon him), performed ablution after actually witnessing his performance of the purificatory ritual.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 The great Caliph `Umar ibn ‘Abdul-`Aziz used to say: "If you want to learn Hadith go to Amrah." Imam Zuhri, who is credited with compiling the first systematically edited compilation of Hadith used to say: "Go to Amrah, she is the vast vessel of Hadith." During that time, the Judge of Madinah ruled in a case involving a Christian thief from Syria who had stolen something. The judge had ordered that his hand to be severed. When Amrah bint Abdur-Rahman heard of this decision, she immediately told one of her students to go tell the judge that he cannot severe the man's hand because he had stolen something whose value was less than a single gold coin (dinar). As soon as he heard what Amrah had said, he ordered that the man be released, unharmed. He did not question her authority, nor did he seek a second opinion from other scholars, who were quite numerous in Madinah at the time. They included the likes of Sa`id ibn Al-Musayyib. This incident is recorded in the Muwatta' of Imam Malik, and this ruling is also his opinion in such cases. One of great Successors, Umm Darda, taught in both Damascus, in the great Umayyad Mosque, and Jerusalem. Her class was attended by Imams, jurists, and Hadith scholars. The powerful Caliph Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, who ruled an empire stretching from Spain to India, had a teaching license from `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who was considered the greatest jurist of his time in Madinah. When `Abdullah reached old age, the people asked him: "Who should we seek religious verdicts from after you?" He replied: "Marwan has a son (Abdul-Malik), who is a jurist so ask him." Hence, Abdul-Malik was endorsed by Abdullah. Yet even Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan would attend the classes of Umm Darda and he would never feel ashamed of learning from her.
Furthermore, he would humbly serve her. It has been recorded that when Umm Darda was teaching she would lean on the shoulder of Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, due to her being advanced years, to go to mosque for salah. He would help her return to her place of teaching after the prayer.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 The fact that these women taught men who were themselves regarded as great scholars indicates the respect and status they had attained. The mosque of the Prophet (peace upon him) is undoubtedly one of the most sacred places in Islam, and his blessed grave is even more sacred. Around the beginning of the 8th century of the Muslim calendar, Fatima bint Ibrahim ibn Jowhar, a famous teacher of Al-Bukhari, under whom both Imams Dhahabi and Al-Subki studied the entirety of Sahih Al-Bukhari appeared.
When she came for the pilgrimage (Hajj) her fame was such that as soon as the students of Hadith heard that she had reached Madinah, they requested her to teach in the mosque of the Prophet (peace upon him).
Ibn Rushayd Al-Subki, who traveled from Marrakesh, describes one of her classes thus: "She was sitting in front of the blessed head of Prophet (peace upon him), and [due to her advanced years] she would lean on his grave. She would finish by writing and signing the license to transmit her narrations (ijazah ), personally, for all of the Hadiths that were read by every student present." This, and similarly stories, makes it clear that women can teach in the best of mosques. Pathetically, today there are debates in the Muslim world as to whether they can even come to the mosque for prayer. This is an indication of our ignorance of our own Islamic heritage, and of our digression from the practices of our pious predecessors. Aishah bint Abdul-Hadi used to teach in the grand mosque of Damascus. She was appointed by the Sultan of that time as the Master of Hadith and taught the compilation of Imam Al-Bukhari. She represented the whole community and they could not find any man better than her. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, considered by many to be the greatest of all latter day Hadith scholars, traveled to Damascus and studied more than one hundred books with her. We do not have a
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Today, it would be difficult to find a "sheikh" who even knows from women, the names of her books, to say nothing of having read them. In because it was addition to her intellectual acumen, her chain of narration in forgotten by the Hadith is regarded as the strongest from her generation back to male Hadith the Prophet (peace upon him). Between her and Imam Alscholars. Bukhari are eight transmitters, and between Imam Al-Bukhari and the Prophet (peace upon him) there are variously, three, four or five transmitters. No other chain of narrators allows one to reach the Prophet (peace upon him) with an equal or smaller number of narrators. If we consider the great role of women such as Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with her and her father) in the compilation of the Qur'an, and the role of women like Aishah bint Abdul-Hadi in preserving and accurately conveying Hadith, it is clear that the two most fundamental sources of our religion have been secured with the aid and blessing of women. Fatimah Al-Juzdani, a great scholar from Isfahan in present-day Iran, read one of the great books of Hadith, Al-Mu`jam Al-Kabeer, with Abu Bakr ibn Rida, who himself studied the entirety of the book with its author, Imam At-Tabarani. This book has been published in thirty-seven volumes (unfinished). After mastering the book, she subsequently taught it many times.
Not a single scholar alive today has studied this book, or even part of it with a teacher. Furthermore, we do not have a single narration of this book except from women, because it was forgotten by the male Hadith scholars. In the time of Ibn Taymiyya, there were other scholars like Imam Dhahabi, Al-Mizzi, Al-Birzali, Tajuddin Al-Subqi, and a little later, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Nasiruddin Al-Dimishqui, and Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani. This was the golden age of Hadith, when the development of Hadith literature and teaching was at its peak. Not only were these men scholars, they were also reformers of their society. At this very time, there was a woman in Syria, who was also known for her scholarship and the powerful positive influence she had on society. She helped in the reformation of communities in Damascus and Cairo by enjoining good and forbidding evil. Ibn Kathir, the student of Ibn Taymiyya, has written in his highly acclaimed work of
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 history, Al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya: "She reformed society by enjoining good and forbidding evil, she accomplished what men are unable to do, that is to say, she did more than the male scholars of her time." This testimony was written by a man. Hence, no one can say it is the biased opinion of a woman, and thereby question its authenticity. This was a golden age full of proactive, confident and talented women. Hisham ibn `Urwah ibn Zubair (may Allah be pleased Not only were women with him), is the teacher of Imam Malik, Abu Hanifa, scholars allowed to give Sufyan al-Thawri, Saeed Qahtan, and is acknowledged as binding religious verdicts, a great Hadith scholar of that era. The most reliable but if they differed with Hadiths narrated by him, found in both Bukhari and their male contemporaries Muslim, are those he narrates from his wife, Fatimah bint there would be absolutely Mundhir. Sadly, many Muslim men today would not no objections concerning marry a woman more knowledgeable than themselves. their judgement. The men of our past would proudly marry and learn from them. One of the best compilations in Hanafi fiqh is the masterpiece Badaya al-Sanaya by Imam Kasani, whose wife was Fatimah Al-Samarqandiyya, daughter of Ala'addin AlSamarqandi. This book is a commentary on Tuhfat al-Fuqaha' written by the latter. Fatimah was a great expert in Hadith and other religious sciences.
Imam Kasani's students narrate: "We saw our teacher at times would leave the classroom when he could not answer a certain difficult question. After a while he would return to elucidate the answer in great detail. Only later on did we learn that he would go home to put the same question to his wife in order to hear her explanation." Clearly, he depended on his wife in his scholarly life. Not only were women scholars allowed to give binding religious verdicts (fatwas), but if they differed with their male contemporaries there would be absolutely no objections concerning their pronouncements. This was apparent from the earliest period. Illustrative of this is the opinion of Fatimah bint Qais (may God be pleased with her), who said that a husband need not provide support for his irrevocably divorced wife during her period of waiting (‘iddah). She based her opinion on a narration from the Prophet (peace upon him). Despite the fact that `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and other senior companions disagreed with her, based on their understanding of a verse in the Qur'an,
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 they did not question her faith, impose sanctions on her, nor did they prevent her from continuing to narrate the Hadith and issuing her fatwa.
This incident is interesting in that it presents the opinion of a woman that advances a ruling that is not deemed favorable to woman. In so doing she opposes an opinion advanced by men that is deemed favorable to women. If this incident had occurred in our times it would have surely been the point of much contention and discussion. The above are just some of the evidence that establishes the enormous contribution of women to the Islamic scholarly enterprise. The book it is excerpted from contains many more arguments and can be found at http://www.interfacepublications.com. I hope that this article empowers us to help women attain the status and dignity that was given to them by our pious predecessors, based on the inspiration they received from the leader of all the prophets, our exemplary master, Muhammad, the chosen one, (peace and mercy of God upon him).
* This article originally appeared in www.newislamicdirections.com. It is republished here with kind permission. Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi is currently a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford. He specialized and taught Hanafi fiqh at the Nadwat al-‘Ulama (India). He has written over20 books in Arabic — biographical studies of Islamic scholars, Arabic grammar and syntax, Qur’anic sciences and Hadith sciences. He is currently working on the introduction to a (just completed) 40-volume biographical dictionary of women scholars of hadith in the Islamic world. He has just begun to write books in English. The following are forthcoming in 2007: al-Fiqh al-Islami (Angelwing); al-Muhaddithat: Women Scholars in Islam (Interface Publications,October 2006); and Madrasah Life: A Day in the Life of a Student in Nadwatul Ulama (al-Turath Publications).
Women Scholars of Hadith (Part 1) *
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 By Dr. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi
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In the Early Days of Islam In the Period of the Successors The Compilation of Hadith
Part 1 Part 2
History records few scholarly enterprises, at least before modern times, in which women have played an important and active role side by side with men. The science of Hadith forms an outstanding exception in this respect. Islam, as a religion which (unlike Christianity) refused to attribute gender to the Godhead, (1) and never appointed a male priestly elite to serve as an intermediary between creature and Creator, started life with the assurance that while men and women are equipped by nature for complementary rather than identical roles, no spiritual superiority inheres in the masculine principle. (2) As a result, the Muslim community was happy to entrust matters of equal worth in God's sight to both men and women. Only this can explain why, uniquely among the classical Western religions, Islam produced a large number of outstanding female scholars, on whose testimony and sound judgment much of the edifice of Islam depends. In the Early Days of Islam Since Islam's earliest days, women took a prominent part in the preservation and cultivation of Hadith, and this function continued down the centuries. At every period in Muslim history, there lived numerous eminent women scholars of Hadith, treated by their brethren with reverence and respect. Entries on very large numbers of them are to be found in the biographical dictionaries. During the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings After the Prophet's death, be upon him), many women were not only the instance many women Companions, for the evolution of many hadiths, but were also their particularly his wives, were transmitters to their sisters and brothers in faith. (3) After looked upon as vital the Prophet's death, many women Companions, custodians of knowledge. particularly his wives, were looked upon as vital custodians of knowledge, and were approached for instruction by the other Companions, to whom they readily dispensed the rich store which they had gathered in the Prophet's company. The names of Hafsah, Umm Habibah, Maymunah, Umm Salamah, and
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 `A'ishah, are familiar to every student of Hadith as being among its earliest and most distinguished transmitters. (4) In particular, `A'ishah is one of the most important figures in the whole history of Hadith literature—not only as one of the earliest reporters of the largest number of Hadith, but also as one of their most careful interpreters. In the Period of the Successors In the period of the Successors, too, women held important positions as scholars of Hadith. Hafsah, the daughter of Ibn Sirin, (5) Umm Ad-Darda' the Younger (d. AH 81/700 CE), and `Amrah bint `Abdur-Rahman, are only a few of the key women scholars of Hadith of this period. Umm Ad-Darda' was held by Iyas ibn Mu`awiyah, an important scholar of Hadith of the time and a judge of undisputed ability and merit, to be superior to all the other Hadith scholars of the period, including the celebrated masters of Hadith like Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Ibn Sirin. (6) `Amrah was considered a great authority on traditions related by `A'ishah. Among her students, Abu Bakr ibn Hazm, the celebrated judge of Madinah, was ordered by the caliph `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz to write down all the traditions known on her authority. (7) After them, `Abidah Al-Madaniyyah, `Abdah bint Bishr, These devout women came Umm `Umar Ath-Thaqafiyyah, Zaynab the from the most diverse granddaughter of `Ali ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, Nafisah backgrounds, indicating bint Al-Hasan ibn Ziyad, Khadijah Umm Muhammad, that neither class nor gender `Abdah bint `Abdur-Rahman, and many other women were obstacles to rising excelled in delivering public lectures on Hadith. These through the ranks of Islamic devout women came from the most diverse backgrounds, scholarship. indicating that neither class nor gender were obstacles to rising through the ranks of Islamic scholarship. For example, `Abidah, who started life as a slave owned by Muhammad ibn Yazid, learned a large number of hadiths with the teachers in Madinah. She was given by her master to Habib Dahhun, the great Hadith scholar of Spain, when he visited the holy city Jerusalem on his way to the Hajj. Dahhun was so impressed by her learning that he freed her, married her, and brought her to Andalusia. It is said that she related 10,000 hadiths on the authority of her Madinan teachers. (8) Zaynab bint Sulayman (d. AH 142/759 CE), by contrast, was princess by birth. Her father was a cousin of As-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid dynasty, and had been a governor of Basrah, Oman, and Bahrain during the caliphate of Al-Mansur. (9)Zaynab, who received a fine education, acquired a mastery of Hadith, gained a reputation as one of the most distinguished women scholars of Hadith of the time, and counted many important men among her pupils. (10) The Compilation of Hadith
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 This partnership of women with men in the cultivation of the Prophetic Tradition continued in the period when the great anthologies of Hadith were compiled. A survey of the texts reveals that all the important compilers of Hadith from the earliest period received many of them from women teachers: every major collection gives the names of many women as the immediate authorities of the author. And when these works had been compiled, the women scholars themselves mastered them and delivered lectures to large classes of pupils, to whom they would issue their own ijazah (permission to transmit hadiths or a book of Hadith). In the fourth century we find Fatimah bint `Abdur-Rahman (d. AH 312/924 CE), known as As-Sufiyyah on account of her great piety; Fatimah, granddaughter of Abu Dawud of Sunan fame; Amat Al-Wahid (d. AH 377/987 CE), the daughter of distinguished jurist Al-Muhamili; Umm Al-Fath Amat As-Salam (d. AH 390/999 CE), the daughter of the judge Abu Bakr Ahmad (d. AH 350/961 CE); Jumu`ah bint Ahmad, and many other women, whose classes were always attended by reverential audiences. (11) The Islamic tradition of female Hadith scholarship The Islamic tradition of continued in the fifth and sixth centuries after Hijrah. female Hadith scholarship Fatimah bint Al-Hasan ibn `Ali ibn Ad-Daqqaq Alcontinued in the fifth and Qushayri, was celebrated not only for her piety and her sixth centuries after Hijrah. mastery of calligraphy, but also for her knowledge of Hadith and the quality of the isnads (chains of narrators) she knew. (12) Even more distinguished was Karimah Al-Marwaziyyah (d. AH 463/1070 CE), who was considered the best authority on the Sahih of Al-Bukhari in her own time. Abu Dharr of Herat, one of the leading scholars of the period, attached such great importance to her authority that he advised his students to study the Sahih under no one else because of the quality of her scholarship. She thus figures as a central point in the transmission of this seminal text of Islam. (13) As a matter of fact, writes Goldziher, “her name occurs with extraordinary frequency of the ijazas for narrating the text of this book.” (14) Among her students were Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi (15) and Al-Humaydi (AH 428/1036 CE–AH 488/1095 CE). (16) Aside from Karimah, a number of other women scholars of Hadith occupy an eminent place in the history of the transmission of the text of the Sahih. (17) Among these, one might mention in particular Fatimah bint Muhammad (d. AH 539/1144 CE; Shahdah “the Writer” (d. AH 574/1178 CE), and Sitt Al-Wuzara bint `Umar (d. AH 716/1316 CE). (18) Fatimah narrated the book on the authority of the great scholar of Hadith Sa`id Al-`Aiyar; she received from the Hadith specialists the proud title of musnidat Asfahan (the great Hadith authority of Asfahan). Shahdah was a famous calligrapher and a scholar of great repute; the biographers
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 womanhood.” Her great-grandfather had been a dealer in needles, and thus acquired the sobriquet “Al-Ibri” (needle-seller). But her father, Abu Nasr (d. AH 506/1112 CE) had acquired a passion for Hadith and managed to study it with several masters of the subject. (19) In obedience to the Sunnah (the Prophet's way and teachings), he gave his daughter a sound academic education, ensuring that she studied under many Hadith scholars of accepted reputation. She married `Ali ibn Muhammad, an important figure with some literary interests, who later became a boon companion of the caliph Al-Muqtadi, and founded a college and a Sufi lodge, which he endowed most generously. His wife, however, was better known: She gained her reputation in the field of Hadith scholarship, and was noted for the quality of her isnads. (20) Her lectures on Sahih Al-Bukhari and other Hadith collections were attended by large crowds of students; and on account of her great reputation, some people even falsely claimed to have been her disciples. (21) Also known as an authority on Al-Bukhari was Sitt Al-Wuzara, who, besides her acclaimed mastery of Islamic law, was known as the musnidah (the great Hadith authority) of her time, and delivered lectures on the Sahih and other works in Damascus and Egypt. (22) Classes on the Sahih were likewise given by Umm Al-Khayr AmatilKhaliq (AH 811/1408 CE–AH 911/1505 CE), who is regarded as the last great Hadith scholar of the Hijaz. (23) Still another authority on Al-Bukhari was `A'ishah bint `AbdulHadi. (24) * Excerpted with some modifications from: www.studyislam.com (1) Maura O'Neill, Women Speaking, Women Listening (Maryknoll, 1990CE), 31: “Muslims do not use a masculine God as either a conscious or unconscious tool in the construction of gender roles.” (2) For a general overview of the question of women's status in Islam, see M. Boisers, L'Humanisme de l'Islam (3rd ed., Paris, 1985), 104–10. (3) Al-Khatib, Sunnah , 53–4, 69–70. (4) See above, 18, 21. (5) Ibn Sa`d, VIII, 355. (6) Suyuti, Tadrib , 215. (7) Ibn Sa`d, VIII, 353. (8) Maqqari, Nafh , II, 96. (9) Wustenfeld, Genealogische Tabellen , 403.
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 (10) Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad , XIV, 434f. (11) Ibid., XIV, 441-44. (12) Ibn Al-`Imad, Shadharat Adh-Dhahah fi Akhbar man Dhahah (Cairo, AH 1351), V, 48; Ibn Khallikan, no. 413. (13) Maqqari, Nafh , I, 876; cited in Goldziher, Muslim Studies , II, 366. (14) Goldziher, Muslim Studies , II, 366. “It is in fact very common in the ijazah of the transmission of the Bukhari text to find as middle member of the long chain the name of Karimah Al-Marwaziyyah” (ibid.). (15) Yaqut, Mu`jam Al-Udaba' , I, 247. (16) COPL, V/i, 98f. (17) Goldziher, Muslim Studies , II, 366. (18) Ibn Al-`Imad, IV, 123. Sitt Al-Wuzara' was also an eminent jurist. She was once invited to Cairo to give her fatwa on a subject that had perplexed the jurists there. (19) Ibn Al-Athir, Al-Kamil (Cairo, AH 1301), X, 346. (20) Ibn Khallikan, no. 295. (21) Goldziher, Muslim Studies , II, 367. (22) Ibn Al-`Imad, VI. 40. (23) Ibid., VIII, 14. (24) Ibn Salim, Al - Imdad (Hyderabad, AH 1327), 36.
Women Scholars of Hadith* (Part 2)
By Dr. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi November 30, 2005
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 In part 1, the author highlighted the scholarly efforts of Muslim women in learning and teaching Hadith. He traced these efforts in the early days of Islam, in the period of the successors, and in the period of Hadith compilation. He cited many names of women who participated, side by side with men, in teaching Hadith, especially the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari. Apart from these women, who seem to have specialized in the great Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari, there were others, whose expertise were centered on other texts. Umm AlKhayr Fatimah bint `Ali (d. 532/1137) and Fatimah AshShahrazuriyah delivered lectures on the Sahih of Imam Muslim (Ibn Al-`Imad IV: 100). Fatimah Al-Jawzdaniyyah (d. 524/1129) narrated to her students the three Mu`jams of At-Tabarani (Ibn Salim 16). The lectures of Zaynab of Harran (d. 68/1289) attracted a large crowd of students. She taught them the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the largest known collection of Hadith (Ibn Salim 28f). Juwayriyah bint `Umar (d. 783/1381), and Zaynab bint Ahmad ibn `Umar (d. 722/1322), who had traveled widely in pursuit of hadiths and delivered lectures in Egypt as well as Madinah, narrated to her students the collections of Ad-Darimi and `Abd ibn Humayd. And we are told that students traveled from far and wide to attend her discourse (Ibn Al-`Imad VI:56). Zaynab bint Ahmad (d. 740/1339), usually known as Bint Al-Kamal, acquired “a camel load” of diplomas; she delivered lectures on the Musnad of Abu Hanifah, the Shama’il of At-Tirmidhi, and the Sharh Ma`ani Al-Athar of At-Tahawi, the last of which she read with another woman traditionist, `Ajibah bint Abu Bakr (d. 740/1339) (Ibn Al`Imad VI:126; Ibn Salim 14, 18; Al-`Umari 73). “On her authority is based,” says Goldziher, “the authenticity of the Gotha Codex. ... In the same isnad a large number of learned women are cited who had occupied themselves with this work” (Goldziher II:407). With her, and various other women, the great traveler Ibn Battuta studied traditions during his stay at Damascus (Ibn Battuta 253). The famous historian of Damascus Ibn `Asakir, who tells us that he studied under more than 1,200 men and 80 women, obtained the ijazah [a certificate of learning a number or a collection of hadiths from a certain traditionist, entitling its holder to teach these hadiths] of Zaynab bint Abdur-Rahman for the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik (Yaqut, Mu`jam Al-Buldan, V:140f). Jalal Ad-Din As-Suyuti studied the Risalah of Imam AshShafi`i with Hajar bint Muhammad (Yaqut, Mu`jam Al-Udaba, 17f). `Afif Ad-Din Junayd, a traditionist of the ninth century after Hijrah, read the Sunan of Ad-Darimi with Fatimah bint Ahmad ibn Qasim (COPL, V/i, 175f). Other important traditionists included Zaynab bint Ash-Sha`ri (d. 615/1218). She studied Hadith under several important traditionists, and in turn, lectured to many students—some of whom gained great repute—including Ibn Khallikan, author of the well-known biographical dictionary Wafayat Al-A`yan (Ibn Khallikan, no. 250).
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Another was Karimah the Syrian (d. 641/1218), who is described by biographers as the greatest authority on Hadith in Syria of her day. She delivered lectures on many works of Hadith on the authority of numerous teachers (Ibn Al-`Imad V: 212, 404). In his work Ad-Durar Al-Karimah, Ibn Hajar gives short biographical notices of about 170 prominent women of the eighth century, most of whom are traditionists, and under many of whom the author himself studied.2 Some of these women were acknowledged as the best traditionists of their period. For instance, Juwayriyah bint Ahmad, to whom we have already referred, studied a range of works on traditions, under both male and female scholars who taught at the great colleges of the time, and then proceeded to give famous lectures on the Islamic disciplines. “Some of my own teachers,” says Ibn Hajar, “and many of my contemporaries, attended her discourses” (Ibn Hajar I, no. 1472). `A’ishah bint `Abdul-Hadi (AH 723–816), who for a considerable time was one of Ibn Hajar’s teachers, was considered to be the finest traditionist of her time, and many students undertook long journeys in order to sit at her feet and study the truths of religion (Ibn Al-`Imad VIII: 120f). Sitt Al-`Arab (d. 760/1358) had been the teacher of the well-known traditionist Al-`Iraqi (d. 742/1341), and of many others who derived a good proportion of their knowledge from her (Ibn Al-`Imad VI, 208).3 Daqiqah bint Murshid (d. 746/1345), another celebrated woman traditionist, received instruction from a whole range of other women. Information on women traditionists of the ninth century is given in a work by Muhammad ibn `Abdur-Rahman As-Sakhawi (830–897/1427–1489), called Ad-Daw’ alLami`, which is a biographical dictionary of eminent persons of the ninth century.4 A further source is the Mu`jam Ash-Shuyukh of `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Umar ibn Fahd (812–871/1409–1466), compiled in AH 861 and devoted to the biographical notices of more than 1,100 of the author’s teachers, including over 130 women scholars under whom he had studied. Some of these women were acclaimed as among the most precise and scholarly traditionists of their time, and trained many of the great scholars of the following generation. Umm Hani Maryam (778–871/1376–1466), for instance, learned the Qur’an by heart when she was still a child, acquired all the Islamic sciences that were being taught at the time—including theology, law, history, and grammar—and then traveled to pursue Hadith with the best traditionists of her time in Cairo and Makkah. She was also celebrated for her mastery of calligraphy, her command of the Arabic language, and her natural aptitude in poetry, as also her strict observance of the duties of religion (she performed the Hajj no fewer than 13 times). Her son, who became a noted scholar of the 10th century, showed the greatest veneration for her and constantly waited on her towards the end of her life. She pursued an intensive program of learning in the great college of Cairo, giving ijazahs to many scholars. Ibn Fahd himself studied several technical works on Hadith under her (As-Sakhawi XII, no. 980).
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Her Syrian contemporary, Bai Khatun (d. 864/1459), after having studied traditions with Abu Bakr Al-Mizzi and numerous other traditionalists, and having secured the ijazahs of a large number of masters of Hadith, both men and women, delivered lectures on the subject in Syria and Cairo. We are told that she took special delight in teaching (As-Sakhawi XII, no. 58). `A’ishah bint Ibrahim (760–842/1358–1438), known in academic circles as Ibnat AshSharaihi, also studied traditions in Damascus and Cairo (and elsewhere), and delivered lectures which eminent scholars of the day spared no efforts to attend (As-Sakhawi XII, no. 450). Umm Al-Khayr Saida of Makkah (d. 850/1446) received instruction in Hadith from numerous traditionists in different cities, gaining an equally enviable reputation as a scholar (As-Sakhawi XII, no. 901). So far as may be gathered from the sources, the involvement of women in Hadith scholarship, and in the Islamic disciplines generally, seems to have declined considerably from the 10th century after Hijrah. Books such as An-Nur As-Safir of Al`Aydarus, the Khulasat Al-Akhbar of Al-Muhibbi, and the As-Suhub Al-Wabilah of Muhammad ibn `Abdullah (which are biographical dictionaries of eminent persons of the 10th, 11th, and 12th Hijri centuries respectively) contain the names of barely a dozen eminent women traditionists. But it would be wrong to conclude from this that after the 10th century women lost interest in the subject. Some women traditionists, who gained good reputations in the 9th century, lived well into the 10th and continued their services to the Sunnah. Asma’ bint Kamal Ad-Din (d. 904/1498) wielded great influence with the sultans and their officials, to whom she often made recommendations which, we are told, they always accepted. She lectured on Hadith and trained women in various Islamic sciences (Al-`Aydarus 49). `A’ishah bint Muhammad (d. 906/1500), who married the famous judge Muslih AdDin, taught traditions to many students and was appointed professor at the Salihiyah College in Damascus (Ibn Abi Tahir; see COPL, XII, no. 665ff.). Fatimah bint Yusuf of Aleppo (870–925/1465–1519) was known as one of the excellent scholars of her time (Ibn Abi Tahir, see COPL, XII, no.665ff.). Umm Al-Khayr granted an ijazah to a pilgrim at Makkah in the year 938/1531 (Goldziher II:407). The last woman traditionist of the first rank who is known to us was Fatimah AlFudayliyah, also known as Ash-Shaykhah Al-Fudayliyah. She was born before the end of the 12th Hijri century and soon excelled in the art of calligraphy and the various Islamic sciences. She had a special interest in Hadith, read a good deal on the subject, received the diplomas of a good many scholars, and acquired a reputation as an important traditionist in her own right. Towards the end of her life, she settled at Makkah, where she founded a rich public library. In the Holy City she was attended by many eminent traditionists, who attended her lectures and received certificates from her. Among them, one could mention in particular sheikh `Umar Al-Hanafi and sheikh Muhammad Sali. She died in 1247/1831 (Ibn Humaid. See COPL, XII, no. 758). Throughout the history of feminine scholarship in Islam it is clear that the women involved did not confine their study to a personal interest in traditions, or to the private coaching of a few individuals, but took their seats as students as well as teachers in
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 pubic educational institutions, alongside their brothers in faith. The colophons of many manuscripts show them both as students attending large general classes, and also as teachers delivering regular courses of lectures. For instance, the certificate on folios 238-40 of the Al-Mashikhat ma At-Tarikh of Ibn Al-Bukhari, shows that numerous women attended a regular course of 11 lectures that was delivered before a class consisting of more than 500 students in the `Umar Mosque at Damascus in the year 687/1288. Another certificate, on folio 40 of the same manuscript, shows that many female students, whose names are specified, attended another course of six lectures on the book, which was delivered by Ibn As-Sayrafi to a class of more than 200 students at Aleppo in the year 736/1336. And on folio 250, we discover that a famous woman traditionist, Umm `Abdullah, delivered a course of five lectures on the book to a mixed class of more than 50 students at Damascus in the year 837/1433 (COPL, V/ii, 54). Various notes on the manuscript of the Kitab Al-Kifayah of Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi, and of a collection of various treatises on Hadith, show Ni`mah bint `Ali, Umm Ahmad Zaynab bint Al-Makki, and other women traditionists delivering lectures on these two books, sometimes independently, and sometimes jointly with male traditionists, in major colleges such as the `Aziziyah Madrasa and the Diy’aiyah Madrasa, to regular classes of students. Some of these lectures were attended by Ahmad, son of the famous general Salah Ad-Din (Saladin).5 (Part 1) Sources: Al-`Aydarus. An-Nur As-Safir. Goldziher. Muslim Studies. Ibn Battuta. Rihlah. Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani. Ad-Durar Al-Karimah fi A`yan al-Mi'ah AthThaminah. Ibn Al-`Imad. Shadharat Adh-Dhahab fi Akhbar man Dhahab. Ibn Khallikan. Wafayat Al-A`yan. Ibn Salim. Al-Imdad. Ibn Humaid, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah. As-Suhub Al-Wabilah `Ala Dara’ih Al-Hanabilah. As-Sakhawi. Ad-Daw’ Al-Lami` li Ahl Al-Qarn At-Tasi`. Al-`Umari. Qitf Ath-Thamar. Yaqut. Mu`jam Al-Buldan. Yaqut. Mu'jam Al-Udaba’. * Excerpted with some modifications from: www.studyislam.com. 1- Various manuscripts of this work have been preserved in libraries, and it has been published in Hyderabad in 348-50. Volume VI of Ibn Al-`Imad's Shadharat Adh-
Two article collected from Islam online.net —1 ) A glimpse of early women Islamic scholar 2) Women hadith scholar Part 1 and 2 Dhahab, a large biographical dictionary of prominent Muslim scholars from the first to the tenth centuries of the Hijrah, is largely based on this work. 2- Goldziher, accustomed to the exclusively male environment of 19th-century European universities, was taken aback by the scene depicted by Ibn Hajar. Cf. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 367: “When reading the great biographical work of Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani on the scholars of the eighth century, we may marvel at the number of women to whom the author has to dedicate articles.” 3- We are told that Al-`Iraqi (the best known authority on the hadiths of Ghazali's Ihya’ `Ulum Ad-Din) ensured that his son also studied under her. 4- A summary by `Abdus-Salam and `Umar ibn Ash-Shamma` exists (C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, second ed. (Leiden, 1943-49CE), II, 34), and a defective manuscript of the work of the latter is preserved in the O.P. Library at Patna (COPL, XII, no. 727). 5- For some particularly instructive annotated manuscripts preserved at the Zahiriya Library at Damascus, see the article of `Abd Al-`Aziz Al-Maymani in Al-Mabahith al`Ilmiyah (Hyderabad: Da’irat Al-Ma`arif, 1358), 1-14.
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