Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam


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This book is an adaptation in English of the prefatory volume of a 40-volume biographical dictionary (in Arabic) of women scholars of the Prophet’s ﷺ hadith.

Learned women enjoyed high public standing and authority in the formative years of Islam. For centuries thereafter, women travelled intensively for religious knowledge and routinely attended the most prestigious mosques and madarsas across the Islamic world.

Typical documents (like class registers and ijazahs from women authorizing men to teach) and the glowing testimonies about their women teachers from the most revered ulema are cited in detail. An overview chapter, with accompanying maps, traces the spread of centres of hadith learning for women, and their eventual decline. The information summarized here is essential to a balanced appreciation of the role of women in Islamic society.

​The cover shows the study journeys of Fatimah bt. Sa'd al-Khayr and her principal students. She moved from Valencia with her merchant-scholar father to China, then travelled back westward, settling longest in Baghdad. She taught thereafter in Cairo, where she died in 600 A.H. (See ch. 3.)

About The Author

Mohammad Akram Nadwi is one of the UK’s best-known scholars with classical training in the Islamic religious sciences. He studied, and later taught, at the renowned Dar al-Ulum Nadwat al-Ulama in Lucknow, India, and holds a doctorate from the University of Lucknow.
Currently a Research Fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, he is also the author of over 25 books on a range of subjects including Hadith, Fiqh, Arabic grammar and Islamic biographies, published in Arabic, English and Urdu.

His magnum opus is a forty-volume compilation of biographies of women scholars of Hadith; the introduction to this study was translated into English and published as al-Muḥaddithāt: The Women Scholars in Islam (2007). His more recent titles include Abu Hanifah: His Life, Legal Method and Legacy (2010) and the second volume of al-Fiqh al-ʾIslāmī: Zakāh, Ṣawm and Ḥajj (2012).

Author: Mohammad Akram Nadwi
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Publisher: Interface Publications
Published: 2013
Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 1.5cm
ISBN: 9780955454547

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