Note: Maybe my question is too broad, but I hope for constructive comments to focus it more, but as I'm not aware of any "known" books of female scholars I'll keep it somehow open for the first draft! If a focus is needed we could stick on hadith sciences!

In a post I've read here somebody even claimed that except for 'Aisha or one or two other women no female has ever narrated hadith. This is simply wrong, ibn Hajar quoted a long list of 824 female hadith narrators in his books like taqreeb at-Tahdib تقريب التهذيب until the beginning of the 3rd hijri century!

The well known hadith scholar ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani ابن حجر العسقلاني was married to the female hadith scholar Anas Khatun أنس خاتون, both of them were students of al-Hafidh al-'Iraqi الحافظ العراقي and got their Ijazah from him as far as I can tell. And Anas Khatun was teaching hadith in her house.

I've also heard that a female scholar used to teach in Damascus at the time of the Omayyad Caliph (king) Abdul Malik ibn Marwan and he was attending these courses behind a "hijab". As this was rather a female course.

Beside this the people of Yemen had conserved for a long time (as it is said) the narration of al-Muwatta' transmitted by Imam Malik's daughter Fatima.

So my question is do we have any books or "literary remains" of female scholars. I mean we have some literary remains of female poets, why does it seems as if Islam is a rather male dominant religion?

On Islam Online there must have been an Article posted on Spetember 13th 2001 by Mustapha 'Ashour الحركة العلمية النسائية تراث غابت شمسه which was reposted here.

This article includes the statement of 824 female hadith narrators whom were quoted by ibn Hajar from above. Beside some women whom gave fatwa and what I found astonishing the grand daughter of al-'Izz ibn Abdassalam العز بن عبدالسلام Zaynab bint Yahya ibn al-'izz ibn 'Abdassalam زينب بنت يحيى بن العز بن عبدالسلام (died 735 a.H.) whom was the lonely person at her time to have a continuous chain of al-Mu'ajm as-Saghir المعجم الصغير of at-Tabarani! Imam a-Dhahabi said that the day she died she still have been listening to the recitation of her students for many ajza' (parts).

Ibn Hazm was educated by women he said:

"ربيت في حجر النساء، ونشأت بين أيديهن، ولم أعرف غيرهن ولا جالست الرجال إلا وأنا في حد الشباب.. وهن علمنني القرآن، وروينني كثيرًا من الأشعار، ودربنني في الخط"

I've been educated by women, and grown up in front (beside) of them, and I didn't know any other and never met or consulted men until I was a young man (about 30)... it was them who taught me the Quran, and narrated me (or made me) many of the poetry and trained me in calligraphy

  • I think there are records of sayings attributed to Rabia, but that will probably not be what you're looking for. I also read about an alim who went looking and collected a list of hundreds, maybe thousands of female scholars in the classical period - I forgot the name, but this should be google-able. I've also heard maybe Abdul Hakim Murad mention a female faqih (Arabic?) whose husband was also a faqih, and when they signed fatawa together she signed first; I don't remember whether it was Murad, or where he mentioned it, or who the alimah he mentioned was, but I'm sure I saw that somewhere.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 12:16
  • As for "why does it seems as if Islam is a rather male dominant religion?", the rules for a woman needing a wali's permission to do pretty much anything non-necessary in the public sphere, and the rights of husbands to control their wives' lives to a large degree put very steep obstacles in the path of women where men would face none; it seems systemic, not incidental.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 12:18
  • @G.Bach 'Aisha is considered a rather dominant figure and scholar with her own "madhab" by sunnis. These obstacles have not been existing at the beginning of Islam.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 12:44
  • @G.Bach Asma'a bint abi Bakr, Asma' bin 'Omays are not among the mothers of believers but they are known hadith narrators and sahabiyat! The Quran promised the mothers of believers paradise under some conditions. Which apply to anybody else too. None of those 10 ever thought he had a ticket to paradise!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


There is this book titled Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam by Mohammad Akram Nadwi that provides details of several women narrators, transmitters and scholars of hadith as well as jurists and experts through various periods of time. I am not sure if it lists any original works solely attributed to women but it has examples of women collaborating with men in producing books and of women collecting and writing books of Hadith.

Al-Samani says about 'Fakhr al-Nisa' Umm Muhammad Shuhdah, daughter of the famous muhaddith Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn al-Faraj al-Dinawari (d. 574): 'She was from among the descendants of traditionists, distinguished, eloquent, and had beautiful handwriting. She wrote on the way of Bint al-Aqra. In her time there was no one in Baghdad who had handwriting like her. Usually she wrote for the caliph al-Muqtafi [r. 530-55]. p55

He said: I have read the tawqi'at of Umm Jafar in the margins and at the foot [of the pages] of the books, I found them better in shortness and more encompassing in the meaning. p56

Aishah bint Hasan ibn Ibrahim al Waizah (d. 460) wrote down the Amali of Ibn Mandah, receiving the work directly from him. p114

The great muhaddithah Umm al-Kiram Karimah bint Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn I:Iatim al-Marwaziyyah (d. 465) is a famous narrator of Sahih al-Bukhari. Her version of it has always been particularly popular. She compared her copy with her shaykh al Kushmihani's original. Later she settled in Makkah, where the people came to her from everywhere and heard the whole Sahih from her. She would not allow anyone to narrate from her unless they had compared with her original. Al-Dhahabi says: 'Whenever she narrated, she would compare with her original. She had knowledge and good understanding [combined] with goodness and worship.'2 Al-Safadi says: 'Her book was very accurate.'3 Ibn al-qmad (d. 1089) says: She would be most accurate with her book and compare its copies.'4 Abu Ghana'im al-Narsi says: 'Karimah brought for me her original copy of the Sahih. I sat down in front of Karimah and wrote down seven pages and read them with her. p57

Humqydah's hadith writings. Humaydah bint Muhammad Sharif ibn Shams al-Oin al-Asbahaniyyah (d. 1 087) became known for her Hadith writings: among those writings are her marginal notes on al-Istibsar of Shaykh al-Tusi: These notes were well received by scholars and they referred to them. She also compiled a book on the narrators of Hadith known by the title Rijal Humqydah. p227

Khunathah's Notes. Khunathah bint Bakkar ibn Ali al-Ma'afiri (d. 1159) wrote marginal notes on al-lsabah fi tamyiz al-sahabah of Ibn Hajar. p227

  • 1
    I just found another relevant book title Mu'jam a'laam an-Nisa' معجم أعلام النساء of 'Omar Rida Kahala عمر رضا كحالة.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 7:12

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