Author: Mohammad Akram Nadwi
Publisher: Interface Publication
About the Book: 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 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 madrasas 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.
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 Dār al-ʿUlūm Nadwat al-ʿUlamāʾ in Lucknow, India, and holds a doctorate from the University of Lucknow. Currently a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, he is also the author of over 25 books on a range of subjects including Ḥadīth, 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 Ḥadīth; the introduction to this study was translated into English and published as al-Muḥaddithāt: The Women Scholars in Islam (2007). Expecting to find a handful, after eight years he had discovered more than 8000, from as long ago as Umm al-Darda, the wife of one of the companions of the Prophet. His more recent titles include ʾAbū Ḥanīfah: His Life, Legal Method and Legacy (2010) and the second volume of al-Fiqh al-ʾIslāmī: Zakāh, Ṣawm and Ḥajj (2012).