Female Muslim Scholars:
Those scholars who study the role of women in Islam will notice that throughout the different periods of history, women were actively engaged in every field of endeavour, be it politics, government, or learning. Women were NOT confined, as some have assumed, to mothering and household occupations [Salah al-Din al-Munajjid]
Nafisa bint al-Hasan (d. 208/824) taught hadith to Imam ash-Shafi' (Rahimahullah). Ibn Hajar mentioned 12 women who were musnida (transmitters of collection of traditions). He studied with 53 women.
Ibn Asakir al-Dimashqi (499-571) took ahadith from 1,300 male Shaykh and 80 female Shaykha.
Rubiyya bint Muawidh ibn Afrah 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. 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.
The companions would go to learn from her despite the fact that Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with them) were all 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?"
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
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.
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 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.
The fact that these women taught men who were themselves regarded as great scholars indicates the respect and status they had attained.
Fatima bint Ibrahim ibn Jowhar
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."
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.
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 Al-Samarqandi. 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.
Hisham ibn `Urwah ibn Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him), is the teacher of Imam Malik, Abu Hanifa, Sufyan al-Thawri, Saeed Qahtan, and is acknowledged as a great Hadith scholar of that era. The most reliable Hadiths narrated by him, found in both Bukhari and Muslim, are those he narrates from his wife, Fatimah bint Mundhir. Sadly, many Muslim men today would not marry a woman more knowledgeable than themselves. The men of our past would proudly marry and learn from them
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.
"It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution." R. Briffault: The Making of Humanity.
"The Miracle of Arabic science, using the word miracle as a symbol of our inability to explain achievements which were almost incredible... unparalleled in the history of the world." George Sarton.
It was during the period of high Muslim apogee: 8th-13th centuries that most decisive scientific inventions were made, and the foundations of modern civilisation were laid, scientists and scientific discoveries in their thousands, artistic creativity, great architecture, huge libraries, hospitals, universities, mapping of the world, the discovery of the sky and its secrets, and much more.
It was the time when the names of Al-Biruni, Al-Khwarizmi, Al-Idrissi, Al-Kindi, Ibn Sina, Al-Razi, Ibn Khaldun, Al-Khazin, Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Farabi, Al-Ghazali, Al-Jazari and hundreds more scientists came into being.
Great Islamic 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.
Imam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya - By Adil Salahi
"You claim to be a Muslim, surrounding yourself with a Judge, a sheikh, and one who calls for prayer. Your father and grandfather, on the other hand, were unbelievers. Yet they did not do the terrible things you have done. They honoured their agreements, while you do not, and you have perpetrated much injustice." Finishing his words, the speaker looked straight into the face of his addressee, who was none other than Kazan, the Tartar king ....more
Imam Abu Haneefa - By Adil Salahi
Imam Abu Haneefa developed a science of Islamic law through systematic study of textual evidence and methodic reasoning and his approach had a far reaching impact on the Islamic world and beyond....more
Imam El-Shafie - By Adil Salahi
Imam El-Shafie established the specialised branch of Islamic studies in Jurisprudence called Usool ul Fiqh, i.e. the methodology of Islamic law. His work founded one of the four main schools of Islamic law....more
Imam Malik Ibn Anas - By Adil Salahi
Malik ibn Anas Al-Assbahi, the founder of the Maliki school of thought, was born in Madinah in 93 A.H. corresponding to 712 CE. His parents were Arabs of Yemeni descent. His tribe, Assbah, still lives in Yemen ....more
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal - By Adil Salahi
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was a founder of one of the four main Sunni schools of Jurisprudence. He developed fiqh but was also an expert in the study of Islamic oral traditions (the sayings - hadith). He famously and heroically held true to his beliefs despite the pressures of a Caliph who wished to impose his philosophical ideas on Islam....more
Imam Jaafar As-Sadiq - By Adil Salahi
One of the foremost scholars of Islam Imam Jaafar as-Sadiq was a teacher of both Abu Haneefah and Malik, the founders of two of the four schools of Islamic Law....more
Imam Ali ibn Hazm - By Adil Salahi
An Andalusian scholar who studied as an independent scholar rejecting blind following of a particular school of jurisprudence. He was taught by several women and argued the some women had been prophets ....more
Below is a partial list of some famous muslim scientists of past (May Allah be pleased with all of them)