The Scimitar and the Veil: Extraordinary Women of Islam

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Overview

"The Scimitar and the Veil is a history and overview of Muslim women and their great accomplishments. It portrays over fifty extraordinary Muslim women, from the birth of Islam in the seventh century CE through the nineteenth century, including the women who played a crucial role in Muhammad's life, as well as scholars of the Hadith, saints and mystics, queens and warriors, rebels and concubines, and outstanding poets, musicians, and storytellers." Based on sources ranging from Swahili lore to Persian pageant plays to Muslim feminist writings to the explorations of Western scholars of Islam, The Scimitar and the Veil is written in a poetic, energetic, contemporary, and sometimes humorous style that will appeal to a broad range of readers.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this sympathetic presentation, Heath (The Echoing Green: The Garden in Myth and Memory) introduces a bevy of Islamic women, from the Prophet Mohammed's household through 19th-century poets, queens, slaves, concubines, and mystics. She hopes thereby to rehabilitate or redeem the image of Islamic culture, and its women in particular, for Western readers. While successful at placing the women in historical and cultural context and distinguishing among between Arabic, Turkish, Asian, and African Muslim women, she is less successful at channeling these women, i.e., finding "the kernel around which the fruit of the story could swell and ripen." Instead of offering a "parched recitation of events," she often paints rosy pictures. For example, the controversial Khurrem, wife of Suleyman the Great, is portrayed as a loving, devoted wife and not the originator of vicious court intrigues. Overall, Heath lacks a certain critical eye that might pose a problem for those well versed in these characters. For more scholarly critiques of the culture of Islam, academic libraries should still rely on books by Karen Armstrong or Edward Said. Nevertheless, this is a worthy addition to libraries serving general readers.-Sandra Collins, Univ. of Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587680205
  • Publisher: HiddenSpring
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
I "Paradise lies at the feet of the mothers" : in the beginning : women of the prophetate 13
II "That does not come from you, but from her behind the curtain" : scholars of the Hadith 129
III "Be like wax and illumine the world. Be like a needle and work naked" : ascetics, saints, and mystics 149
IV "If you do not fall in battle, someone is saving you as a token of shame" : warriors and amazons 187
V "Drink from this cup, then be gracious to her who sent it by paying a visit after sunset" : rebels and concubines 223
VI "Listening stirs the heart to see god" : musicians and dancers 287
VII "We have left the account for the day of accountings" : rulers, regents, queen mothers, and philanthropists 319
VIII "To educate a woman is to educate the whole world ..." : tradeswomen and learned ladies 379
IX "Enjoy life! Who cares what people say?" : poets 401
The five pillars of Islam 427
Notes 432
Glossary of terms 452
Bibliography 457
Acknowledgments 464
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