Asma Sayeed's book explores the history of women as religious scholars from the first decades of Islam through the early Ottoman period (seventh to the seventeenth centuries). Focusing on women's engagement with ḥadīth, this book analyzes dramatic chronological patterns in women's ḥadīth participation in terms of developments in Muslim social, intellectual, and legal history. Drawing on primary and secondary sources, this work uncovers the historical forces that shaped Muslim women's public participation in religious learning. In the process, it challenges two opposing views: that Muslim women have been historically marginalized in religious education, and alternately that they have been consistently empowered thanks to early role models such as 'Ā'isha bint Abī Bakr, the wife of the Prophet Muḥammad. This book is a must-read for those interested in the history of Muslim women as well as in debates about their rights in the modern world. The intersections of this history with topics in Muslim education, the development of Sunnī orthodoxies, Islamic law, and ḥadīth studies make this work an important contribution to Muslim social and intellectual history of the early and classical eras.
About the Author
Asma Sayeed is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published articles in Studia Islamic and Islamic Law and Society and has contributed a number of encyclopedia articles on women's history in early and classical Islam.
Table of Contents1. A tradition invented: the female companions; 2. The successors; 3. The classical rebirth; 4. Traditionalism and the culmination of women's hadīth transmission.