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Video: Al-Muhaddithat – The Female Scholars of Islam

In light of Imam John Yahya Ederer’s recent article on Female Scholars and Preachers of Islam, we wanted to share a very informative and enlightening lecture by the renowned Islamic scholar Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi about the rich legacy and contributions of female scholars in the study of hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad  – peace be upon him). Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi has studied this subject in depth for the past 15 years and has collected the stories of more than 9,000 female scholars that specialized in the study of hadith.

As one of the leading scholars in this field, he advocates that we learn more about Islam’s rich history of female scholarship and the role women played in preserving and collecting sacred Islamic knowledge, and strive to provide women with opportunities and spaces to learn and teach in our communities.

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  • This is best lecture highlight the contributions made by women in Islam. I want to be able to know some of the sources where the duties of men verses women are listed. Would you please give us a reference list, that we may be able to utilize for educational purposes?



  • Allah bless Sh. Nadwi for his work, and his amazing honesty in this talk. It is very true, that chauvenism still exists in the Muslim male mind. Not in all, but definitely in some, and definitely in the masajid. It’s an attitude thing – when attitudes change all this drama about fitna will go away. I find it most strange that I can be teaching University level men and women but if I go the masjid and teach there, it would be an uproar. Even if I am teaching the same Muslim student I thought in the morning in University. We Muslims need to be more mature in our understanding of gender relations and be confident about ourselves – we are not going to act like people without modesty who go behind the first person from the opposite gender we see. I firmly do believe that though we are 1.5 billion people, 750 million are not being allowed to contribute as they could. I think this is a major reason the Ummah is so weak today. In my 10+ dawah experience I have seen this chauvenism over and over again (in the East and the West), and what is most sad is I have met many of my sisters who have such an inferiority complex they don’t even know what their potential is, let alone the need the Ummah has for them. Go to Tarim today (a center of traditional Islamic scholarship of excellence, since the time of the prophet peace be upon him) and there men and women teach. Look at the bio of Habib Ali al-Jifri and you will find he mentions women among his foremost teachers. What sh. Nadwi is saying is nothing new, he is giving us back our lost legacy. Allah increase him!

    • Perhaps it is a bit easy to blame Muslim men for being chauvinistic. It is not as if that the culture they are brought up in, even in the West, does not play a role in forming ideas about women, society, roles etc.

      Chauvinism is not inherent in the male psyche, but the idea that yes they are boys and boys are not girls is. (Dr. Winters has more on his blog on this)

      To give an example, as a young boy I used to devour Goosebumps books until somebody told me that R.L. Stine was a woman. For some strange reason, as a 8 year old I stooped reading…until I saw his picture. Safe to say I was not sexist at eight years old.

      • I Agree. It takes a village to raise a child. This issue of chauvinism is so deeply embedded in our society that ironically sometimes it’s the mother who would teach their son this, because this is what they have been brought up to believe.

        But culture is hard to change, it was even the case during the time of the Prophet (S). Plus there is this communication gap between the scholars of this Ummah and the common Muslim. This gap needs to decrease so the Ummah can learn the true meaning of Islam.

  • Don’t deceive yourselves with the same old rhetoric that “boys will be boys” no matter where they live East or West. The mentality of some men from the Islamic countries can be far worse in terms of their respect for women than it is here. Muslim men need to be schooled in their own religion and religious history.

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