Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-09-09 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 7 user ratings

" I can't rate as I didn't read the whole book. " said.

" I LOVED this book. I found out something new on almost every page and it helped me understand the oft-forgotten history female scholarship in the Islamic world better. I recommend this book to anybody with at least a basic understanding of Hadith though because he expects you understand most of the Arabic terms used. :D " said.

" Such a recommended read if you want to know more about the role of women Muslim scholars in preserving the hadith and how Islam perceives & value women since hundreds of years ago. The book could be a bit challenging if you haven't read anything about Islamic studies before - but I found it eye-opening. The long list of names in the book could be a bit annoying, but I think it's important to ensure the reliability of the message. " said.

"I read this book over the course of five months, taking occasional breaks to fully internalize its contents.
Nadwi outdid himself with the research he did for this book and I commend his efforts immensely.
This book outlined several reasons why knowledge (including transmission of Hadith) has never been shackled by the chains of gender and every word reflected that point.
This is by far one of the best and most liberating English text on Islamic history.
Despite its brilliant contents, I think the way the author concluded the book added the last seasoning. Barakallahu fihi!
" said.

"This book is such an inspiring book for all people to read.
The countless women throughout islamic history that were independent empowered women, that contributed to society, that helped change society for the better is just amazing!
This book is a must read as it will help to dispel any belief that women are oppressed and denied an education in islam.
The only thing i will say is that you may find some of the language a bit difficult when it comes to names of people etc.
A book that you can refer back to again and again. Loved it!
" said.

"This book left me with a lot to reflect upon. Documenting women scholars in Islamic hadith tradition is no easy feat, and for Mohammad Akram Nadwi to have completed this require Muslims globally, especially Muslim women to say thanks. Thank you, for having labouriously collected names and lineage and the most relevant hadiths attributed to women scholars. This book is merely a summary of volumes of "dictionaries" listing women scholars and the hadiths they narrated, and focuses on women as hadith scholars. There is also a link to a pdf that attempted a documentation of Muslim women scholars in other fields provided in the introduction of the book (

While Akram presented his case through this book as to why Islam is not misogynistic, he was very careful on critiquing patriarchy that has existed within Islamic tradition. Islam is equal, and women and men and transgenders are equal in front of God (with only our Iman placing one with more Grace by God than another). Yet history has proven that patriarchal standing is what has reduced this equality and the decline of women scholars within Islamic academia. We can clearly see this through the clear timelines presented in this book - how during the time of the Prophet pbuh, women are allowed to be engaged in public discourse about the religion, travel for knowledge, use mosques as a place of supplication, assembly for discourse and spreading knowledge; teach and provide judgment as jurists and scholars and even considered authorities in Islam. The reality today is women are considered second class with many Mufti gatherings and fatwa councils not including women; and women are not encouraged to be actively involved in Islamic scholarship.

Further, there was a mention in the book that during the time of Ibn al-Saati's education, he listed that he had 3,000 men as teachers of hadith to a mere 400 women! Geopolitically, we also see the damage done to Islamic centres of learning, such as Baghdad in Iraq and Damascus in Syria through unnecessary war; and this contributed to the decline of Islamic knowledge.

Akram is very careful in this book. He is of the opinion that women should be "behind the veil" and argues that a woman's authority in Islam is still alluded by what men think of women - yet in the same breath alludes that piety is not judged based on physical appearance and social standing, using historical facts to support his discourse in the book. Reading between the lines, women scholars in Islam are still subscribed the patriarchal judgement of having to be a good wife, a good mother, have (socially accepted) feminine mannerisms, teach within boundaries of their homes and travel only with father and husband, and of course, donning the hijab, to be considered pious and thus scholarly.

Yet this book is important to bring to light the abrupt absence of women and the decline in scholarly manner in interpreting hadiths, Quranic knowledge and fatwas seen today. It draws from history and Islamic tradition to argue that gender role is not exclusive and that knowledge is the epicentre of Islamic teaching. It is indeed a wake up call for Muslims today, in light of Islamophobia and a bad image painted by Daesh and extremists.

I will end this review with a quote from the book,
"Women have also built a strong relationship with the Book (Quran), the fruit of which is fully internalised, and they become fluent in it, speaking from it like a mother tongue."

Why then, when women today start reading the Quran and questioning laws placed by Muslim men purported to be in the name of the religion, are we ridiculed, slandered, and shamed? Why is it that hadith by men (the Six Books) are considered superior, and we only hear of Aishah RA as merely the Prophet pbuh's young bride; and not for her extensive knowledge of the religion, jurisprudence, and for her arguments in light of chasing the highest version of her ad-Din?

Questions to ponder.
" said.

" An awesome book that all Muslimah's need to read especially those who are students of knowledge of the Islamic Sciences! " said.

" Rezension hier: " said.

May 2020 New Book:

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