Muslim. American. Hijabi. Student. 20-something years old.Ask me anything
I LOVE this because there has always been this belief that Muslim women, besides Hadhrat Khadija (RA), did not participate in society and were simply good mothers and wives. At least that is how the version of Islam was taught to me. In regards to Hadhrat Khadija (RA) I was even taught that it does not matter that she worked, because she worked in the pre-Islamic era and therefore the laws on how women should stay at home had not been revealed yet.
I love this also, because when I DID learn about how women participated in their communities, it usually was how they participated as Islamic jurists or hadith collectors. There was little mention of them participating in society as something not related to Islam. Look at this, this lady was appointed as a public administrator by Caliph Umar (RA)! She was one of the few literate people (which included men and women) in the pre-Islamic era, which is a HUGE thing. She was a scholar and her opinions were trusted by both Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Caliph Umar (RA). She participated in society, helped her Muslim community, with the knowledge and skills she had.
I wish our Islamic school classes focused on learning about other women, but it’s sad how little we learn about other women and focus on ‘being good wives and mothers.’ Even today, from the Masjid classes I have attended, there is little focus on how wonderful the women during the time of the Prophet (SAW) were.
Al-Shifa bint Abdullah (Radi Allahu Anha) was among one of the few individuals during the pre-Islamic era who could read and write. She is considered to be one of the first female teachers in Islam, and even taught Hadhrat Hafsa (Radi Allahu Anha) how to read and write. During the time of the Caliphate of Hadhrat Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) she was appointed as a public administrator in charge of Madina market. Her position was similar to the combined position of an administrator and accountant. She was considered to be a scholarly and intelligent woman, and Hadhrat Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) would regularly consider her opinions.
She was also skilled in medical practices, particularly in the practice of ruqyah*. Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) even asked her to teach her knowledge of ruqyah to other women.
*More information on Ruqyah
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. (Via MPAC)
A Moroccan of Andalusian origin, Sayyida Al-Hurra belonged to a family of Andalusian nobles who fled to north Africa after the fall of Grenada in 1492. Marrying Sultan Al-Mandri, they embarked on war against the Portuguese and she ascended to power while managing her husband’s affairs. After the death of her husband in 1515, Al-Hurra, although already a prefect of Tetouan, she was bestowed with the title “Al-Hurra” which denoted a woman wielding sovereign power. Subsequently, she had herself named governor of the city-state.
Following the death of her husband, she wed the King of Morocco, Ahmed Al-Wattasi, but she requested that he travel from Fez to Tetouan for the wedding to indicate that she had no plans on abdicating her power following their marriage.
After making contact with the Turkish corsair Barbarossa, she assembled a fleet and began privateering in the western Mediterranean. It was in this endeavor that she earned for herself the title of undisputed Queen of the Pirates of the region. Perhaps using piracy to continue her first husband’s war against the Portugese, Al-Hurra used piracy to wreak havoc on Portuguese shipping lines. Specifically, in 1520, her forces captured the wife of the Governor and damaged Portuguese colonial shipping.
She was deposed in 1542, by her son-in-law, ending 30 years of rule. She was stripped of her property and power and her subsequent fate is unknown. (Via Yemen Times)
So successful was she in her piracy that her name lives on to this day in the Alhurra pirate radio station, used to counter Al Jazeera. (Via “Female Pirates” - Toro Magazine)
1.) ‘I Am, by God, Fit for High Positions’: On the Political Role of Women in al-Andalus (JSTOR Article - Limited Access)