Why are/were there so few female Muslim scholars?

This is a misconception concerning Islamic history. According to historians, there have been thousands of female Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history, many of whom were teachers of renowned male scholars. Some notable examples include:

  • Rabi’ah Bint Mu’awwad, a great scholar of fiqh (jurisprudence), who taught scholars of Medina.
  • A’isha bint Sa’d bint ibn Abi Waqqas, whose pupils included Imam Malik.
  • Sayyida Nafisa, the granddaughter of Hasan, whose pupils included Imam Shafi’i.
  • A’isha bint Abu Bakr, wife of the Prophet and narrator of over 2,000 hadith (prophetic sayings).

There are also many active female Muslim scholars today, including but not limited to:

  • Dr. Kecia Ali, professor of Religious Studies at Boston University.
  • Dr. Asifa Quraishi, professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, who in 2010 was part of a public delegation accompanying Hillary Clinton to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Dr. Amina Wadud, author of the books Qur’an and Woman and Inside the Gender Jihad and cofounder of the organization Sisters in Islam.
  • Dr. Zainab Alwani, professor of Islamic Studies at Howard University, Vice President of the Fiqh Council of North America.
  • Dr. Intisar Rabb, professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program.
  • Dr. Hafez Barazangi, research fellow at the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University.
  • Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, noted author and translator, famous for her translation of the Quran into English.
  • Dr. Aminah McCloud, professor of Religious Studies and Director of Islamic World Studies Program at DePaul University.
  • Dr. Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies and the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada.

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