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A History of Islam in 21 Women

By: Kamaly, Hossein

Language: English


Khadija was the first believer, to whom the Prophet Muhammad often turned for advice. At a time when strongmen quickly seized power from any female Muslim ruler, Arwa of Yemen reigned alone for five decades. In nineteenth-century Russia, Mukhlisa Bubi championed the rights of women and girls, and became the first Muslim woman judge in modern history. After the Gestapo took down a Resistance network in Paris, British spy Noor Inayat Khan found herself the only undercover radio operator left in that city. In this unique history, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and achievements of twenty-one extraordinary women in the story of Islam, from the formative days of the religion to the present.

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Product Details
By:Kamaly, Hossein
Pages: 272 pp
Publisher:Oneworld Publications, London, 2021
Dimensions:12.5 x 20 cm / 5 x 7.75 in
Topic:Islam - Muslim Women in History

More Information

Hossein Kamaly is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary. A scholar of the Middle East, focusing on the history of ideas, he has previously taught at Barnard College and Columbia University, and is the author of God and Man in Tehran. He lives in New York.

‘Here in all their gutsy glory are women whose voices have not received the prominence that is their due within the story of Islam… A History of Islam in 21 Women is an act of reclamation on several fronts. For Muslim women, it provides an empowering and exhilarating genealogy of strong forebears whom they can connect to their contemporary journeys of empowerment. For Western readers, it exposes the untruths that have characterized Muslim women as deferential beings in need of rescue.' New York Times

'Resurrecting a history that has been repeatedly bludgeoned, exploited and buried.'- Middle East Eye

‘This book takes readers on a thrilling journey into the lives of twenty-one women in Islamic history. In tightly written, lucid, and highly readable chapters, Kamaly offers an informative and rich survey of some of the key women who crafted and shaped the history of Islam from its very foundations to our modern age. This book is a rich source for any reader interested in the history of Islam, and it should be required reading in any introductory course on Muslims and their religion or culture.'- Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law, UCLA School of Law

1 Khadija (ca. 560-619): The First Believer
2 Fatima (ca. 612-633): Prophet Muhammad's Flesh and Blood
3 Aisha (ca. 615-678): "Get Half of Your Religion From Her”
4 Rabia al-Adawiyya (ca. 717-801): The Embarrassment of Riches, and its Discontents
5 Fatima of Nishapur (ca. 1000-1088): Keeper of the Faith
6 Arwa of Yemen (ca. 1050-1138): The Queen of Sheba Redux
7 Terken Khatun (ca. 1205-1281): Doing Well and Doing Good
8 Shajara'-al-Durr (d. 1257): Perils of Power, Between Caliphs and Mamluks
9 Sayyida al-Hurra of Tétouan (ca. 1492 -ca. 1560): The Free Queen
10 Pari Khanum (1548-1578): A Golden Link in the Safavid Chain of Command
11 Nur Jahan (1577-1645): Light of the World
12 Safiye Sultan (ca. 1550-ca. 1619): A Mother of Many Kings
13 Tajul-Alam Safiatuddin Syah (1612-1675): Diamonds Are Not Forever
14 Tahereh (ca. 1814-1852): Heroine or Heretic?
15 Nana Asmau (1793-1864): Jihad and Sisterhood
16 Mukhlisa Bubi (1869-1937): Educator and Jurist
17 Halidé Edip (ca. 1884-1964): Author of the New Turkey
18 Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944): The Anxiety of Belonging
19 Umm Kulthum (ca. 1904-1975): Lodestar of Union
20 Zaha Hadid (1950-2016): Curves in Glass and Concrete
21 Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017): The Princess of Mathematics
Further Reading

A History of Islam in 21 Women

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