Female Teacher of Ibn Battuta and Ibn Hajar al Asqalani


This post is about a notable female scholar of hadith during the Mamluk period in Egypt and Damascus.

One thing to note- these women were not anomalies in their time. The fact that women were scholars of hadith (and other things but this period there were a lot of hadith scholars) was a normal thing.

The ijaza system in the studies of hadith allowed children to receive ijazas before they came of age with the understanding that they would study and understand the texts later on in life. Hadith studies was open to everyone because many people could memorize, short and popular collections of hadith. Women excelled so much in this field that men eagerly sought them out as teachers to get ijazas from them. Another reason why the men sought them out was because these women had famous people in their chains of transmission and these men wanted to obtain these famous names in their own chains as well.

Zaynab Bint al Kamal is one example. She was a Hanbali of Damascus.  She transmitted popular and major works such as Sahih al Bukhari, Muslim and the Muwatta and many other little works as well.  Ibn Hajar al Asqalani learned from her. She appears in 139 of Ibn Hajar al Asqalani’s isnads. SubhanAllah.

Ibn Battuta also received ijaza from her In his book, Rihlat Ibn Battuta, he calls her a “traveler of the world” and she is listed a a person that granted him ijaza when he visited Damascus, Syria.

Roster of some more notable students Zaynab bint al Kamal :

  • Muhammad b. Ahmad ad-Dhahabi (d. 748 H/137)
  • Khalil al Safadi (d. 764 H /1362)
  • Taj-ad-Din as-Subki (d. 771 H/1369)

In Sunni Islamic scholarship, hadith has to be one of the most important branches. It is one of the major sources of law and women were at the forefront of its study and women never fabricated ahadith while men did.

This is during a time period when the Western women wouldn’t even imagine being schooled and Muslim women were at the forefront of the science of hadith. Look at the reputation that Muslim women have now. Many Muslim women in Muslim countries are illiterate. It’s sad that we are going backwards instead of forward. Everyone make dua that  Allah makes women come to the forefront of Islamic scholarship again side by side with men. Ameen.

And may He bless all of our wonderful scholars that have transmitted all of this knowledge to us.



  1. Aliana Said:

    This is very interesting indeed. I wish more people knew about such scholars.

  2. me too Aliana,
    I’m planning to post a lot more about characters like her inshaAllah
    thanks for stopping by

  3. arfan Said:

    Mashallah good post, please keep it up. Please see, if you don’t already know Mohammad Akran Nadwis work on female hadith scholars and Aisha Bewley short biographical work as well.

    Good luck

  4. Zeynab Said:

    I don’t think that enough female role models are being dusted off from the history books. A really good book is Extraordinary Women of Islam, and it details extraordinary Muslim women of history in different areas like poetry, religious knowledge, etc.

  5. sacrosanct Said:

    I definitely agree. I am going to do a series of posts on these female role models.
    Who’s the author of the book you mentioned Zeynab?
    JazakAllah khair arfan, Yes I know of those 2 books!

  6. […] Read it. […]

  7. amina Said:

    i wish more people knew about these things

  8. Daud Said:

    You missed the fact that Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) sat with four female scholars, of which was his paternal aunt, Shaykha Sitt Ad Dar bint Abdus Salaam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah).

    There are noted female scholars today, such as Shaykha Umm Abdillaah al Waasitiyy from Yemen and the female scholars with her. She give lessons on-line for sisters only.

  9. Sayed Shamsu Nazar Fatimi

    The seperation of women from the Islamic Activities was started during the process of deterioration of MUSLIM Umma. Our Holly Prophet’s marriages carried the OBJECTIVES to train His house holds to EDUCATE and TRAIN the females of the Umma. LEARNING ACCORDING TO QURAN O SEERAT was admonished for the male and female alike. Our Ulemas or majority of them being ignorant of these facts do not realize these facts.

    The ACTIVITIES the SAHABIAT participated were Jehad, Ghazawaat, Hujj, Five Times Prayers, Salaat Eidaen, Deffence, and COMMUNICATING KNOWLEDGES. What Else activities were left at that time were spared from being participated in them.

  10. Ni'mah Said:

    Asalamu Alaykum dearest sister,

    MashaAllah it is great to know about female scholars of Islam. It is my greatest dream to become a Scholar and it’s actually motivational that women have studied the religion and were scholars even though there is little to 0 female scholars of Islam in our world today..

  11. s Nazar Said:


    For many people, the word ‘Islam’ conjures up images of violence, suicide bombings and holy war. But not for Maryam Kabeer Faye, a Jewish-born American. She believes the religion she adopted after a long spiritual journey represents peace, love and mercy.

    Kabeer Faye describes her transformative experience, from her Jewish roots to Sufi Islam, in her recent book, “Journey through Ten Thousand Veils:the Alchemy of Transformation on the Sufi Path.”

    ISLAM and CONVERTS I read the autobios of the COVERTS specially the women in the West. Many CONVERTS r from Britian, America and Europe. Among such CONVERTS Maryam Jameela who has been a writter about 30 books about culture and religion especially Islam, she also belonged to the Judiaism.

    You may have well known about MARMADUKE PITCHTHALL (MUhammad Asad) and MARTER LINGS (Abubaker Siraj) who R well known writters and intellectuals. In the West the majority of the converts are women. This is the indication that people do not blindly follow the propaganda of the present Western Media Crusading, and follows their own PURE THINKING independantly. . …Continue Please Comment and contact- ssfatimi@gmail.com

  12. Maturidi Said:

    Great blog. For more information on women scholars plz check my videos:

    The sister of Ibn Hajar:

    The wife of Ibn Hajar:

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