Women and Religious Life in the Muslim Middle Ages

Hoda El-Saadi, 2001 Occasional Papers


cover for print      

This is a joint research paper by Omaima Abou-Bakr and Hoda El-Saadi that  sheds light on the neglected history of women as religious scholars in Islamic societies during the pre-Islamic period.  The study is a historical survey of the women who worked in the religious field as theologians and religious scholars.  It unearths their status among the religious elite in Islam, comparing them to the Christian saints of Europe during the same period.  The comparative aspect opens new avenues for research and analysis, and explores questions of women’s history, and the cultural and popular patterns of memory and social discourse.


What do we know about female muftis and religious leaders in the Islamic middle ages? Were female religious figures publicly known and turned to in issues pertaining to religion? What was their status amongst the religious circles and how were they presented in historical sources? ًWomen and Religious Life in the Middle Ages: Between Islam and the West sheds light on the forgotten history of women in this field in Islamic communities during the middle-ages battles the common view on the illegitimacy of the participation of women in the religious public sphere nowadays and confronts the predominant historical views that claim that women played no important role in the religious sphere during the middle-ages

Published by: Women and Memory Forum
Organziation URL: http://www.wmf.org.eg/
Record: Link:

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