Teaching The Words Of The Prophet: Women Instructors Of The Hadith (Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries)

In: Hawwa
Omaima Abou-Bakr Cairo University

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The muhaddithat were women experts and teachers of the hadith and its literature, who were very prominent in their societies - especially of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The article highlights their role in this important field of higher education and argues that they should be given more credit for being interacting educators and not just transmitters. Reading closely the biographies of dozens of these women scholars, one discerns their professional status and efforts in disseminating a large corpus of the ad th sciences to male and female students. Significant details reveal their personal characteristics, the nature of their work, methods of teaching, and their social and cultural milieu. The biographies therefore offer an insight into the 'mixed' environment of this field, where male and female scholars interacted and where the muhaddithat taught and supervised large numbers of male students. This history also reveals the active involvement of these women in public work, albeit in the informal sector.

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