Women's Contribution to Classical Islamic Civilisation: Science, Medicine and Politics

Women's Contribution to Classical Islamic Civilisation: Science, Medicine and Politics

While there are numerous works on the role of Muslim women in jurisprudence (fiqh) and literature and there are also studies on Muslim women in education and in medicine- although on a much smaller scale-, few sources mention the role of Muslim women in the development of science and technology. There are isolated references that mention some of the famous women who had a role in advancing science and who established charitable, educational and religious institutions. Some examples are: Zubayda who pioneered a most ambitious project of digging wells and building service stations all along the pilgrimage route from Baghdad to Mecca, Sutayta who was a mathematician and an expert witness in courts, Dhayfa Khatun who excelled in management and statesmanship, Fatima al-Fehri who founded the Qarawiyin mosque and university in Fez, and the astrolabe maker Al-'Ijliya, the rulers and queens Sitt al-Mulk, Shajarat al-Durr, Raziya of Delhi, and Amina of Zaria. In view of the growing importance of the subject of gender and women in society, this report presents what is currently known about some famous Muslim women, in the hope of initiating debate and starting the process of unearthing what could be a most significant find.

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