Thursday, May 1

Book review: Islam's women scholars

An interesting review here.

One indicator of the development of a society is its female literacy rate and, related to this, the number of its female scholars. On both these fronts, India's Muslims are among the lowest of all the communities in the country. This unfortunate fact provides a basis for negative stereotyping of the community, particularly in matters related to inter-gender relations.

This, however, is ironical, given that Islam is one of the few religions to have declared education to be a duty binding on all its followers, men as well as women. The irony is further heightened by the fact that early Islamic history provides examples of numerous Muslim women scholars who made valuable contributions to the intellectual life of their communities.

That little known story is precisely what this book is all about. It contains vignettes about scores of early Muslim women scholars, who could serve as major sources of inspiration to Muslims, including Muslim women, today if only they were more widely known, a task that the Maulana takes upon himself.

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