The Islamic tradition of female hadeeth scholarship continued in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Hijrah. Faatimah bint al-Hasan ibn ‘Alee ibn al-Daqqaaq (d. 480/1087), wife of the famous mystic and traditionist Abul-Qaasim al-Qushayree, was celebrated not only for her piety and her mastery of calligraphy, but also for her knowledge of hadeeth and the high quality of isnaads that she knew. Even more distinguished was Kareemah al-Marwaziyyah (d. 463/1070), who was considered the best authority on the Saheeh al-Bukhaaree in her time. Aboo Dharr of Herat, one of the leading scholars of the period, attached such great importance to her authority that he advised his students to study the Saheeh under no one else, because of the quality of her scholarship. She thus figures as a central point in the transmission of this seminal text of Islam. “As a matter of fact,” writes Goldziher, “her name occurs with extraordinary frequency in the ijaazahs for narrating the text of this book.” Among her students were al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee and al-Humaydee (428/1036-488/1095).
Aside from Kareemah, a number of other women traditionists occupy an eminent place in the history of the transmission of the text of the Saheeh. Among these, one might mention in particular Faatimah bint Muhammad (d. 539/1144); Shuhdah bint Ahmad ibn al-Faraj (d.574/1178), and Sitt al-Wuzaraa bint Umar (d. 716/1316). Faatimah narrated the book on the authority of the great traditionist Sa‘eed al-‘Ayyaar and she received from the hadeeth specialists the proud title of Musnidah Isbahaan (the great hadeeth authority of Isfahan). Shuhdah was a famous calligrapher and a traditionist of great repute. The biographers describe her as the calligrapher, the great authority on hadeeth, and the pride of womanhood. Her great-grandfather had been a dealer in needles, and thus acquired the title al-Ibree. But her father, Aboo Nasr (d. 506/1112) had acquired a passion for hadeeth, and managed to study it with several masters of the subject. In obedience to the sunnah, he gave his daughter a sound academic education, ensuring that she studied under many traditionists of accepted reputation.
She married ‘Alee ibn Muhammad, an important figure with some literary interests, who later became a companion of the Caliph al-Muqtafee, and founded a college which he endowed most generously. His wife, however, was better known. She gained her reputation in the field of hadeeth scholarship, and was noted for the quality of her isnaads. Her lectures on Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and other hadeeth collections were attended by large crowds of students as a result of her great reputation.
Also known as an authority on Saheeh al-Bukhaaree was Sitt al-Wuzaraa, who, besides her acclaimed mastery of Islamic law, was known as the musnidah of her time. She delivered lectures on the Saheeh and other works in Damascus and Egypt. Classes on Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, were likewise given by Umm al-Khayr Amatul-Khaaliq (811/1408-911/1505), who is regarded as the last great hadeeth scholar of the Hijaaz. Still another authority on Saheeh al-Bukhaaree was ‘Aa’ishah bint ‘Abdil-Haadee.
Apart from these women, who seem to have specialized in the great Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, there were others, whose expertise was centred on other texts. Ummul-Khayr Faatimah bint ‘Alee (d. 532/1137) and Faatimah ash-Shahrazooriyyah, both delivered lectures on the Saheeh Muslim. Faatimah alJawzdaaniyyah (d. 524/1129) narrated to her students the three Musnads of atTabaraanee. Zaynab of Harran (d. 688/1289), whose lectures attracted a large crowd of students, taught them the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hambal, the largest known collection of hadeeths. Juwayriyyah bint ‘Umar (d. 783/1381), and Zaynab bint Ahmad ibn ‘Umar (d. 722/1322), who had travelled widely in pursuit of hadeeth and delivered lectures in Egypt as well as Madeenah, narrated to her students the collections Sunan ad-Daarimee and ‘Abd ibn Humayd work. Students travelled from far and wide to attend her discourses. Zaynab bint Ahmad (d. 740/1339), usually known as Bint al-Kamaal delivered lectures on the Musnad of Aboo Haneefah, Shamaa’il at-Tirmithee, and the Sharh Ma‘aanee al-Aathaar of at-Tahaawee, the last of which she had read with another woman traditionist, Ajeebah bint Abee Bakr (d. 740/1339). Goldziher said: “On her authority is based the authenticity of the Gotha codex... in the same isnaad a large number of learned women are cited who had occupied themselves with this work.” With her, and various other women, the great traveller Ibn Battootah studied traditions during his stay at Damascus.
The famous historian of Damascus, Ibn al-‘Asaakir, who tells us that he had studied under more than 1,200 men and 80 women, obtained the ijaazah of Zaynab bint ‘Abdir-Rahmaan for the Muwatta of Imaam Maalik. Jalaalud-deen as-Suyootee studied the Risaalah of Imaam al-Shaafi‘ee with Haajar bint Muhammad. ‘Afeefud-deen Junayd, a traditionist of the ninth century AH, read Sunanad-Daarimee with Faatimah bint Ahmad ibn Qaasim.
Other important female traditionists included Zaynab bint ash-Sha‘ree (524-615/1129-1218). She studied hadeeth under several leading traditionists, and in turn lectured to many students, some of who gained great repute including Ibn Khallikaan, author of the well-known biographical dictionary Wafaayaat alA‘yaan.  Another was Kareemah the Syrian (d. 641/1218), described by the biographers as the greatest authority on hadeeth in Syria of her day. She delivered lectures on many works of hadeeth on the authority of numerous teachers.
In his work ad-Durar al-Kaaminah, Ibn Hajar gives short biographical entries on about 170 prominent women of the eighth century, most of who are traditionists, and under many of whom the author himself had studied. Some of these women were acknowledged as the best traditionists of the period. For instance, Juwayriyyah bint Ahmad, to whom we have already referred, studied a range of works on traditions, under scholars both male and female, who taught at the great colleges of the time, and then proceeded to give famous lectures on the Islamic disciplines. “Some of my own teachers,” says Ibn Hajar, “and many of my contemporaries, attended her discourses. ‘Aa’ishah bint Abdil-Haadee (723-816), also mentioned above, who for a considerable time was one of Ibn Hajar’s teachers, was considered to be the finest traditionist of her time, and many students undertook long journeys in order to sit at her feet and study the truths of religion. Sitt al-‘Arab (d. 760/1358) was the teacher of the well-known traditionist al-‘Iraaqee (d. 741/1341) and of many others who derived a good proportion of their knowledge from her. Daqeeqah bint Murshid (d. 746/1345), another celebrated woman traditionist, received instruction from a whole range of other women.
 Muhammedanische Studien, vol. 2, p. 404, quoted in Hadith Literature, p. 145.
 Kitaab al-Imdaad, p. 36 quoted in Hadith Literature, pp. 145-6.
 Wafaayaat al-A‘yaan, no. 250.
 Shatharaat ath-Thahab, vol. 7, p. 120.
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human