Kareemah bint Ahmad al Marwaziyyah was originally from Turkmenistan. She lived during the 5th century Hijri (11th century AD). Kareemah wanted to increase her knowledge and decided to travel to study under some renowned scholars. With her father along as her mahram, she travelled to Sarakhs, Isfahan, Jerusalem, and then to Mecca. During her travels, she studied Sahih Al Bukhari under Abu Al Haytham al Kushmihani, Abdullah ibn Yusuf ibn Yusuf ibn Baaymuyah Al Asbahani, and Zahir bin Ahmad al Sarkhasi.
She learned the greatest amount of knowledge from Abu Al Haytham al Kushmihani as she heard the whole Sahih Al Bukhari from him and was the most famous of his female students. Her version of Sahih Al Bukhari was a popular one because she always authenticated it by comparing her copy with Sheikh Al Kushmihani’s original.
When Kareemah settled in Mecca, she became a central source for the transmission of authentic Sahih Al Bukhari. Kareemah became a teacher for Sahih Al Bukhari and taught for a long time. She was known to teach it again and again exactly how she was taught it. Among her students were some great imams such as Al Samani and Al Khatib Al Baghdadi.
Kareemah took great care to ensure accuracy of hadith and she did not let anyone narrate from her unless they compared their copy with her original. Abu Al Ghanaim Al Narsi said, “Kareemah brought for me her original copy of the Saheeh. I sat down in front of Kareemah and wrote down seven pages and read them with her. I wanted to compare (my copy) with her original by myself but she said that she would not permit it unless I compared it with her. Then I did the comparison with her.” He was also a student of hers for other books of hadith.
Abu Bakr bin Mansur Al Samani used to praise her for being remarkable and unique. He relates that his father used to say, “Has anyone seen the likes of Kareemah?” She had surpassed both men and women with her knowledge and was considered the best authority on Sahih Al Bukhari of her time. Being an expert on Sahih Al Bukhair narration is quite impressive as it has chapters that pertain to medicine, prayer, zakat, hajj, revelation, belief, knowledge, abulation, purity, wills, and so much more and it is usually taught by only the most advanced students.
Kareemah was not only known for her knowledge, but also for her piety. Imam Al Dhahabi said of Kareemah, “She had knowledge and good understanding combined with goodness and worship.” She lived in Mecca for the majority of her life, which is why she is considered a Meccan scholar even though she is not from Mecca. She lived next to the Haram (Kabba) in Mecca and would spend her days teaching and worshipping Allah.
Kareemah passed away at the age of 100 in the year 463 H (1070 AD). She will forever be known as one of the most famous women Muhaditha in Mecca. Rahimaha Allah.
Nadwī, Muḥammad Akram Al-. Al-Muḥaddithāt: The Women Scholars in Islam. Oxford [etc.: Interface Publications, 2007. Print.
“THE IDEAL MUSLIMAH.” Kareemah Bint Ahmad Al Marwaziyyah. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://idealmuslimah.com/personalities/women-scholars-knowledgeable/259-kareemah-bint-ahmad-al-marwaziyyah->.
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