We have discussed many muhaddithat so far on this blog, so today I want to take it a bit further and tell you about Fatima bint Mohammed ibn Ahmad Al Samarqandi, who was not only a muhadithah and a great scholar but she was also a jurist and used to issue fatwa (religious edicts and verdicts). She lived about 500 years after the Prophet ﷺ.
Fatima was taught by her father the great jurist Mohammed ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Ahmad Al Din Al Samarqandi. He who wrote the famous book Tuhfat Al Fuqaha, which his daughter had memorized. Fatima was an expert in Hanafi jurisprudence. She was also extremely acquainted with the verses of the Quran and the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ. When Fatima would issue a fatwa, the fatwa was written in both her handwriting and her father’s (and later also her husband’s).
Her husband, Alaa Al Din Abu Bakr ibn Massud Al Kassani. Alaa, was a student of her father and an expert in the alusul and alfuru fields of Islamic Jurisprudence (fikh). Interestingly enough, Fatima’s dowry was Alaa’s book, Al Badai AlSanai, a commentary that he wrote on her father’s book, Tuhfat Al Fuqaha. Her father was so impressed by the book that he accepted it as her dowry on behalf of Alaa over the kings that had asked for her hand and offered more.
Fatima’s skill in jurisprudence surpassed her husband and she became a mentor for him. Whenever he needed help with his fatwas or any religious advice, he would turn to her. Ibn Al Adim said, “My father narrated that she used to quote the Hanafi madhab (doctrine) very well. Her husband, Al Kassani, sometimes had doubts and erred in the issuing of a fatwa; then she would tell him the correct opinion and explain the reason for his mistake.”
*Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a story that shows you the real Islam. Nowhere does it say that a woman cannot be the source of information for men and nowhere does it say that men are the highest scholars. There are countless numbers of women like Fatima who were not only great scholars, but also surpassed their husbands and were the advisors of their husbands.
*I also want to mention something else. We come back around to a recurring theme which is education. Imagine how much education and knowledge Fatima had to have in order to her to get to the status that she was. When we look at great people, we also need to look at how they got to where they were. I promise you nine times out ten, they worked really hard for it and studied and read and read and read. We live in a time where everyone is after their fifteen minutes of fame (even in the Muslim communities) but real change and real establishment of one’s knowledge takes time, years. Work hard for it and increase your knowledge. You don’t need to be a scholar but you need to know who you are as a Muslim, which includes knowing your religion well and its history.
What do you all think of this story?
Nadwī, Muḥammad Akram Al-. Al-Muḥaddithāt: The Women Scholars in Islam. Oxford [etc.: Interface Publications, 2007. Print.
“Muslim Women Who Taught Their Husbands.” Scribd. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Oct. 2012. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/16753898/Muslim-Women-Who-Taught-Their-Husbands>
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