Amrah bint Abd Al_Rahman was a *tabiiyah (successor). She was a faqihah (jurist) and a muhadithah (narrator of hadith) in Madinah. She grew up in the house of Aishah (RA) and learned from her. A number of her narrations of hadith were recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, al Nasai and ib Majah, such as those concerning eclipses, itikhaf, and some matters of hajj.
She was well respected by all. Al Dhahabi, a muhaddith and historian of Islam who had studied under many scholars, said of Amrah, “She was a scholar, jurist, proof, and holder of abundant knowledge.” The Umayyad caliphate Umar ibn Abd Al-Aziz, who had benefited personally from her counsel, said about Amrah that “no one is now (living) who has more knowledge of Aishah’s hadith than Amrah.”
Al Zuhri, an Ummayad scholar and authority on Hadith, said: “Qasim ibn Muhammad said to me: ‘I see, my boy, that you are greedy for knowledge. Should I not inform you of the vessel of knowledge? Go and stick to Amrah, for she was under the guardianship of Aisha (RA).’ So I came to her and I found her an ocean; its water never goes.”
One of the most famous incidents known about her is her intervention in public courts regarding a case whose verdict she found to be unjust. The qadi (grand jurist/judge) of Madinah at the time happened to be her nephew, Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Amr ibn Hazm. The case concerned a man who had stolen iron rings in prison and the court was intending to cut off his hand. She heard of the verdict and immediately sent her client to intervene. Her client asked if it was true that they were holding a man in custody for a minor thing and were planning on cutting off his hand. The judge confirmed, to which she responded, “Amrah says to you that there is no cutting off of the hand except for stealing something worth a quarter of a dinar or more than that.’ According to hadith, the punishment of cutting off the hand for theft has certain qualifications, such as the value of the stolen item, which this defendant did not meet. Therefore, by law, this would not have been the correct verdict against him. Thanks to Amrah’s intervention, he was spared an irreversible punishment.
During the time of this case, the renowned ‘Seven jurists of Madinah’ were in residence. However, Amrah garnered so much respect and presented such a solid counterargument that her judgment was taken above all others. Amrah bint Abd Al-Rahman is just one example of the authority and respect women had in the early days of Islam and the equal standing they had in courts and other professional places.
Nadwī, Muḥammad Akram. Al-Muḥaddithāt: The Women Scholars in Islam. Oxford: Interface Publications, 2007. Print.
Salmān, Mashhūr Ḥasan Āl., AbdulHaq Al-Ashanti, and Abu Hayyan Salal Ibn. AbdulGhafur. The Noble Women Scholars of Ḥadith: Women’s Concern with the Prophetic Hadith. S.I.: Jamiah Media, 2010. Print.