Muḥaddithāt: Profiles of Women Scholars of Ḥadīth

Sitt al-Ahl1 bint an-Nāṣiḥ ʿAlwān (d. 703 AH) — She was described as someone of strong Dīn, modesty, and took much delight in hearing Ḥadīth. She heard several books such as Faḍā‘il al-Qurʾān by Imām al-Faryābī (d. 212 AH), Masā’il al-Imām Aḥmad, and Kitāb az-Zuhd of Imām Aḥmad (d. 241 AH). From that which indicates her reputation as a scholar is her students, and from them are:

  1. Zaynab bint Sulaymān al-Ḥanbalīyyah (d. 705 AH) — She heard Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and was given Ijāzah by many of her peers. She narrated Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Musnad al-Imām ash-Shāfiʿī,2 and a large amount of people heard from her. Being a woman of vast knowledge and great character, she also had many students of her own, from them being Taqī ad-Dīn as-Subkī (d. 756 AH).
  2. al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Mizzī (d. 742 AH) — Emiment Muḥaddith and compiler of the book in Jarḥ wa at-Taʿdīl, Tahdhīb al-Kamāl fī Asmā’ ar-Rijāl.3
  3. Imām adh-Dhahabī (d. 748 AH) — al-Muḥaddith, al-Ḥāfiẓ, and the great historian; compiler of the books Siyar A’lām an-Nubalā’, Tadhkirah al-Ḥuffāẓ, Tārīkh al-Islām, and many more. He made mention of her in his book Muʾjam ash-Shuyūkh.4

Nakhwah bint Zayn ad-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Ḥalabī (d. 719 AH) — She was distinguished amongst others due to her transmission of al-Mustakhraj ʿalá Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī by Abī Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī (d. 430 AH).5 Imām adh-Dhahabī (d. 748 AH) took Ḥadīth from her in his book Tadhkirah al-Ḥuffāẓ and also mentioned her in his book Muʾjam ash-Shuyūkh.6

‘Amah7 ar-Raḥmān bint Ibrāhīm al-Ḥanbalīyyah (d. 726 AH) — Since a child, she would attend gatherings of Ḥadīth and hear from many of it’s scholars, resulting in her eventually being given Ijāzāt and reaching a high Isnād. From the books she narrated was Sunan ibn Mājah, Musnad Mūsá ibn Jaʾfar,8 and many others. Those who knew her described her as someone who was very righteous, brought much good, and a blessed person.

Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad ibn Jamīl ad-Dimashqīyyah (d. 730 AH) — Since a child, she also would attend gatherings of Ḥadīth and would go on to narrate those Aḥādīth that she gathered. From those who took Aḥādīth from her was Burhān ad-Dīn ash-Shāmī, one of the most significant teachers of al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852 AH).

Asmā’ bint Muḥammad ibn Sālim (d. 733 AH) — An abundant worshipper, she was described as being from the righteous and someone who engaged in many acts of worship, frequent in performing Ḥajj, giving Ṣadaqah, and recitation of the Qurʾān. She heard from a large number of narrators and scholars of her time until she reached a high Isnād and had many students who took from her. al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852 AH) said about her: “Our Shaykh, Burhān ad-Dīn, would narrate and take Ḥadīth from her, and also Abū Bakr ibn al-ʿIzz al-Farḍī and others.”

She was very keen in transmitting Ḥadīth so much so to the point where she would have others read Ḥadīth on her during the last days of her life. It’s been recorded that many people were in great sorrow concerning her death, including ibn al-Wardī (d. 749 AH) who wrote a poem in lamentation of her.

Fāṭimah bint ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ibn ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Ḥamawī (d. 738 AH) — She heard the entirety of Musnad Aḥmad, a compiliation consisting over 27,000 Aḥādīth, from another Muḥaddithah named Zaynab bint Makkī. She also narrated and took Ḥadīth from her.

Ṣafīyyah bint Aḥmad as-Ṣāliḥīyyah (d. 741 AH) — She heard Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim and narrated it, becoming the book’s main authority during her time. She gave Ijāzah in transmitting Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim to Imām ibn al-Mulaqqin, the great Muḥaddith and Faqīh of Egypt.

Sitt al-Fuqahā’ bint al-Khaṭīb Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad (d. 765 AH) — During her time in the city of Ṣafad, Palestine, she would narrate Ḥadīth to it’s people and from them who took those Ḥadīth from her was Imām al-Haythamī (d. 807 AH), the great Muḥaddith and compiler of Majmaʾ az-Zawāʾid.

Zaynab bint ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm ibn Taymīyyah al-Ḥanbalīyyah (d. 799 AH) — Niece of Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah (d. 728 AH), she was from the famous & most prominent Muḥaddithāt, known to be a source of great benefit for her people. She narrated Ḥadīth & gave Ijāzah to al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852 AH).

May Allāh have mercy upon these great Muḥaddithāt for their large contributions to the religion of Islām & allow them all to enter Jannah behind The Prophet ﷺ together.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

[Extracted from Juhūd al-Mar’ah fī Riwāyah al-Ḥadīth (جهود المرأة في رواية الحديث) by Ṣāliḥ Yūsuf Maʾtūq]


[1] Sitt (ست); an honorary title used for women. It is translated as meaning Mrs., Ms., Lady, and is sometimes used as a synonym for Sayyīdah (سيدة).
[2] Musnad al-Imām ash-Shāfiʿī (مسند الإمام الشافعي): Compiled by Muḥammad ibn Idrīs ash-Shāfiʿī, who was from Gaza, Palestine — contains nearly 2,000 Aḥādīth. This work was not directly compiled by Imām ash-Shāfiʿī himself, but rather it was gathered by the students of Rabīʾ ibn Sulaymān, who was one of Imām ash-Shāfiʿī’s most senior students & the narrator of his famous book on Fiqh, al-Umm. It’s narrations were transmitted from Imām ash-Shāfiʿī narrating to his students and the narrations that can be found within his books al-Umm and al-Mabsūṭ.
[3] See index: Taqrīb at-Tahdhīb & It’s Antecedents.
[4] Muʾjam ash-Shuyūkh (معجم الشيوخ) is an encyclopedia of the teachers of Imām adh-Dhahabī. See page 228 (Dār al-Kutūb al-ʿĪlmīyyah).
[5] Abī Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī also compiled al-Mustakhraj ʿalá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (المستخرج على صحيح الإمام مسلم), containing around 13,036 Aḥādīth. al-Mustakhraj (المستخرج) is when a Muḥaddith gathers the exact Aḥādīth from another collection but with his own chain of narration that links to the original work.
[6] See page 629 (Dār al-Kutūb al-ʿĪlmīyyah).

[7] ‘Amah (أمة); female variation of ʿAbd (عبد).
[8] Musnad Mūsá ibn Jaʾfar (مسند موسى بن جعفر): Compiled by Mūsá ibn Jaʿfar aṣ-Ṣādiq, who was from Madīnah, Arabia — I’ve looked into the available prints of this book and from what I’ve researched at the time of writing this is that they seem to only be published by Rāfiḍī publishers, and within them is excessive praise of him. Mūsá ibn Jaʿfar was one of the great scholars of Ḥadīth during his time, however, the Rāfiḍah are extremely exaggerative regarding his status, no different to their exaggeration with the rest of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib’s and Fāṭimah‘s linage. Due to this, there is a severe possibility that his Musnad that we have today is most likely tampered with and altered by the Rāfiḍah, as they are a devious sect whose religion is based upon lies and spreading those lies.

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
25th of Jumādá al-ʿAwwal 1444