Syrian Arab Republic
Hijri 723-816 (AH); Common Era 1323-1413 (CE)
‘Aishah bint Muhammad grew up in Damascus during a time when Islamic scholarship was flourishing. Born into the Banu Qudamah, a prominent Hanbali family in Damascus, she and her sister, Fatimah, began hadith training at an early age, which at the time was common for many women. She was taught from an early age by the famed hadith scholar, al-Hajjar. She outlived all of his other students and therefore became an important authority for those seeking his name in the line of transmission. She acquired several certificates for her studies, which allowed her to transmit several works from al-Bukhari and Muslim. As a prominent muhaddithah, she acted as an authoritative voice for narration for both male and female students and was well-known in Damascus and its surrounding environments. One of her most famous students was al-Hajar al-‘Askalani, known later to be one of the greatest Hadith scholars. Her biography illustrates that not only was co-education common, but that female hadith transmitters had an important role in classical Islamic history. Aishah’s role as hadith transmitter outside the madrasa marks the success of religious education outside formal, male-dominated institutions.