Muslim Women: Past and Present

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Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.

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Al Shifa bint Abdullah

"The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) entered when I [Al Shifa] was with Hafsah, and he said to me: Why do you not teach this one the spell for skin eruptions as you taught her writing."

(Dawud, Book 28: 3878)

Known For: Medical Practitioner, Teacher, Public Administrator
Dates: Hijri unknown – d. 20 AH
Common Era unknown – 640 CE

Country: Saudi Arabia

About

Al Shifa bint Abdullah’s real name was Laylah, however she became well-known as al-Shifa (healer/healing) due to her medical abilities. Al Shifa was an intelligent woman, highly respected for her learning and wisdom. She was one of the few individuals of her time who knew how to read and write in the city of Mecca. Having this luxury inspired her to share her knowledge and skills with others, including Prophet’s (PBUH) wife, Hafsah bint Umar.

After embracing Islam and migrating to Medina, Al Shifa continued to practice and teach the preventive medicine. As she was recognized for her intellect and counseling skills, Caliph Umar appointed Al Shifa as the market manager of Medina. As a public administrator, her responsibilities included ensuring that all business practices were consistent with Islamic laws and values.

Furthermore, due to her vast knowledge of Islam, it is believed that Al Shifa was an advisor to Caliph Umar on many occasions. As a companion, she also narrated many hadiths and along with her Islamic expertise, she is admired for her work in health, educations, and politics.

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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women by their Country. We are actively building the archive of Muslim women leaders from the past, as well as from today, and we would welcome your recommendations of women to feature. Please complete our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.
This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women leaders by entering the keyword(s) of your choice. If you cannot find a particular woman that you are looking for, please let us know by completing our “Recommend Muslim Women” form and check the site again in the near future as we actively expand this section of the portal with your suggestions.