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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Queen Amina of Zaria

Known For: Military leader
Dates: 16th Century
Country: Nigeria

About

The daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, Queen Amina of Zaria is renowned for her shrewd military strategies and exploits. At the age of sixteen, Amina’s mother became the Queen of Zazzau and named its capital after her youngest daughter Zaria, sister of Amina. The status of Amina’s mother allowed Amina to employ her military intelligence at a young age. While it is contested as to whether Amina was every truly Queen or simply an extremely powerful Princess, her military tactics were largely responsible for the expansion of the Zazzau beyond its initial borders and reducing the position from full-fledged cities to vassal cities.

Amina was also responsible for the development of well-fortified walls around the city of Zazzau, which served to protect it from predatory enemies. These walls would go on to be called ganuwar Amina, or Amina’s walls, in the city of Zazzau and other cities in Northern Nigeria. Amina’s success as a conqueror led to her widespread celebration; she was often noted for being “as capable as a man.” The city of Zaria would go on to become a prominent center of Northern Nigeria and serve as a trading post for Eastern and Western Africa and Northern and Southern Africa.

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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women alphabetically by their first names. Many Muslim names have alternative spellings once rendered into English so if you cannot find the name you are looking for, please try the general search tab where you can enter keywords of your choice.
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This search feature will enable you to find Muslim women chronologically by the Common Era century. 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 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.