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A Woman Amongst the Sheikhs: the Qur’anic exegesis of Bint al-Shātiʼ

A woman reads the Quran [Aisylu Ahmadieva - Shutterstock].

‘Ā’isha ‘Abd al- Rahmān was the first female Muslim to make a name for herself in the field of Qur’anic studies. Whilst she remained tied to traditional positions regarding women’s issues, she made a fundamental contribution to the history of women in the Arab-Islamic world.

This article was published in Oasis 30. Read the table of contents

Last update: 2021-01-13 14:41:14

‘Āʼisha ‘Abd al-Rahmān, known by the pen name of Bint al-Shātiʼ, “daughter of the shore,” was the first Muslim woman to emerge in the field of Qur’anic studies. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to make her a pioneer of feminism. The question of gender relations is marginal in her theological production, while her vision of the status of women remained bound to traditional positions. Nevertheless, there is no denying her fundamental contribution to the history of women, in Egypt and in the Muslim world more in general.


The first Muslim woman to have asserted her authority in the field of Qur’anic studies, a field of knowledge which for many centuries had remained an exclusively male dominion, was the Egyptian ‘Āʼisha ‘Abd al-Rahmān (1913-1998), better known by her pen name Bint al-Shātiʼ, “the daughter of the shore.”

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