Join us for a conversation with Carla Power, a journalist specializing in Muslim societies who wrote "If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran." Her talk, titled "10,000 Women: Islam’s Hidden History of Female Religious Scholarship," starts with Sheikh Muhammad Akram Nadwi, an Oxford-based scholar trained in traditional Islamic sciences at a seminary in Lucknow, India.
When Nadwi decided to do a biographical dictionary on women scholars in Islam, he expected to find 30 or 40 names. Combing through primary sources, he uncovered an all-but-forgotten tradition of female religious authority stretching back to the 7th century.
The story of these women, who issued fatwas, judged cases, and lectured caliphs, sheds new light on traditional roles for women within the Islamic scholastic tradition. That their stories were uncovered by a traditional, even conservative religious scholar — an “accidental feminist,” as Power calls him — suggest new ways to think about gender, power and reform in contemporary Islamic societies.
Power's book will be sold at the event, and she will be signing copies after her talk.