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10,000 Women: Islam's Hidden History of Female Religious Scholarship

Event Recap

May 1, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event Series: 
Event Sponsor: 
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, Office for Religious Life, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Woman reading in library

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.

Location: 
Stanford Law School, Crown Quadrangle, Room 290
Admission: 
Free and open to the public. If anyone with disabilities needs accommodations, feel free to contact us at the email below.
Contact Email: 
mvpena@stanford.edu