From the first believer, Khadija, and the other women who witnessed the formative years of Islam, to award-winning architect Zaha Hadid in the twenty-first century, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and groundbreaking achievements of these extraordinary women in the history of Islam.
... eminently readable ... Here in all their gutsy glory are women whose voices have not received the prominence that is their due within the story of Islam ... an act of reclamation on several fronts. For Muslim women, it provides an empowering and exhilarating genealogy of strong forebears whom they can connect to their contemporary journeys of empowerment. For Western readers, it exposes the untruths that have characterized Muslim women as deferential beings in need of rescue ... provides the substance of a feminist narrative that has always existed within Islam. The question remains: Will Kamaly’s book will be relegated to the margins, shelved away under 'other' feminisms, or will it be integrated into the larger history of feminism, now dominated by white and Western women?
Each profile is clearly written with a stated conscious effort to avoid controversies as much as possible. The result is a straightforward history-in-portraits, one man’s list of prominent women in one of largest religions in human history.
Each chapter explores the tenor of Islam during a given subject’s lifetime and geographic location. Given the biographical focus, however, the broader coverage on Islam is somewhat disjointed. For some of the women mentioned, religion figures only tangentially into their recognized achievements ... Overall, a solid starting reference for those interested in women and Islamic studies, accessible and well-suited for both high school and college-level readers.