Amina Assilmi

Maryam al-Istirlabiyya –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Maryam al-Istirlabiyya from the 4th century.

Maryam al-Istirlabiyya

She was a well-known scientist and engineer, who worked with a tool called an Astrolabe. Although no longer common, it used to be a very important tool, and would function like a GPS. It would be used as a navigation tool, and as a compass. People would use it to find the direction for prayer, for astronomy, and to guide ships and caravans on their journeys.

Maryam was the most famous designer of astrolabes, to the point where she was actually named after them. Her work was so accurate and precise that she was appointed by the ruler of the time, Saif al-Dowla, to create these tools. She is a great role model for young women interested in science, math, technology and engineering.

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