Amina Assilmi

Queen Aminatu –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 Queen Aminatu from the 10th century.

Queen Aminatu ruled a place called Zaria, which is now a province of Nigeria. Queen Aminatu’s mother ascended the throne when Aminatu was 16. She learned to ride horseback for military campaign, to wield weapons, and military strategy. When her mother and brother died, Aminatu took the reign at age 34.

Leading Zaria was very difficult at the time, because there was a lot of tribal unrest and very little unity. Queen Aminatu is credited as being the first ruler to unite the area and bring peace and security to the land. She did this not through just the military expeditions that she led, but also through her strategy. When settling up a military camp, she would build a clay wall around the boundaries of the camp. After the military left, cities would form within those protective walls.

The political stability that Queen Aminatu’s leadership, allowed the opportunity for safer trade and new imported goods, including the cola nuts which came from Sudan. She is known as being a fierce leader, who bought peace to the Hausa land, bringing safety and economic prosperity. She ruled Zaria for a total of 34 years.

With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.