Asma Ibret –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 Asma Ibret from the 12th century.

Asma Ibret was an artist and a calligrapher in the Ottoman times. She studied with the most famous teacher in her time. She must have begun while she was quite young, as she finished her first work at the age of 15. It was a beautiful calligraphic description of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace. The piece had been commissioned by someone who gave it as a gift to the Sultan. The Sultan found it so beautiful, and so expressive of the beauty of the Prophet, that he gave Asma a prize. From there, he employed her on a daily salary.

Her works still exists today in museums and private collections around the world. Her final work, done at the age of 28, lives in the home of a Saudi family, and is a beautiful copy of the Qur’an.asma ibret

Asma used her art to honour the Prophet, as well as the Book of Allah. She was given the honorific title of “Ibret,” meaning an exemplary. She is an amazing role model for young artists and creatives of today.

With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.

Empowering Women’s Voices & Scholarship. Anse Tamara Gray & Ust. Zaynab Ansari

Women have always played important roles in Islamic learning, but their path to scholarship is not without its unique challenges, as Shaykha Tamara Gray and Ustadha Zaynab Ansari discuss.

In part 1 of their conversation on ImanWire, Shaykha Tamara Gray of Rabata and Ustadha Zaynab Ansari of Tayseer Seminary discuss the future of female scholarship, facing misogyny in the community, and how to facilitate more open platforms for feminine voices in the teaching of sacred knowledge. The two scholars consider the role of feminism, the need for gender-equitable spiritual spaces and discourse, and other contemporary issues. Our thanks to ImanWire for this podcast.

Photo credit: Hernán Piñera