Shaykhah Shuhdah, Fakhr-un-Nisa

Fakhr-un-Nisa was daughter of a distinguished scholar, Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn ‘Umar Al-Abri. She herself was an illustrious Hadith scholar and a skilful calligraphist. She was born in 484H in the Iranian city of Denvar. She had her early studies from her father and learnt calligraphy from him. She achieved perfection in the art, driving the master calligraphist of the time appreciate her.

She received learning of Hadith and studied other branches of knowledge under the guidance of the reputed scholars like Abu ‘Abdullah Hasan ibn Ahmad Nomani, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ahmad-As-Shashi, Ahmad ibn Abdul Qadir ibn Yusuf and Abu-Al-Husayni. Shuhdah commanded great name in the studies of Hadith and the seekers of learning came from distant places and took it a pride if they were allowed to join her session of Dars. Many scholars of great fame were said to be regular audience of her Dars and would acquire authority from her to report the Ahadith on behalf of her. She not only exhibited her erudition in study of Hadith but also would make scholarly speeches on history, linguistics and literature, leaving lasting impression on heart and soul of the audience. She came to acquire the title of Fakhr-un-Nisa (Pride of the Women) for her erudition, calligraphic art and highly acclaimed oratory.

Her husband died after forty years of marriage. She endured the great shock with courage and patience and occupied herself with learning and educating. The Caliph Al-Muqtadi Bi-amr-Allah granted her a large estate to enhance the scope of her scholarly activities. She, with the help of new fortunes established a grand Darsgah on the banks of river Tigris where hundreds of students had had their studies. Its all expenses were borne by Shuhdah herself. Shuhdah retained her loyalty to the virtuous job of brightening the world with the light of knowledge till the last moment.

She died in 574H at the age of more than 90. Her funeral prayer was said at Jama’e Al-Qasr in Baghdad. Thousands of sorrowful people including the scholars, students and the state dignitaries participated in her funeral proceedings. The noted Muhaddith, ibn Jawzi says, “Shuhdah was a pious and devoted lady.”

(ibn Khallikan, Sved Amir Ali)

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