Muslim Women Mystics
The Life and Work of Rabi'a and Other Women Mystics in Islam
Offering authoritative coverage of an increasingly popular area, this is a stimulating introduction to both the life and times of the great Sufi thinker, Rab'ia of Basra, and to the contribution made by other women mystics to the rich heritage of Islam. Drawing on a wide array of sources, from the words of tenth-century thinkers to the works of modern scholars, Margaret Smith provides a clear and accessible guide, not only to Rab'ia's remarkable life, but also to her asceticism, her miracles, and her teachings and writings. In addition to this, a perceptive survey traces t he roles of other female saints in Islam, from Naf sa, who recited the Qur'an six thousand times prior to her death, to the Indian princess Fatima, who renounced her royal duties to become a renowned mystic. With its suggestion that the autonomy of these great female figures could serve as a religious and social model for today's Muslim women, this is a sensitive and readable survey, which balances historical information with an interesting contemporary perspective.