SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

A History of Islam in 21 Women

Oneworld Pub. Mar. 2020. 304p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781786076434. $24.95. REL
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Kamaly (Islamic studies, Hartford Seminary; God and Man in Tehran) takes on the difficult task of covering the history of Islam through the lives of 21 women, starting with the prophet Muhammad’s first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (555–619) and others who observed the formative years of Islam, and ending with Maryam Mirzakhani. The women featured include religious figures, political leaders, academics, and artists. They hail from around the world, including the Middle and Far East, Western Europe, North and West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Russia. Each chapter explores the tenor of Islam during a given subject’s lifetime and geographic location. Given the biographical focus, however, the broader coverage on Islam is somewhat disjointed. For some of the women mentioned, religion figures only tangentially into their recognized achievements.
VERDICT Overall, a solid starting reference for those interested in women and Islamic studies, accessible and well-suited for both high school and college-level readers

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