Series: Female Models of Luminance #8: Fātimatu Al-Baghdādiyyah

Abū ‘Āsim, An-Nidā Publications

Women excelled in our history and contributed a fair share to the Citadels of Islām and the Spheres that served as the pillars for its growth and advance. Among these great women was The Polymath and Adept Mother and Shaykhah Fātimah bint `Abbās Al-Baghdādiyyah who lived and excelled in the seeking of knowledge from the foremost `Ulamā of her time in the city of Dimashq.

Fātimah Al-Baghdādiyyah was a star among women and a man among them for she would dedicate all she had in the pursuit of `Ilm and in attending the Durūs of the Fuqahā and the Muhaddithīn of her time. Foremost of her teachers were the Faqīh Polymath Shamsuddīn ibn Abī `Umar Al-Maqdisī and Shaykhu Al-Islām ibn Taymiyyah.

In taking knowledge and seeking it, she was known for the depth of her understanding and the quickness with whe she grasped the Sciences and the Lesson Sessions she attended. She was so brilliant the Shaykhu Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah, as mentioned by Ibn Kathīr in his book Al-Bidāyah Wa An-Nihāyah, would prepare specially for her questions before beginning his Lessons because he was aware of her brilliance, her penetrating insight and the quickness with which she understands. She was said to excel her male student connterpats in learning and understanding. To her brilliance testified all her teachers and colleagues, as mentioned by Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalānī in Ad-Duraru Al-Kāminah.

Acknowledging the depth of her knowledge and the brilliance of her memory. Shaykhu Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned that she had perfected over half of the details of the matters of Fiqh expounded upon by Ibn Qudāmah Al-Maqdisī in Al-Mughnī. And whoever knows the depth of issues discussed by Muwaffaqudīn in Al-Mughnī and the volume of this work would respect the person of Fātimah Al-Baghdādiyyah. It is mentioned that once, she had a lengthy discourse with the Shāfī`I and Polymath Faqīh Sadruddīn bn Wakīl on some matters pertaining to the Fiqh of Hayd (Menstraution), as quoted by Salāhuddīn As-Safadī in his book “A`ayān Al-`Asr Wa Aawān An-Nasr”. In the heat of that discussion, she said to him: “You are adept with those matters academically but I am adept with them both academically and practically”. The veracity and intensity of the intricate matters she raised with Ibn Wakīl earned her his respect and the respect of the entire Scholarly Community of her era.

Al-Baghdādiyyah was known for her deeply rooted understanding of the Dīn and the Qur`ān Numemis travelled to her from across the Muslim World to learn. And she would teach the Qur`ān to women and make the to memorise it. Of the women who learnt under her and committed the Qur`ān to memory were the wives of the Muhaddith Imām Jamāluddīn Al-Mizzī and later his daughter `Amatu Ar-Rahīm Zaynab who later married the Muhaddith Imām Ibn Kathīr – rahimahullāh.

At the onset of the 8th Century, she moved to Qāhirah where she became even more known and travelled to by men and women – Students of Knowledge. She took over the responsibility of teaching, guiding and mentoring women in the Ribāt that was set up many years before by the wives of one of the Kings. This center served as a residence for travellers, poor ones and Wayfarers who lacked a place to reside or a home of hospitality. In this Ribāt, which later became known as Ribātu Al-Baghdādiyyah, she established her school teaching, guiding and commanding to Ma`arūf and Forbidding from Munkar. She would take to the Minbar to warn and deliver heart softening sermons with which Allah guided the hearts of tens and thousands to Tawbah and to learning and dedicating to the Dīn of Allah.

Fātimah Al-Baghdādiyyah was known for her `Ibādah and her Zuhd, she would give out much of what she had to her students and to the needy. She would spend her daytime fasting and her night hours in Prayer and Qiyām. Imām Adh-Dhahabī who visited her once, referred to her as the Sayyidah of the women of her time.

Taqiyuddīn Al-Maqrīzī said about her: “She was a Fāqihah with well rootedness in `Ilm, she was a Zāhidah who sufficed with a title. She was an `Ābidah who warned and was keen to benefit others and to remind. A woman full of sincerity and fear of Allah, keen to Commanding of Good. Many women of Dimashq and Misr benefitted from her and she had an amazing acceptance and an abundance of acceptance in the hearts of People. And because of her impact, every woman that took over the Shaykhdorm of her Ribāt (School) became known as the Baghdādiyyah.

Fātimah Al-Baghdādiyyah was a notable among the Notables in the History of those who lived in accordance with the Message of the Rasūl – salallāhu alahyi wa sallam – an illustrous life that reserved for her a page in the scrolls of History recorded by the greatest `Ulamā of her time and the era after her. Of the Imāms who recorded her were: Salāhuddīn As-Safadī in `Aayān Al-`Asr, Taqiyuddīn Al-Maqrīzī  in “Al-Mawā`īdhu Wa Al-I`itibār Fi Dhikri Al-Khutātu Wa Al-Āthār”, `Imāduddīn Ibn Kathīr in “Al-Bidāyah Wa An-Nihāyah”, Imām Adh-Dhahabī in Al-`Ibar Fi Khabari Man Ghabar, Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajar in Ad-Duraru Al-Kāminah Fi A`ayāni Al-Ma`ati Ath-Thāminah and Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalī in Adh-Dhayl `Alā Tabaqāti Al-Hanābilah.

She had a daughter known as Zaynab who was also well learned, Fāqihah, Hāfidhah and Wālidah who would also deliver sermons on the Minbar. Thus Fātimah Al-Baghdādiyyah was known as Ummu Fātimah.

She passed away on the Day of `Arafah 9th of Dhul Hijjah in the year 714 after Hijrah in Qāhirah after living a fulfilled life of knowledge seeking, teaching and guiding – Rahimahallāh.

Let women of today rise to emulate her and stand in the face of secularism which seeks to return the Knowledge and Practice of Islām to the backstage and propagate an academic and theoretic Islām that has no practical significance in Human Life and Civilization.

Who will be the Fātimatu Al-Baghdādiyyah of our time?

Bārakallāhu Fīkum



Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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