Women set up such high standards of honesty in the narration of hadith that in the book ‘meezan al aitadal’ of ‘ilm jarah o tadeel’, the compiler Alzahbi praises the contribution of these women in these words, ‘till today, I have not come across a woman whose narration was suspicious or rejected.’
(Farhat Hashmi in her article on Contributions of Women)
When speaking of scholarly women in the last ashra of Ramadan, the contribution made by learned women who were scholars of ahadith of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) cannot be ignored in any way. In fact some of the most amazing women from the past were scholars of ahadith whose knowledge was widely acknowledged by men and women of their times. Zainab bint Sulayman, a princess was one such woman.
Daughter of the Governor of Basra and Spain, Sulaiman ibn Ibrahim, during the reign of Al-Mansoor of the Abbasid dynasty was an exceptional woman of her time. Born into a privileged family, Zainab's popularity did not come as her being a princess but rather a scholar and teacher. A famous scholar of hadith, she was originally from Damascus, Syria but later moved to Egypt.
As I have tried to emphasize throughout this month, Zainab's key also lay in the exceptional education she received. She received the lessons of Shams al-Din Ahmad Bukhari, Ibn Sabah, ‘Ali bin Hajjāj and from Karimah. She gave lessons to some of the most esteemed men of her time in Syria. Famous muhaditheen studied under her included Hafiz Dhahbi and they also related ahadith on her authority.
She was given the title of “Mustanadud-Dameshyak” or “A Lady Authorized from Damascus.” If you know more about Zainab bint Sulayman, do leave it as a comment below for the knowledge of others.