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Hagiographic books from the Islamic Middle Ages belong to the religious canon of the Muslim world. They are still being read and discussed and shape the ideas of religious-ethical behaviour. This is also true for texts that deal with religious women and their biographies.
From the beginning of Islam women played an important role as supporters of the new faith. Many of those early notables – be they the wives of the Prophet Muḥammad or women who were close to him – were regarded as holy in later hagiographical texts. In the centuries following women who devoted their lives to asceticism and mysticism attracted the attention of hagiographic writers. Rābica al-cAdawiyya, one of the few women who is renowned for her love of God in the East and the West, is the prototype of the Muslim mystic. However, there were many other women who dedicated their lives to God. They practised pious asceticism, studied the religious sciences and became role models for their fellow females through their incorruptable ethical behaviour.
The well-known 12th century Baghdadi scholar and preacher Ibn al-Ǧawzī immortalised these women in his Ṣifa, in which he collected the biographies of over 1.000 pious men and women. This work presents the first German translation of the Arabic biographies of the female saints. It aims to make accessible a world, that might seem mysterious and strange to a Western secular reader in clear and simple language.
keywordsEthisch-religiöses Verhalten Frauen Frauenbiografie Frühzeit des Islam Hagiografie Ibn al-Gawzi Islam Mohammed Muhammad Muslimin Prophet Religiöse Vorbilder Sufismus Ṣifat aṣ-ṣafwa
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