Quran and the Signs Of My Lord

Assalamu alaikum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuh

Muslim women in the field of science and technology

Islam and even the Muslim society have never restricted women from acquiring knowledge.

I have mentioned some female Muslim scientists here.

20-influential-muslim-science-womemnSome names of the Muslim Female scientists:

The Pioneers

1.  Dr. Sameera Moussa – The Atoms for Peace Champion, Egypt

2.  Prof. Nesreen Ghaddar, FIAS (‘07) – The Shaper of Energy Future, Kuwait and Lebanon

3. Professor Bina Shaheen Siddiqui, Fellow–TWAS (‘89) – The Plants Scientist, Pakistan

4. Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam – The Drug Safety Advocate, Saudi Arabia

The Shapers

5.  Prof. Rabia Hussain, FIAS (‘08) – The Infectious Diseases Specialist, Pakistan

6.  Prof. Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, FIAS (‘08) – The Viralogist, Malaysia

7. Dr Ismahane Elouafi – The Food Safety Champion, Morocco and Canada

8.  Prof. Ilham Al Qaradawi – The Physicist, Qatar

9. Dr. Sania Nishtar – The Policywonk, Pakistan

10. Prof. Dr Nuket Yetis – The Science Administrator, Turkey

11. Dr. Hessa Al Jaber – The Policymaker, Qatar

12. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, FIAS (‘09) – The Herbalist, Mauritius

The Emerging Champions

13. Dr. Hina Chaudhry – The Cardiac Magician, Pakistan and United States

14.  Dr. Hayat Al Sindi – The Innovator, Saudi Arabia

15.  Dr. Maryam Matar – The Humanitarian, United Arab Emirates

16. Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman – The Taboo Buster, Malaysia

17. Maryam Mirzakhani – The Esoteric Mathematician, Iran

18. Dr. Ghada Amer  – The Power Woman, Egypt

19.   Dr. Rana Dajani  – The Islamic – Feminist, Jordan

20. Dr. Rim Al Turkamani – The Accidental Historian, Syria and United Kingdom


The data for years 2002/2003 contained in these tables describes the percentage of women graduates in science and engineering out of the total science and engineering graduate population in each country, and pertains to higher-education in science (life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences) and Engineering (engineering and engineering trades, manufacturing and processing, architecture and building) fields in countries with Muslim majorities for which data was available. (Statistics from the “Global Education Digest” report released from UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2005)

Woman Graduates in Science

Bahrain                   74%
Bangladesh              24%
Brunei Darussalam     49%
Kyrgyzstan              64%
Lebanon                  47%
Qatar                     71%
Turkey                    44%

Compared with…

U.S.                       43%
Japan                     25%

Women Graduates in Engineering

Eritrea                      4%
Morocco                  25%

Compared with…
U.S.                        19%
Japan                      13%

Corey Elizabeth Habbas is a a freelance writer from St. Paul, Minnesota, US

The Arab females in the scientific fields:

This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.

In my post last week, I tried to look at the question of Muslim Women Scholars in the Golden Age, that is whether there were a number of Muslim female scholars/scientists during that great era of intellectual activity and achievement, whether the fact that we know of so few female names says something about the culture of that time (Muslim and other), or whether we are just to some extent ignorant about small but important episodes of history. And though my piece and the comments that ensued were far from scholarly investigations, we seemed to conclude that there was an element of both (largely male culture, even among the elite, as well as ignorance of some bright spots/names in our history).

In this post, and in continuation of the theme of Muslim women and scholarship/science, I want to look at the present and focus solely on Science. As you see, I am highly interested in women’s place, role, and contribution to society, particularly in its relation to Science and education, as I think that says quite a lot about the prevailing general mindset of the society.

Indeed, this is not the first time I raise this issue and address this theme, from one angle or another. About a year ago, I posted a piece on Irtiqa titled “Science, Education, and Women in the Arab World”. And last December, I posted a piece titled “Awards for Arab Female Scientists”.

more femnales enrolling

I also mentioned the results of TIMSS 2007, TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) being an international, standardized test administered to students of Grades 4 and 8; those results, while showing pretty depressing performances by Arab/Muslim students, showed better results by the girls than by the boys, rather consistently.

Clearly, Arab/Muslim women are venturing into the sciences in large numbers these days, and they seem to be performing better than boys/young-men, though school performance is not always equivalent to scientific creativity. However, even at the PhD level, one often finds larger fractions of women. It is unclear whether that is going to translate into greater numbers of women scientists (university professors and researchers), because so far we have not seen any such phenomenon, though the trend is perhaps too recent, and one must wait some more. (In universities around me, women make up less than 10 % of the science and mathematics faculty.)

In my December piece, I mentioned the Arab Women of Science prize that the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and the Regional Bureau for Unesco have created in partnership with L’Oreal to recognize 5 Arab women for their substantial contributions in various science fields. I listed the recent winners and briefly described their fields of research. I should also refer to the ASTF’s ‘Arab Women in Science and Technology’ website.

I would also like to mention the Ahmed Badeed Prize for Arab Women of Science, which was created in 2008 to acknowledge Arab women who have chosen scientific research as a career and who have particularly distinguished themselves through their work. This prize, given out in Paris (at the Institut du Monde Arabe), was awarded to Drs. Ilham Y. Al-Qaradawi of the University of Qatar and Asmaa Abada-Zeghal of the University of Paris XI for the year 2008, and to Drs. Arifa Ali-Khan, of the University of Yemen in Taïz and Nabila Aghanim of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Orsay, for the year 2009. I don’t think it was given out for 2010, and I don’t know why.

Let me also mention a few names of women who have become famous to some extent in the Arab/Muslim world for their scientific works and achievements. (I would also like to invite our readers to remind us of or introduce us to other important female Muslim scientists of today.)

  • Professor Bina Shaheen Siddiqui made substantial contributions to medicine and agriculture through her study of indigenous plant materials. She received numerous awards and patents for anticancer constituents and biopesticides; her CV mentions 213 research articles and 77 chapters in books. The Pakistan Academy of Sciences elected her as a Fellow, and she has received many prestigious awards, including the Khwarizmi International Award of Iran and the Salam Prize in Chemistry; she co-founded the Third World Organization for Women in Science.Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam, who was nominated by UNESCO as a distinguished scientist of the world for the Year 2000, for the significant contributions she made in drug safety through her work on the Saudi profile for drug metabolism. Prof. Islam held academic leadership positions in her country as well as international posts with the World Health Organization. She spent many years working diligently to build the academic infrastructure to support women studying science in higher education in Saudi Arabia.Professor Farkhonda Hassan, now 80 years old but quite active (at least until very recently), is an Egyptian professor of Geology; she worked tirelessly in national and international organizations (including UNESCO and UNDP) to promote issues of Women and Science in this part of the world (served as Vice-President of the Executive Board of the Third World Organization for Women in Science); check out her article, “Islamic Women in Science”, published in Science in 2000.

Read more on Irtiqa blog

The Muslim females at the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.


Business was a legitimate activity of the women companions of the Prophet.Hazrat Khadija r.a, the Prophet’s first wife, is the most famous example.Hazrat Saudah r.a., the Prophet’s wife, was an expert in tanning skins. She sold her tanned goods to trading caravans and local men throughout Medina.The wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud met her expenses by manufacturing and selling handicrafts

A companion of the Prophet mentioned a woman who had her own farm. She used to cultivate beets and barley to feed the companions of the Prophet with it after Friday prayer.

The daughter of Abu Bakr, Asma’, mentioned that when she was married to Zubair, they did not have wealth. The Prophet gave them some land about two miles away from their home. She used to farm and transport the produce herself.


Rufaidah Aslamiyyah was an expert in medicine and surgery. She used to tend to the sick and wounded in the battlefields. According to Ibn Sa’d, her tent was equipped with equipment for surgery and first aid. When Sa’d ibn Mu’adh was injured in the Battle of the Trenches, the Prophet transferred him to her tent for medical care


Hazrat Ayisha r.a is well known for her jurisprudence.Umm Salam also gave many legal rulings.

Others are Safiyyah, Hafsa, Umm Habiba, Juwayriyyah, Maymuna, Fatima, Zahra, Umm Sharik, Umm ‘Atya, Asma’ bint Abu Bakr, Haila bint Qanif, Khaula bint Tuwait, Umm al-Darda, Atika bint Zaid, Sahalah bint Suhail, Fatima bint Qais, Zaynabah bint Abu Salamah, Umm Ayman, and Umm Yusuf.
A noted medieval Muslim scholar, Imam Badr al-Din Kashani, explained the rationale for appointing a women Qadi judge): “Where there is ability to give testimony, there is also the ability of qada (ruling).” According to al-Tabari, a woman can be an absolute judge in every matter



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on August 20, 2015 by in Female education and tagged .
%d bloggers like this: