Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – ARC Review

I was sent an ARC by One World Publications in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book, reading about Muslim women, some which I already knew about and some who were new to me.

Rating: 4.5/5

What this book is about:

Beginning in seventh-century Mecca and Medina, A History of Islam in 21 Women takes us around the globe, through eleventh-century Yemen and Khorasan, and into sixteenth-century Spain, Istanbul and India. From there to nineteenth-century Persia and the African savannah, to twentieth-century Russia, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, before reaching present day London.

From the first believer, Khadija, and the other women who witnessed the formative years of Islam, to award-winning mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani in the twenty-first century, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and ground breaking achievements of these extraordinary women in the history of Islam.

When this book was announced I literally squealed with joy! Finally a book that includes Muslim women! Whenever I see a book published about amazing women, I have always found that consistently Muslim women are excluded or at most only one Muslim women is in there (always Malala) and I always felt upset because surely in 1400 years they must have found more than one woman worthy of being put into these books?

It actually put me off reading them eventually as even in books to empower women, women who looked like me were still excluded. The only time I found Muslim women being spoken about were in classical Islamic texts but I wanted something that was accessible to all and then this gem of a book was published.

While this book isn’t perfect, it is certainly a great book for anyone wanting to learn about Muslim women and how much they have achieved and in so many fields. From being literal queens and leaders of their communities to mathematicians and so much more. This book shows how accomplished women were throughout Islamic history and it is just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the women I was raised learning about, Khadijah (ra) who is the first woman spoken about in this book is my role model and always has been since I was young. She was a successful businesswoman and one of the wealthiest people in her tribes. She proposed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he worked for her even after they were married. I could honestly write a whole essay about her and my love for her. And I am so glad that she is in this book and that you all get to meet her.

This book has a wide range of women, starting from when Islam first came all the way up to modern times and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to narrow it down to just 21. But I am so glad to have read this book because there are so many women that even I hadn’t heard of. Muslim women who lived in different places in the world but all had a huge impact on their society.

These women are shown as they were, independent, outspoken, brave, smart, and so much more. It was refreshing to see this and not the usual media narrative which perpetuates stereotypes and always shows Muslim women as weak and submissive. This book amongst others I have read this year are the beginning of us taking back the narrative of who we truly are.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you do not know much about Muslim women throughout history. It is a great starting point as it gives a great overview of their lives and achievements but it isn’t so dense that it puts you off reading.

5 thoughts on “A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – ARC Review”

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