Encyclopedia of Female Islamic Saints

Foreword

Like many other faiths, Islam has a grand tradition of mysticism and saint veneration. Unlike Roman Catholicism, however, saints aren’t formally canonized in Islam. They are raised to the rank of walī Allāh, or friend of God, usually by members of their own community; their companions, students, family, etc. Despite this (and despite being now a matter of debate among Muslims), much ink has been spent by devotees and historians alike cataloguing the lives and legacies of these saints and mystics. However, much less is written about besides the men among these saints. Because of their complicated place in Islamic societies, women and gender-nonconforming individuals generally possessed fewer pathways to religious influence or recognition, and therefore sainthood. This sparsity continues even today, even in explicit discourse about female saints. This has motivated the creation of an encyclopedic catalogue of female and gender-nonconforming saints and mystics in Islam. This introduction, and this website as it is, is preliminary, with some pages in need of thorough changes, so excuse any inconsistancies for now.

As sainthood is localised and not always clear, whether someone is considered a saint or just a respected figure or pious forbearer can be difficult to assess. I will include as saints people who’s veneration is not easily distinguishable from that of a male saint and people who may to some capacity be seen as saints or acted as saints.

Mystics or people involved in mysticism who didn’t seem to act as or be seen as saints but are notable anyway are marked with a †. Pages that refer to groups of saints or notable people are marked with a ‡ in the case that sufficient individual information is unavailable.

I am currently editing and optimizing pages before adding additional pages, or before beginning to publish other projects. Pages that are up to date are temporarily marked on the homepage with an α.

Key

Not necessarily considered a saint.
A group or multiple persons.
α Edited up to date.

As many individuals fit into multiple categories, they will be placed in the most pertinent one. If they are from one place, they will only be placed in a different category if they are a saint and uniquely venerated there (ex. Saiyad Ali Fāthimā). If they belonged to multiple Sufi orders, they will be placed in the one they most active in or known for (ex. Jahānāra Begam). If they are venerated by multiple groups, they will be placed in the one they more closely belonged to or the one they are primarily venerated by (ex. Nafīsah aṭ-Ṭāhirah). They may be placed in more than one category in less clear circumstances. These categories are for convenience and organization’s sake and should not be taken as definitive.

Key

Not necessarily considered a saint.
A group or multiple persons.

Europe

North Africa

West Africa

South Asia

Southeast Asia

West Asia

Presectarian

Imāmī Shī‘ī

Ismā‘īlī

Sunnī Ṣūfī

Chishtī Order

Naqshbandī Order

Qādīrī Order

Raḥmānī Order

Rifā‘ī Order

Shaṭṭārī Order

Suhāgī Order

Tijānī Order

Author or Composer

Militant or Revolutionary

Monarch, Leader or Regent

Queen Consort, Co-regent or Imam’s Consort

Mystic

Ascetic

Spiritual Master or Teacher

(see shaykh, murshid, pīr, kyai/nyai)

Scholar

Educator

Missionary

(see dā‘ī, pīr)

Traditionist

(see muḥaddith)

This website is currently under constructions, as I am still adding articles, definitions, sources etc. to the site. At the moment, the site is going through major formatting edits, so it may not be completely uniform until complete. I don’t know everything, so If you have any feedback, information, or comment, you can contact me at my Guestbook.

Edited