Female Islamic Saints


Shams of Marchena (12th century) was an Andalusian mystic and shaykha of the philosopher Ibn ‘Arabī, who claims to have met her in her eighties. She was called the mother of the poor and was described glowingly as a unique spiritual master by her disciple as someone who would generally conceal her spiritual attainment except with similar people in secrecy, and was said to have taught numerous Andalusian shaykhs (Ibn ‘Arabī names ‘Abd Allāh al-Mawrūrī, Ahḥmad Ibn Qayṭūn and Mu‘ādh Ibn Ashras). Ibn ‘Arabī recounts an occasion where a student of hers name ‘Alī heard her call him from a long distance away to get his handkerchief when he had taken a walk for water during a break. He also alleges her ability to have the thoughts of others revealed to her, and that she was supposed to have performed other miracles.

Other Reading

Ibn ‘Arabi, Muhammad. Sufis of Andalusia. Trans. R.W. J. Austin. Routledge. 2008, pp. 142-143, 151.

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