Academic Programs 

Maidservants of Allah: The Spirituality of Muslim Women   (WS-630)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2007

In this class we will explore the spirituality of Muslim women past and present. We will begin with a study of the lives of female companions of the Prophet Muhammad. How did their concerns and perspectives affect the process of revelation and the spiritual development of the early Muslim community? Over the centuries, what roles did women play in the establishment of religious institutions and spiritual orders? What challenges have Muslim women faced in fulfilling their spiritual needs? What forms does female spiritual leadership take across diverse Muslim societies and cultures? Wise scholars, Medieval saints and contemporary Qur’an reciters will be our guests in chronicles and in person as we share in the spirituality of Muslim women.


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., beginning January 29

Ingrid Mattson
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9531


Course Syllabus

Course Requirements*:

Students are expected to respond in class to required readings. Students will be graded for participation and will lose points for unexcused absences from class.
Students will submit one 300-word book reports on a book approved by the instructor. These reports will be shared in class.

The research paper must be on a topic approved by the instructor. In addition to any monographs the student may find on the paper topic, he or she must also consult the Index Islamicus, the Religion Index or another source to search for relevant scholarly articles. The student is encouraged to submit a draft of the paper before the final due date. Students should follow Hartford Seminary guidelines for writing research papers. A copy of these guidelines are available from the course instructor or the Dean’s office.

In lieu of a paper, students may develop projects in which they integrate and apply what they have learned in the course. Examples of possible projects include: a presentation designed for and delivered to a community group, writing a piece of historical fiction, interviewing Muslim women on a specific topic etc. All projects must be approved in advance.


Participation 30%
Book report 20%
Research paper/project 50%

Deadline: Final paper/project due: June 3, 2005.

*Note: D. Min. students need to contact the instructor for their assigments.

Required Readings:

The instructor will be using many sources that are available only in Arabic texts from which she will teach. Other readings will be available in the library on the reserve shelf. The following books must be purchased:

1. A copy of a Qur’an translation. I recommend: The Meaning of the Holy Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali published by Amana Publications (has the Arabic Quran parallel to the English translation, useful footnotes and an index, but the translation is often awkward).
2. Mukhtar Mai, In the Name of Honor: a Memoir, 2006.
3. Beverly B. Mack and Jean Boyd, One Woman’s Jihad: Nana Asma’u, Scholar and Scribe (Indiana University Press, 2000).
4. Margaret Smith, Muslim Women Mystics: the life and work of Rabi’a and other women mystics in Islam (Oneworld, 2000).

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500