There is much controversy over the number of wives attributed to the Prophet Mohammed: various claims range from four to nine or more. On one point, however, everyone agrees: Aishah was his favourite.
The story of this remarkable woman has been concealed or ignored for generations. She lived for several decades after the Prophet's death and was deeply involved in the turbulent political conflict that shaped the early Muslim nation. Certainly, Aishah did not conform to any proscription against women in Islamic public life.
Having extensively mined scholarly Arabic source material, Abbott nonetheless tells her story in a popular,narrative style. Aishah is not only a gripping tale, but also an attempt to recover part of the lost history of Muslim women who resisted the restrictions Islam sought to impose on them.
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Nabia Abbott was born in Turkey in 1897. As a young child she was taken by her family across the Middle East to India, where she was educated in British schools and remained until after the First World War. Later she lived in Iraq and finally in the United States, where in 1933 she became the first female faculty member of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. A leading scholar of Arabic, she specialised in deciphering early Islamic papyri. Abbott was the author of seven books and dozens of magazine articles. She died in 1981.
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