Shaykha Fest BackgroundWe are often asked by Muslim women as well as people of other beliefs "where are the female scholars of Islam?". It is an intriguing question given how the "mothers of the believers" and over ten thousand female scholars in subsequent generations have enriched the Islamic tradition by leaving their scholarly imprints. If one observes the domain of contemporary Islamic discourse one should be rightfully excused for thinking that the concept of female scholarship in Islam is a "thing of the past."
Shaykha Fest intends to draw attention and revive the often ignored tradition of female scholarship in historical and contemporary Islamic discourse. Shaykha Fest was first introduced by Rawiya Foundation in 2012. Through Shaykha Fest Rawiya Foundation seeks to provide an exclusive platform to female Islamic scholars and thinkers from around the world to share their knowledge and expertise in a nurturing and inclusive atmosphere. Shaykha Fest is a celebration of life, love and sisterhood: intended to honor the legacy of female Islamic scholarship and draw attention to contemporary female scholars, thinkers and activists. In modern times a lack of enthusiasm is often observed, even among the Muslim women, to learn with female Islamic scholars. Yet in the history of Islamic scholarship we find many examples of husbands learning from their wives, children learning from their mothers and sincere seekers of knowledge (both male and female) traveling the distance to learn from female scholars. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are unaware of the fact that many of the most prominent Islamic scholars had female teachers. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Ibn al-Jawzi, Hafidh al-Mundhiri, Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Imam al-Dhahabi, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali to name a few. It is the hope of Al-Rawiya Foundation that Shaykha Fest will have an impact on the trend of token representation of female Islamic scholars in modern Islamic discourse leading to renewed focus on the contributions made by past female scholars and those who are carrying on this great tradition around the world today. We are pleased that since the lunch of Shaykha Fest 2012 we have seen much more initiatives led by women for women to provide platform to female scholars and activists.