Aisha Abd al-Rahman

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Aisha Abd al-Rahman
Born circa 1913
Damietta, Domyat, Khedivate of Egypt,
Died 1 December 1998(1998-12-01) (aged 84–85)
Cairo, Egypt
Pen name Bint al-Shati

Aisha Abd al-Rahman (Arabic: عائشة عبد الرحمن; c. 1913 – 1 December 1998) was an Egyptian author and professor of literature who published under the pen name Bint al-Shati ("Daughter of the Riverbank").

Life and career[edit]

Born in Damietta in the governorate of Domyat, her father taught at the Domyat Religious Institute. When she was ten, her mother, though illiterate, enrolled her in school while her father was traveling. Though her father objected, her mother later sent Aisha to El Mansurah for further education. Later, Aisha studied Arabic at Cairo University earning her undergraduate degree in 1939, and an M.A. degree in 1941.

In 1942, Aisha began work as an Inspector for teaching of Arabic literature for the Egyptian Ministry of Education. She earned her Ph.D. with distinction in 1950 and was appointed Professor of Arabic Literature at the University College for Women of the Ain Shams University.[1]

She wrote fiction and biographies of early Muslim women, including the mother, wives and daughters of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as literary criticism.[2] She was the second modern woman to undertake Qur'anic exegesis, and though she did not consider herself to be a feminist, her works reflect feminist themes. She began producing her popular books in 1959, the same year that Naguib Mahfouz published his allegorical and feminist version of the life of the Prophet Muhammad.[3]

She was married to Sheik Amin el-Khouli, her teacher at Cairo University during her undergraduate years. She died of a heart attack following a stroke in Cairo.[4] She donated all her library to research purposes, and in 1985 a statue was built in her honor in Cairo.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Egyptian Countryside (1936)
  • The Problem of the Peasant (1938)
  • Secret of the Beach and Master of the Estate: The Story of a Sinful Woman (1942)
  • New Values in Arabic Literature (1961)
  • Contemporary Arab Women Poets (1963)


  1. ^ Larousse Dictionary of Women, edited by Melanie Parry, Larousse, 1996
  2. ^ Arab Women Novelists: The Formative Years and Beyond by Joseph T. Zeidan, State University of New York Press, 1995
  3. ^ Roded, Ruth (May 2006), "Bint al-Shati’s Wives of the Prophet: Feminist or Feminine?", British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 33 (1): 51–66, doi:10.1080/13530190600603915 
  4. ^ Associated Press (December 2, 1998) Prominent Egyptian Islamic writer, Abdul-Rahman dies at 85.

External links[edit]