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Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism$
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Karen G. Ruffle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834756

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877975_ruffle

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God's Strong Women

God's Strong Women

Female & Feminine in Shiʿi Sainthood

(p.59) Chapter Two God's Strong Women
Gender, Sainthood, & Everyday Practice in South Asian Shiʿism

Karen G. Ruffle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter takes the example of two women of the Prophet Muhammad's household, his daughter, Fatimah al-Zahra, and his granddaughter, Zainab. Shi'i women and men particularly revere these figures for their piety and dedication to their family and society, which are manifested primarily through their embodiment of ṭusaini ethics-imitable sainthood. In addition to her this-worldly sanctity, Fatimah is endowed with a special feminine form of transcendent sainthood. She is revered as one of the most holy of Muslim women. The Shi'a believe that God entrusted Zainab with the responsibility of being the messenger of martyrdom after the Battle of Karbala. Zainab's hagiographers portray her as a spiritual and socioethical exemplar, whose bravery and willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of religion and justice are admired and emulated by both Shi'i men and women.

Keywords:   Prophet Muhammad, Fatimah al-Zahra, Zainab, Shi'i women, ṭusaini ethics, imitable sainthood

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