Aisha al-Ba'uniyya

Aisha al-Ba'uniyya

A Life in Praise of Love

Th. Emil Homerin


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Aisha al-Ba‘uniyya (c.1456–1517) was one of the greatest women mystics in Islamic history. A Sufi master and an Arab poet, her religious writings were extensive by any standard and extraordinary for her time. In medieval Islam a number of women were respected scholars and teachers, but they rarely composed works of their own. Aisha al-Ba‘uniyya, however, was prolific. She composed over twenty works, and likely wrote more Arabic prose and poetry than any other Muslim woman prior to the twentieth century.

The first full-scale biography of al-Ba‘uniyya in the English language, this volume provides a rare glimpse into the life and writings of a medieval Muslim woman in her own words. Homerin presents her work in the wider context of late-medieval Islamic spirituality, examining the influence of figures such as Ibn al-‘Arabi, al-Busiri and Ibn al-Farid, and emphasising the role of the person of the Prophet Muhammad in her spirituality. Aisha al-Ba‘uniyya is a fascinating introduction to a figure described by a sixteenth-century biographer as ‘one of the marvels of her age’.


Th. Emil Homerin:
Th. Emil Homerin is Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester, where he teaches courses on Islam, classical Arabic literature and mysticism. He is the author of six books on Islamic mysticism and Arabic poetry. He lives in Pekin, Illinois.