We are now going to meet one of the greatest Faqeehah (woman-scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence) of her time. She was renowned for her grounded knowledge of Hanafi Jurisprudence and was no other than the daughter of the great scholar and jurist, Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Ahmad ‘Alaa’ Ad-Deen Al-Samarqandi, may Allah have mercy upon him, whose book Tuhfat Al-Fuqahaa’ is well-known by the scholars and students of knowledge. Not only did she learn Fiqh from her father, but she memorized his book Tuhfat A- Fuqahaa’.
Being a jurist in itself is no small matter; one needs to be well-acquainted with the Quranic verses, ahaadeeh of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the principles of the Mathab they wish to base their ruling on. Further they need to have knowledge of the circumstances and needs of the contemporary world. Her knowledge, may Allah have mercy upon her, was such that it exceeded her husbands, who would consult her for her opinions, especially when lie erred in passing a Fatwa. Her name was Faatimah bint Muhammad ibn Ahmad, may Allah have mercy upon her, and her father had married her to ‘Alaa’ Ad-Deen Abu Bakr ibn Mas‘ood Al-Kasaani, may Allah have mercy upon him, who was highly distinguished in the fields of Al-Usool and Al-furoo‘ and who was as "The king of scholars". He wrote a commentary on Tuhfat Al-fuqahaa’ entitled Badaa‘i Al-Sanaa‘i, and showed it to his Shaykh (the father of Faatimah), who was delighted with it and accepted it as a dowry for his daughter, although he had refused offers of marriage for her from some of the kings of Byzantium. The juristsof his time said, “He commentated on his (teacher's) Tuhfah and married his daughter.”
Before her marriage, Faatimah, may Allah have mercy upon her, used to issue Fataawa (religious edicts and verdicts) along with her father, and the Fataawa would be written in her handwriting and that of her father. After she married the author of Al-Badaa‘i, the Fataawa would appear in her handwriting and that of her father and her husband. Her husband, may Allah have mercy upon him, would make mistakes, and she would correct them. Ibn Al-'Adeem, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, ‘My father narrated that she used to quote the Hanafi Mathab (school of jurisprudence) very well. Her husband Al-Kasaanee sometimes had some doubts and erred in the [issuing of a] Fatwa; then she would tell him the correct opinion and explain the reason for [his] mistake … Her husband used to honor her and highly respect her’
She, may Allah have mercy upon her, authored many books from which scholars benefited, and she used to have a study circle. She lived during the era of the just ruler Noorud-Deen Ash-Shaheed, may Allah have mercy upon him, who would consult her about different issues and he used to generously gift her.
Surprised? But as we will come to see, there were many like Faatimah bint Muhammad, may Allah have mercy upon her, who would follow her footsteps in the coming centuries.