This paper examines the work of Egyptian ‘A’isha Abdel Rahman (who acquired the pen name of Bint al-Shati’ in the 1930s) on the tarajim (biographies) of women of the prophetic households published in the 1950s and the 1960s. It begins by shedding light on personal and intellectual histories of the biographer that have not received their due attention. It argues that Abdel Rahman’s independent views regarding the role of religion and modernity in colonial and postcolonial societies made her the unlikely heroine of the post-1952 republican regime. These views also shaped her constructions of the biographies of the Prophet’s mother, Amena bint Wahb, wife, ‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr, and granddaughter, Zaynab bint ‘Ali. A critical discussion of these works poses interesting questions for the postcolonial Islamic feminist enterprise.

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