Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam. Yale University Press, 1992.
This is one of the fundamental historical reflections on the role of women in Islamic history, written from a feminist perspective.
Helminski, Camille Adams. Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure. Boston: Shambhala, 2003.
A fantastic collection of writings by female Sufis, the translations in this book are both evocative and reliable.
Kabbani, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham, and Leleh Bakhtiar. Encyclopedia of Muhammad’s Women Companions and the Traditions They Related. Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1998.
This is an excellent compendium for tracing important hadith transmitted by the female Companions of Muhammad.
Mernissi, Fatima. The Forgotten Queens of Islam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
One of many of Mernissi’s insightful studies of the exclusion of women from power in Islamic societies, this book interrogates the language of power, as well as resurrects histories of forgotten female leaders.
Peirce, Leslie P.. The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
This masterpiece of Ottoman studies reveals the intricacies of politics and power within the longest-lasting Muslim harem, that of the Ottoman sultan.
Spellberg, D. A.. Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of ‘A’isha Bint Abî Bakr. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
This book is a must for anyone interested in studying the history of the manipulation of the legacy of Muhammad’s wife, ’A’isha, and her role in defining women’s participation in public life, as well as Shi’a and Sunni identity.
Stowasser, Barbara F. Women in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
This is an insightful examination of various interpretations of women’s positions in Islamic law, based on Qur’anic revelations.