Aisha Mohammad Ali Abd Al-Rahmn was better known in the Arab world by her pen nickname “Bint Ash-Shati” (Daughter of the Shore). Born in 1912 in Dumyat, close to the Mediterranean shores, she completed her general education at home, in defiance of the prevailing tradition at that time, which discouraged females from receiving education. In the national examinations, she consistently came first on the whole of Egypt. Her family was convinced to allow her to proceed to College and once again her BA, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees were all of the highest distinction. Her subsequent career as professor of Arabic language and literature spanned over 50 years, and took her to Sudan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Egypt. Wherever she went, she was admired by her students and peers for her unique style of combining Islamic and Arabic studies. She employed Quranic eloquence as the basis for teaching language arts, Quranic verses as the basis for teaching linguistics and grammar, and authentication techniques of the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith) as the basis for verifying and authenticating literary citations. Her brilliant manipulation of ancient Arabic prose helped to unravel many obscurities and inaccurate citations in the material and brought it closer to the reader and researcher. This is best seen in her groundbreaking study of the 10th Century “Risalat Al-Ghufran” (The Mission of Remission) by Abul Alaa Al-Maarri.
Professor Aisha Abd Al-Rahman was also a strong women’s rights advocate who adhered strictly to Islamic teachings. One bibliographer described her as a feminist wearing a head cover. Her legacy of more than 40 books on Islamic teachings, dozens of books on Arabic literature, novels, hundreds of research papers, and innumerable articles in daily and weekly newspapers over a span of 60 years made her probably the most accomplished Arab female in the 20th Century. Her contributions to Islamic and Arabic culture gained her wide recognition throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature, she received numerous other prizes, decorations and honors. Her name was given to many schools and lecture halls in the Arab World and, following her death, the Egyptian Government issued commemorative stamps bearing her liking. She died of a heart attack at the age of 85.
Professor Aisha Abdul Rahman (Bint Al-Shati) (Egypt), Professor of Higher Studies, Al-Qaraween University, Morocco, for her outstanding contributions both to the study of ancient Arabic prose and to Islamic studies