The First Woman Mujtahid
Hajieh Sayyideh Nosrat Begom Amin, known as "the iranian Lady" (Banooye Irani), was born in 1886 in the city of Isfahan. Her father, Haj Sayyid Muhammad Ali Aminottojjar Isfahani was a very pious with strong religious beliefs. Nosrat Amin started to learn the Qur`an when she was only four years old.
At a time when young girls were allowed only to read the Qur`an and were prohibited from attending schools, Amin was sent by her mother to school at the age of four, in order to get familiarized with the Divine words of the Qur`an.
She continued to learn the Arabic language till the age of 11. She said, "I remember when I was a child, instead of playing with other children, I preferred to stay alone and think, because I felt I had lost an important thing. Even in public gatherings I used to contemplate on how I could tread the path of religion.
She married her cousin when she was 15, but her marriage didn`t prevent her from continuing her studies. Although she gave birth to eight children, only one boy survived and her other seven children all died at a young age. She herself believed that such an incident was a divine test.
Through her relentless efforts, Amin studied different religious subjects including jurisprudence, philosophy, mysticism, theology, interpretation of the Qur`an and Arabic morphology and syntax. At the time of the despotic Pahlavi regime, Amin studied different religious sciences at home.
Despite the obstacles in the way of women`s education at that time, Amin continued her studies to the highest level. Finally at the age of 40, her scientific knowledge was approved by the religious authorities of her time and she was granted the degree of "Ijtihad".
From that time until the end of her life, Amin devoted her life to writing different books, studying, teaching religious courses and answering people`s religious questions. The following list are books written by her
1. Arbaein al-Hashemieh (in Arabic)
2. Jame`al-Shatat (also in Arabic)
3. Resurrection, or Last Stage of Man
4. An-Nafakhat ar-Rahmaniah fil Waredat al-Qalbiah (in Arabic)
5. Akhlaq (Morality)
6. Makhazan ul-Erfan fi Feqhel Qur`an (Interpretation of the Qur`an in 15 volumes)
7. Way to Prosperity and Advice to Faithful Sisters
And several other books on religious and moral subjects.
Hojjatoleslam Sayideh Nosrat Begom Amin, established the School of Hazrat-e Fatima (SA) and a high school for girl students in 1965 in Isfahan, which enabled many girl students to study in the schools where all teachers were women.
Through her remarkable steps in the path of knowledge she proved to the world, that a woman, despite many problems, can continue her studies and achieve the highest ranks and can also pave the way for others to tread on this path.
Meanwhile, she conducted religious and Qur`anic interpretation courses at Isfahan`s Center for Religious Propagation and Studies for several years. Hojjatolestan Amin spent her fruitful life on upgranding the scientific and spiritual knowledge of women and young girls.
She died in 1983 at the age of 97. The pious and devout Iranian woman was buried in her hometown of Isfahan.
Her book "Makhazan ul-Erfan fi Feqhel Qur`an", is a comprehensive intepretation of the Glorious Qur`an in 15 volumes. After interpreting the first two parts of the Qur`an (comprising thirty parts), Amin felt that she may not live much longer, and thus began to interpret Surah 30. But by the last years of her life, she managed to interpret the entire Glorious Book. She is the only female interpreter in the Islamic World to have interpreted the Qur`an from the beginning to the end.