Author celebrates lives of Islam’s four noble women

Shahada Sharelle Abdul Haqq says she became interested in studying Islam in her 20s when she learned how the Quran protects the rights of women.

Abdul Haqq laments that cultural and legal traditions in some Islamic countries contradict that egalitarian instruction. Moreover, those oppressive practices are all some Westerners know about Islamic teachings.

The book, sumptuously illustrated with Abdul Haqq’s luminous acrylic-on-canvas paintings, celebrates the women that Muhammad pointed to as providing examples of a faithful life.

“Noble Women of Faith” follows Abdul Haqq’s 2008 “Stories of the Prophets in the Holy Quran,” another illustrated book aimed at children that tells the lives of the 25 male prophets mentioned in the Quran. An art teacher who grew up in San Francisco and now lives in Alabama, Abdul Haqq’s paintings capture a child’s wide-eyed imagined views of the ancient tales.

“Stories of the Prophets,” Abdul Haqq recently learned, has become a worldwide best-seller for the Istanbul-based Tughra Books, which also has a U.S. office.

Of Islam’s “four noble women,” only Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned in the Quran. The other three are from the Hadith, the collected sayings of Muhammad.

The book has been released just in time for Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, prayer and study that began July 20. Muslims are encouraged to read through the Quran during the month. Abdul Haqq’s book will give children something to study, too.

And while the book is for all children, Abdul Haqq has been especially pleased with the early reactions from young women.

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