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And, less well-known, are women who did fulfil all the professional duties of judges during the Caliphal and classical periods, when Islam was at its most vital and powerful. Caliph ‘Umar appointed women to senior official posts, such as al-Shifa’ bint ‘Abd Allah, the market inspector of Medina, whose duties included administering the law. Even more striking is Thumal al-Qahraman, a woman who acted as a head of the Mazalim court system - the rough equivalent to the civil judiciary - at the height of the Abbasid Caliphate. She occupied a role equivalent to that of the chief Qazi (Qazi-Al-Qaza’). The fact that she is little known, despite her lesson for the legitimacy of female Qazis, owes not to her lack of importance, but to the neglect of her life story by Islam’s official historians. In recent times, Islamic feminists like Fatima Mernissi have recovered her example to justify women’s legitimate legal power....