Nabia Abbott, Orientalist Defender of Hadith

Most of us probably not so well know Nabia Abbot’s name, But for those steeped in hadith studies, Nabia Abbott is a name that doesn’t feel stranger.

As we know, the position of women on the historical stage has always been marginalized and forgotten. However, who would have thought that Nabia Abbott, a non-Muslim, was instrumental in defending the Prophet’s hadith from attacks by orientalists.

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She was born on January 31, 1897 AD, in the city of Mardin, precisely in the southwest of Turkey. Since childhood, Nabia Abbott and her family have lived non-nomadic lives or moved from one city to another or from one country to another. Nabia and her family made the long journey from the Tigris to Baghdad, then sailed through the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea until arriving in Bombay, India, in 1907.

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It was in Bombay that Nabia studied at an English school. Around 1915, Nabia graduated and continued her education at Cambridge University. However, she was forced to leave Cambridge University because, at that time, there was World War I, so she had to return to India. In India, she continued her studies which had stopped and entered the University of Allahabad until finally obtaining a BA (Bachelor Of Arts) or baccalaureate degree with cum laude predicate in 1919.

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After graduating from Allahabad University, Nabia held a Women’s Education program in Iraq. From there, Nabia’s family moved to Boston, so she too had to move with her parents. In 1925, Nabia continued her studies at Boston University and obtained her Master Of Arts. After that, she became a lecturer in the Department of Education at Asbury College and became head of History.

In 1933, Nania moved From Boston to Chicago, following her family, where Nabia was awarded as professor of Arabic at the Oriental Institute. Thus, Nabia Abbott became the first female professor at the Oriental Institute.

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