Muslim Women in Britain, 1850–1950

100 Years of Hidden History

Edited by


The history of British Islam and British Muslims is a growing area of interest among historians and the general public. But, whilst Muslim women have featured in some research, their lives and experiences prior to the present day have remained obscure, if not ‘hidden’, in both academic and popular discussion. Uncovering Muslim women’s experiences and contributions to society in past generations is essential for us to build a full picture of Muslim life in Britain, then and now. 

This is the first book to address that gap, telling the stories of Muslim women who lived in Britain between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, from Victorian times to the years immediately after the Second World War—just before immigration profoundly affected the size and composition of Britain’s Muslim communities. It reveals a rich variety of experiences, including Muslim women who travelled to or away from Britain, and many who converted to Islam within the British Isles.

Underpinned by feminist historical approaches, this groundbreaking book aims to make women visible where they have been hidden from or within history. Its fascinating accounts will reinstate Muslim women as actors, storytellers and storymakers who have shaped the history of Britain and of ‘British Islam’.


Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor is a sociologist of Islam at Coventry University. Funded by the British Academy, she has written about Muslim women’s lives in Britain’s earliest mosques.

Jamie Gilham is a historian of Western Islam whose books include Loyal Enemies: British Converts to Islam, 1850–1950, also published by Hurst, and The British Muslim Convert Lord Headley, 1855–1935.

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