A worthy interaction of Islam with science, and requiring that from every Muslim man and woman, has resulted in women always studying the sciences in Islamic communities and finally some of them reached the rank of ijtihad.
A Mujtahid is someone who has the power of deriving and understanding the rules from the original sources such as: the intellect, Quran and narrations. One must learn the following sciences to obtain this ability: Arabic literature, acquaintance with commentary on the Quran, derayeh science (understanding the meaning of traditions), Rijal (recognition of the narrators of traditions), the principles of jurisprudence (the way rulings are derived), mastery of jurisprudence, etc. The result of the necessity of these preliminaries is of a long study and continuous attempts until the person, himself or herself, feels he has reached this ability. But for someone to become popular in ijtihad, first their scientific rank is approved of by great mujtahids and second he or she himself or herself wants to declare his or her ijtihad in scientific and non scientific communities. Of course, one must note that ijtihad is different from Marja’iat Taqlid. Every marja’e taqlid is mujtahid but every mujtahid isn’t marja’e taqlid.
By this explanation, it is possible that many women reached this rank but they aren’t known just as there are a lot of male mujtahids who aren’t famous and can’t be recognized. Most of the mujtahids who are well-known have reached the level of being a marja’e taqlid. An because one of the conditions to be a marja’e taqlid is to be man, female mujtahids are known of much less than male ones in the societ.
One of the most famous women who reached the rank of ijtihad was Mujtahideh Amin Isfahani who passed in 1403 h. She was one of the greatest clerics who had permission of Ijtihad.
Another famous Mujtahideh who is presently teaching in the women’s seminary is lady Sefati, one of the greatest clerics that has permission of ijtihad. You can contact her by using this number: +982517734154, or this post box: 3695- 37185 Qum, Iran, Or this address site: www.sefaty.net and e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, other female Mujtahids who presently teach at the women’s seminary called Jame’at Zahra can be found but they do not want their names announced.