She was commonly known among the people of Quraysh as “Alshifaa” (the cure). Layla bint Abdullah Aladawiyah Alqurashiah was a remarkable woman. Her intelligence and notable work won her a place in history.
She practiced medicine and was one of the most well-regarded and respected women in her community. Her innovative remedies and treatments raised her rank in Makkah’s society and was dubbed by the people as “the cure”.
In a time when most men and women were illiterate, she was one of the very few who learned how to read and write. Some say she learned to write to document her remedies and treatments on paper.
Layla was among the very first women in history to embrace Islam. As a result, she, alongside a few others, were driven out of Makkah, by her own people and the ones she had often treated (i.e. tribe of Quraysh).
Upon arriving to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad gave her a home to live in, which she turned into a beacon of knowledge and literacy. She began to teach other women how to read and write, making her the first teacher in Islam.
Before resuming her duties as a doctor, she met with the Prophet to discuss what treatments were permissible in Islam and which ones were not. He did not object to any, and he particularly liked her treatment of fire ant bites. He told her: “Teach Hafsa [the Prophet’s wife] your remedy for fire ant bites just as you taught her how to read and write.” So, she did.
And together, they taught other women.
She was Madinah’s first teacher, as well as its first female doctor. Her home became a center of knowledge and scholarship. She taught women reading, writing, and even medicine.