One of my favourite verses of the Quran is Surah Al Azhab which makes it clear that spiritual blessings are intended for both righteous men and women who are equal in the eyes of God. The woman “auliya” meaning friend of God appeared in the early history of Islam and the dignity of sainthood was conferred on women as much as men. The doctrine of Sufism which seeks Union with God through love and devotion does not leave space for the distinction of sex. Islam has no order of priesthood and nothing prevents a woman from achieving great mystical heights. Sufis themselves have chosen the famed mystic woman Rabia Basri (died 801) as the representative of the first development of mysticism in Islam.