Published On:14 March 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Education of Muslim Women

By Ibrahim B. Syed

In the early years of Islam, Muslim women played a role that was an envy for women of all other religious traditions.

Hazrat Khadija (R. A) was the owner of her own business and she was the first Muslim CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Muslim women played very important and varied roles. For example they became brave and heroic warriors, Judges, prolific narrators of Hadiths, leading scholars of Islam, Inspectors of Markets and occupied leading positions in other professions, too.

Muslim women have many rights and among them the first and foremost is the RIGHT AND DUTY TO OBTAIN EDUCATION. The right to work to earn money if they need it or want it.
Equality of reward for equal deeds. The right to express their opinion and be heard. And many, many more.

Causes for the Downfall

As time passed, these rights were lost or the women were unaware of them. Today Muslim women in India are largely marginalized, faceless and voiceless.

Men took advantage of the weak Hadith that says women are “Naqisul Aql” (intellectually inferior than men). On the contrary women in other communities have become heads of state, CEOs of very large companies in USA, Cabinet Ministers, Pilots, Military Generals, etc.

Families are reluctant to let their females pursue higher studies. The paramount t reason is they are afraid of looking for educated matches and secondly the husbands seeing the earnings of their wives, leave their own jobs. The concept of women as “Paraya Dhan” (woman goes to the in-laws house) has discouraged a large percentage of girls going to school. They remain at home to excel in cooking, sewing, washing, cleaning, and other chores. Elderly women say “karni to wohi chulha chakki hai” (finally as a wife and mother has to do cooking, etc). This is prevalent in almost all the Muslim countries.

U.N. statistics show that, in 2005 more than 75 million women in the Middle East and North Africa (a large part of the Muslim World) could not read or write. Afghanistan has worst case scenario when it comes to education of girls. The Taliban say “Female education is against Islamic teachings and spreads vulgarity in Society. Close girls’ schools or we will bomb them.
They did actually bomb 125 of them. In some Muslim countries women are denied to vote, to hold any political office or even to drive an automobile. Many Muslim women are losing their self-esteem and self-confidence when they are reduced to cooking and rearing role, and are treated as beasts of burden. This is contrary to amazing achievements, intellectual and otherwise, of Muslim ladies in Islamic history.

A Role Model for Muslim Women

A’isha Bint Abu Bakr (RA), Wife of Rasulullah was a great scholar in learning the Qur’an. She was an expert on lawful and unlawful manners, poetry, literature, Arab History and genealogy.

She acquired profound knowledge of medicine. She had a very sharp memory and remembered the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) very well. Many people and scholars came to her to learn from her. She was among the great hafiz of Ahadeeth. She narrated 2,210 Ahadeeth in all. Her utterances are studied in faculties of literature, her legal pronouncements are studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied and researched by students and teachers of Muslim history as they have been for over a thousand years.

There were several notable Muslim ladies.

The solution to the present status of Muslim women is educational empowerment that will lead to economic empowerment. It is important for them to lead a financially independent life and to advance in their careers. There is a popular saying: “When you educate a boy you educate a single individual, but when you educate a girl you educate the whole family.”

The Example of Kerala

Over 50 per cent of Muslim Women in India are illiterate today. Literate means anyone who can read and write a sentence or two. About 85 per cent of rural north Indian Muslim women are unable to read or write, whereas 88 per cent of urban South Indian women said to be literate.
According to the 2001 Census, in Kerala, the literacy rate of Muslims was 89.4 %, much higher than the national average of 64.8 %. The Muslim male literacy rate is 93.7 % while female literacy rate is 85.5 %. The secret of this revolution is Muslims have set up thousands of institutions (thanks to the money from Gulf countries) that cater to the community – not just madrasas and Masajids, but also schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, industrial centers, banks, newspapers and so on. In this way, the Ulema in Kerala have played a more socially engaged role compared to Muslims in the North. The Ulema in Kerala themselves are encouraging and sending their daughters to institutions that impart modern or secular education.
Now girls are taking education seriously. They want a well planned and well set life as that of the men folk. Earlier the aspirations of educated Muslim women were to become teachers. 

Now they want to become doctors, engineers, call center executives, journalists, dentists, Indian Administrative Officers, etc. etc.


Education Empowerment leads to Economic Empowerment for Muslim Women.

[Ibrahim B. Syed is President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. (IRFI), Louisville, KY, USA. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Science Editor. He can be contacted at islamicresearch@yahoo.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on March 14, 2012. Filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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1 comments for "Education of Muslim Women"

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