23 August, 2011

Seeking Knowledge for Girls and Women

Throughout history, women have been the most oppressed. And they have had the least opportunities and rights. Western democracies have always claimed to have the best examples of gender equality and the 'liberation of women'. And yet: to date, very few women have held high posts in the West. In the US, it has yet to have a woman president or even a vice-president. Most women, in all parts of the world are still kept in subservience and very marginalized. The most enlightening and the most empowering thing to have, for any human being, man or woman is education and knowledge. These are enlightening, and many times, are more powerful than even wealth.

In the Muslim world, we have seen a number of women rise to prominence and power. We know of: Megawati Sukarnoputriof, former president of Indonesia; Khaleda Zia and Shaikha Haseena, former prime-ministers of Bangladesh; and Benazir Bhutto, the late prime-minister of Pakistan. All these women are/were highly educated. Yemen, has very good examples of female leaders, in: Queen Bilqees and Queen Arwa Al Sulayhi. In Hadhramaut, most women are literate and they are the main driving force behind most families.

Throughout Islam and its history, we have had prominent women. Prominent they could not have been without them having knowledge or being learned. Where would Islam be without the business knowledge and acumen of Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid? Where would the collection of 'Hadiths' and Islam be without the vast knowledge of Ayesha Bint Abubakar and her being so well learned? Islam could not have remained such a dominant world power and an illuminating civilization that it was, for almost a thousand years, without the power of knowledge and education. Of both women and men.

Islam commands and advises us to seek knowledge. Qur'an Al Kareem states: "O my Lord! Enrich me with knowledge." ~ Ta'Ha ~ 20:114. Enrich who? Me and you. Men and women all alike. the Founder of Islam advises us: to "Seek knowledge even though it be in China."  And to "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave." And he stresses that: "The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr." He further advises: "The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female." It is a necessity and the right for every woman to seek education and knowledge. And still remain muhajjabah.

+ WISE Muslim Women
+ Islam's Women