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Islamic Society ( 30 Oct 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why Is There Still A Gender Gap In Muslim Education? Modern Education Vital For Women Along With Religious Education

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

30 October 2021

Why Is There Still Backwardness When Islam Places Such A High Value On The Acquisition Of Knowledge For Both Men And Women?

Main Points

1.    Some people believe that a woman's genuine freedom is to be free of the veil, and that putting women in the veil is oppression and a violation of human rights.

2.    The other side claims that women's status is limited to being confined to their homes, where they are unable to engage in anything other than domestic labour.

3.    The need for education is an indispensable necessity, because ignorance is the root of all evils and knowledge is the source of all perfections.

4.    Acquiring knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and woman, according to a Hadith.

5.    Modern education, in addition to religious education, is vital for women.


Some people believe that a woman's genuine freedom is to be free of the veil, and that putting women in the veil is oppression and a violation of human rights. The other side claims that women's status is limited to being confined to their homes, where they are unable to engage in anything other than domestic labour. They believe it is wrong to educate or train them in the same way that men are educated. They believe that a woman who is uneducated is better. They believe that women do not have the right to read and write, nor do they have the ability to gain education and build a better future. Gender disparities, in their opinion, suggest that a male has a privileged position and is thus entitled to all noteworthy deeds, but women do not. Both sides go the extreme route in their approaches. But Islam encourages moderation between the two factions, considering them equal in status, respect, dignity and moral treatment. It does not prohibit women from wearing veils or from attaining education. Islam recognises women's gender sensitivity and permits them to do whatever they want in this world or in the afterlife, subject to certain conditions.

The need for education is an indispensable necessity, because ignorance is the root of all evils and knowledge is the source of all perfections. Knowledge is necessary and the first step of perfection is knowledge, and there is no discrimination between men and women in obedience to God Almighty and other Islamic affairs. Both men and women share responsibility for what they have done and haven't done. As a result, knowledge is important for both men and women. That is why Allah Almighty has commanded the mothers of believers in the Holy Qur'an:

“And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and wisdom. Indeed, Allah is ever Subtle and Acquainted [with all things].” (33:34)

The Prophet's (peace be upon him) wives are urged in this verse to recall their exceptional blessings in living in homes where the Quranic verses were revealed. The passages of the Quran are referred to as God's signs, while the Prophet's Sunnah is referred to as Wisdom. According to the Mufassirin (Quran commentators), this verse is meant to encourage the Prophet's wives to memorise the Quran and his sayings.

In light of this Quranic passage, it is apparent that Allah instructed the Prophet's wives to acquire the knowledge and teachings described in the Qur'an and Hadith, as well as to preserve what they had learned. At the same time, it is well known that they were given this mandate to obey the Islamic commands, because good deeds cannot be imagined without understanding. It is also self-evident that, just as the great mothers of the believers were required to follow the Islamic precepts, so are the women of the ummah. As a result of this "common cause," this Qur'anic mandate will apply to all women of the ummah in the same way that it did to believers’ mothers.

The only way to develop on this globe and in the afterlife is via education. Through education, one generation passes on its cultural heritage to the next. To do this, each society establishes institutions based on its cultural demands, and each institution strives to meet the nation's and country's expectations. Education allows the preceding generation to pass on not only its own experiences and information, but also the experiences and knowledge of the entire human race, allowing them to compete in the race of life with nations all over the world.

The religion of Islam places every emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge. The importance and virtue of acquiring knowledge directly or indirectly has been mentioned in about five hundred places in the Holy Qur'an. Then this religion requires education for women as well as men. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon all Muslims. (Sahih Bukhari) “Acquiring knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and woman.” The Holy Prophet has been instructed in the Qur'an to make this supplication: “O my Lord! Increase my knowledge” (Surah Taha: 1).

The religion of Islam emphasises the attainment of knowledge above everything else. The importance and goodness of learning information, whether directly or indirectly, is addressed in the Holy Quran in over 500 times. Then this religion necessitates education for both men and women. All Muslims must seek knowledge, according to the Prophet (peace be upon him). “It is the obligation of every Muslim man and woman to acquire knowledge,” says Sahih Bukhari. In the Qur'an, the Holy Prophet is advised to offer the following supplication: “O My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (20:114).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once described knowledge and wisdom as the “lost wisdom” of the believers. He made special arrangements for men’s education as well as women’s education and training. The Prophet (peace be upon him) set aside one day for women’s education and training. The wives of the believers used to teach other Muslim ladies by learning the words of religion from the Prophet (peace be upon him). As a result, religious education continued to reach out to women on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, in the past, women were denied the right to unrestricted access to information due to a lack of understanding of Islamic teachings and societal practises. As a result, education has been denied to them from generation to generation. Even if they were taught the religion at home, it would not be of such high standard that they would understand the genuine essence of Islam and pass it on to the next generation.

In reality, education is the adornment that enables a woman to be aware of her place in society and to develop herself and her community. Unfortunately, some people still hold a negative attitude toward women's education. They believe that only boys should be educated in order to find work. This is a field where only guys should participate. Women were born to work in the kitchen, and that is where their lives begin and end. This viewpoint is incorrect. Women are also human beings. Women, like all other human beings, are taught to live by the light of knowledge. There are countless examples of significant revolutions in Islamic history that have resulted from the daring and intelligence of women.

A wise person rightly said that that the mother's lap is the child's first school. What a child learns from this school has a profound effect on his future life. It is very important for the mother to be educated for the best training of the child. In the opinion of thinkers: "The education of a man is the education of an individual, while the education of a woman is the education of a family.”

Religion occupies a unique position in human life. Both men and women must be aware of the fundamental teachings of religion as well as crucial issues. Religion is the successful method through which man can make his life successful and prosperous in this world and in the afterlife. Religious teachings and issues are well-known to an educated lady. She can better educate her children based on religious values while also helping to improve the country and the nation. However, an illiterate lady who is unfamiliar with religious teachings will be unable to adequately educate her children.

A new era has begun as a result of science and technology. The entire world has come together to form a global community. Only the nation or country that is at the cutting edge of knowledge and technology will be able to rule in the future. A country will never develop if half of its people are backward, such as women. As a result, in addition to religious education, modern education and awareness of global issues are vital for women. The world today is changing at a breakneck pace. As a result, only a well-educated woman will be able to adapt to this new environment.

A well-educated lady can readily pass on her morals to her children. She is more capable of expressing herself. A well-educated lady can make a greater contribution to the country's progress. She is conscious of her social and familial obligations. It is not necessary for a woman to read and write only to become a doctor, engineer, or pilot. A woman can better fulfil her responsibilities at home with knowledge. She will be able to better fulfil her responsibilities as a mother, sister, daughter, and wife as a result of her education.


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