Muslimas Need To Seek Higher Education
I often think about the first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him:
In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful.
Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth, (1) Createth man from a clot. (2) Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous, (3) Who teacheth by the pen, (4) Teacheth man that which he knew not.
How important is this revelation to us as Muslimas? If the stress in our faith is on education, first we need to acquire the knowledge of our deen and then the secular knowledge that we need to function in today’s society, and finally we must seek higher knowledge. A Muslima who is educated will most definitely be a better member of the society in which she lives, a better mother, and definitely a better wife, but how many Muslimas today have the opportunity to obtain a college education?
As an educator, I believe it is incumbent upon every family to help their children strive to reach their highest academic potential. A highly educated Muslim population will help improve society in many ways. We need to start by educating our daughters. If they are highly educated Muslimas, their children will follow suit and thus we will positively influence the societies in which we live.
Khadija, Radiya Allahu ‘anha, was a wealthy businesswoman. Did the Prophet, Saliallahu Alaiyhi Wasalaam, force her to be a housewife when they married? Aisha, Radiya Allahu ‘anha, was a scholar of hadith. Did the Prophet, Saliallahu Alaiyhi Wasalaam, say that she shouldn’t be involved with spreading the knowledge of hadith? What about the early Muslimas who were doctors, nurses and held positions of power and influence in society? When Omar was caliph he empowered a woman to oversee the markets for making sure that merchants dealt Islamically with one another and didn’t cheat their customers. What about the woman who corrected Omar when he said in his khutba that there should be a limit put upon the mahr or marriage gift given to a bride? She told him very boldly that the Prophet, Saliallahu Alaiyhi Wasalaam, did not set a limit on the mahr (marriage gift) and that he as the caliph had no authority to do so. Omar told her she was right and he was wrong in front of all of the Muslims in that congregation. Subhana Allah, we have so much evidence in the history of our faith regarding empowering Muslimas in society. We need to empower our daughters, sisters, and mothers to be a positive influence and this can only be done through higher education.
In our society today, we need business leaders, we need technology gurus, engineers, and most importantly educators. There is a huge misconception by those who don’t understand their deen that educating women allows them to be out in the world mixing inappropriately with men, etc. From my experience, that is not the case. Non-Muslim men in particular have high regard for Muslimas who are practicing their faith and working in society. I have always been treated with high regard and respect from my male counterparts. They are very respectful about my prayer times and know when I am fasting. They recognize the boundaries I set in my dealings with them and respect me for that.