The importance of knowledge to women.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.
أهمية العلم للنساء
The importance of seeking knowledge for women.
And the statement of the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم: ‘Women are the twin halves of men.’
Section: The obligation of seeking knowledge.
(Qur’an, Ta-Ha 20:114):“And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge.”
(Qur’an, Muhammad 47:19): ‘So know that there is no god save Allah, ask forgiveness for your sins and for the believing men and the believing women. Allah knows well your moving and your place of rest.’
On the authority of Anas Ibn Malik the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim.
Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab At Tamimi said:
Know, may Allah have mercy upon you that it is compulsory upon every Muslim to know these four issues.
1. العلم Al ‘Ilm: “Firstly, the Knowledge.”
2. العمل به Al ‘Amalu Bihi: “and the actions (working) by it.”
3. الدعوة إليه Ad Da’watu Ilaihi: “Calling to it.”
4. الصبرعلى الأذى فيه As Sabru ‘Alaal Adhaa Feehi: “and to have patience with the hardships that come along that path (in the way of da’wah).”
Section: The virtues of seeking knowledge.
(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:18): ‘There is no one worthy of worship but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels and those endowed with knowledge, Standing firm in Justice (or maintaining His Creation in Justice). There is no god but He, the Exalted in power, the Wise.’
(Qur’an, Al Zumar 39:9): ‘Are those who have knowledge the same as those who don’t have knowledge’.
(Qur’an, Al-Mujadilah 58:11):’Allah will raise up, to (suitable) ranks and (degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is well-acquainted with all you do.’
(Qur’an, Fatir 35:28):“It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah.”
Meaning: Those who have knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah and act upon this seeking the face of Allah.
It is reported in Saheeh Al Bukhari on the Authority of Mu’aawyah that he heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم say: ‘Whomsoever Allah wants good for he makes him understand the religion …’.
And narrated in Saheeh Muslim on the Authority of Abi Hurairah, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘Whomsoever proceeds upon the road to seek knowledge Allah will make it easy upon him the road to enter Jannah.’
And Tirmidhi narrated in the Authority of Abi ‘Umamah that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘The preference of a scholar over a worshipper is like the preference of myself over all of you.’
It is clear from these verses of the Qur’an and these Ahadeeth of the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم that a woman does not become one preferred by Allah because she has beauty, wealth or status. Rather, the sign that Allah prefers her over others is understanding and implementation of the religion of Islam. And knowledge of Islam is that which cleanses the heart, makes a person thread upon the road of guidance, raises the person in levels and has the person die upon a state which Allah is pleased with. However, ignorance of the religion with all the beauty, wealth and status one craves and desires, only leads to a road of destruction where one walks upon darkness until one dies in a state that Allah is displeased with. For how many women are amazed with their wealth, status and beauty yet these things do not quench their thirst for happiness and contentment?
Section: The Muslim woman and knowledge
(Qur’an: Ash Shams 91:9)Allah has said: ‘The one who has succeeded has purified it (the self)’.
Narrated in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Nu’maan Ibn Basheer The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘Verily there is a morsel of flesh within the body, if it becomes good then the whole body will become good and if it becomes corrupt then it will become corrupt, verily it is the heart.’
It is narrated in Saheeh Al Bukhari on the authority of Abi Burdah that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: Three people have two blessings. A man from the people of the book who believes in his Prophet and believes in Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, and a slave if he gives Allah and his master their rights, and a man who has a female slave, and taught her good manners and did his best in doing so, and taught her knowledge and did his best in teaching her, then frees her and marries her then he has two blessings.’
And it is narrated in Saheeh Al Bukhari the statement of ‘Aisha: How virtuous are the women of the Ansaar, shyness never prevented them from learning their religion.
And it is narrated in Saheeh Al Bukhari that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم gave a specific day for the women to seek knowledge.
This shows that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم put great emphasis upon the education of Muslim women in the religion and has shown the immense reward of those who educate their wives and daughters and even their slave girls about the religion. The following sections will clarify to us as to why Islamic education for Muslim women is so important.
Section: The Muslim woman is a Shepherd.
(Qur’an At Tahreem 66:6): ‘Oh ye who believe save yourselves and your families from the fire…’.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘Everyone is a shepherd and everyone of you will be questioned about his flock… and a woman is a shepherd over her husband’s house and she will be questioned about her flock’.
This shows that the Muslim woman in her own right is a leader and hence is responsible for those who are under her authority. And as a shepherd has knowledge of what is beneficial and what is harmful for his sheep, so to the Muslim woman must know what is either beneficial or harmful toward her household and this cannot be attained except through knowledge of the religion. If she doesn’t have any knowledge of Islam she would be unable to teach her children and command them toward doing what is correct and prohibit them from what is reprehensible.
Section: The Muslim woman commands the good and forbids the evil.
(Qur’an Ali Imraan 3:110): ‘You are the best of people taken out of mankind, you command the good and forbid the evil and believe in Allah’.
Narrated in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Abi Sa’eed Al Khudri the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘Whomsoever sees an evil then let him change it with his hands, if not let him change it with his tongues, if not let him change it with his heart and this is the weakest of Eeman’.
Narrated in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Tameem Ad Daari the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘The religion is advice (3 times)’. The Companions asked: ‘To whom O Messenger of Allah’. He said: ‘To Allah, the Messenger, the Muslim leaders and the rest of the Muslims’.
Advising, commanding the good and forbidding the evil is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female according to their capacity. Hence, she must command the good and forbid the evil with her husband, her children and fellow sisters. If she doesn’t do so she would be questioned for such on the day of reckoning.
Section: The Muslim woman knows her rights
(Qur’an Al Baqarah 2:228): ‘And for them (the women) are rights like that of the men, and the men have been raised above them with one level (in terms of responsibility over them’.
And as narrated in Bukhari’s Saheeh where Salmaan Al Farisee told Abu Darda: ‘Verily your Lord his rights upon you, and verily your body has rights upon you and verily you wife has rights upon you therefore give everyone their rights’.
Shaikh Al Allamah Muhammad Ibn Abdul Qadir Al Hilali said:
Verily Taqleed (blind following) is the worst of the diseases of the heart, for verily the sickness of the body prevents man from movement and action that brings one toward that which is beneficial, and taqleed is a disease of the heart that prevents him from reflection and research and evidences that brings one toward knowing the truth”.
Once a sister knows her rights as a daughter, a wife and a mother according to evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah she would neither fall short in giving the rights owed to others nor be abused in terms of her rights. She is not one who is a victim of mental enslavement which is imposed upon them by varying societies, her husband or her father. Rather, in Islam she has to freedom to express views, contemplate and reflect once they are within the bounds of the Qur’an, Sunnah and the consensus of the scholars.
Section: The obedience of a Muslim woman only extends to that which is lawful
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the creator’.
And he صلى الله عليه و سلم said: ‘Whomsoever pleases the people for the displeasure of Allah, Allah will leave him to the people’.
A Muslim woman therefore has the right to disobey her husband and even her parents if they order her to disobey the laws of Allah. And she must not seek to please her family or her husband for the displeasure of Allah. In this case Allah will leave her to those she has chosen to please (they will not have the specific protection of Allah that he gives to those who are close to him).
Section: Some of the women scholars of the past and present
Umm ‘Abdillaah ‘Aaishah Bint Abee Bakr As Siddiq (رصي الله عنهما). It is well known in the affair of hadeeth that if we look into the books of hadeeth terminology, you will find the different stances. And from that which they mention in the book of the Sahaabah or the ‘ilm of the Sahaabah (رصي الله عنهم), and the mentioning of the sciences that deal with the Sahaabah, it mentions Al Mukthiiroon ‘Alaan Nabiyyi. They mention that the people who have the most narrations on the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), and from those who had the most narrations from the Mukthireen ‘Alaan Nabiyyi was ‘Aaishah
Faatimah Bint Al Mundhir (رضي الله عنها). This particular story should be an encouragement for the women. Her husband was Hishaam Ibn ‘Urwah (رصي الله عنهم) who was also a scholar of hadeeth and a narrator. If you look in the biography of Hishaam Ibn ‘Urwah you will find that from his teachers and from those whom he took knowledge from was actually his wife Faatimah Bint Al Mundhir. If you look into the biography of Hishaam, if you look at those whom he narrated from, those who were from his shuyook (shaykh pl.), you will find his wife, Faatimah Bint Al Mundhir
‘Amatul ‘Azeez Al Baghdaadiyyah Thumma Dimashqiyyah (رحمة الله عليها) – Adh Dhahabee said about her, “Aalimatun Fadheelatun,” (she was a noble scholar), and she narrated much upon the nakeer…
Hadiyyah Bint ‘Alee Al Baghdaadiyyah (رحمة الله عليها) – Imaam Adh Dhahabee said that she narrated very much, she was a very poor woman, and a woman of ‘ebaadah. She was read upon (meaning she gave lessons) from the book of Ad Daarimee (رحمه الله تعالى), from his musnad and a number of other books besides it.
The following are examples of women students of knowledge are currently alive.
The righteous Shaykhah Umm ‘Abdillaah ‘Aa’ishah Bint Muqbil Ibn Haadi, Al-Wadi’eeyah (Of Yemen): Shaikh Muqbil said about her: She is one who loves the Sunnah and calls to Allaah upon knowledge and understanding, and is a strong researcher who hates blind following and strives on understanding the proof and acting upon it.
Umm Salama As-Salafiyyah (Of Yemen): Shaikh Muqbil said about her: Umm Salama As-Salafiyyah (and she is a wife of Shaykh Muqbil): An excellent, ascetic caller to Allaah on firm knowledge, and she has excellent character.
Shaykhah Umm Ahmad Salwaa Subki (known as ustaadhah Salwaa) (Of Madinah). She has many tazkiyaat from the ‘ulamaa and a close relation with them – especially the mashaayikh in Riyaadh. She teaches Fathul Majeed fee sharh kitaabit tawheed, jaami’ul ‘uloomi wal hikam (explanation of 40 ahaadeeth an-Nawawiyyah) and al-‘aqeedah al-waasitiyyah
و الله أعلم و صلى الله على نبينا محمد و على اله و صحبه و سل
Compiled by Musa Millington