Importance Of Women Education And Challenges Of Modern Age
Maulana Mohammad Asjad Qasmi
Lecturer of Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband
It is crystal clear that education is a basic and fundamental right of human being. Not a single person can be denied or deprived of getting education. All the religions of the world advocate for education and motivate their followers to equip themselves with education. Since the early ages, education has been considered as the main tool of success on the surface of the earth. Culture, civilization, morality, ethics and humanitarianism are the fruits of education which cannot be expected without that. In the history of human being, Greece has huge amount of share in terms of culture and civilization. Still it is considered as one of the oldest civilizations of the world. Greece had played a crucial role in building the culture and civilization of the world, as it had immense and significant education sources; and countless orators, thinkers, philosophers had been part of that admired civilization. Education is the only thing that can differentiate between good and bad things and can give proper understanding to combat ignorance. Education is the thing that can bring about a revolution in the society and can make the people civilized and modest. It is the source of knowledge and it creates opportunities for the learned to discover the hidden truth of the universe. Well-qualified people have always been regarded as the most trusted and respected personalities of the society and people have high regard for them in their hearts. Whatever new technologies are being discovered day by day is the gift of education.
Women’s Rights And Human Society
Though education had been the basic right of human being, but unfortunately it was not allowed for all mankind. People of high status and high power had monopoly on the source of education. Women who have been the essential part of human society, had no right to pursue education, even they had no right to own property or run business. Moreover, people from weaker sections were prohibited to get education. Neither they could impart education nor could they possess any valuable position in the society. The situation was so worse that in Indian subcontinent lower caste people were not allowed to hear “Vedas” and “Ramayana” (religious books of Hinduism), if anyone accidentally listened, melted lead would be put inside their ears as a punishment. Indian subcontinent was not the only region where women were deprived; even European countries had no respect for women. Greece and Rome which were the centres of civilizations in ancient age regarded women as the root of evils. Women had no more value in the society than commodity which were sold and bought in the market.
Women’s right in Islam
Unlike other religions and civilizations, Islam has given due rights to its followers regardless of their gender. It is Islam which has provided women all types of rights in the human society from education to owning property and running business. Consequently, many Muslim women got specialization in different sections of education. From the era of the Prophet peace be upon him till today Muslim women are enjoying their basic and fundamental rights in the shadow of Islam.
In modern era, so called philanthropists and thinkers blame Islam that it does not give right to its followers and prohibit Muslim women from acquiring education. As a matter of fact, Islam never opposed education; rather it has always encouraged and motivated Muslim men and women to receive education. However, modern education system does not suit Muslim women due to unscrupulous structure of educational institutions. Problems are increasing day by day for Muslim women in the field of education. In other words, it has almost become impossible for them to pursue education in ongoing system. On the name of equality, co-education system in schools and colleges has destroyed the moral status of students. Immodesty and immorality have become the part of their school life, self-dignity and chastity which was once considered as the most precious gift for girls, has lost its value due to constant meeting with boys in school and college life. Harmfulness of this system is horrendous and unbearable. God-fearing people and those who have self-respect how can they send their female children in an institution where there is no place for modesty and morality and which provides opportunity for boys and girls to come closer to one another? It is one of the main reasons why many Muslim families do not send their daughters in such schools and colleges and prefer to send their children in religious institutions where moral atmosphere is remarkable. Muslims are not against the education but they are against the system which is totally against the spirit of Islam.
Modern Education system and challenges for Muslim women
Let’s have a cursory glance at why this new modern system does not suit the Muslim students and they avoid from such institutions. If we talk about learning in Islam, it is very clear that it has been regarded compulsory for each and every Muslim without any exception. This is the reason, Muslim from the early age never pretermitted in learning. The education system for women was very simple; there was no so much rule and regulation for female children. In most of the cases, parents would teach them basic and essential books on different subjects and rest they could learn in their own locality from female teachers. Education was so common in Islamic era that there was not a single locality where profound knowledge holder women were not present. Without modern school and college Muslim women of that era were more well-educated and well-trained in social life.
In modern era, educational institutions have become a hub of shameful activities. Even though, many excellent and good steps have been taken for the students but disadvantages of new system are more dangerous than advantages. In co-education system, boys and girls attend the same school and class together without taking due distance which degrades their gender dignity. Parda (veil) which is the essential part of Muslim society and Muslim girls are ordered to cover their faces. On the name of dress-code many schools and colleges ban Hijab and Parda while skirts and other indecent dresses are allowed. Sometimes they are forced to remove their Hijab and Burqa just on the name of school or college rule and regulation and in many cases Muslim girls wearing Hijab have been stopped from entering the class. However, music show, dance competition, cultural program, celebration of non-Islamic festival is constantly conducted in which all students are compelled to participate. How can a Muslim girl or boy take part in a program which has been declared unlawful in Islamic Shari’a.
The second point is that due to frequent meeting with boys and strangers many girls forget their self-esteem and end up falling into shameful activities which put them and their family into trouble and sometimes it leads them to commit severe crime. Naturally when they meet each other regularly, they are attracted to each other resulting in transgression of the limit of human dignity. So many cases have been reported where a girl eloped along with her boyfriend and later they parted their ways. In some cases, girls have brutally been tortured by their lover husbands or in-laws even some of them succumbed to injuries or mental pressure. Co-education system has emerged as one of the greatest threats for Muslim girls in terms of their faith and modesty. Many girls and boys choose their life partners without considering their future security and without thinking about the safety of their religion. That is why, cases of apostasy are increasing day by day and mostly students from school or college fall prey to it. Imagine! A girl or boy leaves the religion of Islam only to satisfy her/his desires.
What should Muslim do for women education
What is the solution for this problem in modern era, we know that we cannot prevent Muslim girls from acquiring education as it is their basic right in religion of Islam. Eying the current scenario, it is not practical to stop female children from learning, so what should Muslims do? If they send their children in co-education system or where managements are in the hands of non-Muslims, then they may indulge in un-Islamic activities or else they could divert their ways of life embracing immoral and unethical ways. Convent schools which are considered as the neutral institutions for students they brainwash child in such a way that the child started to hate his/her own religion or becomes impractical in his/her religious life.
Islam urges its followers to impart education, that is why people from different ages have contributed a lot in the field of education and many invention have been done by Islamic scholars or Muslim scientists. Not only Muslim men; many Muslim women have authored several books on different topics. Whatever earlier was done can be done today in the limitation of Islam. But new education system does not fulfill the real dream of Muslim community because many Muslims inspired by non-Muslim philosophers or atheists choose to live their lives according to them.
If we go through Indian educational system we find that most of communities living in the country have their own educational institutions. In India, people are free to establish their own private institutions according to rules and regulations. Though some schools and colleges have been founded by prominent Muslim thinkers, but the fact is that; founded institutions are not enough for whole Muslim community. Most of the urban areas in our country have no Muslim schools or colleges. Helplessly boys and girls have to attend government schools or non-Muslim schools. If we look at the situation of rural areas, most of them have no schools or colleges even the areas where Muslims are in majority or have considerable population are empty from educational institutions. When we do not have our own institutions then how our children could get education and how academic ratio among Muslim community would rise? However, as a community, it is our fault that we could not give so much importance to educational institutions which could fulfill the dream of our children as well as our nation. If we had had our own schools, our children would have occupied worthwhile position in the country. We know that as a Muslim we like to send our children in a school where they can feel safe in terms of education as well as in terms of good upbringing, but due to less option many of us unwillingly send them in non-Muslim schools.
Purpose Of Education
It is very important and valuable point to discuss that what is the purpose of education? In Islamic perspective, the purpose of education is to know the Creator of the universe, to obey His orders in all spheres of life, to surrender oneself to the commands of Allah, to understand the purpose behind creation of universe, to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him, to make himself beneficial for the human being and to keep it in mind that everything comes from Allah and definitely will return to Him. However, when we see the current scenario of academic institutions and education-aspirants, we find that their main and sole purpose of education is getting job, acquiring high and valuable degrees and earning much more money to satisfy desires. It is a basic difference between Islamic viewpoint of education and the recent system of education. It should be kept in mind that Islam never motivated its followers to earn money and get job through educational degree rather it has always regarded education as the source for the service of human being. Due to this immoral trend among high-qualified people education has become so expensive in private schools and colleges, and professional courses are so expensive that a middle class family could not bear the expenditure of their children. Now people are using educational institutions as a business place and they are establishing schools and colleges for earning money not with the intention of service of the nation and mankind.
Women cannot be deprived of education at any cost, to remove this hindrance and fear; Muslims need to make arrangements of education for their children. They should establish well-fledged institutions for both girls and boys separately. Establishing Islamic schools and colleges are the need of time. There are many benefits in establishing our own educational institutions across the country, as a Muslim community; we will be able to impart education to our children in Islamic atmosphere where not only Islamic principles would be followed, but ethical values would be imparted to the students. When educational quality would be good and remarkable then students from other communities will definitely come here to take admission and it would be great opportunity to deal with them in good behavior. It will create healthy atmosphere in the society and people from different religions will come to know real values of humanity and will feel proud to render services of humanity. It has been witnessed for a long time that those who are God-fearing, they discharge their duties loyally and faithfully. When people like them will run their own institutions, they will raise the students morally as well as educationally.