‘Higher ed­u­ca­tion is not for Is­lamic women’

‘The ar­gu­ment that homemak­ers are back­ward, is not true’

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WITH the on­set of the uni­ver­sity year im­mi­nent, there is a vi­brant de­bate re­gard­ing Mus­lim fe­males at­tend­ing uni­ver­sity to pur­sue ter­tiary stud­ies.

Those who sup­port the idea of women study­ing at uni­ver­sity ar­gue that Mus­lims need to be pro­gres­sive in their think­ing. Con­fin­ing women to their homes is nar­row-minded, they say.

This ar­gu­ment im­plies that all those women who choose to be homemak­ers are back­ward. But this is not at all true.

Homemak­ing was the way of the Sa­habiyaat and pi­ous women through­out the his­tory of Is­lam.

Women who fol­lowed this path pro­duced the Ju­naid Bagh­dadis and Hasan Bas­ris of this Ummah. Homemak­ers are the foun­da­tion of the Mus­lim Ummah. If this foun­da­tion crum­bles the Ummah will be left in free fall.

We need to be un­apolo­getic about this: homemak­ing is the most pro­gres­sive ca­reer that a fe­male can fol­low.

The pro­po­nents of fe­males at­tend­ing uni­ver­sity also ar­gue that the Mus­lim Ummah needs Mus­lim fe­male doc­tors to cater for the needs of fe­male Mus­lims.

But the truth is that only a small per­cent­age of Mus­lim fe­males on cam­pus study medicine. What about the large num­ber of fe­males who study ac­count­ing, arts, sciences, lan­guages, law, etc?

What is the press­ing need for them to at­tend uni­ver­sity? Also, the per­cent­age of Mus­lim fe­male med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who only see fe­male pa­tients is minutely small.

It begs the ques­tion: did these fe­males study medicine to serve the fe­male com­mu­nity or to pur­sue a pro­fes­sional ca­reer?

Then there are those who ar­gue that Mus­lim fe­males need a qual­i­fi­ca­tion be­cause fam­i­lies can­not sur­vive solely on a hus­band’s in­come in to­day’s chal­leng­ing fi­nan­cial times.

They for­get that there are many fam­i­lies who are sur­viv­ing on a sin­gle in­come be­cause they choose a mod­est stan­dard of liv­ing.

Also, why do women who choose to as­sist their hus­bands fi­nan­cially not pur­sue a home in­dus­try such as cook­ing, bak­ing, sew­ing, etc? Is it per­haps be­cause such a set-up lacks the glit­ter and glam­our of a ca­reer en­vi­ron­ment?

Some women also ar­gue that a de­gree will be ben­e­fi­cial if their mar­riage fails and they are left sin­gle.

How­ever, it seems quite odd for women to want to study for a de­gree in prepa­ra­tion for the un­for­tu­nate sce­nario of a failed mar­riage.

Should they not rather be spend­ing their pre-mar­i­tal time ac­quir­ing Is­lamic knowl­edge and skills as­so­ci­ated with homemak­ing so that their mar­riages suc­ceed?

A mis­con­cep­tion also needs to be cleared up here: a cer­tifi­cate from a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion is not a one-way ticket to suc­cess.

Many homes where women fol­low pro­fes­sional ca­reers have prob­lems of their own.

A home where a wife earns more than her hus­band of­ten proves to be prob­lem­atic be­cause the man who is the head of the house­hold does not make de­ci­sions as he Is­lam­i­cally should.

Men

Also, women who rub shoul­ders with men in their work­places gen­er­ate ten­sion in their homes.

The num­ber of Mus­lim mar­riages that run into prob­lems be­cause of ex­tra-mar­i­tal af­fairs in the work­place can­not be ig­nored. In ad­di­tion, a home where the mother is ab­sent from 9am to 5pm is clearly harm­ful to her fam­ily, es­pe­cially her chil­dren.

The beauty of Is­lam is that it has not bur­dened a woman to pro­vide for her fam­ily. Earn­ing is the hus­band’s re­spon­si­bil­ity. She is not forced into an abyss where she has to both earn and take care of her home.

Forc­ing women into such a role is un­just, cruel and ma­te­ri­al­is­tic.

Sta­tis­tics have shown that in the days of the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion when women left their homes to pur­sue a ca­reer out­doors, they suf­fered an in­crease in psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems such as anx­i­ety.

Com­ing back to the uni­ver­sity ques­tion, there are many other facts that we can­not over­look if we want to deal with this is­sue ob­jec­tively.

One is that the en­vi­ron­ment at uni­ver­si­ties is ex­tremely im­moral. Cam­puses are breed­ing grounds of sin where free mix­ing be­tween the gen­ders, im­moral re­la­tion­ships, im­proper be­hav­iour, foul lan­guage and im­mod­est dress­ing can­not be avoided.

It is naive to as­sume that a Mus­lim fe­male who is daily ex­posed to such an im­moral cam­pus en­vi­ron­ment will not be en­ticed to­wards sin. It is like plac­ing but­ter next to a fire and hop­ing that it will not melt.

The truth is that uni­ver­sity life com­prises of young peo­ple who are at the prime of their pas­sions and de­sires roam­ing about in a free en­vi­ron­ment. This is the per­fect recipe for moral may­hem.

Re­al­ity proves this point. The ma­jor­ity of Mus­lim fe­males who at­tend uni­ver­sity do not dress Is­lam­i­cally. Many such fe­males find their mar­riage part­ners on cam­pus.

These are ob­vi­ously love mar­riages where dat­ing be­gan while they were study­ing. Many par­ents do not know that their daugh­ters go out on so­cial out­ings with their male friends in­stead of at­tend­ing lec­tures. Mus­lim fe­males are also known to have en­tered into haraam re­la­tion­ships with non-Mus­lim males on cam­pus.

There have also been cases where male lecturers have dated and later mar­ried their fe­male stu­dents. When the con­di­tions in Mus­lim schools have be­come so im­moral, what can we ex­pect of a cam­pus sce­nario where there is no su­per­vi­sion?

It is no se­cret that a cam­pus en­vi­ron­ment is free and un­re­stricted. Lec­tures do not have par­dah fa­cil­i­ties.

Tu­to­ri­als and group projects re­quire in­ter­ac­tion and dis­cus­sion. Mus­lim fe­males who have some de­gree of mod­esty feel it dif­fi­cult to lower their gazes dur­ing such in­ter­ac­tions for fear of be­ing un­friendly.

En­gage

Males and fe­males en­gage in ca­sual con­ver­sa­tions be­tween lec­tures, when shar­ing notes and trav­el­ling to and from cam­pus. Even the most con­ser­va­tive of fe­males are forced into in­ter­act­ing with males in such cir­cum­stances. Any­one who has stud­ied at cam­pus can iden­tify with this setup. It is unIs­lamic for many reasons.

We can­not also be blind to the fact that cam­puses have drugs, al­co­hol and a night­club cul­ture to­gether with all the evils these bring with them.

Cam­puses are also havens where du­bi­ous sects and groups thrive un­der the guise of free think­ing.

Hence, mod­ernists and Shias find free reign here. Lecturers and stu­dents who may range from athe­ists to Dar­win­ists of­ten cor­rupt the minds of those who are not well-grounded in the ba­sics of Is­lam.

The spir­i­tual dan­gers of cam­pus life are real and un­avoid­able. No mat­ter how many pre­cau­tions a Mus­lim fe­male stu­dent takes, she will have to com­pro­mise her Is­lamic val­ues at some time or the other. To hope that she re­mains Is­lam­i­cally safe in such a sin­ful en­vi­ron­ment is like jump­ing into a pool of wa­ter and hop­ing not to get wet.

We can­not also for­get that the idea of Mus­lim fe­males at­tend­ing uni­ver­sity suits the k ***** r agenda per­fectly. In their world­view, they need Mus­lim fe­males to emerge from their homes as stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als so that the Mus­lim home crum­bles.

The k ***** r know well that cor­rupt­ing the minds of the fe­males of the Ummah is an eas­ier way of win­ning the war against Is­lam as com­pared to send­ing drones and armies.

To al­low fe­males to at­tend uni­ver­sity is part of suc­cumb­ing to the nar­ra­tive of a cul­ture that is steeped in im­moral­ity. De­spite West­ern cul­ture’s ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy, it has brought un­prece­dented lev­els of so­cial prob­lems.

This cul­ture, which has ac­cen­tu­ated the lev­els of pros­ti­tu­tion, pornog­ra­phy, abor­tion, di­vorces, wife bat­ter­ings, child abuse, etc, is the same cul­ture that is en­tic­ing women to study at uni­ver­si­ties and pur­sue pro­fes­sional ca­reers.

Those Mus­lims who pro­mote the teach­ings of this de­praved cul­ture are in a cri­sis of con­fi­dence.

They need to be re­minded of the beau­ti­ful Is­lamic sys­tem, where women are the queens of their homes in­stead of slaves of the mar­ket­place.

Mus­lim par­ents who al­low their daugh­ters to at­tend uni­ver­sity should se­ri­ously in­tro­spect. Is it worth sac­ri­fic­ing one’s mod­esty (and even one’s imam in some cases) in ex­change for a uni­ver­sity de­gree? Is­lam can never per­mit its women to pur­sue ed­u­ca­tion in such an en­vi­ron­ment where main­tain­ing their Is­lamic val­ues is near im­pos­si­ble.

It is im­por­tant to note that Is­lam does not dis­cour­age fe­males from be­ing ed­u­cated.

Is­lam en­cour­ages fe­males to ac­quire an ed­u­ca­tion in the ba­sics of Is­lam. In fact, this is im­per­a­tive be­cause a mother who is not well-grounded in Is­lam can­not cor­rectly guide and nur­ture her chil­dren. Hence, Mus­lim women should ac­quire knowl­edge of Qur’an, sun­nah, aqi­dah, fiqh, etc, through the cor­rect chan­nels.

Re­gard­ing sec­u­lar and worldly sub­jects, women may pur­sue stud­ies if there is a gen­uine need to do so and it is in a set­ting that is free of sin. (Un­for­tu­nately, uni­ver­sity cam­puses do not make the grade.)

Women should re­mem­ber that their pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity is homemak­ing and bring­ing up chil­dren. Their core focus and train­ing should be in this field. This is the Is­lamic teach­ing. Nabi Sal­lal­lahu Alaihi Wasal­lam in­structed his daugh­ter Faa­timah Radhi Al­lahu Anha to take care of the house­hold while her hus­band Ali Radhi Al­lahu Anhu was told to earn a liv­ing out­doors. This is the nat­u­ral di­vine sys­tem or­dained by Al­lah and His Ra­sool Sal­lal­lahu Alaihi Wasal­lam. It is the only sys­tem that can pro­duce a har­mo­nious and suc­cess­ful so­ci­ety.

The blog, ‘Should Mus­lim Fe­males At­tend Uni­ver­sity?’ was writ­ten by a uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate, Anony­mous Sis­ter, who per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced cam­pus life and it ap­peared on the Jamiatul Ulama KZN (Coun­cil of Mus­lim The­olo­gians) web­site. It has sub­se­quently been lam­basted on so­cial me­dia

The au­thor said a mis­con­cep­tion needed to be cleared up, that a cer­tifi­cate from a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion was not a one-way ticket to suc­cess

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