Outrage at blog ‘suppressing’ women
MUSLIM women have taken umbrage to a blog posted on the Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians) KZN website, questioning the need for them to attend university, which was described as a breeding ground for sin.
The anonymously written blog, entitled “Should Muslim Females attend University?”, and shared on its Facebook page, went on to argue that being a homemaker was a progressive career.
The blog, written by Anonymous Sister, a “university graduate who personally experienced campus life”, went viral last week, evoking the wrath of women.
The writer describes the environment at universities to be extremely “immoral” and that women should place more focus on “homemaking”.
“Campuses are breeding grounds of sin where free mixing between the genders, immoral relationships, improper behaviour, foul language and immodest dressing cannot be avoided. And peer pressure strongly encourages towards these wrongs.
“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 writer went on to say that homemaking was the way of the Sahabiyaat (women associated with Prophet Muhammad) and pious women throughout the history of Islam, and that working-class women who rub shoulders with men in their workplaces generate tension in their homes.
“The amount 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 9-5 is clearly harmful to her family, especially her children.”
However, many Muslim women have taken umbrage to the blog.
Chartered accountant Safiyyah Sujee commented on Facebook, saying Muslim men should be first taught to stop drinking, doing casual drugs and sex at campus.
“Tell them to stop abusing their wives at home, to get proper jobs and then come and tell me why we must be deprived of knowledge and become dependent on a generation of morally dilapidated individuals.”
In another post, she said: “The problem with some of the Muslim community is that they revert to what their grandparents and parents taught to them, it sits in stone. There’s never the effort to go out and validate knowledge, research and think beyond our noses…”
Activist, attorney and empowerment speaker Shabnum Palesa Mohamed said: “I am not surprised that the KZN Jamiat and its anonymous contributors even in 2018 are yet again trying to suppress women’s rights to be educated and economically empowered. After all, it is patriarchal supremacy that governs many self-appointed institutions, across faiths and cultures.
“A woman’s right to equality, to be educated and to be economically empowered are unequivocally enshrined in the Qur’an.”
Medical doctor Raeesa Aboobaker added: “Be it Islamic or secular study, its value in the development of a person, the families and communities around them can only be beneficial. As an adult, you are solely responsible for your actions.”
She said she married her husband in her matric year to abstain from zina (unlawful sexual relations).
“I attended university in full hijab, practised homeopathy medicine at rural clinics and performed hospital visits in full Islamic dress.
“My Islamic knowledge guided me in the way a young Muslim female should behave. Not all women are choosing a career path, banking on getting divorced, losing their husband, or planning for any future tragedy.
“Some have chosen to study out of the desire to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, with good intentions, and nobly assist their husbands in providing for their families in a Third World country where our children and families may require extra medical care, security and stable schooling environments.”
Life coach and author Naadira Chhipa said the universities and the activities the writer mentioned was not the reason or catalyst to the social evils that destroy the modesty, marriage and morals of a young Muslim female.
“It is articles such as these that spread darkness. Ignorance sinks us into the depths of despair. However, knowledge illuminates our lives, the world and the generations to follow. Women in Islam have been, are, and always will be, seeking knowledge from the cradle, to school, madrasa, university, through life experiences and to the grave.
“The writer has clearly lost the plot and needs to introspect.”
The chairman of the South African Muslim Network, Dr Faisal Suliman, said the writer did not represent the consensus view of the majority of Muslim scholars.
The Jamiatul Ulama did not comment at the time of publication.
A screen- shot of the blog entitled ‘Should Muslim Females attend University?’ on the Jamiatul Ulama KZN website, which has sparked debate.