There are several issues and concerns people have regarding Islam. People believe it to be a religion that is hostile, that promotes aggression, oppresses women, and is against progress and civilization and so on. The fact of the matter is that all these are mere accusation and the projections of western media; the real Islam is quite contrary.
Among the several accusations made against Islam, the major accusation is that Islam oppresses women and is strictly against their education and enlightenment. The fact is quite contrary, as Islam is an ardent supporter of education of women, and Muslim women have a great place in Islamic history. The lines below discuss the emphasis put by Islam on education of women.
First of all this thing needs to be cleared out from the head that Islam only encourages the education of men and does not allow it for female. On contrary, Islam is supportive of education and learning without any gender discrimination. The hadith of Prophet (PBUH) says:
“Acquisition of knowledge is binding on all Muslims (both men and women without any discrimination)”. [Ibn Maja 1:81]
It is clear from this hadith that Prophet (PBUH) enforces the acquisition of knowledge by both the genders equally. A woman has the equal right and duty of getting educated as does a man. Therefore, there is no truth in the false accusation that Islam is gender biased in the matter of education.
Pertaining to education, first of all a Muslim needs to understand the concept of education in Islam. In Islam education does not mean only attaining of worldly or religious knowledge or degrees, rather Islam emphasizes on education of manners along with the formal and conventional education. The hadith of Prophet (PBUH) in this regard is:
“The best parents are those who provide the best of education, which includes the best of manner.” (Al-Bukhari)
This hadith clearly interprets into the fact that education does not only comprise of degrees and knowledge of science or arts or philosophy or religion, rather it also includes the manners. And when it comes to manners, the Muslim women have been at the best of them, thus according to hadith, those prestigious women are considered educated. Some of the renowned Muslim women that fulfill the Islamic criterion of education are mentioned below:
Hazrat Khadija bint Khuwalid (R.A) - She was the first wife of Prophet (PBUH) and the first women to accept Islam. Her status as a successful business woman shows her education and learning of business, and her status in Islam as being the one along with her daughter Fatima as the perfect women, shows her education of manners as well.
Hazrat Aisha (R.A) - Among Muslims, Hazrat Aisha (R.A) at that time as well as till now is regarded as one of the most intellectual women with the qualities of leadership. She is among the personalities who have narrated the most hadith of Prophet (PBUH). Her knowledge of hadith qualifies her as an educated women and the reverend place she held among Muslim because of her manners makes her a perfect example of educated women.
Hazrat Umm Salama (R.A) - She was another wife of Prophet (PBUH) known for her wisdom and intellect. She gave important advice to Prophet (PBUH) regarding crucial matters and all her life she was a confidante whenever her husband required her to be so.
In short, this image of Islam oppressing women is merely a false projection of the western media who does not want Islam to spread and the Islam which opposes the limitless liberalism west idealizes. Islam is equally biased when it comes to education of women. The hadith of Prophet (PBUH) and the examples of Muslim women in Islamic history show that women are equally valued and given importance in Islam when it comes to education.
QuranReading.com is a live Quran school that has numerous students across the globe. Students from different cultures and countries learn Quran via QuranReading. The students are also taught about different Islamic concepts such as education of women in addition to the teaching of Quran.