“Why are we so afraid of an educated woman?”


I’d like to highlight an issue that has troubled me for some time, namely, the role of (or more specifically, lack of) women in our communities. 
 
I understand that marginalising the opposite sex is not a view shared by all, and it would be unfair of me to “discard the entire mithai box due to one bad barfi“ as it were.
 
Indeed, a shining example Muslim female community participation is evident from this article in the Evening Post (Sorry, but the comment by the token pensioner moaning about her church roof did make smirk – I mean, how hard is it to spell roof??)
 
However, glimmers of sunshine (and light-hearted jokes about of pensioners) aside, I think you’d have to have mild ophthalmia if the lack of female participation in our communities isn’t glaringly obvious to you.
 
From a male perspective, and only going by observations made, I believe that the reason for marginalisation/fear is due to the following points:
 
  • The “I’m following the Sunnah, and your face is haram!!” approach

I’ll begin with the type of zealous “You’re a kaffir and your mother should have named you Bid’ah rather than Bushra” mentality that I think is the most worrying. Brothers who have convinced themselves that their belief that Muslim women should not play a meaningful role in our community is actually from the way (Sunnah) of the Best of Creation, may God bless him and grant him peace. This is clearly a neurosis that requires help.

  • But the Qur’an says that I’m better than you” mentality

 Women possess rights similar to those held over them to be honoured with fairness; but men have a degree over them. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise (Qur’an 2:228)

According to Ibn Abbas, “at-Tarjuman al-Qur’an” (The Interpreter of the Qur’an), this verse means:

“The degree (daraja) mentioned by Allah Most High here is the exemption, on the man’s part, of some his wife’s obligations towards him and his indulgence towards her, while he is fully obligated to fulfill all his obligations towards her…”

  • The male who doesn’t have the influence of female siblings

I have an older sister, and think that her influence throughout my youth, and still, has had a considerable impact on the way I view women. I’ve often found, and I stress that this is only from my observation, that those who don’t have a female figure in the home whilst growing up are more suseptible to the ignorant assumptions that only men are fit to lead a successful community, for example.

  • The “I have serious self-esteem issues and must veil this by being the best at everything. EVERYTHING. *starts crying profusely*” character

The guy who would run out of the room screaming if his wife earned more than he did. The type who’s always drinking protein shakes and wears vests in October. The type who’s got about 200 self-taken FB profile pictures.

I’ll end on this exerpt taken from a talk delivered by Shaykh Hamza some years back in England: 

Ibn Hajar [al-Asqalani], when he went to Damascus, had four teachers in Hadith of whom three were women. He is one of the greatest Muhaditheen this Ummah has ever produced” 

Where are those women now? Where are they? See we don’t like our women to get educated. We have to deal with this fact. My contention is, when you come to the chapters of the obligations of the house (wajibat al-bayt), in the books of jurisprudence (fiqh), according to the Hanafis, Shafi’is and the Hanbalis, women don’t have to cook. We don’t want them to get to that chapter! And then the man says “oh no! trouble at home man, see those imams are corrupting the women! I’m not getting the curry tonight!”

Seriously, why do we keep our women ignorant? Muslim men now are afraid of intelligent women because so many of us [men] are so stupid. If a woman can actually hold a conversation with us, we’re like “oh man, this looks dangerous!”.

Why are we so afraid of an educated woman? If we have uneducated women, we have uneducated children – that’s a reality”.

You want an intelligent woman. Halima Sa’diya [the wet nurse of the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace] was a brilliant woman. Read her hadiths; they contain some of the most complicated syntactical structures you will find in the hadith books. Look at how that woman spoke! She’d run rings around the Quraysh.

To conclude with a beautiful contention put by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad:

“The existence of a fair sex does not justify the existence of an unfair sex”

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