Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan: Does Islam give you a right to education?

Source: The Washington Post

Author: Faheem Younus 

As if flogging the adulterers, executing the civilians, and selling the women were not enough, on Oct. 8, the Taliban attempted to assassinate a 14-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai. She was coming home from school in the battle-scarred valley of Swat, Pakistan, when Taliban shot her in the head and neck for her public advocacy for education. She is in critical condition.

It’s so heartening to see most media outlets applauding Malala’s courage. Yet, some commentators are using this cowardly act to attack my faith by casually suggesting: “Well, Islam does not give women the right to seek secular education.”

Excuse me? Why should we let a bunch of uneducated cowards and thugs be the press secretaries of Islam when the faith, much like Western secular values, is an illustrious enabler of women education? Please. Understand that we have a shared enemy here.

“Education is a fundamental right of women” – said Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict. But 1,400 years ago in Islamic history,someone stated, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman.” Islam, therefore, presents education as a duty, not a mere right, for all.

“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world,” saidnovelist Jane Austen. But someone 1,400 years ago went a step further, “If a daughter is born to a person and he brings her up, gives her a good education and trains her in the arts of life, I shall myself stand between him and hell-fire.”

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2 replies

  1. There are some girls who won’t go to seek further education even if the opportunity exists, for one reason or another (such as the risks of free-mixing in non-Islamic environments).

    Is there available for them the option to pursue a systematic programme of proper education in Islamic knowldge?

    By this, I mean a proper grounding in the study of Quran, Sunnah, Seerah, Arabic, Ahadith, Fiqh etc., such as through an online course of 2-3years, rather than through the occasional study of random literature at home.

    To my knowledge, Islam does not stipulate that ladies cannot be scholars, and a lot of knowledge of Islam has been learnt from Aisha r.a.

    So why don’t we have such lady scholars, and why is a programme of such education being neglected?

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