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IMPORTANCE OF A WOMEN’S EDUCATION IN ISLAM

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

As Saalamu Alaikum,

QUESTION:

Mufti Saab please tell me is it sinful if I attend talim and ijtema gatherings without taking permission from my husband. He is liberal minded and does not like me attending them. Whenever we would argue he would blame the apa or ijtema for making me that way. I have only started practicing deen after attending these gatherings it really is helpful for me. So I tell him I’m going to the market if he asks me which is not a lie because I go the market on return to buy stuff. Also I’m also in touch with the Aalima on personal basis and my husband is aware of it but does not know that she is the same lady who teaches me. So am I disobeying him by keeping in touch with her as well. she always guides me Islamically and helps me practice the deen in the right way. I also do not want to displease Allah by disobeying my husband but I feel what he is asking is unreasonable too. please let me know what I should do????

 

Wa Alaikum As Salaam

ANSWER:

In my humble opinion, it will not be sinful if you attend the ‘Talim’ and other gatherings of ladies for the sake acquiring knowledge of your ‘deen’ and to gain the understanding of practicing it. The reason for this is that it is essential upon every Muslim male and female to learn at least the basics of Islam so that he/she can practice it in the correct manner, and also have knowledge about the fundamentals of the different acts of worship (Ibadah) which is essential upon him/her. In this regard, the Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said, ‘Seeking knowledge is essential upon every Muslims. (ibn Majah). This means that seeking Islamic Knowledge and it is a duty upon every Muslim, male and female, it is essential upon them to gain that amount of knowledge in Islam which allows them to know their religion, and also practice it in the correct manner.

 

Further to this, it is also established as a duty upon a husband to teach his wife about Islam, so that she may be able to understand it and practice it. It is to show this duty, Imam Bukhari (A.R) established a chapter in the book of knowledge titled, ‘The Chapter of a man teaching his slave girl and his wife (family) (باب تعليم الرجل أمته و اهله)   (Sahih Ali Bukhari. Baab Taleem Ar Rajul Amatahu Wa Ahlahu).

As mentioned by the scholars of Hadith, the objective of Imam Bukhari (A.R) in this Chapter was to show the importance of teaching a woman Islamic knowledge which includes the females of the house-hold and even the slave girls. He establishes the fact that the knowledge of Islam should not be confined to males alone, but it must include females also. A special mention in the Chapter has been made about teaching the wife, because it is extremely important for one’s wife to have sound knowledge of at least the basics of Islam, because she will become a mother in the home, under whose guidance and supervision the children will grow.

The scholars have also stated that from the above Chapter, Imam Bukhari establishes that a man is responsible for teaching Islam to his wife and also his slave girl (if he possesses one). (Nasrul Bari -Sharah of Sahih Al Bukhari Vo. 1 pages 446,447 Maktaba Shaikh Karachi).

In addition to the above, Imam Bukhari (A.R) has gone further to emphasize the need of educating Muslim women with Islamic knowledge, and titled another Chapter under the heading of “The Chapter of Imam exhorting, and advising women and teaching them’. (Baab Iddhatil Imam An Nisaa Wa Ta’leemi hinna –

)  (باب عظة الامام النساء و تعليمهنّ

While, explaining the above Chapter, scholars of Hadith have stated that Imam Bukhari’s objective of mentioning the above Chapter is to show that besides the husband’s responsibility of teaching his wife as evident in the previous chapter. It is also the responsibility of the Muslim leader, (of the country, state or even a community) to establish a system where Muslim women/girls are taught Islamic education. This chapter with its hadith shows that Muslim Women must not be kept in ignorance regarding their religion. If the husband are not educated enough to teach their wives, or they do not have the time to do so, the Muslim leader/Imam should take it as his responsibility to ensure that Muslim women/girls are taught the knowledge of Islsam.

While focusing on this same matter of educating Muslim women with Islamic knowledge, Imam Bukhari brought another Chapter in his Sahih compilation titled ‘Should a separate day be fixed for women for knowledge’ . In this chapter, he mentioned the hadith which states, ‘Some women once said to the Prophet (S.A.S), ‘The men have overpowered us over you (that is, they are constantly with you and have taken all your time), so please, fix a day for us from your own self where you will teach us our religion. Upon this, the Prophet (S.A.S) promised them a day on which he will meet them. On that fixed day, he came to them and exhorted them and instructed them (in matters of religion).

The above narration shows that the Prophet (S.A.S) paid much attention to educating women in Islam that he made a fixed time to teach them.

Therefore, it is extremely important that Muslim women have access to gain Islamic knowledge. Firstly, it is the responsibility of the husband, and then the responsibility of the leader/Imam of the community. If the husband cannot teach his wife Islam or he does not have the time to do so, then he must send her in the company of other females where she can learn Islam and know about her ‘Deen’ (religion).

In your given situation, since your husband cannot teach you Islam, and is not making it available to you by having a sister come to your home to teach you, it is wrong for him to stop you from gaining the knowledge of Islam by communicating with other knowledgeable Muslim sisters. Similarly, if he has no valid reason to stop you from going to the gatherings of other sisters to learn Islam, it will be wrong for him to do so, especially when there is no fear of fitna (trial/mischief) like mix gathering with males and other similar environments.

Therefore, if you continue to communicate with the Aalimah who teaches and guides you in your deen, and attend ‘Taleem’ session to learn and practice your religion, you will not be considered as being disobedient to your husband, in the shariah, since he is failing in his responsibility to teach you Islam, and also cannot make it available to you at your home. As such, he leaves you no choice except to access Islamic knowledge outside your home.

However, it will be best that he knows your activities and also approves of it. It will be good if you get someone (whom he respects) to speak to him so that he may understand the need for you to communicate with the Aalima and attend the ‘Taleem’ which helps you in your Deen. Insha Allah, once he understands this, he will approve of it and your relationship as husband and wife will be a good one.

And Allah Knows best

Mufti Waseem Khan

03/02/2021

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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