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Women’s Education – Advices of Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahimahullah

Women’s Education

By Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)

Mawaaiz-e-Ashrafiyyah Vol. 4 Page 204

Nowadays, many modern thinkers are trying hard to persuade women to increase their education. They feel that they should be educated in all the different sciences.

I am not against educating women, but I am definitely against the type of education these people are imparting to women.

What is the benefit of teaching Geography and History to females?

I once mentioned that up to now, women didn’t know how many areas there are in our city and how many towns there are in our district. They don’t even know which road leads in which direction. This is why they feel comfortable staying within the parameters of their homes. Now to teach them towns and locations (countries and continents) of the entire world means you are teaching them how to run away from home. Really, I cannot understand the benefit of teaching Geography to girls.
Perfection in a girl is that besides her home and town, she knows nothing else.

For women, there is no education better than to teach them the masaail of Deen. If you want to teach them History, then they should be taught the History of our Buzrugaan-e-Deen (Pious elders). This will also help in improving their Akhlaaq.

Today their minds are filled with stories about the entire world, which negatively impacts them. In the Qur-aan Shareef, the qualities of good women have been explained as follows; they are (Ghaafilaat) unaware.

The aayah explains:

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَرْمُوۡنَ الْمُحْصَنٰتِ الْغٰفِلٰتِ الْمُؤْمِنٰتِ لُعِنُوۡا فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ الْاٰخِرَۃِ

“Those people who slander chaste ghaafilaat (unaware of worldly affairs) believing women; they are cursed in this world and the Aakhirah.”

The meaning of ghaafilaat is that they are neither shrewd nor cunning. They are neither aware of the highs nor the lows of this world. My dear brothers! Perfection in women is that they are completely unaware of everything else in the world besides their husbands and their homes. This quality is natural in a woman, but people tamper with and spoil them in this regard.

One person narrated an incident of a person traveling in a cart. The passenger was quite handsome, and the driver pulling the cart was ugly and bad looking. May Allah save us! On the way, they passed by the driver’s house who called out to his wife. She heard him calling for her and came out of the house immediately. Accidentally the passenger’s eyes fell on her. He noticed that she was so beautiful that it felt like the moon in its splendor suddenly appeared. The thought crossed his mind that this woman is so pretty and her husband is so ugly; does she even look at him? The passenger, conscious of his good looks, watched to see if she would look at him instead. However, this servant of Allah never once even looked into the cart to see who was there. Her entire focus was on her husband. She was laughing and talking happily to him. When the cart eventually proceeded, she went away, back into her house. This person mentions that he was highly pleased to see such chastity in a woman. A pure, chaste woman should be like this even though she has such an ugly-looking husband. She doesn’t even turn around to see another man.

This quality is natural in a woman. We are now spoiling this quality. It is so sad that no one is taking care of this quality. If we want to educate our women, then;

1. As a first step, we should immediately stop all novels and magazines in our homes. Due to these, terrible incidents have taken place in good respectable homes.

2. Secondly, don’t teach women how to write. If you have to teach them out of necessity, then be very careful that they should not write letters to Na-Mahram men. Some girls write letters to their brothers-in-law, their male cousins, etc. There should be a total restraint on this. Others write letters for all the people in the locality. At times they end up in Haraam relationships with men, which becomes a means of great fitnah. For this reason, it should be emphasized that they should not write letters for the entire community.

When writing letters to their mahrams, they should be careful not to write the address on the card or the envelope themselves. The men in the family should write the addresses.

In one area, a woman wrote the address of a letter in her own handwriting. The writing got smudged with water and the post office opened up a case of fraud in this regard. It became challenging. A woman in purdah had to be dragged to court. Eventually, one relative had to defend her and say that he had written the letter and had written the address on the envelope as well. He felt that if a case had to be opened, it would be against him and that he would instead get locked up. However, a woman in purdah must never be disrespected. For this reason, a woman must not even write the address on the envelope. Those enthusiastic about educating women should keep all these things in mind.