Imparting education to women, like men, is a divine command in Islam. In fact Islam has never been a hindering factor in the education and progress of Muslim women. Under the present times setting up of schools and colleges for girls is much important than constructing a beautiful mosque, said Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, general secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
He was addressing women and girls after inaugurating an exhibition on the “Great intellectual Muslim Women of all times” at the Salar Jung Museum here on Saturday. The two day exhibition is being organised by ILM Foundation in association with the Shaheen Group of educational institutions, Islaah and Asli Talbina.
The New Education Policy, he said, was so designed as to adversely impact the morale of the religious minorities in the country. The NEP largely ignored the contributions of Muslim rulers and the community in various fields. Now claims were being made even on Taj Mahal and Qutb Minar. The fact, however, remained that the Mughal monument continued to be the biggest revenue earner for the country and a great crowd puller from tourism point of view, Maulana Rahmani said.
He felt students pursuing education under the NEP would end up with an inferiority complex. Therefore, it is imperative that the community sets up its own educational intuitions where boys and girls can study and learn the rich legacy and contributions of Muslims. “Affluent Muslims should channel their money and resources for creating more educational avenues for girls in the community so that they can study keeping their identity intact”, Maulana Rahamani said.
Stating that education had become a big business these days, he urged the affluent and influential persons in the community to set up institutions which all sections of the society could afford without any problem. While keeping the fee structure in the reach of the common man, care should be taken to ensure that the quality of education is not compromised, he said.
Maulana Rahmani, who earlier went round the exhibition, described it as the need of the hour. Contributions of Muslim women have been explained beautifully through charts. The Maulana wanted the exhibition to be permanently displayed at some place so that more and more people could see it. Stating that there is no gender discrimination in Islam, he said women formed half of the humanity. He did not agree with the Bible theory that woman was created from the ribs of Adam. This, he said, portrayed women in poor light and denied their independent existence.
Maulana Rahmani said while Islam did not burden women with the responsibility of earning money, it also did not stop them from pursing education and excelling in their chosen fields of activity.
Shaikh Asgar Ali Imam Mehdi, president, Jamiat Ahlehadees Hind, said educating a girl was akin to educating the entire humanity. Islam attached great important to women’s education and upbringing. There is an entire chapter on women called ‘An Nisa’ in the holy Quran. But there is no such exclusive chapter on men. Further the Prophet of Islam gave glad tidings of paradise to the man who properly brings up his daughter and educates her. Hamid Mohammed Khan, president, Jamate Islami Hindi, TS & AP also spoke.
Dr. Asma Zahra, chief organiser of All India Muslim Personal Law Board women’s wing, said the exhibition is an eye-opener as it showcased the contribution of Muslim women in different spheres of life. Unfortunately, Muslim women are being depicted today as ‘bechari’ (miserable woman) confined to home and lagging behind veil. But history showed how Muslim women scaled the pinnacle of glory by sheer dint of their intellect and skills. Women are not just objects of beauty and glamour as the world would like to portray, she said and hoped, the exhibition would inspire the young generations to take pride in their glorious past.
All the speakers praised M. A. Lateef Atear of ILM Foundation for the efforts taken by him in organising the exhibition, something none has attempted so far. Earlier he had held an exhibition showcasing the contribution of Muslims in the field of science and technology. Later Lateef said he proposed to broad base the exhibition and take it to different girls’ schools and colleges in the country.
Mufti Umar Abideen, who compeered the programme, threw light on the contribution of Muslim women and said one-fourth of Shariah rulings had come to the community through women scholars like Hazrath Aisha and others. Earlier, two documentaries highlighting the contribution of Muslim women in different sphere were presented.
Close to 50 exhibits have been put up in the eastern block of the Salar Jung Museum highlighting the contribution of women as scholars, educationists, nurses, warriors, jurists and business women. On display are also drawings depicting women as educationists and warriors. Girl students were seen explaining about the exhibits to visitors in both Urdu and English languages.