Monday, 26 January 2009

The Scholary Woman

"The history of Islam is fulled with great women from amongst theulema! This is extracted from 'Aisha Bewley's 'Islam: The Empoweringof Women'

'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, "How splendid are the womenof the Ansar. Modesty did not prevent them from becoming learned inthe deen.

"The Prophet (peace be upon him) told his companions: "Take halfyour deen from Humayra (A'isha).

Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said :"Wheneever we, the Companions of theProphet, encountered any difficulty in the matter of any hadith wereferred it to 'A'isha and found that she had definite knowledgeabout it".

Urwa ibn az-Zubayr stated: "I did not see a greater scholarthan 'A'isha in the learning of the Qur'an, shares of inheritance,lawful and unlawful matters, poetry and literature, Arab history andgenealogy.

Ibn al-Jawzi said that Hisham ibn Urwa said to 'A'isha, "Umm, I amnot surprised at your knowledge of poetry since you are the daughterof Abu Bakr and he was the most knowledgeable of people (in poetry),but I marvel at your knowledge of medicine.

"While 'A'isha was the most famous of the women who the Muslimslooked to for knowledge, the rest of the Prophet's wives and femaleCompanions were known for their knowledge as Umm Sulaym, Umm ad-Darda', Fatima bint Qays al-'Adawiyya, and other women after them. People use to receive knowledge and instruction from these women as they received it from men. Many of the ulema were women:

Nafsa bint al-Hasan : She was a descendant of 'Ali, and was such anauthority on hadith that Imam Shafi'i sat in her circle in al-Fustatwhen he was at the height of his fame in Egypt.

Karima bint Ahmad al-Marwazziya: She lived to be a hundred and diedin Makka in the middle of the fifth/eleventh century. She was theforemost authority on the text of al-Bukhari because of her excellent sources.

Shuhda bint Abi Nasr Ahmad al-Ibari: She was considered to be one ofthe best scholars of her age. She was known as al-Katiba (the writer) and Fakhr an-Nisa. She taught al-Bukhari and other works to large number of students. She lectured publicly in one of the main mosques of Baghdad on various topics.

"The emphasis of the women learning their deen was a emphasis in theSokoto Caliphate founded by Shaykh Uthman Dan Fodio. The Shaykh saysin his 'Irshad al-Ikhwan that if the husband is not able to supplyknowledge of the deen to his wife, she is under an Islamic obligation to out and search for it.

"The ruler should compel the husband to have his wife educated,just as he should compel him to give her adequate maintenance;indeed, knowledge is superior (to maintenance)

"Many women during the Sokoto Caliphate in the Hausaland (nowNigeria)were trained in fiqh(especially with regards to thecomplicated fiqh rules of buying and selling) and were appointed assupervisors of the market-place to ensure that the vendors did notcheat the people.

The historic role of women in the Islam can not be understated!Allah the Most High has enobled our women in a great way that shouldand can not be underestimated or marginalized!

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