Educated Muslim Women and the Hypocrisy of Many Muslim Men

I was at the Masjid last night breaking my fast and enjoyed a very good Somali meal of fish, rice, potatoes, vegetables and the injira bread. After we ate several of us sat around and chatted for a while as is the custom. Somehow we got on the topic of Saudi Arabia and we talked about the benefits and drawbacks of living there and I told them that if I got the right job offer I would live in Saudi Arabia were wages are fairly high. One of the brothers asked me if it was hard to find a Saudi woman to marry and I told him that yes it is very difficult to marry Saudi women unless she is a highly educated woman like a physician or an engineer; because in the KSA most men do not like to marry highly educated women.

The brothers I was speaking to, who were Somalis and Pakistani said that was stupid and asked why that was the case. An Arab brother (not a Saudi) responded that it was because when women get educated they are problematic and that they get strange ideas in college. Therefore, he said, it is much better to have an uneducated woman.

Immediately I became angry, as did the Somali brothers; if the women is ignorant, and the women is the first teacher of the child as Prophet Muhammad (s) has said then you will have ignorant children who will perpetuate an ignorant society. This Arab brother who said that it is better for women not to be educated, which is not from Islam but from Arab culture, is a physician himself and you would think that he would have a little more sense.

Does this brother wish for his daughters to become ignorant as well? How can he expect his children to be anything but ignorant if the mother of his children is not educated? This is a big problem in much of the Muslim World; but it is most prevalent in Arab countries. How can these counties ever hope to be economically competitive and self-sufficient if they have half the population written out of the equation?

Unfortunately this was not the first time that I had heard talk on these lines and in general many Muslim men are hypocritical in their attitudes on Muslim women. When speaking to non-Muslims they glorify the position of Muslim women; but within the community they fail to fulfill the rights of Muslim women. They chastise Muslim women for not covering properly or wearing proper hijab and then go to the mall or the street and look at asses going left and right with their brothers.

On Fulton Street in Brooklyn, which is full of Muslim businesses and street vendors, you always see brothers with big beards and kufees flirting with non-Muslim women wearing tight-jeans or short skirts. When you ask the brother what he is doing he will say “Akh, I’m just giving Dawah.” Which prompted the statement of Muslim scholar Bilal Phillips who said “Why don’t you ever give Dawah to ugly women?? They need Dawah too.”

The same brother making so called Dawah on Fulton Street will then walk into Masjid at-Taqwa , Masjid Muslumeen or Masjid al-Faruq on Atlantic Ave and go berserk if he sees a Muslim woman not covered properly; but a lot of them would bang that same sisters back out on the DL if given the chance.

A lot of the reservation about Muslim women becoming educated comes from brothers who are themselves ignorant. They do not want their wives to be able to tell what kind of a fool they are and they feel that if the woman is educated she will then be able to see him for the moron that he is and she will lose respect for him. Incidentally, after all of the fronts, a lot of these women, even without an education in the formal sense, are very intelligent and can see their husbands for the idiots they are and or help shape their husbands into better men.

Not to be too harsh; the education level of Muslim women in almost every country is rising and statistically American-Muslim women are by far more educated then the average American woman and I think that a lot of brothers are excellent husbands and that many many brothers actually find an intelligent woman desirable- even in Saudi Arabia.

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14 thoughts on “Educated Muslim Women and the Hypocrisy of Many Muslim Men

  1. Salam alaikum!

    I happened to come across your blog and I quite agree with your post on the education of Muslim women.

    I have very strong views on the subject, infact, many young women of my age would call me crazy. I’m preparing to take admission into Dow Medical College in Karachi. Also, my father always stressed upon the importance of a good education to my sisters and I. My parents were never those who thought to keep their daughters uneducated.

    I also take a very strong interest in Islam and this, Alhamdolillah, coupled with my education has given me a strong perspective on life. I totally agree with the Islamic concept of a woman – covered properly, modest dressing and preferring to stay at home.

    I strongly agree that the husband is the head of the house, that a man is physically stronger than a woman and thus endowed with the responsibility to supposrt the family. I also believe a wife must be dutiful to her husband and conform with every duty Islam lays upon her. Her rights, too, are due.

    In this case, what the Arab physician told you was partly true. The problem is that most education today is making young girls and women turn apostate to the teachings of Islam. All they wish to do is build up a career and die in its pursuance. I’m not saying all Muslim women are like that, but the majority immediately adopt the western concept of education. They visualize themselves only, working, excelling, being glorified.

    A woman must first and foremost fulfil her duties as a daughter and a wife. If she is able to do these, then she may persue a career. Even if she does not pursue a career, he education would help her, most definitely, in her own household.

    I strongly support the education of my fellow Muslim females. But at the same time, I must emphasize that only an education that enables a Muslim women to perform her duties well, is worthy. n education that makes a woman be out all night on her job assignments or ‘career opportunities’ seems un-Islamic to me.

    These are the views on an educated, Muslim girl, Alhamdolillah.

  2. I dont agree with you just based on the facts. I am an American married to a Saudi women. The facts are that more Saudi women have college educations than the men. Based on your conclusion that would mean most Saudi men could not marry Saudi women because they are highly educated, more educated than them.

    There are several reasons why Saudi women marry non Saudis. As in the case of my wife, they have lived abroad for years with fathers who worked as diplomats. The families have become open minded and no longer hold to the tribal idea that one must marry from the same family/tribe/area.

    Saudi women also marry foreigners because they find it next to impossible to get married to a Saudi after they have been divorced. Divorce, for a Saudi woman, is basically a death sentence. Your place in society is crap and you are at the behest of your male family members for the rest of your life.

    If you do get an offer for marriage again from a Saudi he is likely to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. Of course, this isnt in keeping with the Sunnah of the Prophet(PBUH) who married widows and divorced women, but hey, just another day in Saudi.

  3. I do not disagree with sister Amira on many points and I agree that many Muslim woman, and men for that matter, get seduced in college by their teachers and come out with all kind of crazy ideas. The point is however we should want a higher level of education for all.It does not mean that we abandon Islam.

    On Saudi women I have heard this from many Saudi men and I am sure that some also would like to marry and do marry educated Saudi women. And the divorce thing is also unfortunate but is true.

  4. Man, thank you for keepin it real! we can all benefit from constructive criticism. i was starting to think i was crazy. i really appreciate it when Muslims speak the truth because thats the only way we can grow. im tired of glossing over issues with the ideal. thanks brother

  5. Assalaamu alaikum,

    In Kuwait, it’s perfectly normal for women to attend university; it’s also free. 2/3 of the students at the university are women (partly because more men go overseas to study, but it seems to me that women do as well – and maybe better – than men academically).

    I don’t think most men are threatened by a woman with a university degree. I have heard men say that they wouldn’t want to marry a doctor, though, because she might have duty during the night shifts and not be there with the chldren, etc.

    I think one of the reasons that most Gulf women wouldn’t marry a man from outside the Gulf is because of nationality issues; e.g., their children won’t get nationality and the benefits that come with it.

  6. Yea Ann that is a good point about the citizenship. The only nation in the Arab world that allows the wife to give the citizenship to her husband and kids is Iraq.

  7. Salaam,

    I think most men (muslim and not muslim) are feeling threatened by an educated woman. They are afraid that the woman has her own opinion and not will obey her husband. Let me remind you all that women are adult people who are capable to make their own decisions. They are not children who have to be raised by their husband. How can women have the responsibilty to raise their children if the women themselves are treated like children?

    I think Islam encourage Muslims to educate themselves: half of the Muslims are women!
    So, women, like men, have to have the opportunity to educate themselves.

    Jasmina

  8. “Being educated/acquiring an education is the duty of every Muslim man and woman.” – Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh)(Agreed upon)

    Salam alaikum!

    The idea of an educated Muslim female is so logical, so realistic, so intune with Islamic teachings that it angers me to see Muslim men being inclined with uneducated girls.

    I’m not talking of the preferences of urban male populations. Most men in rural areas of Pakistan consider a women to be a lesser creation of Allah – and treat her ever worse. An educated woman is frowned upon by the male group – again – because she poses a “threat”.

    Why don’t men realise that a woman, educated however she might be, can’t and won’t desert him? Or challenge him in his role? An educated Muslim woman who is well-versed with the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah may adapt better to her roles as daugther, wife and mother.

    Salam alaikum!

  9. Salaam brother! Very interesting views! I dig your blog! Keep it coming!
    An interesting point regarding the arab brother who commented that it was tradition of Arab “culture” not Islam. I believe this is a serious problem we face in Islam today. There is definitely nothing wrong with being proud of ones heritage but I feel it is overemphazised and tends to create a further gap in the ummah.

  10. Salam brother,

    Today, even year 2009 men are still hypocrisy.Today I face a problem with the topic of women attending the Masjid. Our belove prophet (S.A.W) say that do not stop women to attending the masjid. Some man come out and show a fatawa that ISLAM did not allow women to attend the Masjid.

    For me, I will follow what our prophet teach. Muslim should union. If not other can kill us easily.
    Regards.

    1. the rules regarding prayer is that. it is wajib for men to pray in a jama’ah (congregation) but mubah for women. When it comes to masjid Men should have more priority. We should know that we don’t have a concept of church in Islam. The whole earth is a masjid. Jummah is something men must do, women pray dhuhr at home or elsewhere, but if there is room in there masjid, she should pray there. It is just Mubah not even Nafl for women to pray in a jama’ah. From where im originally from we don’t have a masjid like in america, its just a piece of land, without any walls so that men could pray in a jama;ah. women are more spiritually rewarded if she prayed at home than a masjid. But no one can turn you away from a majid if they have facilities for women. i.e they have seperate room for women.

  11. Nothing is wrong with the woman being educated, the problem is where she goes to get it. The school systems today, in any spot in the world, are indoctrination centers. If a woman goes to school in America or Europe for instance, the only thing she will learn is about is the Western Atheistic outlook on the world. She will be told that men are of a lesser rank than woman, she will be encouraged to do everything that specifically goes against Islam. She will be told its “evil” to be a mother and a wife. And that having and raising children is “backwards”. And sorry woman, most of you will fall into it and agree with it. That is the nature of most woman, they love things that praise them. And these things on the outside look like they are doing just that. But the reality is, these ideas are placed their specifically to break up the foundation of the society.

    So I do not find it surprising that men do not want woman who have been contaminated with these Atheistic Views. Unless she is really strong, I would not suggest anyone to throw their women to the wolves and “hope” they survive. And that is what this school system is like. … Heck, I wouldn’t even suggest most men to go.

    In short, if anyone is going to go to a university, then they NEED to know what it is they are putting themselves into. You will be encountered by pretty much every negative view there is, and even moreso, if they know you are a Muslim. You will have a plethora of issues. For instance, if someone comes to you and asks you if sodomy is harram, you cannot say yes. but if you say no, you will be crucified.

    And a final word, what does a person learn in a university that helps them be a better Muslim? If you don’t even know who Allah or the Prophet are, in the correct understanding. How does university help you?

    Do research of the school before you go, only a fool would put himself in a situation he knows he cannot handle.

  12. TheSoundMind, you are sorely misinformed as to what big bad Western education professes. For one, you overlook the fact that there are multiple perspectives within higher education, influenced by the region and rank of the school as well as the institution’s and a given professor’s philosophy.

    As for your comment that “That (falling for faulty logic) is the nature of most woman, they love things that praise them.” is well-suited to huMANity.

    “So I do not find it surprising that men do not want woman who have been contaminated with these Atheistic Views.”
    Contaminated by the knowledge of other perspectives? No one can say that they truly believe until they have questioned and evaluated a thing. Islam is about submitting ourselves physically and intellectually to the way of Allah. This isn’t a passive activity. Conviction and steadfastness does not come through passivity. It’s not a matter of, “well, I don’t know anything else… this is just what I’ve always done.” Let me tell you from my personal (and plentiful) observations that it is the people from ideologically homogeneous backgrounds who fall to temptation easiest, who are sitting ducks in arguments, whose convictions are most easily shaken.

    “And a final word, what does a person learn in a university that helps them be a better Muslim? If you don’t even know who Allah or the Prophet are, in the correct understanding. How does university help you?”Secular knowledge is still knowledge! That being the case, what you learn in a secular setting may help you to better understand your Islam. The more knowledge you have and the more insight you have on the world and ourselves, the more apparent the remarkableness of the Quran and our religion becomes. Have you not considered the passages of the Qur’an that speak of things modern science has only recently discovered? Have you any idea how many people have entered Islam because of such things?

    As one of my professors once said, “two truths cannot contradict one another.” More than just not contradicting one another, two truths will feed into one another, elucidate on one another, and confirm one another. <– Iman Booster!!!

    I am always then quite surprised and a little saddened to hear Muslims set education in opposition to Islam. *Oh, don't let them learn! They'll leave the deen! Let's just be ignorant, completely unproductive in society, and remain incapable of helping others or even ourselves!* Islam is true. We needn't fear it being ousted as a sham.

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