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.