In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy

All praise is for Allah. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his Companions and those who follow his guidance.

To proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters, Islam advocates educating women and enlightening them about the teachings of religion, as this greatly influences the life of women as well, as those of their children in the future. As Hafiz Ibrahim, the Poet of the Nile said:

“The mother is a school; if she is well-prepared, a noble nation is prepared.”

Besides, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) addressed women saying:

“O womenfolk….”

He even specified a day on which he used to address them; when some female Companions said to him:

“Men are always with you. So, specify a day for us.”

He indeed specified a day on which he met them, admonished them and commanded them… [Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to urge women to teach each other. For example, he said to Ash-Shifa Bint Abdullah Al-Adawiyyah:

“Teach Hafsah the Ruqyah (protective and healing supplications) for Namlah (Namlah literary means ‘ant’. It is a skin disease where pustules appear on the side of the body and they are swallowed like ants), just as you taught her writing.” [Imams Ahmad and Al-Hakim]

The mothers of the believers, such as Aisha and Hafsah, used to explain and teach matters of the religion to women. This was also the guidance of other male Companions, for they were keen on teaching their wives and informing them about the teachings of the religion, especially rulings that are specific to women, such as those related to ritual purification, menstruation, postpartum bleeding, prayer, marriage, divorce, breastfeeding, and so on. Some Companions used to hold gatherings of knowledge in their homes in order to teach their children and daughters.

Imam An-Nawawi transmitted on the authority of Qatadah who was a Tabi‘i, that:

“Whenever Anas Ibn Malik completed the recitation of the whole Qur’an, he used to gather his family and supplicate Allah (Du’a).” [Imam Abu Dawud]

On the whole, scholars were keen on teaching women. History has recorded the biographies of women who were knowledgeable in religion and were taught by their fathers, brothers and husbands. Such men present shining examples in caring for and educating both men and women without discrimination. Life i.e. daily obligations and duties did not divert them from their duty towards their families until their sons and daughters grew into excellent role models in knowledge and piety.

Here, I mention the biographies of some women who learnt from their fathers and husbands. The purpose of this is to highlight the woman’s position in Islam. Women scholars were appreciated by Muslim biographers, and therefore, they included them in their classifications of great figures and biographies. It is hoped that this will urge women students to exert their best efforts in learning religion and mastering what is beneficial for them in their scientific and practical lives.

These women scholars specialised in different branches of knowledge at different ages. The names of women Companions have not been included because they are numerous and well-known. Rather, I will mention women from among the Tabi‘is and their successors:

1. Asma’ Bint Asad Ibn Al-Furat

Her father was the Maghrib’s (North-West Africa) famous scholar and judge. She was her father’s only daughter and he used to teach her the Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh. She used to attend her father’s assemblies of knowledge (Halqah) and contribute to debates. When her father was appointed as the army’s commander in order to conquer Sicily, he attained a great victory and besieged the city of Sousse, but was killed there in 213 AH. Asma’ married one of her father’s students whose name was Muhammad Ibn Abu Al-Jawad and who was the head of the Hanafi scholars in Maghrib. Asma’ died in 250 AH. [To know more about her biography, review Ad-Dibaj Al-Madhab by Ibn Farhun, page 305, and Faqihat Alimat by Muhammad Khair, page 29]

2. The Sister of Al-Muzani

She was the sister of the Shafi‘i scholar, Isma’il Al-Muzani, the companion of Ash-Shafi‘i, who died in 264 AH. His sister used to attend the Fiqh lectures of Ash-Shafi‘i. Some of the Shafi‘i scholars used to transmit her Fiqh opinions and her decisions regarding what she believed to be the most preponderant opinions. [To know more about her biography, review Tabaqat Ash-Shafi‘iyyah by Al-Asnawi, Volume 1, page 443]

3. Hafsah Bint Sirin

She was the sister of the noble Tabi‘i, Muhammad Ibn Sirin. She was trustworthy and knowledgeable in Fiqh, as well as in other branches of knowledge. She was a sincere worshipper and one of the most prominent Tabi’i women. She completed the memorisation of the Qur’an at the age of twelve (12) and lived for seventy (70) years. Her brother, Muhammad, used to ask her about what he did not have knowledge about in the Qur’an. Mahdi Ibn Maimun mentioned that she remained in her place of worship for thirty (30) years and did not leave it except for siesta and answering the call of nature. She died after 100 AH. Her traditions are mentioned in different books of Hadith. [To know more about her biography, review Tahthib Al-Kamal by Al-Mizzi, Volume 35, page 151; and Siyar A’lam An-Nubala by Ath-Thahabi, Volume 4, page 507]

Respected brothers and sisters, below is a very nice story which will In Shaa Allah make you all aware about the importance of women’s education, especially young Muslim girls!

After finishing Salatul Isha’, a Muslim girl sat on her prayer mat to make Du’a. Once she finished making Du’a to her Lord, her mobile rang. She picked up saying: ‘Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.’ The voice of a young man replied: ‘Wa alaikumus salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu!’ Can I speak to (so and so) please? The Muslim girl said: ‘Sorry brother, you have dialed the wrong number’… Then she hung up. After few minutes, her mobile rang again. She picked it up, it was the young man who called her few minutes ago. He told her: ‘I called again to apologise for disturbing you! You seem to be a good girl! Can I know you better?’ The girl was shocked for few seconds but then she replied: ‘Brother… Fear Allah! you are supposed to be at the Mosque praying Salatul Isha’ but here you are going after girls to flirt with them at night! Here you are disobeying your Lord instead of obeying HIM! Shame on you!!!’ After saying these words, she immediately hang up. A few days later, he called her again: ‘Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu sister, please don’t hang up! I want to apologise again and inform you that I went back to pray all my five (5) daily prayers at Mosque! All praises to Allah and thank you for waking me up from my neglectfulness! Please, can I know the name of the one through whom Allah guided me? I really need someone like you in my life to strengthen my Iman and support me to stay on the right path! Please help me sister, may Allah reward you for that!’ She didn’t reply and started to think: ‘Should she accept to help him to stay on the right path? Should she accept that he will be in touch with her from time to time to help him strengthen his Iman?’ She heard a satanic voice whispering: ‘He is a good guy now! Why are you so worried about it?! Let him call you… you both have pure intention! He really needs you! If you refuse his suggestion, he will go astray and it will be your fault!!’ She was about to tell him her name but suddenly a little voice whispered: ‘Allah is watching you’… It was her conscience and her education which woke her up from making a big mistake! ‘Sorry brother!’ she replied finally: ‘If you are sincere in your repentance then you will find people who are better than me to help you! Even I need someone who will help me to stay on the right path more than you! At Mosque, you will surely find many righteous brothers who would be good company, which will help you to get closer to Allah! Please, if you really fear your Lord now and afraid of HIS punishment, then do not call this number ever again! Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!’ Then she hang up and she went back to her prayer mat rising her hands to make the following Du’a:

“O Allah, Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm on your religion and save me from the evil of Fitnah, Ameen!”

May Allah accept our Ibadah (worship) and supplications, May He guide our leaders and provide us with a lasting peace in our beloved country Nigeria, ameen Ya Mujib!

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Al-Muharram 27, 1441 A. H. (September 27, 2019).