Education of women as responsible beings

Woman is one of the two genders created by Allah as caliph. The woman is the one who was created together with the first human being and the first prophet, Adam, and sent into the world together with him. As the recipient of commands and prohibitions, she is a responsible being in the world of trial. The Holy Qur’an expresses this fact as follows: “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.” (Nahl, 16:97)

In the Qur’an, believing women and men are mentioned together in matters related to faith, worship, morality, social, and economic issues, even though they may have different responsibilities at times due to their distinct genders (Ahzab, 33:35). The Qur’an does not differentiate between women and men when it asks, “Do they not reason, do they not think, do they not contemplate?”; when it mentions the obligatory acts of worship such as prayer, fasting, and hajj; and when it lists moral qualities such as patience, chastity, and reverence for Allah.

To fulfill their responsibilities, people must first be aware of them. Moreover, since the rewards for deeds committed are of varying degrees, all people should have opportunities to know, read, and learn in order to improve in this regard. It is evident that these opportunities include both religious and worldly knowledge. Since the Qur’an does not equate individuals who have knowledge with those who do not, it is obvious that depriving some of Allah’s servants of knowledge or restricting them to a very limited field of knowledge would not be in accordance with the Creator’s will. These considerations are significant in shaping the Muslim perspective on women and education.

When examining the verses and hadiths related to knowledge in Asr al-Sa’adah, we do not find any instances of women being exempted. Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) life, practices, and recommendations to his companions provide several examples of the inclusion of women in education. These examples, which we will present below, hold significant importance today due to their powerful message, as they are practices that were carried out in spite of the established beliefs, traditions, and entrenched misconceptions of society in a period when women were deprived of their most basic human rights.