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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breaking myth about Muslim women’s education

Breaking myth about
Muslim women’s

Islam enjoins upon its followers
both men and women to
dedicate themselves fully to
learning knowledge. There is
an ingrained value in every
Muslim, man and woman alike
to pursue knowledge and to
learn about God's Truth.
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H)
advised his followers to seek
knowledge from every nook
and corner of the world. In
keeping with this value, Muslim
women are continuing to make
headway in the field of
science and their participation
in terms of graduation ratios
often surpasses that of
western women in pursuing
scientific degrees according to
Contrarily, the western media
is never tired of churning out
stereotypes and outdated
clichés about the Muslim
women. Their favourite
propaganda line is that it is
because of discrimination
ordered by the Islam that the
Muslim women lag behind in
the field of education. The
western mind gets swayed in
favour of this kind of
reasoning when it is repeated
over and over, while the fact
is that truth is other way
round. The Islamic message,
which stresses gender equity
and rights for women, is
often polluted by competing
cultural values that have no
basis in Islam scripture.
The quest for knowledge has
always applied to women in
Islam. God has made no
difference between genders in
this area. The Prophet (P.B.U.H)
once said: "Seeking knowledge
is a mandatory for every
Muslim (male and
female)." (Sahih Bukhari)
History bears witness to the
fact that the Muslim women
have achieved numerous
excellences in the field of
science and technology
thereby opening ways for
more exploration through their
findings and dedication.

...Read the complete article from the comments


  1. But
    the western media does not
    take these contributions into
    account nor is it ready to
    offer any kind of appreciation
    for these women who have
    broken male hegemony in the
    field of science and technology.
    The fact is that the United
    States falls behind six Muslim
    countries in the percentage of
    women graduating in science
    to the total science graduate
    population. The countries
    whose ratio of women science
    graduates exceeds that of
    the United States are Bahrain,
    Brunei Darussalam, Kyrgyzstan,
    Lebanon, Qatar and Turkey.
    Morocco exceeds the United
    States in the ratio of women
    engineering graduates as a
    percentage of the science
    graduate population.
    Traditionally, Muslim women do
    not face the kind of
    discouragement in the sciences
    to the extent that their
    Western counterparts do,
    which explains why statistics
    show such high ratios of
    Muslim women graduates in
    science fields as a percentage
    to the total science graduate
    population. However, the fact
    of the matter is that instead
    of any religion injunctions,
    these are the socio-economic
    hurdles that apply equally to
    both men and women and
    hinder their way to
    advancement. These hurdles
    reflect themselves in the form
    of poverty, illiteracy, political
    instability and the policy of
    foreign powers.
    Data that explains the real
    problem can be found by
    comparing the total educated
    populations of countries and
    regions of the world. A high
    degree of illiteracy and low
    levels of secondary school
    enrollment account for the
    less number of graduates in
    poorer countries than in the
    wealthier regions. In locales
    defined by UNESCO in their
    recent report, gross
    secondary school enrollment
    ratios are very low: Africa
    (below 40%), West Asia (below
    60%), and East Asia (below
    Gender inequity is a fact of
    life and does exist, but Islam
    cannot be singled out for
    being responsible for it nor
    can it be relegated to Muslim
    countries. Some disparaging
    gender gaps in higher
    education exist where the
    religion of Islam isn't even
    practiced by a majority of the
    population. For example, only
    44% of people enrolled in
    higher education in Switzerland
    are women, Guatemala ( 43% ),
    Rwanda ( 37% ), Korea ( 36% ),
    Bhutan ( 34% ), Cambodia ( 29% )
    and Liechtenstein ( 27% ).

  2. On the other side of the coin,
    in Tunisia, a country where
    98% of people practice Islam,
    there were 5% more female
    students enrolled than males
    in higher education. Malaysian
    women made up 55% of the
    enrolled population in higher
    education, Lebanon ( 54% ),
    Jordan and Libya ( 51% ).
    Bahrain even exceeded the
    United States in the ratio of
    women enrolled in higher
    education by 6%. If education
    is freedom, then it looks like
    Muslim women in Bahrain are
    more liberated than American
    It is not Islam that threatens
    a woman's right to education.
    Rather these are the
    governments, which are hostile
    to Islam, which often set up
    roadblocks to prevent Muslim
    women from obtaining
    education. Both France and
    Turkey are guilty of this type
    of exclusionary persecution, all
    under the false guise of
    secularism. According to Human
    Rights Watch (HRW), a
    prestigious nongovernmental
    organization, these bans
    exclude thousands of women
    from institutions of higher
    learning each year. A 2004
    HRW report states, "This
    restriction of women's choice
    of dress is discriminatory and
    violates their right to
    education, their right to
    freedom of thought, conscience
    and religion, and their right
    to privacy."
    Despite the fact that the
    Muslim woman is constantly
    being harassed about her
    choice in religion and face the
    sustained and clichéd portrayal
    at the hands of the western
    media that ridicule her faith
    and demonize her culture,
    there exists an Islamic
    tradition celebrating women in
    science. The Muslims need to
    remind the world of such
    heroic and ground-breaking
    women contributions in an
    attempt to correct their
    perspectives. Today, the Islamic
    culture in which women are
    encouraged to participate,
    excel and lead in scientific
    fields continues to express
    itself, not only through
    statistical data, but in real,
    living, breathing and praying
    people. Although these women
    are exceptional, they are by
    no means the exception to
    the rule.
    Here we have few examples
    from around the world.
    Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam,
    was nominated as a
    distinguished Scientist of the
    World For the Year 2000 by
    UNESCO. She made significant
    contributions in drug safety
    by defining the Saudi profile
    for drug metabolism. Sameena
    Shah, presented an innovative
    algorithm in computerized
    cognitive leaning that she and
    a team of colleagues
    developed at IIT Delhi, India.
    Professor Dr. Bina Shaheen
    Siddiqui, has made significant
    contributions to medicine and
    agriculture through her study
    and classification of indigenous
    plant materials. She has been
    awarded several patents for
    anticancer constituents and
    biopesticides and has written
    more than 250 research
    articles. She has been honored
    with several prestigious
    awards including the Khwarizmi
    International Award of Iran
    and Salam Prize in Chemistry.
    Historic records show that
    women participated in science
    and medicine in Muslim
    societies. By contrast, in
    America, during the 1890's
    women could not be doctors,
    and yet, Muslim women
    doctors were seen as equals
    to their male counterparts
    hundred's of years earlier,
    they were even responsible
    for written contributions in
    the field. Also, women like
    Ijliya, an astrolab builder, were
    employed as skilled scientists
    in Muslim courts. Others made
    progress in pharmacology.
    The data for years 2002/2003
    contained in these tables
    describes the percentage of
    women graduates in science
    and engineering out of the
    total science and engineering
    graduate population in each
    country, and pertains to
    higher-education in science:
    (Statistics from the "Global
    Education Digest" report
    released from UNESCO Institute
    for Statistics2005)
    Woman Graduates in
    Bahrain 74%
    Bangladesh 24%
    Brunei Darussalam 49%
    Kyrgyzstan 64%
    Lebanon 47%
    Qatar 71%
    Turkey 44%
    Compared with...
    U.S. 43%
    Japan 25%
    Women Graduates in
    Eritrea 4%
    Morocco 25%
    Compared with...
    U.S. 19%
    Japan 13%