Knowledge for Muslim Women & Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.)

Knowledge for Muslim Women & Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.)

“Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life”. (16:97)


In today’s World, the general impression about Muslim women is that Islam suppresses them and suppresses their rights. If one carefully investigates the grievances of such critics, one will observe that they are mainly related to the material aspect of this life- which by itself is short-lived.

-Why Muslim women are not free to dress and behave like men?

-Why can’t Muslim women do the work which men do such as fighting on the


-Why can’t Muslim women befriend men and socialize with them freely as non-

Muslims do?

-Why Muslim women get half of what men are given in inheritance?

Although Islam has offered the most logical reasons for such arguments, but still, people insist that in modern times, these are considered as suppression of women and their rights. Unfortunately, many Muslim women have fallen victims to such arguments and have begun to modify their lifestyle, which, according to their intelligence, suits them best even if the teachings of Islam have to be discarded. As a result, this behaviour has spread mischief and corruption in the land, adversely affected the spiritual dimensions of their own lives and that of others and it has crippled the values which Allah (SWT) wants to see in family life.


According to Islam, men and women have been created different for different roles in this life. If they are not equal, it does NOT mean that one is inferior to another. The different restriction between them imposed by Islam, in NO WAY denotes that the women are inferior to men.

Equal opportunities which Islam provides to both are not in petty material issues; rather they are in spheres that help in the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of their lives. One such sphere is Talab al-‘Ilm which means ‘acquisition of knowledge’. Islam wants both, men and women to excel in the sphere of knowledge.

The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Seeking of knowledge is obligatory on all Muslims, male and female”.


Through knowledge, one acquires cognizance of Allah (SWT) and humbles one’s hear for Him.

“And those who have been given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe in it and their hearts may humbly submit…” (22:54)

Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.): “Acquire knowledge for verily its acquisition is an act of goodness. It is with knowledge that Allah is obeyed and worshipped, and it is with knowledge that becomes cognizant of Allah and (believes) in His unity…” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

Knowledge illuminates the path to decent life in this world and in the Hereafter.

Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) says: “Acquire knowledge (for) it will acquire for you a (true) life”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)

He (a.s.) has also said, “Knowledge livens the soul, enlightens the intellect and destroys ignorance”. (Ghurar al-Hikam)

Knowledge adds value to humanity of a human being.

It makes one a true human being who is different from an animal in his overall thoughts and behaviour. Some people acquire knowledge for only limited purposes such as, to get certificates or degrees to boast about and impress others and to use it only to improve their own quality of material life. But when it comes to humanity, they are total failures. Their thoughts are dirty and their behaviour is animalistic. According to Quran, such people have been likened to a donkey. “The likeness of those who were charged with the Taurat, then they did not observe it, is as the likeness of the donkey that carries a load of books…” (62:5)

Knowledge must play a significant role in the thinking and behaviour of a person so that the best human attributes that distinguishes man from an animal can be exhibited.


Knowledge and its acquisition are not only for men. Islam insists that women should also acquire knowledge. Abu Sa’eed Khudri reports:

[One day a woman came to the Holy Prophet (saww) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Men have been benefiting from your talks. Appoint for us a day so that we come to you and learn from what Allah has taught you”. The Holy Prophet (saww) asked them to assemble on such and such day, at such and such place, and then he (saww) went to them and taught them of what Allah had taught him] (Saheeh al-Bukhari)


Imam ‘Ali bin al-Husayn (a.s.) said to his aunt Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.), “You O Aunt! Alhamdulillah are such a knowledgeable person whom no one has taught”. Indicating that her knowledge was God-given.

Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.) had profound knowledge of Islam. She understood the Divine laws and possessed the true understanding of the Holy Quran. In Madina, she (a.s.) conducted sessions for the womenfolk teaching them the Islamic Laws. When she (a.s.) migrated to Kufa with her father, the womenfolk of Kufa sought permission from her father to allow her to conduct teaching sessions to them. On being granted with permission, Sayyida Zaynab (a.s.) undertook to teach Islamic Laws and Tafseer. (Chauda Sitaare)


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