In our times seeking knowledge seems to have become something only for men, women’s chores involve cooking food and producing children.
This has led to the frustration of many teenage girls, specially in the west. They might have great ambitions in seeking knowledge and teaching it to others, and it is mainly for these sisters I decided to post this.
First of all people have to realise that seeking knowledge is not a glamorous thing to do, I realise that in our time it has sometimes come across as something popular to do, reading about different stories maybe on this blog or other places you think, 'wow I want that too!' But truth be told, the nitty-gritty bits or behind the scene stuff is very hard to say the least.
Seeking knowledge full-time, is not something for everyone, can you really manage sitting for a few hours just repeating and memorizing or reading arabic grammar books over and over again? Some of you might think, 'yes of course I love Islaam!' But when it comes to studying Islaam a lot of people seem to be able to talk the talk without any action.
Ask yourself dear Sister, how much Qur’aan have you actually memorised? You might be in your late teens or early twenties, do you actually take time out and look for study circles? Be it in your local Masjid or the neighbouring Masjids.
Many people tell themselves, if only I had a chance to study abroad I would have sat in the Masjid twenty-four hours a day and studied and studied. But truth be told, if you aren’t a good student in Toronto [as an example] chances are you wont change much in Madeenah.
I do not mean to demoralise my sisters by saying this, all I wish to do is to make them realise that they have to be serious, and if you show Allaah your sincerity in this then He will surely aid you.
Having said that, the main issue that stands between sisters and seeking knowledge is that they do not have any Mahram to travel with and seek knowledge.
Or that they might have a Mahram but that person would never want to travel with them to some dry humid country just for her to read some books,'you can study Islaam here' they will most likely tell you.
And to be quite frank there is no real way of getting around this, since it is a law put down by Allaah Himself, and if you start your quest for knowledge by going against a command of Allah then there will most likely not be any blessings at all in that search.
My best suggestions to young sisters, is to try to get married to a brother who share their views and is equally serious about seeking knowledge, or marry a brother who is already seeking knowledge.
The other option is for you to try to convince your brother or maybe even uncle or any other mahram to help you.
The next problem usually is, ok but where do I go and study? Here is a very rough list for places to go and seek knowledge Inshaa'Allah:
This is without doubt the best place in our time to seek knowledge. It is good in that it will teach you the right 'Aqeedah and Manhaj and plus it has universities that give away scholarships to students.
The University of Madeenah is opening up a branch for sisters soon and this will be for the wives of students providing them with an opportunity to study.
The University of Makkah, Ummul-Qurra already has a branch for women, which enables both husband and wife to study side by side.
Then there is the new University called Nourah bint ‘Abdirahmaan, this university is for women and they accept international students as well.
One of the main conditions is that the female has a Mahram residing in Riyadh.
I would not advice sisters to travel there at the moment, since there is a big security risk with battles being fought against Shi’as, etc.
Also life generally is rougher there. The government usually give foreigners abit of a tough time, and ask questions etc, but if you are originally Yemeni or Somali, this is a good place since you will be able to blend in with the population easily.
Places to study are many, there is the famous Dammaj which was founded by Shaykh Muqbil (rahimahullaah). There is also places in Macbar where you can learn the basics of Islaam and memorise Qur’aan etc.
But again the situation is not stable in Yemen at the moment.
This country is mainly good for two things, when it comes to the Arabic language and memorizing Qur’aan. The Egyptians are very good in both these fields.
It is also good in that it provides flexibility for people to come and study. The people in Egypt are very friendly and welcoming, and a person usually picks up the language quickly.
The main places for studying are in Cairo, Al-Ibaanah is a good institute which will teach you Arabic and Islamic subjects.
There is Al-Fajr institute which has grown very big recently which teaches a similar syllabus. In Cairo you will find many different institutes and it is up to you to pick which one suites you the best, all of these institutes cost money.
There is a place up in the north, Qortoba Institute I have heard good things about it but I am not sure if they provide services for females. You can read more about them here http://www.qortoba.net/
This wouldn’t be very ideal for non-Pakistanis or non-Indians, since the circumstance in Pakistan has changed dramatically within the past few years.
However if you happen to be Pakistani or Indian it might be something worth looking into.
This is really not a place for westerners to go, let alone women. Life is very tough there and students are required to be very tough and serious.
To make your way there you will have to have contacts and know which Shaykhs to study underneath and which ones to avoid.
These are few of the places that comes to mind, may Allah guide to that which pleases Him.