Home Quranet Chapter 3 Should girls excel in their studies?
Should girls excel in their studies?
Chapter 3

فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لاَ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَأُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُواْ فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُواْ وَقُتِلُواْ لأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِّن عِندِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ (سورۃ آل عمران, آيۃ 195)

Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another. Thus, those who immigrate, and get evicted from their homes, and are persecuted because of Me, and fight and get killed, I will surely remit their sins and admit them into gardens with flowing streams." Such is the reward from GOD. GOD possesses the ultimate reward. (Sura Ali-Imran, Verse 195)

Nur is a sixth-grade pupil. She is talented, as all the teachers know, but hardly participates in class. When you ask her a question, you can see she knows the answer, but she sits quietly and never raises her hand in order to demonstrate her ability. The teacher invited Nur's mother to discuss the issue with her.

Teacher: Nur doesn't make any effort. She doesn't want to succeed, even though she is capable of doing so and is a talented pupil. I would like to know what the source of the problem is.
Mother: I have a daughter older than Nur who got married at 17. She also was an excellent student, but her father didn't want her to study, and married her off before she had completed her schooling. For a long time I tried to persuade him, but he always tells me that I also got married at 16. Nur therefore says there is no reason to make an effort because her father will marry her off and she'll have to stop her studies. She says, "all my effort will be wasted. I'll succeed, and nothing will come of it in the end."

Teacher: (Invites Nur to join the discussion) Listen Nur, you know what I'm discussing with your mother. About the fact that you are capable but don't make an effort, and don't try in any way to show what you know. Your mother told me about your sister who got married at 17 and left school. But you should know that God sees you and is protecting you. I want to read you Verse 195 of the Sura 'Ali-Imran': "Their Lord responded to them: 'I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another.' "Do you understand what the Quran tells us?

Nur: That God gives people the reward they deserve, whether they are boys or girls, and that we give birth to each other and are made from the same material.
Teacher: You see how clever you are and how well you understand? I am sure that if you invest and make an effort, you will go far. Together, you and your mother will try to persuade your father, and remember that God helps people who wish to study. You have to be able to exploit the opportunities and not to despair. I am also here at your side for anything you want. We can also talk to a respected religious figure if necessary, and he can talk to your father. But you must never give up. And always remember the verse: Their Lord responded to them: 'I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another.'

Explanation: The issue of studies is problematic. Many families do not let their daughters continue their studies, and designate them the role of being a mother at home. The family's intentions are good - to protect the women and their honor, and sometimes the question of benefit to the family enters the picture, as we saw in the first example. The loss, however, is great. A society that produces weak and passive women instead of strong women loses something, because stronger women can contribute a great deal to society, and especially to their families and their children. A mother who studies and who has gained knowledge will raise stronger and more capable children. A weak mother who has never moved from the four walls of her home and who has never encountered the wider world, will transmit her fears to her children. In many places, the practice of marrying off the girls at a young age and not allowing them to develop and to study comes from family tradition, but not from the Quran. Furthermore, giving preference to boys over girls with regard to studies does not come from the Quran. In this important verse, the Quran emphasizes that women and men are created from each other, from the same material, and that God will determine reward according to their actions and not according to their sex. A girl who studies, who perseveres and succeeds in her studies is as worthy of reward as a boy who learns and succeeds. We can only hope that Samira will succeed in her studies, and that Nur, her mother, her teacher and respected religious figures will manage to persuade the father to allow her to progress just as boys do.