Islamic voice


Monthly * Vol 12-05 No.137 * May 1998/ Muharram 1418H


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Muslim women’s education and social Reform-IV


By Yoginder Sikand



Along with the emergence of journals and anjumans all over the country advocating the cause of education for Muslim girls starting from the late nineteenth century onwards, certain Muslim reformers began to set up Muslim girls schools in their own individual capacity. These were the pioneer of Muslim women’s education in India and served as role models for succeeding generations to emulate.

Another noted champion of Muslim Girls education in this period was Maulana Abdul Haq of Jalandhar (Punjab), a leader of the Al-i-Hadith school. Active in defending Islam from the polemical attacks of Christain and Arya Samaj missionaries, the Maulana set up a special school for girls in Jalandhar, the Madrasatul lBanat, for he was of the view that girl’s education was the key to the regeneration of Islam and the Indian Muslim Community. His wife and his two daughters, Humaira and Zeenat were employed as teachers in this all-girls madrasa, which, in 1926, became the Jalandhar Muslim Girls School. Here girls were taught the qur’an, Arabic and Urdu, as well as Islamic history and mathematics. Besides, they were to say their prayers regularly, participate in physical exercise and to receive training in handicrafts, the proceeds of which went towards maintaining the school. By 1938 it had some 500 girls on its rolls, of which a fifth lived in the hostel.

In order to popularize the cause of his school in particular and Muslim girls’ education in general the Maulana launched his own Urdu paper the Muslima (‘The Muslim Women’). In one of its issues it reported on the visit to the school of the famous Alim Maulana Sayyed Sulaiman Nadvi to the Madrasa, who is said to have been greatly impressed by what he saw, remarking the educating girls was the best way to ensure the future of the community and the preservation of Islam.




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