Book Review: Educating Muslim Women


Muslim girls students – How little data is out there to us about these formidable girls of our previous {that a} narrative of their non-existence has nearly been created. One of those giants was Nana Asma’u. Although I had come throughout her identify, I knew solely little about her till I learn the ebook, Educating Muslim Women – The West African Legacy of Nana Asma’u. It makes you surprise, what number of giants from the previous have their tales buried away utterly unknown to the lots? How many individuals have left their mark in historical past, have left behind one thing larger than themselves, silently taken to their graves just for folks to overlook their legacies generations after?

The hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) involves thoughts:

“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them,”


Nana Asma’u was a scholar, instructional chief, famend poet and writer of the nineteenth century in West Africa. She was the daughter of the founding father of the Sokoto caliphate (now Northern Nigeria), Usman Dan Fodio. She was somebody who performed a job within the institution of that caliphate.

She was additionally somebody who seen an issue in her group and made it her mission to set down the answer. This then turned one thing that lived previous her and have become the legacy she left behind. Nana seen the dearth of excellent schooling accessible for the ladies within the rural areas and so arrange a community to offer an area for them to get entry to information and likewise a group. She educated girls to change into instructional instructors, who would then journey to completely different villages to show the ladies there. This resulted in a big spiderweb community of girls that stretched throughout the caliphate. This community was known as the Yan Taru — ‘those who congregate together, the sisterhood’.

Points of reflection

I discovered rather a lot from this ebook. Although it’s meant to be a biography of Nana, what I cherished was that it provides the reader an entire context of the world she was born into and the world she left behind.

It additionally confirmed the reader how a determine like Nana Asma’u was born. She was no random coincidence. She was not an anomaly — ‘a woman who broke free from the ways of her culture to do something great’. She was fairly the direct results of the very tradition and group she grew up in.

Her father, revered as The Shehu, was a reformer of his time. He was a person who made it his sole intention to convey his folks again to their faith, away from the polytheistic traditions that had seeped into their tradition over years. This included reminding them of their obligation in the direction of schooling — equally for each women and men. And consequently, he was capable of domesticate a group the place schooling was pursued ardently; the place the scholarly voice of a lady was seen as equal to that of her male counterpart.

This was the group Nana grew up in.

Sometimes it’s simple to isolate the credit score we give to the nice figures of our previous solely to them. But we overlook that these figures had been born because of the individuals who suckled them to greatness. This ebook jogged my memory of the significance of creating our communities at present. For they’re those who will likely be elevating our youngsters tomorrow, whether or not we prefer it or not.

The ebook continues previous Nana’s life too. We are proven how the caliphate that the Shehu labored to develop quickly flourished to change into probably the most literate territories of the time. We additionally see the way it all disappeared. No affluent territory existed throughout that period besides that colonialism quickly arrived at their doorstep to tear it aside.

This scholarly nation, in a single day, turned a gaggle of illiterate and backward folks. Not as a result of these colonised folks determined to throw their books behind their backs. But as a result of the colonial energy outlined what schooling and literacy had been — one needed to undergo their colonisers’ schooling syllabus to be deemed educated.

Just studying about this one reality made me reassess the assorted statistics offered to us within the current day. Yes, numbers don’t lie…however liars use numbers.

Final ideas

Overall, I’m so glad I got here throughout this ebook. Once once more, I realise how rather more there’s for me to be taught. Just like Einstein mentioned ‘the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know.

One factor to notice: This ebook is extra on the heavy aspect of non-fiction. It reads extra like a tutorial piece fairly than a narrative. So remember that it’s a ebook that’s meant to be a sluggish learn. I actually hope, sooner or later, tales like hers are extra accessible to all ages.

Thasneema Naushad - The Muslim Women Times

Thasneema writes to make sense of the world and to make sense of herself. Find her on Instagram at @neemu.reads


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