Women and the pursuit of knowledge
We appreciate our sister’s eagerness to seek knowledge and call people to Allaah. We ask Allaah to bless us all with beneficial knowledge and righteous deeds, and to make us guides who are rightly guided. The one who calls people to Allaah must equip himself with knowledge. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘This is my way; I invite unto Allaah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allaah, i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism with sure knowledge). And Glorified and Exalted be Allaah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah; those who worship others along with Allaah or set up rivals or partners to Allaah)’”
Allaah has given us many ways nowadays that make it easy to seek knowledge without any hardship and without having to go of the house; that is by means of cassette tapes, the computer and the internet.
Women – and also men – must follow the right way of acquiring knowledge, starting with what is easy before embarking on difficult matters. It is also essential to use a balanced approach and not to take on more than you can handle so that you will not give up.
We advise our sister to do the following:
Be sincere towards Allaah in seeking knowledge – and indeed in all your affairs; if you intend to dispel ignorance from yourself and from others, and to draw closer to Allaah first of all, then this is worship. And you should not seek to show off to people with your knowledge or to argue with the foolish.
You should memorize some of the Qur’aan. This can only be achieved by following and sticking to a daily program of memorizing a certain amount. It may be a good idea to commit to learning a small amount, and do not increase it even if you find that you have more time and energy on some occasions, for a small deed that is done regularly is better than a large deed done intermittently.
You should read summaries of all branches of knowledge, and leave the detailed works until later. In almost every branch of knowledge there are books which give a gradual approach, starting with brief discussions and ending with lengthy and detailed analysis.
You should strive to memorize these texts if you can, because memorizing evidence, whether from the Qur’aan or Sunnah, and memorizing the texts of knowledge will help you to follow the correct path to knowledge. The scholars said, “Whoever memorizes the texts has excelled.”
You should strive to study the commentaries on these books. The best is to listen to recordings. We recommend the sister, and every Muslim, to listen to the lessons of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen, because there is no branch of knowledge that he did not discuss on tapes that are easy to get hold of and they are now available on the internet.
She should look for sisters who can help her to seek knowledge, with whom she can read and study.
Just as she allocates time for reading Qur’aan, she should also allocate time for all other branches of knowledge. She should read a little about Tawheed and about hadeeth and fiqh and all other branches of knowledge.
She should seek the help of Allaah in her pursuit of knowledge and da’wah. Putting one's trust in Allaah, pursuing the appropriate means, and praying to Him to make things easy are all among the greatest and most beneficial means of reaching one's goal. Shyness should not prevent you from seeking knowledge and asking questions.
One of the salaf said, “No shy or arrogant person will ever seek knowledge.” So shyness should not stop you from asking questions about Islam. And arrogance is harmful in this world and in the Hereafter; one of its harmful effects in this world is that it keeps a person from asking and learning.
For a list of books which the seeker of knowledge can begin with, please see Question no. 14082; this contains a list of books which the seeker of knowledge should study. Please see also question no. 20191.
And Allaah knows best.