The Taliban’s ban imposed on Afghan women from seeking higher education in universities has shocked the whole world. The Muslim world, which makes one-fourth of the global population, is ashamed on this thoughtless move.

The whole world appreciated the bravery, courage and heroism of Taliban when they trounced the super power America. We expected that, having faced unprecedented ups and downs they would be more judicious and responsible. But alas! They have disappointed the entire humanity. The Muslim countries, one after another, are also disapproving and condemning the ban on women’s education.

Jamia Azhar, the highest seat of Islamic learning, has termed this ban as violative of Islamic Shari’ah. The contribution of Islam which gave impetus to the scientific awakening had produced great women also. One example is the respected wife of the Prophet, Hazrat Ayesha, the first woman scholar of Islam. It is strange that this ban rejects the basic instruction of Islam that acquisition of knowledge is obligatory for both men and women.  

How can one deny the fact that the first verse revealed to the Prophet was “Read in the name of God Who created….” (96:1) How can Taliban forget what Allah says about believing men and women: “Their Lord answered the Prayer thus: ‘I will not suffer the work of any of you, whether male or female, to go to waste; each of you is from the other. Those who emigrated and were driven out from their homesteads and were persecuted in My cause, and who fought and were slain, indeed I shall wipe out their evil deeds from them and shall certainly admit them to the gardens beneath which rivers flow.’ This is their reward with their Lord; and with Allah lies the best reward.” (3:195)

How can Taliban deny what Allah says about the shared duty of men and women: “The believers, both men and women, are allies of one another. They enjoin good, forbid evil, establish Prayer, pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah will show mercy to them. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (9:71)

In this āyah women also have been made responsible for enjoining good and forbidding evil. How can that be done by uneducated women in this age of universal literacy and expanding knowledge? It has been also advised by Almighty Allah that almost all the good qualities and duties which are binding on men are binding on women also.

Therefore, it is a must that Taliban, because they believe in Allah and His Prophet ﷺ, should duly recognise the rights and duties of Afghan women who are 50% of their citizens. They should forthwith lift all restrictions on girls and women’s education. They should be allowed to soar to the highest pedals of knowledge. They should be treated as equal and respectable citizens of Afghanistan.

It would be very shameful that a country which swears by Islam should be unkind to women and violate their rights which have been granted by none other than our Creator.

How can we claim that Islam is compatible with the enlightenment and ensures development and prosperity with protection of human rights when we act against women and deny the honour and rights which have been granted by Islam? In the modern times women are sharing all important responsibilities, social, economic and even political. It is the spirit of age and those who fight with the spirit of age will perish.

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