Friday, August 15, 2008

The Taliban and Educating the Future

Yesterday, a piece titled “Militancy Spills Over into Pakistan’s Swat Valley” was aired on National Public Radio.

This particular line in the report stood out to me: “Nearly 100 girls' schools have been torched by the Taliban in the same period.”

While there is much criminal about the Taliban, this act of keeping girls uneducated is particularly vile and out of line with Islam.

The Prophet said: "Indeed are you not all guardians? And each of you is responsible for your flocks. So the leader who is in authority over the people is a guardian, and he is responsible for his flock, and a man is guardian over the members of his house, and he is responsible for his flock, and the woman is a guardian over the members of her husband's household and his children, and she is responsible for them... "(Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

This responsibility for children is part of why a mother is three times more important than a father. When asked who was most important in a family the Prophet said "Your mother, next your mother, next your mother, and then your father." (Sunan of Abu-Dawood) He also said that paradise is at your mother’s feet. The Quran, Islam's revealed text, states: "And revere the wombs that bore you, for God is ever watchful over you." (4:1)

So the Taliban’s vision is to keep the primary guardian of the children, a person three times more important than a father, uneducated.

One wonders how they intend to keep their society going when their children are being brought up by illiterate guardians.

"Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim,” said Prophet Muhammad. The first revealed word of the Quran is “Read.”

Educating girls, not burning their schools, must be a Muslim’s priority. I look forward to the day the Taliban is a badly written footnote in a history textbook being read by the woman who cured cancer.

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