knowledge without a mahram
Praise be to Allaah.
It is known from the teachings of Islam that seeking knowledge and seeking to understand the religion is one of the best acts of worship and obedience to Allah. The same is true for studying Quran and trying to recite and memorize it as much as one can. All of these are among the best acts of worship.
Allah says in the Noble Quran:
"Say (O Muhammad): 'This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah -- Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah, i.e. to the Oneness of Allah -- Islamic Monotheism with sure knowledge). And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah; those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah)'" [Yusuf 12:108]
And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"When Allah wills good for a person, He grants him proper understanding of religion."
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"The believer will never have enough of listening to good things (seeking knowledge) until he reaches Paradise." Narrated by al-Tirmidhi
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:
"Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Paradise. The angels beat their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and those who are in the heavens and on earth pray for forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the water. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind knowledge, so whoever gains knowledge has gained great good fortune.'" Narrated by al-Tirmidhi
Allah 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.
TIPS FOR SEEKING KNOWLEDGE:
We advise our sisters to do the following:
1. Be Sincere:
Remember, seeking knowledge is an act of worship and Allah will not accept any act of worship unless it's done sincerely for His sake. Fame, status, wealth, arguing with people or debating with scholars, are all things that will corrupt the sincerity of the heart. Seek knowledge for the pleasure of Allah alone, to obey His commands, and to remove ignorance from yourself and others.
2. Memorize Quran:
Do your best to memorize a portion of the Quran on a daily base. Stick to a daily schedule and memorize a few verses. It may be a good idea to commit to a small daily portion, 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.
3. Overall Knowledge:
Read summaries of all branches of knowledge, and leave the detailed works for later. Every branch of knowledge has books which give a gradual approach, starting with brief discussions and ending with lengthy and detailed analysis.
Read a little about Tawheed, Hadith, Fiqh and all other branches of knowledge.
4. Understand & Memorize What You Read:
Do your best to memorize these texts if you can, because memorizing evidence, whether from the Quran or Sunnah will help you in following the correct path to knowledge. The scholars said, "Whoever memorizes the texts has excelled."
5. Commentaries and Notes:
Try to acquire books with commentaries by trustworthy scholars. And never hesitate to fill the margin of your book with notes that will help you remember things later.
6. Study with a Trusted Sheikh, or Other Sisters:
Seek someone with a religious commitment and knowledge. If that is not possible, then look for sisters who are seekers of knowledge and ahead of you on the path.
7. Stay Away From Confusion & Doubt:
Do not start with controversial books before you have mastered the basics of evidence from the Quran and the correct Sunnah.
8. Seek Knowledge that Relates to You:
You should seek out knowledge specifically relating to women in Islam, about being a daughter, wife and mother, your role in society and within you neighborhood and community.
9. Make the Best Use of Time:
Make the most of your youth and your whole life by learning. Do not be deceived by procrastination and wishful thinking about the future. Every hour of your life that passes cannot be replaced. Do away with whatever you can of distractions and obstacles which prevent you from striving your utmost to attain knowledge.
10. Be Creative in Finding Time:
Having kids or household chores does not have to be a barrier, rather it can be an excuse to learn more! Play a lecture or an audio book while ironing, pairing the socks, dusting the room, or washing the dishes. Praise be to Allah, now you are seeking knowledge and getting your chores done too. And it makes the chores go quicker!!
11. Vary Your Means of Acquiring Knowledge:
Use a variety of methods of seeking knowledge so that you will not get bored, such as reading, listening and watching.
12. Be Patient - Do Not Be Hasty:
The path is long and hard, and whoever strives hard at the beginning will reach their target.
13. Act Upon What You Learn:
Knowledge calls for action, but if it meets with no response, it will move on.
14. Be Humble Towards Allah:
Beware of two dangers: arrogance, and destructive envy (hasad).
The early companions would listen to those who were older than them in order to learn good manners, and they would listen to those who were younger than them in order to learn humility.
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.
15. Ask Allah to help:
You should seek the help of Allah in your pursuit of knowledge and Dawah. Putting one's trust in Allah, 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.
And Allah Knows Best