Never Be Shy to Seek Islamic KnowledgeMarch 16, 2013 // admin1 // Islam
Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, former professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh
This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set aside a special hour of the day at his home so the believing women could come and ask about matters concerning their religion that they were uncomfortable asking about in public. They could ask the Prophet about these matters in the presence of one of his wives. This was not a problem for them, since his wives were the “Mothers of the Believers”. Indeed, the Prophet’s wives memorised the answers that the he gave on these occasions, and in this way they became experts in his teachings concerning matters specific to women.
On one occasion, a Madinite woman came to him at `Ā’ishah’s house asking about how to take ritual bath at the end of the menstrual period. He said: “A woman should take water perfumed with lote-tree leaves to clean herself with, and be thorough in doing so. Then she should pour water over her head and wash her hair well, using her hands to get to the roots of her hair. Then she should pour water over her body. Then she should take some perfumed cotton and clean herself with it.”
The woman asked: “How is she supposed to clean herself with it?”
He replied shyly: “Glory be to Allah. She should clean herself with it.” He felt too shy to speak further and looked away.
But this was not the end of the discussion. This was rather `Ā’ishah’s cue to step in and speak, since the woman would be more comfortable hearing it from another woman. `Ā’ishah knew what the situation required, took the woman aside and explained: “Use it to remove from that area of the body any remaining signs of blood.”
On another occassion when the Prophet was at the home of his wife Umm Salamah, he was visited by Umm Sulaym. She said: “Messenger of Allah, if a woman has a dream that her husband is having sex with her, must she bathe when she wakes up?”
Umm Salamah was taken aback by her forwardness and said: “What shame. Do you calumnise women like this in front of Allah’s Messenger?”
Umm Sualym replied: “Allah is not ashamed of the truth. It is better that we ask about what we do not understand than to continue in ignorance about it.”
The Prophet then said to Umm Salamah in Umm Sulaym’s defence: “Indeed, you should be ashamed. The best of you are those who ask about what concerns them.” He then turned to Umm Sulaym and said: “Yes, Umm Sulaym, you should take a bath if you see a discharge.”
Umm Salamah then asked: “Do women have a sexual discharge as well?”
The Prophet said: “Indeed, how else does the child bear a resemblance to the mother? Women are the full sisters of men.”
We can see here how the Prophet corrected his wife Umm Salamah for feeling that there were questions that should not be asked out of a sense of shame. He defended Umm Sulaym and made it clear that what is shameful is not to ask. We can see how well Umm Salamah took the Prophet’s advice. She immediately began asking questions herself.
The women of Madinah were quite bold in asking questions and in speaking their mind. This earned them `Ā’ishah’s praise: “The women of Madinah are the best of women. They never let bashfulness prevent them from learning about their religion.”
This boldness on their part was praiseworthy, because it was in the path of seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah.