Girls’ Education; Is it Traditional or Religious in Afghanistan

By: An Afghan Citizen

The Taliban‘s decision to ban girls from education is rooted more in traditional concepts than religious ones, as Afghanistan has a preIslamic history of misogyny. In ancient Rome, women were believed to be soulless and were denied inheritance rights. Women were even considered to be worth less than a soldier‘s horse. In ancient Greece, women were treated as slaves and girls were for sale and labeled as devils. Despite this long history of misogyny, Western societies changed their views of women and provided them with opportunities to make a difference in the world. Similarly, Eastern civilizations shared the same perception of women. Before the rise of Islam, discrimination against women was not seen as an issue among Arabian tribes, and women were even buried alive or killed if they disobeyed their male rulers.

Women in Afghanistan have experienced a turbulent history, as they have never been able to lead large movements in the country. This is likely due to the fact that women‘s movements and progress have been overshadowed by male domination and oppression. Women have been discriminated against by men since the founding of Afghanistan, and have been denied their basic rights, let alone the opportunity to fight for them. According to history, King Abdul Rahman Khan enslaved women of the Hazara tribe and committed atrocities against them after killing the Hazara men.

During the first rule of the Taliban, Afghan women suffered greatly, being forced to wear hijabs. Two decades later, the Taliban are attempting to take away the rights of Afghan women and impose restrictions on them, which is completely unacceptable after 20 years of freedom and democracy. Despite facing strong criticism from the international community, the Taliban have maintained their decision to ban girls from higher education in Afghanistan. Prior to this, the Taliban‘s first oppressive act against Afghan women was to prevent them from appearing in the media, attending weddings, and participating in society, and later they prohibited all girls from attending secondary schools in Afghanistan. Therefore, the most important questions for researchers are: Are the Taliban‘s policies against women and girls in Afghanistan a misinterpretation of Islam? Do they have a traditional view of women and girls, or a traditional understanding of Islam?

In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of Islam, which is the responsibility of Islamic researchers to provide the most appropriate answers. Islamic scholars have stated that the Taliban‘s decision to prohibit girls from receiving an education is against Islamic teachings. Recently, Ahmad Tayeb of Al Azhar University expressed his disapproval of the Taliban‘s decision and deemed it unIslamic. Citing more than two thousand Hadiths, Tayeb also noted thataccording to Imam Hafez Bin Hajar, there have been 130 female literary figures, historians, and Islamic scholars“, which demonstrates the Taliban‘s lack of knowledge, ignorance, and lack of understanding of Islamic education. Furthermore, the opposition of international Islamic scholars to the Taliban‘s misguided decisions encourages Afghan women to resist and put an end to the Taliban‘s anticivilization, misogynistic, and antiIslamic orders.