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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|A Woman Who is Better than One Thousand (Good) Men|
|04/25/02 at 12:37:34|
|[i]The following is an excerpt from Sh.Mohammad Al-Ghazaly's book "Muslim Women Between Backward Traditions and Modern Innovations"[/i]|
Part 2: Forgotten Stories from Our History
Chapter 12: A Woman Who is Better than One Thousand (Good) Men!
Many generations of Al-Azhar University scholars, who graduated from the Faculty of the Fundamentals of the Religion, are indebted to a pious woman who transferred all her fortune to Islamic endowments, for the sake of Allah. She founded organizations that generated good deeds and will continue doing so forever, by the will of Allah.
I am one of those who benefited from this enormous generosity. I studied in this Faculty more than half a century ago. I learned from a group of the best Islamic scholars and leaders of the Islamic thought. Many like me studied in the same Faculty of the Fundamentals of the Religion, which "Al-Khazindarah" built. She also built a big and beautiful mosque beside the Faculty!
Every year, the academic year would start with a huge event in the mosque, at which we, students, would hear speeches about the importance of learning for the sake of Allah and not for the sake of any materialistic gain. We would also be reminded of the Imams of Islamic knowledge and their struggle to educate the masses and guard the truth. Afterwards, everyone would start classes with a feeling of dedication and enthusiasm.
Who is this Al-Khazindarah who built our faculty? Nobody knows anything about her! The Egyptian society in the olden days had a tradition that forbade the mentioning of women's names, especially those of mothers or wives! I am not sure why mentioning the woman's name is considered a shame! Maybe they thought it is an `Awrah, which is what they claimed her voice to be!! Is this Islamic? Of course not. The Prophet, peace be upon him, as I mentioned before, ascended the mountain of Al-Safa and called Safiyah, his aunt, and Fatimah, his daughter, and asked them to believe in The One God! It wasn't a shame or anything.
Back to Al-Khazindarah's story. The Faculty was used for undergraduate studies. The graduate studies programs were carried out in the mosque itself and the classes used to take the shape of small study circles inside the prayer hall. I still remember Sheikh Amin Khattab, the second chairman of Al-Jam`iyah Al-Shar`iyah in Egypt. He used to teach a course called "The Contradictions in the Narrations." He was, Allah bless his soul, a man who cries easily out of fear of Allah. The students who attended his class would feel as if they were in prayer.
When the number of students grew substantially, the management considered moving to a larger place. I heard somebody saying they might merge the nearby Orphans House building with the Faculty building to create more space. Later on, I realized that the Orphans House that was referred to is another endowment project built by the same pious woman and that she had requested that the orphans be provided full accommodation from her money!
For some reason, the Orphans House project was never completed! A person I know said sarcastically, "Maybe they didn't find any orphans!" I felt that there are so many good projects that are wasted because of bad managers who do not fear Allah. The donator did her job but the administration failed to carry out its duties. And because some people's disaster is some other people's benefit, as Arabs say, we added the Orphans House building to our Faculty building and started to use its rooms for our classes. I think that the pious lady will still be rewarded for that Orphans House because she, simply, did her job in full. The people who fell short in fulfilling their duties will be accounted for that, "On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil."
While attending one of my classes, I heard loud noises that sounded like construction work. I asked, "What is this?" Somebody told me, "This is the new Al-Khazindarah hospital!" I prayed from the depth of my heart for this pious woman who built a Faculty, a mosque, an Orphans House, and a hospital in order to spread knowledge, encourage worship, raise the orphans, and cure the sick! What a kind heart this woman had! She in reality saved her money for herself in the Hereafter, "On that day you will see the faithful men and the faithful women-- their light running before them and on their right hand-- good news for you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow."
It is a fact that pious women in the Islamic history were many. They never hoarded their money or time and silently achieved a lot! There are so many names of women hidden in our books of history that never got the chance to be known to us. Only Allah knows how high their ranks are.
One day, we heard that the Egyptian Government had decided to demolish half of Al-Khazindarah mosque in order to widen a nearby street! The masses felt the government did not care about the houses of Allah and that this great mosque would be molested. Some Muslims declared they would fight until death for the mosque. I was an officer in the Endowments Ministry at that time so I went to Sheikh Al-Baquri to ask him about the news. The man, honestly, looked depressed. He felt the aggression against the mosque was an aggression against him, personally, and against Islam as well. He was consoled that the masses protested. Finally, and to avoid shame and people's anger, Nasser ordered that the mosqqe stay as is.
But the Revolution Council decided to transfer the hospital and the Orphans House from voluntary charity services into public services. They aimed at depriving Muslims of their charitable organizations. Later, the Faculty building was transformed into a Qur'an College. The mosque stayed, until now, although it is totally neglected!
May Allah bestow His mercy on Al-Khazindarah, who gave her fortune for the sake of Allah and struggled to cure the patients, feed the hungry, and teach students. May Allah guide Muslim men and women to follow in her footsteps.
 Al-Azhar is the world's oldest existing university. For more than one thousand years, Al-Azhar has been a major international foundation for Islamic knowledge. Al-Azhar's main mosque is located in one of the oldest quarters of Cairo, Egypt. However, its universities and schools are all over the world. Throughout its millennium of Islamic education, Azharites have spread the message of Islam throughout the world. Al-Azhar Islamic University presents the most comprehensive and moderate programs for Islamic education. See: http://www.ims.uwindsor.ca/~azhar/
 Literally, the treasurer. It is only a title and not an Arabic name.
 An Egyptian Islamic group that is mainly concerned with building mosques and collecting charity for the needy and orphans.
 Verse 3:30.
 Verse 57:12.
 A renowned Azharite scholar who was the Minister of Endowments in the days of Nasser.
|04/25/02 at 12:39:35|
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