The Value of Education - Ayesha Hakim Rahman
“Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man or woman”. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 218)
Assalamu alaikum sisters,
This is the first of a series of blogs I will be writing for Hijabvisers, aiming to inspire Muslimahs across the world in reaching their full potential. I wanted to start by wishing everyone a happy International Women’s Day (8 March)! I sincerely hope you find these blogs encouraging in helping to bring out the best in each and every one of you.
Having completed my Masters last week (something that has recently felt like the bane of my life!), I felt it was apt to start my first blog on the value of education.
I will run through five reasons as to why sisters may feel unmotivated in pursuing education. For each of these reasons, I will justify how the sister can, or should, overcome the specific challenge. Let’s get straight to it.
Reason One: “It’s too late”
It is never too late for education – I really cannot express this enough. Take it from someone who went to college and failed (twice!) before finally, at the age of 21, with a five-month child in tow, decided to return to education. I couldn’t bear the thought of my child growing up and deciding not to go to university because his mum hadn’t! In fact, in many ways it’s easier when you’re older and classed as a ‘mature’ student, as it often means you can secure the equivalent qualification in shorter periods and part-time (my degree course was only one day and one evening per week). One of the most inspirational things I remember from my degree was a mother (aged 58) and daughter (aged 26) completing the course and graduating together- MashaAllah!
Reason Two: “Experience is more important”
“Oh no, it isn’t!” Experience is just as important, but certainly not more so than education. This is now widely recognised which is great, as it means many courses now combine work experience opportunities to ensure the best of both worlds. In my experience, a job application generally only asks for the last five years’ employment history, whereas you always need to state educational achievements since the age of 16. Remember, education is recognised for life- it’s up to you to you fulfill this potential to the best of your abilities.
Reason Three: “I failed my basic qualifications”
So retake them! Honestly- failing English and Mathematics will come back to haunt you at some stage of your career. I would highly advise you to retake these subjects as a minimum, whether you are thinking about career or study progression, as most employers notice if they are missing on the job application and it can also have an impact on your application for certain courses. Retakes are generally one year in length, with considerably shorter sessions per week. It will feel like a long haul but I promise that you will get there eventually- nothing beats the satisfaction of educational achievement!
Reason Four: “It’s too demanding”
Yes – studies can be draining, feel never-ending and reduce the social life to a very small percentage. However, once it’s over, nothing beats the feeling of pride and joy, not just within you, but also from your family and friends. There were times when I really didn’t know if I could do it anymore- working full time, School Governor, Trustee, Housing Panel Member, housework, bills, son, husband (equivalent to another child!), all in addition to the MSc. But, you just think back to why you made the commitment in the first place. Unlike employment, which offers the perks of pay, with education it’s important to focus on the bigger picture: why is the challenge is worthwhile? Why are you worth securing the right to education? It’s clearly not easy, but you’ve just got to suck it up and accept the short period of blood, sweat and tears for the guaranteed long-term value.
Reason Five: “It’s too expensive”
Save. There is nothing more I can say on this. The best thing you can ever save money for is your education. I took out a loan to complete my Honours and Masters, although I appreciate this is not in line with everyone’s personal preferences/opinions. In which case, I would highly recommend keeping an ‘education fund’ or considering a scholarship application. There are various funding opportunities available- you just need to do your research. Don’t forget, it doesn’t have to be a degree- there are plenty of short distance learning courses available that are more affordable. Online options mean you can undertake them from the comfort of your living room! Education keeps the mind stimulated. It is something the brain craves, consciously or sub-consciously helping increase our confidence in both our personal and professional lives. Now tell me that’s not a benefit worth striving for? Saving might take years, in which case please refer back to reason one (it’s never too late!).
InshaAllah, if the above helps even one sister consider returning to education then this blog has met its intention. Please do add any thoughts/comments/suggestions in the comments section – I will most certainly take these into account when drafting my next blog.
Always strive to reach your potential.