Women in the Quest for More

with Juwairia Ansari & Sarah Siddiqui

The Darul Qasim College Benefit Dinner was an evening of not only hosting our esteemed guests, but also a night of invitations. College president, board members, faculty, and students decorated their speeches and presentations with uplifting and hope filled invitations to all present. The doors are always open and accessible to those in the quest for more knowledge!

Board member, Dr. Ahsan Arozullah reminded the audience: “Darul Qasim College is an institution providing the tools for men and women to preserve the intellectual legacy of knowledge.” While Dr. Ahsan’s words gave a gentle nod to the females present in the room, that night Darul Qasim College delivered a collective invitation that highlighted the seamless approach of the institution in carrying on the centuries-long tradition of women’s active involvement with their religion.

Sprinkled across all tables were placards inviting the audience to learn more about women in history that have contributed to the Islamic Intellectual tradition. Yet, it was the forceful and measured voices of students Juwairia Ansari and Sarah Siddiqui that raised the hopes and dreams of the women present, both young and old. They took us on a journey into the lives of “Muslim women throughout history who took on the role of legal experts, accomplished Qurʾān reciters, and generous patrons to scholarship. This is all in addition to raising subsequent generations of intellectuals and civilization builders.”

Juwairia shared, “Now we are traveling to West Africa and zooming into 12th century Nigeria. Nana Asma’u was a prolific poet, who used poetry to convey Islamic values and preserve her people’s history. In addition to authoring numerous works in Arabic, Fula and Hausa – she also initiated programs for women’s education. Examples of some of her pieces include a poem memorializing pious Muslim women from the prophetic time to her own.”

This history lesson of sorts sets the backdrop against which women were invited to envision themselves walking through the doors of Darul Qasim and brings into focus women’s leadership roles. Sarah created a compelling visual alongside this verbal invitation: “Currently, DQ has an equal number of male and female full time students. Enter any classroom and you will find a mix of high school graduates, concurrent college students, working professionals, and parents.”

“Darul Qasim is developing a community of women who have the ability to intellectually engage with society and serve the community. Women who graduate from DQ are prepared to teach, become muftiyas, researchers, and writers. They are equipped to raise and nurture the next generation of Muslims – especially important during a time of social turbulence.”

Her words mingled with the words of College President Shaykh Amin Kholwadia, whose invitation that night was subtle, but all-encompassing and laced with words of encouragement and resolve: “Darul Qasim College is moving forwards toward a destiny that is going to benefit us all and change the landscape of US academic institutions. There is a lot of hope that we see […] and this shows Allah ﷻ is with us and He ﷻ wants to guide us to a better place.”