In the past couple of decades Afghanistan has dealt with a lot of changes; from the Taliban government to the US invasion and then back to the Taliban. However, during all this turmoil and conflict, the policy formulation mechanisms have received the most impact. Kabul’s fall on the 15th of August resurfaced deep-rooted insecurities as the future of women were put at stake.
plenty of exemplary women in Islamic History, who have paved their paths as educators, entrepreneurs and so much more.
As a result, many fled from the country but the ones who chose to stay had hope. According to reports, authorities have reopened boys schools, however, there is still no news regarding the opening of schools for girls.
The rising number of disinformation campaigns against the Afghan Taliban is evidence of this. The fear overwhelmed many Afghan citizens to save their life. The mass exodus resulted in chaotic evacuations and the heartbreaking loss of precious innocent lives.
The Taliban’s Rise to Power
As the Taliban came to power, their first and foremost priority was to ensure that Afghans feel secure & safe; ensuring that the Taliban do not threaten any civilians. During a press conference, Suhail Shaheen, the official Taliban spokesman said women will be allowed to work and study within the ambit of Sharia Law. The law primarily has its roots in Islam’s sacred text, the Quran, and the Hadiths. Taliban government believes that no law will replace Sharia law and it will be the holy religion of Afghanistan.
In its true essence, Islam ensures the empowerment of women. Islam ensures the freedom, equality, security, economic empowerment, and dignity of women. The equality that exists between men and women can be seen in Surah-An Nisa, verse number 124 which says “Whoever, male or female, does good deeds and is a believer, then such people shall enter Paradise, and they shall not be wronged in the least.” Another Hadith states that “Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man or woman”.
This is a testament in itself that in Islam and in Sharia law, there is no disparity between the two. The concept of bringing Sharia law is not wrong; especially in a country that has its foundations laid by Islamic ideology. During a space session on governance in Afghanistan; Kawita Sediqi said that women are hopeful for the future of Afghanistan. However, the role that women can play in the future is being undermined due to restrictions.
Future of Women in Afghanistan
The question then arises, will the women be able to safeguard their rights? Zabihullah Mujahid, a long-time Taliban spokesman has promised the nation that the government would respect and honour women’s rights. Moreover, he has also encouraged women to return to work. What we need to understand is that the Taliban of 2021 are not the same as 20 years ago. This time their priority is to get on the international forums to form a legitimate government. Surely, they have faced a lot of criticism from western outlets but to face all of it and keep going is a change within itself. As crime & violence decline, a more stable situation is emerging.
Moreover, the establishment of a system supportive of Afghans requires different economic and institutional reforms. For Afghanistan, educational reforms are a necessity. Reforms that give women equal access to education of worldly affairs and not just limited to household, traditional or motherly aspects of it. Moreover, there are plenty of exemplary women in Islamic History, who have paved their paths as educators, entrepreneurs and so much more. Hazrat Khadija Binte Khuwalid (R.A) was the first wife, the first believer and an influential entrepreneur of Makkah. Fatima Al Fihri, the founder of the first University in the world is yet another exemplary Muslim woman who revolutionized education.
Even Islam advocates for equality among men and women in education –the order to seek knowledge & spread IT Is not prescribed for any gender.
Women Education & Peacebuilding
Women are an important part of society; with their active participation, Afghanistan’s economy will flourish in the face of challenges. Even Islam advocates for equality among men and women in education; the order to seek knowledge & spread it has not been prescribed for any gender. Hence, investment in the education of both boys and girls is a fundamental principle for this. Ensuring dignity by educating girls and women is one way for the current setup to counter the brain drain; a system that safeguards the frameworks of rights and wellbeing of Afghans would inevitably support Education for all.
Education for all is an entry point towards prosperity, as it offers equal access to opportunities. The Taliban regime is very serious about the legitimacy & recognition of its Islamic emirate. Allowing women & girls access to education, would only serve to support the emirate. As the future looks challenging, but despite everything, there is hope that still lives on.