Facts & StatsThe value of learning in Islam was clearly established when the very first word revealed to the Prophet Mohammad was “Read”. Sent by God, the angel Gabriel commanded the Prophet Muhammad to read: “Read: And thy Lord is the most Bounteous, Who taught by the pen, Taught human beings that which they knew not” (Pickthall, XCVI:3-5).
The value of education can be manifested in many ways. The pursuit of higher education often results in a sense of personal satisfaction and improved self-esteem that results from working hard to achieve a goal. For women,higher education also produces tangible financial benefits. As illustrated in the graph below, the earning potential of women increases significantly as their level of education increases.
The Case of Sophia
The experience of Sophia shows how investing in (and sacrificing for) education pays off. Sophia had been married for twelve years when her husband left her with 4 young children to return to Dubai to find work. He stayed in touch, updating her on his job searches and assuring her that he would certainly get a good job very soon. As time passed Sophia heard less and less from him, eventually losing all contact. She didn’t want to believe that the man she loved and the father of her children had abandoned them! Hurt and alone she was forced to depend on public assistance and the limited resources of her family and friends. This was not the life she had dreamed of.
When the shock and disillusionment passed, Sophia began to think about her options. She was 33 years old with 4 children under ten years old. She had never worked outside her home and had dropped out of college to get married and raise her children. Her social worker at the Department of Family Services encouraged her to go back to school but Sophia was reluctant. After all, she was in her thirties and hadn’t been in a classroom for over a decade. Plus, she had four children to care for. Although the idea of finishing her college degree was appealing, the obstacles were overwhelming.
Fortunately, the social worker was able to secure the resources Sophia needed to go back to school and get a degree in nursing. While there were many stress-filled days, long exhausting nights, and times of self-doubt she persevered. Today, Sophia is self-sufficient and looking forward to a secure future full of promise and hope for her and her children.