Expressing “deep regret” over the Taliban’s ban on women’s education, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb said that it is “non-representative of Islamic Shariah and radically contradictory to Quranic teachings”. He called on the Taliban to reconsider their decision.
“This shocking decision to the conscience of Muslims and non-Muslims alike should not have been issued by any Muslim, let alone proudly clinging to it,” Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam said in a statement issued on Friday, December 23.
Moreover, he argued that the Taliban’s decision conflicts with the Sharia’s explicit call on men and women to pursue knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
He warned Muslims and non-Muslims against thinking or believing that banning women’s education is approved in Islam. “Indeed, Islam firmly denounces such banning as it deprives the legal rights ensured by Islam for men and women alike. So, claiming otherwise is a fabrication against this upright religion.”
Naming some female Hadith narrators and female Muslim figures, he added that female pioneers in education, sciences, and politics contributed to the advancement of Muslim societies past and present.
In an official letter sent to state and private universities, the Taliban Ministry of Higher Education has indefinitely banned higher education for female students. Higher education is “suspended” for female students until further notice, the letter instructed.
The Taliban Minister of Higher Education Neda Mohammad Nadeem has signed the letter issued on Tuesday, December 20. He had previously described the girls going to schools as a “western culture” that would promote moral crimes.