Before the modern world could acknowledge, Islam gave the woman a high position without a doubt. Women received the right of freedom of speech, voting right, the dispose of their belongings, equal status with men, and education. They also received religious and legal obligations. The education right is something I want to emphasize because seeking knowledge is every Muslim’s duty both for religious and worldly knowledge. Our biggest example in this case is Aicha, the prophet’s –peace be upon him- wife, the first ‘faqiehah’ in Islam. “Her knowledge and great understanding did not stay limited to religious affairs: She also distinguished in poetry, literature, history, medicine and other branches of science.”1
The exhibition ‘Kadinlar’ in the ‘TwentseWelle’ museum displays 10 inspiring women of Anatolia’s history. Namely: Cybelle, Artemis, Maria, Theodora, Malika Mama hatun (leader of a tribe), Mihri Hatun (poetess), Kösem Sultan (mother of the ruling sultan and leader of the harem), Dilhayat Kalfa (composer), Halide Edibe Adıvar (writer) and Halet Çambel (archaeologist). The eras in which they lived had a big difference in religion, culture and language. However they all contributed to the society and knew how to distinguish themselves with leadership, science, poetry and literature. According to the museum masterpieces are present from 11 Turkish museums including Topkapi Palace Museum, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Pera Museum and Museum of the Anatolian civilization.
In some paintings you could see similarities in the clothing of Muslim, Christian and Jewish women. These kinds of exhibitions are a perfect opportunity to become acquainted with our religion and culture. But this makes it another form of ‘da3wa’, inviting people to become acquainted with religion and culture, without spoken language.
The story of every woman leaves a trace of inspiration because these previous women acquired a place in history just by their knowledge. This history is full of important examples of noteworthy women who sought for knowledge and became very adept. This especially gives everyone the urge to have a curious mind and to obtain knowledge because in the end we don’t do this just for ourselves. We are supposed to leave something behind in this world which will benefit humanity. Just like the knowledge that was left behind for us by the women of Islamic history.
1De ideale moslimvrouw, Muhammed ‘Ali Al-Hashimi