Women Empowerment through Quran: An Alternative Narrative to the Western Liberal Feminism


  • Dr. Rukhsana Shaheen Waraich, Lecturer, Department of Law, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
  • Dr. Muhammad Fayaz Assistant Professor of Law, Bahria University, Islamabad
  • Ghazala Ghalib Khan Lecturer, Faculty of Shariah & Law, International Islamic University Islamabad https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3701-6631




Women Empowerment, Feminism, Intellectualism, The Quran, Islam, Dawah, AL-Huda, Islamic Revivalist Movements


The current narrative of Western Liberal Feminism is strongly built upon the financial independence of women. Some even call it ‘Financial Empowerment’. In fact, this is only one aspect of women empowerment. The history of Islamic world reveals that Islam initiated its own version of empowerment of women through the Holy Quran. From its inception, Islam marks it mandatory upon every member of Islamic society to seek knowledge. Since the advent of Islam till today, female Muslim scholars, from around the globe, have been consistently contributing to the realm of Islamic knowledge. Starting from Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) as the very first prominent female Muslim scholar till date, countless female scholars have emerged on the horizons of Islamic scholarship, making their valuable contributions to women empowerment. It is argued that throughout the Islamic history, women have shared their intellect, caliber, enthusiasm and wisdom, enriching the heritage of Islamic scholarship. Till date, one can find the examples of such empowered women in Islamic world who are contributing to shape their societies. They were not financially independent by the time when they embarked upon their respective journeys. This is to problematize here that female financial independence is only one angle of women empowerment. Islam bestows upon a novel dimension to women empowerment. This is empowerment through the Holy Qur’ān. The knowledge, wisdom and intellectualism acquired through the Qur’ān truly empowered women in Islamic history and continues to this date. Female Muslim scholars are using that intellect and wisdom and very actively shaping the course of history alongside the opposite gender - men. Dr. Farhat Nasim Hashmi is amongst one of such scholars of the contemporary Islamic world. Her services for spreading the teachings of the Holy Quran not only transcended the borders of her native country; rather it became a global wave and a positive paradigm shift in the teachings of Islam when her brainchild ‘Al-Huda International’ was founded. We posit that she is an epitome of women empowerment, and this didn’t stem from financial independency but is deeply rooted in the education of the Holy Qur’ān. Moreover, she has made countless woman empowered through intellectualization achieved through the Holy Book. The paper also examines the process of transfer of empowerment through analysis of her Islamic School System. Moreover, it includes results of an analysis of interviews conducted from women, all of which supports the view that their empowerment does not lie in being financially independent but in gaining wisdom through the Holy Quran.


Laura Brunell and Elinor Burkett, Encyclopedia Britannica, S.V. “Feminism”, https://www.britannica.com/topic/feminism (accessed on June 30th, 2021)

Megan Gorman, “Millennial Women Are Poised To Be The Most Financially Independent Women In History,” Forbes, accessed November 17, 2021,


Mohammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari, “(35) Chapter: Should a Day Be Fixed for Women in Order to Teach Them Religion (Apart from Men)?,” in Sahih Al-Bukhari, trans. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, vol. 1, 9 vols. (Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 1997), https://sunnah.com/bukhari:101.

Hafiz Ibn-Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged, 2nd., vol. 2 (Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2003), 411, https://www.noor-book.com/en/ebook-Tafsir-Ibn-Kathir-Volumes--pdf.

“Al Huda International,” accessed November 18, 2021, https://www.alhudapk.com/component/content/article/2-uncategorised/174-about-al-huda-international.html#legal-status.

She is a Pakistani Scholar and unlike popular belief she is not a Canadian national.

Āl-e-Imrān 3: 164.

For Instance, Khanum Sheikh. “New Expressions of Religiosity: A Transnational Study of Al-Huda International”, (Doctoral dissertation, University of California: 2009) Available at ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (UMI Number: 3401629); Faiza Mushtaq, “New Claimants to Religious Authority: A Movement for Women’s Islamic Education, Moral Reform and Innovative Traditionalism” (Doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University: 2010) Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (UMI Number: 3428446); Sadaf Ahmed, “Transforming Faith: The Story of Al-Huda and Islamic Revivalism among Pakistani Women” (Doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University: 2006) Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (UMI Number: 3251757)

Published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, in Amman, Jordan.

Faiza Mushtaq, A Controversial Role Model for Pakistani Women. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 4 (2010): 1-18.

See the list of Alumni of Jamiah Islamiah Talimuddin Dabhel in Mawlana Fazlurrahman, Tareekh Jamiah Islamiah Talimuddin Dabhel, (Multan: Idarah Taleefat Ashrafiyah, n.d), 420.

Although he had started learning recitation (Nazra) of Quran a lot earlier from Hafiz Muhkam Deen but he left because his parents needed him for work. At the age of 12, he resumed his religious education.

He got first position in the Primary exam.

He studied the standard curriculum of Dars-e-Nizami here which includes translation of Glorious Quran, and Books of Ahādith like Bukhari and Mishkat.

The science of link between verses of Quran.

Teacher of Mawlana Ghulam Ali who was a famous preacher (khatib) in the mosque of Raja Bazar (Rawalpindi)

The facts are based upon the investigation of the researcher. The authors personally contacted the said Madrassah and they were kind enough to not only provide the details but also issued a certificate in the name of Dr Rukhsana Waraich – one of the authors in this article.

His salary was 9 rupees here.

An official Member of Jamaat

He used to write letters to different scholars to ask their opinion about Mawlana Maudūdi and his doctrines.

He married twice. He had a daughter with his first wife but couldn’t have any other children. At the age of 40, he got married for the second time and had all his other children with her including Dr. Hashmi.

He later learnt Homeopathy too and preferred it over other modes of treatment.

Her half-sister from another mother is the only older sibling. Her widow Aunt (sister of his father) also used to live with them alongside their children. Her father took care of them as well.

Except for one year in the village, she lived an urban life and was raised in a modestly well-off and respectable family.

The story books are named as Gulistan Saadi and Bostan etc.

Charthawli ‘s book of Ṣarf and Naḥw

Mishkāt al-Maṣabiḥ

Hidāyah and Mukhtaṣar al-Qudūrī

Author is extremely grateful for giving interviews conducted between 2017-2021.

Student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.


Unlike the popular belief, he was an atheist and not a Jew.

Anglicanism, one of the major branches of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and a form of Christianity that includes features of both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Anglicanism is loosely organized in the Anglican Communion, a worldwide family of religious bodies that represents the offspring of the Church of England and recognizes the archbishop of Canterbury as its nominal head.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Anglicanism (Accessed 10th August 2021).

In his later life, he didn’t profess any credal system beyond a faith in humanity.


Obituary, The Blue (Summer 2001), 60.


He was not a formal teacher appointed by the University. Rather he was kind enough to privately tutor them.

Her doctoral thesis can be accessed here:


Popular name of the public lectures by religious scholars.

Āl-e-Imrān 3:164.

Researchers conducted the interviews from the graduates of Al-Huda International Islamabad.

Interviews were conducted by researchers over the period of four years between 2017 to 2021.

Detailed information about these courses can be accessed at www.alhudapk.com and www.farhathashmi.com

“Communitarianism is the idea that human identities are largely shaped by different kinds of constitutive communities (or social relations) and that this conception of human nature should inform our moral and political judgments as well as policies and institutions.” Please see: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/communitarianism/ (Accessed July 7th, 2021)

The Government of Pakistan has formed a new board “Majma al-Uloom al-Islamiyah Pakistan” for Madaris in Pakistan. Under this new board, new subjects will be taught to match with challenges of contemporary times.

https://dunya.com.pk/index.php/city/gujranwala/2021-05-11/1821805 (Accessed May 11, 2021)



How to Cite

Dr. Rukhsana Shaheen Waraich, Dr. Muhammad Fayaz, and Ghazala Ghalib Khan. 2021. “Women Empowerment through Quran: An Alternative Narrative to the Western Liberal Feminism”. Al-Qamar 4 (4):23-44. https://doi.org/10.53762/alqamar.04.04.e02.