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A 21st Century Role Model: Professor Hafiza Qaria Rubina

Popularizing recitation of Qur’an

JEDDAH: Professor Hafiza Qaria Rubina, winner of over 400 awards and the first woman to bag the prestigious President Award for Pride of Performance in Qirat, is single-minded in her purpose. That is to popularize recitation of the Holy Qur’an among women in Pakistan.

A professor at the Government Islamia College for Girls, Lahore, Rubina has acquired name and distinction through sheer confidence in herself and faith in her divine religion and is now trying to promote Qirat among girls.

The Qaria said though the trend of memorizing Qur’an by heart and Qirat among girls is increasing, the government apathy toward this stream is proving an obstacle. “There is no government patronage for this sphere of religious education, particularly for women,” she said, adding “Especially when girls enrolling at Qur’anic centers are outnumbering boys.”

Rubina, who was in the Kingdom recently, said, “Mastery over the sublime art of Qirat is an arduous task and requires sustained practice that’s backed by deep devotion. Like in other fields of human endeavor, the adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ holds quite true in this field too.”

Though this is quite a novel field for women in Pakistan, Rubina heads the Pakistan Islamic Center, Garhi Shahu, a seat of Qur’anic learning, where poor girls are imparted free education. She is now hoping that a philanthropist will step forward to assist her in the endeavor.

Her desire to promote Qirat gave birth to the Islamic Center in 1985. She derives strength from the sheer dedication of her devoted students. Her dream now is to expand her centers, which also imparts classes of Tajweed, Dars-e-Qur’an and Hadith, to every city of the country in order to provide a basic concept of Islam to young girls and to enlighten them about Islamic and social values to make them a good daughter, mother, sister and wives.

Rubina, who holds a master’s degree in Arabic language, memorized Qur’an when she was just nine-year-old. She is optimistic about fulfilling her dream, saying, “The day will come when I will be able to fulfill my dream.” She is assisted by her husband Khalid Mahmood Hashmi, who is also a professor, and her two daughters, both Hafizas in her endeavors.

Rubina began taking part in Qirat competition at very early age. She won the first prize in the Qirat competition organized by Pakistan Television in 1971. She represented Pakistan thrice at international Qirat contests in Kuala Lumpur. She has mastery over different accent of Qirat and enjoys a distinguished position amongst her contemporaries.

In recognition of her outstanding and distinguished performance in the field of Qura’nic study and the recitation of the Holy Book, the prestigious “President Award for Pride of Performance” was conferred on her by the nation’s president.

But women Qarias are not encouraged to participate in competition, especially at the national as well as international level. “And that’s why men (Qaris) have succeeded in establishing their monopoly in this. But let me tell you honestly that women Qarias were second to none in Qirat and they must be encouraged.”

While emphasizing that the Qur’an is the fountain of Islamic knowledge and wisdom, she stressed that The Book is also a remedy for all human ills and provides mental, physical and social well-being to its followers and readers. It is only people’s ignorance and superstition that makes them fall prey to black magicians and palmists, and she called upon the believers never to fall into the traps of these thugs and seek remedy in Qur’an for all their problems.

“All our sorrows are due to ignorance about the teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah,” she said and stressed that understanding of the Qur’an is grossly missing in our society. She called for Qur’an study to be included in schools, colleges and universities, regular Dars-e-Qur’an in mosques and the establishment of Qur’anic centers at district level.

She was recently nominated a member to Punjab Qur’an Board and is the only woman member of a 26-member board, which was constituted in 2002 to sustain an error-free quality printing and publication of the Holy Book.

Rubina said, “Apart from ensuring quality printing and publication of the Holy Book, the board also strives to spread the true message of Qur’an, guides the government on Islamic matters, publishes books on various religious issues and topics. It is also trying to open Qur’anic museums at district level across Pakistan.”

Commenting on the atrocities being committed on women in different parts of the world, particularly in Pakistan in the name of Shariah, she regretted that the violence against women was on the rise and blamed the lack of proper religious education for this tragedy in the society.

“It is, however, satisfying to note that women are beginning to feel empowered — if not on the ground at least in their minds. Many of them have begun to fight back on individual basis. There are examples which are indicators of the gradual change taking place in the society with the spread of Qur’anic education.”

Rubina said women still have to go a long way though they have carved a niche for themselves in several spheres. She said that girls should be encouraged to go to school and the government must ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of gender.

She emphasized that the real empowerment of women can only be achieved through a societal change based on enlightenment and widespread education.

Source: Arab News

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