THE AREAS OF STUDY ARE:
Women in History Women in Literature
Woman as Wife and Mother Woman in the Home
Qur’an and Fiqh
QUR’AN AND FIQH
This course establishes a basic understanding of the sciences of the Qu’ran and allows access to the recitation and meanings of Qur’an and the understanding of Fiqh (jurisprudence), particularly that which pertains to women.
WOMEN IN HISTORY
Fitnat al Kubra
The study of the great fitna, working with the book ‘Defence Against Disaster’ by Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al’Arabi. We aim to understand the historical resonance of these events in our time, particularly concentrating on the role of Seyyedina Aisha, radiallahu anha.
The Roman Matron
We begin with an overview of Roman Antiquity to locate this subject in its historical context. Through looking at key personages we see how women had great power to influence the outcome of events and were active participants in politics. This course enables us to rediscover the place of women in the history of the Roman Empire and through the study of them and their behaviour we are able to better understand ourselves as women.
An additional class in the Greek myths is offered as a foundation to understanding this civilisation.
WOMAN AS WIFE AND MOTHER
The process from procreation, through pregnancy and the birth itself are integral factors in the development and consciousness of the child. The modern interventionist and anxiety-based approach to birth through monitoring induction and particularly caesarian, robs the mother and child of a profound knowledge and has a impact on the consciousness and cognitive development of the child. This course aims to reconnect women with the birth process and encourages a positive approach to childbirth.
Fitra Practices Around Birth
This subject covers the importance of the forty-day post birth fitra practice of confinement. Its observation consolidates the bonding between mother and child and allows the mother to regain her strength after the birth. This tradition was widely practised worldwide by almost all cultures up until relatively recently. The module teaches the traditional natural post birth healing practices that are vital to the recovery of the mother and the well being of the baby. We also explore dietary concerns and the importance of breast-feeding.
WOMEN IN LITERATURE
Women In Shakespeare
All the different characteristics of women can be found in Shakespeare from the shallow and petty woman through to the woman of nobility, grace, intelligence and wit who can answer wisely to the men around her. We look at all the diverse aspects of women through the study of the plays in their historical context. To gain greater familiarity with the language and characters the students also dramatise parts of the plays.
Women In Ibsen
Through the study of the works of this great Norwegian playwright we can observe the pitfalls that many women may fall into in their relationships, particularly in relationship to men. These include the inability to realise an individuality separate from the man, the sacrificial way of the woman and the childlike desire to play a flattering role to the husband at the cost of her own authenticity. The examination of the relationships within the plays allows the students to explore these important issues in a meaningful way.
WOMAN IN THE HOME
Melanie Klein & School
Melanie Klein was a psychoanalyst and contemporary of Freud. She was the initiator of play therapy with children in the 1950’s. Her work teaches us the vital importance of both the glance of the mother on the child and her being present in the act of breastfeeding. Her work shows us the significance of the early childhood years and the need for the child to be imbued with a sense of internal security through a healthy approach of the parents, particularly the mother. Through the study of her work we learn to see the characteristics prevalent in our children in the way they interact with objects and others. We also learn a greater awareness of the implications of how we relate to our children to the formation of their cognitive development and adult consciousness.
As modern life changes, women are no longer the heart of the home. In this subject we relearn the traditional aspects of homemaking such as cooking, jam-making, kitchen gardening and the use of seasonal food in cooking. We also look at the aspects of running a home as a place of entertainment for guests and as a place of sanctuary from the busy-ness of the world.
This involves bringing beauty to our selves and our surroundings and understanding the importance of bringing fineness and grace to everything we do. We examine health and well being and taking care of every aspect of ourselves as women. In this subject we concentrate on elevating traditional creative skills so that the home is a place of productivity. We emphasize the importance of making the home a place of rest and beauty and engage in creative activities in this pursuit. An intrinsic part of making beautiful is elevating the home surroundings through creative expression. Classes in the traditional arts of sewing, knitting and pottery are held alongside other creative and artistic activities each afternoon. We also explore the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Exercise classes are held regularly to encourage good habits.
The Power Partner
The Power Partner is the one who both recognizes and understands the importance of her activity within the home and family whilst also extending herself beyond it. She values and honours herself and her husband and does not look to the man for self-fulfillment. She is the woman who knows how to collaborate effectively with her husband. She can weave her way through the opposites of existence. She knows when to be firm and when to yield; when to withdraw and when to go forward. She is “a woman with her own unique spiritual identity intact, active and no longer passive “ and that means “transformative and not merely receptive”. By accessing her inherent compassion and nurturing qualities and bringing these into the arena of the world she ennobles and elevates her husband’s position.