One of the most world renowned female Islamic scholars of the century, Dr Farhat Hashmi is today seen as an iconic figure, responsible for helping generations of Muslims develop a personal, one on one relationship with the Quran. She is considered as one of the most influential contemporary Muslim scholars (Ulema) today. As an orator, her lectures and talks, based on authentic knowledge, are known to touch the hearts of millions, as every word she speaks is from the heart. Personally, she considers herself an “eternal student and servant of the Quran” and, more than an icon, orator or scholar, prefers to be simply called a “Muallim” (teacher).
Born in Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan in 1957, Dr Hashmi is the daughter of a well known Islamic scholar, and thus had her initial Islamic learning at home. Her father (Late) Abdur Rehman Hashmi was a prominent religious scholar and ranked 53rd in the noble generation of the companion, Ibn Abbas (r.a). Her father was responsible for instilling in her the desire to spread the word of Allah. Her innate genius and sincerity was coupled with a supportive and like-minded husband, Dr. Muhammad Idrees Zubair, also a scholar with special interest in “Hadith”.
As a student, Dr Hashmi excelled throughout her academic career, winning numerous medals, prizes and scholarships. After completing her Bachelor’s degree from Sargodha Degree College, she did her Masters in Arabic from Punjab University, Lahore. Dr Hashmi started her career as a lecturer in Sargodha Degree College. Soon after, she joined as a faculty member of the International Islamic University Islamabad. She was awarded with a merit scholarship to proceed for her Ph.D. in “Hadith Sciences” from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, which awarded her the title of “Doctor”.
On her return, she again resumed teaching at the International Islamic University. While teaching at the University, she simultaneously continued conducting Quranic study circles for women. After realizing that there is a strong need for promoting the deeper understanding of Quran, she decided to establish a center of Islamic learning. This is how her brainchild, “Al-Huda International”, came into being in 1994 in Islamabad.
Today, Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation is a name synonymous with unbiased, quality Islamic education. Al-Huda is a place where any and every woman, irrespective of religion, caste or material stature, is welcomed to come and learn the true teachings of Islam. With humble beginnings, Al-Huda today has a network of branches in every continent of the world, with innumerable students who have become “Muslims by choice” and have rediscovered Islam as the way of life that guides them in every practical situation. A global wave of Quranic awareness was triggered by Dr Hashmi, and innumerable students of Dr Hashmi have, in turn, taken upon themselves the voluntary service of educating others about Islam.
She has written papers on the rights, roles and responsibilities of a woman in the light of Quran and Sunnah and contribution of Muslim women scholars in dissemination of al-Hadith-al-Nabawi.
Dr Hashmi is also accredited with coupling Islamic learning with a wave of revival of Islam’s humanitarian spirit. Thus, Al-Huda is today also known for serving the less privileged and compromised components of society as a trusted welfare organization.
Amother of four, three married daughters and a son, Dr Hashmi is a role model for women, multi-tasking her responsibilities as a mother, wife, teacher and scholar.
How do her children see her:
Maryam Zubair: “My mother never imposed religion on us, rather inculcated in us the preparation of Akhirat and that real life is the life after death, so do what will benefit you in the hearafter. This thing helped me a lot in facing different situations in life; from wearing hijab in a teen age life while studying in the top elite school or being away from my family for the first time after marriage for many years….And she practices what she preaches….for her, no worry or problem is a worry but the worry for Akhirat.”
Hisham Al Hadi: “What is most fascinating is that she is a woman making such a revolutionary change in the world! At home she leads by example. She is my role model, my hero.”
Amongst numerous other accolades is the Hazrat Khadija tul Kubra Award for outstanding achievements for contribution in Religious Affairs by the Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club, Pakistan, which Dr Hashmi was awarded in April 2000. She was included in the “List of 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010”, published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, affiliated with the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, in Amman, Jordan. In the March 21, 2011 issue of “Newsweek Pakistan”, she was included in the 100 most influential women of Pakistan.