May 5, 2020
“‘It’s the most famous book, such an important book, written especially for women.’ I’d asked Zahra if she knew the book Heavenly Ornaments. She was incredulous: of course she did! She told me how her aunt would regularly gather the women in her Muslim neighborhood to read and discuss this book. As a little girl, Zahra had played as she listened in. Now as an adult she’s part of her own discussion group. There are thousands of similar book groups for women around the world.”
Bahishti Zewar, or Heavenly Ornaments, was written in North India in the early 20th century. It is a practical guidebook for Muslim women on how to lead religious and moral lives. When it was written the rise of non-Islamic influences, including Christianity, concerned Muslim leaders so much that they wanted women to have religious understanding, so they could teach their children and protect their families’ religious identity.
A century later it is one of the most widely printed books in South Asia and studied by many Sunni Muslim women around the world. It is often given to a bride on her wedding day, along with a copy of the Quran. In parts of the UK, groups of teenage Muslim girls meet to study Heavenly Ornaments twice a week. They will study it repeatedly into adulthood, regularly discussing together how to apply its teaching about family life.
IDEAS FOR PRAYER
1. PRAY FOR these devotees of Heavenly Ornaments to seek the kingdom of heaven, like a pearl of great price. (Matthew 13:46)
2. PRAY THAT these women will have opportunities also to search Scripture and see that “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
3. PRAY FOR Muslim women raising the next generation, to have wisdom and courage to guide them into the future, knowing they are loved by their Heavenly Father and are precious in His sight.
These pages are made available every day during the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World for those who cannot afford to purchase, or do not have access to the booklet.
Please note: The annual costs to produce and market this important prayer focus are not covered by foundation grants or major donors gifts, but by our personal funds. In other words, we depend on sales to recoup the money and to be able to continue.