Abdul Jabbar: A Saudi Hero who established the first school for Girls in the Kingdom

Today when I see our Saudi females jotting down their success stories, a man just clicks in my mind. A superhero for all Saudi women he is. He is the reason behind our success and educated females. He is the one who initiated female education in the Kingdom! He is none other than Sheikh Omar Yahya Abdul-Jabbar. Until 1957 there were no proper schools for our Saudi females in the city of Makkah. It was Abdul Jabbar who felt the need of schools for girls to be built in Makkah. He is the pioneer of establishing girl’s elementary school in the holy city.[irp]

Sheikh Abdul Jabbar observed a new trend around him. He saw that Saudi men were getting married to foreigners. The Saudi youth would actually travel abroad to marry a non-Saudi woman who was educated. The Saudi woman remained uneducated because of lack of schools. An educated woman was given priority to an uneducated woman by Saudi men: thereby the only option left to them was to marry a non-Saudi.  Abdul-Jabbar felt that there was a need to educate our women. Thereby he decided to build up a school for girls to equip them with formal education. He struggled hard to accomplish his dream of providing education for Saudi girls. He founded a school named as Al-Zahra that was solely for girls. He was so passionate to fulfill his dream that each and every expense of school was boring by him. He himself paid for the construction of the school and school equipment such as desk, chairs, blackboards, and utensils. 

The Al-Zahra School for girls was built in the neighborhood of Makkah: a location known as Al-Zahra. Sheikh Abdul Jabbar did not build the school for making money: he had no concerns about it; the only concern was to educate the Saudi girls so that they could enjoy a bright and secure future.  Hurdles and obstacles welcomed him every day, yet he was firm to provide education to the girls and carried on his mission!

Sheikh Abdul Jabbar himself managed the school. He had set up the school’s office close to the school building. The office was used to meet the parents of the girls and to convince them to for their girl’s further education. After the end of one academic year, he would call for celebration and invited the parents of his students. He wanted to make sure that his students get all the facilities. So he himself bought buses to provide transport facilities at very economical rates.[irp]

He went abroad for the purpose of equipping the school with qualified and talented female teachers. In his 10 years of traveling, he visited countries like Iraq, Yemen, and Indonesia. He convinced the people there to build institutions providing education. He also founded a library near the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The library was equipped with books belonging to various fields. Sheikh Abdul Jabbar died at the age of 68 in 1970. His grave lies in the graveyard of Jannat Al-Mualla. We salute our hero for his services!

Source: Saudi Gazette