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Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others
She was a student of Aisha RA, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife. After her husband's death she vowed not to lie in bed When she would fall asleep she would wake herself up by going for a walk and say to herself, "I won't let you sleep, you will have the chance to sleep well when you are in the grave". It is said that once when she fell ill, the physician advised her to take nabiz (a non alcoholic fermented beverage prepared from malt and dates). She held the cup containing nabiz and said, "O Allah! You know that Aisha RA conveyed the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s word, as he had prohibited consuming nabiz".
UMRAH BINT ABDUR RAHMAN (d. 103 AH)
Regarded as an authority of hadith and fiqh, she was the grand daughter of one of the famous companions, Asad ibn Zararah Ansari RA. The scholar, Imam Bukhari RA said that she was like the secretary for Aisha RA, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife,and that people who sent Aisha gifts/presents and letters, would send it through her. The scholar Ibn Hajr Askalani said that she was one of the scholars of the early Muslims as she was an authority on the hadith transmitted by Aisha RA. The scholar Ibn Hibban said she was the best person who had knowledge of the hadith of Aisha RA. The scholar, Imam Zahri said that when he wanted to learn hadith he would go to Umrah, saying that when he would meet her he found her in a 'deep sea of knowledge'. The chief Judge of Madinah, Umrah's nephew, was asked to collect hadiths with the following order from the Caliph (ruler) of their time, "Umrah's ahadith are to be despatched to the Caliph in black and white". The scholar, Imam Malik RA said that Umrah would CORRECT the mistakes her nephew, the Chief Judge of Madinah, would make. The scholar Imam Dhahabi classified her as a Jurist. She died aged 77.
AISHA BINT TALHA:
The grand daughter of Abu Bakr RA, and was taught by the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife Aisha RA.Abu Zahra the early Muslim said, "Aisha was cited because of her authentic knowledge". Aisha was also graced with physical beauty. Once Caliph Hisham invited her to his court where she engaged dialogue with eminent scholars of different fields. The Caliph was so impressed with her knowledge that he gave her a gift of 100,000 dirhams.
HAFZAH BINT SIRIN (d. 101 AH)
The sister of the scholar Muhammad ibn Sirin, she had memorised the Quran by the age of 12, and by the age 14 she was well versed in the exegesis (explanation) of the Quranic verses. She became famous for her beautiful recitation of the Quran. Her recitation was of such a high standard that when her brother had difficulty with recitation he would ask her to correct him.
NUFAYSAH BINT HASAN (d. 208 AH)
Known for her committment to Islam, she would frequently fast, and it is reported that she performed hajj over 30 times. The scholar Imam Shafi, is said to have learned and been taught from her. Imam Shafi thought so much of her that he stated in his will that he wanted his funeral procession to pass by her home – and when it passed by her home she prayed the funeral prayer. She died during the month of Ramadan whilst reciting the Quran.
RIBAH QAYSI's WIFE
She was known for spending much of the night in prayer. In the early parts of the night she would begin to pray. She would wake her husband, but if he didnt wake up she would pray. Sometime later she would try again, but if he failed to wake, she would pray. And again, some time later she would try again. Sometimes she picked up straw from the ground and would say "By Allah, I regard the worldly vanities less than this". Occassionally she would dress in a shiny dress at night and ask her husband if he wanted her company (intimacy) in bed – the times he would say no, she would resort to prayer instead.
A resident of Baghada, she was the slave of one of the Abbasid rulers, one day she was returning home and she heard a teacher at a nearby school teaching in an eloquent manner. In captivated, she stayed listening to him, then went to the grand mosque to listen to a scholar teach hadith. The encounter changed her such that when she returned home, she was a changed woman. She would spend her time constructively whilst others would mock her.One day when asked why she was so quiet she said, "I am a slave of Allah and it is incumberant upon me to obey His command" (she said this as they were speaking improperly, so to avoid putting herself in difficulty she remained silent not contributing to the bad talk). She was then asked, how she would explain her silence to the Caliph, to which she replied the same. When the Caliph heard this news, he set her free. She became a scholar of hadith, and later began teaching hadith. Once the Caliph sent her a gift of 10,000 dinars, she returned it saying, "Wealth brings pride and arrogance and so I do not need it".
The sister of the Muslim General Salahuddin al Ayubbi, she was well educated and established a great institution bfor religious learning near Damascus. She established a waqf (trust) in the form of an endownment of a very large property which met the expenses that were generated by the institution.
The sister of al-Mazni (the noted student of Imam Shafi), she was a highly placed scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence. It is said that because of her knowledge her opinions were highly respected including the difference of opinion she had with Imam Shafi regarding the zakat which was to be paid on minerals.
MULAYKAH BINT MUNKADAR
When Imam Malik ibn Dinar was making tawaf (circulation of the Kaba) he heard a woman saying "My Lord! Have mercy on me, I have come from a very distant place to Thy House. My Lord! I have come hopeful of Your favours and beneficience. Do not make me dependant on anyone but you". Having heard these words, the Imam and his companions asked her later in the day to speak to them some words of wisdom. He speech was persuassive and it left a strong and good opinion on them. After some time she asked them to leave her alone as her talking began interfering with her worship.
Seven centuries had passed since the Zubaydah canal which brought water to Makkah from outlying springs. Thepassage by now had reached a bad state of repair, with the wells and springs having dried up and the canal now being fullof sand/stoens. It was 965 AH (1557 AD) when a Turkish princess Fatimah, daughter of the Uthami ruler Sultan Salim came along. She took the task to rebuilt and redevelop the 'Zubaydah canal'. The rebuilding of the canal was extremely dificult ad involved Egyptian, Syrian and Yemeni engineers and masons. On their route, there was a large rock 50 feet wide and 2000 feet long which looked as if it was going to stop the efforts. The chief of the project lost his heart in fear of not being able to overcome it. Fatimah refused to accept that.In this timeperiod dynamite didnot exist, rather the only way to cut through such large rocks would be to heat them up with coal to high degrees and them to cut the stones with sharp tools. It took hundreds of workers, who burnt millions of tons of fuel. In 979 AH (1571 AD) the rock was conquered. Soon afterwards water again began to flow to Makkah on the repaired Zubaydah canal. The event was celebrated with a great feast/party which involved not only the everyday people but also the government officials. Due to her committment to rebuilding the canal,Fatimah was nicknamed 'Zubaydah Thani' (Zubaydah the second).
A descendant of the famous conqueror Amir Taymur, she was a master of calligraphy with no one else in her time being able to match her skills of calligraphy of the Quran. It was said that in 1045 AH, she sent a gift of the Quran written by her calligraphy to the then ruler, which he was most appreciate of.
THE SLAVE WOMEN WHO CONVERTED THE MAGUS FAMILY
One of the leading scholars said that a slave woman would come to him to ask him questions about shariah (islamic law). Some years later he saw a man selling her in the market saying she was worthless. He enquired and the man said that his family were Zorasterians, they bought her beauce of her beauty. They would worship the fire and light. Some days ago a Muslim went to their house and recited the some words. Hearing these words she started to cry. From then she reused to eat their (Zorasterian's) food and she began to pray (like a Muslim). They tried to prevernt her but they couldnt so she was worthless. The scholar asked the girl if she was the same girl he remembered from years ago, she replied in the affirmitive. The scholar then asked her what verses that man recited, she said, "Therefore flee unto Allah, Lo I am a pla warner to you from Him". Hearing these words she became restless and said that is the condition she was now in. The scholar then offered to complete the rest of the verse, and said, "Lo Allah! He is the one who gives livelihood, the Lord of the unbreakable might". Hearing this she said, 'The matter, which is guarnteed by Allah livelihood) must be left unworried for'. (Basically she put her trust in Allah knowing that Allah would provide for her if she did the right things). Hearing this trust in Allah, the scholar was amazed. The scholar asked what her price was and wanted to buy her. The man trying to inflate the price said his cousin wanted to buy her. The scholar couldnt match the price, so the man sold her to his cousin. Now the cousin, also a Zorasterian was determined to convert her back to his faith. He set about trying to find a way to reprimand her. He decided to give her a purse of money to keep and protect or him for some time, a bag full of dinars. She took the money and kept it with her in a safe place. Later the man, when she was praying went to her safe place and took the bag. His intention was that after prayer he would ask her where the bag was and she would not be able to find it, so he would criticise her faith and tell her that she has to come back to Zorastianism. After the prayer he asked her to fetch the bag. She went and she retrieved the bag.The man was in shock, how could she have given him the bag which he took while she was praying? He concluded that she had help from a divine authority. Upon this, he decided to accept Islam. Upon this, his family, relatives and friends also chose to accept Islam. The slave girlthen lived with them, not as a slave girl, as she was set free, and she was invited to live with them as a member of their family.
MOTHER OF IMAM BUKHARI:
Imam Bukhari left with his mother and his sister to gain knowledge at the age of 14. All of his provisions were provided for by his mother and his sister.
[Ref: 'Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others, approved by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, and Mufti Abdul Qadir, published by Idara Talifat e Ashrafia]
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