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The Heroines of Islam

Apr 22, 2013
By Sabine Mahomedkhan

Bismillah, are you ready to go on a journey with the Heroines?

I’m going to take you to a journey back through the history of Islam; the time where the world had known some great women crusaders in Islamic history who were the contemporaries of our beloved Rasulullah ?allall?hu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They were the Mothers of the Believers, the Sahabiyat ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum.

The Heroines

If we were to praise these Heroines, words wouldn’t be ample enough and they are nothing in comparison to us. These women were unrivalled. They were just unique in every single possible way. They were the image of patience, forbearance and bravery.

There are a lot we can learn from them from characters to conducts. They were such noble selfless women who were pure and virtuous. Their achievements and influence can be found in every sphere and they had such a courage, determination, zeal and perseverance. Their focus was on their eternal abode rather than on worldly gains. They had no interest, nor a single attraction to the materialistic things.

These amazing women ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum sacrificed their days and nights in the path of Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la when we who actually should be following their examples, we simply engrossed ourselves in watching TV, listening to music and wasting our time in a lot more trivial things onto which the list could go on and on.

Their qualities
They spent their time in earnest supplications and prayers and whatever would befall them, they entrusted their affairs to the Almighty for they knew it was the Qadr of Allah. They had a soft spot for the poor, especially Zainab bint Jahash ra?yAll?hu ‘anha, who is known for her generosity and sympathy for the needy. These ladies were thirsty of ‘Ilm (knowledge), such as ‘Aisha ra?yAll?hu ‘anha who had a brilliant mind and a remarkable memory and had a broader knowledge on the basis of Fiqh, Hadith, Tafsir and Shari’ah.

They had the real Taqwa that a Mu’min should have for Allah ‘Azwajjal. They adhered to the commands of Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la without trying to contradict His orders. They were devoted ladies and tried to preserve Islam in its pristine form, and shield it from any modifications, impurities and innovation. They never have looked down on anyone or labeled anyone, not even the disbelievers of that time. Instead they were patient and preached in perseverance and prayed for their guidance.

Similarly to us and with no exception, the Sahabiyat ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum had to withstand the ups and downs of life. Even though they’ve been elevated to such a status where they had been promised of Jannah (paradise) before dying, they did not got a life wrapped in a package full of happiness and blithesome. Poles apart of what we go through, the Sahabiyat had to endure a lot more in all different aspects.

Their persistence
However they were persistent to holding firm to the rope of Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la no matter how hard the situations were and they had never complained as they knew that Allah is the best of Planners and they had full faith and conviction in Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la and were fully submitting to His Will. Their reliance was on Ar Rahman Alone and nothing could tear them apart as their Imaan (faith) has helped them to stand throughout the storms and they knew that sooner or later their patience would reap its fruits.

Hajar
Let’s step for a quick insight in one of the Sahabiyat’s life, Hajar; the wife of the Prophet Ibrahim’s ‘alayhi’l-sal?m. It was a particular extreme difficult part of her life where the Prophet Ibrahim ‘alayhi’l-sal?m left her at the Ka’bah in Makkah above the well of Zamzam at a time when it was deserted and no water was available and she was alone with her newborn son Isma’eel.

Just imagine dear sisters, the land was barren, with no plants, no water, no people (draw the picture back in your mind and try to vision the scene). He left nothing with her, only a sack of dates and a skin filled with water and went back to the distant land of Palestine. Before Ibrahim ‘alayhi’l-sal?m left them she asked him with a very serene and no consternation attitude, whether Allah had asked him to do this and the Prophet Ibrahim  ‘alayhi’l-sal?m responded in the affirmative. And do you know what she said? This marvelous lady retorted without rebuking:

“Then He is not going to abandon us.”

SubhanALLAH! Her response clearly shows her acceptance and optimism. Were it not for her abyssal faith and reliance on Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la, she would have certainly broken down. But see how her Imaan and patience have helped her to surmount this difficult situation. What would have you done if it happened to be you instead of Hajar?

Our role models
These women are the role models from whom we should take examples from. It’s very unfortunate that today we’re are absorbed in a world where we tend to put aside the exceptional qualities of these wonderful women that humanity has known and instead we take actors, singers, fashionistas as our paradigm.

In Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a Hadith which states that a Bedouin asked the Prophet ?allall?hu ‘alayhi wa sallam about the Hour. He said,

    “It will surely come to pass. What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have not prepared much in the way of prayer and good works, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those you love.”

Who do you love?
Who do you want to take as role models? Do you want to spend an eternal conviviality with your favorite singers, actors, fashionistas, or do you want to have as companions the Sahabiyat ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum; the women of Paradise?

In general, Muslim women are lost in a sort of assorted ‘Jahaaliyah’, or intellectual and psychological dependency on others instead of preserving their spiritual and intellectual sources properly. We have no shame in wandering the streets with backless clothes and have no ignominy at all when the eyes of non-Mahram will be eyeing our body and actually there are some sisters who totally surpass such idiosyncrasy as they feel presumptuous being the center of attention for men. But do you think that the Sahabiyat had that trait?

No, dear sisters, this wasn’t the lineaments that they ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum had. Instead, these Women knew what real Haya meant. Do you think you’re pleasing your Creator this way? Are you happy turning yourself into an object when you actually are not and when Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la honor us like a diamond? If Muhammad ?allall?hu ‘alayhi wa sallam was still here, would you have this decorum dressing code in front of him?

Here is a beautiful hadith which shows the extreme amount of Haya that ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr ra?yAll?hu ‘anha possessed even in the presence of the deceased:

‘Aisha ra?yAll?hu ‘anha said:    “I used to enter the room where the Messenger of Allah ?allall?hu ‘alayhi wa sallam and my father (Abu Bakr) were later buried in without having my garment on me, saying it is only my husband and my father. But when ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab ra?yAll?hu ‘anhu was later buried in (the same place), I did not enter the room except that I had my garment on being shy from ‘Umar.”

It’s really doleful to see today’s reticence and failure of Muslim women to reach the status that Islam wants for us. Muslim women today have meandered from the unsullied fountainhead of Islam.

Undoubtedly if we follow the path of the Sahabiyat we will not lose track of the purpose of our life. Life will thus take a different angle and we’ll certainly then prove our Islamic identity. And by shoring up our Islamic identity we’ll evince our Islamic awareness, high aims, sincerity and devotion to Islam, our love for our Creator, our taqwa and our humility.

May Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la help us to en-graft the noble characteristics of the Sahabiyat ra?yAll?hu ‘anhum. May Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la grant us their companionship in Jannatul Firdaus and may Allah sub??nahu wa ta’?la forgive all our sins and may we all meet in Jannah one day.

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Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others

 
MAADHAH BINT ABBDULLAH ADWYAH:
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)
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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.

JAWHAR BRATHYAH:
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RABIYAH KHATUN
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UKHTUL MAZNI
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MULAYKAH BINT MUNKADAR
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FATIMAH KHANUM
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SHAD KHANUM
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THE SLAVE WOMEN WHO CONVERTED THE MAGUS FAMILY

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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.

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