Pearl of Wisdom

'Fornication has been prohibited due to the corruption it engenders, from murder to illegitimacy to ill-breeding of children to broken lineages and all sorts of other social ills.'

Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha [as]
Ibid. p. 24, no. 19

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Library » Marriage & Morals in Islam » Famous Women in Islam
Famous Women in Islam E-mail

HAJIRA (MOTHER OF ISHMAEL):

Prophet Ibrahim had become over 90 years old and had no child. Sarah, his wife, gave her slave-girl, by name of Hajira, to Ibrahim as a wife. Through Hajira, Almighty God blessed Ibrahim with a son: Ishmael (peace be upon him).

Sarah became jealous of Hajira. Finally, decided to test the patience of Ibrahim by asking him to take Hajira and the infant Ishmael into a desert and leave them there. Ibrahim was guided to that desert area which later became famous as Mecca. Prophet Ibrahim brought Hajira and Ishmael to Mecca and left them as commanded by God.

Whatever provisions Ibrahim had brought for his wife and child finally ran out. The baby Ishmael started crying out of thirst. Hajira set out in search for water. She was standing on the small hill of Safa; she looked towards the hill of Marwah and thought that there was water over there. When she reached Marwah, there was not water; it was just a mirage. She turned facing Safa and thought that there was water over there. She returned to Safa, but there was no water; it was just a mirage.

As mother, desperately looking for water for her child, Hajira ran between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times. Finally, she saw that a water stream had started at the feet of Ishmael. This miraculous steam is still running on beside the Kaaba, the House of God, and it is known as Zamzam.

God so much loved the spirit of motherhood demonstrated by Hajira - ho ran seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah in search of water for her child that, He has commanded the Muslim pilgrims to walk between the hills of Safa and Marwah when they go for the pilgrimage.

The ritual of walking between the two hills of Safa and Marwah seven times is an essential part of pilgrimage and it perpetuates the memory of Hajira as a mother.

ASIYA BINT MUZAHIM (THE PHARAOH'S WIFE):

AasiyaThe holy Qur'an has presented Asiya bint Muzahim as one of the best role models for women.

Asiya's greatness is in the fact that although she was the wife of one of the most Powerful, arrogant and tyrant rulers of Egypt, she was able to see and accept the truth in message of Prophet Moses. For her, wealth, beauty or status was not the main criterion of human excellence; she realized that without faith in God, a human being has nothing.

God had chosen her to provide refuge to Moses when he was an infant. When her maids brought the cradle of Moses from the river, she insisted to Pharaoh that she wanted to adopt that infant as a child: The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) joy of the eye, for me and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be use to us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived not (what they were doing)! (28:9)

Asiya bint Muzahim had declared her faith in the message of God after witnessing the miracle of Moses in the Court of Pharaoh; and after witnessing the death of another believing, woman under torture. Pharaoh tried to turn her away from the God of Moses and sought her mother's help. But Asiya refused to reject the God of Moses. On Pharaoh's order, she Was tortured to death.

The Qur'an says: "And Allah gives an example for those who believe: the wife of pharaoh. (Remember) when she said, 'My Lord! Build for me a house with Thee in the Paradise, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his deeds; and deliver me from the unjust people.'" (66:11)

In this lady, we see the example of supreme sacrifice: By marrying Pharaoh, Asiya bint Muzahim became the Queen of Egypt, she gained everything that she wanted in this worldly life from the materialistic point of view: the best of clothes, food, palaces, jewels, servants and maids, etc. But she sacrificed all that to be closer to Allah. And that is why we see her included by the Prophet in the list of the four women who attained the level of perfection.

MaryamMARY (MOTHER OF JESUS):

Mary is one of the noblest women in Islamic teachings since she was chosen to miraculously give birth to the Prophet Jesus.

When the Angel approached her with the news that she has been chosen as mother of the Prophet who is to be born miraculously without a father, she was perplexed. She said, "When shall I have a boy and no man has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste?"

The Angel conveyed the answer of God: "It is easy for Me. And We intend to make Jesus a sign to people and a mercy from Us; and this is a matter which has been decreed."

She was alone when the throes of childbirth compelled her to take refuge by the trunk of a palm tree. She was distressed and said, "I wish that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!"

Right then, Jesus was born and he called out: "Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you; and shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. So eat, drink and refresh the eyes." She was also told: "If you see people, do not worry about their questions. Just say that you have make a vow to that you shall not speak to any person today."

When she came back to his people with Jesus, they said, "O Mary! Surely you have done a strange thing; your parents were not unchaste people!" She pointed towards the baby. They responded, "How can we speak to a child in the cradle?" At that moment, Jesus, by the power of God, started to speak. He said:

"Surely I am the servant of God, He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed wherever I may be. He has enjoined on me to pray, to give charity so long as I live, and to be dutiful to my mother. He has not made me insolent and unblessed. So peace upon me on the day I was born, on the day I die, and on the day I shall be raised back to life."

This is the story of the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus, the Prophet and Messenger of God, as mentioned in Chapter 19 of the Qur'an.

KHADIJA (THE WIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD):

KhadijaKhadija bint Khuwaylid, the wife of the Prophet, is truly known as a noble lady; she was, in the modern terminology, the First Lady of Islam.

During the Meccan phase of Islam's movement, Khadija was the main pillar of support for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She was the first one to declare her faith in Islam. Her declaration of faith was a great testimony of the Prophet's character: a wife knows her husband's outer as well as inner character. By being the first to accept person to accept Islam, Khadija demonstrated that she believed in the truthfulness of Muhammad as the Messenger of God.

The initial years of Islam's mission were very trying; the Prophet faced severe opposition from the people of Mecca. In face of this rejection, Khadija provided the moral support and boasted the morale of the Prophet. According to Muslims historians, he even used to consult and discuss with her the issues related to the Islamic movement.

Khadija whole-heartedly supported the Prophet's cause by placing her wealth at his disposal. Almighty God has praised that by addressing the Prophet: "Did We not find you in need and made your free of need?" (93:8) It was through Khadija's wealth that the Almighty made the Prophet self-sufficient in his financial needs.

Although Khadija came from a very affluent background, she did not shy from sacrificing her wealth for the cause of Islam. Not only that, she even willingly went through the difficulties of three years of social/economic embargo imposed upon Prophet Muhammad and his family, the Banu Hashim. The hardship of these three years eventually resulted in her death.

It is to her credit that the Prophet of Islam did not marry another woman as long as Khadija was alive; she was the only wife who bore children for him. The name of Prophet continued through Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet and Khadija.

FatimaFATIMA (THE DAUGHTER OF THE PROPHET):

Jab Kabhi Ghairat-e-Insaan Ka Sawaal Aata Hai
Bint-e-Zehra Terey Pardey Ka Khayaal Aata Hai

Fatima bint Muhammad is one of the four noblest women in Islamic teachings. This is not just because she is the daughter of the Prophet of Islam or the wife of Imam Ali or the mother of Hasan and Hussain. These relationships are significant in themselves, but Fatima is important to the Muslims in her own right.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is seen as the perfect model of the values and teachings that were revealed in the holy Qur'an. He was the Last Prophet and the Qur'an was the Final Revelation: no prophet or scripture is to be sent after him. However, the Prophet was a man and so he could not be a complete role model for half of the humanity; therefore, there was a need for a perfect female model of Qur'anic values and teachings. And that role model for women was Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet. This is how Fatima is part of the Prophet; she completes the female dimension of the Prophet's function as a complete role model for humanity.

That is why the Prophet of Islam described Fatima as follows: "The leader of all the ladies of Paradise." (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p.819.)

"Fatima is a part of me, and he who makes her angry, makes me angry." (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 61.)

According to the holy Qur'an (33:33) she is among the infallibles ones in Islam. This status of infallibility comes with being a part of the Prophetic mission: he is the perfect role model for the men whereas she is the perfect role model for women.

Fatima was not only a loving daughter, a loyal wife and a caring mother; she is known in history as a woman of knowledge and wisdom, and she actively stood up for her rights. An excellent example of her social activism can be seen when she was denied her inheritance upon her father's death. Fatima challenged the authorities in power on basis of the Qur'an. She argued that the Qur'an has examples where the children of past prophets inherited their father. Using the Qur'an as her basis, she argued that she should not be denied her right.

 
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