Women in Islam
Aisha bint Abu Bakr (May God be pleased with her)
The life of Aisha is proof that a woman can be far more learned than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and experts. She was married to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and was the daughter of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr.
Aisha also served as an invaluable resource in documenting the words and actions of the Prophet known as hadith. These hadith seek to explain the manner in which the Prophet understood and practiced Islam. Aisha has been credited with narrating 2,210 hadith.
As many as 88 great Islamic scholars were taught by her. She was also a leading authority on common ailments and their cures.
Asma bint Abu Bakr (May God be pleased with her)
Asma herself was one of the first people to accept Islam. Asma became known from her fine and noble qualities and for the keenness of her intelligence. She was an extremely generous person.
Her son Abdullah once said of her, “I have not seen two women more generous than my aunt Aisha and my mother Asma. But their generosity was expressed in different ways. My aunt would accumulate one thing after another until she had gathered what she felt was sufficient and then distributed it all to those in need. My mother, on the other hand, would not keep anything even for the morrow.”
Khadijah bint Khuwalid (May God be pleased with her)
Khadijah was a successful merchant in Arabia. After hearing much about the honesty of Muhammad, peace be upon him, she asked him to take her caravan to Syria and trade on her behalf. The 25 year old Muhammad returned from Syria after having made a large profit for Khadijah.
After hearing his account of the journey, she decided to propose to Muhammad, who was 15 years her junior. He accepted. Later on, she was the first to believe in his prophecy at a time when many dismissed him. She died at the age of 65, leaving Muhammad with six children.
Zubaidah bint Ja’fr al-Mansur (May God be pleased with her)
Zubaidah was one of the most wealthiest and powerful women of her time. Besides being the wife of Harun Rashid, she was a great benefactor who was very intellectual and generous. She financed the building of many cities, and constructed Makkah’s water supply.
She was also the first to build a pilgrimage route to the holy city. In addition to undertaking many construction projects, she was also a patron of the arts, namely poetry.
Walladah bint Mustakfi (May God be pleased with her)
Walladah bint Mustakfi (c. 1001-1080 C.E.) – daughter of the caliph of Cordoba in Islamic Spain. Cordoba was a tolerant, multicultural society, famous for its many libraries and sophisticated literary life, in which women were often scholars.
After her father’s death, Walladah inherited enough wealth to guarantee her independence. She was well known as a poet and hosted literary gatherings for both men and women.
Fatimah bint Mohammad (May God be pleased with her)
Fatimah was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and was especially kind to poor and indigent folk and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She was a leader among men and women, and often led the women in prayer.
After the Battle of Uhud, she proceeded to the battle field and nursed the injured. At the Battle of the Ditch, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. She also took part in the liberation of Makkah.
Ramlah bint Abu-Sufayan (May God be pleased with her)
Ramlah, also known as Umm Habibah, dared to challenge her father’s authority when she rejected the deities of the Quraysh and their idol worship during the Abyssinian period. Her father tried with all the power and force at his disposal to bring back his daughter to his religion and the religion of their forefathers. But he did not succeed. As a result, Ramlah was persecuted. She fled Makkah and later became the second wife of the Prophet.
Nasibah: Woman Warrior (May God be pleased with her)
Nasibah bint Ka’b al-Maziniyyah was a famous Muslim warrior. She took part in a number of battles and treaties, such as the treaty of ‘Aqabah, Al-Hudaybiyah, Khaybar and Hunayn. Her heroic conduct at Hunayn was no less marvellous than her heroic conduct at Uhud. At the time of Abu Bakr’s Khilafah, she was present at Al-Yamamah where she fought brilliantly and received eleven wounds and lost her hand.
At the battle of Uhud, she would continuously take up her sword to defend the Prophet, peace be upon him, acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the enemy. The Prophet noticed this, and later said, “Wherever I turned, to the left or the right, I saw her fighting for me.”
Sultana Razia of Delhi
“The only woman ever to sit on the throne of Delhi, India, Razia’s ancestors were from Muslims of Turkish descent who invaded India in 11th century. “Like other Muslim princesses, she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary.” (p. 34) She established peace and order, encouraged trade, built roads, planted trees, dug wells, supported poets, painters, and musicians, constructed schools and libraries appeared in public without the veil, wore tunic and headdress of a man. State meetings were often open to the populace at-large. Yet, she made enemies when she tried to eliminate some of the discriminations against her Hindu subjects.” Gloria Steinem, Her story: Women Who Changed the World, Viking, 1995, p. 34-36.
Source: http://womenshistory.about.com/ Women in the Muslim World: Personalities and Perspectives of the Past, Lyn Reese ©
Rabia: The Poetess
Rabia al Adawiya was an orphan slave that was freed and became known as Rabia of Basra. Became a poet and chose to live a humble life in the desert. In her writings, she emphasized unselfish love for God, and loving God for His sake, rather than for fear of punishment or desire for reward.
Nafisa bint Al-Hassan (May God be pleased with her)
Lady Nafisa bint was the great-great granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) . Nafisa was born in Makkah on 11th Rabiu-Awwal, 762 CE, to Al-Hasan al-Anwar the son of Zayd al-Ablaj, son of Al-Hasan the grandson of Muhammad (PBUH), brother of al-Imam al-Husayn (RA) and son of the Daughter of the Prophet (PBUH), Fatimat al-Zahra (RA). She was a child prodigy student of the Quran who memorized the entire Quran. She was a renowned scholar and was a teacher to Iman al-Shafi, the founder of the Shafi school of Sunni Fiqh. Having taught Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i, she was the best known female scholar of hadith in Egypt. It is reported that he often requested her prayers/supplications (duas and blessings). She was known for her unwavering and sincere devotion to the practice of Islam and was extremely charitable. Many miracles of healing have been attributed to her; however she always indicated that they were expressions of Allah, not of her own ability.
Source: themuslimwomentimes.org 2020/12/16
Zaynab b. ‘Alī (d. 681) (May God be pleased with her)
She was the grand-daughter of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fāṭima (d. 633) and her husband ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (d. 661). She was a leading figure of the Ahl al-Bayt (Family of the Prophet) during the late seventh century and played a central role both during and after the Massacre at Karbala (680), where her brother al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī, and 72 of her nephews and other brothers were killed by the Umayyads. For a time, she was the effective leader of the Ahl al-Bayt and served as the primary defender of the cause of her brother, al-Ḥusayn. At Kufa, she defended her nephew—‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn (d. 712)—from certain death by the governor of the city and, when presented to the Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya at Damascus, gave such an impassioned and forceful speech in the royal court that the caliph was convinced by his advisers to release her and the prisoners taken at Karbala. Her strength, patience, and wisdom makes her one of the most important women in early Islam. Her shrine at Damascus remains a major place of visitation by both Sunnis and Shi’is, a fact that emphasizes the universality of her legacy among Muslims.