Like any other Muslim, I have read time and again about the women of Islam in religious context. Every time I would read how these women helped the other gender attain their strength and glory or how the fair sex was condemned being a female. All true. But has anyone ever tried to narrate their lives in perspective of their character? How many times we have read about the character and gallant nature of these women who stood for themselves and in turn helped people around them? Some chose to be house-wives while others chose to shape the society and imparted whatever knowledge they had to the public. They fought on grounds or did their home chores. Either they swayed their swords in precise strokes or wiped away the floors with cloth. These women may not be the prophets but their identities were not any less than that of significant people in our history. These women had their own character, personalities, opinions and lives. Once you will think about them as humans and not as Muslim associates, you shall see how wonderfully accomplished life they led and how our pious men helped them in same manner as they facilitated our men.
Whenever I read about Khadija (RA) or Ayesha (RA), a sense of pride fills within me and illuminates the path that I should follow to be a better human. Their lives and stories are not only for women but are excellent guides for men too. So let us talk about our worthy women as individuals to see how successful they were in their times that made them legends. While doing so, we may compare our today’s society with old one. Shall we?
Hawwa and Adam, the first two persons were sent as initial human inhabitants of this planet. Quran depicts the pair as equally compliant in the sin and then in punishment and atonement.
Sheba as a
queen. A woman leader, she was famous for her intelligence and her grasp on
political powers at that time. She ruled her nation with her skills, good judgment and
vigor. This monarch had the abilities and political expertise that made her to
hold onto her glorious throne.
Mother of Ismail (AS), her famous motherly love gave Muslims the holy water and word “Zam- Zam”. As a wife, she embraced all hardships that fell upon her husband. She agreed to move to a new land that later became Makkah for us. Her symbolic agitation for her infant was exemplary. It was her impatient walk for her crying son that was made a ritual in one of the biggest religions of this world.
It is hard to imagine how tough life can become when the members of family become your own enemy. Assiya (AS) had the perseverance due to which she stood by her ideals. No one in this world could shake her determination once she decided to believe in oneness of God. Her utter determination and strength of her character made her not to move from her resolve.
Having a child out of wedlock is always considered a taboo. Though in Maryam’s case, it was only her as a parent to Isa (AS). Now think what she had to go through when she gave birth to a child and that too who asked people to leave their beliefs and follow a completely different one. This was her virtue that she maintained her reputation along with her father-less miracle child. She was a young girl when she bore Isa (AS). She gave birth to him near a palm tree. It was her courage to bear a child while knowing how strongly she guarded her chastity.
We talk about today’s business-women and there was one known some fourteen hundreds years ago. She is a true role model for today’s woman. Khadija (RA) was considered a successful merchant of her times. When she did business, she was professional. But when she took care of her household, no one could beat her devotion to her husband. It was she who sent her marriage proposal to a young man fifteen years younger than her. Her method of dealing was straight and fair, to the point. She tackled with other male counterparts. She worked upon strategies to conduct her trade. And when she had to choose a groom, she did that by herself. Her reasons were quite simple and authentic; her servant had told her about Muhammad’s (PBUH) character and his ways of conducting trade. She already knew about his repute and together with Maysarah’s description, she made an informed decision to send a proposal to Muhammad (PBUH). As a wife, she was a pillar to her husband. She stood by his side through thick and thin and comforted him. If we see, Khadija (RA) is a perfect example of a woman who balanced her career and her married life. Her maturity, professionalism, vision, forethought and strength describe her character and persona.
Ayesha (RA) is one of the greatest scholars of Islam. She not only had knowledge of religious affairs but was also an expert in medicine, poetry and astronomy. Although Ayesha was young when she got married to Muhammad (PBUH) and stayed only for nine years with him, this time polished her as a leader and scholar. Noteworthy companions of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would seek Ayesha’s (RA) advice over matters of religion. A true intellectual, she was an authority on Hadith. But her intelligence was not only limited to religious affairs; she was actively involved in politics during the time of last three caliphs of Islam. She participated and led armies in some battles. Ayesha (RA) took a public and predominant role in politics. When I think of some eminent scholar who has a high impact factor and has authority on a subject, my mind suddenly goes to Ayesha (RA), who taught more than eight thousand pupils and had command on religious as well as worldly subjects. What an intellect she possessed!
Fatima (RA) is synonymous with word “patience”. Fatima (RA) was wholeheartedly loved by her father (PBUH). When she got married, she had a small house to live in. She did all home chores by herself and remained loyal to her husband, Ali (RA). She chose to stay in a small world of her home away from all the hustle of the society. A devoted wife and mother, her humble life is full of endurance and modesty.
Daughter of Abu Bakar (RA), the first Caliph of Islam, she was the lady who as a young girl would go and provide food to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Abu Bakar (RA) in the
When Muhammad (PBUH) left Makkah and hid in cave Thawr for few days, Asma (RA)
would supply them food at night. It clearly shows her bravery to travel on foot
all by herself during dark night to help her father and her Prophet. cave of Thawr
Zainab (RA), daughter of Ali (RA) and Fatima (RA), sister of Hassan (RA) and Hussain (RA). What she did for her brother and her clan is an example for this world. This was her courage that she fearlessly faced Yazeed and spoke in favor of her brother. Her guts never allowed her to bow down to one she deemed wrong.
She was the companion of Muhammad (PBUH) who fought in battle of Uhad. She valiantly threw herself between Muhammad (PBUH) and the attacking sword. She fainted but when she regained her senses, she asked about Muhammad (PBUH). This was her bravery to fight alongside men for the cause she believed in.
She fought for her brother under the command of Khalid Bin Waleed (RA). She disguised as a man and gallantly fought during the siege of
when she was noted by her commander. Her style of fighting was compared to the
great fighter Khalid (RA) himself.
Every story of these women is inspirational. One trait was common among them, courage to stand for what they believed in. These women showed strength, patience, wisdom and gave a whole new meaning to the existence of females. One may fear lack of acknowledgment of many more unsung heroines of Islam. These women played their roles as useful members of the society and led their lives as they wanted to. Although they remained in boundaries described by their Lord, yet they did not define themselves by the norms of society. These women are true role models for any human being.