A Muslim Women Role Model.
We all desire to be something or someone better. It is human nature to be dissatisfied with oneself. Our efforts to enhance our lifestyles are limitless. We are always looking for new ways to improve our selves. However, we have to channel our desires to excel in a certain direction. We should ask ourselves, if there was someone I wanted to imitate, who would it be? Who could we take as an example, a standard to measure ourselves against? Would it be the stick thin models of today, who do not even have the common sense to realize they are being exposed and disposed of whenever it suits the fashion industry? Or would it be the Bollywood stars, which are not even recognized for their acting skills these days, but rather because their parents were legends in this industry of idol worship.
If they are the role models we wish to live up to, then sisters, the glitz and the glamour of that superficial world will keep us far from the fragrance of Jannah. There is no room for such women in Jannah, for Jannah is for the pure believing women. And that as who we want to be recognized as, believing women, the muslimaat, the muâminaat, the muhsinaat. These were the titles of pious women before us. Real women, empowered women, women with firm belief and unwavering strength, women who can teach us a thing or two about living and dying, they knew the way to success in the dunyaa and the akhirah.. We must look into the lives of those who preceded us, not just in history but preceded us in Jannah. Why were such women promised Jannah by Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds? What did they possess, that so many of us lack today?
There are many Sahabiyah who have their own story to tell. If we want to talk about the first martyr in Islam, then she is Sumaiya (RA). If we want to position ourselves in the battle of Uhud, then we will find it was Nusaybah (RA) who protected Rasulullah (SAW), when many men fled from the battlefield. If you want to know who jumped in the ditch as found in Suratul Burooj, then it was the mother along with her new infant. Extraordinary women. Four other women, whom we should be very familiar with and to whom we should be in awe of, whom we should imitate, aspire and desire to be like.
There where four women who were promised Paradise by Allah. Knowing this, how can we not want to follow their footsteps all the way to Jannah, Insha’Allah? These were rare women, with rare qualities. The 1st a story of courage, conviction and constancy of Asiya the wife of Fir’awn. She was married to the tyrant whose Kufr knew no boundaries. She, through her noble speech managed to convince Fir’awn to keep Musa (AS) and to bring him up in their kingdom, despite Fir’awn’s cruel rampage of killing baby boys. Whilst her husband was declaring to be god, she was affirming her faith in the One True Allah. She did not cease to believe in Allah, although she knew the consequences would be severe if Fir’awn found out. She did not fear her husband. She did not have room in her heart to fear him, because her heart was full of Taqwa of Allah. She did not even cower, when it reached head on confrontation with Fir’awn, when he threatened her life because of her belief in Allah Thee Almighty. Such was the status of this woman that Allah mentions her strength in the Quraan:
وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱمۡرَأَتَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ إِذۡ قَالَتۡ رَبِّ ٱبۡنِ لِى عِندَكَ بَيۡتً۬ا فِى ٱلۡجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِى مِن فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَعَمَلِهِۦ وَنَجِّنِى مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
“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.” (At-Tahrim 66:11)
This brave lady, in the face of death, started laughing, when her husband tortured her, because she was shown her place in Jannah. She knew her Lord was pleased with her, what more could she want? None of this worldly life mattered to her; she was leaving a kingdom of power and glory behind to be in a better place, a place closer to her Lord. Her Imaan had raised her ranks with Allah and that is why she is one of the four women promised Jannah. We need to build our Imaan to such a level, so that we can join our courageous teacher Asiya in Jannah, Insha’Allah.
Let us learn a lesson of piety and purity. Where in history will you find a woman as chaste as the mother of prophet Isa (AS)? She came from the noble family of Imran, who hold the honour of having a surah in the Quraan in their name. Maryam (Alayhi Salam) was a devout worshipper and was rewarded by Allah for her sincerity. Allah provided her with sustenance from sources we will not even begin to imagine, He, made sure this devout servant of His was properly taken care of, these incidents we find in the Quran:
فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ۬ وَأَنۢبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنً۬ا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّاۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيۡهَا زَكَرِيَّا ٱلۡمِحۡرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزۡقً۬اۖ قَالَ يَـٰمَرۡيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَـٰذَاۖ قَالَتۡ هُوَ مِنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَرۡزُقُ مَن يَشَآءُ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ
“So her Lord, accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariyyah. Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said ˜O Maryam! From where have you got this? She said, “This is from Allah. Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” (Al-Imran 3: 37)
Subhaanallah, a true blessing from Allah. She was able to keep herself away from the fitnah of worldly desires. Thereafter, came about the miraculous birth of the prophet Isa (AS). Allah did not just choose anyone; He chose the best of women for this great responsibility. When the angel Jibraeel (AS) came to her with glad tidings of a son, her first reaction was to screen herself. Hayaa, my sisters, She was able to say:
قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أَنَا۟ رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَـٰمً۬ا زَڪِيًّ۬ا
“How can I have a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste?” (Surah Maryam 19: 19}
No other woman has this honour and that’s why Allah, Lord of the heavens and the earth chose Jannah as Maryam (Alayhi Salam) place of residence. Such high positions we can only aspire to, Insha’Allah.
The 3rd woman of Jannah is our dear mother, Khadijah (RA). The 1st wife of Rasulullah (SAW). What can we say about the first woman to submit to the deen of Islam? A woman with her wisdom and insight was able to comfort and advise her husband when Rasulullah (SAW) came to her shaking from his first experience of revelation. Her constant support and words of encouragement helped him in his mission to spread the word of Allah. She struggled alongside Rasulullah (SAW),she felt the pains of hunger as he did. Such was the love for his Allah fearing wife, that Rasulullah (SAW), visited her friends, even after she had died and returned to her Lord. How can we not want to imitate the character of Khadijah (RA), when Rasulullah (SAW), said this about her: “I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe did not believe in me, and accepted that I was truly a prophet and a messenger of Allah. She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith, and this too at a time when the entire world seemed to have turned against me and persecuted me. And it is through her that Allah has blessed me with children.” The deep rooted faith of this believing woman granted her Jannah, an exchange she earned for the hardship she faced as a result of her support of Islam and her husband the prophet of Allah (SAW).The legend of Khadijah (RA) lived through and was bought to life by her daughter Fatima (RA). How can we expect anything short of excellence, when her father is the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and her mother is Khadijah (RA). She didn’t live the riches of this world. She didn’t make demands on her parents as many of us do now. Yet she was given the best of life, as her father taught her how to make Dhikr of Allah in times of difficulty. Also Rasulullah (SAW), married her to the best of men – Ali (RA). This kind, sweet and gentle woman, was immensely loved by Rasulullah (SAW). She was the first to defend her father if he was hurt or ridiculed. It was this little girl who came running to her father whilst he was in prostration, with her delicate hands and tears falling, she removed the filth and dirt which had been placed on Rasulullah (SAW), out of mockery and pure malice on the request of Abu Jahl,. For this, her reward was not only paradise but she is to be the leader of all women of Jannah, her father bought this good news to her in his last days. Rasulullah (SAW), told Fatima (RA): “Would you like to be the leader of the women of Jannah?” Not only that, but she is the mother of the two youths who will be the leaders of all the youth in Jannah Al Hasan and Hussain (RA). She followed her father in death six months later, with the promise of Jannah. May Allah unite us with her in Jannah. Ameen.
Moving on to the woman, who Rasulullah (SAW), was not shy to say that she was the most beloved to him. Aisha (RA). The great scholar of Islam, The great woman, in whose lap Rasulullah (SAW), lay his head in extreme illness. This woman, who was held in high esteem by all and who taught us a great deal of this deen. She was known for her intellect and sharpness. Her sincerity, generosity and no doubt her much loved feisty demeanor. Allah came to Aisha (RA) defence when He sent down revelation to clear Aisha (RA) of blame and slander propagated by the hypocrites. Rasulullah (SAW), was told by Jibraeel (AS): “She is your wife in this world and the hereafter.” (Tirmithi) And Insha’Allah, if we commit ourselves to Allah the way she did and utilize our skills, then Insha’Allah, we may be blessed with her delightful company in Jannah. All these women who lived either before or during the time of Rasulullah (SAW), were never to be matched, but that does not mean we can not take from them or do our best in following them, because we too can share their courage, chastity, wisdom, sincerity and devotion. In fact it has been proven that such women have existed in our times. Zainab Al-Ghazali being a prime example. Her strong belief in Allah and commitment to the da’wah was met by nothing but pain and struggle, but that did not stop her from spreading the message that Rasulullah (SAW), bought to us. Her words penetrate through the hearts of those who want to tread the straight path, those who won’t rest till the Word of Allah is made uppermost. In her own words to her husband, she said: “But da’wah will always remain rooted in me! I know that it is your right to command me and that it is my duty to obey you, but Allah in our souls is greater than our souls, and His Da’wah is dearer to us than ourselves.” If we comprehend her message then we will realize how much work we have to do with ourselves and those around us, for we are servants of Allah with a message to convey.
Look around you, there are people still striving in the way of their Lord. Our mothers, sisters and daughters around the world are suffering to enable us to worship Allah properly. They are our role models. But do we appreciate their efforts? What do we give them in return? At least let us remember them in our Duaas. So sisters, we know exactly where to look for role models. In our history pages and in our own hearts, because somewhere in yourself there is your faithful companion, your Imaan. It just needs to be nurtured with the prophetic guidance and righteous deeds and Insha’Allah we shall be amongst those women of Jannah.