Allah has created everything in this universe for a purpose. Allah says in the Quran, “And I (Allah) have not created the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone).”The main purpose defined here is ibaadath. The five daily prayers or fasting in Ramadan are not the only ibaadath but doing any good work for attaining Allah’s satisfaction is also ibaadath.
There are four types of creation of mankind mentioned by Allah in Quran:
- The creation of Prophet Adam from clay.
- The creation of Mother Hawwa Beevi from Prophet Adam’s backbone rib. Wives are thus the better halves of their husbands.
- The creation of Prophet Isa from the mother alone without any father.
- The creation of men from both the mother and father.
If we compare a man and woman biologically they are two complete different creations. Women are created for something while men are created for something. Some things what women can do, a man cannot do like giving birth to a baby and vice versa. That’s why we cannot find even a single woman in the one hundred twenty four thousand Prophets and Messengers Allah sent. Prophet Adam was created in heaven where you get whatever you wished for. Still He felt some loneliness. That is how Allah created mother Hawwa Beevi from Prophet Adam itself. Allah then said in the Quran, “your cushion “. So purpose of women is defined in Quran as the resting place for the husband. It will not make sense if we purchase an expensive sofa and then write 5 to 6 timing on it for its usage. It is said in Hadees,” if a woman does only her obligatory rituals in life, but if the husband is satisfied with her, she will definitely go to paradise and Rasoolullah has offered her the entry to paradise through any of the 8 doors without any restrictions”.
Another important role of a woman is that of a mother. Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) said,” The mother is an institution “. It is the duty of the mother to shape her child’s behavior, personality and character to become future leaders and torch bearers of humanity. The mother of two of the most remembered Indian freedom fighters, Moulana Mohammed Ali and Moulana Shoukath Ali told them when they were leaving for the freedom struggle: “oh my sons, don’t come back without India’s independence!” When these roles are perfectly functioning, she can engage in social and educational upliftment within the Islamic framework. This can be seen through the stories of our mother Khadeeja Beevi and later women who brought great changes to the society.
Khadeeja beevi was born to a father who was a successful merchant in the Quraysh tribe of Makkah. She inherited her father’s skills at a time in history when society was male dominated and dangerous for women. Upon her father’s death, she took over the business and traded goods through the primary commerce centers at that time – from Makkah to Syria and to Yemen hiring the most trustworthy men of character to brave the dangerous trade routes. Her business was larger than all the Quraysh trades combined, and it was the most acclaimed with a reputation of fair dealing and high quality goods. Being the most successful woman around, rich in worldly attainment as well as character, Khadeeja beevi faced a consistent campaign of men seeking her hand in marriage. She was married twice before her wedlock to the Prophet. Both of these marriages produced children and both left her widowed. She said no to all the marriage proposals and decided to marry Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) after knowing his stellar character by sending a proposal even though she was 15 years older.
After marriage she was an ideal wife and the biggest support for her husband. Prophet Muhammad’s (p.b.u.h) prophet hood began during his marriage to Khadeeja beevi, when he received the first of Allah’s revelations through the Angel Jibreel that left him frightened, strained and feeling alone when no one believed in him. Khadeeja beevi comforted her husband and encouraged him during the most difficult days of his life. She used to leave all her luxuries and walk all the way to the Hira cave to give food to Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) who used to meditate and worship there for long hours. They had six children. She was the first person to accept Islam
Khadeeja beevi gave her earnings to the poor and to the orphans, to the widows and the sick. She helped poor girls get married and provided their dowry. During the end of Khadeeja beevi’s life she asked the Prophet,” Are you satisfied/happy with me?! “.Reply for this came not from Rasoolullah but from Allah through Angel Jibreel that Allah is happy with her!
One of the important events during the Islamic political history was Hajjathul vadha’a. That day Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) had four directions to enter Kaaba where he was addressing the audience but he opted the way near to Jannathul Mualla where Khadeeja beevi is buried. During his declaration he said,” If my Khadeeja was there today she would have been very happy “. Islam’s victory was dedicated to all our mother Khadeeja beevi.
Aysha beevi was the Prophet’s youngest wife and the daughter of his best friend Abu Bakr. Aysha beevi as we know was the biggest Aalima of the century. Prophet Muhammed itself encouraged Aysha beevi to learn and taught her many things. She is one among those who reported the most number of hadith. She narrated 2210 hadiths, not just on matters related to the Prophet’s private life but also on topics such as inheritance, pilgrimage etc. Sahabas and scholars asked fatwas and doubts to Aysha beevi after the Prophet’s wafah. She had an important role in early Islamic history both during Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) s life and after his death. She contributed to the spread of Rasoolullahs message and served the Muslim community for 44 years after his death.
Fathima beevi also known as Fathimathul Zahra was the youngest daughter of Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) and Khadeeja beevi. She married Ali bin Abi Thalib who later became the fourth caliph after Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h). She had two sons’ Hasan and Hussain. She is respected and venerated by Muslims, as she was the child closest to her father and supported him in his difficulties. Aysha beevi said,” I have not seen any one of god’s creation resemble the Messenger of Allah more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fathima. When the prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.”
She was the supporter and caretaker of her own husband and children and was the only child of Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) to have male children live beyond childhood, whose descendants are spread throughout the Islamic world and are known as Sayeds. She led a very simple life without any luxury and comforts of life and she had no complaints. Fathima beevi told her husband that when her Janazah would be taken, there should be no ceremony, it should be in the night and she had to be fully covered without revealing any shape. This is why till date, in Islam a woman’s body is covered fully when carried for burial. Rasoolullah also gave her a big role in being the leader of all women in paradise. May Allah give us that opportunity to be under her! Ameen.
Zubaida binth Jaafar whose real name Amatul Aziz was an Abbasid princess. She lived during the time of Imam Shafiee. She was married to Haroon Rasheed who was the ruler of Baghdad. She learned the Quran, hadith, Arabic literature, science and math while growing. It is said that Zubaida’s palace ‘sounded like a beehive because she employed one hundred women maids who had memorized the Quran and always recited around her. It is also said that she used to never miss a prayer. She did a lot of hajj and had also done hajj with her husband by foot all the way from Baghdad to Makkah.
On one of her pilgrimage to Makkah, she noticed how the people were devastated due to the shortage of water. She ordered the well to be deepened using her personal wealth and spent over 2 million dinars to build series of wells, reservoirs and artificial pools improving the water supply from Baghdad to Makkah and the surrounding province. When her engineers cautioned her about the expense, she replied that she was determined to carry out the work. The pilgrims and also the people residing in Makkah and Madinah drank water from this canal. It was known as Zubaida canal/ Zubaida Darb on her remembrance. She also ordered the building of resting shelters, lamp posts, guest houses and mosques for the pilgrims travelling on that route. She also improved the pilgrim route across nine hundred miles of desert between Kufa and Mecca. The road was paved and cleared of boulders and she assembled water storages at intervals. The water tanks also caught the surplus rainwater from storms that occasionally drowned people. This was indeed one of the greatest social contributions.
Zebunnissa was Emperor Aurangzeb’s first daughter thus a Mughal princess. Zebunnissa was her father’s favorite daughter and because of this she could compel him to pardon people who had offended him. Aurangzeb charged Hafiza Mariam, one of the women of the court, with the education of Zebunnissa. Zebunnissa memorized the Quran in three years and became a Hafiza at age seven. This occasion was celebrated by her father with a great feast and public holiday. The princess was also given a reward of 30,000 gold pieces by her delighted father. Aurangzeb paid the princely sum of 30,000 gold pieces to the teacher for having taught his cherished daughter well.
Zebunnissa then learned the sciences of the time and was also a great Persian poet. She learned philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, literature, and was a mistress master of Persian, Arabic and Urdu. She had a good reputation in calligraphy as well. Her library surpassed all other private collections, and she employed many scholars on liberal salaries to produce literary works at her bidding or to copy manuscripts for her. Her library also provided literary works on each subject, such as law, literature, history and theology.
When Aurangzeb became the emperor after Shah Jahan, Zebunnissa was 21 years old. Aurangzeb found out about the talent and capacity of his daughter and began to discuss the political affairs of his Empire with her, listening to her opinions. It has been mentioned in some books that Aurangzeb sent all the royal princes for the reception of Zebunnissa each time she entered the court.
FATHIMA AL FIHRI
The oldest university which is still functioning is the Al Qarwiyyin University in Morocco established in 859 CE was built by a Muslim women. UNESCO and the Guinness world of records have declared this. First a mosque, then a university and finally a library was built. This was all built under the leadership of Fathima Al Fihri.
Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriyya Al-Qurashiya was born in the town of Kairouan, in present-day Tunisia. She is of Arab Qurayshi descent. Fatima and her family fled from their hometown during the same time families were fleeing Cordoba, or Southern Spain. This was due to the Arabs being expelled from these regions. Although her family did not start out wealthy, her father, Mohammed al-Fihri, became a successful merchant. When he passed away, this wealth was inherited by Fathima, and her sister Maryam. It is with this money that they went on to leave their legacy with. She was well-educated and studied the Islamic jurisprudence Fiqh and the Hadith, or the records of Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h).
This idea of the mosque and university was spurred on by the fact that due to all the Muslims fleeing like Fathima and her family, there were gatherings of immigrants that were devout worshippers keen on learning and studying their faith. With as many immigrants as there were, there was overcrowding and not enough space, resources, or teachers to accommodate them.
The construction took 18 years and it is said that Al-Fihri fasted and prayed until the project’s completion. When it was finished, she went inside and prayed to God, thanking him for his blessings.
Its graduates include several poets, Faqihs (Muslim jurist), astronomers and mathematicians from all over the region. Famous names are those of historian Abdurahman Ibn Khaldun, the doctor and philosopher Abu Walid Ibn Rushd, the Andalusian doctor Musa Ibn Maimonou and Gerbert of Aurillac, who became Pope Sylvester II. In 2017, a prize was created in Tunisia in her honor. It rewards initiatives which encourage access to training and professional responsibilities for women. Furthermore, an academic program and a scholarship given to students from Europe and North Africa pay tribute to Fatima al-Fihri. 1000 years later students are still learning from this university.
This is indeed a great achievement Masha Allah!
There are many such great personalities in Islam like Mariam Beevi, Sumayya (ra) who sacrificed her life for Islam and Nafeesathul Misriyya etc. Meem Academia is also a big example were lots of women teach wide amount of children around the globe while being in the Islamic framework inside their homes.
- Aysha Abdul Latheef