The Best Of Women
By Abu Abdur Rahman
Imaam Ahmad reports a hadith on the authority of Ibn Abbaas (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhu):
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) drew on the sand four lines and said “Do you know what these are?” They said “Allaah and His Messenger know best”. So he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: These are the best of women in Jannah: Khadijah bint Khuwaalid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imraan and Asiya bint Mazahim (the wife of Firaun).”
Also in another narration: “The best women in the world are Asiya, Maryam, Khadijah bint Khuwaalid and Fatimah bint Muhammad.”
KHADIJAH BINT KHUWAALID (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha)
She, Khadijah (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha), was the mother of the children of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
She was the first of the creation to believe in him and accept his message before everyone.
Zubair ibn Bukkaar said “Khadijah – in the days of Jahiliya use to be called “the pure one, the clean one.”
Aeysha (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) speaks about Khadijah (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha): “When the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would mention Khadijah, he would not stop praising her and seeking repentance for her. One day he did this and my jealousy overwhelmed me. So I said “Indeed Allah has given you better than a woman of old age.” Then I saw him become so angry that it silenced me, my mind, my heart and my soul. So much so, that I said to myself “Oh Allah, if the Messenger’s (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) anger with me would go, I will
never mention Khadijah in a bad way again.” After a while the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said “what did you say? By Allah she believed in me when the people disbelieved in me and she accepted me when the people rejected me and I had sons from her which I never had from you all.” [Hadith Hasan – Al Issaba and Musnad Ahmad].
Narrated by Aesha (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) another narration: “Allah has not given me better than her – she believed in me when the people disbelieved. She shared with me her wealth when the people pressured me and Allah gave me sons from her and prohibited me sons from other than her…” [Daeef Mujalid in the chain]
Aeysha (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) also said “I have never felt jealousy over a woman than I did for Khadijah because of what I used to hear when the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would mention her, and he did not marry until three years after her death. And his Lord had ordered him to give her glad tidings of a house in Paradise made of Pearls”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhu) reported: Jibreel came to the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said: “This Khadijah, when she comes with a container of food or drink then pass her salaam from her Lord and from me and give her glad tidings of a house in Paradise made with pearls with no Sakhab nor Nasab in it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Khadijah (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) died before prayer was obligatory upon the Muslims. She died in Ramadaan and was buried in Hajoon.
Kattada and Urwa said: She died three years before the Hijra.
So what did Khadijah (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) do and what was her character like?
She loved her husband, she cared for him. When he received the first revelation
“Read in the name of your lord, He who has created, created man from a single clot of blood..”
Upon receiving the revelation, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) became fearful. He (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was worried and anxious, not knowing what was to become of him. He (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) began to doubt whether what had happened to him had come from Shaytaan or from Jibreel. He returned to Khadijah holding his neck. He said to her “cover me, cover me, cover me” so she covered him until this fear left him. Then he said to Khadijah “Oh Khadijah what is wrong with me?” He informed her of all that took place in the mountain and said “I truly fear for myself.” She said “Never! Be glad! Because by Allah, Allah would never harm you ever, you are kind to your family and relations and you always speak the truth and take on other people’s problems, and you support and aid the truth” She, may Allah be pleased with her, took him to the son of her uncle, Waraka bin Nowful bin Asad. He became a Christian in Jahiliya and he used to write in Arabic. He wrote the Bible in Arabic. He was an old man. She said listen to the son of your brother. So the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed him of what had happened and he replied: “This is like what had been revealed to Moses.”
Narrated by Ibn Ishaaq: Khadijah said, “Can you tell me when your companion comes. When he came in he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said “Oh Khadijah, there is Jibreel (‘Alayh is-Salam). So she said “Sit here on my thigh, so he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did so – she asked is he still there, he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “Yes!” So she said sit on my other thigh, which he did and she asked is he still there, he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said “Yes”. Then she removed her Khimaar (covering that exposed her chest) and asked is he still there and he (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “No!!!” She then said, “Have glad tidings because indeed by Allah he is an angel and not Shaytaan.”” [Ibn Hisham]
FATIMA BINT RASOOL ALLAH (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha)
She is from the best women of the world, and daughter of the best man in the world – the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). The mother of Hasan and Hussain (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhuma). Born a short while before the beginning of his (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prophethood. The wife of the Imaam Ali bin Abi Talib (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhu) who married her two years after the battle of Badr. She used to narrate hadith from her father. The following people narrated hadith from her: Hussain, Aesha, Umm Salamah, and Anas ibn Malik.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to love her and be kind to her. She was patient, thankful to her Lord and used to pray at night.
The Prophet used to be angry for her, as in the case when Ali (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhu) wanted to marry the daughter of Abi Jahal (she was a Muslim). The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said angrily “By Allah, the daughter of the Prophet of Allah and the daughter of the enemy of Allah will never be together. Verily Fatima is of me. It hurts me that which hurts her and it concerns me that which concerns her”. So Ali left that proposition and did not take a second wife until after she, Fatima, died.
And when her father died, she became extremely sad and cried for him saying:
“Oh my father! With Jibreel you’ve gone
On my father! You answered your Lord’s call
Oh my father! Your end is Janatul-Firdous.”
And when they buried the Messenger of Allah, she said crying “Oh Anas, how can you feel good in yourselves after throwing soil on the Messenger of Allah?!”
And when the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was dying, she was by his bedside, sad and crying. Her cheek was on his (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) cheek while she was weeping. The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) whispered in her ear and she began to cry and then he whispered again and she laughed. After his (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) death, she was asked about this by Aesha (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha). So she said the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) told her firstly that he was going to die and meet his Lord and leave me behind. That made me cry. Then he whispered another time telling me that I would be the first of his family to meet him and that I would be the “sayeid” or best women in Paradise.
It was narrated that Fatima bint Muhammad (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) died six months after the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) died.
She woke up the morning after a dream and she knew she was going to die that day. So she bathed herself, wore her best clothes, perfumed herself, and laid down on a bed outside her garden. She even informed Asmaa bint Abu Bakr (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) not to allow anyone to see her when she died and not to tell anyone.
So that day she laid, perfumed, resting, her soul was taken by Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) to reside with her father and the best of women in Paradise. And that was Fatimah bint Muhammad (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha)
MARYAM (‘Alayh as-Salam)
A pious woman about whom Allah said
“Maryam the daughter of Imraan who preserved her chastity.”
Meaning she protected it from illegal sexual intercourse.
“So we blew into her from our spirit”
This was via Angel Jibreel, because Allah sent him to her in the form of a man. And Allah ordered him to blow into a pocket of her garment. So he did so and this breath went into her womb and she became pregnant with Eesa (‘Alayh is-Salam).
And “our spirit” does not mean here part of Allah himself, rather it is referring to his creation.
After this Allah said about her:
“And she was true to the word of her Lord and His Books.”
Which means she believed the word, which Jibreel said:
“that it was Allah’s wish”
“that Eesa would be Allah’s word”
“that she would carry Eesa”
“that he would bring a Book”
So she accepted the Qadr of Allah and his Shariah.
Allah also described her as:
“and she was of the Qaaniteen”
She was of those who used to stand up and pray, humble themselves before their Lord.
Maryam was brought up by Zakarriyah (‘Alayh is-Salam). She used to live on the top floor of a monastery (a place of worship) where the people would go. But she would never go out except for her needs. She was always in prayer and worship.
She was poor and had little food. But during her pregnancy, every time Zakariyya would come up to her to see if she was alright – he would find a feast of foods and fruit with her. He would ask her “from where did all this come?” She replied “ it is all from Allah.”
When her time came to give birth she went out to a far place crying, her eyes swollen with tears and pain. She was suffering aches in her back and stomach (labour pains). She withdrew to a far place and said “if only I was to die, rather than this.” She was worried about what would be said about her, being an unmarried woman, and giving birth to a son. Many people rejected her, abandoned her, and accused her of zina. Then Allah revealed to her:
“Oh Maryam strike the base of the palm tree and fresh ripe dates will fall down for you. Eat of them and sooth your eyes with them.”
So the hadith said: She ate them and it gave her strength to cope with what was to come. She placed them over her eyes and they did indeed cool her swollen tearful eyes.
So Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) protected her, aided her, fed her, clothed her and gave her honour when the people vilified her and gave her no food or water.