The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) was sitting with his companions when he began to draw four lines into the sand. When he was done, he turned to his companions and asked, “Do you know what these are?” They replied humbly, not even trying to guess, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Messenger replied “The best women of the women of Paradise are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatima bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, and Aasiyah bint Muzahim.” After some time, when Aisha got older, the Prophet ﷺ said, “The virtue of Ayesha over all the women of the world is like the virtue of tharîd (a meat dish) over all other food,” (at the time Tharid was a very precious food). These five women are women who attained perfection—who have been gifted to us by our Lord as examples for us to follow. These women attained perfection because of who they were. They were all different, none of them a carbon copy of the other. They were unique, they were special, and most importantly they loved God.
Our mother, Khadijah, radi Allahu `anha (may God be pleased with her), was an amazing role model for all the women who came after her. She was loved by the Prophet ﷺ and was loved by the Almighty. Khadijah was a business woman, taking care of the financial matters during the time in which the Prophet was spreading the message of Islam. She was a mother, and the only woman to whom the Prophet was married who bore him children. She gave birth to and raised another perfect woman, the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima. She was a business woman, a mother, and a giant part of our history.
Her daughter Fatima, may God be pleased with her, had a special place in the heart of the Messenger ﷺ. Not only was she the daughter of our beloved, but she was also the wife of Ali (ra) and the mother of Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein. She was known to be extremely forbearing and caring with people in need. Hussein (ra), said that he would find his mother absorbed in her prayer from dusk until dawn. He said that her generosity and compassion for the poor was so immense that no poor person or beggar ever walked away from her door without being attended to. She was a mother and a wife, and one of the most inspirational women in our past.
The next woman that was mentioned was Maryam `alayha as-salam (peace be upon her). Maryam’s story is as unique as they get. She attained perfection and was granted many miracles by God including being provided for in ways that were strange to others, such as receiving fruits out of season. But of course the great miracle in her life is universally known, her being the virgin mother of Jesus alayhi as-salam (peace be upon him). It is at this time that we should take a moment and put this into perspective. Maryam was unmarried and a single mother. Her story is one of the most well-known stories of history despite the fact that she wasn’t married. She attained perfection because of who she was not because of who she was married to or a lofty status in the community. Her perfection came from within.
Aasiyah (as) was also an inspirational figure that can never be forgotten. She was the wife of the Pharaoh, one of the most oppressive men of history. In essence, she was a victim of domestic abuse. But her situation didn’t stop her from becoming the best she could be. She continued to push her relationship with God and called out to Him in her despair asking for a house in Jannah (Paradise). She attained perfection and was granted one of the greatest honors, being spoken about in the Qur’an for all of humanity to read about for the rest of time.
Lastly, but definitely not least, our Mother Aisha, may God be pleased with her. Aisha was not a mother, nor was she a business woman. Aisha was a wife, and a scholar. She was one of the greatest scholars of all time, hands down. Her focus was not to be an amazing housewife; rather her main focus was being a woman of knowledge and standing up for the rights of women. She was not a weak, timid woman. She spoke up whenever she felt the need and was not afraid to fight for her rights. She wasn’t a mother, yet she was one of the women who was known to have been held to high esteem by Allah and the Messenger himself.
These five women were nothing short of amazing based on the most important criteria, the criteria set forth by Allah and spoken to us by his Messenger ﷺ. They were amazing because of who they are. There was no set cookie cutter for them to fit into. They were amazing despite any hardships in their lives or pressures they may have faced. Whether she was a mother, a wife, single, a business woman or a victim of domestic abuse, it didn’t limit her ability to rise in the site of Allah. So whoever you are, whatever position you may be, do your best and be amazing. Because you, despite your circumstances, can rise high in the sight of Allah, if only you focus on that which is most important—Him.