6 Notable Women In Early Islamic History To Look Up To


Shasha Dania •  Sep 07, 2020

Islam's long history is full of notable Muslim women - from Hawwa, the wife of Prophet Adam, to modern-day trailblazers who are making a mark for themselves while being proud of their Muslim identity and heritage. ? Today, we're shining a light on some of the notable women in the Qur'an and early Islamic history whose stories, achievements, and admirable traits still shine through today. We hope their stories will continue to inspire and guide you in your own faith. ?

1. Hajar

One of the most sacred events in any Muslim's life is the performance of the obligatory Hajj prayer during the month of Zulhijjah, and the commemoration of this with the celebration of Eid al-Adha. While we typically remember the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim during this time, another name we should remember is that of his wife, Hajar. Hajar was tested by God when she and her baby Ismail were left stranded in the unforgiving desert. But she did not lose faith in God - instead, she kept on searching for any water or life, praying to God for his compassion. And her belief was rewarded when God sent the angel Jibril to deliver the holy zam zam water to them!

Today, her sacrifice and faith are commemorated during Hajj by recreating her pacing between the mountains. But more than that, we should also commemorate it by striving to have the same steadfast belief in the power and Oneness of God as her, that we can be assured of God's presence and mercy even in what appears to be the worst of circumstances. ?

2. Mariam

Mariam is a figure venerated in both Christianity and Islam, as the mother of Prophet Isa as well as a powerful woman in her own right. She's even the only woman who's explicitly named in the Qur'an! ? Regarded as one of the most righteous and devout women in Islamic history, the power of Mariam's story lies in the fact that though she was thoroughly human, she was also blessed with the birth of the Prophet and continued to believe in God even when others spread gossip about her sudden arrival of a newborn. Her story is a humbling reminder of the worth of piousness and chastity, as well as believing in the wisdom of God through what happens in our lives.

3. Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

One of the most famous Muslim women in history is definitely Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad. Businesswoman, leader, mother, or even divorcee - she's known by many epithets, each with their own significance. Her background as a divorcee and businesswoman is a reminder to us today of the independence and strength of Muslim women. She was even the one who proposed marriage to the Prophet! Her faith and belief in the Prophet is also another quality we can look up to - she supported him after he received his revelation, and was the first person to become a Muslim even when others doubted him. ?

4. Fatimah bint Muhammad

The closest of the Prophet's children to him, Fatimah is still admired and respected today as a devotedcompassionate, and strong woman and role model that we can strive to emulate. She took on the difficulty of caring for her father even after moving out of the home to stay with her husband, and her caring nature extended to strangers too. She helped the vulnerable and needy throughout her lifetime, and her dedication to caring for others is a powerful reminder that our strength can come from our humility and devotion to others. ❤️

5. Aisha bint Abu Bakr

The third (and by some accounts also the most beloved) of the Prophet's wives, Aisha, was said to have helped spread and develop Islam after the Prophet's death. Known for her sharp intellect, wisdom, and courage, she memorised the Qur'an, recorded and clarified many of the hadith that we still rely on today, and was a political figure who was approached for her sound advice. She advocated strongly for the rights of women, especially their ability to receive proper education and dignity in a time when women were not seen as being equal to men. Today, centuries later, her legacy is a reminder of Islam's history of women's rights - and is also an inspiration to advocate and fight for the rights of women and the disadvantaged around us.

6. Zaynab bint Ali

The granddaughter of the Prophet through his daughter Fatimah, Zaynab has become a significant figure in Muslim history in her own right for her courage and strength. She was willing to sacrifice herself to save her nephew's life when he was sentenced to death, and when captured as prisoner after a battle even gave a speech that moved the caliph to release her and other captives.

These women and their stories existed centuries, even more than a thousand years ago! But in spite of that, they are still moving and powerful reminders of the strength that Islam accords to women - and are an inspiration for all of us even today. ?