The Four Best Women To Ever Live

Many women today, including some Muslim women, are a victim of irrational ideologies in the name of women empowerment, feminism, and gender equality. These ideas delude women into taking steps that may seem successful at the outset but are destructive in reality. Such movements either help fashion industries make more profit or support the devils in destroying society.

The Messenger of Allah drew four lines on the ground, then he said, “Do you know what this is?” The Companions said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Messenger of Allah said: “The best of the women of Paradise are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Asiya bint Muzahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imraan” – may Allah be pleased with them all.

What Made Them Successful?

What is meant here (in the hadith) is that these women achieved the highest degree of virtue, righteousness and taqwa.

Their belief in the unseen was strong, their reliance upon Allah was complete, their attachment to the temporary world was none, their love for Allah was sincere, and happiness for them was to be in good status with Allah.

1. Asiya

She was like a mother to Prophet Musa and the wife of the superpower of the day, tyrant of all tyrants and a man who called himself God – Fir’awn.

When the truth that the Lord is none but One was presented to Asiya, she accepted it without any fear or worry of losing her royal status. She smiled in the face of death when Fir’awn tortured her. She turned to the All-Hearing, Allah, so He took her soul away before their torture could put her to death.[3]

Allah praised her in the Qur’an as an example for both men and women:

“And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir’awn (Pharaoh), when she said: ‘My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and his work, and save me from the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers and disbelievers in Allah).’”  [Surah at Tahrim, verse 11]

2. Maryam

She was the mother of Eesa (Jesus) alayhi salaatu wa salaam. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the universe.”  [Surah Aal-Imran, verse 42]

Allah states that the angels spoke to Maryam by His command and told her that He chose her because of her service to Him, because of her modesty, honor, innocence, and conviction. Allah also chose her because of her virtue over the women of the world. [4]

The Prophet said: “The best woman (in her time) was Maryam, daughter of `Imran, and the best woman (of the Prophet’s time) is Khadijah (his wife), daughter of Khuwaylid.[At-Tirmidhi]

3. Khadijah

She was the first beloved wife of the Prophet . Many today use Khadijah’s noble status to prove that it is alright for a Muslim woman to take lightly her obligations at home and pursue careers.

They say she was an independent businesswoman who rejected men who didn’t meet her standards. This is due to the faulty knowledge about the seerah of the Prophet .

Before Islam, Khadijah owned a business but she did not engage in business directly or travel with her trade caravans; rather, she employed men to trade on her behalf for a commission. We know that she appointed the Prophet to do the same. This was before Islam came.

After Islam, she gave up everything for her religion and supported her husband with all that she had. She gave up all comforts and luxuries to an extent which none of us can today. She took the role of a wife with a sacrificing heart and strong faith, not seeking careers or fame but the pleasure of Allah alone.

Islam does allow women to work under certain conditions[5], but that is not a goal; the goal is higher than that. Jibreel (Gabriel) came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah! This is Khadijah coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (i.e. Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a Qasab palace in Paradise wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).[Sahih Al-Bukhari 3820]

Her death was one of most saddening events for the Prophet .

Khawlah bint Hakeem asked the Prophet , “Messenger of Allah! It seems you have been afflicted by want since the death of Khadijah.” The Prophet replied, “Yes, she was the mother of the household and the caretaker for the family.[6] [Also read: Mothering The Ummah]

4. Fatimah

She was the beloved daughter of the Prophet . Aisha said about her: “I never saw anyone who resembled the Messenger of Allah more in dignity, calmness and pleasant disposition than Fatimah. When she entered upon him, he would stand up for her, take her by the hand, kiss her and make her sit where he was sitting, and when he entered upon her, she would stand up for him, take him by the hand, kiss him and make him sit where she was sitting.[Dawood 5217]

Here, ‘dignity’ refers to good conduct in matters of religion, and also has to do with having a balanced attitude. As to “calmness”, Abu ‘Ubayd said: “Calmness and pleasant disposition are similar in meaning; this may be said with regard to tranquillity and dignity, or with regard to appearance and attributes.”

“Pleasant disposition” refers to elegance in walking, speaking and so on. [7]

Fatimah was a devout wife and homemaker. One day she asked her father for a servant, but the Prophet knew what was better for her.

It is reported on the authority of Ali that Fatimah had corns in her hand because of working at the hand-mill. There had fallen to the lot of the Messenger of Allah some prisoners of war. She came to the Prophet but she did not find him (in the house). She met A’ishah and informed her (about her hardship). When the Messenger of Allah came, she (A’ishah) informed him about the visit of Fatimah. The Messenger of Allah came to them (Fatimah and her family). They had gone to their beds.

‘Ali further (reported): ‘We tried to stand up (as a mark of respect) but Allah’s Messenger said ‘Keep to your beds,‘ and he sat amongst us and I felt the coldness of his feet upon my chest. He then said: ‘May I not direct you to something better than what you have asked for? When you go to your bed, you should recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) thirty-four times and Tasbih (Subhan Allah) thirty-three times and Tahmid (Alhamdulillah) thirty-three times, and that is better than the servant for you.’” [Sahih Muslim 2727