Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Archive for the ‘The Best of Women’ Category

Open Up To The Possibilities

Open up to the possibilities

‘What are the possibilities presented by this situation?’

I remember I was once asked by a psychotherapist, ‘why was I so excited and looking forward to Ramadan?’. A month of no-eating! I thought, hmm … how do I answer such a question? Do I go into the features and ruling of fasting in Islam? What clever, intellectual explanation do I give?

Then  I decided on giving my personal reason, away from any fancy words and concepts.

My personal reason at the time was ‘connection’. Ramadan was a time when I felt more connected with myself and my soul. The times of Iftar when the whole family comes together to break their fast was time to connect with my family. The whole fasting and worship experience made me feel more connected to Allah.

While fasting the month of Ramadan is a pillar of Islam and has many cultural practices involved in it, it is a personal experience. You make of it what YOU make of it!

Here is where stories from the Quran can give us a glimpse of our person choice and attitude. They are gateways to change our attitude to open our hearts to the possibilities that Allah presents us through what we call life. Because life happens! An attitude change that could add so much to our lives and Ramadan is a fantastic time to practice it.   (more…)


The Best Women (4 of 4)

Fatima, the daughter of the seal of Prophethood, Mohammed peace be upon him and a best of Women, Khadijah. She was the wife of a great companion and the third khalifat of the Islamic state. Fatima, the mother of Alhasan and Alhusain, the masters of the youth of paradise.

Such a woman should live in a palace, be surrounded by servants and maids and be adorned with gold and silk. That is our understanding of how a person with high status should be. However, a browse through seerah books will give us a totally different picture.

Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to live a simple life. She used to grind the wheat to make flour, collect water and feed the animals they used to keep. So much so that she complained to her husband Ali (may Allah be pleased with him):  “I have ground until my hands are blistered”.

That was part of life’s struggle and an example for us to learn from and follow. Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) attained a great status indeed.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of `Imraan, Assiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadija daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allah” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Throughout the month of Ramadan we too hope to have attained a greater status in the eyes of Allah the Exalted. Not for worldy gains but for the final and eternal abode in Paradise. Through fasting we hope to attain Taqwa (God consciousness) and through taqwa we ask Allah the exalted to make us of those honoured.  

إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ

{Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you}

Al-Hujurat 49:13


May Allah accept our fasting, salah and All of our good deeds … Ameen

The Best Women (3 of 4)

What makes a good wife, an excellent companion and a true soul mate? I wonder who contemplates these matters more, men or women?

One thing for sure is that the mother of the believers and the wife of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him, Khadija the daughter of Khuwailid was the best of women and an exemplary wife.

 Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of `Imraan, Assiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadija daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Khadija, of an honourable linage, was a wealthy and respected businesswoman. She bore all of the Prophet’s children except for one. After Allah the Exalted  Khadija was the Prophet’s aid and support during and before he was sent with the message of Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) said of her: “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”

Such a loving relationship was built on compassion and understanding. When the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was frightened and shaken from his encounter with Angel Jibril in Hira, Khadija’s response was based on her knowledge of her husband, his character and belief that such a man would never be wronged by his creator:   “Be steadfast and have good news. By the one who has Khadija’s soul in His hand, I wish you become the Prophet of this nation. By God, God will never let you down. You are kind to the kin, you are truthful in your word, you carry the weak, you host your guest, and you support the afflicted.”

She was there for the Prophet (pbuh) until the last moment of her life. Khadija could have chosen not to be included in the sanctions imposed by Quraish on the Muslims. Her tribe would have defended her and her business could have sustained her. After all, she has always lived a comfortable life. However, she chose to be beside her husband and the messenger of Allah; to support a great cause and be with her fellow brothers and sisters.

May Allah be pleased with and have mercy on the Mother of the believers, Khadija the daughter of Khuwailid.

Action points

  •         List the roles you have in your life: daughter, mother, wife, neighbour, sister, friend, work colleague, …. , …. , … etc
  •          How can you be the best YOU can be in each of these roles?
  •          Start making those changes today beginning with asking Allah for strength and guidance
  •          Remember Allah will ask us about how we treated others and not how they treated us.

The Best Women (2 of 4)

In a hadith related by Bukhari, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) gave the example of a Muslim like a date palm-tree. How beneficial is such a tree in the desert of Arabia; its fruit, leaves, trunk and shade.  This tree made an appearance in the story of Mariam when she gave birth to her son. Here, Mariam was told to eat from this tree specifically even though in Palestine other trees and fruits were available.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of `Imraan, Assiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadija daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Mariam, the daughter of `Imraan

She was purified and chosen by Allah to be the mother of a great Prophet; Isaa (Jesus) peace be upon him. She was an obedient and a dedicated worshiper of Allah, the Exalted.

Allah’s favours on her were apparent long before her becoming the mother of Prophet Isaa (peace be upon him). The angels openly addressed her and brought her fruits which were out of season and she was humbly grateful.  Like the date palm-tree her goodness reached beyond her own self and touched her guardian, a Prophet, Zakariyya (peace be upon him). You see, Prophet Zakariayya was inspired to supplicate to Allah and his call was answered with a son, Yahya (John), peace be upon them both.

كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقاً قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَـذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ إنَّ اللّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاء بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ . هُنَالِكَ دَعَا زَكَرِيَّا رَبَّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنْكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاء. فَنَادَتْهُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُوَ قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي فِي الْمِحْرَابِ أَنَّ اللّهَ يُبَشِّرُكَ بِيَحْيَـى مُصَدِّقًا بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَسَيِّدًا وَحَصُورًا وَنَبِيًّا مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ  

{Whenever Zakariyya went to her in the sanctuary, he found that she had provision with her. “Mariam,” he said, “how does this come to you?” “It is from Allah,” she answered. Truly, Allah provides whomsoever He will without reckoning. Thereupon Zakariyya supplicated to his Lord, saying: “Lord, give me from You a good offspring. You hear all prayers.” And the angels called out to him when he was standing in the sanctuary worshipping, saying: “Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya, who shall confirm a Word from Allah. He shall be a master and chaste, a Prophet and from the righteous”} Al-Imraan 3:37-39

Action point

  • ·         Do your goals include others? Not for others, I mean incorporate others? Do they encourage, inspire or motivate another person or people to do better?

A sister set her Ramadan goal to pray regularly. She took the extra step and decided to always pray with at least one more person. That way she is committed, motivates someone else to pray on time and they both gain the reward of praying in congregation.

I am pleased to report that she’s doing really well and I am proud of her. Masha’allah Tabarakallah.  

The Best Women (1 of 4)

Who won the race, the turtle or the rabbit? We all know the story. The turtle won but not because it installed propeller jets to its shell. It’s because the rabbit became complacent and took it easy. By the time the rabbit woke up and decide to put in the effort it was too late. That is the example of the days of Ramadan. Some of us start strong and energetic, slow down midway then pick up the pace towards the end. What about the middle ground? All that reward and blessings that we could be missing on!

I suggest putting some carrots along the racing path. Inspiration and motivation to keep us going.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of `Imraan, Assiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadija daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Assiya the wife of Pharaoh

She believed in the message of Musa (peace be upon him); worship none but Allah the Exalted. She knew this will bring Pharaoh’s wrath and punishment. She has set her priorities right for this life and the hereafter.

In this life, Assiya chose to declare her belief, worship Allah and leave the luxuries of her palace, servants and riches. She would most definitely lose her status through torture and humiliation. However, her status with Allah was raised. Indeed Allah has testified to her faith and in the Quran He mentioned her among the believers.

Assiya asked Allah to save her from what Pharaoh was calling to. She made dua for a house in Jannah. She has set her sight high and asked for that house to be near Allah.

{وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ}

{Allah has given as an example to those who believe;  Pharaoh’s wife, who said: “My Lord, build me before You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his actions, and save me from a transgressing nation”}  At-Tahrim 66:11


Action points:

 * If you have set your goals, I ask you revisit these, renew your intention and resolve to achieve them.  It is your responsibility to act on your intentions and ask Allah for his aid and guidance.

* No goals set? It’s not too late. Get a pen and paper and start writing. Remember, be specific and think big. Allah is The Vast and nothing is beyond his ability and control.