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 Women in the Qur’an (Part 1)

June 1, 2009 by Guest Authors  


By: Amatullah



The Qur’an and Sunnah are filled with accounts of the lives of humanity’s greatest men and women: the Prophets of Allah and the righteous. Allah ta’ala says:

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَـٰكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُون

“There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it, – a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to those who believe.” [12:111]

Allah ta’ala calls these stories “qasas“, which literally means to follow someone. The purpose of mentioning these stories is not for entertainment or amusement but it is to follow the rightly guided and to take lessons from their lives. Imam Hasan Al Basri rahimahullah said, “the lucky one is the one who will learn from other’s lives.” 

These stories are an “ibrah“, a lesson that goes beyond the obvious facts. Allah says only the “Ulil Albaab” will understand these deep lessons: those who go beyond the surface and delve into the crux of the matter to derive benefits and understand the deeper meaning.


Why should we learn these stories? Imam Anwar Awlaki discussed a few reasons in his “Lives of the Propehts” series: 

Firstly, it is an ibaadah, an act of worship that Allah commanded. Allah ta’ala tells the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam:


فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ


“Then relate the stories, so that they may reflect.” (7:176)


Secondly, so that we may contemplate. These stories are not to entertain us, but they are for reflection.


Thirdly, they are the ones who are guided, and Allah is instructing the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and us to follow their guidance:


أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۖ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ


“They are those whom Allah had guided. So follow their guidance.” (6:90)


Our nature as humans is that we must have people to look up to. If we do not find role models in the Prophets and the righteous, we will find them somewhere else. This was the instruction given to Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi sallam, then what of us?


Fourthly, to love them. If you do not know someone you cannot love them. We all claim to love the Prophets and righteous, yet if we do not know the details of their life and their struggles, how can we respect them?


We hear many times that there are only righteous men in our deen—where are the women?? Alhamdulillah, we are not deprived of examples! InshaAllah this series will introduce our sisters to the women of the Qur’an: their lives, their struggles and their lessons.


-Maryam alayha salaam: a righteous upbringing, mother of a Prophet, accused of a grave sin, and protected by Allah azza wa jal.

-Umm Musa: the epitome of tawakkul for a mother, her reliance upon Allah ta’ala saved her and her family.

-Queen of Sheba: a powerful woman who humbled herself before Allah, a queen of a nation before women in the rest of the world were even recognized.

-Aasiya the wife of Firawn: a woman who had everything going for her in this dunya: wealth, powerful husband and beauty, which she all gave up for Allah azza wa jal.

-The servant of Firawn: she called to Allah even though her life would be in danger working for the greatest disbeliever in Musa alayhi salaam.

-The daughters of Shu’ayb alayhi salaam: they guarded their chastity even when they were not seen, assisted their father in his old age, and recognized the excellent qualities in Musa alayhi salaam.

-The wife of Abu Lahab: unlike our other stories, we will learn from her what we should not do. She did not accept the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and Allah ta’ala tells us the ultimate end of her and her husband in the hereafter.

…and more!

It is a phenomena amongst the Muslims that we presume these righteous men and women are “too good to be true” for our own lives today. We see the Qur’an as a Book of “legends” and “saints” that don’t fit in with reality and these modern times. InshaAllah with this series, we will completely break this thought process. Indeed, in their lives are many lessons for us, action items and practical benefits that we can extract through contemplation. We pray that this series will empower our sisters by giving us practical and righteous role models to learn from. 

and Allah azza wa jal knows best.


و آخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين

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2 Responses to “Milestones of Humanity: Women in the Qur’an (Part 1)”

Nasira Sabria Abdul-Aleem says:

Today at 10:54 am (23 minutes ago)

where is Ibrahim’s (’alaihi Salaam) wife, Hajar/Hegar? (or did I miss something) her story is one of the most powerful (and she is not even mentioned as one of the four most righteous women ever) - Allah ordered Ibraheem to send her and her/his baby son out into the dessert - the end of which was the miracle of the well of Zam Zam and the Kaaba and the fifth pillar of Islam - Hajj.


Milestones of Humanity: Women in the Qur’an (Part 1) | Muslimah Source | Education . Support . Guidance « euraktiva says:

Today at 4:55 am (6 hours ago)

[...] via Milestones of Humanity: Women in the Qur’an (Part 1) | Muslimah Source |

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