History has witnessed to itself many women. In each era, thousands of women with different types and manners have come into existence. However, some of them have stood out among the others, and some others have somehow ended up in off beam and have left a dark account. Some have become fair role models among the women of their time, or even for all ages, and some other have become great examples to be avoided.   

Looking at the outstanding women of history, the names of four great ladies become distinctive. The Great Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) reveals the name of these four ladies, in his glorious words:

“The most excellent women of all times consist of, Maryam/Mary daughter of Imran, Asiah daughter of Muzahim, Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, and Fatimah (PBUH) daughter of Muhammad (PBUH&HP).” (1)

On the other hand, God, in the 10th verse of the Surah of Tahrim, points to two women as examples of infidel women:

“Allah sets forth an example for those who disbelieve, the wife of Nuh/Noah and the wife of Lout/Lot. They were under two of our righteous servants, but they both betrayed their husbands.” (2)

But what really makes these four ladies the most excellent of all women? Is it because they are wives to great persons? It must not be the case. The husband of Asiah (PBUH) was a ruthless and infidel person like the Pharaoh. On the other hand, the Holy Quran points to two sinister women that both were wives to divine Prophets. So what is the secret of greatness of these or viciousness of those women? Analyzing the biography of the four foremost excellent women, one main reason of their superiority becomes clear, furthermore it can lead us to the reason why the two others, pointed by the Holy Quran, are examples of vicious women.

The biographies of these ladies reveal that one of the main causes of their brilliancy is their faith in God, and obedience and their unconditional support for the true leader of their time. The pages of history clearly testify that Asiah (PBUH) toward Prophet Moses, Lady Maryam (PBUH) toward Prophet Jesus (PBUH), Lady Khadijah (PBUH) toward the Great Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP), and Lady Fatimah toward Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) all had complete conformity, obedience, and unreserved support.

Let’s now set aside the care and support of the other three ladies to the leader of their times. The joint life of Lady Khadijah (PBUH) and the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) is, from the very beginning until the end, indicative of luminous aspects of the personality of this Quraishi lady. A lady whom, in spite of the significant rank she enjoyed among the Arabs, being the richest person in the Arabian peninsula, became the target of harsh laments by the ignorant women with pre-Islamic traits, to the extent which at the time of giving birth to Lady Fatimah (PBUH) rudely left her and did not help her. But such pressures that only rooted in Lady Khadijah’s (PBUH) embracing of the Islamic faith, and her marriage to the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP), never made her hesitant in her decision, and she always remained in the line of supporters of the Prophethood and Islam.

An example of such supports was the time, which the Muslims were under severe economical sanctions from the infidels, and had to stay in the defile (Shi’b) of Abi-Talib, under harshest conditions in the hot desert. Lady Khadijah (PBUH), around the age of sixty, was definitely not in an age to be able to easily bear the hardships of those days. However, the fact is that she was a caring reliever for the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP), and it was she that in those condition offered her entire wealth to the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) so purely that at the end of her life she passed away while almost at complete poverty that she could not afford to have even grave clothes (shroud)…

Yes, a strong faith in God, and her devotion to her true leader, was the most important reasons that made her bear the hardships so easily, and made her one of the four foremost superior ladies of all times.

(Selection taken from the book “Lady Khadijah (PBUH), the Wife of the Prophet; the Example of Altruism and Resistance”, by Muhammad Muhammadi Ishtehardi)

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1-   “The best women in the world are Maryam bint Imran, Asiyah bint Muzahim, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Fatima bint Muhammad (may God bless him and his family and grant them peace).”

1. Shia references: I’lam al-Wara be A’lam al-Huda, p. 148

Sunni references: Sahih al-Tirmadhi, vol. 1, p. 31 – Musnad Ahmad Hanbal, vol. 3, p. 135 – Tafsir Ibn Jarir, vol. 3, p. 180 – Mustadrak, al-Sahihain, vol. 3, p. 157 – Osd al-Ghaabah, vol. 5, p. 437 – Al-Isti’aab, vol. 2, p. 720 and p. 750 – Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 12, p. 441 – Kanz al-Ummal, vol. 6, p. 227

2. Allah has set forth for the unbelievers the parable of the wives of Noah and Lot. They were wedded to two of Our righteous servants, but each acted treacherously with her husband,24 and their husbands could be of no avail to them against Allah. The two of them were told: “Enter the Fire with all the others who enter it.” The Holy Quran, (66:10)

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