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7 Most Prominent and Influential Women in The History of Islam

02 February 2024

Many Muslims have played a vital role in Islam to which many of the Muslim women look up to in today’s time period. The stories of their strength and outclass personalities have been admired by almost everyone. Islam gives great importance to women and grants them their rights when they were less valued in Arab. The historical perspective of Islam clearly shows how Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) respects, values, and upholds high morals for women in society. There are several women who have immensely contributed in the way of Islam and have taught us many lessons through their lives.

The first person who embraced Islam was a woman, Hazrat Khadija (R.A)

Islam’s greatest scholar was a woman, Hazrat Aisha (R.A)

These influential women tried their best to do something good by following the path of Islam and many of them are also mentioned with name in the Quran. Listed below are some of the most prominent and influential women in Islamic history:

Khadija Bint Al-Khuwaylid

Khadija Bint al-Khuwaylid was the Prophet Muhammad's first wife and is one of the most influential and inspirational personalities in the History of Islam. She is known as the "Mother of Believers" because she single-handedly funded and supported the Prophet and Islam in its early stages. Even before her renowned marriage to the Prophet Muhammad, she was a leading personality in her own way, as a wealthy trader and one of Mecca's elites. She was the first Muslim who played an important part in promoting and spreading the emerging religion of Islam. She was a rich woman, a businesswoman, and a merchant who handled her own trading affairs throughout the region. Initially hiring the Prophet (S.A.W) before the Quran was released on him, Khadija (R.A) allegedly offered to marry him. The Prophet (S.A.W), get astounded by the devotion of such a strong and encouraging woman, welcomed the proposal, and loved her. It is also mentioned in a Hadith where

When she died in 620AD, Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) himself dug her grave. Khadija (R.A), who stood by the Prophet (S.A.W) during the most difficult days, is regarded as one of history's most influential women.
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Fatima Bint Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

Fatima, the Prophet Muhammad's and his wife Khadija's daughter, was said to be intelligent and was educated by the Prophet himself about the truth and teachings of Islam. After seeing perhaps one of the most challenging days of the initial Islamic period, her confidence and commitment to God remained amazingly high. Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) had a very loving and caring bond with Fatima (R.A) and whenever he passes by her house, He used to say “as-Salamu alaykum ya Ahla Bay annubuwwah wa ma din arr-risala (peace be with you, O Household of the Prophet and the Substance of the Message)”. Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) care a lot about her and it is mention in a Hadith where Fatima eventually married Ali ibn Abu Talib, one of the Prophet's most respected companions, and had a total of five children named, Hassan and Hussain, Mohsin, Zainab, and Umm Kulthum. She liver a short life, despite that, Fatima's (R.A) impact on the Muslim population stays among the most dominant in terms of religion, commitment, modesty, and courage. She died in 632 AD and was buried in an unspecified grave by her husband, according to her will.

Zainab Bint Ali

Zainab, the Prophet's daughter Fatima’s daughter, and her husband Ali ibn Abu Talib have been one of the most integral names in the History of Islam. Having lived through turbulent inter-fighting and the devastating Battle of Karbala, Zainab tends to influence millions with her brave commitment to both her family and her religion. Following her mother's death, Zainab with her brothers Hassan (R.A) and Hussain (R.A), was required to protect themselves and their families during the battle that erupted following the Prophet's demise over authority. Even after her father's assassination, Zainab endured the frightening wars amongst her brothers and the Umayyad tyrants. At the time of the Battle of Karbala, which resulted in the gruesome murder of her brother Hussain (R.A) as well as several other members of the family Zainab was compelled to migrate to Damascus, Syria, during Yazid's reign. She stood against Yazid and told him to wait for his punishment over evil deeds of injustice, killing, and many more.

Zainab remained steadfast and strong even after witnessing the deaths of her beloved ones and remained true to her religion. She is an inspiration for many Muslim women to stand against the wrong at any cost.

Hafsa Bint Umar

Hafsa Bint Umar was among one of the Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) wives, and she is honored with about 60 hadith or sayings and actions of the Prophet (S.A.W). After her first husband’s death, Kahunas ibn Hubhaifa, becoming a widow, she was offered to marry both the companions of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W), Uthman and Abu Bakr. Both denied marrying her later the Prophet (S.A.W) moved in and married her after a year of her being a widow. After her marriage with the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), Hafsa memorized the full Quran, which was an oral text at the time and had not been properly documented. This extraordinary achievement motivates many people, particularly women, to read and memories the Holy Quran. The first printed version of the Quran was provided to Hafsa for secure storage before Uthman structured the version of the Quran.

Aisha Bint Abu Bakr

Aisha (R.A) became one of the Prophet's wives After the death of Khadija (R.A) and is commended with narrating over 2,000 hadith, or the Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) sayings and actions. Most Muslims also adopt several of the hadith that Aisha herself recounted – on both the Prophet's personal sphere and his Sunnah, and also other religious subjects such as succession, pilgrimage, and much more. Aisha (R.A) is also said to have taught at many schools and was considered by some to have a broad range of expertise. Aisha (R.A) was the daughter of Abu Bakr, one of the Prophet's trusted associates, and was deeply inspired by her father's involvement in the early Islamic period. In Medina, Aisha died in 678 AD. She was a role model for Muslim women who want to make the most out of their lives by sticking to the teachings of Islam.

Sumayyah Bint Khayyat

Sumayyah Bint Khayyat, renowned as the very first martyr of Islam, was among the first to publicly defy the Quraysh rulers of the era and was murdered for her dedication to God. Sumayyah, who was born a slave but later released, married Yasir ibn Amir and was among the earliest families to embrace Islam. She came from a small family with no links to influential elites or tribal relations. Sumayyah and her family have been seen as obvious victims by the ruling Quraysh groups who had already been oppressing the rising Islamic community. After getting kidnapped, she was provided the opportunity to relinquish her religion Islam and denounce the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). Abu Jahal who was a Meccan and Quraysh official, killed Sumayyah because she refused to leave Islam.

Sumayyah is remembered as one of the most heartbreaking yet inspirational representations of strong women in Islam; dealing with the aftermath of brutality, Sumayyah declined to accept in the wake of injustice and oppression. Sumayyah's influence and dedication continue to influence the feelings and minds of Muslims.

Nafisa Bint Al-Hassan

Nafisa Bint Al-Hassan was the Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) great-great-granddaughter. She was known for her loyalty and intellect. There was a mosque in Cairo that is also named after her. Since living a large proportion of her life in Egypt, Nafisa rose to be one of the most sought-after intellectuals of her day, also guiding two of the most famous scholars of the day, Abu Abdullah Mohammed Idris Al-Shafi'i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Nafisa, who memorized the Quran and various hadiths from a young age, remains among the most influential people of her day in terms of Islamic rulings and doctrine. She tends to fast the whole and prays a lot at night and has also performed hajj nearly 30 times in her lifetime.

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