Women in the Holy Prophet’s Life: An Analysis

Below we have translated an excerpt from an excellent work by Shaykh Ḥusayn al-Khechin entitled “Al-Mar’ah fī al-Naṣṣ al-Dīnī: Qirā’ah Naqdiyyah fī Riwāyāt Dhamm al-Mar’ah” (Women in Religious Literature: A Critical Reading of the Narrations Rebuking Women). In this book, the author seeks to critically analyze the various ḥadīth reported from the Holy Prophet (saw) and Imām ‘Alī (as) in condemnation of women; he demonstrates that they are either completely baseless or must be contextualized. Although the entire work is excellent, the excerpt we have chosen to translate is regarding the variegated roles of women in the early Islamic period and the life of the Holy Prophet (saw), pages 79-92.[1]

Serious historical investigators and experts on the Holy Prophet’s (saw) life should be able to easily determine that women played a central role in his mission. This was not limited just to the Prophet’s personal life, but also subsumed his capacity as an apostle and proselytizer. We will suffice to mention here some examples of these outstanding women who graduated from the school of the Holy Prophet (saw) and played a prominent role in the dissemination of Islamic teachings.

I. The Role of Women in the Nascent Islamic Community

There is no doubt that the Muslim woman participated in establishing the Islamic community in every capacity. Indeed, she has left clear imprints on the pages of its glorious history, even despite the misogynistic Arab mentality at that time, stained as it was by the marks of the Age of Ignorance (al-Jāhiliyyah). As such, we may flesh out the presence of women in the proselytization of Islam in the following spheres:

A. Scholars and Tradents (Al-‘Ālimāt wa al-Muḥaddithāt)

During the Age of Ignorance, women existed in a completely marginalized fashion replete with illiteracy. In this context, Islām was able to inspire womankind’s determination, enliven them with the spirit of knowledge, and sow the seeds of cognizance within them. Among the most prominent spheres wherein women’s participation crystallized was in the religious one; indeed, just as a man, a woman would be able to sit at the pulpit of the Holy Prophet (saw) and listen to his lessons, memorize his sermons and exhortations, and transmit them to the next generation. The historical investigator can easily identify these female companions (ṣaḥābiyyāt), among them being scholars, literarians, tradents, emigrants in the path of God, and memorizers of the Holy Qur’ān.[2] These names do well exceed in the hundreds, especially when it comes to tradents, who were sought after by prominent companions to recount what they had heard and witnessed from the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (saw).[3]

In this vein, we ought not to neglect mention of especially prominent luminaries from within the Prophetic household, at their head being our Lady Fāṭimah (as) (we will allude to her elevated stature in knowledge later) as well as the two wives of the Prophet Umm Salamah (rh) and Lady ‘Ā’ishah. The former wife is described as “among the fuqahā’ of the female companions.”[4] The latter is one of the most prolific of all tradents, having had pioneering stances as it pertains to Islamic law and rejecting many narrations mistakenly attributed to the Holy Prophet (saw).[5]

B. Missionary Emigrants (Al-Muhājirāt)

The Muslim woman also participated in missionary emigration (al-hijrah) in every sense of what this word implies in terms of proselytizing the Islamic message, readiness to sacrifice, confronting oppression, and abstaining from the world for the sake of God and His Messenger (saw). While missionary emigration of a Muslim woman in the accompaniment of her menfolk was the normal circumstance, there were also cases where she travelled alone. The serious investigator of Islāmic history shall discover that Islām introduced a precedent in this regard that completely revolutionized the pre-Islamic mores: that a woman should solitarily abandon her family and homeland and refuse to return all for the sake of God and His Messenger (saw). Indeed, a verse of the Qur’ān was revealed explicitly prohibiting turning back Muslim migrant women to the polytheists; in contrast, the treaty of Ḥudaybiyyah stipulated terms for male emigrants to be turned back to the polytheists:

یَـٰۤأَیُّهَا ٱلَّذِینَ ءَامَنُوۤا۟ إِذَا جَاۤءَكُمُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتُ مُهَـٰجِرَ ٰتࣲ فَٱمۡتَحِنُوهُنَّۖ ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِإِیمَـٰنِهِنَّۖ فَإِنۡ عَلِمۡتُمُوهُنَّ مُؤۡمِنَـٰتࣲ فَلَا تَرۡجِعُوهُنَّ إِلَى ٱلۡكُفَّارِۖ لَا هُنَّ حِلࣱّ لَّهُمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ یَحِلُّونَ لَهُنَّۖ وَءَاتُوهُم مَّاۤ أَنفَقُوا۟

“Oh you who believe, when believing women come to you as emigrants, then examine them; God is most knowing about their faith. If you find them to be believers, then do not turn them back to the disbelievers! They are not lawful (wives) for them and neither are they lawful (husbands) for them; and repay them what they have spent (of their dowries).”[6]

Among the women who chose Islām over their own tribes and families was Umm Kulthūm bint ‘Uqbah ibn Abī Mu’ayṭ. She emigrated to Madīnah while still a youth in the prime of her life, leaving behind her family and hometown in Makkah. Despite two of her brothers coming to Madīnah to demand her return, she adamantly refused to do so, having already chosen Islām over paganism and light over darkness.[7] It should additionally be clear to the dear reader that Muslim women amply participated in the two emigrations to Abyssinia and Madīnah.[8]

C. Participants as Combatants and Nurses

The history of skirmishes and battles that were waged by the Muslims during the life of the Holy Prophet (saw) informs us that Muslim women—despite their disadvantages in physical strength—participated both as warriors and field nurses. We call the reader’s attention to the following examples:

a. Nusaybah bint Ka’b

Perhaps the most valiant of women recorded in Islāmic history on this frontier is the revered female companion Nusaybah bint Ka’b. She participated in several battles and had a prominent stance in the battle of Uḥud, where she stood to defend the Holy Prophet (saw) against the polytheists despite the retreat of the rest of the Muslim contingent. Al-Wāqidī narrates that she stood formidably against the foe and sustained twelve wounds between thrusts of the lance and strikes of the sword.

We read the following accounts in the history regarding this courageous woman:[9]

1. “Umm Sa’d bint Sa’d ibn Rabī’ said that she entered upon Nusaybah and asked her, “Oh my aunt tell me what transpired?” She replied, “I went out in the beginning of day to Uḥud to witness what the people were doing while I carried a pitcher of water. I eventually reached the Holy Prophet (saw) while he was with his companions and the Muslims had the upper hand with high morale. Then, when the Muslims were defeated, I shielded the Holy Prophet (saw) and began to participate directly in the combat, defending him with sword and bow until I was peltered with wounds.” I (Umm Sa’d) then saw that her shoulder had a scar with a pitted depression, and I asked, “Oh Umm ‘Ammārah! Who gave you this scar?” She said, “Ibn Qumay’ah at Uḥud approached after the people had abandoned the Holy Prophet (saw). Abu Qumay’ah was shouting, “Show me where Muḥammad is! For may I be slain if he should survive.” Muṣ’ab ibn ‘Umayr stood against him and I was in his entourage; then Ibn Qumay’ah gave me this blow which I parried back with several counterstrikes. However, that enemy of God had been wearing two chain mails!” Umm Sa’d then asked, “What happened to your hand?” Nusaybah answered, “It was struck off on the Day of Yamāmah; when the Bedouins began to weaken in strength, the Anṣārs called out, “Consolidate!” Therefore, I joined their ranks until we reached Ḥadīqat al-Mawt and we fought therein for an hour until Abū Dujānah was killed at its gate. Then I entered the area seeking out the enemy of God Musaylamah, when suddenly one of his men came out and struck off my hand. However, I did not cease in his pursuit and kept on pressing forward until I found that wicked one already slain, my son ‘Abdullāh ibn Zayd al-Māzinī wiping his blade on his garments. I asked him, “Did you kill him?” He said “Yes,” whereupon I prostrated in gratitude to God.”

2. “Ḍamrah ibn Sa’īd used to narrate from his grandmother, who witnessed Uḥud and served as a water carrier there, that she said, “I heard the Holy Prophet (saw) say: “The stance of Nusaybah bint Ka’b today is better than the stance of so-and-so!” The Holy Prophet saw her fight on that day valiantly while she was wearing a waist wrapper (to bandage wounds), until she received thirteen injuries. When she passed away, I was among those who gave her the ritual ablution (al-ghusl) and I counted her scars one by one until I numbered them thirteen.” She used to say, “I saw Ibn Qumay’ah strike her on the shoulder and it was one of her gravest wounds, requiring a year of treatment. After this, the Holy Prophet’s summoner of war called out saying, “Off to Ḥamrā’ al-Asad (one of the skirmishes)!” Upon hearing this, Nusaybah stood up to equip herself but she could not do so due to the bleeding, and we had to spend the whole night tending to her wounds. When the Holy Prophet returned from al-Ḥamrā’, he did not go back to his home before dispatching ‘Abdullāh ibn Ka’b al-Māzinī (her son) to ask about her news. When he told her she was well, the Holy Prophet (saw) was very pleased.”

3. Other Women

In addition to the aforementioned heroine, there were other paragons who participated in the battles of the Prophet (saw) as combatants, nurses, or medics. Among these women were Asmā’ bint ‘Umays, Umm Salīm (mother of Anas ibn Mālik), al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwadh, Laylā al-Ghifāriyyah, and Rufaydah al-Anṣāriyyah. The historical references tell us that all these women would tend to the wounds of the injured.[10]

D. The Enjoiners of Good and Forbidders of Evil (Al-Āmirāt bi al-Ma’rūf wa al-Nāhiyāt ‘an al-Munkar)

Among the religious duties that women participated in was the responsibility of enjoining good and forbidding evil. For example, al-Tabarānī narrates from Yaḥyā ibn Abī Salīm that he said: “I saw Samrā bint Nahīk meet the Holy Prophet while wearing a thick vest and veil, carrying a whip in her hand to reprimand the people, enjoining towards good and forbidding against evil.”[11] This female companion took up this position in her society without fearing any censure for the sake of God; look at the statement of the narrator here, “to reprimand the people.” The clear implication is that she did not restrict herself to just women in this regard, but rather also took the men to task! Of course, the question of utilizing a whip to command towards good and forbid evil requires a separate fiqhī discussion which we will not delve into here.

Yes indeed, the Muslim woman carried the audacity to speak the truth without fearing anyone, to the extent that they would even correct the caliph. It is narrated for instance that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb stated, “Do not be excessive in your dowries for women.” Thereupon, a woman answered him and stated, “This is not appropriate for you to state oh ‘Umar! For God has stated, “if you give one of them (your wives) a fortune (as dowry)…”[12]” ‘Umar then remarked, “Indeed, a woman disputed with ‘Umar and defeated him!”[13]

E. Women Who Converted Prior to their Husbands

The resonance and interaction of women with the nascent religion of Islām reached such a level that many of them converted to it even prior to their husbands. In the al-Muwaṭṭa’ of Mālik, it is narrated by ibn Shihāb that he heard that women during the era of the Holy Prophet (saw) would embrace Islām in their homelands while not immigrating—meanwhile, their husbands would remain disbelievers. For example, consider the daughter of Walīd ibn Mughīrah who was married to Ṣafwān ibn Umayyah. She accepted Islām on the Day of the Conquest of Makkah while her husband ran away. The Holy Prophet (saw) then fetched for him while granting his mantle as a writ of safe passage for him.[14] Another example was the female companion Umm Ḥakīm bint al-Ḥārith al-Makhzūmiyyah, the wife of ‘Ikrimah ibn Abī Jahl; she accepted Islām before her husband and then convinced him to convert as well.[15] Finally, we consider the example of Zaynab the daughter of the Holy Prophet (saw), for she accepted Islam before the Prophet’s migration while her husband Abū al-‘Āṣ ibn al-Rabī’ ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzzā remained a polytheist and was taken prisoner at Badr.[16]

II. Names Eternalized in History

In addition to the above names, Islamic history has crystallized the names of several other women, regarding whom we truly ought to take great pride and boast about tremendously. This serves to demonstrate the foundational role that women played in our history; in order to demonstrate that this was not at all an exceptional situation, we allude to the following examples:

A. Women Within the Prophetic Household

We ought to first mention the exemplary women who lived and were brought up from within the Prophetic household:

a. Khadījah, The Mother of the Believers

This woman was not an ordinary individual in the life of the Holy Prophet (saw). Rather she was his closest confidante, his support, and his consoler. She stood with him in the most difficult of circumstances, believing in him when others rejected him and accepting the truth of his message while others belied it.[17] She offered her wealth and every facility in her possession for the service of Islām, and the Holy Prophet (saw) always acknowledged her favor. She held a special place in his heart that no one else among his wives could occupy; the passing of time and circumstance did not ever cause him to forget her. Thus, it is narrated by Anas that when the Holy Prophet received a gift, he would state “Send this off to so-and-so, for she was a friend of Khadījah.”[18] Indeed, this represents unmatched Prophetic loyalty for this illustrious woman.

2. Fāṭimah, the Chief of the Women of the Worlds

As the most illustrious example of the Prophetic upbringing, the daughter of Khadījah looms most bright. Yes indeed—and who was this Fāṭimah? She was the most radiant of fruits from the Kawthar that was bestowed to the Holy Prophet (saw).[19] She was the mother of her father,[20] excelling over all other women in character, piety, and intelligence. She was the paragon of purity and chastity, the exemplar of sincerity and perseverance—the ascetic worshipper whose light blazed like a star for the denizens of Heaven, the practical scholar who prioritized her neighbors before her household, and the selfless philanthropist in serving the destitute and indigent.

The status of al-Zahrā’ was such that the Holy Prophet (saw) named her as the chiefess (sayyidah) of the women of the worlds, the women of the believers, or the women of Paradise based on slight variances in the narrations.[21] Of course, there is no contradiction between these narrations because they are interchangeable (the chiefess of the women of paradise must also be chiefess of the women of the worlds, etc.). It should truly be said that this distinction is the most prestigious one ever granted by the Holy Prophet (saw) to any woman; there is no greater statement he has made regarding any other woman’s status. Being the leader of the women of the worlds is not a simple affair, especially when it is issued by the Holy Prophet (saw), who does not speak frivolously and is not wont to speak based on sentiments or nepotism. Indeed, such a man does not grant epithets wantonly upon those undeserving of them!

The establishment of Lady Fāṭimah (as) as the master of the women of the world implies that she had consolidated within her personality such elements of spiritual and ethical perfection that had rendered her capable of assuming this status. As such, it becomes imperative upon all Muslims who are loyal to his path to discover the significance of Fāṭimah and to disclose the characteristics of leadership within her personality. In turn, they must present her exceptional disposition to the entire world with every facility of communication effective among the current generation. This is because we have absolute conviction that one who has been specifically appointed as “chiefess of the women of the worlds” by the Holy Prophet (saw) himself must not be any ordinary woman; rather she must be an inspired, well-educated, and refined exemplar to be followed for all eternity. Therefore, the question which imposes itself here is: Why don’t we know more about Fāṭimah? Why is it that most are completely ignorant of her reality and the distinct aspects of her personality? Why is it that historians have not bothered to shed light on her stances, words, and personal characteristics? On the other hand, why is it that some are insistent in decorating her with all sorts of clandestine statements that completely mystify her away from practical life? Why is it that she is engulfed in an esotericism which renders her a sacred icon rather than a paragon worthy of emulation? Why is it that some imprison her personality in the confines of an oppression narrative that she faced after the demise of the Holy Prophet (saw)?

We do not deny that Fāṭimah is a woman of special sanctity, nor that she faced several injustices after the passing of her father the Holy Messenger (saw). However, this does not justify us forgetting the rest of the stances she took within the blazing pages of her voluminous life. In reality, behaving in an esoteric manner with the personality of Fāṭimah (as) does not only create a barrier in emulating her, but also in understanding her personality; indeed, this is one of the greatest wrongdoings meted out upon the daughter of Muḥammad (saw): that she should be unknown to this degree.

However, despite the besiegement upon the personality of this great lady (as), we have yet still managed to retain several of her amazing universal and intellectual contributions; albeit these are limited, they are extremely powerful and have the potential to render pervasive guidance.

The extant words and sermons of Lady Zahrā’ (as), most especially the speech she gave in the mosque of the Holy Prophet (saw) among the companions, is a treasure mine of religious knowledge and juridical philosophy. We garner from certain narrations that companions would seek Lady Fāṭimah (as) out to benefit from her knowledge and hear what she narrated from the Holy Prophet (saw). For example, the Shī’ah tradent ibn Jarīr al-Tabarī narrates from ibn Mas’ūd, “A man came to Fāṭimah (as) and asked, “Oh daughter of God’s Messenger! Has the Apostle of God left you anything (of knowledge) which you could gift us?” Lady Fāṭimah told her servant, “Bring me that piece of cloth.” When the bondmaid told her she could not find it, she said, “Woe be to you! Go look for it, for it equals my sons Ḥasan and Ḥusayn in value.” The bondmaid searched for it and found it wrapped in some rubble, whereupon she found upon it inscribed, “One is not counted among the believers if his neighbor is not secured from his menace; whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him not irk his neighbor. Let he who believes in God and the Last Day either say what is good or keep silent.””[22]

c. Umm Salamah, the Woman Who Adhered to the Prophet’s Will

It is also our great honor to mention here the name of another wife of the Holy Prophet (saw), the Mother of the Believers Umm Salamah. She was an exalted woman of elevated stature: a tradent, scholar, and sage. It is regarding her that the Holy Prophet said, “Indeed you are on goodness,” when she asked him if she could join the People of the Cloak at the time the verse of purification was revealed.[23] Umm Salamah remained adherent to the command of God[24] and the will of the Holy Prophet (saw) after his demise. She did not come out of her home and she counseled ‘Ā’ishah not to go out to war in the Battle of Baṣrah, reminding her of the admonitions of the Holy Prophet (saw) to her in this regard.[25]

B. Women Within the General Islamic Sphere

Let us depart now from the Prophetic household and consider the larger Islāmic society; we encounter a number of exceptional courageous, chaste, and altruistic women who played a prominent role in the Islāmic lifestyle and its proselytization. Since space limits us in this regard, we will content ourselves with mentioning only a few of these personalities:

a. Al-Sumayrā’ bint Qays

This woman, endowed with exceptional insight, had a formidable stance after the Battle of Uḥud where her two sons Nu’mān and Salīm were martyred in defense of the Holy Prophet (saw). When cries of mourning rose for them, she said, “How is the Messenger of God (saw)?” They answered, “He is safe by the grace of God, completely unharmed.” She said, “Show him to me,” and they indicated towards the Prophet (saw). She then exclaimed, “Oh Messenger of God! It is only after your loss that calamities are grave!” She came out with her two sons on a camel, going back towards Madīnah, and ‘Ā’ishah met her on the way. She asked her, “How are you?” She answered, “As for the Messenger of God, he is fine by the grace of God—he was not killed! And indeed God takes martyrs from the believers!” Then she recited the verse, “God diverted the disbelievers and they achieved nothing; and God sufficed the believers in combat.”[26] ‘Ā’ishah then asked her, “Who are these (two corpses) with you?” She answered, “These are my sons.”[27]

b. Sumayyah bint Khayyāṭ, the First Martyress of Islām

The second woman who should be mentioned in this vein is Sumayyah, the wife of the esteemed companion Yāsir and the mother of the revered companion ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir. Sumayyah was a bondmaid of Abū Ḥudhayfah ibn al-Mughīrah al-Makhzūmī and her master married her to his friend Yāsir, from whom she bore ‘Ammār. When Islām emerged, her husband and son were among the first converts and were persecuted a great deal for this reason. They were punished for accepting God and it was demanded of them to dissociate from the Prophet and his religion. Instead, they persevered such that the Holy Prophet would console them by saying, “Be patient oh family of Yāsir! For you are promised heaven!”[28] This woman continued to be patient, tolerating every sort of injury, refusing to renege from her faith; all until Abū Jahl passed by one day and stabbed her in the heart, so she died on the spot. She secured as such the position as the first martyress in Islām. This was the epitome of the Muslim faith: it raised up those who were considered abject and marginalized in the Age of Jāhiliyyah, such that they became a force to be reckoned with.[29]

c. Asmā’ bint ‘Umays al-Khath’amiyyah

The third woman is Asmā’ bint ‘Umays, an esteemed woman of high caliber. She was a scholar and tradent, highly regarded.[30] It is her regarding whom Imām al-Bāqir (as) has said, “She is among the sisters of Heaven.”[31] She emigrated to Abyssinia with her husband Ja’far ibn Abī Tālib. After he was martyred in the Battle of Mu’tah she was married by Abū Bakr and bore him Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr. Imām ‘Alī (as) then married her after the demise of Lady Fāṭimah (as) and her son Muḥammad was raised in the lap of Imām ‘Alī (as), such that he became one of his most loyal supporters. Asmā’ attended the last testament of Lady Khadījah, and she was requested by her to look after Lady Fāṭimah (as) and assist her on her marriage night; for a young girl is most needy of her mother during that time.[32] Asmā’ did exactly as Lady Khadījah had requested, but destiny just so had it that Asmā’ would also attend the final testament of Lady Fāṭimah (as) as well, where she oversaw her final will regarding the manner in which Lady Fāṭimah (as) wanted to be washed and shrouded.[33]

d. Umm Waraqah al-Anṣāriyyah, the Martyress

The fourth woman we will mention here is Umm Waraqah, the daughter of ‘Abdullāh ibn al-Ḥārith al-Anṣariyyah, a venerated companion. It is narrated in her biography that the Holy Prophet (saw) used to visit her and called her “the martyress.” She was a master reciter of the Holy Qur’ān and when the Holy Prophet set out for Badr, she asked him, “Do you permit me to go out with you so that I may nurse the wounded and tend to the sick? Perhaps God will grant me martyrdom while there?” The Prophet answered, “God shall certainly grant you the reward of martyrdom.” He then commanded her to lead the people of her household in prayer and she appointed a caller to prayer (mu’adhdhin) for her own home. She passed away during the reign of ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb. The circumstances of her death were somewhat peculiar: she had promised her male servant and bondmaid that they would be freed after her death, but in their haste for being liberated they took upon themselves the sin to murder her themselves. Therefore, she passed away as a marytress, just as the Holy Prophet (saw) had prophesized.[34]

There are of course many other women we could mention who played a role in the life of the Holy Prophet (saw); these women were active and highly engaged in both social and religious activities. All of this was a result of Islām’s favor, which freed women, unshackled her from the traditions of Jāhiliyyah, and released her from the rubble of ignominy. This is not at all a matter that should be considered light in the history of movements towards human liberation; the Arabs had of course not ceased to be tied to a tradition that was highly misogynistic and completely ostracized the female sex. It was then only natural that this backward mindset they possessed should not easily fade in such a short period of time.


[1] For advanced readers, the book may be found here: https://al-khechin.com/uploads/article/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A3%D8%A9_%D9%81%D9%8A_%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B5_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A.pdf

[2] Expert genealogists and biographers mention women who were extremely gifted with deep religious comprehension, such as Zaynab bint Umm Salamah, the stepdaughter of the Holy Prophet (saw). As mentioned in Usd al-Ghābah vol 5 page 469, “She was among the most knowledge of women in her time.” As for literarians, we may consider the daughters of ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib which are mentioned by Sayyid al-Amīn as follows, “’Abd al-Muṭṭalib had six daughters, all of whom were highly versed in literature and Arabic rhetoric” (A’yān al-Shīah, volume 7 page 390). As for tradents, we may mention Asmā’ bint ‘Umays, Juwayriyyah bint al-Ḥārith, Asmā’ bint Abī Bakr, etc. (Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb volume 12 page 350).

[3] Cf. Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb of al-‘Asqalānī volume 12 pages 348-438

[4] Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’ volume 2 page 202

[5] Of course, at this juncture we are not concerned with appraisal of her personality; the narrations of Lady ‘Ā’ishah require an objective and independent study, removed from all attempts at inflating her status or castigating her. I believe that among the most serious studies that have dissected the narrations of Lady ‘Ā’ishah in a scholastic manner is the work of Al-Sayyid Murtaḍā al-‘Askarī (rh) entitled “Aḥādīth Umm al-Mu’minīn ‘Ā’ishah.” Of course, some of her stances were completely unjustifiable, such as her revolt against the Imām of her time ‘Alī (as) in the Battle of Baṣrah.

[6] Sūrah al-Mumtaḥinah verse 10

[7] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī volume 3 page 173 and Ibn Hishām’s al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah volume 2 page 790

[8] As for the missionary emigrants to Abyssinia, these included Ruqayyah bint Rasūl Allāh (saw) who went with her husband ‘Uthmān bin ‘Affān, Asmā’ bint ‘Umays with her husband Ja’far ibn Abī Ṭālib, Sahlah bint Suhayl ibn ‘Amr with her husband Abū Ḥudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Rabī’ah ibn ‘Abd Shams, Umm Salamah bint Abī Umayyah ibn al-Mughīrah al-Makhzūmiyyah with her husband Abū Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Asad ibn Hilāl ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Makhzūmī, Laylā bint Abī Ḥathmah with her husband ‘Āmir ibn Rabī’ah, Fāṭimah bint Ṣafwān ibn Umayyah with her husband ‘Amr ibn Sa’īd ibn al-‘Āṣ, Umm Ḥabībah bint Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥarb with her husband ‘Ubaydallāh ibn Jaḥsh, etc. (cf. Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah volume 1 page 214-217).

[9] Cf. Al-Maghāzī of al-Wāqidī volume 1 page 270

[10] Bishārat al-Muṣtafā page 411, Usd al-Ghābah volume 5 page 591, al-Istī’āb volume 4 page 1910, and al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah volume 2 page 718

[11] Al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr volume 24 page 311, narrated by al-Haythamī who states “its narrators are reliable.”

[12] Sūrah al-Nisā’ verse 20

[13] Al-Muṣannaf li al-Ṣan’ānī volume 6 page 180

[14] Muwaṭṭa’ Mālik, volume 2 page 543 and al-Sunan al-Kubrā volume 7 page 186

[15] It is narrated in al-Mustadrak by ‘Abdullāh ibn Zubayr that he said, “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abī Jahl fled while his wife Umm Ḥakīm was an intelligent woman and accepted Islām. She asked the Holy Prophet (saw) for a writ of safe passage for her husband and he agreed and asked her to fetch him; she went out seeking him and upon finding him she said, “I have come to you from the one most tending to ties of kinship, most righteous, most pious, and I have asked him for your safety and he granted it.” When ‘Ikrimah came to Makkah, the Holy Prophet told his companions, “Ikrimah has come to you as a believer and wayfarer, so do not insult his father. For insulting the deceased irks the living and does not reach the deceased.” (al-Mustadrak, volume 3 page 241). The fuqahā’ have spoken about this issue from the angle of clarifying the edict for a woman who accepts Islām while her husband is still a disbeliever. Shaykh al-Tūsī (rh) discusses this in his al-Khilāf volume 4 page 330.

[16] See al-Mustadrak volume 3 page 236. We emphasize here that Zaynab was indeed the daughter of the Holy Prophet (saw) and not his stepdaughter, as some scholars have surmised. For more details, see the appendix of my book regarding ‘Ā’ishah entitled “Abḥāth Ḥawl al-Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah: Ru’yah Shi’iyyah Mu’āṣirah.”

[17] This was the Prophet’s testimony himself, for ‘Ā’ishah narrates that when the Prophet would remember Khadījah he would laud her praises. She states, “One day I got jealous and said, “How excessively do you remember her with reddened cheeks! But God has given you even better than her now!” He (saw) answered, “God has never given me better than her; she believed in me when the people disbelieved, and she accepted me when the people belied. She granted me her wealth when others restricted me, and God gave me children through her while he did not grant me children from other women.” (Musnad Aḥmad, volume 6 page 118)

[18] Al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr of al-Tabarānī volume 23 page 13

[19] Al-Kawthar is “superabundant goodness.” As mentioned by God in the Qur’ān, “Indeed We have bestowed you with al-Kawthar.” (Al-Kawthar: 1)

[20] In al-Istī’āb: it is narrated from Ja’far ibn Muḥammad that he said: “The teknonym (kuniyah) of Fāṭimah was “mother of her father.”” (volume 4 page 1899)

[21] In the narration from ‘Ā’ishah that she said, “Fāṭimah told me, “The Holy Prophet secretly told me, “The Angel Gabriel used to present the Qur’ān to me once a year, but this year he did so twice. I only see that my demise is close, and you will indeed be the first of my family to join me (in the Hereafter). How great a precedent I am for you!” Then Fāṭimah said, “I began to cry and he said, “Are you not satisfied that you are the chiefess of the women of this nation or the women of the worlds?!” Thereupon I laughed.” (cf. al-Istī’āb volume 4 page 1894). Similarly, it is narrated from Abū Sa’īd al-Khudrī that he said on the authority of the Prophet, “Fāṭimah is the chiefess of the women of Heaven, excepting that which issued from Maryam daughter of ‘Imrān.” (cf. ibid).

[22] Dalā’il al-Imāmah page 66

[23] In the narration from Abū Sa’īd al-Khudrī on the authity of the Holy Prophet regarding the verse 33:33: “The Holy Prophet gathered ‘Alī, Fāṭimah, al-Ḥasan, and al-Ḥusayn and encompassed them in the cloak, whereupon he said, “These are my Ahl al-Bayt oh Lord, so take away from them all uncleanliness and purify them to the utmost.” Umm Salamah was at the door and said, “Oh Prophet of God am I not among them?” The Prophet responded, “You are on piety [or towards] piety.”” (cf. Tārīkh Baghdād volume 10 page 277)

[24] As found in Surah 33:33, “….and stay (oh wives of the Prophet) in your homes and do not flaunt yourselves the flaunting of the first Age of Ignorance.”

[25] The historians have narrated that ‘Ā’ishah came to Umm Salamah to convince her to uprise with her in vengeance for ‘Uthmān. She said to her, “You are the first emigrant woman in Islām and you are the oldest of the Prophet’s wives; the Holy Prophet used to divide our time from your house and the Angel Gabriel would frequent your house the most. I have been informed that the people demanded ‘Uthmān’s repentance until after he repented, they leapt against him and murdered him. ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Āmir has informed me that in Baṣrah there are 100,000 swords in discord, so will you not travel with us there so that God can enact a solution at our hands?” Umm Salamah answered, “Oh daughter of Abū Bakr! Do you seek vengeance for the blood of ‘Uthmān? By God, you were the most inimical of his enemies and you used to nickname him Na’thal (the old fool). What do you have anything to do with the blood of ‘Uthmān? ‘Uthmān is a man from the tribe of ‘Abd Manāf and you are from Banū Taym. Woe be to you oh ‘Ā’ishah! Is it against ‘Alī, the cousin of the Apostle of God, that you wage war while the Muhājirūn and Anṣār have paid allegiance to him?! Then Umm Salamah began to remind ‘Ā’ishah of the various virtues of ‘Alī while ‘Abdullāh ibn Zubayr was at the door listening to all of it. He shouted at Umm Salamah, “Oh daughter of Abu Umayyah! We know that you have always been an enemy of the house of Zubayr.” Umm Salamah replied, “By God! You will seek it out and you won’t get it, neither you nor your father! Do you want the Muhājirūn and Anṣār to be content with your father as the caliph while ‘Alī is still alive, and he is the chief of every believing man and woman?” ‘Abdullāh ibn Zubayr answered, “We have not heard such a narration from the Holy Apostle of God ever.” Umm Salamah retorted, “If you yourself have not heard it, then your aunt ‘Ā’ishah definitely has, and she is right here so ask her! For indeed, I have heard the Prophet say, “‘Alī is my khalifah in my lifetime and my demise; so whoever disobeys him has disobeyed me.” Do you not recall this oh ‘Ā’ishah?” ‘Ā’ishah replied, “Yes by God I do.” Umm Salamah then exclaimed, “Then fear God oh ‘Ā’ishah for your own sake, and be wary of what God and His Messenger have already warned you about. Do not be the one whom the dogs at Ḥaw’ab bark at and do not be beguiled by Zubayr and Talḥah. For indeed they will not avail you against Allāh in the least!” (cf. Al-Futūḥ of ibn A’tham volume 2 page 454-455, al-Mi’yār wa al-Muwāzanah of Abū Ja’far al-Iskāfī page 27, and Sharḥ Nahj al-Balāghah of ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd volume 6 page 217).

[26] Sūrah al-Aḥzāb verse 25

[27] Al-Maghāzī of al-Wāqidī volume 1 page 292

[28] Al-Mustadrak of al-Ḥākim volume 3 page 383

[29] Al-Tabaqāt al-Kubrā of ibn Sa’d volume 8 page 264

[30] Shaykh Muḥammad Ḥusayn Kāshif al-Ghiṭā’ has stated, “Asmā bint ‘Umays is among the most illustrious women, regarding whom there is no doubt that she was faithful and scholarly. She stayed earnest to the Prophetic household and was the mother of Muḥammad bin Abī Bakr. After the demise of Abū Bakr, our master Imām ‘Alī (as) married her and she earned great repute and status due to this blessed union.” (cf. Al-Firdaws al-A’lā page 9)

[31] As reported on the authority of Abū Ja’far (as): “May God have mercy on the sisters from the people of Paradise.” He then named them as Asmā’ bint ‘Umays al-Khath’amiyyah wife of Ja’far ibn Abī Tālib and Salmā bint ‘Umays al-Khath’amiyyah wife of Ḥamzah, as well as five women from Banū Hilāl: Maymūnah bint al-Ḥārith wife of the Prophet, Umm al-Faḍl Hind wife of ‘Abbās, al-Ghumayṣā’ the mother of Khālid ibn Walīd, ‘Izzah of Thaqīf the mother of Ḥajjāj ibn Ghilāẓ, and Ḥamīdah who did not have any children.” (cf. Al-Khiṣāl of al-Ṣadūq). According to al-Muḥaqqiq al-Tustarī, this ḥadīth has been subjected to distortion. (Qāmūs al-Rijāl volume 12 pages 185 and 214)

[32] A’yān al-Shī’ah volume 1 page 313

[33] The first bier in Islām was the bier of Lady Fāṭimah (as). It is narrated that Lady Fāṭimah told Asmā’, “Oh Asmā’! I find what is done with women quite reprehensible. (When they pass away), they are wrapped up in a way that shows their physique.” Asmā’ said, “Oh daughter of God’s Apostle! Should I show you something which I have seen in Abyssinia?” She then called for some wet date palms and weaved them together, whereupon she put a cloth on top of it. Fāṭimah (as) said, “How excellent this is and beautiful! A woman is differentiated like this from a man. When I die, I want only you and ‘Alī to wash me, and no one else should enter.”” (Al-Istī’āb volume 4 page 1897)

[34] Al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr of al-Tabarānī volume 25 page 134