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In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, mercy to the worlds.
In 2006, Dr Umar visited the UK and delivered a superb lecture on the “Famous Women in Islam” in Birmingham. I was just going through my notesbook today and found some of the notes I made during the lecture, and thought I’d share them here so others can benefit from, and be inspired inshaAllah ta’Ala. (Photo credit: Mas’ud Ahmed Khan)
Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah- Famous Women in Islam- 25th November 2006
* Many greater women were Sufis and they trained men.
* Status of women has changed.
*Many of the stereotypes heard in the west and Muslim world (women’s job is to clean, cook etc) developed in the early modern world.
* The working class women in Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco; who have 1-2 jobs as well as looking after the household needs and children whilst their husbands are in different countries working, are true heroines!
* The prophet SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam didn’t hurt women. Women were essential to his life. This started with Khadija RadiAllahu Anhu, she gave the prophet SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam Strength to overcome the initial period of revelation.
* Aisha RadiAllahu Anhu was the defender of Islam.
*Islam began in the hands of a women, i.e Sayyida Khadija was the first women to take Shahada.
*The prophet SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam gave special timings for teaching women. Even when he SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam was ill, near death and didn’t have much strength, Bilal RadiAllahu Anhu held him up so he could counsel women.
* The prophet SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam accepted womens influence (his aunts and wives). For example; Umm Salamah advised the Prophet SallaAllahu Alayhi Wasalam to go out and shave his head and slaughter sheep so the companions would follow his example. (*look up story in seerah)
* One maxim of Islamic Law is everything is permissible until proven impermissible and it’s not an easy task to *prove* something.
*Men and women completely equal in Islamic law until proven they are not.
* The army never went out to battle without women. Women were always equal in number.
*Women tend to be more religiously devoted.
* Throughout history, we have come to know about men who had fabricated hadiths, but not one single women fabricated a hadith and there have been thousands of women muhaddiths!
Exceptional women in Islam:
Zubaida Bint Jafir
*Wealthiest and powerful women in her time.
*Generous; gave to the poor, Christians, poets etc
* Her palace sounded like a beehive. She had thousands of maid servants who had hifz the Quran. They would complete the Quran at least 10 times a day.
* Eloquent master of Arabic language, known for her intelligence.
* The people of her time said that she was the women who brought earth to life.
*If you want to affect people and change them, tell stories! Stories affect people greatly, just like when we read stories in the Quran.
* 19/20 century is a very difficult time for us. Tipu Sultan was the last magnificent ruler, everything declined and changed after that.
*Also, never feel disempowered when you are unable to do things or don’t have the means to acquire
May Allah bless and preserve Dr. Umar, Amin!
Please be aware that these are my notes, they are not comprehensive at all but I pray what I do share is of some benefit to the readers. Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me alone, so please do forgive and overlook my shortcomings! You are welcome to share these notes but *please* do not just copy and paste anything without referencing where you got them from as I do not want my notes to be taken out of context or misinterpreted.