lesson 04 Topic: The Ideal Muslimah(Dr. Mansur Sokoto)

She is obedient to the commands
of Allah (SWT)
The true Muslim woman does not
forget that she is duty bound to
perform all the religious duties that
Allah (SWT) has commanded her
to do. In this regard her situation is
the same as that of a man, and
there is no difference between
them except in a few regulations
which apply exclusively to either
men or women. Other than that,
women and men are equally
responsible before Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) says:
( For Muslim men and women, for
believing men and women, for
devout men and women, for true
men and women, for men and
women who are patient and
constant, for men and women who
humble themselves, for men and
women who give in charity, for men
and women who fast [and deny
themselves], for men and women
who guard their chastity, and for
men and women who engage
much in Allah’s praise – for them
has Allah prepared forgiveness
and great reward.) (Qur’an 33:35)
( Whoever works righteousness,
man or woman, and has Faith,
verily, to him will We give a new
Life, and life that is good and pure,
and We will bestow on such their
reward according to the best of
their actions.) (Qur’an 16:97)
( And their Lord has accepted of
them, and answered them: `Never
will I suffer to be lost the work of
any of you, be he male or female:
you are members, one of another;
those who have left their homes
and were driven out therefrom, and
suffered harm in My Cause, and
fought and were slain – verily, I will
blot out from them their iniquities,
and admit them into Gardens with
rivers flowing beneath – a reward
from the Presence of Allah, and
from His Presence is the best of
rewards.) (Qur’an 3:195)
Whenever the phrase “ya ayyuha’l-
nas (O people or O mankind)”
appears in the Qur’an or Hadith, it
includes both men and women.
Evidence of this may be found in
the hadith narrated by Imam
Muslim from the Prophet’s wife
Umm Salamah (May Allah be
pleased with her), who said:
“I used to hear the people talking
about al-hawd (the cistern), and I
had never heard about it from the
Messenger of Allah (PBUH). One
day, whilst a young girl was
combing my hair, I heard the
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying
“O people!” I said to the young girl,
“Leave me alone now.” She said,
“That call is for men only; he is not
calling the women.” I said, “I am
one of the people.” The Messenger
of Allah (PBUH) said: “I am the one
who will be at the cistern (in the
Hereafter) before you. So be
careful, lest one of you should
come to me and be driven away
like a stray camel. I will ask the
reason why, and I will be told, `You
do not know what innovations they
wrought after your death,’ and I will
say, `Away with them!'” According
to another report also narrated by
Muslim, he (PBUH) said: “. . . and I
will say, `Away, away with the one
who changed (the religion) after my
Men and women are equal before
Allah (SWT), and both must pay
heed to His commands and
prohibitions. So the Muslim woman
does what Allah (SWT) has
commanded and keeps away from
what He has forbidden, believing
that she will be questionedabout
what she did in this life: if they are
good, it will be good for her, and if
they are bad, then will be bad for
her. She does not transgress the
limits laid down by Allah (SWT),
and does not do anything that is
haram. She always seeks the
ruling of Allah (SWT) and His
Messenger, and accepts it no
matter what happens to her in her
Islamic history is filled with the
stories of great women who kept
the rule of Allah (SWT) in mind at
all times and did not deviate from it
or look for alternatives. Among
these stories is that of Khawlah bint
Tha`labah and her husband Aws
ibn al-Samit, narrated by Imam
Ahmad and Abu Dawud, and
quoted by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir of
the beginning of Surat al-
Mujadilah. Khawlah said:
“By Allah (SWT), concerning me
and Aws ibn al-Samit, Allah (SWT)
revealed the beginning of Surat al-
Mujadilah. I was married to him,
and he was an old man who was
bad-tempered. One day, he came
in and I raised a particular issue
with him again; he became angry
and said, `You are to me as the
back of my mother.’ Then he went
out and sat for a while in the
meeting-place of his people. Then
he came back, and wanted to
resume marital relations with me. I
said, `No way! By the hand of the
One in Whose hand is the soul of
Khuwaylah (i.e., Khawlah), you will
never get what you want from me
after saying what you said, until
Allah (SWT) and His Messenger
decide between us.’ He tried to
force himself on me, but I was able
to resist because I was a young
woman and he was a weak old
man. I pushed him away, then I
went to one of my (female)
neighbours and borrowed a cloak
from her and went to the
Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I sat
before him, told him what (my
husband) had done to me, and
began to complain to him about my
sufferings because of my
husband’s bad temper. The
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
`O Khuwaylah, your cousin is an
old man, so fear Allah (SWT) with
regard to him.’ I did not leave him
until Qur’an was revealed
concerning me: he was overcome
as he usually was when Qur’an
was revealed to him, and when it
was over, he said: `O Khuwaylah,
Allah (SWT) has revealed Qur’an
concerning you and your husband.’
Then he recited to me:
( Allah has indeed heard [and
accepted] the statement of the
woman who pleads with you
concerning her husband and
carries her complaint [in prayer] to
Allah: and Allah [always] hears the
arguments between both sides
among you: for Allah hears and
sees [all things]’. If any men among
you divorce their wives by ZIHAR
[calling them mothers], they cannot
be their mothers: none can be their
mothers except those who gave
them birth. And in fact they use
words [both] iniquitous and false:
but truly Allah is One that blots out
[sins], and forgives [again and
again]. But those who divorce their
wives by zihar, then wish to go
back on the words they uttered – [it
is ordained that such a one] should
free a slave before they touch each
other: this are you admonished to
perform: and Allah is well-
acquainted with [all] that you do.
And if any has not [the
wherewithal], he should fast for two
months consecutively before they
touch each other. But if any is
unable to do so, he should feed
sixty indigent ones. This, that you
may show your faith in Allah and
His Messenger, those are limits
[set by] Allah. For those who reject
[Him], there is a grievous Penalty.)
(Qur’an 58:1-4)
ZIHAR: A jahili form of divorce
where the husband told his wife
“You are to me like the back of my
mother.” According to pre-Islamic
Arabian custom, this freed the
husband from marital duties, but
effectively imprisoned the woman
as she was not free to leave her
husband’s home or enter into
another marriage; the husband
was also not obliged to provide for
the children of the marriage.The
Qur’an clearly abolished this cruel
and oppressive practice.
He told me, `Let him release a
slave.’ I said, `O Messenger of
Allah (PBUH), he does not have
the means to do that.’ He said,
`Then let him fast for two
consecutive months.’ I said, `By
Allah (SWT), he is an old man, he
is not able to do that.’ He said,
`Then let him feed sixty poor
people with a wasq of dates.’ I
said, `O Messenger of Allah (SWT),
he does not have that much.’ He
said, `Then we will help him with a
faraq of dates.’ I said, `And I will
help him with another faraq, O
Messenger of Allah (SWT).’ He
said, `You have done right and
done well. Go and give it in charity
on his behalf, then take care of
your cousin properly.’ And I did so.”
Wasq: the amount of fruit a date-
palm would bear in one season.
Faraq: a measurement of weight
approximately equivalent to 60
Khawlah bint Tha`labah could not
bear to stay for one moment with
her husband after he had spoken
the words of zihar to her, which
was a form of divorce at the time of
jahiliyyah, until she had referred
the matter to the Prophet (PBUH),
so that she might know how Allah
(SWT) would judge between her
and her husband. She did not even
have a suitable garment with which
to go out and appear before the
Prophet (PBUH), so she borrowed
a robe from one of her neighbours,
and rushed to where the Prophet
(PBUH) was sitting, so that she
could hear Allah’s (SWT) ruling
concerning her, and follow it.
It comes as no surprise that this
great woman enjoyed such high
standing among the Sahabah who
were her contemporaries and knew
her virtues, above all `Umar ibn al-
Khattab (RAA). She met him one
day outside the mosque, when al-
Jarud al-`Abdi was with him.
`Umar, who was the khalifah at that
time, greeted her, and she said to
him, “O `Umar, I remember you
when you were called `Umayr in
the marketplace of `Ukaz, taking
care of the sheep with your stick.
So fear Allah (SWT) in your role as
khalifah taking care of the people,
and know that the one who fears
the threat of punishment in the
Hereafter realises that it is not far
away, and the one who fears death
fears missing some opportunity in
this life.” Al-Jarud said, “You have
spoken too harshly to Amir al-
Mu’minin, woman!” `Umar said,
“Let her be. Do you not know that
this is Khawlah, to whose words
Allah (SWT) listened from above
the seven heavens? By Allah
(SWT), `Umar should by rights
listen to her.”
Ibn Kathir mentions in his Tafsir
that a man said to `Umar, when he
saw him welcoming her warmly
and listening to her, “You left a
man of Quraysh to come to this old
woman?” `Umar said, “Woe to you!
Do you not know who this is?” The
man said, “No.” `Umar said, “This
is a woman whose complaint Allah
(SWT) listened to from above the
seven heavens: this is Khawlah
bint Tha`labah. By Allah (SWT), if
she did not leave me until night fell,
I would not tell her to leave until
she had got what she came for,
unless the time for prayer came, in
which case I would pray, and then
come back to her until she had got
what she came for.”
The true Muslim woman always
bears in mind the words of Allah
( It is not fitting for a Believer, man
or woman, when a matter has been
decided by Allah and His
Messenger, to have any option
about their decision: if anyone
disobeys Allah and His Messenger,
he is indeed on a clearly wrong
Path.) (Qur’an 33:36)
Obedience to Allah (SWT) and His
Messenger is much more important
than one’s own whims and desires;
it comes before pleasure and
individual choice. Zaynab bint
Jahsh (May Allah be pleased with
her) set the best example of
obedience to the command of Allah
(SWT) and His Messenger when
he asked her to agree to marry his
freed slave and adopted son Zayd
ibn Harithah. This marriage
achieved two legislative (tashri`i)
(1) To achieve total equality among
people: the beautiful woman of
Quraysh, the noblewoman of the
sons of `Abdu Shams, and the
cousin of the Prophet, married a
freed slave. Freed slaves were of a
lower class than the nobility;
indeed, the differences between
the classes was so great and so
deep that nothing could abolish it
except a decisive, public act on the
part of the Prophet (PBUH), that
the Muslim community would have
to take as an example, so that
these barriers might be torn down
and people would not be viewed as
superior except in terms of their
level of taqwa.
(2) to abolish the custom of
adoption which was widely spread
at the time of jahiliyyah. Hence the
Prophet (PBUH) married Zaynab,
after she had been divorced by his
adopted son Zayd, to demonstrate
in practical terms that if Zayd had
been his real son, Allah (SWT)
would not have commanded him in
the Qur’an to marry Zaynab.
The choice fell to Zaynab, the
cousin of the Prophet (PBUH), to
achieve these two legislative aims
within the environment of the
Prophet’s household, so that the
people could accept them in
obedience to the command of Allah
(SWT) and His Messenger (PBUH)
. When he chose her tbe the wife of
Zayd ibn Harithah, she disliked the
idea, and said, “O Messenger of
Allah (PBUH), I will never marry
him, for I am the noblewoman of
the tribe of `Abdu Shams.” The
Prophet (PBUH) replied, calmly but
firmly, “You have to marry him.”
Whilst they were discussing the
matter, Allah (SWT) revealed to His
Messenger (PBUH):
( It is not fitting for a Believer, man
or woman, when a matter has been
decided by Allah and His
Messenger, to have any option
about their decision: if anyone
disobeys Allah and His Messenger,
he is indeed on a clearly wrong
Path.) (Qur’an 33:36)
Then Zaynab accepted the
command of Allah (SWT) and His
Messenger, and said: “I will not
disobey Allah (SWT) and His
Messenger, and I will give myself
in marriage to him.”
Subsequently, the differences
between Zaynab and Zayd led to
their divorce. When Zaynab had
completed her `iddah, Allah (SWT)
revealed the following ayah:
( Behold! You did say to one who
had received the grace of Allah
and your favour: `Retain [in
wedlock] your wife, and fear Allah.’
But you did hide in your heart that
which Allah was about to make
manifest: you did fear the people,
but it is more fitting that you should
fear Allah. Then when Zayd had
dissolved [his marriage] with her,
with the necessary [formality], We
joined her in marriage to you: in
order that [in future] there may be
no difficulty to the Believers in [the
matter of] marriage with the wives
of their adopted sons, when the
latter have dissolved with the
necessary [formality] [their
marriage] with them. And Allah’s
command must be fulfilled.)
(Qur’an 33:37)
The Prophet (PBUH) recited this
ayah, smiling, then he said, “Who
will go to Zaynab and tell her the
good news that Allah (SWT) has
arranged my marriage to her from
It was as if Allah (SWT) was
rewarding Zaynab for her absolute
obedience to Allah (SWT) and His
Messenger. She had accepted
their decision that she should
marry Zayd, then she became the
wife of the Prophet (PBUH) by the
command of Allah (SWT), in ayat
which the Muslims will recite when
they worship Allah (SWT) by
reciting the Qur’an, until the end of
time. This honour was bestowed
only on Zaynab, who was unique
among the wives of the Prophet
(PBUH). She was proud of the
favour of Allah (SWT) to her, and
used to boast to the other wives of
the Prophet: “Your families
arranged your marriages, but Allah
(SWT) arranged my marriage from
above the seven heavens.”

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