March 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Eve/Hawwa (peace be upon her) was the first female and the first lady on this earth as her husband was an appointed leader to the pubic he will give birth to. She stood shoulder to shoulder with him in all historical events. She accompanied her husband in Paradise, both disobeyed the God, both were humiliated, both repented, both were forgiven, both were honored, both were sent to earth (on temporary basis), both returned to Paradise, their permanent home and reminded their children to join them. She had no parents so no feelings of being a daughter, a sister, a cousin or a friend. She had no childhood stories to tell as she didn’t grow. No burden of reading, writing, cooking, shopping etc. No beauty and fashion competitions. Her life was peaceful for having no mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Her daughters-in-law were her own daughters, her sons were her sons-in-law, so there was no issue of favoring whom, no home politics. She wasn’t a grandchild herself but was a grandmother to many. She had no mother but became mother of whole mankind.
Hagar/Hajrah (peace be upon her) was the first lady who had to live in the valley of Makkah as her husband Prophet Abraham/Ibraheem (peace be upon him) left her there to fulfill God’s strategy to populate Makkah. She gave birth to Prophet Ismaeel/Ishmael (peace be upon him) whose rubbing heels caused the Zum Zum to gush out of the ground. Her efforts to look out for help for her infant are titled as “sa’ee” (Arabic word for effort), a must-to-follow part of Hajj at the same place. I wish if I can ask her how she managed to live in the middle of high mountains all alone and raised her son to be a pious man.
Maryam/Mary (peace be upon her) was the first lady who was selected to grow in church’s boundaries. Her Prophet Zakariyah (peace be upon him) took care of her. She was fed on the food from heaven. She saw the angels and had a conversation with them. She was the first and the only one to give birth to her son Prophet Isa/Jesus (peace be upon him) without following the normal reproductive course. Her own son in his infancy was made the witness to her purity and piety. Her name is mentioned in Qur’an as the most honored lady in all.
syeda Khadijah bint Khuwelad (peace be upon her) was probably the first business lady who proposed her young employee Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) for she found him very honest and trustworthy in his dealings. She was the first lady to declare the shahadah and accepted him as a prophet. She dedicated her life and wealth for the cause her glorious and handsome husband stood for. She faced the three-year boycott along with other believers and died of illness during the siege. She was the first one to receive the title of “Umul-Mo’minee”/The Mother of Believers.
Syeda Fatima Az-Zahrah (peace be upon her) was the first lady who got the honor of being the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), wife of the Caliph Ali ibn Abi-Talib and mother of sons Hasan and Hussain who will lead the martyrs in Paradise. She was a dignified lady, very kind and just too. She was the first and most probably the only lady who treated her maid so respectfully that she shared her responsibilities on equal basis. Having the fear of being unjust, instead of dividing chores, she divided the days. One whole day for Fizza to work and the other whole day for herself so the maid can enjoy the full break.
Syeda Zainab (peace be upon her), the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Talib, daughter of Ali and Faimah–was the first lady who joined her brother Hussain in the journey to Karbala along with her sons. She lost them both in the battle. She faced the massacre with courage and dignity. She roared in the court of Yazeed denouncing his throne and predicting his fall in coming years. She is role-model for all Muslim women.
Ms. Fatimah Jinnah (peace be upon her) may not be the first woman to stand up for a political cause but she was the first Pakistani lady who worked with her brother, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, side-by-side and step-to-step for the establishment of Pakistan. A dentist by profession, she served her great brother as a loving sister, sincere friend, loyal assistant, wise political adviser and trustworthy colleague throughout the movement. People of Pakistan loved her the same as they loved Quaid-e-Azam. She led Muslim League as a unified platform for Pakistanis until her death in 1967. She didn’t get married though but she was the first and the only lady to be remembered as Madre-Millat/The Mother of Nation. This nation is really very unfortunate for they produced hundreds of movies, dramas, theater shows, songs, books about the love stories of Empress Noor Jahan, the royal maid Anar Kali, the warriors Razia Sultana and Chand BiBi — writers, poets, composers, actors, actresses, singers, comedians, producers, directors — they all failed to present Madre-Millat as a calm, dignified, educated, brave and wise politician of Islamic world. And they all claim that they are a sensitive part of society and have been loyal and sincere to Pakistan. What a great sense of humor they have!
Madam Noor Jahan, a gorgeous actress and a great singer, was the first lady to be awarded with the crown and the title of “The Queen of Melody” by President Gen. Ayub Khan in acknowledgment of her outstanding services for Pakistan. She was the first and the only woman so far who visited the borders to encourage Pakistani soldiers to win the war of 1965. Her profession, her career, her family — nothing could stop her from serving her country at the right moment. Putting her little children behind, felt the pain for the whole nation, she used her voice to energize the troops for definite victory. She was also the first one to declare publicly that she is in deep love with Pakistan. She may rightly be called the symbol of Pakistan because of the gift of her passionate, patriotic songs.
Bilqees Edhi, another extraordinary female figure from Pakistan, who is the first woman to run one of the world’s biggest and organized charity with her husband Mr. Abdus-Sattar Edhi, having no educational and professional background. This jolly, friendly, simple, to-the-point lady is a blessing from God. Embracing children who are dumped on garbage piles by their own parents, counseling women to settle down family matters, guiding even educated girls how to make their lives purposeful, managing facility for mentally retarded women, adult home for homeless elderly people, running a shelter for homeless animals, etc. In short, Ms. Bilqees Edhi has shared an equal contribution in whatever the kind of services Edhi Foundation is providing to humanity. Her visit to Lal-Masjid in order to solve that political issue between the government and the extremists was a surprise for me. One brave and wise lady we should all be proud of.
Fatimah Surayyah commonly known as Bajya can be distinguished as the first lady who, lacking even the basic formal education at all, wrote plays on family matters and social issues and won awards on her writings, can discuss issues with scholarly perspectives of her own. Being witness of the Pakistan movement and its establishment, she is a sign of love and affection, courage and dignity, knowledge and respect.
These were the women who marked the history in unsuitable conditions. Then there are thousands of women who performed remarkably in different fields of life and even those who could only succeed in taking good care of their family members.
May God bless them all for being the subject matter of my post on Great Women. Ameen!