Supreme role models for women

Sarah and Hajr were the two wives of Ibrahim AS. Their personal sacrifices in the name of Islam were momentous and too long for a single blog, but we have set out the key points.

Sarah left her people to migrate with Ibrahim AS. She was the only Muslim woman on earth at the time, and was the pillar of support for her husband despite all the hardship. Taken captive by one of the kings, the king tried to make advances to her but by her sheer piety, her supplication to Allah was granted and she remained unharmed. In return the king set her free and granted her Hajr as a gift. Being barren and knowing Ibrahim’s AS yearning to have a child, she made the supreme sacrifice a woman can make: asking him to marry Hajr for his wish to have children to be granted.

Hajr was another inspirational example of piety. After she gave birth to Ismail AS, Allah commanded Ibrahim AS to leave them in a barren desert. It was out of surrender to Allah that she did not resist or create a drama, even though she barely had enough food and water with her. It is her footsteps we imitate during our sai’ee rituals when performing umrah, when she ran between the hills of Safa and Marwah searching for water for her dying son, Ismail AS. In return for her complete surrender to Allah, the well of zam zam gushed from her baby’s feet and the city of Mekah was founded and soon flourished. Later, when Ibrahim AS was commanded by Allah to sacrifice Ismail AS, Hajar submitted to Allah’s command. She was not hysterical, and did not argue. When Shaitan tried to instigate her on this topic, she threw stones at him seven times to get rid of him, which is now another ritual entrenched in our Hajj rituals until the end of time.

Sarah was rewarded with a son, Ishaq AS, and he was the forefather of all but one of the prophets and messengers that was born after him. From Hajr’s lineage through Ismail AS, the seal of the prophets, Muhammad SAW, was born. Such was the honour for the family of Ibrahim AS, being the father and mothers of the future prophets, and reignited Islam on earth, that we still supplicate for them in every single salat.

Now think. Both Hajr and Sarah were ordinary women. They weren’t prophets. They weren’t angels. They did not know the unseen. They were ordinary human beings like us, with the similar physical strengths and weaknesses. They had the same emotions, fears and desires.

They did not have Jibril AS to guide them or to predict the future for them if they were to perform a particular action. They did not achieve superpowers just because they were married to a Prophet. But their faith in Allah was supreme and propelled to them to exceed all boundaries and adversities.

Now for us. What is stopping us from achieving the same heights of greatness in Allah’s kingdom? For the women, what is to stop us from being a pillar of support to create a blessed family in the eyes of Allah? What are our challenges which we find are too great to bear, compared to the challenges these noble ladies faced and conquered with such steely determination and faith?

Many women now not only fail to support their husbands in establishing the deen, but in fact resist and challenge them when certain issues of the deen are not to their liking. Between sacrificing dunia and akhirah, many women would prefer to sacrifice their akhirah, and pressure their husbands to sacrifice their akhirah as well, for the sake of designer clothes, a big house, some status or attention. And these houses are usually empty of Islam, except for some hollow rituals, in terms of values, family relationships and fear of Allah.

Allah gave us the example of the family of Ibrahim AS for a reason.

Time to reflect.

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