The four perfect women in Islam are: the Virgin Mary, Asya, Lady Khadijah, and Lady Fatimah.
Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, in particular, was a young girl during the time Islam was introduced. So from her youth — as a daughter, later a wife and a mother — the perfection of a Muslim as defined by Islam surfaces through Lady Fatimah.
A Perfect Woman
Lady Fatimah is one of the great women in Islam. She played an important role in her father’s mission; thus she is the perfect role model for women. The below verse describes the sanctity of the Prophet’s household, including Lady Fatimah.
And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former times of ignorance… And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless. (Quran 33:33)
A Strong Woman
In many reports, she was barely five when Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation at Mount Hira’. As a child, she had witnessed gross calamities inflicted upon her parents and even at times she fell victim to the taunts of the Quraish.
Unlike some children today who have to deal with playground bullying or peer pressure, Lady Fatimah endured physical, mental and spiritual pain as she watched the pagan Arabs humiliating her father.
One story even relays a scene at the Kabah where one of the opponents discarded rubbish on Prophet Muhammad while he was prostrating to God.
With a teary eye and a wrenched heart, the young Fatimah cleaned her father as he pacified his favorite daughter by telling her that he could endure personal insults.
Maybe it was through Lady Fatimah’s endurance throughout her childhood that Prophet Muhammad held her in high regard throughout his lifetime.
When she was older, and even married, she would nurse her father through to recovery when he was injured during war. On occasions where food was scarce, he would visit his daughter first to ensure that she had enough sustenance, before tending to his own needs.
Similarly, Lady Fatimah would visit her father if he was in need, without regretting any sacrifices she would make for him.
Also, when Lady Fatima entered the room of Prophet Muhammad, he would immediately rise to greet her; he’d kiss her forehead, and offer her his seat.
Her marriage to Ali ibn Abi Talib was a happy one. The wedding is often described as one of the most lavish weddings in Madinah.
In fact, Lady Fatimah was the only one among her sisters who did not marry a rich merchant. Prophet Muhammad encouraged the union; he knew very well that Ali was a pious Muslim and one that would look after his youngest daughter until death parted them.
Lady Fatimah braced married life bravely; she worked to help her husband to provide for their family. Besides the grueling conditions that she worked in, she was also a mother to two baby boys the older is named Hassan and the younger is Hussein.
She was a loving daughter, loyal wife, and doting mother. She persisted through the hardship that burdened her throughout her life, without even a whimper. How many women today are able to do that?
Contemporary culture often talks about the physical appearance of a woman, one that has to be inherently attractive. But Muslim women learn that inner beauty outweighs beauty on the outside.
They are those who provide for the needy, relieve the burdens of their husbands, raise their children as believers; they’re those who love their parents, and strive for personal improvement, whether it is through their careers, interests, or hobbies. Every act of a good Muslim is done for the sake of Allah.
Are Muslim daughters today growing up to be remotely close in demonstrating Lady Fatimah’s demeanor and faith? Fatimah witnessed violence and oppression at a young age; she blossomed into becoming one of the most pious Muslims in the history of Islam; and Allah recognized her as one of the perfect Muslim women.
It does not mean that young Muslim daughters today have to be exposed to violence and oppression the way Prophet Muhammad and his family had been to flourish into becoming believing women.
But the overwhelming levels of materialism that is inherent in today’s culture, dampens hopes that young Muslim women today will prescribe to the formula of Lady Fatimah in striving for perfection.
Perfection that Lasts
There is only one Fatimah, the one and only Lady Fatimah.
To Fatimah the Prophet Muhammad said:
Thou art the highest of the women of the people of Paradise, excepting only the Virgin Mary, daughter of Imran. (Lings, 1983).
It is difficult for women not to be swayed by the idea of contemporary perfection. The media bullies women into thinking that without a certain asset, accessory, or cosmetic case, they will fade into becoming bland individuals for being less attractive and less perfect.
Imagine striving for perfection amidst fashion faux-pas and the latest cosmetic discoveries.
Now imagine striving to socialize with Lady Fatimah in Paradise. Imagine mingling with her amongst other believers who withdrew from the pressures of contemporary perfection.
The reminder of Lady Fatimah as a perfect Muslim woman is one to lean on. Regardless of personal interests, hobbies, networks, social circles, or career prospects, a woman’s duty is towards Allah and His covenants.
The shallow world of materialism has no place in the hearts of believing Muslim women.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)