One day, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ drew four lines and said ‘Do you know what these are?’. Those around him replied with ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ To which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The best women of the women of Jannah are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imraan and Aasiyah bint Muzahim, the wife of Pharaoh.’
On that beautiful day, we were told who the four queens of paradise were!
‘The best women of the women of Jannah are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imraan and Aasiyah bint Muzahim, the wife of Pharaoh.’”
All four of these women reached perfection in this world and were also given the titles of the best women in Jannah. They all had the perfect balance of The Four Traits of a Cherished Muslimah, namely: leadership love, wisdom and justice. Yet for the sake of learning, let’s focus on one of their defining characteristics through which we can connect with them, with the hope to attain some goodness from their perfection.
Our Lady Maryam
True Love and Devotion
Ah, Our lady Maryam, the devoted! The daughter of Prophet Imran and Hannah, she was the one who spent time in seclusion with her Lord. In fact, even before she was born, her mother had devoted her to Allah, saying:
“I have made a vow to dedicate to Your service whatever is in my womb. Lord, accept it from me. You are All-hearing and All-knowing”.
Surah Al-Imran (3:35)
She was Qānitah and Siddiqah – the one who is in complete submission to her Lord and is sincere in her beliefs. She lived in the temple since she was a child, personifying devotion and obedience to Allah. She was also– sincere in her faith and devotion to Allah.
And she was of the obedient ones (qānitīn)
Surah Al-Tahrim (66:12)
His (Isa’s) mother was a truthful woman (siddiqah)
Surah Al-Maida (5:75)
Our Lady Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her) was the epitome of a woman who experiences intimacy with her Lord. He provided her with food while she worshipped him! She lived in the temple, in total seclusion under the guardianship of her uncle, Prophet Zakariyya (upon him be peace) and grew up as a righteous and pure woman. Prophet Zakariyya would visit her and find she had food, and when he asked her where it came from, she would reply ‘It is from Allah’.
So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zakariya. Every time Zakariya entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Maryam, from where have you got this? She said, “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah gives provision for whom He wills without measure.”
Surah Al-Imran (3:37)
Even the angels testified to her that she was chosen by Allah, purified and above the women of the worlds. What better acknowledgement is there than that!
And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah has chosen you and made you pure, and has preferred you above (all) the women of creation.
Surah Al-Imran (3:42)
One day, Our Lady Maryam was visited by the Angel Jibril, who informed her that she would be having a pure, baby boy. She was astounded and asked how that could be when she hadn’t even been touched by a man and was not an unchaste woman, and the angel told her that it was as her Lord had decreed it.
Our Lady Maryam withdrew from her community, and when the time came for her to give birth to the baby Prophet Isa (upon him be peace), she was in so much pain that she wished she had died. And Allah, her intimate companion, gave her His care and guidance during this difficult time. He provided with her with a stream and told her to drink from it, and told her to shake a nearby palm tree and eat from its dates, and in doing so, she felt consoled. Imagine having no-one but Allah as your birth partner! What an intimate connection!
And then what of the baby? How would she return to her community with a baby? She would be accused of having intimate relations with a man! But Allah saved her from this disrepute by advising her not to speak to anyone. Remember, when Allah tells you to do something, it is because it is the best thing for you. If she was told to have dates and water, it was because they would be the remedy she needed. If she was told to remain silent, it would be the solution she needed.
‘Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.
And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be consoled.
And if you do see anyone, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and so I will not speak to any human being today.’’
Surah Maryam (19:23-26)
And so, Our Lady Maryam did just that. She returned back to her town with a baby in her arms. When the people rushed towards her with their questions and accusations, she remained quiet and pointed to her baby. To everyone’s amazement, the new-born baby spoke to them, testifying his mother’s innocence.
Throughout her life, she relied on no man except Allah, and He sufficed her, and she was able to reach the heights of piety with Allah as her protector when she was in need and her defender from any charges of slander.
But she pointed to the babe. They said, ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?’
He said: ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet.’
Surah Maryam (19:29-30)
Ah, Our Lady Maryam! She is our hope and inspiration to be lovers of Allah!
We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.
Surah Al-Anbiya (21:91)