I want to take a brief moment today to tell you about just 5 Muslim women, from the earliest years of Islam and what they teach us about our worth and our potential.

These are, of course lessons, for all women and men. But I think it’s particularly important for people – especially non-Muslims – to understand what Muslim women are really taught and who their role models really are.

The Prophet’s wife, Khadija -proposed to him, was older than him and was the most prominent entrepreneur of her time. She was a rich and successful businesswoman (far richer and more prominent than him). Their monogamous marriage was filled with love and respect. It was Khadijah – a woman - who was the first person to confirm Muhammad’s prophet hood. Yes, the first Muslim was a woman.  

The lineage of the Prophet is also through a woman; His daughter, Fatimah. Fittingly for international women’s day it is also her birthday today.

Muslim women fought on the front lines. Like Nusayba who fought in the battle of Uhud, alongside the Prophet.

The first martyr of Islam was also a woman. When the Prophet Muhammad first began to preach publicly, there was quickly an active persecution of the small Muslim community Summayah and her family were targeted. She was tied up, beaten and stabbed to death when she refused to recant her faith.

Women took leading roles in standing up against tyranny – even when the other side were Muslims themselves. Just five decades after the Prophet’s death and Muslim leadership had fallen in to corrupt hands. 

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