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Hawaa (Eve), The Mother of the Humanity

She is the mother of mankind. She was created from Adam whilst he was sleeping, from the
shortest rib on his left side; its place then was dressed (bandaged) with flesh.

Allah the Almighty commanded Adam and his wife to dwell in the Paradise and said: And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Dhalimin (wrongdoers)." [Al Quran 2:35]

And He says in Surat al-Araaf: “He (Allah) said: ‘Get out from here disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them followed you; I will certainly fill the Hell with you all.’ ‘And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from anywhere you desire, but you both should not approach this Tree, lest you become unjust.”’ [7:18-19].

Allah has also said in the Surat Ta-Ha:
“And when We said t the angels: ‘Prostrate to Adam.’ They all prostrated themselves expect Iblis (Satan), who refused (to do so). So We said then to Adam: ‘He is a certain enemy to you and your wife, so do not let him expel you both from Paradise, so to you and your wife, so do not let him expel you both from Paradise, so that you may suffer hardship. Surely you will not feel hungry therein, nor be unclothed. You will not certainly therein, not will you suffer from heart.”’

When we look at the context of these (above mentioned) Verses, it proves that the reaction of Eve (Hawwa) had taken place before Adam entered Paradise and was commanded to dwell therein, as this Verse unequivocally tells us: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise.” However, Suddi has narrated through Abu Salih and Abu Malik from Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud and also from some other Companions who said Iblis (Satan) was expelled from paradise and Adam was made to dwell in it. He wandered through it alone as he had no partner in whom he could seek his comfort. However, once he slept and when he woke up, he found a woman sitting near his head whom Allah had created from his rib. Adam asked her: “What are you?” She replied: “A woman.” He asked her again: “what are you created for?”
She answered: “So you could seek comfort in me.” Angels who were well aware of the extent of the knowledge of Adam asked: “What is it Hawwa?” Adam replied: “because she was created from something living.”

We find confirmation to this notion in the Quran, which says: “O mankind! Fear Allah, the One Who fashioned you from the pair of them and from that soul He created his wife, and from the pair of them scattered many men and women...” (4:1). And also the verse which says: “Allah is the One Who fashioned you from a single person, and from that one He created his wife, and he might seek comfort in her, then when they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about...” (7:189)

It is narrated from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that he said:

استوصوا بالنساء خيرا فإنھن خلقن من ضلع، وإن أعوج شيء في الضلع أعلاه، فإن ذھبت تقيمه كسرته، وإن تركته لم يزل أعوج، فاستوصوا بالنساء خيرا


Enjoin upon one another good towards women. Verily, women are created out of a rib, and indeed the most crooked part of rib is the uppermost part. If you try to straighten it, you will break it; and if you leave it, it will remain crooked. So enjoin upon one another towards women.” (al-Bukhari)

Allah said: the Satan them made them slip from it” (2:36) i.e. from Paradise, “And caused them to fall from what they were in” (2:36), i.e from the (divine) blessing, favours and happiness to the abode of hardship, labour and misfortunes. This happened only because Iblis (Satan) whispered temptation to them and beautified his evil thoughts in their minds: “The
Satan whispered to both of them so that he might lead them to see their shameful parts which
had been hidden from each other. And said to them: ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you to approach this Tree lest you become angels or immortal.”’ (7:20)

“Iblis (Satan) swore to them: Truly I am sincere advisor to you.” (7:21). Satan took an oath to emphasise what he was whispering, as Allah said in another Verse: “But Satan whispered to him, saying: ‘O Adam! Shall I guide you to the Tree of Eternity and to a dominion that will never waste away?”’ (20:120) i.e shall I lead you to the Tree that if you eat from it, you will gain ethereal state of happiness and bounty, and will have a dominion which will never cease or be destroyed.

This was an act of sheer deception and delusion from Satan. It could be the same Tree about which Imam Ahmad has narrated form Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him who said that the Prophet Peace be upon him, said:

إن في الجنة لشجرة يسير الركاب في ظلھا مائة عام لا يقطعھا، شجرة الخلد

“In Paradise, there is a tree in whose shade a rider would travel for a hundred years and he will still not be able to come out of it: that is the Tree of Eternity.” (Ahamd 2/438, 455

This verse: Thus he les then on by delusion; and when they tasted of the Tree, their shameful parts appeared to them and they began to cover themselves with leaves from the garden.” (7:77) is the same as the one in Surat Ta-ha which reads: “So the two of them ate from it, and their nakedness appeared to them and they both began to cover themselves with leaves from the Garden.” (20:121).

The Quran indicated (clearly) that Adam and Eve had clothes on them, as it said in this verse:

ينزع عنھما لباسھما ليريھما سوءاتھما

“...stripping them of their garments to expose their shame to each other.” (7:27) It is narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both about this Verse that they were leaves of the fig (tree): “...and they began to cover themselves with leaves from Paradise...” (7:22)

“And their Lord called out to them saying: ‘Did I not forbid you from that Tree, and say to you that Satan was an avowed enemy to you.’ they said: ‘Our Lord! We wronged our souls and if you do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we shall certainly be among the losers.”’ (7:22, 23) This verse is a recognition of their mistake and sins and repentance from them. It shows their humility and submission and the need to retreating of Allah in times of crises. If this wisdom prevailed in any human, he would certainly be successful in both the worlds.

“He said: ‘Descend, you are enemies to each other, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision until an appointed time.”’ (Quran 7:24).

This is addressed to Adam and Eve, as well as to Satan. [...] Abu Musa al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him said: When Allah sent down Adam from Paradise to earth, He taught him workmanship of everything, and provided him with the fruits of Paradise. So your fruits are from the fruits of Paradise, except that your fruits change and
those do not.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

خير يوم طلعت فيه الشمس يوم الجمعة: فيه خلق آدم، وفيه أدخل الجنة وفية أخرج منھا، وفيه تقوم الساعة


“The best day in which the sun rises if Friday: on that day Adam was created, on that day he
was entered into Paradise; and on that day he was expelled from it, and on that day the Hour
will be established.” (Muslim 854)

Allah said:

فَتَلَقَّى ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فتاب عليه إِنَّهُ ھُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Then Adam received certain words from his Lord and He accepted his repentance, indeed He is the Relenting, the Most Merciful.” (Quran 2:37)
It is said that those words which Adam received from Allah, were what are mentioned in this


رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَسِرِينَ

"Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.'' (Quran 7: 23)


The above information was, with slight modification, taken from Ibn Kaheers “Stories of the

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Asiya bint Muzahim, Pharaoh’s Wife

Ibn Kathir commented on the verse: {“And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir’awn, when she said: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’awn and his work, and save me from the wrong-doers.””} [at-Tahrim; 11]:

Qatadah said: “Fir’awn was the most tyrannical and disbelieving person on Earth, and by Allah, his disbelief did not affect his wife when she decided to obey her Lord.”

Abu ‘Uthman an-Nahdi reported that Sulayman said: “Fir’awn’s wife was tortured in the heat of the Sun. When her torturers would take a break and walk away, the Angels would shade her with their wings, and she would see her home in Paradise.”

al-Qasim bin Abi Bazzah said:
“Fir’awn’s wife asked who won, and it was said to her: “Musa and Harun won.” So, she would say: “I believe in the Lord of Musa and Harun.” Fir’awn said to those around him: “Look for the largest rock you can find. If she sticks to what she said, throw it on her. If she retracts what she said, she will remain my wife.” When they came to her, she looked towards the sky and saw her home in Paradise. So, she stuck to what she said and her soul was taken, and the rock was thrown on her lifeless body after her soul had been taken.” The scholars say regarding her statement: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise” that she chose her neighbor (Allah) before mentioning where she wanted to live (a home in Paradise).

Abu al-’Aliyah said:
“Fir’awn’s wife believed because of the wife of Fir’awn’s treasurer. What happened was that this woman was sitting and combing the hair of Fir’awn’s daughter one day, and the comb fell from her hand. So, she said: “May whoever disbelieves in Allah be destroyed!” Fir’awn’s daughter said to her: “You have a lord besides my father?” She replied: “The Lord of me, your father, and everything is Allah.” So, Fir’awn’s daughter hit her and went to tell her father.

Fir’awn sent to her, saying: “You worship a lord besides me?” She said: “Yes. The Lord of you, I, and everything is Allah, and I worship Him.” So, Fir’awn tortured her by putting her on a stake and stretching out her arms and legs and setting loose snakes on her body. One day, when she was in such a state, he came to her and said: “Will you give up?” She replied: “The Lord of you, I, and everything is Allah.” He said to her: “I will kill your son if you do not do not go back from what you said.” She said: “Do whatever you want,” and he killed her son, and she could hear his soul calm her down by saying to her: “Be happy, my mother! You have such and such reward with Allah!”

She remained patient until Fir’awn came to her another day, and she said the same to him as she had before. So, he killed another of her sons, and she could hear his soul calming her down as well. Fir’awn’s wife heard all of this, and this caused her to become a believer. Allah took away the soul of the wife of Fir’awn’s treasurer, and Fir’awn’s wife suddenly realized the reward, status, and honor that this woman had in Paradise.

So, she increased in her faith and certainty until Allah caused Fir’awn to discover her faith, and he said to his followers: “What do you know about Asyah bint Muzahim?” They replied by praising her, and he said to them: “She worships someone besides me!” They said: “Kill her,” and he placed her on a device that stretched her arms and legs away from her body. So, Asyah called upon her Lord, saying: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise!” Fir’awn happened to walk by when she said this, and she smiled because she saw her home in Paradise, and Fir’awn said to those watching: “Aren’t you amazed by her insanity? She smiles while we are torturing her?!”

So, Allah took her soul away to Paradise, and may Allah be Pleased with her…”

['Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Adhim'; 4/504-505]

Regarding the story of the woman who was combing the hair of Fir’awn’s daugher, there is a supporting narration in the ‘Musnad’ (1/309 and 4/295) that was declared authentic by Ahmad Shakir from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “ًWhen it was the night of my Isra‘, I sensed a beautiful, sweet scent. So, I said: “Jibril, what is this beautiful scent?” He replied: “This is the scent of the woman who combed the hair of Fir’awn’s daughter, and her children.” I said: “And what is her story?”” And he then related a story similar to what was mentioned by Ibn Kathir, with the difference of a few details [1].

1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And Allaah has set forth an example for those who believe: the wife of Fir’awn (Pharaoh), when she said: ‘My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and his work, and save me from the people who are Zaalimoon (polytheists, wrongdoers and disbelievers in Allaah)’” [al-Tahreem 66:11] 

2 – It was narrated that Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The men who attain perfection are many, but there are no woman who have attained perfection apart from Aasiyah the wife of Pharaoh and Maryam bint ‘Imraan, and the superiority of ‘Aa’ishah over all other women is like the superiority of thareed over all other foods.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3230; Muslim, 2431) 

3 – It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drew four lines on the ground, then he said, “Do you know what this is?” We said, “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of the women of Paradise are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad, Aasiyah bint Mazaahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imraan – may Allaah be pleased with them.”

(Narrated by Ahmad, 2663. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1135)

4 – It was narrated from Anas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Sufficient for you among the women of the world are Maryam the daughter of ‘Imraan. Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad and Aasiyah the wife of Pharaoh.”

(Narrated and classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi, 3878)


5 – al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said:

 Among the virtues of Aasiyah the wife of Pharaoh is that she chose death over royal privilege and torment in this world over the luxury in which she was living. And her insight concerning Moosa (peace be upon him) was correct when she said “A comfort of the eye for me” [al-Qasas 28:9 – interpretation of the meaning].

 Fath al-Baari, 6/448 [2]

[1] source

[2] source

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Umm Musa (the mother of the prophet Moses)

At the time of Musa birth, reined the rule of Pharaoh. Pharaoh was an oppressive tyrant who rebelled in arrogance and was haughty. He preferred this world to the hereafter, and disobeyed the Lord. He divided his people into sections. Some of them were made to live the life of subservience and humiliation, and they were the children of Israel. They were the best people of their time. Pharaoh exploited them and dealt with them unjustly, forcing them to
take up only the lowest of profession. Not only that, he also killed their males and spared their women.

The reason behind this evil practise was the beliefs of Israelites that there will come a child from the progeny of Ibraheem, peace be upon him, who will destroy the kingdom of pharaoh. It happened when Sarah, the wife of Ibraheem passed though Egypt, and there the king of Egypt tried to misbehave with her. But Allah saved her, and gave her His glad tidings that from your progeny there would come a boy who will destroy this kingdom. This glad tiding
was very famous among Israelites. The Coptic people of Egypt talked about it, till it reached to Pharaoh through some of his ministers. Pharaoh then commanded that all newborn male children, from the Children of Israelites are to be slayed, leaving the girl’s alive out of fear that this child would destroy this kingdom.

Pharaoh’s fear lead him to extraordinary measures taking every step to ensure that Moses could not be born. He even went to the extent of appointing midwives who could check routinely upon pregnant women, and know the possible time of their delivery. No woman gave birth to a baby boy but the people of Pharaoh slew him the very moment.
Naturally, Musa’s mother was very worried from the moment she got pregnant. However the signs of pregnancy did not show on her. When she gave birth to Musa, peace be upon him, it was inspired to her that that she should make a chest and tie it with a long rope, with the other end with her house. As her house was on the bank of the Nile, she would feed him, and whenever she had any fear, she should place him in the chest and let the rope lose so it could
hide in the reeds of the Nile..

And We inspired the mother of Musa (telling): "Suckle him, but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers. Then the household of Fir`awn picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief. Verily, Fir`awn, Haman and their armies were sinners. And the wife of Fir`awn said: "A comfort of the eye for me and for you...'' A comfort of the eye for me and for you perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son. And they perceived not. [al-Qasas 7-9].

The inspiration mentioned in the above verse is not the inspiration of Prophethood. Rather it is the same inspiration that is mentioned in this verse regarding bees. The Quran said:

And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: "Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in trellises. Eat of the all fruit, and follow the ways of your Lord in humility.” [an-Nahl 68, 69]

Suhali said: The name of the mother of Musa, was Ayaathkhat. She was inspired in her heart that there was no cause for fear, even if he disappeared, Allah will return him and bring him back to her, because He was going to send him as His Prophet and Messenger. He will be a person of honour in this world and in the Hereafter. She used to do what she had been commanded. However, one day when she let the chest go in the Nile, she forgot to tie it with her house. Now the chest went on till it passed by the Pharaohs’ palace. So “The family of Pharaoh picked him up, that (Musa) should be to them an adversary and a cause of sorrow. Surely, Pharoah, Hamam, and their soldiers were sinners.”

Eventually Musa, chest which contained him, reached the palace of Pharaoh, where the wife of Pharaoh, Aasiya managed to convince Pharaoh to keep the boy, adopting him as a son, instead of slaying him. However, Musa’s mother became distressed and sad. Ibn Abbas Abbas, Mujahid and others said: “and the heart of Musa’a mother became void,” means it became void from everything concerning this world, she was so distressed that all she could think of, was about Musa. “...And she almost disclosed his case,” she was about to disclose to people about what she
had done, and start asking about Musa openly.

“And she said to his sister (that is her eldest daughter) “follow him (wherever he was going and bring me his news). So she watched him from a distance, while they were not aware.” Once Musa, peace be upon him, was taken inside Pharaohs palace and they wanted to keep him, they looked for someone who could foster that child. However, he did not feed from any foster mother; neither did he eat any food from anyone. They became helpless. They sent him
to midwives and in the escort of the other women, to the market so that they might find someone who could feed him. While there were waiting there, Musa’s sister spotted him, and without giving any hint that she was his sister she said to him: “Shall I direct you to a family who will look after him for you and be conscientious.”

So they realised her and took her to her house. His mother took him and put him to her breast. He immediately started suckling. They felt overjoyed and sent a messenger to inform Aasiyah. Aasiyah immediately summoned her to the palace and offered her to stay in the palace, which she did not accept. She said that she had a husband and children, so she could not stay here to suckle the baby unless she sends him with her. Aasiyah agreed to her proposal and appointed a grant for her. She gave all the expenses of the baby boy.

So Musa’s mother happily returned with her son to her home. Allah said: Thus We did return him to his mother that her eye may be delighted and she is not grieved, and that she would know that the Promise of Allah is true, but most of them do not know.”

An important question however may arise concerning why Haroon, Musa’s brother, was spared despite the fact that he was a boy and that Pharaoh ordered the boys to be killed? Many exegetes said: The Coptic population complained to Pharaoh that Israelites are getting less and less in number, because of the killing of their boys, so both the old and young may perish soon. Consequently, they may lose the manpower of Israelites, and be forced to carry out that work which they did. So Pharaohs found it an economically and socially sound solution, and hence decreed a new order, that from now we will kill the children for one year and then spare to love those who are born during the following year. It is said that Haroon was born in the year of pardon when children were not killed, and Musa was born in the year when they were being killed.


The above information was, with more details added, taken from Ibn Kaheers “Stories of the Prophets.”

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Sarah, the Wife of the Prophet Ibrahim

She was the only woman of Ibrahim's people to believe in Allah. She, afterwards, became his wife. She stood by "her husband all the time when calling his people to Allah. When Ibrahim realized that no one other than his wife and his nephew, Lut was going to believe in his call, he decided to imrnigrate, to a city called Ur and another called Haran and then departed for Palestine with them. After Palestine, Ibrahim arrived in Egypt.

After Palestine, Abraham traveled to Egypt, calling people to believe in Allah wherever he traveled, judging fairly between people, and guiding them to truth and righteousness. Hadith about Abraham, Sarah and Hajar

Abu Hurairah narrated that Abraham (pbuh) did not tell a lie except on three occasions, twice for the sake of Allah (Exalted and Almighty) when he said: "I am sick," (when his people were holding a festival in honor of their gods, Abraham excused himself by saying he was sick. (Ch 37:89 Quran) and when he said: "(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it." The (third was) that while Abraham and Sarah (his wife) were going (on a journey), they passed by (the territory of) a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant: "This man (Abraham is accompanied by a very charming lady." SO, he sent for Abraham and asked him about Sarah saying "Who is this lady?" Abraham said: "She is my sister."

Abraham went to Sarah said "O Sarah! There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and me. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister do not contradict my statement." the tyrant then called Sarah, and when she went to him, he tried to take a hold of her with his hand, but his hand got stiff and he was confounded. He asked Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me and I shall not harm you." SO Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he got cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but his hand got as stiff as or stiffer than before and he was more comfounded. He again requested Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm you." Sarah asked Allah to again, and he became all right.

He then called one of his guards who had brought her and said: "You have not brought me a human being but have brought me a devil." The tyrant then gave Hajar as a maid servant to Sarah. Abraham, gesturing with his hand, asked: "What has happened?" She replied: "Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel or immoral person and gave me Hajar for service." Abu Hurairah then addressed his listeners saying: "That Hajar was your mother, O Bani Ma is Sama
(Arab, the descendants of Ishmael, Hajar's son)."

Ibrahim was getting old and he had had no son by her. Sara was past the age of childbearing as well. Sara thought about how she and Ibrahim were lonely, for she was barren. She thought that Ibrahim should take her slave girl, Hajar as a wife, Sara let her husband Ibrahim marry Hajar, Then Hajar gave birth to Isma'il, Ibrahim's first son.

One day, Ibrahim received a group of strange guests. He chose a fat calf and gave orders for it to be slaughtered. Ibrahim then invited his guests to eat and he let his wife serve them a gesture of welcome and hospitality. He received them with a salutation of peace, and immediately placed before them a sumptuous meal of roasted calf. The strangers were embarrassed. They were angles and did not eat. The angels gave Sara glad tidings of Ishaq. She could hardly believe the news.

The news seemed to her too good to be true. She came froward, clamoured, struck her forehead with her hands, indicative of her amusement and incredulity as "a barren old woman." Allah the Almighty says:

(There came our Messenger to Ibrahim with glad tidings. They said, "peace!" He answered, "Peace!" and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands not reaching towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: "Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lut." And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But We gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob. She said: "Alas form me! Shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!” They said: “Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, O ye people of the house! For He is indeed Worthy of all Praise, Full of all Glory!) (Hud: 70-73)


Taken from "Stories of the prophets" by Ibn Kathir and "The Early Muslim Women"

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Hajar, the Wife of the Prophet Ibrahim

Hajar, who was a slave Egyptian girl given to Sarah the wife of the prophet gave birth to her first son Ishmael (isma'il) when Abraham was an old man.

One day, Abraham woke up and asked his wife Hajar to get her son and prepare for a long journey. In a few days Abraham started out with his wife Hajar and their son Ishmael. The child was still nursing and not yet weaned. Abraham walked through cultivated land, desert, and mountains until he reached the desert of the Arabian Peninsula and came to an uncultivated valley having no fruit, no trees, no food, no water. The valley had no sign of life. After Abraham had helped his wife and child to dismount, he left them with a small amount of food and water which was hardly enough for 2 days.

He turned around and walked away. He wife hurried after him asking: "Where are you going Abrahim, leaving us in this barren valley?" Abraham did not answer her, but continued walking. She repeated what she had said, but he remained silent. Finally she understood that he was not acting on his own initiative. she realized that Allah had commanded him to do this. She asked him : "Did Allah command you to do so?" He replied: "Yes." Then his great wife said: "We are not going to be lost, since Allah Who has commanded you is with us."

Abraham invoked Almighty Allah thus:
"O Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House (the Ka'ba at Mecca); in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayers perfectly (Iqamat as salat) so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. O our Lord! Certainly, You know what we conceal and what we reveal. Nothing on the earth or in the heavens is hidden from Allah." (Quran 14:37-38)

Ibn Abbas narrated: "The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah (by dragging it). Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him to a place near the Kaba under a tree on the spot of ZamZam at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water so he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates and a small water skin containing some water and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying:
"O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose
company we may enjoy, nor is there anything to enjoy?" she repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him : "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said: "Yes." She then said: "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards. On reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Kaba and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:

"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks." (Ch 14:37)

Ibn Abbas's narration continued; "Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had) When the water in the water skin had been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty, She started looking at him (Ishmael) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. she too on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended for As Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble till she crossed the valley and reached the mountain of Al Marwa. There she stood and started looking expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that running between Safa And Marwa seven times."

The prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "This is the source of the tradition of the Sa'y (rituals of the hajj, pilgrimage) the going of people between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwa). When she reached Al Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively.

She heard the voice again and said: "O whoever you maybe! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing) till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water skin with water with her hands and the water was flowing out water she had scooped some of it." The Prophet (pbuh) added: "May Allah bestow mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the zam-zam flow without trying to control it, or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water skin, Zam zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth."

The Prophet (pbuh) continued: "Then she drank water and suckled her child. The angel said to her: "Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people." The House (Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. "She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child as they (the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada.

They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. they said: "this bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley." They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water and returned to inform them of the water. So they all came towards the water. Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: "Do you allow us to stay with you?" She replied: "Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water." They agreed to that. Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation, as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people, so they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there.

The child (Ishmael) grew up and learned Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them."

Taken from "Stories of the Prophets" by Ibn Kathir

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Aminah Bint Wahb

The womb of Aminah bint Wahb was certainly the noblest and the most honourable of all the wombs. It was in a womb that noble foetus (of Allah's Messenger) settled. This seed has been
moving from loins ofmen, generation after generation until Allah in His Divine wisdom decreed that it moved to 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib, the youthful Qurayshi who excelled his contemporaries in greatness and beauty and in whose eyes the light of Prophethood was
shinning. 'Abdullah, it was, who was ransomed from slaughtering, after his father had vowed to sacrifice him and had sought to fulfil his vow. He was the most precious person the Arabs have ever known. This event took place, so that the Divine choice might be actualised and fmnly rooted in the history of mankind, bearing witness to Allah's absolute Will. There is no change in His Words and there is no preventer for what He has decreed.

(Allah chose Adam, Nooh [Noah], the family of Ibraheem [Abraham] and the family of 'hnran above the Alameen [mankind andjinn] [of their times]. Offspring, one of the other, and Allah is the All-Hearer, All-Knower) (Qur 'an 3: 33-34)

'Abdullah went out with his father 'Abdul-MuttaIib after he had been ransomed with the sacrifice and he had increased in light. A woman from Bani Asad ibn 'Abdul 'Uzza then met him beside the Ka 'bah and told him after she had looked into his face that was illuminating with the light of prophethood, "You will be given the like of the camels that were sacrificed for your ransom if you can cohabit with me now." But 'Abdullah replied her that it was better to die than to commit unlawful thing and that a noble man preserves his honor and religion.

'Abdul-Muttalib fmailly chose Aminah bint Wahb of the Zuhr clan as a wife for his son 'Abdullah. Ammah was then the best Qurayshi woman in lineage and status. A fortune-teller from TibaIah who was known as Fatimah bint Murr al-Khath'amiyah had also seen 'Abdullah. This woman was one of the most beautiful and the chastest Arab women. She saw the light of prophethood in the face of 'Abdullah. She then offered herself in marriage to him. But he rejected the offer.

The news of a Prophet that would come out from the children of lsma'eel (peace be upon him), was spreading among the Arabs all over the peninsula. This news was based on what the people of the Scripture narrated and from what is recorded in their Torah implicitly and explicitly, as well as from what the fortune-tellers and astrologers were saying.

Circumstances that surrounded 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib concerning his early life, youth, his excellent and brilliant upbringing, his chastity, his high moral conduct and the light with which he was known, had made some women and girls wish to find favour with him and eventually be his wife. But as Allah would have it, it was Aminah that became the wife of 'Abdullah. Aminah's womb was sooner to bear the noble foetus of the Prophet. And the womb fulfilled the message that was meant for it...and the destiny remained in the hand ofAllah Who dispose ofit as
He likes.

A few months after the pregnancy had taken place, 'Abdullah undertook a journey to Syria? When he was coming back, he fell ill and stayed with his maternal uncles from the tribe of Bani Najjar in Yathrib where they nursed him and took care of him. He however died in that illness, turning his young wife into a widow. Am.inah was greatly saddened with the death of her beloved husband who stayed with her after their marriage only for few months. She wept bitterly and wailed severely.

The separation was painful, arid more painful than this is the movement ofthe fetus in her womb. It had already become an orphan before it was born and before it could open its eyes. That was the degree of her psychological pain. But she had a consolation: It was her own self She was strong and persevering. She also found consolation in 'Abdul-Muttalib who took care ofher and showed her compassion. He would not leave her for a second, unless ifhe had to attend to his private needs.

Her greatest consolation is however her baby. She never felt any hardship or inconvenience, whether physical or psychological. What she felt was rather the opposite of that. She was comfortable and at ease. She felt as if she was a different person because she had no consideration for materialism of the humans. She was just like a specter that hovers in the air. Someone came to her while she was asleep and told her, "You are pregnant with the leader and the Prophet of this Ummah." He came to her again before she gave birth and told her, "Say after you have delivered him, 'I seek protection for him with the One (Allah) from the evil of every jealous.' Then name him 'Muhammad'. "

Thus did Anunah continue to see dreams. And more than once did the dreams give her glad tidings, strengthen her, encourage her to be patient, console her and elevate her stand and that of the pregnancy she was carrying. The delivery day was a great day. It was on the twelfth day of Rabee'ul-awwal at dawn.This very time has its meaning and significance. It has its dimensions in the horizons of time. It was the dawn that removed the darkness from mankind, the accumulated darkness that had made mankind deviated from the straight path and the darkness of humans' injustice against their fellow humans.

Yes! It was in the spring ... after the cold, hurricanes, roars and thunders of the winter and after the darkness of its clouds. It was in the spring after the heat and the scorch of the summer and after the dryness and the changes in the nature that come with autumn. Aminah said, "When I delivered him, a light came out with him that illuminated what is between the East and the West. The light illuminated palaces and markets of Syria until I saw the necks of the camels in Basra. I saw three erected flags: one at the East, one at the West and the third over the Ka'bah."

'Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet's grandfather came and took the boy Muhammad to the Ka'bah, going round the Ka'bah with him and saying, "Praise be to Allah Who gave me this greatly important boy; I seek Allah's protection for him."Some of the above was culled from Ammah's narration to Haleemah, of the clan of Bani Sa'd who was the Prophet's wet nurse. We shall discuss her life, inshaAllah. It is here that Haleemah bint Abi Dhu'ayb entered the life of
Muhammad (peace be upon him) as his second mother.

Before we commence our discussion about her life and the role she played we need to make a quick mention of the first milk that entered the Prophet's noble stomach. She is Thuwaybah the freed maid of his uncle Abu Lahab (,Abdul-'Uzza ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib) who dearly loved his brother 'Abdullah. Abu Lahab was gravely saddened by the death of his brother. And when his freed maid, Thuwaybah came to him and broke the good news of the birth of Muhammad (peace be upon him) to him, he was so happy that he set her free. That was the habit of the Arab noble men. It was a source of pride and glory for them.

It appeared that Thuwaybah stayed with Aminah for few days after she delivered.·· She also had just delivered a baby then. Muhammad (peace be upon him) sucked at her breast until Haleemah came and took him from her. The role that Haleemah was to play in the Prophet's early childhood was fundamental and important. The two periods of his stay with her at the dwellings of Bani Sa'd were full of important events.


Quoted from "Women around the prophet" for Mohammed Ali Qutb

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Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, holds a very special position in Islam, and God proclaims her to be the best woman amongst all humanity, whom He chose above all other women due to her piety and devotion.

“And (mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary!  Indeed God has chosen you, and purified you, and has chosen you above all other women of the worlds.  O Mary!  Be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those bow (in prayer).’” (Quran 3:42-43)

She was also made by God an example to follow, as He said:

“And (God sets forth the example for those who Believe) of Mary, the daughter of Heli, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into it through Our Angel (i.e., Gabriel), and she believed in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient.” (Quran 66:12)

Indeed she was a woman who was fit to bring such a miracle as that of Jesus, who was born without father.  She was known for her piety and chastity, and if it were any different, then none would have believed her claim to have given birth while remaining in a state of virginity, a belief and fact to which Islam holds true.  Her special nature was one which many miracles proved of from her early childhood.  Let us recount what God revealed in regards to the beautiful story of Mary.

The Childhood of Mary

Indeed God chose Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham and the family of Heli above all others of the creation.  Offspring, one of the other, and God is the All-Hearer, All-Knower.  (Remember) when the wife (Hannah; also Anne, Ann, Anna) of Heli said: ‘O my Lord!  I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (to serve Your Place of worship), so accept this, from me.  Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.” (Quran 3:35)

Mary was born to Heli (Imran) and his wife Hannah, who was of Davidic descent, thus coming from a family of Prophets, from Abraham, to Noah, to Adam, may the Peace and Blessings of God be on them all.  As mentioned in the verse, she was born to the chosen family of Heli, who was born into the chosen family of Abraham, who was also born into a chosen family.  Hannah was a barren woman who longed for a child, and she made a vow to God that, if He granted her a child, she would consecrate him to His service in the Temple.  God answered her invocation, and she conceived a child.  When she gave birth, she was saddened, for her child was female, and it was usually males who were given in service to Bait-ul-Maqdis.

“So when she gave birth to her, she said, ‘My Lord!  I have delivered a female…and the male is not like the female.”

When she expressed her sorrow, God rebuked her saying:

“…And God knows best what she delivered…” (Quran 3:36)

…for God chose her daughter, Mary, to be the mother of one of the greatest miracles of creation: the virgin birth of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.  Hannah named her child Mary (Maryam in Arabic) and invoked God to protect her and her child from Satan:

“…And I have named her Mary (Maryam), and commend her and her offspring to your protection from Satan, the outcast.” (Quran 3:36)

God indeed accepted this supplication of hers, and He gave Mary and her soon to come child, Jesus, a special trait - given to none before nor after; neither of them were afflicted by the touch of Satan upon birth.  The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“None are born except that Satan touches them upon their birth, due to which it comes out screaming from its touch, except Mary and her son (Jesus).” (Ahmed)

Here, we can immediately see a similarity between this narration and the Christian theory of the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary and Jesus, although there is a great difference between the two.  Islam does not propagate the theory of ‘original sin’, and therefore does not condone this interpretation of how they were free from the touch of Satan, but rather that this was a grace given by God to Mary and her son Jesus.  As other prophets, Jesus was protected from committing grave sins.  As for Mary, even if we take the position that she was not a prophetess, she nevertheless received the protection and guidance of God which He grants the pious believers.

“So her Lord accepted her with gracious acceptance, and reared her in purity and beauty, and entrusted her to the care of Zachary.” (Quran 3:37)

Upon the birth of Mary, her mother Hannah took her to Bait-ul-Maqdis and offered her to those in the mosque to grow under their tutelage.  Knowing the nobility and piety of their family, they quarreled as to who would have the honor to rear her.  They agreed to cast lots, and it was none other than the prophet Zachary (her uncle: her aunt's husband) who was chosen.  It was under his care and tutelage which she was reared.

Miracles in her Presence and Visitation by Angels

As Mary grew older, even the prophet Zachary noticed the special features of Mary, due to the various miracles which occurred in her presence.  Mary, as she was growing up, was given a secluded room within the mosque where she could devote herself to the worship of God.  Whenever Zachary would enter the chamber to see to her needs, he would find abundant, and out of season, fruit in her presence.

“Whenever Zachary entered the chamber, he found her provided with sustenance.  He said, ‘O Mary!  From where did you get this?’  She replied, ‘It is from God.’  Surely God bestows sustenance upon whom He pleases without measure.” (Quran 3:37)

She was visited by angels on more than one occasion.  God tells us that the angels visited her and informed her of her praised status amongst humanity:

“When the angels said, ‘O Mary!  God has chosen you and purified you (due to your worship and devotion), and chosen you (by making you the mother of the prophet Jesus) above the women of the worlds.  O Mary!  Pray to your Lord devoutly, and prostrate yourself, and bow down with those who bow down.’” (Quran 3:42-43)

Due to these visitations of the angels and her being chosen above other women, some have held that Mary was a prophetess.  Even if she was not, which is a matter of debate, Islam still deems her having the highest status amongst all women of creation due to her piety and devotion, and due to her being chosen for the miraculous birth of Jesus.


Her Annunciation

God informs us of the instance the angels gave Mary the glad tidings of a child, his soon to be status on earth, and some of the miracles he will perform:

“When the angels said: ‘O Mary!  Indeed God gives you glad tidings of a word (His saying, ‘Be’) from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and of those nearest to God.  He shall speak to people while still in the cradle, and in manhood, and he shall be from the righteous.’  She said, ‘My Lord, how can I have a son when no man has touched me?’  He said, ‘Even so, God creates what He pleases.  When He decrees, He merely says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.  And He will teach him the Book and the Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.” (Quran 3:45-48)

This sounds much like the words mentioned in the Bible:

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.”

Astonished, she replied:

“How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:26-38)

This instance was a great trial for her, for her great piety and devotion was known to everyone.  She foresaw that people would accuse her of being unchaste.

In other verses of the Quran, God relates more details of the annunciation by Gabriel that she would give birth to a Prophet.

“And mention in the Book, Mary, when she withdrew from her people to a place.  And she placed a veil to screen herself from them; then we sent to her Our Spirit (Gabriel), and he appeared to her in the form of a human in all respects.  She said, ‘I seek refuge in the Most Gracious (God) from you, if you fear Him.’  He said, ‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, to announce to you the gift of a son most pure.’” (Quran 19:17-19)

Once, when Mary left the mosque to see to her needs, the angel Gabriel came to her in the form of a man.  She was frightened due to the close proximity of the man, and sought refuge from God.  Gabriel then told her that he was no ordinary man, but an angel sent by God to announce to her that she would bear a child most pure.  Out of astonishment, she exclaimed

“She said, ‘How shall I have a son, when no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?!’” (Quran 19:19-20)

The angel explained that its was a Divine Decree which already has been ordained, and that it is indeed something easy for God the Almighty.  God said that the birth of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, will be a sign of His Omnipotence, and that, just as He created Adam without father or mother, He created Jesus without father.

“He said, ‘So it will be,’ your Lord said: ‘That is easy for Me, and We shall make him a sign to the people, and a Mercy from Us, and it is a matter which has been decreed.’” (Quran 19:21)

God blew the spirit of Jesus through the angel Gabriel into Mary, and Jesus was conceived in her womb, as God said in a different chapter:

“And Mary the daughter of Heli, who guarded her chastity, so we breathed into her through Our Spirit (Gabriel).” (Quran 66:12)

When the signs of pregnancy became apparent, Mary became even more worried about what people would say about her.  Her news spread far and wide and, as was inevitable, some began to accuse her of being unchaste.  Unlike the Christian belief that Mary was espoused to Joseph, Islam upholds that she was neither betrothed, nor espoused nor married, and it was this that caused her such anguish.  She knew that people would hold the only logical conclusion to her state of pregnancy, that she was so out of wedlock.  Mary isolated herself from people and left to a different land.  God says:

“So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.  The pain of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree.” (Quran 19:22-23)


The Birth of Jesus

On the onset of her labor, she was in extreme pain, both mentally and physically.  How could a woman of such piety and nobility bear a child out of wedlock?  We should mention here that Mary had a normal pregnancy which was no different than other women, and delivered her child as others do.  In Christian belief, Mary did not suffer the pains of childbirth, for Christianity and Judaism regard menstruation and labor to be a curse upon women for the sin of Eve[1].  Islam neither upholds this belief, nor the theory of ‘Original Sin’, but rather strongly emphasizes that none shall burden the sin of others:

“…No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another...” (Quran 6:164)

Not only that, but neither the Quran nor the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, ever mention that is was Eve who ate from the tree and enticed Adam.  Rather, the Quran places the blame on either Adam alone, or on them both:

“Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both…So he misled them with deception.  Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them” (Quran 7:20-22)

Mary, due to her anguish and pain wished that she had never been created, and exclaimed:

“Would that I had died before this, and become something forgotten.” (Quran 19:23)

After delivering the child, and when her distress could not be any more severe, the newborn babe, Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, cried out miraculously from beneath her, appeasing her and reassuring her that God will protect her:

“And he called to her from beneath her, ‘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 contented.  And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to (any) person.’” (Quran 19:24-26)

Mary felt reassured.  This was the first miracle performed at the hands of Jesus.  He spoke reassuringly to his mother upon his birth, and once again when people saw her carrying her newborn baby.  When they saw her, they accused her saying:

“O Mary, truly a strange thing you have brought!...” (Quran 19:27)

She merely pointed to Jesus, and he miraculously spoke, just as God had promised her upon annunciation.

“He shall speak to people while still in the cradle, and in manhood, and he shall be from the righteous.” (Quran 3:46)

Jesus said to the people:

“I am indeed a slave of God.  He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be.  And He has enjoined upon me prayers, and to pay the alms, as long as I live and (He has made me) kind to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed.  And may Peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and on the Day I shall be raised to life.” (Quran 19:30-33)

From here starts the episode of Jesus, his lifelong struggle to call people to the worship of God, evading the plots and plans of those Jews who would strive to kill him.
Mary in Islam

We have already discussed the great status which Islam gives to Mary.  Islam gives her the status of being the most perfect of women created.  In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary even though all the prophets, with the exception of Adam, had mothers.  Of the Quran’s 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a chapter named after them, the nineteenth chapter “Maryam”, which is Mary in Arabic.  The third chapter in the Quran is named after her father, Imran (Heli).  Chapters Maryam and Imran are among the most beautiful chapters in the Quran.  In addition, Mary is the only woman specifically named in the Quran.  The Prophet Muhammad said:

“The best women of the world are four: Mary the daughter of Heli, Aasiyah the wife of Pharaoh, Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid (The wife of the Prophet Muhammad), and Fatimah, the daughter of the Muhammad, the Messenger of God.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Despite all these merits which we have mentioned, Mary and her son Jesus were only human, and they had no characteristics which were beyond the realm of humanity.  They were both created beings and both ‘born’ into this world.  Although they were under the special care of God from committing grave sins (total protection - as other prophets - in the case of Jesus, and partial protection as other righteous persons in case of Mary, if we take the position that she was not a prophetess), they still were prone to make mistakes.  Unlike Christianity, which holds Mary to be faultless[2], none are given this quality of perfection except God Alone.

Islam commands the belief and implementation of strict monotheism; that none have any supernatural powers other than God, and that He alone deserves worship, devotion and adoration.  Even though miracles may have occurred at the hands of the prophets and righteous people during their lives, they have no power to help themselves, let alone others, after their death.  All humans are slaves of God and are in need of His help and mercy.

The same holds true for Mary.  Although many miracles occurred in her presence, all this ceased after her death.  Any claims people have made that they saw apparitions of the Virgin, or that people were saved from harm after invoking her, like those mentioned in apocryphal literature such as “Transitus Mariae”, are mere apparitions made by Satan to steer people away from the worship and devotion to the One True God.  Devotions such as 'the Hail Mary' praised upon the rosary and other acts of magnification, such as the devotion of churches and specification of feasts to Mary, all lead people to magnify and glorify others besides God.  Due to these reasons, Islam has strictly forbidden innovations of any kind, as well as building places of worship over graves, all to preserve the essence of all religions sent by God, the pristine message to worship Him alone and to leave the false worship of all other besides Him.

Mary was a maidservant of God, and she was the purest of all women, specially chosen to bear the miraculous birth of Jesus, one of the greatest of all prophets.  She was known for her piety and chastity, and she will continue to be held in this great regard throughout the ages to come.  Her story has been related in the Glorious Quran since the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, and will continue to be so, unchanged in its pristine form, until the Day of Judgment.


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