Praise be to Allaah.
The scholars differed as to the meaning of the perfection of
women. Some said, it refers to Prophethood.
Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath:
it is as if he said: No women attained
Prophethood except for So and so and So and so. (al-Fath,
This view is mistaken!
The refutation of this idea is as follows:
Some reports also add
bint Khuwaylid and Faatimah bint Muhammad. (Narrated by at-Tabaraani).
We know for sure that Khadeejah and Faatimah were not Prophets, but they are
among the women who attained perfection. So what is meant by women who
attained perfection is the perfection of close friendship with Allaah
(wilaayah, the status of a wali), and not the perfection of Prophethood.
Al-Qaadi said: this hadeeth is used as evidence by those who
say that a woman could be a Prophet and that Aasiyah and Maryam were Prophets!
But the majority say that they were not Prophets; rather, they
were Siddeeqahs [siddeeq: one who speaks or testifies to the truth]
and waliyyahs (close friends of Allaah) from among the awliyaa
The word perfection is used to describe something
that is the best, the ultimate in its class.
What is meant here is that they achieved the highest degree
of virtue, righteousness and taqwaa.
And Allaah knows best. (Sharh Muslim,
Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said:
Al-Qaadi Abu Bakr, al-Qaadi Abu Yalaa, Abul-Maaali
and others mentioned that there was scholarly consensus that there could be
no female Prophet. The Quraan and the Sunnah do not indicate that, as
it says in the aayaat (interpretation of the meanings):
And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men
unto whom We revealed, from among the people of townships [Yoosuf 12:109]
The Messiah [Eesaa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary),
was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before
him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddeeqah [i.e. she believed in the Words
of Allaah and His Books [al-Maaidah 5:75]
Here it is mentioned that the highest degree his mother reached
was that of siddeeqah.
(Majmoo al-Fataawaa, 4/396).
Secondly: the hadeeth Faatimah is the
leader of the women of the people of Paradise except for Maryam bint Imraan.
(Narrated by Ahmad, 11347. Its isnaad was classed as hasan by al-Haafiz
Ibn Hajar in al-Fath, 7/111).
This hadeeth proves that Faatimah is better than Aasiyah. If
Aasiyah had been a Prophet, Faatimah would not have been better than her, because
Faatimah is not a Prophet.
The word perfection does not necessarily imply
that she was a Prophet, because the word perfection is used to describe anything
that is perfect or is the best in its class. So it means that she reached the
highest degree in all the virtues that belong to women. (Al-Fath, 6/447).
This is the correct understanding of the perfection of women referred to in
And the superiority of Aaishah to other women is
like the superiority of Thareed to other meals.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
Thareed is composed of meat and bread.
Meat is the best of those foods that are eaten with bread, and bread is the
best of foodstuffs. If they are combined, there can be nothing better than that.
Zaad al-Maaad, 4/271.
The ulamaa said: it means that thareed is
better than broth, and thareed with meat is better than broth without
thareed, and the thareed that has no meat is better than broth.
What is meant by better is that it is more nutritious, more filling, easier
to digest, more enjoyable and easier to eat; a person may eat his fill of it
quickly, and so on. It is better than all kinds of broth and all kinds of food.
The superiority of Aaishah over other women is great, as great as
the superiority of thareed over other kinds of food. This does not clearly
state that she is better than Maryam and Aasiyah; it could be that what is meant
is that she is superior to the women of this ummah.
(Sharh Muslim, 15/199).
Ibn al-Qayyim said, discussing the relative merits of Aaishah
To say that one thing is better than another without discussing
it in detail is not right. If by better I mean the one who has more
reward from Allaah, this is something that cannot be known except through the
text or report (al-nass), because it has to do with the deeds of the
heart, not only the deeds of one's external faculties. How often have there
been two people, one of whom did more visible deeds, but the other was of a
higher status than him in Paradise.
If by better I mean the one who has more knowledge,
then undoubtedly Aaishah was more knowledgeable and brought more
benefit to the ummah, for she conveyed knowledge to the ummah such as
no one else conveyed and the leaders and rank-and-file of the ummah alike need
But if by better I mean of nobler birth and origin,
then undoubtedly Faatimah is better, for she is a part of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This is something unique, which
she shares only with her sisters.
If I mean leadership, then Faatimah is the leader of the women
of this ummah.
When discussing the question of superiority from all aspects
and approaches, this is fair and just.
When most people speak about who is better or superior, they
do not discuss the matter in detail or take a balanced approach. This undermines
the truth, and if it is compounded by bias or whims, it becomes ignorant and
(Badaai al-Fawaaid, 3/682, 683)
With regard to the virtues of Aaishah, they are
many (see question #7878). And Allaah