5 Trailblazing Muslim Women Who Influenced Islamic History

by Hessy Trishandiani

People might be aware of modern inspiring Muslim women. There are lots of female Muslim names that are taking action to make the world a better place, with their notable contributions in the arts, science, sports and politics. 

Some of those names may be familiar to us. As Muslim women leaders goes, we have Benazir Bhutto, the first women in Pakistan to lead a political party and the first prime minister of Pakistan; Halimah Yacob, the first female president of Singapore, and Megawati Sukarnoputri, the first female president of Indonesia. We also have Muslim women who are in sports and making history through their hard work, determination and persistence, like Aries Susanti Rahayu, a speed climber from Indonesia; Sarah Attar, a track and field athlete from Saudi Arabia; and Stephanie Kurlow from Australia as the world’s first hijabi ballerina.

During the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, many women within the early Islamic period were widely important in different leadership areas too. The following is a brief account of some of these women — the most inspiring women from Islamic history with their sacrifice, love, faith, devotion and intelligence, and had a big contribution to the legacy of Islam. 

Khadija bint Khuwaylid

Born in 555 AD, Khadija bint al-Khuwaylid was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the first woman believer of Islam, aslo known as the “mother of believers.” Khadija is remembered as a powerful woman in her own right and and a great example of the power and respect that is owed to Muslim women. She was born to a father who was a successful merchant and she inherited her father’s skills at a time in history when society was male-dominated and dangerous. Upon her father’s death, she took over the business and traded goods through the primary commerce centers at that time. According to the documentary The Life of Muhammad, Khadija was known for breaking stereotypes in that era, 1,400 years ago, because she was the one who proposed to the Prophet. Until now, she remains one of the most powerful and inspiring figures in Islamic history. 

Aisha bint Abu Bakr 

Aisha is remembered as the youngest wife of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and was a scholar. She also played a major role in the politics of her times. Aisha led an army against the fourth caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib in the Battle of the Camel in 656 CE. After this loss on the battlefield, Aisha retreated to her home. She started translating and narrating hadiths and spreading the Islamic word. Aisha is known to have narrated 2,210 hadiths about various topics including those about inheritance and pilgrimage. After the death of the Prophet, her relevance in the Islamic community increased manyfold.

Sumayyah bint Khayyat

Sumayyah remains one of the most tragic and yet inspiring examples of the powerful women in Islamic history.  She is known as the first martyr of Islam and was one of the first who openly defied the Quraysh leaders of the time. Born a slave but freed later in life, Sumayyah married Yasir Ibn Amir and was one of the first families to convert to Islam. The leading Quraysh tribes kidnapped and tortured Summayah and forced her to renounce her faith in Islam and reject the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, but Sumayyah refused to back down in the face of tyranny and injustice. She didn’t want to disavow her belief in Islam. Because of her devotion to Allah and Islam, she was then murdered by Abu Jahal, a Meccan and Quraysh leader. 

Nusaybah bint Ka’ab

Nusaybah bint Ka’ab Al Maziniyyah was one of those who embraced Islam in the early days of revelation. She believed that a woman had the same duty in defending the new religion as a man. Nusaybah gained a reputation as the most distinguished woman who took part in the Battle of Uhud, but her participation in battles did not end with that battle. She was present on a number of occasions, including the Treaty of Aqabah, Hudaybiyah, as well as the battles of Khaybar, and Hunayn. She was revered by Abu Bakr Al Siddique as well as Umar bin Al-Khattab who continuously praised her struggle and courage. Under the leadership of Abu Bakr, Nusaybah fought brilliantly at Al-Yamamah and had multiple injuries and also lost her hand! Nusaybah is very inspiring for us because her courage on the battlefield was also matched by her steadfastness in faith.

Khawlah Bint Al-Azwar

Khawlah was the daughter of one of the chiefs of Bani Asad tribe and companion of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Her family was among the first converts to Islam. Khawlah’s father, Al-Azwar, trained her in all arts of swordsmanship and she became a perfect knight. It’s no wonder that Khawlah was described as one of the greatest female warriors in history and was once compared to Khalid Bin Walid by opponents on the battlefield. Khawlah became a legend during her life and remains a legend till this day. She set an example to men and women alike that one should fight for what they believe in.

These Muslim women’s legacy and devotion continue to inspire and touch the hearts and lives of Muslims to this day. The example they have left behind for mankind remains timeless.

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27 Comments

  1. Hassan

    I gained lot of nologe about those five
    Umuhat’s muslimiin.

    Reply
  2. Hafsha Haruna

    Much greatful to learn from it

    Reply
  3. Khalida Parveen -Tariq

    Very informative

    Reply
  4. Sufian lawal

    Alhamdulillah i really enjoyed may Allah be with you Asalamu alikum

    Reply
  5. Nusaybah

    Jazakallahu khair

    Reply
  6. Kabiru Bakari

    Am highly impressed.

    Reply
  7. Sumayah

    SubhanAllah amazing examples. Sadly none of the ummah today follows these examples…a Muslim woman proposing to a man is almost taboo. If only we followed these amazing examples from 1400 years ago no less, what an amazing ummah we would be and how many problems would simply vanish.

    Reply
  8. Abdul Rahman Ahmad

    A little more should be attributed to Khatijah for sacrifices for Islam. In particular in helping the Prophet saw. She was a very wealthy woman when she married the prophet but was very poor when she died. Her wealth went all to the cause of slam.

    Reply
  9. Noor us sabha

    Alhamdullaih a great information for everyone… post more often

    Reply
  10. Jasmin

    Ma shaa ALLAh I believe that Women have the power to change Society for the better of humanity

    Reply
  11. Jubril

    I like the write up, it’s inspiring.

    Reply
  12. Qawi McNeil

    Alhamduallah. These sister s play a Major role in the early days of Islam. Truly these sister’s are role models for mankind. Allah u Akbar.

    Reply
  13. Rahma

    Very informative

    Reply
  14. Amir Ur Rehman

    Very impressive information.

    Reply
  15. Souad

    Very inspiring

    Reply
  16. Tariq Iqbal

    We appreciate your efforts in increasing our knowledge of Islamic era specially of the women in Islam

    Reply
  17. Karimah Bilal

    ALHUMDULILAH thanks for sharing very inspiring

    Reply
  18. Afifa

    The righteous women are Muslim women , because they care for all human kind and animals , they tried to be good mom, good wife ,good and compassionate to all , they don’t want to , lie, Gossiping or anything bad ,even if no bodies watching , they think God is watching .people should be feel safe around Muslim women, of course ,the real Muslim the one who are pure with moral contact.

    Reply
  19. Mrs Hoodbhoy

    I loved it, very inspirational

    Reply
  20. Rashideh

    Very nice and important to know these women I am very proud to be a part of these muslin women

    Reply
  21. Ablavi

    I loved reading!!

    Reply
  22. Mariam

    very interesting to know the stories of women martyrs.

    Reply
  23. Mariam

    i am amazed to know that there were also women who participated in the battle during the time of our prophet sallahu alayhi wassalam. Allahuakbar!

    Reply
  24. Akbar

    A good read. To be honest, I have forgotten a few of them not until this article surfaces. Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  25. Hadija

    Mashallah ????????????

    Is good to share and educate society the importance of women, not only from religious point of view but also in general.

    Some think the purpose of women is only within the house for domestic responsibilities and bearing children…

    Women are mothers of prophets, kings, academics, richest and all walks of men exist in our planet so will be nice treat women dignity and respect
    Instead of treating them like a second citizen!

    Reply

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