Lecture for 1st year medical students on 15th February 2001 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.



All humans are from Adam. Modern discoveries about DNA and the molecular basis of life prove that there is a biological commonality that must have been caused by a common origin. Unity of humanity, wahdat al bashahariyat, is based on the common biological origin. Islam does not accept the concept of sub-human types. Primates may have external features similar to humans but they are, like humans, a unique creation by Allah and not a sub-human type. As far as we know all offspring of Adam are on planet earth. It is however possible that some of them live on some other planets; science has yet to settle this doubt. The possibility remains open that humans not descended from Adam do exist somewhere in the cosmos. When Allah informed angels about the impending creation of Adam they seemed to be concerned about human sins and violence as if they had previous experience of humans not descended from Adam. Life as we know it in plants and animals could also be found on other planets or other galaxies if those galaxies have a biosphere similar to that of the earth. Scientific exploration will clarify these issues in due course.



Humans started as one family that of Adam. They were at one time one community or nation, ummat wadihat (p 156 2:213, 10:19, 21:92, 23:52, 43:33). Because humans all arose from one primordial civilization, we can detect many similar social institutions in people living in different parts of the globe. Differences developed between them and they became many groups (p 152 5:48, 10:19, 11:118, 16:92-93, 22:34, 22:67, 42:8) and spread out on the earth. Differences in social organization arose as humans moved to live in different environments. The environment has a decisive effect on social life and social behavior. Social organizations and behaviors differ by the type of habitat. Human social organization and culture have grown to be adapted to each habitat: forests, deserts, and open plains. The human family is a unique institution found in all human societies. Humans have a more stable family life than animals or other living things. Humans have a sense of kinship that animals do not have. The sending of prophets to different communities with the same message has reinforced the common social origin of humanity (p 152 2:213, 4:41, 6:42, 7:94, 7:101, 10:13, 10:47, 12:109, 13:30, 16:36, 16:63, 16:84, 16:89, 23:44, 26:208, 28:59, 34:34, 35:24, 36:13, 43:23, 40:5). The common social origin of all humans has also been reinforced by transmission of culture from place to place and from one generation to the next. This process accelerated after the discovery of writing. The current IT revolution will make humans know about one another more and realize all what is common among them.




Biological similarities among humans are based on the same cellular structure and function, same chemical composition and function, common genetic control based on DNA, and the ability to inter-breed. The cell is the basic building block of the body. There are hardly any detectable differences in structure or function of cells among different human groups. The bio-chemical and metabolic functions of the cells are all the same. There is specialization among cells therefore they differ in structure and some of their physiological functions. Human DNA is similar across many human groups. The ability of humans of different racial and ethnic groups to inter-breed is further proof of their biological similarity.



Although humans are from the same biological origin, there are observable differences among them. These differences were created by Allah and did not arise as passive adaptations to the environment. Allah deliberately created these differences to coincide with the geographical habitat, the environment, or the ecological niche in which they live. Basic biological differences among humans can be described as based on skin color, minor variations of body anatomy and physiology (weight, height, disease susceptibility, external physiognomy) that are used in a rather vague way to define three basic racial types: Caucasian, mongoloid, and Negroid. Allah deliberately created differences in color as one of His signs (30:22). Color variation is also found in other creations of Allah (p 1050 16:13, 16:69, 35:27-28, 39:21). There are gradations and different shades of color even within one race. Skin color is due to melanin and carotene. The darker races have more melanin. The mongoloid races have more carotene. Melanin protects the body from dangerous ultra-violet rays. Albinos are humans with a genetic defect that causes deficiency of melanin; they have to wear eyeglasses or other protective body clothing to be able to walk in the sun. Humans who live in the hot tropical regions of the world have more melanin in their skin making them darker in color. Caucasian races especially those living in the cold far north have the same density of melanocytes as the darker races living in the equatorial regions. The difference is that the melanocytes of the darker races are more active than Caucasoid melanocytes. The Caucasoid do not need as much melanin because the sun is not very strong in the northern hemisphere. Caucasoids suffer from skin-burn and skin cancer when they stay in tropical regions with strong sunlight. Anatomical variations can also be related to the environment. The lips of humans in hot tropical regions are bigger and present a larger surface area for heat loss. The nostrils are narrower and longer in humans who live in cold regions where inspired air is very cold. The height and weight of humans are related to their diet. When humans take the same diet they reach the same height potential irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or geographical location. This emphasizes that in essence all humans are biologically similar.


There is no generally accepted scientific evidence that differences among humans due to the environment cumulate and lead to evolution of a different species. All humans are one species and can intermarry and reproduce.  The influence of the environment on humans becomes less pronounced with human technology being able to change the environment to suit human needs.



The structure and functions of a human family are common to many human groups. Some behavioral characteristics of humans are uniform such as aggression which started with homicide committed by Adam's son Adam’s son killed: (MB hadith # 1402). The environment or ecological niche tends to impose social similarities on all people living in it that differentiate them from those living in other environments.



Variations among humans can be at the ethnic, family or individual level. Customs differ from community to community. Customs are ways of living followed by a great many people. They are transmitted from generation to generation. A custom starts when people find an easy and convenient beneficial way of doing something. Some customs come from religion. Some are short-lived whereas some continue for a long time. Customs are a factor of similarity within the community and factors of differences between communities. Language differences are among Allah’s signs (30:22). Allah created differences in languages. Languages change continuously as they adapt to differing needs of communities. There are differences in social status



Humans are a spectrum and not discrete groups with clear boundaries. Colors and physical features merge at the interfaces of human contact. The first major classification of humans is that based on gender. Males and females are different biologically, psychologically, and emotionally. These differences do not indicate superiority or inferiority. They are rather part of Allah’s scheme for a balanced society. The differences enable the man and woman to have specialized functions that complement one another. There is no pure race living on earth today. Humans have mixed a lot. DNA studies are likely to show this diversity of humans. It is better to classify humans on the basis of ethnicity and not race. The word race is non-scientific and is difficult to define and operationalize accurately. Ethnicity involves hereditary and social characterization that is more exact than race.




The gender variation is a subject of contemporary controversy and intellectual debate. Stereotyping makes it difficult to discuss gender issues logically. The issue seems clear from the Islamic perspective. Modern European thought however has complicated the issue and has made erroneous observations and reached wrong conclusions. The European mind-frame finds it difficult to accept that differences and similarities occur and are an indication of Allah’s will. When similarities are seen in the biology of animals and humans, the European mind looks at them either as sources of conflict or as indicators of evolutionary progression.


Biological similarities should actually point to one creator and not necessary one original primordial creature that evolved down the ages. Biological differences indicate the power of the creator to create variations while at the same time there are commonalities. There is inconsistency in European ideas about gender and equality. Insistence on exactly the same roles for men and women is biologically and socially illogical. Roles of men and women cannot be exactly the same because males and females are different. Treating dissimilar persons in the same way enhances and does not relieve inequality. Even animals accept gender-based roles and differentiation. For proper functioning of human and animal societies, it was necessary to have gender parity. The Qur'an has taught the issue of parity as a general phenomenon in creation. Parity in gender, zawjayn, with emphasis on complementary relations between males and females is just one example of parity found in other living and non-living things. We will subsequently discuss issues of equity, equality, justice, and division of labor that are associated with parity.



Similarities: Women and men are equal in their religious, ethical, civil rights, duties and responsibilities (16:97). Exceptions are very few and arise because of different responsibilities (4:34) or differences in basic biological nature. The Qur’an assures religious equality (3:175, 9:71-72, 16:97), ethical equality (3:195, 9:71-72, 16:97), and civil equality (60:12, 5:38, 24:2, 4:32). Islam teaches the equal worth / status of the 2 genders. Men and women are from the same creation. Islam assures moral and legal equality of the 2 genders. Islam does not blame the woman for the original sin of Adam and Hawa. Religious education and religious obligations are the same for men and women. Women get equal reward for equal work. The woman however should not be forced to do exactly what men do. She can get equal reward for alternative work. Islam assures economic independence of women and their economic freedom if that will not interfere with their family duties. Women and men are equally challenged in some activities. There are areas in which the challenge is to men just there are other areas in which the challenge is for women. Both men and women are required to be modest but in different ways. Islam ushered in a major social revolution by giving a woman her status as a person and not a mere appendage to the man. The Qur'an addresses women directly not through the agency of men. A woman must as an individual accept the Islamic creed to be a Muslim. Ibadat by a woman is her personal responsibility. She has a direct devotion to God without having any man intercede on her behalf. The woman is accountable for her work on earth and in the hereafter as an individual.


Differences: The sexes are not identical or equivalent. There are biological and psychological differences between them. The differences between men and women are for purposes of creating a harmonious society with division of responsibility to ensure complementality. The woman’s participation in public leadership comes secondary to her role as a mother. The mother has an even more important role than the man because she brings up the future generation. A weak woman means a weak future generation. A weak mother cannot bring up children strong enough to stand up to imperialism and exploitation of their countries.


Complementality: Islam fosters a dual and not unisex society. There should be no competition between the sexes. They should work together and have a just division of labor. Women are allies of men. Islam establishes interdependency and not individualism. Men and women need one another.




Each gender should accept its identity and not try to compete with or emulate the other (4:32). Gender identity is established very early in life. This is reinforced by gender socialization. Women are different from men biologically, psychologically, and emotionally. These differences are part of Allah's plan to create a balanced society. Differences do not confer consistent advantage or superiority to one gender to the disadvantage of the other. Women have certain biological and psychological advantages over men and vice versa. It is un-Islamic to look at these differences as justification for one gender dominating the other. They should instead be seen as a tool to reinforce complementation between the two. There are few well-established gender differences. Men are superior to women in visual-spatial abilities, quantitative ability, and aggression. Women are superior to men in verbal ability. Communication styles of men and women differ. The other apparent differences are not so well established and are influenced by circumstances.



Difference vs. inequality: Different does not automatically mean unequal. One of the greatest fallacies advocated by the European feminist movements, new and old, was that the woman will have to behave like a man, work like him in order to achieve equality. What is needed is equity and not similarity. The apparent differences are mutually compensated for. For example the wife has the burden of childbearing while the husband has the financial burden.


Equality before the law: The rules of Sharia and acts of worship in Islam apply equally to men and women. There are only a few differences in the details due to different natures of men and women and role prioritization. Women are excused from duties such as jihad and family maintenance because of their greater domestic duties but they can undertake them if men fail to fulfill their duty or if men's performance is not adequate and women have to complement. Rules of evidence apply differently to women because they are not used to commercial transactions. Women are similar to men in the testimony of the faith and Zakat. Women are excused from congregational prayer and salat al juma because of their greater domestic responsibilities. They are excused from fasting when they are physiologically weakened by pregnancy or menstruation. Women can participate fully in all political endeavors with the sole exception of being head of state. During the time of the prophet women participated openly in all public activities. They attended Isha prayers in the prophet's mosque. They attended both mixed public lectures as well special lectures for them. They could express their views on public affairs. In the selection and election of Othman, women were among those consulted. There were women engaged in business. Islamic law gives the women full competence to own and dispose of property. Working outside the home is allowed but is restricted in order to prevent problems that may arise and destroy the family. The need for modesty and avoiding mixing with men limits employment choices. Neglect of the children could result into many social problems later. There are however conditions of necessity when the woman must work outside her house. In such a case she must have the permission of her wali and must follow the Islamic etiquettes when in public places. Islamic law forbids forced marriage of women. The sharia allows a woman to propose marriage. She can accept or reject any suitor. A woman can legally obtain a divorce from an unwilling husband. Men have special leadership roles in a conjugal relationship. It must however be remembered that the relationship started with free consent of the woman.


Restrictions on women: The Qur'an actually places very few restrictions on women. Most verse are restrictions on men to prevent their transgression against the rights and modesty of women. Excessive male jealousy sometimes leads to transgression against women's rights. Moderate jealousy is needed to preserve the family and the social order. Too much is negative and is destructive. Women are not allowed to travel alone for fear of violence and violation of their rights. Jobs that interfere with the maternal role are not allowed. The law allows a woman to go out of her house to fulfill her needs. She can engage in baiyat, jihad, education or scholarship, politics, mosque, business, and public gatherings. Going out of the home should not result in a complete neglect of the home that can lead to instability of the marital relationship. Going out is restricted in societies that do not offer adequate protection for a woman outside the home. Some societies have sexual immorality that is encouraged when women walk out. Mixed gatherings of men and women are discouraged. The requirement of lowering the gaze, ghadh al basr, cannot be fulfilled in situations of continuous interaction. Thus the criterion for deciding whether women should attend mixed gatherings is that of temptation. If we are sure it will not occur, there is no reason for forbidding their attendance.


Economic functions: In many societies the woman's status is defined in terms of her economic functions. The sharia gives the woman full property rights before and after marriage. The marital relation starts with the woman asserting her financial independence in the form of receiving a mahr. On marriage the woman is entitled to financial support by the husband even if she is rich. The woman has her due share of inheritance. She can spend or use it as she wishes. There is no evidence that women participation in the work force has increased economic productivity. With present technology women can concentrate on the education of children without any damage to the economy. Education is a right that the husband and society cannot deny a woman. Ignorant mothers means ignorant youths and later ignorant citizens. The starting point for improving women status is education. Co-education has many disadvantages. Parallel education institutions for women are the solution.



Hawa, wife of Adam: (p. 40-41 2:35-36, 4;1, 7:19-23, 20:117, 20:121, 20:123, Ibn Sa’ad J1 Q1 P16). Hawa is the mother of mankind. She was the companion of Adam when they both disobeyed Allah. Islam does not place the original sin on her as does Christianity


Sarah, wife of Ibrahim: (11:69-83, 51:24-28, KS47): Sarah and Luut were the only persons among Ibrahim’s people who believed. Sarah later married Ibrahim and stood by him in all his trials and dawah work. Ibrahim migrated with her to Palestine and from there to Egypt. Sarah had no children. She allowed her husband to marry her slave-girl Hajar. After Hajar gave birth to Ismail, angels visited Ibrahim and gave glad tidings of a son to Sarah (Hud: 70-73). In due course Sarah gave birth to Ishaaq.

Hajar, wife of Ibrahim: (KS553): Hajar was an Egyptian slave-girl of Sarah. When she married Ibrahim and gave birth to a boy, Sarah grew jealous. Ibrahim took Hajar and her infant son to the present site of Makka. It was a barren land with few nomads living around. Ibrahim left his family and payer to Allah to bless them and provide for them (Ibrahim:37). The little food and water that Ibrahim had left was soon finished. Mother and infant became hungry and thirsty. Hajar ran between Safa and Marwa looking for water seven times. On the 7th time she found water gushing forth where Ismail was lying. This is the famous well of zamzam. After that caravans and people began to converge at the site because of availability of water.


Mother of Musa: (20:39, 26:18, 28:8-9, 20:38-39, 28:7): The pharaoh of Egypt had ordered killing of all male Israili new-borns on alternate years. Musa was born in a year of slaughter. Allah ordered the mother to put the baby in a basket and put it to float on the Nile (al Qasas:7).  The mother remained sad (al Qasas:10). The baby was picked up at the pharaoh’s palace and the bay was taken to the pharaoh’s wife who liked the baby and prevented the pharaoh from killing him (Qasas:9). Later the mother was employed as a nurse to his own son (Qasas:12) and in this way Musa was returned to his mother (qasas: 13).


Wife of Fir’aun: (p 890 28:9, 66:11)


Wife of Zakariyah: (p532-533 3:37-41, 6:85, 19:2-11, 21:89-90)


Wife of Imran: (p. 839 3:35): She had expected a male child. When Maryam was born she was not disappointed because she was a believer.


Maryam bint Imran: When his wife was pregnant with Maryam, Imran dedicated the child to be born to the service of Allah. He was disappointed when she was born a female because she would not perform the religious service that a male could. He named her Maryam (3:35-36). She was specially selected, istifau maryam (p. 1107 3;42), received bounties from Allah, ni’imat al laah ‘ala maryam (p1107 5:110, 23:50); received her rizq from Allah, rizquha min al llaah (p. 1107 3:37); she was truthful, siddiqat (p. 1107 5:75); she was pure, taharatuha (p. 1107 3:43); her worship, ubudiyatuha (p.1107 3:43); she guarded her chastity, ihsaan farjaha (p1107 21:91, 66:12); she was innocent, baraatuha (p. 1107 19:32). Sayyidat al nisaa fi al jannat (KS506: Ahmad 3:64, 80). A special woman, hasbuka min  nisaa al ‘aalamiin maryam (KS506: Ahmad 3:135, Tayalisi H504). When angels told her she was going to have a child, she was surprised because she had no conjugal relations with any male (Maryam:20). Allah’s will was done and she bore Isa in a miraculous way (Maryam:  ). The people accused her of fornication. She did not respond but just them the baby who started speaking to them in a miraculous way (maryam: 27-33).



Khadijah bint Khuwailad Ibn Asad Ibn Abd al Uzza Ibn Qusay Ibn Kilab: Khadijah was born 15 years from the year of the elephant; she was thus 15 years older than the prophet. She was married twice before and after that concentrated on bringing up her children and managing her business. She had engaged the prophet to trade on her behalf in Syria. He came back with a lot of profit. She was impressed with his honesty and manners and decided to marry him. She married the prophet at the age of 40 (KS214: Ibn Sa’ad J8 P10) after her father’s permission (KS214). She was the first to embrace Islam, awal man aslama (KS214: Ibn Sa’ad). She was the best of women, khayr al nisaa (KS314) and was promised jannat, tabshiruha bi al jannat (KS214). She had 7 children, 2 male and 5 Female. The males, al Qasim and Abdullah died in infancy. The females, Zaynabm Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima survived into adulthood. Khadijah was a very loving wife who gave a lot of support to her husband in his work. She was patient whenever he went away to meditate in the caves for long periods of time. When the prophet first received the revelation, he was scared. Khadijah comforted him and promised to stand by him. She was patient when her 2 sons passed away. She lived through the hard times of persecution that Muslims endured. She left her house to stay with the rest of the Muslim community during the economic boycott.


Sawda bint Zam’a Ibn Qays Ibn ‘Abd Shams of the Banu Amir clan of the Quraysh. She was first married to As Sakran Ibn Amre and migrated with him to Abyssinia. When her husband died, the prophet married her to take care of her especially since she was growing old. After the death of Khadijah, the prophet had no wife. When he married Sawda, she stayed his only wife for three years when he married Aishah. When she grew old, she gave her days with the prophet to aishah but stayed on in the prophet’s household.


Aisha bint Abubakar: The prophet proposed to her, khitbat Aisha (KS360) at the age of 6. She was married the age of six. Her mahr, sadaqu aishah (KS360). She had conjugal relations at the age of 9 (KS360). She was still young as a wife that she still played with dolls, la’ib aishah (KS360). She became very knowledgeable in religion, tafaqquhu aisah fi al ddiin (KS360) and later became a teacher for many male companions, aishah wa mashiakhat ashaabi rasuuli al llaah (KS360). Aishah was the most beloved person to the prophet, aishah ahabb al naas ila al nabiyy (KS360). She was superior to other women, fadhl aishah ala al nisaa (KS361). Evildoers in Madina concocted a scandal to damage her honor, khabar al ifk (KS361) but Allah asserted her innocence. The prophet died in her arms, wafaat al nabiyy fi dhira’ayha (KS361) and was buried in her room, dafn al nabiy fi hujratuha (KS361). She was known for her charity, tasaduq aishah (KS361) and her continuous fasting, saum aishah al dhar (KS361). She willed that on her death she should not be buried with the prophet for fear that she will be ……, nahyu aishah ‘an tudfana ma’a al nabiyy karahiyat al tuzakka (KS361). She passed away on 57 H at the age of 36.


Hafsa bint Omar Ibn al Khattab: (KS201: Ibn Sa’ad J8 P56, Ibn Hisham p1002). Hafsa was first married to Khunis Ibn Hidhaifah Ibn Qays al Sahami. She became a widow at the age of 18 when her husband was martyred at Uhud. Omar had proposed her to Abubakr and Othman who refused to marry her because they knew of the prophet’s interest in her (KS201). Tshe married the prophet in the year 3H. Hafsa and Aishah were very close and had supported one another (tahrim:4). The prophet drank honey in her room (KS201). The prophet had divorced her but then returned her (KS201). Hafsa was very pious fasting and praying constantly.  Abubakr entrusted the copy of the Qur’an to her custody. She passed away during the reign of Mu’awiyah.


Umm Salama Hind bint Umayah Ibn al Mughiirah al Makhzuniyyat: (KS?: Ibn Sa’ad J8 P60). She was first married to Abu Salama Abdullah Ibn ‘Abd al Asad al makhzumi. The family migrated both to Abyssinia and to Madina. She was widowed at the age of … when her husband died in Madina from wounds initially inflicted at Uhud. She was left with 2 boys and two girls. She rejected many proposals of companions until the prophet proposed to her. She discussed her problems with the prophet: her advanced age, her orphaned children, and her extreme jealousy. The prophet married her (KS102). He prayed to Allah to tale away her jealousy, da’awat al nabiy ‘an yub’ada ‘anha al ghiirat (KS102). The prophet used to stay for long in her room, yahtabisu al nabiy fi baytiha (KS102). She was rational and wise woman who on the day of Hudaybiyah gave good and effective advice to the prophet. She passed away in 59H at the late age of 84.


Umm Habiibah Ramla bint Abisufyan: She was a wife of the prophet (KS101) married while in Abyssinia (KS101). She first married Ubaidullah Ibn Jahsh and migrated with him to Abyssinia where she gave birth to Habeeba. She was widowed while in Abyssinia when her husband converted to Christianity and died after drinking excessive alcohol. She was in a difficult situation. She could not return to Makka because her polytheist family would disown her. She also could not stay alone in a foreign country. The prophet sent a message to Abyssinia that he wanted to marry her. After her iddat, her marriage to the prophet was commissioned by proxy. She came to Madina with Ja'afar Ibn Abi talib and consummated her marriage with the prophet in the 6H or 7H. She distanced herself from her father Abu Sufyan when he visited Madina in an attempt to renegotiate the Hudaybiyah treaty. She stayed in Madina until her death at the age of 70 years. She never left her house except for prayer or pilgrimage. 


Zaynab bint Jahash: (KS266: Ibn Sa’ad J8 p71, 157; Ibn Hisham p1004). She was a cousin of the prophet. Her name was Burra and the prophet changed it to Zaynab. The prophet had married her to Zayd Ibn al Harithat, a freed slave. The marriage was an unhappy one because of the difference in social background and Zaynab did not find Zayd physically attractive enough. Zaynab wanted to divorce Zayd on account of the incompatibility but the prophet told her to desist. When the marriage had clearly collapsed, Zayd divorced her (ahzab:37). The motive behind the prophet’s marriage to Zaynab was to destroy the Arab pagan custom of adoption since Zayd had been an adopted son of the prophet. By marrying Zaynab, the prophet was abrogating any paternal relations between him and Zayd. The prophet married Zaynab (KS266) and gave her mahr, qadar ‘ataa’aha (KS266). The prophet used to visit her frequently, ikthaar al nabiy ziyaratuha (KS266). Zaynab was very generous. She provided for the poor from her work with leather. She was the first of the mothers of the believers to die after the passing away of the prophet.


Zaynab bint Khuzaymah: (KS266).She was widowed at the age of 60 when her husband Ubaidah Ibn al Harith was martyred at Badr. The prophet married her in order to protect her. She stayed married for a short time and died.

Safiyyah bint Huyyay: (KS307: Ibn Sa’ad J8 p85 & 158; Ibn Hisham p763, 1003; Waqidi p278, 291). She was the daughter of the leader of the defeated bani Quraidhat Jews. She had previously been married twice to Jewish poets. She was captured in Khaybar. The prophet gave her the freedom to choose between returning to her family or marrying him. She chose marriage. She was freed and was married by the prophet (KS307) upon payment of her dowry. The prophet gave her dowry. She was 17 years when she married the prophet. She was a very beautiful woman and the other wives became jealous of her. She died in Madina in 50H during the reign of Mu’awiyah.


Juariyyah bint al Harith Ibn Abu Dirar Ibn Labib al Khuza’iyyah. She was captured in the battle of bani al Mustalaq and was assigned to Thabit Ibn Qays who wrote her a contract of emancipation on payment of a sum of money. She wanted to escape slavery and went to the prophet to ask him for financial help to free herself. The prophet proposed marriage to her and she agreed. He paid for her freedom, freed her, and married her. All captives from her tribe of al Mustalaq were also freed as a result. When the news reached her tribe, they converted to Islam. She passed away in 50H or 56H.


Maymuna bint al Harith Ibn Hazan Ibn Bujair al Hilaliyyah: She was the last of the prophet’s wives (KS533). He married her after his release from the rites of pilgrimage (KS533). Abbaas was her guardian (KS533). She had been married to Mas’ud Ibn Amr. She quarreled with and separated from him because of her inclination to Islam. She moved to the house of Abbaas. She declared her Islam during the umrat al qadha. She offered herself to the prophet (ahzab:115) who accepted to marry her with a dowry of 400 dirhams. She lived for about 50 years after the passing away of the prophet.



Zaynab: (KS266): Zaynab, the eldest child of Khadijah, was born 10 years before prophethood. At puberty she was married to Abu Al As Ibn Al Rabee, a cousin from the maternal side. When the message came, Zaynab became a Muslim but her husband refused. She stayed with her husband in Makka after the prophet’s migration. The husband was taken a prisoner of war at the battle of Badr; Zaynab sent a necklace and money to free him. He was freed on condition he would let Zaynab rejoin the prophet in Madina. The husband later accepted Islam and rejoined his wife in Madina, She died a year later.


Ruqayya: (KS250): Ruqayya was betrothed to Utba son of Abd al Uzza Ibn Abd al Muttalib before the message. When the message came, Abu Lahab ordered his son to divorce Ruqayya. She married Othman Ibn Affan. The couple migrated first to Abyssinia and later to Madina. Ruqayya fell sick and her husband was excused from the battle of Badr to look after her. She did not recover from her illness.


Fatima al Zahra: (KS418). Fatima was the 4th daughter of the prophet. She stayed in Makka after the prophet’s migration until he sent for her and her sister Umm Kulthum. Many companions including Abubakr and Omar sought to marry her but the prophet refused. She married Ali at the age of 18 years. Ali had no other property to give her as dowry. He sold a shield the prophet had given him to Othman for 70 dirhams and paid the money as dowry. The prophet gave the money to Bilal to buy perfume for the bride and gave the rest to Umm Salama to buy the bride’s luggage. She gave birth to two boys: Hasan and Husayn and two girls: Zaynab and Umm Kulthum.  The prophet loved her a lot, hubb al nabiy li Fatima (KS418). She is one of the best women in jannat, Fatima min afdhal nisaa al jannat (KS418), a leading woman on earth, sayyidat nisaa al ‘aalamiin (KS418). Abubakr and Omar proposed marriage to her before the prophet married her to Ali (KS418). The prophet made arrangements for her marriage (KS418). She had complaints about her husband Ali (KS418) and the prophet reconciled them (KS418). She had complained about her hard domestic work but the prophet refused to give her a servant (KS418). After the passing away of the prophet she had misunderstandings with Abubakr (KS418) and Omar (KS418) as she demanded her share of the prophet’s inheritance (KS418). She was he first in the prophet’s family to die after him (KS418).


Umm Kulthum: (KS102: Ibn Sa’ad J8 P25, Ahmad 5:254): She was married to Utaibah  but the marriage was not consummated because Abu Lahab did not want his son married to a Muslim. She took care of the prophet’s household when Khadijah passed away. She stayed in Makka when the prophet migrated. Later he sent Zayd Ibn Harithah to take her to Madina. She later married Uthman in place of her sister Ruqayya who had died. Othman was called dhu al nurain because he married two of the prophet’s daughters. She died after the conquest of Makka.



Asma bint Abubakr: (KS85): She is famous as the daughter of Abubakr al Siddiq and mother of Abdullah Ibn Al Zubair. She was the 7th person to accept Islam. She used to deliver water and food to the prophet and Abubakr in the cave where they hid on their migration to Madina. She refused to disclose the hiding place of the prophet and his companion even after being assaulted by Abu Jahal. On her migration to Madina she gave birth to Abdullah the first new born in the Islamic state. She lived a hard life at the beginning when her husband was poor but later they became wealthy. She took part in the battle of Yarmouk and kept a dagger to protect herself when thieves came to Madina. She encouraged her son Abdullah not to surrender to the Omayyad commander al Hajjaaj who had offered him material inducements. She showed strength and bravery in dealing with the tyrant al Hajjaaj who had killed her son. She died in Makka at an age of over 100.


Fatima bint al Khattaab: She was the sister of Omar Ibn al Khattab. Her husband, Sa’id Ibn Zayd, embraced Islam at the hands of the companion Khabbab Ibn Al Arat. She followed her husband into Islam. Khabbab used to visit their house to teach them in secret. One day Omar was carrying his sword to kill the prophet when he was told that his sister had become a Muslim. Omar instead went to her house. Khabaab hid while she and and her husband confronted Omar. They bore his physical assault with patience. Fatima was punched so hard that she bled. Omar asked to be shown the Qur’an that they were reading but his sister refused to show it to him until he had cleansed himself. When Omar read verses of the Qur’an from surat Taha his heart softened and he asked to be taken to the prophet to accept Islam.

Umm Kulthum bint Ali: She was the wife of Omar Ibn al Khattab and daughter of Ali and Fatima. Ali had refused to marry her to Omar because of the difference in age but eventually agreed and at the age of 17 she became Omar’s wife. She gave birth to Zayd and Ruqayya. One night Omar was on his nightly tours of inspection in Madina when he found a nomad family in distress. He went home and brought Umm Kulthum who helped the woman deliver while Omar cooked food for. The mother and her husband were surprised to find that the leader of Muslims and his wife were the ones helping them.


Safiyyah bint Abd al Muttalib: She was an aunt of the prophet, sister of Hamzah and mother of al Zubayr Ibn al Awwaam. She was among the first Muslims and migrated to Madina with her husband. She nursed the wounded at the battle of Uhud and encouraged Muslim fighters. She protected the camp of Muslim children and women at the battle of the Trench by single-handedly killing a Jewish intruder. She participated in the battle of Khaybar encouraging the Muslim fighters and the prophet assigned her a share of the spoils of war. She died at the age of 70 in the era of Omar Ibn al Khattab.


Sumayyah bint Khayyaat: She was married to Yassir in Makka and gave birth to ‘Ammaar and Ubaidullah. ‘Ammaar grew up and embraced Islam. He told his parents who followed him into Islam. The son and his parents endured a lot of persecution but they stayed firm in their faith. She and her husband were killed and are the first martyrs in Islam.


Asma bint Yazid ibn al Sakan: She was an ansari woman who participated in the pledge of ‘aqabat.  She used to represent women in asking the prophet questions about menstruation and other affairs of women. At the battle of Yarmouk she was at the rear of the army preventing fighters from running away. She treated the wounded and provided food and water to the fighters. She died in 30 H.


Umm Salim bint Malhan: (KS102): She was an ansari who converted to Islam but the husband refused to accept Islam, The husband later abandoned her and she brought up her son Anas alone. She later gave him to be a personal servant of the prophet. She rejected a marriage proposal from Abu Talha because he was a non-Muslim. She agreed to marry him when he offered as her dowry his embrace of Islam. She and her husband were very generous. At the battle of Hunayn she treated the wounded and provided water to the thirsty.


Umm Haram bint Malhan Ibn Khalid Ibn Zayd Ibn Haram: She was the sister of Umm Salim, aunt of Anas Ibn Malik and wife of ‘Ubbaadat Ibn al Saamit. She accompanied her husband traveling by sea to open Cyprus to Islam as the prophet had predicted.


Umm Waraqa bint Nawfal: She was a nurse at Badr (KS104). She was also imaam of salat in her house (KS104). She memorized the Qur’an by heart.


Asma bint Amis: She embraced Islam before Muslims went into Arqam’s house. She was the wife of Ja’afar Ibn Abi Taalib and the mother of Abdullah Ibn Ja’afar.  She had migrated with her husband to Abyssinia. Her husband was killed in the battle of Mu’utah. She then married Abubakr who on his death left a will that she was the one to wash him. She then married Ali Ibn Abi Talib. She thus was married to 2 khalifas.


Ashifa bint al Harith: She was one of the early migrants. She had learned to read and write in Makka before Islam. She educated other Muslim women being called the first female teacher in Islam. The prophet asked her to teach Hafsa how to read and write. She died 20 years after hijrah.


Umm Hakim bint al Harith: She was married to Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahal. After the opening of Makka she entered Islam. After gaining the prophet’s forgiveness for her husband she went to call him to Islam. When 'IKrimah was killed in battle she married Khalid Ibn Sa’id. When he died in war against the Byzantines she joined the fight herself.


Umm Ayman Baraka bint Tah’alab Ibn Amr Ibn al Nu’uman: She was an Abyssinian servant who looked after the prophet in his childhood. She married Ubaid Ibn Al harith al Khazraji and gave birth to Umm Ayman. She later married Zayd Ibn al Harithah and gave birth to Usama Ibn Zayd. She migrated to Madina on foot. The prophet loved her and used to address her as his mother. She carried water to the fighters at Uhud and Khaybar as well as treated the wounded.


Umm Sharik Ghaziyah bint Jabir Ibn Hakim. She embraced Islam in Makka and disseminated it secretly among women. She was tortured for her faith but refused to give up Islam. She later migrated to Madina.


Umm al Fadhl Lubaba bint al Harith Ibn Hazan Ibn Bujair the wife of Abbaas and the mother of Abdullah Ibn Abbaas. She was the second woman to enter Islam after Khadijah. She is said to have hit Abulahab and the injury caused his death 7 days later. She nurse al Hussain Ibn Ali.


Ar Rubai bint Mu’awiyah Ibn al Harith an ansari who pledged at ‘Aqaba. She was knowledgeable and companions used to consult her. She carried water to the soldiers in battle and nursed the wounded and in critical moment she would engage the enemy. She died 45 years after hijra.


Al Khansa Tamadur bint ‘Amr Ibn al Harith Ibn Al Sharid. She was a great poet. She accompanied her four sons to the battle of Qadisiyah and exhorted them to fight in the way of Allah.


Khawla bint Tha’alabah Ibn Asram Ibn Auf wife of Anas Ibn al Samit. Once she annoyed her husband and he said to her ‘you are to me like the back of my mother’ which by pagan custom means divorce. She loved her husband and went to the prophet to argue her case. A verse of the Qur’an was revealed  (al mujadilah:1) abolishing the pagan custom. Once she stopped Omar to advise him and Omar stopped to listen to her remarking after that ‘This is Khawla to whom Allah listened from above the 7 heavens then Omar must also listen to her.

Umm Raman bint ‘Amir Ibn ‘Uwaimir migrated to Makka with her husband. She married Abubakr when she was widowed and gave birth to Abd al Rahman and Aishah. She accepted Islam as soon as Abubakr introduced it to her. She stood by her husband during the difficult times in Makka. She migrated to Madina with her husband. When scandalous rumors were spread about Aisha she just prayed that Allah reveal the truth and did not tell her daughter.


Umm ‘Imara Nasiba bint Ka’ab Ibn ‘Amr was an ansari and among the first madanese to enter Islam and attended the ‘Aqaba pledge. She joined the army at Uhud with her 2 sons. Her primary purpose was to carry water to the fighters and to nurse the wounded (KS102). When the battle was reversed against Muslims she took a sword to defend the prophet. She got 13 wounds but they did not prevent her from joining the next battle at Hamrat al Asad. Allah gave her permission to join the fighting against the apostates. She received 12 wounds at the battle of Yamamah, lost her arm and her son.


Umm Mihjan: was a black women who lived in Madina. She was old, weak and poor. She looked after the mosque. One morning the prophet missed her and asked about her. He was informed that she had died and had been buried. He went to her grave, and prayed the funeral prayer for her. 


D. RACE OR ETHNICITY, qabiilat / ‘ashiirat

Allah created tribes and nations for the purpose of knowing one another, al qabail wa al shu’uub li al ta’aruf (p913 49:13). Love of Allah comes before love for the family or tribe, taqdiim hubb a llaah ‘ala hubb al ‘ashiirat (p811 9:24). Friendship for non-believing family members is not allowed, ‘adam muwaadat al ‘ashiirat al kaafirat (P. 811 58:22). Warning should start with the nearest relatives, indhaar al ‘ashiirat al aqrabiin (p811 26:214)



Each individual has a unique biological and spiritual identity. Not all people will be the same even when given equal opportunities. Some individuals will achieve distinction because of: intelligence, special aptitudes, motivation, personality, and travel. These differences do not by themselves confer any superiority. The only true criterion of human excellence is taqwa and only Allah (SAW) can determine an individual’s level of taqwa. Status is rank of an individual in relation to others. Each status requires certain roles. These roles are learned by the socialization process. The roles that you play help form your personality. The role personality may be different from the actual personality. A person playing several roles may experience role conflict. Status can be ascribed or achieved. Ascribed status is given by society regardless of qualifications. Achieved status is conferred in recognition of meaningful contributions to society. Individuals differ in intelligence, knowledge, and understanding.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. February 2001