Introduction to 40 Hadith on Femininity: How to Be a Good Woman (Free Chapter)

All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. The Very-Merciful, the All-Merciful, Who created us from a single soul. From it He created its mate, and through them both spread forth many men and women. May blessings and salutations be upon the Master of the Prophets and the Seal of the Prophets, our master Muhammad al-Muṣṭafā ﷺ; upon the mothers of the believing men and women; upon his pure family, both male and female; upon all of his Ṣaḥābah; and upon all who follow them in goodness until the Day of Requital.

Instead of Him, They Invoke Only Female Gods

There is an ancient enemy, as old as the days of Eden, bent upon mankind’s destruction. Unseen, he sits and waits at every hill and hollow. He has fashioned for himself weapons to use against us from our own bodies and minds. The well of our thoughts is poisoned by foul whispers that sound fair and sweet; our gaze is made a flight of arrows to wound our very souls; our tongues are set loose like wild animals, lashing out against their owners and others alike. The enemy is the Shayṭān. His goal is our eternal damnation.

Allah, in His infinite Mercy, has laid bare the enemy’s machinations. The strategies and tactics he will use against us have been made crystal clear:

“Instead of Him, they invoke only female gods; and they invoke none but Satan, the rebel – cursed by Allah – who said, ‘I will surely take from Your servants an appointed share. I will mislead them; I will delude them with vain hopes; I will command them, whereby they shall slit the ears of cattle; and I will command them, whereby they shall alter Allah’s creation!’ Whoever takes Satan as a patron instead of Allah incurs a manifest loss.”1

The pagans of Arabia carved idols in feminine form; the modern world has made the feminine form an idol. We are told to ‘celebrate’ it. The word in its original sense means the public performance of a religious rite. The celebration of this form means to unclothe and flaunt it, to parody it through dress up (transvestitism), make-believe (transgenderism), or to reduce it to merely a man with missing parts (feminism). Each and every case is an attempt to denigrate and disfigure Allah’s creation. It is the enemy’s plan coming to fruition.

There is a reason feminism comes in waves like the invading forces of an alien armada. It is an idea wholly alien to our fiṭrah, an attack on that most basic postulate of reason: that men and women are not the same. Yet, with each wave, ground is given and the inexorable march to androgyny continues.

Glory Be to Him Who Created All Things in Pairs

“Glory be to Him Who created all things in pairs, of whatever the earth grows, and of humans themselves, and of that which they do not know.”2

The word azwāj is the plural form of zawj, which means two things of the same kind or a match of the other. The āyah indicates that this pairing is the natural state across the animal and botanical kingdoms. Every child, fruit, and flower can only ever be born through procreation of these pairs. The mufassirūn, who are the commentators of the Qur’an, often refer to azwāj as kinds and categories. This is because the term is also used to indicate contrast, such as that of cold and heat, land and water, sorrow and happiness, health and sickness, all of which are referred to as azwāj. Within each of these are a myriad of degrees and differences and kinds, as no two pairs are alike. The word is inclusive of all these categories and kinds. Allah alone knows just how many types of flora, fauna, or minerals exist under the layers of the earth and the mountains, within the rivers, and beneath the seas.

As a pair, Islam has divided the roles of men and women, and has made them complementing halves of a greater whole. A symbiont circle, a perfect Yin and Yang; the masculine and the feminine. The following hadith points to this fact:

“Women are men’s counterparts.”3

Allah states in the Qur’an that “Men are women’s caretakers, as Allah has provisioned them over women, and because of the wealth they have spent.”4 In Islam, man bears the burden of provision and security, and of upholding familial and communal honour. He is encouraged to actively work to source a halal income to fend for and to support his family. He is encouraged to pray in congregation and take part in public roles and discourse. Conversely, the role of the woman is in maintaining the household. She is the consoler, comforter, and counsel of her husband, and she forms the foundation of the family structure through teaching the next generation morality, ethics, mercy, and appreciation.

A careful examination of the Sharia reveals that one of its aims is in fact to reduce a woman’s financial and public roles. Hence, we see that her financial testimony and inheritance are both half that of a man’s. We see that she is due a dowry and financial upkeep. We see that she cannot travel without a male relative or some legal substitute, and her prayer at home carries greater virtue than her praying in a mosque. All of this is so she may focus on the most vital of all tasks: ensuring the moral and spiritual upkeep of her household.

For feminism, this is simply not enough. Feminism opposes femininity and wants women to do away with their innate feminine qualities, because it ultimately values masculine traits and masculine roles. The female idol of the modern West was fashioned by the groping hands of immoral men. It wants women to be career-driven public figures, dominating high earners, and even encourages female promiscuity. The new woman is a doppelganger of the very patriarchy they claim is evil and oppressive. Human worth, it seems, has been reduced to earning potential and public influence. That is not to say that either earning money or doing business are impermissible for women, but that is not their natural role and the Sharia sets far greater aims and objectives for them. It is only our deep love of, and attachment to, this material world that causes us to view and measure everything through a materialistic lens.

Islamic manliness (futūwwah) and womanliness (unūthah) are not diametrically opposed. Men and women are not mortal enemies locked in an eternal struggle, despite what certain strains of feminism would have us believe. Yet, neither are they interchangeable. Islam has allocated each a clear role, rights, and responsibilities oriented towards the flourishing and preservation of the self, the family, and then society.

“…and the male is not like the female.”5

A Journey to True Unūthah

This book has been written as a counterpart, a zawj one might say, of the arbaʿīn (40 hadith collection) on futūwwah entitled, 40 Hadith on Masculinity: How to Be a Good Man. The first book was aimed at Muslim men, with the goal being to give them a primer from which they can begin their journey to true masculinity: Islamic futūwwah, pure and uninfluenced by modern subservience to feminism or the male knee-jerk reactions to the same. That book also served as a guide for a woman to understand the standard by which the men in her life should be measured against, so she can support them in becoming better Muslim men and she can look for the correct qualities when accepting or rejecting a potential match.

The text in front of you seeks to do much the same. However, here the focus has now shifted to Islamic femininity. It is hoped that an arbaʿīn such as this will help refocus and reset the women that make up the backbone of Islamic society and help them to reject the influence of Shayṭān, returning to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and that of his noble wives and Ṣaḥābah. Its second objective is to provide male readers with a benchmark for what is expected of a good Muslim woman and to help guide them in choosing the right women, with the correct mindset and qualities, for the purpose of marriage.

The arbaʿīn structure has been selected for the following reasons: (i) to ensure that the book remains focused on the goal of codifying unūthah, as restrictions ensure that words are not wasted and limit digression; (ii) to keep the text itself succinct and easily digestible, as the book is intended as a primer to give readers a brief overview of the subject; and (iii) to match the counterpart collection 40 Hadith on Masculinity: How to Be a Good Man.

The book is divided into four sections, each comprising ten core hadiths, covering qualities established from the fiṭrah, that are further explained with commentary, Quranic verses, and additional hadiths. The first book began by focusing on the internal qualities that a man must develop to become closer to Allah, before extending outward to his personal qualities, familial qualities and duties, and ultimately his outward interpersonal qualities. The structure was one of outward growth, as the duties of man take him outside to face the world. This book is the reverse of its counterpart. It begins from the outside and gradually precludes inward, beginning with a woman’s relationship with the wider world, her duties towards neighbours and guests, and her imperative role in Islamic society. The second section then moves inward, focusing on her relationship with her family and her duties therein, looking at all the roles she plays in the functioning of a healthy family structure and highlighting the noble status of that most prized and beloved position: motherhood. The third section delves deeper still, covering her relationship with her own self and what she seeks to be; topics covered include femininity, self-care, self-value, and modesty. Finally, the last section represents the innermost sanctum of her soul and the most important relationship of all: her relationship with her Creator.

The core hadiths have been chosen by limiting the selection to only those hadiths that either: (i) are sayings of the Prophet ﷺ that address women; (ii) have been narrated by women; or (iii) are quotations of the Ṣaḥābiyāt. Wherever possible, supporting hadiths have also followed the same methodology. Many qualities listed in this book are universal but apply differently to men and women; thus, sometimes hadiths have been brought that do not follow the above methodology.

It should be understood from the offset that this is not intended as a book on rights but a book on duties. Rights are what others owe to us; duties are what we owe to others. Despite what the world around us keeps telling us, despite the enemy’s constant vile whisperings, we are not all bosses and gangsters, nor alphas and sigmas. We are not all kings and queens. We are slaves of Allah, owning neither the material things we care so much for, nor our own bodies themselves. We have been placed on Earth for a purpose and that is to worship Allah Alone. The fulfilment of our duties is the method in which we do so, and in shā Allāh will be the means for our ultimate salvation and a great reward.

The enemy attacks us systematically, overtly and covertly, and from all sides. It is time that we learned to defend ourselves.

“…and I seek Your protection for her and her offspring from Satan, the accursed.”6

Works are Judged by Intentions

Amīr al-Mu’minīn Sayyidunā Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar ibn al-Khatṭāb said:

“I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying, ‘Works are (judged) only by intentions, and so for everyone is only that which they intended. Thus, whosoever migrates to Allah and His Messenger, then his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; and whosoever migrates for some worldly thing he may acquire, or for a woman that he shall marry, then his migration is to that for which he migrated.’”7

Just as each sūrah of the Qur’an has a name, so too do certain hadiths. This particular hadith is known as ‘The Vanguard of Hadith Collections’ (Ṭalīʿah Kutub al-Ḥadīth).8 ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Mahdī states, “Whoever intends to author a book should start it with this hadith to alert the student of knowledge towards correcting his intention.”9

Thus, dear reader, it is our humble request that as we correct our intentions before beginning the task of compiling this collection, so too should you correct your own. May Allah accept this work from us, and may He make it a means of guidance for us all. Āmīn.

40 Hadith on Femininity: How to Be a Good Woman will be released, tentatively, on August 1st 2024. We will publish ebook, paperback and hard cover editions. If you’d like to be notified when it’s available for purchase, subscribe to our newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page.

References:

    1. Qur’an, 4:117-119
    2. Qur’an, 36:36
    3. Abū Dāwūd al-Sijistānī, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, 236; Muḥammad ibn ʿĪsā al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī, 113; Abū Muhammad al-Dārimī, Sunan al-Dārimī, 759
    4. Qur’an, 4:34
    5. Qur’an, 3:36
    6. Qur’an, 3:36
    7. Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad al-Imām Aḥmad, 168; Muhammad ibn Ismāʿīl al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1, 54, 6689, 6953; Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjāj al-Naysābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1907a.
    8. Yūnus Jownpūrī, Anwār al-Mishkāt, vol. 1, p. 109.
    9. Ibn Daqīq al-ʿĪd, Sharḥ al-Arbaʿīn, p. 9.

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