Leader of all Women: Mariam Binte Imran or Fatema Binte Mohammad (s.a.w.a.)
Few learned men of Ahle Sunnah, and many men of knowledge of the Wahabi sect try to prove from a verse of Quran, that Mariam is the Leader of all women, till the morning of the Day of Rising, and that she has preference over Janabe Fatema (a.s.). That verse of Quran is
“O Mariam! Surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the world.”
Can such meaning be drawn from this verse? Does this verse really give the meaning that Janabe Mariam has preference over Janabe Fatema Zahra (a.s.)?
Accidentally, this reasoning and the result that was derived from it, goes against the historical commentary of Quran and is also against those traditions that had continuously come from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), which have been mentioned in the books of many learned men of Ahle Sunnah. We therefore, invite and demand special attention to study the proofs that are being given below:
The root of this thought (that Janabe Mariam, has preference over Hazrat Zahra (a.s.), lies in the word “Nisa-e-Alameen”, mentioned in this verse. Some translators have translated this word as “All Universe”, that is to say the whole sphere of creation. Whereas wherever the Holy Quran has used this word it has used it in the context of the mortals (not Allah). It does not encompass the meaning of “All Universe”. Therefore study careully the following verse:
“O Bani Israel, Remember My bounties that I have bestowed on you, and have given you a conspicuous place during your age”.
If the word of “Alameen”, be translated as “All universe”, its logical result would be that Bani Israel have been given preference over all the adherents, including the followers of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). From the adherents of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), no other adherents, could get any preference as it would be against the spirit of Quran.
Moreover, in Verse 110, of Surah Ale Imran, the followers of Hazrat Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), have been declared as excellent adherents. For this reason, to translate “Alameen”, as Universe in every context would not be correct. Aalameen, means: Our age, contemporary. Allah has given preference over the contemporaries of that age. Similarly, Janabe Mariam enjoys preference over all the women of that age. Under this reasoning, and in the light of this Verse, Janabe Mariam could not be given preference over Hazrat Zahra (a.s.), and brought on the same level on the basis of the word “Alameen”; Bani Israel too could not get preference over the followers of Hazrat Mohammad (a.s.).
Traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), are also contrary to this way of thinking of Wahabi Sect; and needs a thorough study and a rectification.
1) The renowned commentator of Ahle Sunnah Shahabuddin Alusi in his book “Rohul Ma’ani, Book 3, page155, had mentioned on the authority of Janabe Abdullah Bin Abbas who has quoted a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that “Four women are leaders of their age and they are Mariam Binte Imran, Aasia Binte Mazahin, Khadhija Binte Khowailid and Fatema Binte Mohammad”, Thereafter, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had further stated that among those women, Fatema (a.s.) is the Leader of all Universe. In this tradition, the Prophet had referred to both, i.e. Janabe Mariam and Hazrat Fatema, and had given preference to Janabe Fatema. Therefore, it becomes quite clear that in the view of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the word “Alameen”,that was used in the verse pertaining to Janabe Mariam did not encompass the meaning “whole Universe”, but was used conveying the sense as of “Her Age” (during her times). In this context, the thinking of Wahabis is in contrast from the view of the Prophet (a.s.). This tradition was quoted by Suyuti, in his book “Darrarul Mansoor”, and by Tabari, in “Zakhairul Uqbah”.
2) A famous and senior historian Shafaiee Halbi, in his book “Seerah Halbi”, has quoted a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that he addressed Janabe Fatema (a.s.) and said “O’ my daughter are you not happy of being a leader of all the Universe”. Janabe Fatema (a.s.) then enquired “O Father, What is the rank of Janabe Mariam?” He (Prophet) replied, “she was the leader of all women of her Age.” This tradition was quoted by Ibn Abdul Bar and Tabrani. Does it not shed light on our view?
3) The well known Shafaiee theologian, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, in “Mawadatul Qurba, quotes on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet had said, “Hazrat Fatema is superior in rank to all the women, since the beginning of this world to its end.”
4) Bukhari in his “Sahih” and Ibn Athir in “Asadul Ghaba”, and many other theologions and historians have mentioned a tradition from Ayesha that “In the last moments of the Holy Prophet’s life, Janabe Fatema, was very sad. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), then addressed her and said “Are you not happy that you are the leader of the women of paradise and all other women believers.” On hearing this Janabe Fatema, was pleased.
Janabe Mariam is of course from and among the women of paradise. And it will not be a sound logic to say that Janabe Mariam is a leader only in this world, and in the world hereafter i.e., in Paradise, Janabe Fatema (a.s.) is her (Mariam) Leader. This tradition indicates that Janabe Mariam has no preference over Janabe Fatema (a.s.). There are many traditions of similar type that say that Janabe Fatema Zahra (a.s.) is the most honoured one and the leader of all the women of Paradise as well the leader of all the women believers. Such traditions are so much in abundance that a leading man of Ahle Sunnah, a Moatazeli, Ibn Abil Hadeed, has mentioned in his commentary of Nahjul Balagha, book 2, page 501, that these traditions have regularly come from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), saying that “Janabe Fatema (a.s.), is the leader of all the women of Universe.
5) Janabe Fatema (a.s.), is not only superior to Janabe Mariam Binte Imran, but apart from the last messenger of Allah, she is also the leader of all Executers and Administrators and from all the Prophets and messengers, and from all favourite Angels of Allah. In this connection, traditions pertaining to the creation of “Panjatan Paak”, needs more attention. This is a fact of the world of traditions, that Allah has created the bright and sacred spirit of Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa, Ali-e-Murtaza, Fatema Zahra, Hasan Mujtaba, Husain (The Leader of Martyrs). Thereafter, all Angels, Prophets, and believers were created.
Thereafter the spring of knowledge started flowing and everyone got his/her share of knowledge from this source. And Janabe Mariam is also a beneficiary. Its a fact that there would be quite a difference between a “Real Being” and a “supplementary being”. Allah had said (Hadith Qudsi) that if “Panjatan Paak would not have been created, there would neither have been Paradise, Hell, Firmanent, Throne of Allah, sky, earth, Angels, men and genii; nothing would have been created. Therefore, Janabe Zahra (a.s.) was the essence of creation and hence, a Leader of all the Universe having a superior status over all that have been mentioned above.
This is not an exaggeration. These were the Hadith-e-Qudsi, and the words of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). To have faith on this is the responsibility of every muslim.
In short, all that prominent rank, Glory and greatness that was accorded to Janabe Mariam was for the love and knowledge of Janabe Fatema (a.s.). Allah had said in connection of Janabe Mariam that she was selected by Him and was cleansed, and was also given preferences amongst her contemporaries. And the Prophet had said, “All the glory and praise be only to Allah. He has presented and shown the way the love of Ali, Fatema, and their Infallible sons, to all those who have been created. Whoever had accepted their love, was appointed a Prophet. And those, who accepted afterwards, they were made Shiah, the followers of Prophets and Imams.
(“Munqib Murtazvi”, Allama Kashi Hanfi, page 97).
In the light of this tradition, the status of Janabe Mariam, was due to her initiative in loving Hazrat Fatema (a.s.). Now readers can decide by themselves as to who is having preference. Those, who are according preference to Janabe Mariam she herself is irritated with them.
In view of all that was written up to now, it is to be noted that there is a mention from the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that “Fatema is my piece, my heart, my spirit and a pleasure of my eyes. Can anyone accord preference to anyone else over and above the Heart and the Spirit of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?”
If someone thinks the other way round, he is quite ignorant with the glory and status of the Prophet (a.s.). He is, while believing superfluous matters, turning his eyes from the facts. When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), is superior to all in the whole Universe, similarly, his daughter too is superior from everyone. And then the question of Mariam and others being superior is nothing but a flight of imagination or something similar to that.
Along with this, in thr light of many traditions of Ahle Sunnah, after the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) is glorious and superior to all. All the well known tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), say ‘Ali is best of all and whosoever denies this is not a muslim’. Along with this Hadith, if we consider another tradition also, saying, that if Ali (a.s.) would not have been there, no one was to come to the level of Fatema (a.s.), it means that Ali and only Ali was equal and upto the level of Fatema (a.s.). In this way, Janabe Fatema (a.s.) is most superior and higher than all. Whosoever denies this, is an Infidel.
For the sake of brevity, we would not proceed further providing more proofs in this connection, when it has already become clear that Hazrat Fatema Zahra (a.s.), is the most preferred and honoured amongst the women of the whole world. And that she could not be compared with any one. And when Janabe Mariam is not superior to Hazrat Fatema Zahra (a.s.), the question of other wives of the Prophet (a.s.) being superior does not arise.
Lastly, let us point out the fact that in addition to the references of traditions already given many learned men of Ahle Sunnah have also referred to the superiority and high status of Janabe Fatema Zahra (a.s.), the names of few are Haflz Jalaluddin Suyuti, Muqresi, Munavi, Taquiddin Sabri Zarkashi and Ahmed Zaini Vehlaan.