The Qur’an and Sunnah are ground-breaking sources, because they shatter stereotypes.
A number of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ did not have children, and they are STILL promised the *highest* level of Paradise. The wife of Pharaoh, Asiya سلام الله علیها was infertile, but she is the best of women.
Maryam سلام الله علیها never got married, and our communities claim that life begins when the marriage bells ring. She was content, spiritually successful, and a symbol in not only Islam, but Christianity.
This teaches us that marriage and motherhood are not the only ways to Paradise.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us the value of all women when he committed himself to getting married to divorcees. Why do our communities see women who have been divorced as damaged goods? Why do we only see them as second wives? They have an abundant amount of wisdom and experiences that can transform any marriage – but we need to move beyond our perceived stereotypes.
Yusuf عليه السلامwas desired by Zulaykha, the wife of Al ‘Aziz, and she was a woman, who said that women don’t have desires? Who claims that desires only belong to men?
The Queen of Sheba سلام الله علیها was in a leadership position, and Prophet Sulayman عليه السلا was a wealthy King. Was he intimidated by her confidence? He loved it, and approached her for marriage – it was one of the reasons that attracted him to her. They were joined in a loving bond. Did his wealth take him away from His Creator, quite the contrary; it bought Him closer to Allah, as he used his wealth for His sake.
Yunus عليه السلام feared his responsibility, so he ran away from the responsibilities that Allah bestowed upon him – the responsibility of calling his people to one God. In our communities we’ll judge, we’ll slander, we’ll be unwilling to give. However, Allah teaches us that even the best of people make mistakes and they are in need of His mercy and ours. He recognised he had made a mistake, and He turned back to Him sincerely – Allah سبحانه و تعالى accepted his call.
Asiya bint Muzahim سلام الله علیها was married to the greatest tyrant that ever lived, but she refused to let him define her, she had a powerful connection with Allah, regardless if she came from a non-practicing family.
Yusuf عليه السلامwas abandoned by his brothers, he was sold into slavery selfishly, he was betrayed by Al ‘Aziz who he trusted. He was molested by a woman he worked for. He was thrown mercilessly into jail, when he was innocent. He genuinely helped two prisoners, and they forgot about him – leaving him to wait patiently in jail, all alone. Did Yusuf عليه السلام suffer hardships? Yes. But he was still stronger than them, he refused to break down. He was stronger, and through his tests he taught us that we are human – yes, but we have the ability and inner strength to overcome the tide. Everyone expects us break down in our storms, but we can be unrelenting in faith, and refuse to be the victim – this strength will help us stand, when everyone expects us to fall.
The Qur’an and Sunnah is structured to give us solutions to all the stereotypes and limiting beliefs in our communities. We have done a great injustice to ourselves by holding on to that which Islam came to eliminate from our lives. We need to use the *ready made* replies of Allah سبحانه و تعالى to clear all the misconceptions.