International Women’s Day: Inspiring women around the Prophet ﷺ
Categories: Past Event Articles
Monday March 22 2021
On Thursday 11th March, MEND Oldham hosted their contribution for this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations at MEND. They invited a local speaker, Annesa Mariyam, to come along and present on some amazing women who were around the Prophet ﷺ and how their stories and contributions are still relevant today.
Annesa took the attendees through the stories of four very different women and how they subverted expectations. We were introduced to Nusaybah bint Ka’ab and her role as the first woman warrior in Islam. We were shown how she spent her life ‘shattering the glass ceiling’ – the theme of MEND’s IWD this year. The tale of Nusaybah highlighted how the strength of women should be celebrated and encouraged.
The second women we heard about was Al-Khansa. Al-Khansa was a poet and was one of the most well-known poets of her time. She wrote about the loss of life and was encouraged by the Prophet ﷺ to recite her poetry. Annesa spoke about how Al-Khansa was rated over many of the poets of the time, including the male ones, and her confidence in her own abilities was a factor in her ability to thrive in the sphere.
We then heard about Al-Shifa bint Abdillah who was a teacher and a doctor. At a time when only a small number of people in Makkah could read and write, Al-Shifa was the first woman to do so. She also taught her skills to others and was consulted on matters on which she had knowledge. Annesa spoke about how Al-Shifa is an example of how the intelligence of women should be prized and the skills that women, as individuals possess, should be nurtured.
The final woman Annesa spoke of was A’isha Bint Abi Bakr. A’isha is well known by Muslims for her Islamic knowledge and ability to relate the message of the Prophet ﷺ. The main takeaway from this event was how the diverse the skills and qualities were of the women around the Prophet ﷺ and their contributions, characteristics and drive are things that Muslim women can still look to for inspiration in their own journeys to ‘shatter the glass ceiling’.
Many thanks to Annesa Mariyam for delivering this fascinating lecture, to Firuja for hosting, to those behind the scenes, and to all those who attended. If you’d like to volunteer for your own local working group so you can help deliver events like this, then be sure to get in touch at mend.org.uk/volunteer