The Twenty Third Narration: Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made four lines on the earth and asked, “Do you know what this is?”….

The Twenty Second Narration: On one occasion, Jibril ‘alayh al Salam came to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you…..
February 19, 2019
The Twenty Fourth Narration: Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained perfection except Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran; and Asiyah, the wife of Firoun. And the superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of tharid over all other dishes.
February 19, 2019

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The Twenty Third Narration

Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma narrates:


خط رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في الأرض أربعة خطوط ، قال : ” تدرون ما هذا ؟ ” فقالوا : الله ورسوله أعلم فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” أفضل نساء أهل الجنة خديجة بنت خويلد ، وفاطمة بنت محمد ، وآسية بنت مزاحم امرأة فرعون ، ومريم ابنة عمران

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made four lines on the earth and asked, “Do you know what this is?”

The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.”

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The best of the women of paradise, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Asiyah bint Mazahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imran.”[1]


Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:

  1. This narration holds great virtue in favour of Fatimah bint Muhammad and her mother Khadijah bint Khuwaylid radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as they are considered one with Asiyah and Maryam radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.


  1. ‘The best’ as recorded in this narration serves as a proof for those who regard Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma to enjoy a higher status than Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. A group of scholars hold this view. Hafiz ibn al Hajar has given strength to this view by relating the following narration of al Bazzar and al Tabarani in Fath al Bari on the authority of ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu:


لقد فضِّلت خديجة على نساء أمتي كما فضِّلت مريم على نساء العالمين

Khadijah enjoys virtue over the women of my ummah just as Maryam enjoys virtue over the women of the world.[2]


This narration has been attested to as sound by Ibn al Hajar.

However, this is disputable as the correct reference for this narration is al Tabari, Ibn al Hajar was therefore mistaken or had an omission when referencing. Another point of contention is that the narration is recorded on the authority of ‘Ammar ibn Sa’d al Qaraz and not ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Furthermore, those who have included the former amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum are mistaken. Also, the one narrating from him is Abu Yazid al Humairi Misri who is an unknown narrator. How can this chain than be sound?

In fact, there is no need to go to lengths in establishing this hadith as sound when the hadith of this chapter clearly institutes their status.

There are three opinions on this matter from the early scholars:

  • Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma both enjoy a higher status than Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.
  • Aisha holds a higher status than both of them
  • There is no difference as each one enjoys their own unique status.

One should note, however, that these kinds of differences of opinion have no practical application. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.


  1. Some scholars have attempted to prove the virtue of Maryam over Khadijah and Fatimah based upon the narration recorded in Azwaj al Nabi with the following chain of narration, Zubair ibn Bakkar— from Muhammad ibn al Hassan — from ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Muhammad — from Musa ibn ‘Uqbah — from Kurayb — from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu — narrating from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said:


سيدة نساء أهل الجنة مريم بنت عمران ، ثم فاطمة ، ثم خديجة ، ثم آسية امرأة فرعون

The leaders of the women of Jannat are Maryam bint ‘Imran then Fatimah then Khadijah then Asiyah the wife of Pharaoh.


This narration would resolve the difference of opinion held by the scholars if it were sound. However, this is not so, as the narrator Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn Zabalah has been accused of lying by more than just one of the scholars.

Yes, Abu Dawood has also recorded this narration with a sound chain which does not feature ‘then’ between the names. A point of note here, Abu al ‘Abbas Qurtubi has recorded this in al mufhim from Ibn ‘Abdul Barr’s al Istiab with the chain of narration thus, Zubair ibn Bakkar— from Muhammad ibn al Hussain which is a mistake and due to which Qurtubi has authenticated it. Muhammad ibn al Hassan ibn Zabalah would be the correct chain, who as we have mentioned is a fabricator who changes the chain as well as subject matter of the ahadith.

Ibn al Hajar commenting on this hadith has used the words ‘Laysa bi Thabit’ which is a display of laxity. The narration is baseless.


  1. Question: What was the reason for drawing the four lines?

Answer: One looking at the teaching methodology of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will conclude that when he would intend emphasizing a particular point he would complement his speech with an act thereby leaving a lasting impression in the minds of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.


  1. The narration holds great virtue in favour of Asiyah and Maryam radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. They have been named the leaders of the women of paradise.


  1. This narration refutes the notion of those that consider Maryam radiya Llahu ‘anhu to be a prophet. If she truly was a prophet, she would not have been mentioned alongside other pious [non prophet] women in this manner as the status of a Prophet is far greater than the status of a pious person by the consensus of the ummah.

Question: What do we then make of the verse:

وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ

And [mention] when the angels said, “O Maryam”.[3]

Answer: An angel addressing one does not necessitate prophethood. Inspiration from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala does not necessitate prophethood either! Ponder over the following verse:


وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ

And your Lord inspired to the bee.[4]


Another glaring detail that refutes proving the prophethood of women through the purport of this verse is that the angels would greet some of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum as well, whom nobody considers prophets.

Consider the following verse and the clear distinction it makes between prophethood and piety:

مَّا الْمَسِيْحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُوْلٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيْقَةٌ

The Messiah, son of Maryam, was not but a Messenger; [other] Messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth.[5]


Another verse that clarifies this misconception by perpetuating prophethood to be solely amongst males is:


وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوْحِيْ إِلَيْهِمْ

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message].[6]


Imam al Nawawi has written the following in his commentary on Sahih Muslim:


القول بنبوتهما غريب ضعيف وقد نقل جماعة الإجماع على عدمها

The opinion that Maryam and Asiyah were prophets is weak and strange. Many have stated consensus on the implausibility of it.[7]


  1. Two of the four leaders of the women of Jannat are from this ummah whilst the other two are from all the previous nations. This is a great blessing for this ummah.


  1. The Ahlul Bayt are a household and family of immense virtue. Their virtue cannot be shared by any other family in the world. Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma form part of the leaders of the women in paradise, whilst both are from the Ahlul Bayt. This virtue only adds to that of the Ahlul Bayt.


NEXT⇒  The Twenty Fourth Narration

[1] Musnad Imam Ahmed, Hadith: 2568. Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadith: 7010. Musnad Abu Ya’la, Hadith: 2722.

[2] Fath al Bari, Hadith: 3685.

[3] Surah Al ‘Imran: 42

[4] Surah al Nahl: 68.

[5] Surah al Maidah: 75.

[6] Surah al Nahl: 43.

[7] Al Minhaj Sharh Muslim, vol. 15 pg. 199.

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