The CEO, Warrior and Founder of First Ever University
1. Khadijah bint Khuwaylid R.A., the CEO
Mother of Believers, the great Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid R.A. was the
first wife of Prophet Muhammad SW and was known by the by-names of
Ameerat-Quraysh ("Princess of Quraysh"), al-Tahira ("The Pious One") and
Khadija Al-Kubra (Khadija "the Great") for her magnificent caravans and
trade reputation in Arabia.
She was an indomitable businesswoman in a male-dominated time. When
female infants were being buried for the cause of them being of feminine
gender, she was rising as a great merchant in Arabia.
Khadija R.A. fed and clothed the poor, assisted her relatives
financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations. Khadija
R.A. was said to have neither believed in nor worshipped idols (Taghut),
which was atypical for pre-Islamic Arabian culture.
It is said that when the Quraysh's trade caravans gathered to embark
upon their summer journey to Syria or winter journey to Yemen, Khadija's
caravan equaled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraysh put
together. In a modern language, we would call her, the great CEO. Surely
she’s a great inspiring historical role model for us to follow and draw
major inspiration from.
Let Khadijah bint Khuwaylid R.A. be a constant reminder of what a woman
can do if she wills to. Below are the stereotypes which the Khadija Al
Kubra (The Great) broke, proudly.
1. A woman shouldn't be into career, Khadijah R.A. was the most
successful business lady in Arab world. Regarded as Princess of Quraish
and Al Kubra (The great), She was the richest import/export trade
manager and only founder.
2. A woman shouldn't propose a man. Khadijah R.A. was the one who sent
her marriage proposal to Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
3. Men don't love strong independent women. Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
loved her like no other men can ever to their wives. She was the only
one to bless their family with a child, a child as strong as Fatimah R.A.
who grew up to be the mother of Husain R.A. and Hasan R.A.
4. Men shouldn't marry Women above 40 because they can't procreate.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married her when she was 40 and gave him
daughter like Fatima R.A.
5. Men shouldn't marry women above their age. Prophet Muhammad (PUBH)
married her when he was 25 and she was 40.
6. Virgin men don't marry widow. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married her; it
was his first and first successful marriage!
7. Don’t raise your daughter with ambitions, vision and goals, no one
will marry her. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married woman of substance 1400
Career oriented women can't raise children or make home. Khadija Al
Khuwaylid R.A. raised child like Fatima R.A. who is mother of Imam
Hassan and Hussain R.A.
2. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab R.A., the Warrior
Nusayba bint Kaab R.A. was a warrior who shattered many glass ceilings,
was admired by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for her courage and strength, and
played a role of definitively clarifying the position of a woman in
Islam. She even inspired the revelation of a verse in the Quran as a
response to a bold question she asked the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Also known as Umm ‘Ammara, Nusaybah Bint Ka’ab R.A. fought alongside the
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and was one of Islam’s first female warriors.
She was from Yasrib and among the first batch to accept Islam and take
oath for allegiance.
Nusaybah Bint ka’ab and Umm Munee Asma bint ʿAmr bin 'Adi were the only
two women to personally pledge directly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
She returned as a preacher of Islam to her hometown, Medina.
Nusaybah believed that a woman has the same duty in defending the new
religion. She was the most distinguished, brave, stereotype breaking and
bold woman. It was said that her skills with the sword were so
impressive that anyone who would saw her at the battlefield would be
At the beginning of the battle of Uhud, she was bringing water to the
thirsty fighters and tending the wounded, as other women were doing.
When the battle was going in favor of the Muslims, the archers disobeyed
the command of the Prophet (PBUH), which turned the victory into defeat,
as the Qur'an described it. People hassled to run away in order to
At this point, Nusaybah went forward, with her sword unsheathed and her
bow in her hand, to join the small group who were protecting Hazrat
Muhammad SW from the arrows of non-believers.
Her inspiring moment at the battlefield of Uhud:
“Nusaybah with her two sons and husband was surrounding Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH) with a sword in one hand and shield in another. She was attacked
by an enemy and was injured yet she managed to hold her position firm.
Tracking another attack upclose, she quickly pulled on the brittle of
the horse to flip it around and before the attacked had a moment to
think, she plunged her sword into the horse. The horse immediately
neighed and fell throwing its rider of the back.”
Every time danger approached the Prophet she hastened to protect him
with the sword in her hand. Mohammed (PBUH) noticed this, and later
said, "Wherever I turned, to the left or the right, I saw her (Nusaybah)
fighting for me."
On that day, Nusaybah herself received many wounds whilst she was
fighting and striking at enemies.
The Prophet saw her, and called to her son, "Your mother! Your mother!
See to her wounds, may Allah bless you and your household! Your mother
has fought better than so-and-so." When Nusaybah heard what the Prophet
said, she said, "Pray to Allah that we may accompany you in Paradise."
He said, "O Allah (SWT), make them my companions in Paradise." She said,
"I do not care what befalls me in this world."
Umm 'Umarah's jihad was not confined to the battle of Uhud.
She was also present on a number of other occasions, namely the treaty
of 'Aqabah, Al-Hudaybiyah, Khaybar and Hunayn. Her heroic conduct at
Hunayn was no less marvelous than her heroic conduct at Uhud.
At the time of Abu Bakr's Khilafah, she was present at Al-Yamamah where
she fought brilliantly and received eleven wounds as well as losing her
Nusaybah lived through the rule of Abu Bakr Al Siddique, and Omar Bin Al
Khattab. It is said that once Omar R.A. received a gift from some
foreign place. It consisted mainly of a piece of cloth made from the
Some people who were present suggested that he send it either to his
daughter or to his daughter-in-law.
Omar rejected both suggestions and said that there is a woman who
deserves this cloth more than all, and sent it to Nusaybah.
Nusaybah was a heroin unlike any fragile pretty flower. She was a
fierce, dynamic, fearless fighter holding her head high and feet firm in
times of challenge. An ever-inspiring epitome of bravery.
3. Fatima Al-Fihri, the first Founder
Fatima Bint Muhammad Al Fihri was the founder and patron of the world’s
first university in the history of mankind. The institution is called
University of Qarrawiyyin which is in Fes in Morocco. Even today it
stands firm and continue to promote learning and education.
It was over a thousand of years ago in 9th century that the concept of
institutionalized academic learning and research was born and evolved
out. From a foundation of a very brick, Fatima Al fihri resolved to
observe ritual fast daily for as long as as the building remained in
The wealthy heiress and widow invested all of her inheritance towards
financing the mosque which later on become the grandest, world’s first
degree granting university. The library of University of Qarrawiyyin is
also the oldest and largest. Al Qawariyyin University predates Oxford
and Cambridge University by over 300 years.
Fatima Al Fihri was born in Tunisia in 859 to a super wealthy
businessman and merchant. Their family had a high social status
following which many people regard Fatima Al Fihri as a princess.
Muhammad Al fihri migrated to East Morocco with her two young daughters
(i.e. Fatima Al Fihri and Maryem Al Fihri) in sought of new business
ventures. Meanwhile he provided his both daughters with best education
available at the moment on Earth. Nurturing them with Islamic Education,
they both grew as strong, confident and highly educated and ethical
Fatima especially loved the art of calligraphy. She excelled in the
skill by writing many books in the calligraphic style. She grew as a
very young pious Muslim woman who was excellent at many fields of
Education. She debated largely on the art of silence with the Sufis and
mystics. Before even receiving the Islamic education, both Sisters
(Fatima and Maryam) were very interested in design and architecture and
would dream to build something aesthetically pleasing and productive in
construction. So when they moved to Fes in Morocco, they started noting
the needs in their new community and how they could fulfill them.
Foremost issue Fatima noticed was that there were no developed schools
for people so instantly, both girls decided to build a mosque. A mosque
which was supposed to be an interactive and socially active place for
Muslim community. As soon as they found their inheritance, they designed
the mosque at a luxurious scale.
Fatima herself looked over the construction and design for the mosque
which she later turned into a great library and university. This is how
Fatima Al Fihri became the pioneer of formal education system and built
world’s first official university. Fatima Al Fihri fasted for two years
from 857 to 859 out of the ibadah until the mosque was finally ready.
The idea was further adopted by Europeans to construct the Oxford and
Cambridge University and others.
Unsurprisingly, numerous notable scholars have studied at this stellar
institution. Rumour has it that even Gerbert of Aurillac – better known
as Pope Sylvester II – studied at al-Qarawiyyin, and it is he who is
given the credit of introducing Arabic numerals (that we use to this
day) to the rest of Europe.
The University of al-Qarawiyyin is still in operation today, and amid
its other attractions, houses one of the world’s oldest libraries. The
library contains over 4000 manuscripts, including the famous historian
Ibn Khaldun’s 14th-century text Muqaddimah. The library recently
underwent refurbishment, pioneered by female architect Aziza Chaouni,
who worked to renovate the library and give it a face-lift.
Fatima’s foresight and commitment, alongside her selfless contribution
towards championing intellectual advancement, led to the establishment
of a monumental university. The remarkable legacy of her dedication and
empowering endeavour is well-deserved and one that is a source of
inspiration for all.
The library of al-Qarawiyyin is now open to the public and, amongst
other treasures, exhibits Fatima al-Fihri’s original diploma – on a