Editor’s Note: A Cradle of Mercy: The Compassion of Women
Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is described to have said that out of everything in this world, one of the aspects that he loved and showed the most appreciation for was women. One reason for Rasulullah’s (ﷺ ) high opinion of women was for their natural inclination towards compassion, kindness, selflessness, love and mercy.
It is also for this reason Allah describes in the Qur’an Bibi Maryam (Salaamun ‘Alayha), the mother of Prophet Jesus (Alayhis Salaam), as an example of chastity, virtue, and purity for both men and women to learn from (66:12 and 21:91). Not only that, but it has been told that men should protect and honor women.
The virtues that women possess are sacred, thus, making women sacred as well. This is implied by an Arabic word for woman which is hurma– meaning that which is sacred.
This sacredness is seen in the numerous blessings and graces bestowed by women. They open a door of heaven for their fathers as a daughter, they complete half the religion of their husband as a wife, and they have Jannah (heaven) lying under their feet as a mother! And this is simply in their relationship to others; imagine what their status is in relationship to God in being a devout and pious Muslimah and Ashiqah (Lover)!
Allah (Subhanahu wa taAla) further shows this as He begins the Holy Qur’an with the verse “Bismillah hi Rahman nir Raheem”, In the name of Allah, the most Merciful and the most Compassionate.
Allah describes Himself as merciful twice in the very first verse, but if you look at the word for mercy (Rahmah) in the Arabic and Hebrew languages, you can see that Rahmah is derived from Rahum which is the word for womb. This alludes to the reality that women are a source of mercy in the world.
So in a time when we are surrounded by negativity and harshness, women serve as a powerful reminder of the compassion and mercy we should be showing each other. May we all learn these positives virtues, and learn to appreciate and honor our cradles of mercy in the world. Ameen