We often hear speakers in Friday prayer or in admonitions talking about Paradise and all of us find our hearts, minds and thoughts tuned on to that 'frequency'. However, majority of the speakers talk about Paradise as if it were a house for men only. Reality is not like that. Paradise is for the believing men and women. The only price for it is sound belief in Allah, love of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), and obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
In what follows are the glad tidings given by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), to some of the women among his companions.
Narrated 'Ayshah: I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadijah (although) she died before he married me, for I often heard him mentioning her, and Allah had told him to give her the good tidings that she would have a palace of Qasab (i.e. pipes of precious stones and pearls in Paradise), and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would send her women-friends a good share of it. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Anas reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), said: 'The best women of mankind are four: Mariam daughter of 'Imran, Assiya wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah daughter of Khuwailid, and Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.' [Bukhari and Muslim]
Narrated 'Ata bin Abi Rabah: Ibn 'Abbas said to me, 'Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'This black woman came to the Prophet and said, 'I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.' The Prophet said (to her), 'If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.' She said, 'I will remain patient,' and added, 'but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.' So he invoked Allah for her.' [al-Bukhari]
The aforementioned ahadith clearly state the stature of some of the women given the glad tidings of Jannah (Paradise). What can the women of today do in order to achieve that pinnacle of success, Paradise?
The same principle is mentioned in the Hadith: 'Allah does not look at your pictures (shapes) and bodies but He looks at your hearts (and your deeds).'[Muslim]
She (the black woman) was physically sick, yet she sought cure in the Du'a of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She knew that the one who cures, ash-Shafi, is Allah, and Allah would answer the Du'a of His Messenger (peace be upon him). We conclude from that that Du'a heals all diseases be they of the body or of the heart. When commenting on this Hadith, al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said: 'It is inferred from this Hadith that the cure of diseases through Du'a and supplication to Allah (wa al-iltija' ila Allah) is the most successful way of healing, but this cannot be fulfilled unless two conditions are satisfied: pure intention and sincere trust in the effectiveness of the Du'a, and righteousness and reliance on Allah.
The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise' is a proof for the virtue and reward of patience during sickness. In another Hadith, he (peace be upon him), says: 'Whenever a hardship affects the Muslim, he will be forgiven for it even when he is picked by a spike.'[Muslim]
And in another Hadith, also narrated by Muslim, Ummu as-Sa'ib cursed fever, to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) told her: 'Do not curse fever, for it takes away the sins like the blaze [fire] takes away the impurities of iron.' The black women preferred the suffering of this world to getting the eternal reward of Paradise! She suffered from sickness, yet her pain and discomfort did not force her to forego pleasing Allah! And no matter who one is, if one is in the path of Allah, one will encounter difficulties, because Paradise is rounded by hardships.
If things are easy and life is rosy, then one must check oneself; are we following the true Islam? Especially in this western environment it may be difficult for a young woman to wear the dress of modesty, the Hijab (even though it is mandatory), not to talk to men and keep away from them (which is also mandatory), except if necessary.
All these may be difficult to achieve for some in the beginning, but when one overcomes herself for the sake of Allah, then all the other obstacles become baseless. So, how to overcome oneself? By knowing Allah by His names and attributes; by loving and obeying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him); and then the help of Allah will come, insha'Allah. She (the black woman) preferred being patient, but could not tolerate that her honor, her modesty and her chastity be damaged or even touched, nor that any part of her body be uncovered, though she had no control over it. Indeed she was a real slave and servant of Allah; she was a faithful, a believer, a Muslimah, a righteous and pious woman, a truthful woman, and she was loyal to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Not only having these awe-inspiring qualities, she was also a wise and a great woman, as her memorable words rang ...: '... but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.'
If words are to be written in Gold, these words should be written in gold ... Remember this simple equation:
Iman + Suffering + Patience = Paradise