I was inspired to take a picture of a lovely white orchids sitting tight as a centrepiece. My attention was caught by its elegance that seemed to manifest a woman’s unspoken words of wisdom.
Her centrality always shows evidence for her hidden power: she gives life, which is symbolic of His Majesty and Beauty.
In a forum, “Women of Paradise” was the talk during women’s month I once attended at UPD IIS. As I could no longer wait for the program to start, my piercing gaze at this captivating flower provoked me with a question:
“How would you like to be one of the women of paradise?”
Surely every woman will set her heart on becoming one. And how I wish I could give an answer.
Now what does a “woman of paradise” means? Here is a quote from Imam Ali (as) that can fuel love to every woman’s heart:
“Woman is a delicate creature with a strong emotions who has been created by the Almighty God to shoulder a responsibility of educating society and moving toward perfection. God created woman as a symbol of His Beauty and to give solace to her partner and her family.”
To nurture humanity and moving toward perfection is an aspiration that every one of us should dream of for the Sake of the Beloved. How can we not advance to move towards great excellence after having known the inspiring stories of many great women who had remained devoted to the Creator while they endured difficulties?
Asiyah, the wife of Fir-aun (Pharaoh) symbolized Unity. She became a believer of the Most High and showed a strong faith in Him despite the treatment of her tyrant husband.
Khadija, the wife of the Messenger (pbuh) who symbolized generosity was so concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of her community until she gave up her wealth and devoted herself to the Only One.
Fatima, the wife of Imam Ali (as) symbolized leadership and divine womanhood remained strong.
Maryam, the loving mother of Jesus or Nabi Iisa (as) symbolized purity who continously sought refuge from the Creator.
The quintessence of their qualities was so glorious and soul-stirring. They were the perfect examples of great women in the Way of the Beloved.
This is not to disregard other women of the past (and of the present time as well) who embraced different races and creeds. Their golden hearts reflected His Love and Beauty that they can also be counted as great women.
And as women of the new generation, to be rated as women of excellence in the eyes of our Creator is to undertake an extremely remarkable endeavours:
Face and accept every obstacle that comes our way despite our weaknesses; carry the loads or lessen the pain of the miserable ones despite our heavy burdens; continue to love despite the hatred and judgemental treatment we encounter; and perhaps remain His faithful lovers despite embarking on a perilous journey.
As women blessed with Divine Power and Beauty, there is no reason why we cannot acquire essential qualities despite our heart-brokenness, an integral element given to us to stay conscious of the Loving One.
And as women with sensitive hearts moving towards perfection, there is no reason why we cannot remain beautiful flowers that can give solace and joy to all hearts.
For all we know, a woman will only deserve to be called a woman of paradise if she continues to walk on the Path of her Beloved without looking back on the path of her ego.
Because “When a woman walks in the Path of God, she is no longer called a woman, she is a man,” says Rabia Al-Adawiya.