(i) The Leaders of the Men
A number of the Sahabah, including ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Anas ibn Maalik, Abu Hudhayfah, Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah, and Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger (saw) said, “Abu Bakr and ‘Umar will be the leaders of men of Paradise from the earlier and later generations.” [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 12/487, no. 824]

(ii) The Leaders of the Youth
at-Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, at-Tabaraani, Ahmad, and others reported that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the youth of Paradise”. This is proven by so many reports that reach the level of tawatur. [see also the narration from Hudhayfah and from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar in Ibn ‘Asaakir – Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, no. 797]

(iii) The Leaders of the Women
The true female leader is the one with whom her Rabb is pleased and whose deeds He accepts. The best women are those who attain the Paradise of delights. The women of Paradise are of different levels, and the Messenger (saw) told us about their leaders:

“The Messenger of Allah (saw) drew four lines and said, “Do you know what these are?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “The best women of Paradise are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint ‘Imraan and Aasiyah bin Muzahim, the wife of Fir’awn” [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/13, no. 1508, from Ahmad at-Tahhaawi, al-Haakim from Ibn ‘Abbaas, saheeh]

Maryam and Khadeejah are the best of the four – “The best of its women is Maryam and the best of its women is Khadeejah” [from ‘Ali in al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Manaaqib al-Ansaar, Fath al-Baari, 7/133] – and Maryam is the “First Lady” – “The leaders of the women of Paradise, AFTER Maryam bint ‘Imraan will be..” [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/410, no. 1424, from Jaabir in at-Tabaraani, saheeh]. The reason why Maryam is considered the best of all women is clearly stated in the Qur’an:

“Behold! the angels said, “O Maryam! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations.” [3:42]

How could she not be the best of women when Allah has clearly stated that,

“..her Rabb accepted her with a goodly acceptance. He made her to grow in a good manner”. [3:37]

These four women are beautiful examples of perfect, righteous women. Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran, is praised by Allah in the Qur’an:

“And Maryam, daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breather into [the sleeve of her shirt/garment] through Our Ruh [i.e. Jibreel] and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Rabb, and [also believed in] His Scriptures and she was one of the Qaaniteen [obedient to Allah]” [66:12]

Khadeejah as-Siddeeqah believed in the Messenger (saw) without hesitation; she consoled and supported him in every way. Her Rabb gave her the good news, during her lifetime, of a place in Paradise in which there would be no noise or exhaustion [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Manaaqib, Fath al-Baari, 7/133]

Aasiyah the wife of Fir’awn, despised the power and luxuries of this world and rejected Pharaoh and his false claims of divinity. Hence, her husband tortured her until her soul departed to her Creator:

“And Allah sets forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Rabb! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his works, and save me from the Dhaalimoon [those that do wrong]” [66:11].

Faatimah az-Zahraa, the daughter of the Prophet (saw), was patient, forbearing, and feared Allah. She was a branch from the pure tree, brought up by the educator of humanity.