Lady Fatima Zahra, Head of the Women of Mankind
Hadrat Fatima Zahra (S.A.), the Head of the Women of Mankind
By: Dr. Yasin T. al-Jibouri
1. First Ma’sum is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ص)
2. Fatima (ع) Daughter of Muhammad (ص): Fatima (615 – 632 A.D.), mother of the Imams (ع), is the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ص) by his first wife, Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid, may the Almighty be pleased with her. Fatima was born in Mecca on a Friday, the 20th of Jumada II in the fifth year after the declaration of the Prophetic message which corresponds, according to the Christian calendar, to the year 615.
She was only 18 and 75 days when she died in Medina few days only (some say 75) after the death of her revered father (ص): The Prophet (ص) passed away on Safar 28/May 28 according to the Christian Gregorian calendar, or the 25th according to the Julian calendar, of the same year.
Fatima passed away on the 14th of Jumada I of 11 A.H. which corresponded to August 7, 632 A.D. She was buried somewhere in the graveyard of Jannatul-Baqi' in Medina in an unmarked and unknown grave. According to her will, her husband, Imam Ali (ع), did not leave any marks identifying her grave, and nobody knows where it is. According to Shiite Muslims, she was the only daughter of the Holy Prophet (ص).
Fatima has nine names/titles: Fatima فاطمة, al-Siddiqa الصديقة (the truthful one), al-Mubaraka المباركة (the blessed one), al-Tahira الطاهرة (the pure one), al-Zakiyya الزكية (the chaste one), al-Radhiayya الرضية (the grateful one), al-Mardhiyya المرضية (the one who shall be pleased [on Judgment Day]), al-Muhaddatha المحدثة (the one, other than the Prophet, to whom an angel speaks) and al-Zahra الزهراء (the splendid one).
The Prophet (ص) taught Fatima (ع) divine knowledge and endowed her with special intellectual brilliance, so much so that she realized the true meaning of faith, piety, and the reality of Islam. But Fatima (ع) also was a witness to sorrow and a life of anguish from the very beginning of her life. She constantly saw how her revered father was mistreated by the unbelievers and later how she herself fell a victim to the same abuse, only this time by some “Muslims”.
A number of chronicles quote her mother, Khadija, narrating the following about the birth of her revered daughter: “At the time of Fatima’s birth, I sent for my neighboring Qurayshite women to assist me. They flatly refused, saying that I had betrayed them by marrying and supporting Muhammad. I was perturbed for a while when, to my great surprise, I saw four strange tall women with halos around their faces approaching me.
Finding me dismayed, one of them addressed me thus, ‘O Khadija! I am Sarah, mother of Ishaq (Isaac). The other three are: Mary mother of Christ, Asiya daughter of Muzahim and Umm Kulthum sister of Moses. We have all been commanded by God to put our nursing knowledge at your disposal.’ Saying this, all of them sat around me and rendered the services of midwifery till my daughter Fatima was born.”
The motherly blessings and affection received by Fatima (ع) were only for five years after which Khadija left for her heavenly home. The Holy Prophet brought her up thereafter.
The Holy Prophet said: “Whoever injures (bodily or otherwise) Fatima, he injures me; and whoever injures me injures Allah; and whoever injures Allah practices unbelief. O Fatima! If your wrath is incurred, it incurs the wrath of Allah; and if you are pleased, it makes Allah pleased, too.”
M.H. Shakir writes the following: “Fatima, the only daughter of the Holy Prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca on 20th of Jumada al-Thaniya 18 B.H. (Before Hijra). The good and noble lady Khadija and the Apostle of Allah bestowed all their natural love, care and devotion on their lovable and only child, Fatima, who in her turn was extremely fond of her parents. The Princess of the House of the Prophet was very intelligent, accomplished and cheerful. Her speeches, poems and sayings serve as an index to her strength of character and nobility of mind. Her virtues gained her the title ‘Our Lady of Light’. She was moderately tall, slender and endowed with great beauty which caused her to be called ‘az-Zahra’ (the Lady of Light)".
Fatima (ع) was called az-Zahra' because her light used to shine among those in the heavens. After arriving in Medina, she was married to Ali in the first year of Hijra, and she gave birth to three sons. Her sons were: Hassan, Hussain, Masters of the youths of Paradise, and Muhsin. Muhsin never saw the light because he was aborted as his mother was behind her house door fending for herself while rogues were trying to break into it and force her husband to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. She had two daughters, Zainab, the heroine of Kerbala, and Umm Kulthum. Her children are well-known for their piety, righteousness and generosity. Their strength of character and actions changed the course of history.
The Holy Prophet said فاطمة بضعة مني, "Fatima is part of me". He would go out to receive his daughter whenever she came from her husband's house. Every morning on his way to the Mosque, he would pass by Fatima's house and say, "as-Salamu `alaykum ya Ahla Bay annnubuwwah wa ma`din arr-risala " (Peace be with you, O Ahl al-Bayt (Household of the Prophet) and the Substance of the Message).
Fatima (ع) is famous and acknowledged as the "Sayyidatu nisa '1-`alamin" (Leader of all the women of the world for all times) because the Prophethood of Muhammad would not have been everlasting without her. The Prophet is the perfect example for men, but could not be so for women. For all the verses revealed in the Holy Qur'an for women, Fatima is the perfect model, who translated every verse into action. In her lifetime, she was a complete woman, being Daughter, Wife and Mother at the same time.
Fatima inherited the genius and wisdom, the determination and will power, piety and sanctity, generosity and benevolence, devotion and worship of Allah, self-sacrifice and hospitality, forbearance and patience, knowledge and nobility of disposition of her illustrious father, both in words and in actions. “I often witnessed my mother,” says Imam Husain, "absorbed in prayer from dusk to dawn."
Her generosity and compassion for the poor was such that no destitute or beggar ever returned from her door empty-handed. She (ع) worked, dressed, ate and lived very simply. She was very generous; and none who came to her door ever went away empty handed. Many times she gave away all the food she had had, staying without any food at all. As a daughter, she loved her parents so much that she won their love and regard to such an extent that the Holy Prophet (ص) used to stand up whenever she came to him.
When Fatima came of age, a number of hopefuls sought her hand in marriage. The Holy Prophet was awaiting the Divine order in this respect until Imam `Ali approached him and asked for her hand in marriage. The Holy Prophet came to Fatima (ع) and asked, "My daughter! Do you consent to be wedded to `Ali, as I am so commanded by Allah?" Fatima (ع) thereupon bowed her head in modesty. Umm Salamah narrates the following: "Fatima’s face Fatima bloomed with joy and her silence was so suggestive and conspicuous that the Holy Prophet stood up to shout: Allahu Akbar' (Allah is great)! Fatima's silence is her acceptance."
On Friday, Thul Hijja 1, 2 A.H., which corresponded to May 25, 624 A.D. according to the Julian Christian calendar or to the 28th of May of the same year according to the Gregorian Christian calendar which is widely used in the text of this book, the marriage ceremony took place. All the Muhajirun (emigrants) and Ansar (supporters) of Medina assembled in the mosque while Imam `Ali was seated before the Holy Prophet with all the ceremonious modesty of a bridegroom.
The Holy Prophet first recited an eloquent sermon then declared: “I have been commanded by Allah to get Fatima wedded to `Ali, and so I do hereby solemnize the matrimony between `Ali and Fatima on a dower of four hundred mithqal of silver.” Then he asked Imam Ali, "Do you consent to it, O Ali? " "Yes, I do, O Holy Prophet of Allah!" replied Imam Ali (ع).
Then the Holy Prophet raised his hands and supplicated thus: “O Lord! Bless both of them, sanctify their progeny and grant them the keys of Your beneficence, Your treasures of wisdom and genius; and let them be a source of blessing and peace to my umma.” Her children; Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, Zainab and Umm Kulthum, are well-known for their piety, righteousness and generosity. Their strength of character and actions changed the course of history and fortified
Islam which otherwise would have been lost to mankind.
As a wife, she was very devoted. She never asked Ali for anything in her entire life. As a mother, she cared for and brought up wonderful children; they have left their marks on the pages of world history which time and the plots of enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (ع) will never be able to erase.