Written By: Maulana Ali Naqi Naqvi

Name and Genealogy

Her name was Fatima and the most celebrated title Zahra and kunniyat (family name) Umme Abiha. She was that single peerless daughter of the Prophet (SAW) from Hazrat Khadija binte Khwaylid through whose pious iincage the name and the mission of her father gained eternity. This was perhaps the reason behind her kunniyat Umme Abiha, which means ‘the mother of her father’ i.e., the lady who caused her father’s life to thrive.

Birth

Although on account of sectarian differences several historical facts have become centres of controversy but regarding the dates of birth and death in particular there are differences even in the narratives of the same sect. These differences however do not normally stretch beyond a few months, or one or two years. But the difference among the various sects of Islam regarding the date of birth of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) extends to nine and ten years. This is because according to the majority of the historians of the Sunnite sect s he was born five years before Besat while according to the narratives of the Shia sect, she was born five years after Besat. The basis of the latter view lies in the observations of the infallible personalities of the house of the Prophet (SAW) Ahle Bait (AS). Apart from the fact that these narrations are authentic from the religious point of view, every unbiased research scholar will agree that historically the statements of the members of the household and their progeny in respect of the persons belonging to that family, particularly the ladies in veil. must be much more reliable than those of others not connected with the family- On the basis of these statements the view that Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was born on 20 th Jamadi-us-Sani in the fifth year of Besat and eight years before Hijrat must be deemed as correct.

Upbringing

In the tenth year of Besat. Hazrat Khadija-tul-Kubra left this world. At that time Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was only five years old. After the loss of her affectionate mother at a very tender age she was brought up under the loving care of her father. Like the rays of the sun, the moral tutoring of the Prophet of Islam was directly enhancing the lustre of this incomparable gem. Among the ladies whose company Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) could have was Fatima binte Asad, the mother of Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) or her (Fatima binte Asad’s) sisters including Umme Hani and of her own aunt, Safia binte Abdul Muttalib. All of them were elderly and noble ladies who must have showered all their love and affection on this infallible child. It was in this environment that Janab-e-Syeda (SA) passed her childhood days. The early days of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) passed constantly watching her father facing that unpleasant environment that was created right from the day he conveyed the message of the Oneness of God. The situation became more painful after the demise of Hazrat Abu Talib (AS) and Hazrat Khadija (AS). She often heard of garbage being thrown on her father for propagating the message of truth. She used to see his body stained with blood as a result of the pelting of stones (by his enemies). She also heard of the plans being hatched to end his mission and even his life. But in spite of her young age she was neither frightened nor perturbed. She continued to be ever helpful to her revered father.

Hijrat

Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was eight years old when the infidels unanimously decided to kill her father, the holy Prophet (SAW), by overpowering him. They surrounded his house with that design. He was forewarned of this by God and hence he told his cousin Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) to lie down on his bed and he himself left Makkah secretly for Madinah. Hazrat Ali (AS) was resting on the Prophet’s (SAW)- bed and within the house was his mother Fatima binte Asad along with Hazrat Syeda Fatima Zahra (SA). Certainly this was a very trying time for her. Outside the house were bloodthirsty enemies all around with drawn swords. Apparently this was enough to terrify the inmates of the house. Coupled with this. was the shock of separation from her father and the apprehension regarding his safety. But Janab Syeda (SA) faced this ordeal with patience and perseverance. At dawn the enemies saw Ali (AS) in place of the Prophet (SAW) and learnt that the Prophet (SAW) had already left Makkah. Knowing this they ended the siege and went away in search of the Prophet (SAW). The danger to the inmates of the house had temporarily receded but their apprehension regarding the safety of the Prophet’ (SAW) must surely have increased. After a few days, Ali’s (AS) departure from Makkah for Madinah all alone with the l adies in litters on camelbacks, confrontation with the infidels during the journey who wanted to obstruct their movement, and drawing of sword by Ali (AS) against them — all these were not less terrifying events for the ladies and the children. Hazrat Fatima (SA) joined her father at Madinah after witnessing these horrifying situations.

Marriage

Within a year after reaching Madinah Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA), attained the age of nine years. This is the age of puberty of a girl according to Islamic Shariut and it has been enjoined that there should be no delay in marrying her after this. There were a number of people amongst the Prophet’s (SAW) companions who had coveted the honour of being his son- in-law. Prior to this the excuse of her being a minor was sufficient to restrain them from putting forward the marriage proposal before the Prophet (SAW). But now that she had attained the marriageable age every body began to approach the Prophet (SAW), the embodiment of ‘sublime morals’ with proposals for marriage- But there was no encouraging response from the Prophet (SAW). In the estimation of God and the Prophet (SAW) there was only one individual eligible for marriage with Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA). but he had not opened his lips as yet. This was Ali (AS), who had been fostered and reared by the Prophet (SAW) since his very childhood. Just as Fatima (AS) was the best specimen of the teachings of the Prophet (SAW) in her own species so was Ali (AS) the embodiment of his teachings amongst men. No two individuals could possibly be as evenly matched for each other as Ali (AS) and Fatima (SA). For Ali (As) there could be no one like Fatima (SA)and, similarly, for Fatima (SA), none like Ali (AS). But Ali (AS) felt diffident in proposing for the hand of Fatima (SA). On the other hand. There was no question of the Prophet’ (SAW) himself saying anything in this regard. When the proposals of all the aspirants were turned down some of them suggested to Ali (AS) to approach the Prophet (SAW) and ask for the hand of Hazrat Fatima (SA). Ultimately Ali (AS) called on the Prophet’ and with his eyes cast downward, placed the proposal before him. The Prophet (SAW), with a cheerful expression on his face. asked Ali (AS) what worldly possessions he had. Ali (AS) replied that he had only a horse, a sword and a coat of mail- The Prophet (SAW) said: ”The horse and the sword are essential for a warrior like you but the coat of mail is redundant and you should sell it off.” According to historians in general this armour was sold for 480 Dirhams; all of which amount he presented to the Prophet ” by way of dower for Hazrat Fatima (SA), The Prophet (SAW) made arrangements for the marriage with this money and purchased the articles generally needed for domestic use. These consisted of a leather pillow stuffed with the bark of date tree. leather bedding, some earthen utensils, a leather bag for carrying water and a spinning wheel. Historians say that the ‘dower’ of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) that was paid by Hazrat Ali (AS) and on which Nikah was recited, was four hundred Mithqal of silver which is equivalent to 117 tolas (136 grams approx.) and valued about 500 Dirhams. This is known as Ma hr-e-Sunnal (or Mahr-e-Fatimi). But Mahr-e-Sunnat implies that if greater amount is paid a dower, it will entail lesser recompense (from God), it should be that much or even less. Thai is why the four most authentic collections of traditions of the Shia sect confirm that the dower of Fatima Zahra (SA) was apparently much less than what is generally called Mahr-e-Sunnat, i.e., thirty Dirhams only. Although keeping in view the spiritual greatness of Janabe Syeda-c-Alam her dower included a substantial part of the entire creation of God, it was apparently kept so low with a view to changing the mentality of the Muslims for ever so that they may not consider excessive amount of dower as a mark of honour. Rather, they should realize that keeping the amount of dower less is to follow Janabe Syeda and is therefore a matter of great honour. After all in the history of Islam this marriage was an ideal ceremonial event. If the followers of Islam keep the particulars of this event in mind they shall never consider the wasteful and ruinous marriage rituals as a sign of respectability.

Offsprings

After marriage Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) lived only for nine years. During these nine years Hazrat Imam Hasan(AS) was born in the second year of the marriage. Imam Husain (AS) in the third, Hazrat Zainab probably in the Fifth. Hazrat Umme Kulsoom in the seventh- In the ninth year Hazrat Mohsin was in the womb when the death of the Prophet (SAW) occurred after which she faced those sufferings that resulted in an abortion. Thereafter, Hazrat Syeda also did not live for long. At the lime of her death she was survived by two sons. Hasan (AS) and Husain (AS) who became the imam (religious head) of the entire mankind. Besides, there were two daughters Zainab and Umme Kulsoom (SA). who with the qualities that they possessed proved themselves to be the true successors of their mother amongst the women.

Morals and Attributes

Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) had the utmost resemblance with the Prophet (SAW) with regard to her features, disposition, her pleasant style of speaking, her gait and all other aspects. Specially in respect of integrity and truthfulness she was a replica of her esteemed father. In her short span of life she left such deep footprints in every aspect of life that are sufficient for the guidance of womankind for ever.

HouseKeeping

After her marriage Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SAW)took up all the household duties. Sweeping the house, preparing the food. spinning, grinding corn and upbringing of children— all these jobs and she alone to handle them! But there never was a sign of irritation or disgust on her face. Nor she asked her husband to provide her a helper or a maidservant. She had however once requested her esteemed father, the Prophet (SAW), for a maidservant. The Prophet (SAW) instead of arranging for a maidservant taught her to recite the Tusbeeh that is known as Tasbeeh-e-Fatima. That is, the recital, of Allaho Akhar 34 times, Alhamdo Lillah 33 times and Suhhanallah 33 limes. Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was so pleased and contented with this Tasheeh that she never wished to have a maidservant. Later on the Prophet (SAW) did provide her a bondmaid without her asking for it. She is known by the name of Fizza. Hazrat Fatima (SA) did nut treat her as a servant but as an equal and a dear companion. Surely, the teaching of Islam is that man and woman both should participate and work together in the struggle of life as associates. They are not to sit idle. But there is division of labour between them on the basis of difference in sex. Ali (AS) and Fatima (SA) set before the world perfect example of this division of labour. All outdoor labour such as carrying water, watering orchards and earning livelihood for self and family through labour, were the duties that devolved on Ali (AS). All indoor duties were performed by Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA). it is not necessary that after the lapse of fourteen centuries the nature of duties should remain the same. These can and do change in accordance with the exigencies of the times. But. in any case it is necessary to preserve the spirit that underlies the difference in true nature of indoor and outdoor duties.

Abstinence from Pomp and Show

By and large the women have a natural longing for articles of ornamentation and decoration. Very often this causes distraction and worry to men. This desire for ornamentation is often responsible for causing disbalance between the income and expenditure, which ultimately leads to economic ruin Syeda-e-Alam (SA) always lived a life that could be an excellent model for the women of poor muslim families. In respect o dress, ornaments and other household articles she never like artificially and false glamour. This was also in keeping with the teaching of the Prophet (SAW). According to some narration once Syeda-e-Alam (SA) got prepared for herself two silver bracelets, a necklace, two earrings and a new curtain for the door. The Prophet (SAW) of God came and saw the change- From his meaningful silence Syeda-e-Alam (SA) realized that it would be far better to give away all of it in charity to the poor. When the Prophet (SAW) came to know of it he was so pleased that he said thrice: “She has done Just what I had wished. May his father be sacrifice for her.” It was only this highly dignified daughter o the most exalted father, the greatest moral teacher of humanity who could give to his lofty standard of moral teachings a solid practical shape, carrying it to its zenith.

Self denial in worship and supplication

The state of worship of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) is an everlasting example for the muslim women. Apparently the act of worship is a mutual relationship on an individual level between the Creator and His creations. Therefore, most of the worshippers may probably give precedence to others in respect of their wordily possession and even in satisfaction of hunger. But in the matter of worship to God there appears “selfishness’ all around. The progeny of the Prophet (SAW) , however, is an exception in this respect also. When they stood in prayer before God their hearts were ever filled with compassion for other creatures of God. There is a narration of Hazrat Imam Hasan (AS) relating to Hazrat Syeda-e-Alam (SA) that once she offered Namaz throughout the night and prayed for all the believers, both men and women, but did not supplicate even once for her own self. Later on Hazrat Hasan (AS) pointed this out to her. In reply she quoted an Arabic proverb: “Concern for the neighbour precedes caring for one’s domestic affairs.”

Observance of Purdah

Syeda-e-Alam (SA) laid great emphasis on the importance of veiling {purdah) for women not only by her deeds but also through her utterances. Her house was adjacent to the Prophet’s (SAW) mosque. But she never entered the mosque, even covered in veil and mantle, to participate in congregational prayers led by her father or to listen to his sermons. Instead. when her son Imam Hasan (AS) would return from the mosque, she used to find out from him what the Prophet (SAW) had said in his sermon. Once the Prophet (SAW) posed the question to his audience as to what was the best thing for a woman. When Syeda came to know about it she said that the best thing/or a woman was that she should not cast her eyes on a man with regard to whom observance of purdah is obligatory, nor let the glance of such a man/nil on her. When the Prophet (SAW) was told about this. He said, “why not should she say like this. After all she is a part of me”.

Service of Islam

In Islam the nature of ‘Jihad’ for women is quite different from that of men and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) strictly adhered to the rule laid down by Islam in this respect. That is why there is

no evidence that Syeda-e-Alam (SA) ever stepped in to a battlefield. Still, while being regardful of the limitations of the feminine role in religious battles, she did not allow herself to remain totally unconcerned about them. For example, after the battle of Uhud when the Prophet (SAW) returned to Madinah with his face besmeared with blood, it was Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) who brought water and got his face washed. Then came Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) in such a state that both his hands were red with blood upto the shoulders and blood was also dripping from the sword. Handing over the sword to Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA), he said in an uncharacteristic proud tone: “Take this sword. Today it has been extremely faithful to me.” The Prophet (SAW) observed, ” Fatima take this sword from Ali. Today, your husband has discharged his duty at a very critical juncture. It is through his sword that Allah got wiped out all the prominent personalities of Quraish.” Fatima Zahra (SA) listened mutely to these words and took the sword in her hands. Certainly, she must have heard all this with a sense of pride. At the same time there was no reason for her to feel sorry for not attaining the honour of personally participating in the Jihad. She was well aware that the duties she had been discharging within the four walls of her house were as good as Jihad for her exactly a Ali’s (AS) performance of his duty in the battles was. Of course there was one single occasion, that of Mubuhelu. which was spiritual and peaceful Jihad against Christians, where Syeda-e- Alam (SA) came out of her house in veil and mantle in the company of her father and her husband. The occasion was when a deputation of Christian clerics came to the Prophet (SAW) for discussion on religious matters. The discussion dragged on for several days as a result of which the factual position became abundantly clear to them but owing to their obstinate adherence to their stand they refused to be convinced. It was at this stage that the following Quranic verse (sura Ale Imran: v.6I) was revealed: “(O Prophet) if one disputes in this matter with thee now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, say: “• Come! Let us gather together, our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie.” The Christian clerics first agreed to this proposal- But when the Prophet (SAW) arrived accompanied by sons like Hasan and Husain, a lady like Hazrat Fatima Zahra and Ali (AS) who was like the Prophet’s own self, then they refused to take part in Mubahela and went back after concluding a peace treaty on special terms and conditions. Thereby Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) showed that her observance of Purdah was not by way of habit but it was based on her sense of duly. This event throws fight on one important point which is that, if in an exceptional case the Divine direction imposes a duty on His chosen people which is apparently against their common established practice of life, then their compliance with it is equally pleasant to them.

The Prophet’s (SAW) attitude towards his daughter

It was on account of the excellent qualities of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) that the Prophet (SAW) had extreme affection for her and showed such respect to her as no father ever does to his

daughter. One demonstration of his love for her was that whenever he went out for a battle, Fatima Zahra (SA) was the last person to whom he would bid farewell. Likewise, when he came back he made it a point to see her first. Another example of the respect and esteem which the Prophet (SAW) had for Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was that whenever she came to see the Prophet (SAW) he used to stand up in veneration for her and make her sit in his place. Except Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) , there was no one to whom the Prophet (SAW) paid such respect.

Virtues

With the exception of Hazrat Ali (AS) the number of traditions of the Prophet (SAW) found in honour of Hazrat Fatima Zahra” are found for no body else. A majority of muslim scholars is unanimous in regarding most of these traditions as authentic. By way of example some of those traditions are quoted below;

“She is the leader of all those women who are destined to enter heaven.”

“She is the head of all the believing women.”

“She is the chief of the women of the entire world.”

“God is pleased with whomsoever she is pleased and her displeasure invites the wrath of God.” “Whoever causes her pain, causes pain to Allah’s prophet”

She was named Fatima because for her sake God has emancipated from the tortures of hell all those people who hold her dear. The word Fatm means ‘to liberate’ thus Fatima means ‘one who liberates’. There is a large number of similar traditions that are found in authentic books.

Death of the Prophet (SAW)

Twenty three years after Besat and ten years after Hijrat when Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was eighteen year old, her father who loved and honoured her so much, left this world for his heavenly abode. No daughter has ever been affected so several by the death of her father as Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was by this tragic event.

Lamentation and Wailing

During the remaining days of her life after the Prophet’s demise no body saw Syeda-e-Alam (SA) laughing or even smiling. On the contrary she was ever found wailing for her father. Her lamentations were so pathetic that the people living around her house were intensely moved by them.

Unpleasant Conditions

Alas’ That Fatima for whom the Prophet (SAW) used to stand up in respect soon realized that, after the demise of her father the world had turned its face away from her. The deprivation of Ali ibne Abi Talib (SAW) of the office of Caliphate was not an ordinary shock for her. Adding insult to injury, he was now being pressed to swear allegiance to the present Caliph. Coercive and even violent methods were adopted to force him to bow down to the demand- The limit was reached when firewood was collected at the door of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) and it was set on fire. The resultant shock and pain were so intense that Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) could not bear it and it ultimately caused her death. The intensity of her sufferings is manifested in the following couplet, which flowed from her lips. “I have undergone such sufferings that if the days had experienced them they would have turned into nights.”

Fadak

The physical and mental shocks borne by Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) were topped by the confiscation of Fadak after the Prophet’s (SAW) death. It was a landed property which the Prophet (SA) had granted her. Having been deprived of the property could not have been so distressing for Syeda as the denial of her claim by the State, adjudging it as false. It was such a shock that its effect on her remained unmitigated till her last breath.

Her Will

Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) upheld the ever lasting importance of Purdah for women even at that time when she was about to leave this world. It so happened that one day she looked extraordinarily worried. Her aunt (widow of Hazrat Jafar-e- Tyyar) Asma Binte Umais inquired about the cause of her worry. She replied that she did not like the practice of carrying the dead body of a woman on a plank as it reveals her side and figure, Asma told her that in Abyssinia she had seen a method of carrying dead bodies that might be to her liking. Thereupon she made an outline of a bier with which Syeda-e-Alam was very much pleased. After the death of the Prophet (SAW) this was the only occasion when Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) had smiled. Then she made a will that her body should be carried in that type of bier. Historians have clearly stated that the first dead body to be carried in a bier was that of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA). Besides, she also made a will that her body should be carried in the darkness of night and no intimation should be given to those whose conduct had hurt her so much that she had remained extremely displeased with them tilt her last moment.

Her Demise

At last Syeda-e-alam (SA), three months after the demise of her esteemed father, the Prophet (SAW) of God left this world on the 3 rd of Jamadus-Sani in the 11 th year after Hijrat,. As willed by her, her body was taken out in the night and her funeral rites were performed by Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) Only the members of the tribe of Bani Hashim along with Salman, Miqdad, Ammar and a few other sincere companions participated in the funeral prayer and quietly buried the body. The place of her burial was not generally known to the people, Consequently, there is a difference of opinion as to whether she is buried in Jannatul Baqui or in her own house which later on became a part of the Prophet’s mosque. Her Mausoleum in Jannatul Baqui is also no longer there. On 8 th of Shawwal 1344 A.H- Ibne Saud (the then ruler of Hijaz) demolished it along with the other shrines of Able Buit.

Source: baabeilm.org

Source: almujtaba.com


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