Fatima, Daughter of the Prophet of Allah

by Amr Khalid

Translated by Mona Soueid

The sons of the Prophet were al-Qasim, Abdullah, Tahir/Tayib, and the daughters were Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm-Kulthoom and Fatima.

She was born five years before her father was sent as a Prophet. Mohammed was 35 years old when she was born. She was born during the year when the Ka"bah was being rebuilt. She became a Muslim when she was 5 years old, as soon as her father was sent as a Prophet. She was the youngest Muslim in Islam.

What does the name Fatima mean? It comes from the word "fitam" which means the one that is kept away from evil and bad character. Fatima has four nicknames. Does anyone know them? They are 'Zahraa", "Batool", "Umm al-Hasan wal-Husayn" and the last is the nicest nickname "Ummu Abeeha". From the extent of her love and affection for the Prophet, and the fact that she was always with him and trying to defend him, just as a mother has these feeling towards her child, so she became known as "Umm Abeeha" by the Sahaba and scholars. She was called Zahraa because she greatly resembled the Prophet in that she was white and her cheeks were a rosy, pink colour, or as some scholars say it is because she is the flower of the Prophets peace be upon him life. Why is she called Batool? The word Batool is used to refer to Maryam the mother of Jesus peace be upon him. Fatima's worship resembled Maryam's worship as well as her modesty and so she was called Batool. The Prophet said that, "Fatima is the sayyidat of the women of Paradise after Maryam".

My intention is for us to love her greatly because she was greatly loved by the Prophet (s). The extent of the Prophet's love for her was beyond normal bounds. For example, the Prophet (s) would say, "Fatima is a part of me, he who upsets her, upsets me". There is a hadith where the Prophet (s), "Me, Fatima and al-Hasan and al-Husayn and he who loves us comes on the Day of Judgment while the people are being held to account and they sit with us while we eat and drink until people have finished being questioned by Allah" (at-Tabarani).

There is a hadith where the Prophet (s) talks about what will happen on the Day of Judgment, speaking of the intercession where everyone is afraid and they require someone to intercede for them. The Prophet (s) says, 'All the Prophets that Day will be saying, “myself, myself”, except me, I will say “O my Lord, my Ummah, my Ummah! O my Lord, I do not ask you for my sake nor for the sake of Fatima my daughter”".

Also if the Prophet (s) would be seated and Fatima would enter he would get up and kiss her between her eyes, all the time. And therefore when he was about to die, she could tell because he was unable to stand up to kiss her. These days fathers don't even know how to hug their daughters let alone greet them with a kiss. Look at the affection, softness and sweetness of the Prophet (s).

If the Prophet (s) was traveling and entered al-Madina, the first thing he would do when he entered al-Madina would be to enter the Masjid and prays two raka`at and then he goes and visits Fatima. And if he was leaving Madina the last thing he would do before leaving is to go and see her. Look at our Prophet (s), and this affection and how important she was to him.

Amongst all this love for her, the Prophet (s) still would not be biased in dealing with her. The Prophet (s) said, “By Allah, if Fatima the daughter of Mohammed stole something Mohammed would cut off her hand”. Many parents love their kids and so they end up oppressing others because of it, and so they ruin the child. Look at his equality or justice near his love.

So why is all this love for Fatima and all this honour in that she is the sayyidat of the women of Paradise? One of the reasons is that she is the product of the Prophets peace be upon him upbringing and therefore she resembled him the most. She had the greatest resemblance to the Prophet (s) in appearance, character, walking. `Aisha (r) says, “I have never seen anyone resemble the Prophet in his way of dealing with people, or character more than Fatima”. She also said, "I have never seen a greater resemblance in the style of walking of the Prophet (s), then of Fatima. Aisha also said, "I have never seen anyone more truthful or more modest than Fatima other than her father - the Prophet Mohammed".

Imagine her maturity. When she was 18 years old the Prophet (s) was married to nine women. She never backbit any of them or said anything displeasing about any of them.

She had an enormous amount of patience. She went through a lot. Her mother died when she was 10years old, and so she lived alone. And she saw her father who was known as "the truthful and trustworthy" being hit and hurt. And she lived through the mihna, the torture and oppression by Quraysh. When her father migrated he left her behind and she then migrated after him. She lost her three sisters and then all her brothers also died. She was patient through all of this. She saw her father as he was dying between her hands. She was patient in her lifestyle, as her husband Ali was poor and she would have nothing to eat.

She was also one of the only ones who lived through the stages of Islam from the moment that her father was made a Prophet until his death. The only other person was Abu Bakr, so they witnessed everything that happened to the Prophet and they also shared in the suffering right from the start until the end. As a result, she became the person she is.


Fatima's Early life in Mecca

From when she was born until she was 5-years old, when she started maturing, she used to see her father climb up to the cave and then her mother would take her up also to see her father while in the cave. She would see her mother give some food to her father and she would comfort him and then they would return. Once she found her father as he came back from the cave shivering and saying, "cover me, cover me" and she started hearing that this man – her father is now the Prophet of Allah for this nation. And the Prophet (s) after becoming a Messenger, gathered all his relatives and he began saying, "Oh Banu Hashim save yourselves from the fire, Oh Banu `Abdul-Muttalib save yourselves from the fire! O Abbas, (the uncle of the Prophet) save yourself from the fire! O Safiyya (the aunt of the Prophet), save yourself from the fire! O Fatima the daughter of Mohammed, save yourself from the Hellfire, for I can not benefit before Allah". She was five years old at the time, and from then she decided that she wanted to be a Muslim and to help her father, not just simply be the daughter of the Prophet.

Fatima used to always follow or accompany her father wherever he would go, she would try to help him if he needed anything, or protect him if anyone would try to harm him, while she was only 6 or 7 years old. She used to witness her father being harmed and hit. When we read the seerah of the Prophet (s), whenever the Prophet (s) would be in a harmful situation someone would come to his aid--it would be Fatima. She would not be out playing with the girls her age, she would be looking out for her father.

Once she saw her father while he was in sujood, and `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`ayt came and placed the guts of a dead animal on the Prophet's back while he was praying. The Prophet (s) stayed in his position, and Fatima ran to her father and removed the filth off his back while she was crying. The Prophet saw her crying and said, "don't cry my daughter for indeed Allah will make your father victorious".

And a number of times the Prophet (s) would enter his house covered with soil, because the unbelievers would throw soil on him. Fatima would run to him before her other sisters did, and she would start wiping off the dirt from him, while she would be crying. And again the Prophet (s) would tell her, "don't cry my daughter for indeed Allah will make your father victorious".

She also witnessed her father and mother being surrounded and isolated in Shi`b Abi Talib (like a prison where Quraysh placed all the Muslims in an area of the desert) for three years, and all she would eat is the tree leaves. She was 13 years old at the time. So from 13-16years old she was in Shi`b Banu Talib, eating the leaves off the trees with the Sahaba. And after that was finished she was shocked to find that her mother was dying. After about two or three months her mother Khadija died. She was at that time a girl 16-years of age and yest, while her mother was dying she said, "By Allah I can only say “We belong to Allah and to him we shall return, Oh Allah reward me for the death and loss of my mother, Oh Allah I do not know whether I should be upset at the death of my mother or whether I should be happy in regards to what she was given glad tidings of in Paradise". Just before Sayyida Khadija died, Jibreel came down to the Prophet (s) and said "give glad tidings to Khadija of a palace in Paradise. And tell her that Allah says salam to her".

After Khadija died and the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib died, the harm posed and carried out on the Prophet increased. Once ten of the unbelievers gathered around the Prophet and one started hitting him while the other was punching and hitting him. So Fatima came and said, "Woe to you, are you persecuting my father after the death of my mother and uncle, by Allah I will stone you with these rocks", and she threw stones at them. The Prophet (s) said to her, "Make it easy upon yourself, for verily Allah will make your father victorious".

Her father migrated to Madina before her, because if he allowed her to go before him Quraysh would have known about it and if he took her with him, it would have posed a big danger to her. So she stayed back and followed him later to Madina.

Whenever any of the wives of the Prophet needed anything they would say to Fatima, "Tell the Prophet we need this".

In Madina she was now 18years old, so the men starting coming to her father requesting Fatima in marriage. They all wanted to be related to the Prophet (s). Abu Bakr, then `Umar ibn al-Khattab, then `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf, may Allah be pleased with them, all came asking for Fatima's hand in marriage, and the Prophet (s) in a gentles way turned them back. The Ansar then started saying to `Ali, 'Why don't you request the hand of Fatima?' He said, 'I don't have much'. They said, "But the Prophet loves you". So he went and sat in front of the Prophet (s) and did not say a word. The Prophet (s) said, "why are you silent O Ali?" He did not say anything. The Prophet (s) said, "maybe you came to ask for Fatima's hand in marriage?" He said, "yes that"s it, that"s it". The Prophet (s) said "do you have anything to marry her with?" He said, "no O messenger of Allah". The Prophet (s) said, "do you not have a dir` (shield) that I gave you once?' He said "yes, but its not worth more than 250 dirhams.' The Prophet (s) said, "I will let you marry her with it". He brought the dir` to the Prophet (s), and the Prophet (s) sold it for him and came with 250 dirhams, and so he gave a portion of it to Bilal and said, "O Bilal, buy with this some perfume for Fatima" and he gave the rest of the money to Ummu Salamah and said, "buy for Fatima the clothes and necessities of a bride".

Sayyidina Ali came after a day or two and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I paid the mahr (dowry), so when am I going to marry Fatima?” (he was embarrassed). The Prophet (s) replied, "today if you want". He said, "yes, O Messenger of Allah". So they invited the people and slaughtered an animal. The Prophet (s) said, “if a person comes to you of whom you are satisfied with his deen and his character then get him married, if you do not there will be fitnah (dissent) on the earth and great fasaad (evil)". This is in our time now. Fatima was riding on a camel, and Uthman was directing it. And the Sahaba had their swords raised up as a form of celebration. And the women were surrounding Fatima, and some anasheed were being sung.

Afterwards, Ali and Fatima entered their simple house which was further out from the Madina (not in the city center) because that was all Ali could afford. As they were about to enter the Prophet said, "O Ali don't get up to anything (don't get close to her) until I come to you". Ali says, "so I sat on one side of the house and Fatima sat on the other side". The Prophet came and placed his hand on her hand, and he began to make du`a, he said, "O Allah, Fatima is a piece of me, O Allah Fatima is beloved to my heart, O Allah Ali is my brother and the most beloved to me, O Allah give them baraka (an increase in all that is good) and place on them baraka and unite them on good, O Ali place your hand on Fatima"s head and say, "O Allah I ask you for the good in her, and for the good that she was created for, and I seek refuge in you from her evil, and the evil that she was created for, O Ali, may Allah place baraka among you", and the Prophet (s) then got up to leave then said to them, "how about you both get up and pray two raka`at together", he then closed the door. This was the start of their marriage.

Their first problem is that their house was far away from the Prophets peace be upon him house. The Prophets houses were on land belonging to Haritha Ibn al-Nu`man. Whenever the Prophet (s) would get married Haritha would give him some land as a gift. The Prophet (s) was too embarrassed to ask from him land for Fatima. So Haritha asked him, "do you not miss your daughter Fatima?" The Prophet (s) said "yes, but I was too embarrassed to ask because you have given us so much", Haritha said that "by Allah, the land that I give to you is more beloved to me then the land that I keep with me, so take this piece of land for them. The Prophet (s) said, "Allah has given you in return a palace in Paradise".

Ali was poor, and they were tired from their duties, he came back one day saying "Oh my back, its sore from carrying all that heavy water" and Fatima said, "Oh from my hands" so he said to her "I heard that the Prophet got a group of slaves, why don't we go and ask him for a slave?" They went and asked the Prophet (s) for a slave, he said "no by Allah, these slaves I will sell them and use the money to help those who are in need more than you – the People of Suffah (very poor)". So they returned home, the Prophet (s) then came knocking on the door. Ali opened up while Fatima was still laying in her bed, she quickly tried to get up, the Prophet said "stay in your place" and he came and sat between them on their bed. He said to them, "shall I not direct you to that which is better than a slave, if you get into your bed say subhanallah 33 times, and alhamdullilah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times, Allah will suffice you from needing a slave. Ali says, "by Allah after saying it Allah increased us in strength so we did not need a slave".

Once the Prophet (s) saw Fatima's face was yellow from the extent of her hunger, he said, “O Allah, the quencher of hunger, do not let Fatima get hungry". The Prophet of Allah, and all he could do for his daughter was make du`a for her. Even though Fatima and Ali were poor they still had a happy marriage. The Prophet (s) would go to visit them and he would hear their laughter from outside.

Once the Prophet (s) went to visit them, and found only Fatima, he asked where is Ali, she replied, "he upset me and left the house" he found him sleeping in the masjid covered in dust. The Prophet (s) woke him while wiping away the dust saying, "get up father of dust". The Prophet did not even ask them what they fought about. The Prophet said "O Ali come back with me to your home".

Ali was once offered to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl, Juwayriyah bint Abu Jahl. The Prophet (s) got up on the pulpit and said, "I do not make haram that which is halal, nor do I make halal that which is haram, but it is not feasible for the daughter of the enemy of Allah to unite with the daughter of the Prophet of Allah in the one house". Ali returned and said, "O Fatima maybe I hurt you with this, can you forgive me?" she said, "yes, I"ll forgive you o Ali". And the problem was resolved. Two months later she was pregnant with al-Hasan. They had four children, Hasan, Husayn, Muhsin (who died very shortly after birth) and Umm-Kulthoom. Each time a child would be born the Prophet (s) would ask Ali, "O Ali what did you name the child?" Ali says, "we named him Harba – War", so the Prophet (s) said, "what do you think about naming him Hasan" so they named him Hasan. When the second child came along the Prophet (s) again asked, "O Ali what did you name the child?" Ali says, "we named him Harba – War", so the Prophet (s) said, "what do you think about naming him Husayn?" so they named him Husayn.

When she was 28 years old her father died. She went through a very hard time. She entered upon the Prophet (s) when he was really tired and ill, and so he was unable to get up and kiss her, as was his usual. So she sat to the right of the Prophet (s) while she was crying. The Prophet (s) said "bring your ear closer to me O Fatima", so he whispered something in her ear, so she cried. The Prophet (s) again said "bring your ear closer to me O Fatima" and he whispered something else in her ear, and so she laughed. Aisha later asked her after the death of the Prophet (s), please tell me what he whispered to you, she said, "firstly he said “O Fatima I am going to die tonight,” and so I cried, and when he saw me crying he said, “will you not be satisfied that you will be the first from amongst my family to follow me and that you will be sayyidat of the women of Paradise”, and so I laughed".

She entered upon him during his last moments where he was very tired and sweating, she said, "O for the pain of my father" so the Prophet replied, "there is no more pain for your father after today". After he died she was yelling out, "Oh my father, Allah has answered your du`a, Oh my father, the highest level of Paradise is your abode, O my father to Jibreel we nan`aa". She was very tired when they were burying the Prophet. Anas Ibn Malik was one of the Sahaba that buried the Prophet (s), and he relates, 'As I was returning I found Fatima in front of me, and she said “How were you able to place the soil on the Prophet face?” Anas says, 'She looked at me then she started crying and left.'

She died six months after the Prophet (s). She made two requests from Sayyidina Ali (r). The first was that after her death he should marry Umamah (the daughter of her sister) for she would be more affectionate with Hasan and Husayn. The second was "When you bury me cover me properly, I don't want anyone to see anything of me, and bury me during the night for I am embarrassed from the multitude of people attending."

Fatima bint Muhammad died she died when she was 29 years old, and according to her instructions, she was buried at night. She was buried on a Tuesday 20th Ramadan 11years after the Hijra. She was buried in Jannat al-Baqee`, and Ali (r) was very much affected by her death and cried a lot. He said, "I have never been more exhausted from anything more than I was as a result of the death of the Prophet (s) and Fatima within six months of each other".