Fāṭima (a) (Arabic: فاطِمَة) commonly known as Fāṭima al-Zahrā (a) فاطِمَة الزهراء) (d. 11/632) was the daughter of the Prophet (s) of Islam (a) and Lady Khadija (a) and the wife of Imam Ali (a). She is one of the People of the Cloak and, in Twelver Shiite belief, one of the Fourteen Infallibles. The second and third Imams, as well as Lady Zaynab (a), were her children. Al-Zahra', al-Batul, Sayyidat Nisa' al-'Alamin and Umm Abiha are among her epithets. She was the only lady chosen by the Holy Prophet (a) to be part of the Mubahala with the Christians of Najran.
She opposed the decisions made during the event of Saqifa, and regarded the caliphate of the first caliph as illegitimate, therefore, she never paid allegiance to him. In defense of Imam Ali’s right (a) to caliphate and objecting to the Usurpation of Fadak, she delivered a speech that became famous as the Fadakiyya sermon. After the demise of the Holy Prophet (s), Fatima (a) was injured when an armed group of zealots, at the order of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, stormed her house. As a result of suffering from both emotional and physical wounds that had debilitated her body, she was advised to rest at home. However, after a short time, she passed away on the Jumada II 3, 11/August 26, 632 in Medina. The body of the Holy Prophet’s (a) daughter was, as she had requested, buried at night and in private. Since then, the location of her grave has not been revealed.
Some Qur'anic verses, such as al-Tathir Verse (the Purification Verse), al-Mawadda Verse (the Love Verse) and al-It'am Verse (the Feeding Verse), and many traditions, such as "Fatima is a part of me", were stated in relation to Lady Fatima (a) and her virtues. According to some of these traditions, the Holy Prophet (s) introduced Lady Fatima (a) as the most superior of the women of all Worlds and equated her anger with that of Allah. It was to her that the Holy Prophet (s) taught the dhikr (litany) that came to be known as the Tasbih of Lady Fatima (a).
After the demise of the Prophet (s), an angel would visit her and talk to her. The sayings of the angel were recorded by Imam Ali (a) in a book called the Mushaf of Fatima (a), which is currently in the possession of the last Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (a).
During the days that precede the anniversary of Fatima's (a) martyrdom, -known as the Fatimiyya Days- the Shi'a hold mourning ceremonies. Also her birthday, which is on the 20th of Jumada II, is celebrated as Women's and Mother's Day in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The names Fatima and Zahra are among the most popular names chosen for newborn Shi'a girls.
Lady Fatima (a) was the daughter of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah (s), and Lady Khadija bt. Khuwaylid (a). It has been reported that nearly thirty epithets have been mentioned in relation to Lady Fatima (a). Researchers are of the opinion that every one of these epithets is an explainer of a specific behavioral trait related to her. Some of her well-known epithets are al-Zahra, al-Siddiqa (the truthfull), al-Muhadditha (being talked by engels), al-Batul, Sayyidat Nisa' al-'Alamin, al-Mansura (being helped), al-Tahira (the pure), al-Mutahhara, al-Zakiyya (the guiltless), al-Radiyya (pleased) and al-Mardiyya (pleasing). In addition, some teknonyms have been mentioned for her: Umm Abiha, Umm al-A'imma, Umm al-Hasan, Umm al-Husayn, Umm al-Muhsin.
|[Expand]Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)|
Lady Fatima (a) was the fourth or according to some reports the fifth child of the Holy Prophet (s). Her mother was the first wife of the Holy Prophet (a), Lady Khadija (a). Historians are in agreement that she was born in Mecca, in the house of Lady Khadija (a) which was located on the alleys of al-'Attarin and Hijr, which was located in close proximity to the Mas'a. According to Shi'i sources, her date of birth is recorded to be the 20th of Jumada II, five years after Bi'tha/March 28, 615.
Based on the popular opinion amongst the Shia, she was born in the 5th year after bi'tha (the beginning of the prophetic mission), which was also more commonly known as the al-Ahqafiyya Year i.e. the year in which Sura al-Ahqaf (Quran 46) was revealed (9 BH/614 CE). However, al-Shaykh al-Mufid and al-Kaf'ami believe her birth to have taken place in the 2nd year after the prophetic mission (12 BH/611). The popularly held opinion amongst the Sunni scholars is that she was born five years before the beginning of the prophetic mission (605 CE).
The lack of extensive historical reports about her childhood and youth makes it difficult to gain an understanding of her early life. According to records, after the Holy Prophet (a) committed himself to the initiative of publicly inviting people to Islam, Lady Fatima (a) was a witness to some of the harsh treatments that the polytheists subjected him to. In addition to this, for three years of her childhood she was exposed to the harsh financial and social sanctions that were imposed on Banu Hashim and the followers of the Holy Prophet (s) by the polytheists whilst in the Shi'b Abi Talib.
While still in her childhood, Fatima (a) experienced the loss of her beloved mother, Lady Khadijah (a) and of her father's uncle and a close supporter, Abu Talib (a). Some other important events that occurred during her childhood include the decision of the Quraish to assassinate the Holy Prophet (a), his night migration from Mecca to Medina and finally the migration of Lady Fatima (a) accompanied by Imam Ali (a) and other ladies from Mecca to Medina.
Lady Fatima (a) received several marriage proposals, however she chose to marry Imam Ali (a). According to some researchers, after the Holy Prophet (s) migrated to Medina and became the leader of the Islamic community, Fatima (a), because of her being the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s) was held in very high regard by the Muslims. In addition to this, because of her superior qualities over the other women of her era and the clear love that the Holy Prophet (s) showed to her caused some Muslims to pursue her hand in marriage.
Even some of the Quraysh dignitaries, because of their precedence in accepting Islam or financial reputation also asked for Fatima's (a) hand in marriage. Abu Bakr, Umar, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and Imam Ali (a) are said to be among this group. All proposals except the one brought by Imam Ali (a) were rejected by the Holy Prophet (s). The Holy Prophet (a) is reported to have said in response to these proposals: "The marriage of Fatima is a heavenly ordainment and requires a divine verdict." In some instances, the discontent of Fatima (a) towards the proposer has been reported.
Due to his family attachment with the Holy Prophet (a) and the ethical and religious traits of Fatima (a), Imam Ali (a) truly desired her hand in marriage; however, historians have narrated that he shunned from proposing to the Holy Prophet (s) for his daughter. Sa'd b. Mu'adh informed the Holy Prophet (s) about this, which lead to the Holy Prophet (s) accepting the proposal of the Imam (a). He then took the proposal to Fatima (a) and told her of his praiseworthy traits and characteristics, to which she gave her approval. Imam Ali (a), like the other migrants (muhajirun), during the early period after the migration did not enjoy a stable financial situation and therefore found difficulty in addressing the prescribed dowry payments. In resolving this issue, he followed the advice of the Holy Prophet (s) and gave the money earned from selling or loaning his armor as the dowry to Fatima (a). The marriage ceremony of Imam Ali (a) and Lady Fatima (a), which was attended by the Muslims, took place in the mosque.
There is a difference of opinion concerning the date of the marriage ceremony. Most sources record it to have taken place in the second year after Hijra (2/624) i.e. the ceremony took place after the Battle of Badr, in the month of Shawwal or Dhu al-Hijja in the second year after Hijra (Apri or June, 624).
|[hide]Timeline of Lady Fatimah's Life|
|20 Jumada II 5 years after Bi'tha
|10 Ramadan 10 years after Bi'tha
||Demise of Lady Khadija (a)|
|Late Safar 2/September 623||Marriage with Imam 'Ali (a)|
|1 Dhu l-Hijja 2/28 May 624||Moving to the house of Imam 'Ali (a)|
|15 Ramadan 3/1 March 625||Birth of Imam al-Hasan (a)|
|7 Shawwal 3/23 March 625||Presence in the place of Battle of Uhud for treatment of the Prophet (s)|
|3 Sha'ban 4/8 January 626||Birth of Imam al-Husayn (a)|
|5 Jumada I 5 or 6/2 October 626 or 22 September 627||Birth of Lady Zaynab (a)|
|6/627-8||Birth of Umm Kulthum|
|14 Dhu l-Hijja 7/14 April 629||Fadak was given to her by the Prophet (s)|
|24 Dhu l-Hijja 9/3 April 631||Presence in Mubahala|
|28 Safar 11/25 May 632||Demise of the Prophet (s)|
|Rabi' I 11/June 632||Usurpation of Fadak by the order of Abu Bakr|
|Rabi' I 11/June 632||Delivering Fadakiyya Sermon in al-Masjid al-Nabawi|
|Rabi' I 11/June 632||Building Bayt al-ahzan by Imam 'Ali (a) for her mourning for his father|
|Rabi' II 11/July 632||Attack to her house and burning its door and martyrdom of Muhsin b. 'Ali|
|13 Jumada I or 3 Jumada II 11/6 August or 26 August 632||Her Martyrdom|
It is reported in historical records and traditions that Fatima (a) in varying ways showed her affection towards Ali (a) and even in the presence of her father, the Holy Prophet (s) would call him the best of husbands. Her respect towards her husband has been counted as one of the great qualities of Fatima (a). It has been reported that Fatima (a) would address Imam Ali (a) with affectionate words whilst at home and would address him with the respectful teknonym of Abu l-Hasan whilst in public. It has also appeared in reports that Fatima (a) would use perfumes and jewelry while at home and it can even be seen that on occasions she would give her necklaces and bracelets as charity.
In the beginning periods of their married life, Imam Ali (a) and Fatima (a) lived in very difficult financial conditions to such an extent that at times they were not able to find food to satiate their children, al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a). However, even with the existence of these harsh conditions, Fatima (a) never complained and even at times tried to assist her husband in acquiring livelihood by spinning wool.
Fatima (a) took it upon herself to do the household work and left the outside work to Imam Ali (a); even when the Holy Prophet (a) sent a helper by the name of Fidda to her home, she did not pass over all the chores to her, rather she was responsible for doing half the work and Fidda was responsible for doing the other half. According to some reports it is said that Fatima (a) would assign Fidda to do the chores one day and then she would do them herself the next day.
Both Shi'i and Sunni sources state that al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum are the four children of Ali and Fatima. In Shi'i sources and in some Sunni sources a name of another son is mentioned who was miscarried as a result of the injuries that Fatima (a) sustained during the events that occurred after the demise of her father, the Holy Prophet (a). His name is recorded to have been either al-Muhsin (Arabic: مُحسِن) or Muhassan (Arabic: مُحَسَّن).
During the last few months of her life some very unpleasant and painful incidents occurred. It has been mentioned that during this period no one saw Fatima al-Zahra (a) smiling. The passing of her father, the event of Saqifa, the usurpation of the caliphate, the confiscation of Fadak by Abu Bakr and the delivery of the Fadakiyyah sermon in the presence of many important companions of her father are some of the most important events that took place during this period.
Being at the side of Imam Ali (a), she was one of the main opponents of the Saqifa council and the choosing of Abu Bakr as caliph. It was because of this stance that they became targets of the government's threats, of which one example is when the government threatened to set the house of Fatima (a) on fire. When Imam Ali (a) and the other opponents of the caliph refused to pay the oath of allegiance (Bay'a), they sought refuge in the house of Fatima (a), this led to the supporters of the caliph attacking her house and as a result of this attack, Fatima (a) got severely injured when trying to prevent them from taking Imam Ali (a) to Abu Bakr in order to forcibly take his oath of allegiance; this was also the cause of her child being miscarried. After this incident, she fell very ill and after a short time was martyred.
On her death bed, Fatima (a) made a request to her husband that all those who opposed her and oppressed her should not participate in her funeral prayer and burial and asked him to bury her at night. According to the commonly accepted view, Fatima (a) passed away on the 3rd of Jumada II, 11/August 29, 632, in Medina.
Fatima (a) had numerous social activities and political stances. The migration to Medina, the treatment of the Holy Prophet (s) at the Battle of Uhud, bringing supplies to the Holy Prophet (a) at the Battle of Khandaq and accompanying him during the Conquest of Mecca were just some of her activities before the demise of the Holy Prophet (s); however, after his (s) demise the political activities of Fatima (a) increased and her stances became more profound.
Amongst her most important political stances the following can be mentioned: opposing the Saqifa council and the selection of Abu Bakr as the caliph after the Holy Prophet (s), going to the houses of the heads of the muhajirun (migrants) and the ansar (helpers) in order to get a confession from them on the superiority and worthiness of Imam Ali (a) for the position of caliphate, attempting to reclaim her property of Fadak, deliverance of the Fadakiyya sermon in the presence of the Migrants and Helpers and defending Imam Ali (a) during the attack on her house. Some researchers are of the belief that a large amount of Fatima's (a) speeches and actions after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s) were political reactions and her protests towards the usurpation of the caliphate by Abu Bakr and his supporters in the government.
After the commencement of Saqifa and the acceptance of Abu Bakr as the caliph by some of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s), Fatima (a) together with Imam Ali (a) and a handful of companions, including Talha and Zubayr, opposed this decision; because the Holy Prophet (s) had already selected Imam Ali (a) as his caliph and successor at the event of Ghadir. According to historical reports, Fatima (a), along with Imam Ali (a), went to the companions of the Holy Prophet (s) to ask for their assistance. The companions of her father replied to her that if she had come to them before they had given their oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, they would have supported and defended the claim of Ali (a) to the caliphate.
After Abu Bakr seized Fadak away from Fatima (a) and used its profits for the benefit of his government, he was met with her opposition. In order to reclaim what was rightfully hers, she tried to dialogue with Abu Bakr and after providing proofs and witnesses for her claim, Abu Bakr gave her the deed to the land of Fadak. Following on from this incident, Umar b. al-Khattab took the deed and tore it. Some sources narrate that Umar hit Fatima (a) and it was because of this that she miscarried her child. After seeing that her attempts to try and reclaim Fadak had yielded no results, she went to the mosque of the Holy Prophet (s) and delivered a speech, which later became known as the Fadakiyya sermon, in the presence of the companions in which she severely criticized the seizing of Fadak and the usurpation of the caliphate. Fatima (a) in this speech warned that the actions and the results of the actions of Abu Bakr and his followers would be the fire of Hell.
After the companions ignored the Holy Prophet's (a) selection of Imam Ali (a) as his caliph and established Abu Bakr as the caliph and gave him their oath of allegiance, Lady Fatima (a), Imam Ali (a), Banu Hashim (descendants of Hashim) and a number of other companions opposed this decision and allegiance. Those who opposed the caliphate sought refuge in the house of Fatima (a). Al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dhar al-Ghifari, Miqdad b. 'Amr, 'Ammar b. Yasir and Ubay b. Ka'b were amongst those who opposed the caliphate of Abu Bakr and sought refuge in the house of Fatima (a).
When the supporters of the caliphate attacked the house of Ali (a), Fatima (a) took a stand in defending her husband and tried to prevent the attackers from forcibly taking him to give his oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. According to the report of the Sunni scholar, Ibn Abd Rabbih, after Abu Bakr became aware of his opponents' refuge in the house of Fatima (a), he gave the orders for it to be attacked and for their gathering to be broken up; if they resisted then they should be fought against. Umar together with a group of people went to the house of Fatima and demanded that the opponents of the caliphate come out; they warned that if this order was not followed they would set the house on fire. Umar together with the other attackers aggressively entered the house. At this moment Fatima (a) threatened the attackers that if they did not leave her home she would complain to Allah (swt); as a result they left her house and took all the opponents except Imam Ali (a) and the Banu Hashim (descendants of Hashim) to the masjid to give their oath of allegiance.
However, the attackers, after taking the oath of allegiance from the other opponents, returned to the house of Fatima (a) in order to get the oath of allegiance from Imam Ali (a) and the other members of Banu Hashim. When they attacked for a second time, they set the door on fire. Fatima (a) found herself behind the door and because of the fire, the force and the hits of Umar and his cohorts, she got injured against the door and miscarried her child al-Muhsin. It has been reported in some sources that Qunfuz squashed Fatima (a) between the door and the wall which resulted in her rib being broken. This incident caused Fatima (a) to become very ill and bedridden.
After the way that she and her husband were treated by Abu Bakr and Umar concerning Fadak and the events related to the forceful acquiring of the oaths of allegiance for the caliph, Fatima (a) became extremely angry with Abu Bakr and Umar. According to reports, after the attack by Umar and the other government supporters on the house of Fatima (a), Abu Bakr and Umar decided to apologize and seek forgiveness from Fatima (a), however she refused their request to enter into her house. Eventually they gained entrance by seeking the assistance of Imam Ali (a). When they entered the room, she turned her face away from them and did not return their Salam (greeting). After she reminded them of the narration of the Holy Prophet (s) that her anger is equated to the anger of the Holy Prophet (s), she then informed them that they have earned her anger. It has also been reported in some accounts that she promised to curse them after every prayer.