The extraordinary life and times of ‘FATIMA’ (RA)
FATIMA (may Allah be pleased with her) – daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Khadijah (R.a), needs no introduction. No Muslim can be unfamiliar with this name. However, Fatima is not just a name but an institution from where we can get inspiration to change our lives for the better. For that purpose, we need to know her more even when understanding her to the fullest is not possible.
Syeda Fatima, also known as Fatima az-Zehra (Zehra- meaning sparklingly bright and beautiful) was born in 605 in Mecca. Her childhood was different from others. Averse to normal childhood activities, she would spend most of her time with her mother Khadijah, absorbing the best qualities from her. Her habits resembled mostly with her father Muhammad (SAW). According to Aisha Siddiqa, ‘I have not seen anyone the like of Allah’s Messenger in manners, habits, character, and way of sitting and standing more than Fatima, the daughter of merciful Prophet (pbuh) (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi). She is known by many titles like Batool – which means ‘ascetic’ as she was devoted to God. For her chastity, she is titled as Tahira. She would be absorbed in prayers from dusk to dawn and is therefore called Sajida meaning devout worshipper of Allah.
She was married to Ali ibn Abi Talib and had two children – Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. All these constitute Ahl-u-Byahh (people of House). The status of this family can be understood from the verse of the Quran: ‘Verily the Allah only desires to keep away (all kinds of) impurity from you, o people of the house (Prophet’s family) and to purify you with a thorough purification (33:33). This verse is known as ‘Aayat’e tatheer’ (purification verse) and is related to this noble family as is evident from the hadith of Sahih Muslim narrated by Saffiyah quoting Hazrat Aisha (R.a). According to this tradition, once, Prophet (pbuh) came out wearing a cloak having camel saddles woven onto it with black wool and took Hussain, Hassan, Fatima, and Ali beneath it. After enwrapping them with a cloak, Prophet (pbuh) recited aforementioned verse of the Quran.Thus interpreting its theme through this act. Besides, the prophet (pbuh) would recite this verse at the door of Fatima’s house at dawn and this continued for 7 months. This implies that Allah purified this family completely and granted them perfection.
The individual virtues of Fatima al-Zehra are evident from different traditions of the Islamic Prophet (pbuh). Fatima has been declared as leader of Women (Bukhari) which is why she is known as Syeda’tun Nisaa’ il Aalameen. Furthermore, Prophet (pbuh) said; Fatima is the leader of all women of Paradise (Tirmidhi) so is the name ‘Khatoon’e Jannat’.
Prophet’s love for Fatima was extraordinary. While greeting Prophet (pbuh), His companions would often say; ‘May our parents be sacrificed for you’ but Prophet (pbuh) used to say this for his beloved daughter – Fatima. Al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban report that Abdullah bin Umar narrates whenever the Holy Prophet set out on the journey, the last person he would speak to from his family before setting off would be Fatima. When he returned from a journey, the holy Prophet would meet Fatima first and would say to her ‘oh Fatima! My mother and father be sacrificed for you.
Fatima is the blessed woman about whom Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Fatima is part of me’ in other words the integral part of Prophet’s soul (Al-Bukhari & Muslim). So much love Prophet (pbuh) had for his daughter that he remarked; the pleasure of Fatima is my pleasure (Musnad Ahmad) and whosoever angers her angers me’ (Bukhari). In addition to these narrations, any number of authentic traditions are available that show how close she was to Allah’s apostle.
Fatima is the perfect role model for Muslim women around the world, not because Prophet of Islam, Muhammad had a deep affection for her but due to her spectacular mode of living. Despite having the grandeur of being the leader of all women of the human world, as declared by Prophet (pbuh) she lived the austere life. And discharged her responsibilities as a wife, a mother, and as a daughter to the point of perfection. Biographers write that once Fatima was ill. Still, she did not abandon her routine nightlong prayers. Her husband Ali went to the mosque for morning prayers. On returning home, he saw Fatima busy with household chores that ranged from grinding wheat, bringing water, to cooking food. Ali said to her; Fatima, you need rest to recover. Fatima replied smilingly, Ali; ‘Allah’s remembrance and your obedience is a remedy for all my ills’.
It was the impact of her guidance that her children – Hassan and Husain earned the title of being masters of the youths of paradise (Tirmidhi). It was the result of her upbringing that her sons at that attained significant position in Islamic history and are greatly revered by Muslims. In connection with this Allama Iqbal writes and conveys a message to modern women; Batool’e baash o pinhaan shou azeen asr : Ki darr aagosh shabirey bigiri (emulate Batool and stay away from the evils of time so that person like Hussain would be your child).
Fatima’s generosity and compassion for the destitute constitute an important aspect of her life. Many a time she would have nothing to eat and feed the family, but no beggar or needy returned empty-handed or unattended from her door. She and her family would fast without having anything for suhoor (pre-dawn meals) and iftar (breaking of fast) except water but used to feed the mendicants. Allah (swt) describes this exceptional feature in Quran; ‘And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive’ (76:8).
In nutshell, ‘Fatima is Fatima’ – the lady having no match. After considering all the aspects of her life, Allama Iqbal concluded; Rishta’e Aayeen’e Haq Zanjeer’e Paast ;Pas’e Farmaan’e Jinaab’e Mustafa (saw) Ast | Warna Gird Turbatash Gar Deed Mae ; Sajda Ha Bar Khaak’i O Pasheed Mae .Meaning – I am bound by Islamic laws. I am beholden to saying of Prophet. Else, I would have gone about her tomb and would have fallen prostrate, worshipping her dust.
Fatima passed away on 3rd Ramdhan 11 hijri (632/633) in Medina, a few months after the death of Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Today Muslims imitate bogus models and resultantly our condition is piteous all around the world. However, by following the true models like Fatima, Muslims can surely regain their glory as the success lies in the lifestyle of these great people for whom Allah says : Allah is pleased with them and they with him.
Writer – Zeeshan Rasool Khan is columnist and can be mailed @[email protected]