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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 

From the Cradle to the Grave 


Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-Qazwinl 


Translated by: Tahir Ridha Jaffer 



© 2015 / 1436 - All Rights Reserved 
Published by: 

World Organization for Islamic Services (WOFIS), 
P.O.Box 11155-1545, 

Tehran - 1584853353 
Islamic Republic of Iran 




TRANSLITERATION TABLE 


The transliteration of Arabic terms has been carried out according to the 

following standard transliteration table: 



e- 

D 

-h 

t 

\ 

a 


z 


b 

t 

c 

O 

t 

i 

gh 

o 

th 


f 

E 

j 

3 

q 

C 

h 

A 

k 

t 

kh 

J 

l 


d 

r 

m 

i 

dh 

o 

n 

j 

r 

j 

w 

j 

z 

a 

y 


s 

0 

h (or not 

A 

sh 


transliterated) 


s 



J= 

d 



Long Vowels 

Short Vowels 

1 

a 

- 

a 

j 

u 

> 

u 


I 

- 

i 

(?)■ 

- Peace and blessings be upon him and his family 


( c a) - Peace be upon him/her/them 




DEDICATION 


To our chief and master, the last of the Pure Progeny, al-Imam al-Mahdi al-Muntazar 
(may the Almighty hasten his reappearance) 

It is to him that I dedicate these pages that have been illuminated by the 
biography of his grandmother, the pure and truthful lady, the Queen of Islam, 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 (peace and blessings of Allah upon her) and I am confident 
that this small service will be accepted and appreciated by him, with the 
permission of Allah, the Most High. 

Muhammad Kazim al-Qazwini, 

Karbala 3 , Iraq 



Table of Contents 

PUBLISHER’S PREFACE i 

TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION iii 

AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHY vii 

His Efforts to Propagate Islam viii 

His Travels xi 

Standing against Oppression xiii 

His Literary Contributions xiv 

His Demise xvi 

The Miracle of His Incorrupt Body xvii 

PREAMBLE xix 

INTRODUCTION 1 

CHAPTER ONE 21 

The Law of Heredity 21 

CHAPTER TWO 24 

The Marriage of the Great Prophet (s) 24 

CHAPTER THREE 29 

A Quick Word About Metaphysics 29 


The Unborn Child Speaks to Her Mother 


38 



CHAPTER FOUR 


41 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 Enters This World 41 

CHAPTER FIVE 47 

Her Naming 47 

Fatimah ( c a) 49 

Al-SiddIqah 57 

Al-Mubarakah 60 

Al-Tahirah 70 

CHAPTER SIX 80 

HadIth al-Kisa 3 80 

The ShTah and HadIth al-Kisa 3 84 

HadIth al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 85 

CHAPTER SEVEN 95 

Her Other Names: Al-Radiyah 95 

Al-Zakiyyah 96 

Al-Mardiyyah 97 

Al-Muhaddathah 97 

Al-Zahra 3 104 

Al-Batul 105 

Al- c Adhra 3 Ill 

CHAPTER EIGHT 112 

Her Life and Her Upbringing 112 

The Death of al-Sayyidah KhadIjah al-Kubra 119 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and the Migration 123 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Day of Uhud 125 



The Hardships Faced by al-Sayyidah Fatimah in her Father’s House 129 

CHAPTER NINE 131 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 131 

Intercession on the Day of Judgement was Part of Fatimah’s ( c a) Dowry 143 

Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 145 

Opinions About Her Age When She Got Married 155 

A Study About Asma 3 Bint TJmays and Umm Salamah 156 

The House of Fatimah ( c a) 161 

CHAPTER TEN 163 

Her Married Life 163 

Historical Fallacies About c AlI ( c a) 165 

The Birth of Imam al-Hasan ( c a) 169 

The Birth of Imam al-Husayn ( c a) 171 

The Birth of al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra ( c a) 173 

The Birth of al-Sayyidah Umm Kulthum 176 

CHAPTER ELEVEN 178 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Qurba 178 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Mubahalah 182 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Chapter of Hal Ata 185 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Light 188 

The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 189 

CHAPTER TWELVE 204 

Her Asceticism and Charity in the Way of Am ah 204 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 211 

The TasbIh of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 220 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 


225 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Knowledge 225 

The Tradition of the Tablet (HadIth al-Lawh) 231 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and the Hijab 237 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN 240 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 240 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN 252 

The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 252 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN 262 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 262 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 272 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 272 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 290 

The Sermon of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Fadak 290 

A Heated Exchange Between Imam c AlI and Abu Bakr 297 

The Secret Behind Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s Claim on Fadak 300 

The Sources of al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon 305 

The Main Points of the Sermon 307 

The Timeless Sermon 308 

Commentary of the Sermon 311 

The Sermon 325 

Commentary 327 

The Sermon 344 

Commentary 346 


The Sermon. 


358 



Commentary, 


360 


The Sermon 368 

Commentary 370 

The Sermon 382 

Commentary 384 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah’s reply to AbO Bakr 398 

Commentary 399 

Her Complaint to the Prophet (s) 407 

Audacious Insolence Towards the Family of the Prophet (s) 410 

Condemnation From al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah 413 

Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 414 

Imam c AlI Consoles Fatimah ( c a) 422 

Al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon to the Women of the Muhajirun and Ansar 424 

Commentary 428 

The Massacre Perpetrated by Khalid ibn al-Walid 444 

The Fickle Islamic Leadership 445 

The Battle of al-Harrah 458 

The Sources of Her Sermon to the Womenfolk 464 

Completing the Proof and Leaving No Excuse for the Muhajirun and Ansar 465 

CHAPTER NINETEEN 468 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the House of Sorrows 468 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Her Deathbed 471 

The Reasons for Her Failing Health 475 

The Two Shaykhs Visit al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 475 


Another Version of Their Visit 


477 



Umm Salamah Visits al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 481 

c A 3 ishah bint Talhah Visits al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 482 

Al- c Abbas Tries to Visit al-Sayyidah Fatimah 483 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 on the Threshold of the Afterlife 484 

The Will and Testament of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 486 

Another Account of FIer Final Will 488 

Hunut of Paradise 490 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) Leaves This World 492 

CHAPTER TWENTY 495 

After Her Death 495 

The Ritual of Washing and Shrouding 496 

Farewell 0 Mother! 498 

The Funeral Prayers 500 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 in Her Final [Earthly] Abode 502 

Complaint to the Prophet of Allah 504 

Fai l ed Attempts 508 

Imam c AlI’s Elegy for al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 511 

The Date of Her Death 514 

Her Charities and Endowments 515 

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE 517 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 on the Day of Resurrection 517 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Intercession 521 

Praying to Allah Through the Intermediation of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 527 

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO 529 

The Ziyarah of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 529 



The Cortege of Poets who Eulogized al-Sayyidah al-Zahra : 


530 


FINAL WORDS 557 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 559 



PUBLISHER’S PREFACE 


In your name, 0 Allah, and glory be to Thee 
And peace and blessings upon the Prophet and his noble progeny 


Indeed she is Fatimah! Fatimah al-Zahrad How great her status and lofty her 
rank! God is pleased when she is pleased and displeased when she is displeased! 
It is thus important and prudent for us to study her illustrious life and to 
emulate her great character and lifestyle. 

She epitomizes the resplendent feminine element of the venerable five from 
the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a), from whom Allah removed all filth and purified with a 
thorough purification. She reached the highest pinnacle of virtues and merits, 
and her Lord paired her with c Ali, the Master of the Faithful ( c a). He chose her 
to be the matriarch for the remaining of the twelve infallible Imams from the 
household of the Prophet, may they be showered with the greatest of all 
blessings. 

This institute, namely the ‘World Organization for Islamic Services’ (WOFIS), is 
proud and honoured to have provided services, to the best of its ability, to 
various Islamic cultural centres and individuals all around the globe for the past 
fifty years, by striving to author, translate and publish works in various 
languages. Additionally, we respond to queries and answer requests pertaining 
to all subjects related to Islamic sciences. 



11 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The Institute has also been successful in carrying out numerous noteworthy 
projects that even those with greater resources would find daunting, like 
translating the book al-Kafi into English. This is a great corpus of hadith from 
the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be upon them. One of the other works that have been 
translated is the exceptionally brilliant contemporary commentary of the 
Quhan, al-Mlzan fl Tafsir al-Qur’an. 

For a long time this institute has been eager to publish a treatise about the great 
lady, the Mistress of all Women of the World ( c a), but this aspiration was not 
fulfilled and the opportunity never came. Now, however, by the grace of Allah 
the Almighty, and His assistance, we have been fortunate to acquire an English 
translation of the book “Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave” 
by the great scholar and erudite savant, al-Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al- 
Qazwini, may Allah bless him. This translation has been carried out by our 
esteemed brother Tahir Ridha Jaffer who brought it to us for publication and 
we gladly accepted it as this was the singular opportunity that we had been 
seeking to fulfill our long held aspiration. 

Our gratitude firstly to Allah, the Almighty, and then to the respected 
translator. May Allah bestow upon us and and upon him divine succour and 
triumph, and may He grant us success throught the acceptance of this effort by 
the illustrious and pure lady al-Siddiqah al-Batul, blessings and salutations 
upon her. Indeed He is near and responds. 


World Organization for Islamic Services (WOFIS) 

5/8/1436 
24/5/2015 
Tehran - Iran. 


TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION 


There are a number of books in English about the life and times of al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), almost all of which are translations from either Arabic 
or Persian. Upon examination, one finds that certain issues have not been 
addressed or have been inadequately addressed in the available works. Of 
course, a single volume would not suffice to discuss every aspect of this great 
lady’s life. Nevertheless, the most significant occurrences and events in her life 
should not be shied away from and must be discussed, albeit in a scholarly 
fashion. The author of this book has attempted to do just that. 

The author has himself noted that there is a lot of information about al- 
Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) but because he wanted to keep this book simple, he 
selected only what he felt was most important in giving readers an overview of 
her life. Despite its conciseness, this work is still considered one of the best 
monographs on the life of this great lady. This is why it was felt that it would 
be a welcome addition to the list of translated works by contemporary authors. 
It should be noted that this book has been reprinted many times and for the 
purpose of this translation, we have used the most recent edition (printed in 
1993/1414 A.H.). 

Translators who accept the challenge of taking on classical texts are always 
faced with the daunting task of trying to decipher the language used in 
medieval Arabia, and although this work is written by a contemporary author, 
it is replete with narrations and traditions, all of which require an 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


understanding of classical Arabic. Here, early lexicons become invaluable 
assets, as do other early texts that could give one an idea of the contexts and 
underlying subtexts so as to be able to better understand the meanings of the 
actual text itself. 

Every attempt has been made to present a translation that is easy to read yet 
true to the original work. Though the original Arabic monograph did not have 
a bibliography, we have included one to make it easier for researchers to access 
the primary sources. In some cases where we could not find the earlier editions 
of the sources that the author had used, we changed the references to the 
newer, updated editions. 

The Arabic text of the traditions have been included in the appendix for the 
bilingual readers who might want to see the original text of the narrations. We 
decided not to put all the Arabic within the translation because the sheer 
number of traditions and sayings would have made the work difficult to read. 
However, we have included the Arabic poetry, sermons, and supplications 
within the text. The footnote/endnote combination is easy to navigate with 
footnotes referring to the source texts and endnotes pointing to the Arabic text 
found in the appendix. The endnotes use the Arabic numbering system. Hence, 
in cases where both a footnote and endnote is present, something like 14/ n 

would be seen which refers to footnote no. 14 and endnote no. 19 (in the 
appendix). 

We have transliterated all the names of people, books and cities in their Arabic 
forms (not Persian) but have not transliterated names of countries. Wherever 
Arabic words, like ‘masjid’, have become part of the English language due to 
common usage, and can be found in English dictionaries, we have opted to use 
them instead of the more commonly used English translations. On the other 


Translator’s Introduction 


V 


hand, we have translated certain words and phrases like ‘insha 3 Allah’ to ‘God- 
willing’. 

For the author’s biography, we interviewed the late author’s son, Sayyid 
Muhammad c AlI al-QazwInl. In the couple of sittings we had with him, he shared 
with us many details about his father’s life. This was important because we got 
a first-hand account for much of what we have mentioned in the author’s 
biography. This is because his son was present with him in many of his travels 
and was there when so much of what has been mentioned happened. One of the 
things we needed to verify was the report about his incorrupt body, which had 
been exhumed and transported to Iraq for reburial. This had been reported by 
various websites and media outlets. The Sayyid’s son confirmed these reports 
and gave us details about it. 

In closing, we wish to express our gratitude to Allah, first and foremost, for 
granting us success in this endeavour. Next, we thank all those who assisted us 
in one way or another, and who are too many to mention. May the Almighty 
bless them all for their support and may they attain felicity in this world and 
the next - Amen. Success is only from Allah and we are solely to blame for any 
fault in this translation. Praise be to Him, Lord of the worlds. 


Tahir Ridha Jaffer 
Qum, 2015/1436 A.H. 



AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHY 


The Qazwlnls are one of the renowned and established families of Karbala 3 and 
their link with this holy city goes back to the 10th century (A.H.). Their lineage 
traces back to the seventh holy Imam, Musa al -Kazim ( c a). Many great scholars, 
litterateurs, jurists, and writers were members of this esteemed family, and a 
lot can be said about their contribution to the cause of the school of the Ahl al- 
Bayt ( c a). 

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Kazim ibn al-Sayyid Ibrahim ibn al-Sayyid Hashim al- 
Musaw! al-QazwInl al-Ha 3 irI was born in the holy city of Karbala 3 on 12th 
Shawwal 1348 A.H./l3th March 1930. He lost both his parents at a young age 
and grew up an orphan. His cousin al-Sayyid Sadiq al-QazwIni took up the 
responsibility of raising him and cared for him until he came of age. 

His early life was fraught with hardship and penury, so much so that on some 
days his only food was dry bread mixed with water. At one time, he never had 
a proper meal for a week and as a result, his body started trembling. Some of 
his classmates thought he was ill and suggested he visit a physician, but he still 
did not tell anyone the real reason behind his physical state. Such hardships 
gave Sayyid Muhammad Kazim a deeper sense of compassion for students of 
the seminary who were going through hard times. One seminary student 
recounts how, when he was suffering from intense hunger such that the colour 
of his skin had changed, the Sayyid passed next to him and placed an envelope 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


viii 


full of money in his pocket in such a manner that he never realized it was there 
until much later. These charitable activities continued on a personal and 
institutional level in the life of Sayyid Muhammad Kazim until the end of his 
life. 

From a young age, he began attending classes in the religious seminary in 
Karbala 3 , and spent most of his life learning and studying, until he became one 
of the most revered and respected teachers in the seminary. Fie was a student 
of some of the great luminaries, such as: 

— Al-Shaykh Ja c far al-Rashti 

— Al-Sayyid Muhammad Had! al-Milani 

— Al-Sayyid Mirza Mahdi al-Shirazi 

— Al-Shaykh Yusuf al-Khurasani 

— Al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Khatib 

Each of these great scholars expressed his regard for Sayyid Muhammad Kazim 
and attested to his acumen and intellectual prowess. 


His Efforts to Propagate Islam 

The author was also an accomplished orator and would regularly ascend the 
pulpit during the month of mourning and at other times during the year. He 
even trained a number of individuals who then went on to become respected 
speakers in their own right. It is said that he had an amazing ability to effect 
change in the lives of his audience. He had memorized many of the sermons of 
Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) which he would recite in different gatherings and 
speeches. His lectures were mostly on the subject of social ethics and spiritual 
development. Someone once said to him, “I have not attended any of your 
lectures but that I gained some knowledge from it.” 


Author’s Biography 


Sayyid Muhammad Kazim was well travelled and most of his travels were for 
the purpose of propagating the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt. He visited Pakistan, 
India, Morocco, Australia, Egypt, Thailand, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi 
Arabia among other places. He engaged in polemic discussions and debates with 
various scholars in the places he visited and would continue communicating 
with them via correspondence even when he returned home. He spared no 
effort in conveying the teachings of Islam and guiding the people. One of his 
close aides narrates: “One night, in the month of Ramadan, he had a very high 
fever and I noticed that as he spoke from the pulpit sweat was trickling down 
his brow. Yet when he finished his lecture, he proceeded to the next 
engagement where he was to deliver another talk. I asked him, ‘Why do you put 
yourself through so much hardship? Why don’t you rest a little?’ He replied, 
‘Let me tell you about something that happened just two days ago... A member 
of the congregation came to me and complained about a neighbour who had 
usurped part of his property. He requested that I speak about the importance 
of respecting the rights of others and the punishment for usurping property. 
That night, I spoke about this subject from the pulpit. The very next day, the 
same man came to thank me and said that his neighbour had returned his 
parcel of land.’ Then he said, ‘Now you tell me, if I can effect such change in 
people, how can I neglect this responsibility? I must continue to exert myself 
as long as I can.’” 

This was just one anecdote out of the many that his sons and close aides narrate 
about his tireless efforts to spread the teachings of Islam. It is also interesting 
to note that most of his listeners were young people. This shows that his 
approach was appealing to young minds and the youth could relate to his 
examples and anecdotes. Many students from the University of Baghdad would 
come all the way to Karbala 3 to listen to his talks. 


X 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


In 1960/1380 A.H. he established an institute called Rabitah al-Nashr al-Islaml 
(lit. Islamic Publishing Association). The thing that drove him to start this 
institute was the news that reached him from Morocco that some Muslims were 
actually celebrating the day of FAshura 3 as a day of Eid and were congratulating 
one another as they would on other Eid days! They had no knowledge of the 
great tragedy that befell the household of the Prophet (s) on this day. They were 
ignorant of the fact that this was the day when the beloved grandson of the 
Messenger of Allah (s), Aba c Abdillah al-Husayn ( c a) was martyred. For this 
reason, Sayyid al-Qazwini formed this institute with the aim of publishing 
magazines and distributing them in the Arab countries, especially Morocco. He 
even placed an announcement informing the people that his institute would be 
willing to send free books to those who were interested. 

After this, he received many letters from different places, from people 
requesting books. At times, he would receive five hundred letters in a single 
day! It seemed there was a great thirst for knowledge and he personally read 
each letter and replied those that needed answering. He would send numerous 
books that he had selected himself, by post, all around the world. It is not an 
exaggeration to say that in a relatively short span of time, the late Sayyid sent 
over a hundred thousand books, on various subjects, to different countries. He 
especially made an effort to send books about the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) and their 
teachings. The numerous letters of appreciation he got are testament to the 
success of his endeavour. Many people wrote back expressing their amazement 
at how little they knew about the family of the Prophet of Allah (s) before 
reading the books he sent. Many more converted to the school of the Ahl al- 
Bayt after studying the material. With time, the activities of his institute 
expanded and he began sending books to far off places - as far as Brazil and 
Argentina. 


Author’s Biography 


One of the esteemed scholars of Qum narrates: “I was once seated in the Grand 
Masjid in Damascus when a group of Sunnis gathered around me and began 
asking questions about the Shkah, Imamah etc. Before I could answer, a man 
suddenly came forward and answered all their questions in a manner that 
convinced them, and they went away satisfied. I was a little surprised and asked 
that man where he was from and where he had studied. He replied that he was 
from Halab (a city in Syria) and that he used to be a Sunni, but after reading the 
books that Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-Qazwini had sent him, he became a 
Shkah and convinced his entire family to convert as well. It was with this 
information that he was able to answer all the questions that they had posed.” 


His Travels 

Aside from correspondence and sending books, Sayyid al-Qazwini also travelled 
to different places in order to preach and propagate the message of Islam. He 
spent three months in Morocco, where he visited different cities and met with 
important religious figures whom he introduced to the Ja c fari school of 
thought. His discussions with various scholars, judges and teachers bore fruit 
and many were convinced by his arguments. He established five libraries in 
Morocco and sent books to other libraries there as well. The people were so 
impressed with him that when the time for his departure came, they did not 
want him to leave. 

Sayyid Muhammad Kazim would often relate to his friends and companions 
some of his experiences in Morocco. At one time, he narrated: “I had taken with 
me the audio cassette of the Maqtal of Imam al-Husayn ( c a) recited by Shaykh 
c Abd al-Zahra 3 Ka c bi, one of the well-respected reciters of Karbala 3 . 1 thus told 
my host, ‘if you wish to hear about what happened on the day of c Ashura 3 listen 
to this cassette.’ So they brought a tape recorder and began playing the 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


xii 


cassette. All those who were present listened attentively with their heads 
lowered. After some time, I noticed many of them had tears in their eyes. When 
the first side of the cassette ended, I turned it and we began listening to the 
second side. Here, Shaykh Ka c bi recited the sermon of Imam Zayn al- c Abidin in 
the Masjid of Sham. Upon hearing this, the head of the family cried and said: 
‘My wife is pregnant and if Allah blesses me with a son, I will name him Zayn 
al- c Abidin!”’ 

Another place that Sayyid al-Qazwini visited was Australia. He had received 
letters from Sydney expressing the poor state of the Shhah there. The letters 
painted a grim picture and noted that the Shhah did not even have their own 
masjid or centre. Sayyid Muhammad Kazim decided to visit Australia to see 
what he could do to help. It was the first time that a scholar of his stature had 
visited the country for such a purpose. When he arrived there, he found that 
indeed the situation of the ShTah was very dire. They had to bury their dead in 
a Christian cemetery and if the deceased did not have the money required for 
burial, they were forced to cremate the body. He decided to arrange to build a 
masjid and buy a parcel of land, which would be used as a cemetery. The name 
he chose for the mosque was Masjid Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). As the project 
commenced, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim sought to raise the required funds. 
Many people contributed, some even selling their jewellery to raise funds. The 
embassy of one of the Arab countries learnt about this project and called, 
offering to fund the entire project on the condition that the name of the masjid 
be changed. When Sayyid al-Qazwini was informed about this, he rejected the 
offer saying that the name would remain as it is, and they would get funding 
from other sources with the help of the Almighty. A short while later, all the 
needed funds had been acquired and the masjid was built. 


Sayyid al-Qazwini went to Australia four times and the ShTah there felt greatly 
indebted to him for his guidance and contribution. A few days before his 


Author’s Biography 


demise, one of the youth from Australia contacted him and said that he would 
be dedicating his PhD thesis to the Sayyid because he felt that he owed him his 
life. He had been guided aright by the Sayyid’s efforts and through his lectures 
and talks. Indeed, before his visit, there were many who never prayed and most 
of the women never wore the hijab. After his preaching, many people turned a 
new leaf and came closer to Islam. 

One of his travels was to the Land of the Nile, where he paid a visit to the holy 
sites such as the shrine of al-Sayyidah Zaynab bint Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a). While 
there, he met with many scholars from al-Azhar University and had lengthy 
discussions with them. He took every opportunity to spread the message of the 
Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) and many people appreciated his discourses. 


Standing against Oppression 

As a young scholar, he took a strong stance against the oppressive regime in 
Iraq and this led to his imprisonment and torture. Sayyid al-Qazwini described 
what he underwent, saying: “They took us to Baghdad, to an underground 
dungeon. In our group, there were scholars, doctors and traders. We were 
placed in cells that were so small, we could not even stand up straight. They 
would torture us and beat us with sticks until our entire bodies became numb. 
Blood oozed from all the wounds they inflicted upon us. These people never 
respected Islam, the scholars or any of the things that were sacred. They would 
even make fun of prayers.” 

After three and a half months, he was released. Despite facing such adversity, 
he never stopped speaking out against oppression. When the government 
decided to arrest him a second time, and this time they wanted to execute him 
once and for all, the Sayyid went into hiding. For over one year, he lived in 


Fatimah al-Zahra l) * 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


hiding and these were some of the most trying days of his life. Eventually, he 
managed to escape to Kuwait. However, the government confiscated all his 
belongings in Iraq. Sayyid al-QazwInl would always express his remorse at the 
loss of his books, because he had some old manuscripts that were unique and 
priceless. 

He migrated to Kuwait in 1974/1394 A.H. and took up the role of Imam in Masjid 
Imam al-Husayn ( c a) where he led prayers and gave lectures. Many people 
would attend his talks and one of the scholars comments that the attendance 
of young people was more in his lectures than in anyone else’s. He played a 
pivotal role in training and guiding the youth. In 1980/1400 A.H., he migrated 
once more. He left Kuwait and moved to Iran, to the city of Qum. Many scholars 
came to welcome him and people used to come from all over Iran to listen to 
his speeches. 


His Literary Contributions 

Aside from being an eloquent orator, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-QazwInl was 
an excellent writer. He wrote many books, mostly about the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a). 
Aside from numerous articles that he wrote for various journals and magazines, 
he wrote some important monographs that are considered to be well 
researched and commonly used as sources of reference. His works include: 

l) c All ( c a)from the Cradle to the Grave : This book comprises of a series of 

lectures he delivered in the month of Ramadan in Masjid al-Safl, 
close to the shrine of Sayyid al-Shuhada 3 ( c a) in Karbala 3 . The 

reception this work got was astounding and in no time at all, it was 
out of print. Due to the high demand for this work, it was printed 


Author’s Biography 


XV 


more than ten times and read by people from all over the world. 
This book has also been translated into Urdu and Farsi. 

2) The Biography of the Great Prophet (s): This was an introduction to two 
other works that he wanted to write, namely: 

a) The Great Prophet, from the Cradle to Messengership 

b) The Great Prophet, from Messengership to the Grave 

3) The True Islam as Manifested in the School of the Ahl al-Bayt fa) 

4) The Calamity of Faff or Maqtal al-Husayn ( c a) 

5) Al-Imdm al-Husayn ( c a) from the Cradle to the Grave 

6) Al-Fiqh al-Wadih : A commentary on the book Sharay i c al-Islam. 

7) Islam and Education: This work has also been translated into Farsi. 

8) A Commentary of the Nahj al-Balaghah: Three volumes out of ten have 
so far been published. 

9) Zaynab al-Kubra fa) from the Cradle to the Grave 

10) Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) from the Cradle to the Grave : When the Ba c athist 
government of Iraq decided to execute him, Sayyid al-Qazwmi 
vowed to write a book about al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 fa) if 
he managed to escape execution and his life was saved. This work 
has been reprinted numerous times and has many editions. It has 
been translated into Farsi and now, also into English. Before he 
died, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim had instructed that this book be 
buried with him so that he could use it as evidence of his love for 
the family of the Prophet (s). 

11) Al-Imdm al-Mahdl fa) from the Cradle to Reappearance 

12) Al-Imam al-Jawad fa) from the Cradle to the Grave 

13) Al-Imam al-Hadi fa) from the Cradle to the Grave 

14) Al-Imdm al- c Askari fa) from the Cradle to the Grave 

15) Mawsu c ah al-Imam al-Sadiq fa): After writing the biographies of the 
other Imams, Sayyid al-Qazwini started work on a comprehensive 


XVI 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


encyclopaedia about Imam al-Sadiq ( c a), his life and his teachings. 
In order to complete the momentous task of compiling all the 
narrations and teachings of the sixth Imam ( c a), he had to take the 
assistance of other scholars and researchers and hence, he set up 
another institute called The Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) Institute. Though 
the work was not completed in his lifetime, it continued after he 
passed away. 


His Demise 

In 1992/1413 A.H., Sayyid Muhammad Kazim became terminally ill and in a 
short while, he lost the ability to speak. Soon after, he could no longer swallow 
food and had to take food intravenously. Physicians, both locally and outside 
the country, had lost all hope of his recovery. In the last six months of his life, 
his situation had worsened to such a degree that he could hardly move. Despite 
all this, he was very patient and remained grateful to the Almighty, praising 
and glorifying Him up to the last moment. He passed away on 17th November 
1994/l3thjumada al-Thaniyah 1415 A.H., in the early afternoon. 

The news of his demise spread quickly and a large group of mourners gathered 
at the graveyard where they participated in the funeral rites along with his sons 
and close family members. After the ritual washing and shrouding, his body was 
taken to his home for one last time. The women of the household gathered to 
pay their last respects and once this had been done, his body was taken to 
Masjid Imam al-Hasan ( c a) where people gathered to pay respects and recite 
verses of the Qur 3 an for the departed soul. 

On Friday, 18th November/l4th of Jumada al-Thaniyah, in the afternoon, the 
funeral procession took place. So many people participated that some of the 


Author’s Biography 


roads had to be temporarily blocked. As per his last wishes, his elder son Sayyid 
Muhammad Ibrahim conducted the funeral prayers after which he was buried 
in the Karbala 3 ! Husayniyyah, next to the pulpit upon which he would sit to 
recite the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a). His burial was truly a sad sight and many 
people wept as they bade farewell to this great scholar. 


The Miracle of His Incorrupt Body 

Sayyid Muhammad Kazim al-Qazwini had always wanted to be buried in 
Karbala 3 , close to the shrine of the Master of Martyrs, Aba c Abdillah al-Husayn 
( c a). He had expressed this wish many times in his life, but due to the 
circumstances that prevailed when he passed away, it was not possible to take 
his body to Iraq. Hence, he had to be buried in Qum and his gravesite was 
located in a place not too far from the shrine of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Ma c sumah ( c a). 

In 2011/1432 A.H., exactly seventeen years after his death, his family received 
a message from government officials in Qum. They told his family that due to 
the ongoing expansion of the Haram of al-Sayyidah Ma c sumah, they would have 
to exhume his body and relocate it to another graveyard. A date and time was 
set and his sons and some close relatives were present as the officials began 
disentombing his body. His son, Sayyid Muhammad c All, describes how they had 
taken with them some bags to carry what they thought would be his bones, 
since nobody expected what was to come next. 

When the grave was dug up, all those who were present were shocked to see 
the body of Sayyid Muhammad Kazim, as fresh as it was the day they buried 
him seventeen years earlier. Many of those who were present were 
overwhelmed at the sight. The Haram officials told his son that they would be 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 

willing to bury the Sayyid inside the Haram of al-Sayyidah Ma c sumah - an 
honour reserved for only the greatest scholars. However, his sons remembered 
how their father had always wished to be buried in Karbala 3 so they decided to 
make the necessary arrangements to take his body to Iraq. 

They brought his body home and it remained there for six days while they made 
all the required preparations. First hand witness accounts confirm that the 
Sayyid’s body had not decomposed in the least. His body was placed in one of 
the rooms of his old house and many relatives and close friends came to visit 
the family and see this miracle for themselves. The family members were 
warned to be cautious, as they knew if the news became public knowledge, they 
might not be allowed to take his body out of Qum. For this reason, they allowed 
only a limited number of visitors. 

Finally, on 12th May/ 8th of Jumada al-Thaniyah, they took his body to Iraq and 
after a six-hour wait at the border, they were finally allowed through. They first 
went to Najaf and then to Karbala 3 , where the Sayyid was buried close to the 
shrine of his beloved master, Imam al-Husayn ( c a). He was buried with the same 
book that he had been buried with the first time, the book: Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
from Cradle to Grave. 


PREAMBLE 


Praise be to Allah - a plentiful praise that earns His pleasure; and may Allah 
shower His blessings upon our master Muhammad al-Mustafa and his pure 
progeny, the doyens of mankind. 

For many years I have been telling myself to take up the task of authoring a 
book about the life of the truthful and pure lady, Fatimah al-Zahra 3 - peace and 
blessings upon her, her father, her husband and her sons. 

I felt the need for this work and my desire [for embarking upon it] was very 
pressing. This was because of the incompleteness and deficiency I had found in 
the already existing literature on this illustrious personality, that stood out like 
a gap in the library of Arabic and Islamic literature. 

By this I do not mean to devalue the books and writings that have been 
published about the life and times of the ‘Mistress of all Women of the World’; 
rather, I mean that the available works, both the old and contemporary, do not 
fulfil the need or fill the gap that is felt by all those who wish to learn about the 
life of al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). They do not meet the objectives and fall short 
of depicting the true status of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , and thus do not 
convey what this personality, who was most revered by the Prophet of Allah 
and most beloved to him, deserves, because the personality of this truthful and 
pure lady requires tribute and praise that is much greater. I [myself] do not 
claim that I am able to carry this heavy burden, attain this objective and reach 



XX 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


the stated goal as it should be; rather, I admit my own inability and 
shortcoming. 

Days turned to years, as my apprehensions kept turning me between one period 
and another, and certain obstacles prevented me from realizing this aspiration. 
However, not long ago, a wind of unforeseen events blew my way and clouds of 
sorrows cast a shadow upon my life, so I made a vow to Allah, the Most High: 
“if you free me from this hardship and evil, I will write a book about the life of 
the truthful and pure lady, Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a).” 

Allah removed the distress from me by His mercy, praise be to Him and all 
thanks be to Him, so here I am authoring these lines and pages. I do not know 
where the path will eventually lead me, but Allah is the Helper, and He is the 
best of helpers. He suffices for me and is an excellent trustee in [both] the 
beginning and end, and He is the best granter of success and assistance. 

Muhammad Kazim al-QazwInl 
Karbala 3 , Iraq 

6 th August 1972/26 th Jumada al-Akhirah, 1392 A.H. 


INTRODUCTION 


Fatimah; and what will make you comprehend who Fatimah is? 

A personage bearing feminine qualities so that she may be a sign of the great 
might of Allah and His amazing creative power. For Allah created Muhammad 
(s) so that he may be a sign of His power among the Prophets, then he created 
from him part of his flesh, his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , so that she may be a 
sign of His power to create a female being that is the epitome of virtues and the 
agglomeration of merits. Indeed Allah, the Most High, has granted Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 an Abundant share of greatness and a bountiful portion of loftiness, such 
that it is impossible for any [other] female to reach her status. 

She is from the family of the close friends and loyal subjects of Allah, for whom 
the heavens have testified to their greatness before the inhabitants of the earth 
came to know them, and about whom established verses were revealed in the 
Wise Reminder (the Qur 3 an) that has been read in the small hours of the night 
and the ends of the day since it was revealed, and will continue to be read until 
the Day of Judgment. 

She is a person whose greatness becomes more manifest and whose significance 
and lofty traits become more apparent the more one develops an 
understanding of the truths and becomes informed of the secrets [of this 
universe]. 



2 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Indeed, she is Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ; Allah praises her and is pleased when she is 
pleased and angry when she is angry . 1 The Prophet of Allah (s) extols her 
greatness and her lofty status. Amir al-Mu 3 minm admires her greatness and the 
Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) look upon her with veneration and respect. 

She is the great lady in whose name governments came to power and kingdoms 
were established, and by whose name regimes collapsed and kingdoms were 
vanquished. Through love for her people shall be seen entering Paradise in 
droves and because of enmity with her, the disbelievers will be dragged into 
the fire of Hell. 

I believe that this book, because of what it contains, will be highly beneficial, 
abundantly useful, inspiring, comforting to the soul and a refuge for the spirit, 
along with many other benefits that cannot be described which the reader will 
realize. 

Since the discussion about the life of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 is comprised of events 
that are all lessons, admonitions and examples, by studying it one learns about 
the close friends of Allah and His special servants as well as their outlook 
towards life, and comes to know of the aspects of Islamic history that are related 
to the life of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 5 . This, despite her short life and the 
fact that she lived in her private quarters, such that nobody could know about 
her personal life and her conduct in the home except her family and close 
relatives. And despite the fact that history has oppressed her and has not given 
due attention to her life and biography, as is befitting of her status. 

The discussion about the unique qualities of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 is 
considered part of a general discourse on women in Islam from the standpoint 
of protecting her honour and acknowledging her dignity and individuality. This 

1 c Abd al-Rahman al-Safuri al-Shafi c I (d. 894 A.H.) , Nuzhat al-Majalis wa Muntakhab al-Nafayis, vol. 


2, p. 228 


Introduction 


discourse includes the example of a woman in her role as a daughter in her 
father’s house, a wife in her spouse’s quarters and a mother and nurturer in her 
husband’s home. 

It is not unbefitting to mention here that the discourse about women in Islam 
and their humanly roles allows for their inclusion as participants in communal 
circles as well, but within the boundaries that have been set by religion and 
general principles of modesty, and while preserving [their] honour and dignity. 

Similarly, it is clear that Islam does not forbid women from acquiring 
knowledge, education, erudition and understanding, but this must be done with 
care to refrain from self-adornment, unrestraint, mingling (with the opposite 
gender) and any such action that may cause her harm and undermine her 
dignity. 

I believe it is not possible for any law, system or institution in this world to 
protect the sanctity of a woman and her dignity and honour more than the 
religion of Islam has done. 

We find that women’s organizations and institutions in Muslim countries have 
not benefitted women in the least; rather, they have brought her wretchedness 
in a most atrocious form. I read in one of the newspapers that one such 
organization is [even] seeking a law from the government banning polygamy! 

This organization felt that polygamy was ‘unjust’ and ‘oppressive to women’ so 
they wanted men to be prevented from the option to practice it in order that 
they may not desire more than one woman. Indeed this organization is ignorant 
or fails to recognize that by this action, it is opening the doors of corruption 
and wretchedness for women and is closing the doors of marital bliss and the 
joy of motherhood. 


4 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


if a woman is given a choice between marrying a man who is already married 
and staying alone in her house until her hair turns as white as her teeth, and 
until death comes to her while she has either passed the better part of her life 
- including the prime of her youth - with subdual, abstinence and deprivation 
from the [legitimate] pleasures of life; or giving herself complete liberty and 
freedom to do things like frequent night parties, go to discos and dance with 
men etc. then, when her eyes finally open, she finds herself having lost all 
honour, stripped of her chastity, having crushed her self-esteem, polluted her 
apron and corrupted her reputation. She [finds that] men pursued her as long 
as she was young and desirable, but when she lost her beauty and her charms 
withered, she was tossed aside by everyone and discarded by all men. 

if a woman was given the choice to either stay unmarried, thereby remaining a 
spinster whose end would be one of the two possible outcomes described above, 
or marry a man who is already married and enjoy marital bliss under the shade 
of Islamic equity, thereby safeguarding her dignity, protecting her chastity, 
remaining of good repute and of noble character, and able to play her role in 
bearing children, raising a family and being part of the society, which of the 
two is better and more preferable? 

These are the only two possibilities, without a third, since the number of 
women in the world is greater than the number of men, and if every man were 
to marry only one woman, millions of women would remain without husbands. 

Further, there are some men for whom one woman does not suffice, and there 
are some women whose urges do not match the urges of their husbands with 
regard to their responsiveness and [sexual] desire. Add to this the other 
possibilities of women being faced with barrenness, illness, [the need to] travel 
and many other possible situations that we do not want to mention for the sake 
of brevity, and I do not mean to embark on these discussions in this book, 


Introduction 


rather, it is just a point mentioned in passing as it is related to the subject at 
hand. 

I return - and to return is [always] praiseworthy - to my discourse on al- 
Siddiqah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 . It is important to be aware of one of the most 
bewildering wonders and baffling phenomena, which is that a personality like 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , who is at the peak of greatness, the summit of nobility and 
the pinnacle of virtue, has become the target of some poisonous pens and 
ruthless attacks that have been perpetrated by some Muslims and others. 

This becomes more clearly evident when you refer to the books of hadlth that 
are full of the virtues of this illustrious personality - you see next to them some 
traditions that have been fabricated by forgers and enemies, invented by 
malevolent, hateful tongues, from the hadlth pedlars, the lying concocters who 
were the mouthpieces of the past rulers, spewing out what their devils revealed 
to them of flashy words, lies, falsehoods and accusations. This is the state of one 
who acquires the pleasure of the creature for the displeasure of the Creator. 

Indeed, they wrote with pens of hate and inkwells of hypocrisy, in compliance 
with those who had bought their faith and their dead conscience. They did not 
care about what was contained in their forgery, even if it denigrated the status 
of the bringer of Divine Law, the Holy Prophet (s); without being mindful of the 
fact that their speech contradicted the established traditions that are recorded 
in their ‘sahlh’ books about the virtues of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). 

It is as if they enjoy trying to besmirch the lofty status of al-Siddiqah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 by responding to the call of their lower selves, while they know that 
she is the offspring of the Prophet and the person whom he loved most. She was 
his beloved and dear daughter. Yet it is as if, because they could not directly 
and openly tarnish the character of the Noble Prophet (s), they chose a 
serpentine path that was indirect in order to fulfil their hellish desires. 


6 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


I do not understand what their motives were for this vicious, callous attack on 
the personality of Fatimah al-Zahra 5 and the causes for such an astoundingly 
deep animosity [towards her]. Is she not the daughter of the Prophet of Allah 
(s) and a part of him? Is she not the apple of his eyes, the fruit of his heart and 
the spirit that rests in his breast? 

Was al-Zahra 3 the successor of the Prophet of Allah (s) thereby giving them a 
motive for their attack on her lofty status just as they assailed her great 
husband because of this very same reason? Then what is this emphasis and 
insistence on impugning her character? Is it because she was the daughter of 
the Prophet of Allah (s)? 

Then why do we not see the same thing in relation to the other daughters of 
the Prophet (s)? Or is it because she was the wife of Imam c Al! ( c a)? But al-Imam 
Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) married four other women after her, so why do we not 
see the same tumult and spread of lies and rumours about them? I do not 
imagine that there could be any wrong done by Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 
except for the fact that she was the most beloved to the Prophet of Allah (s) and 
was preferred by him over all his other daughters and wives, and that she 
campaigned and fought for the rights of her husband. 

It was because she came to the masjid and sought her rights that had been 
usurped - the property that had been given to her by Allah and His Prophet - 
and because she presented evidence against the ruler of the government at that 
time. And there are many other examples of blessings and merits that Allah has 
bestowed upon her alone, to the exclusion of all other women. But are these 
considered crimes that justify and warrant the Muslims to mention her in a way 
that does not suit her sanctified station? 

The Orientalists (both Jewish and Christian) played a pivotal role in this matter 
as they tried to damage the sanctity of the things that are considered holy by 


Introduction 


7 


Islam and the Muslims. They collected the falsities and myths from the forged 
traditions and spread them in their gatherings. 

Some Muslims then translated these venomous books before printing and 
distributing them in Muslim lands without any footnotes, corrections or 
critiques, as though their objectives match those of the Orientalists in relation 
to the contents of their books. 

It would be good if we quote here an example from the third volume of Shaykh 
al-Amini’s book, al-Ghadlr, in brief. He says: A Christian Orientalist by the name 
of Emile Derminghem wrote a book entitled ‘The Life of Mahomet (sic)’ and this 
book is full of lies, falsities, misguidance, untruths and attacks on Islam, the 
Qur’an and the Prophet (s ). 2 

This book was translated by a Palestinian professor called Muhammad c Adil 
Zu c aytar and he did not annotate it to refute the falsities, myths and lies, under 
the pretext that he was preserving the intent of the author! How surprising - 
does putting footnotes to refute that which is false prevent the conveying of 
the author’s intent in any way? 

Some examples of the falsities and lies of this book include the following: 

“Fatimah had a frowning face; she was less beautiful than Ruqayyah 
and not as clever as Zaynab. When her father informed her from behind 
the curtain that c All ibn AbiTalib had mentioned her name, she was not 
pleased. Fatimah considered c All to be lacking despite his great valour, 
and c All was just as uninterested in her as she was in him. 


: Al-Shaykh c Abd al-Husayn al-Amlnl (d. 1390 A.H.), Al-Chadirfi al-Kitab wal-Sunnah wal-Adab, vol. 
3, p. 24 


8 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


c All did was not considered handsome because of his two large eyes, a 
flat nose, his large belly and baldness... c All was brave, pious, truthful, 
loyal, sincere, and good despite [his] laziness and indecisiveness! 

Due to difficult times, c Ali used to work in the date-farm of a Jew, 
watering his palms in lieu of a handful of dates, and when he returned 
home to his wife, he would say to her frowningly, “Eat and feed the 
children!” 

After every quarrel [with his wife], c Ali would get angry and go to the 
masjid to sleep. His father-in-law would pat him on his shoulders and 
advise him, patching things up between him and Fatimah for some 
time. At one time, the Prophet saw his daughter in his house and she 
was crying because c All had struck her! 

Indeed Muhammad, despite his praise for c All because of his early 
acceptance of Islam and accepting him as a son-in-law, would not pay 
much heed to him. The two Umayyad son-in-laws of the Prophet, 
c Uthman ‘the generous’ and Abu al- c AsI would get along better with the 
Prophet than c All. c Ali would often get upset by the lack of action on the 
part of the Prophet concerning the happiness of his daughter and the 
Prophet’s considering him incapable of taking responsibility for 
important matters. 

Even though the Prophet left matters pertaining to execution to him, 
he would avoid granting him the position of commander... 

Worse than this is what used to happen when c All and Fatimah joined 
together in their enmity for the wives of the Prophet and the 
quarrelling that resulted between the two groups; for Fatimah would 
complain to her father because he was never siding with his 
daughters...” 


Introduction 


And many other oppressive untruths and dark ahistorical crimes by which the 
man blackened the pages of his book. The reply given to this Christian by 
Shaykh al-Ammi (may Allah be pleased with him) for his false allegations was: 

I do not blame the author - May Allah cut off his ears - even though he 
has made up such lies and fabrications, because he is from a community 
that is resentful of Islam and therefore does not wish anything good to 
befall it, and his entire book concentrates on trying to show its vices 
and faults. Rather, the blame lies only with the translator for he has 
wronged Islam, the Orient and the Arabs while considering himself part 
of them. Indeed, he has been affected by evil and has taken recourse to 
an inferior pasture - and one is always inclined to his own kind. 

All that is contained in this book of the different offensive statements 
and false attributions is nothing but frivolous words which go against 
genuine historical accounts and against that which the Muslim ummah 
has unanimously agreed upon and what its Holy Prophet (s) has 
informed them about. 

Do their fabricated lies match what Fatimah’ s father (s) said about her? 
“Fatimah is a houri 3 4 in the form of a human being; whenever I yearned 
for Paradise I kissed her!” 47 ' Or when he (s) said, “My daughter Fatimah 


3 The English Dictionary definitions of ‘houri’ do not always match the term hur al-hn as 
mentioned in the Qur’an. Whenever we use the word ‘houri’, it is only for the purpose of 
translation because this word has clearly been derived from the original Qur’anic term, even 
though it has not been defined accurately. (Tr.) 

4 Ahmad ibn c AlI al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463 A.H.), Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 259 


10 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


is a human houri,” 5/ ’' or “Fatimah is a bright star.” 6/r Or even what the 
mother of Anas ibn Malik said: “Fatimah was like a full moon on the 
night of Badr or like a sun that was covered by the clouds and then came 
forth from behind them, gleaming with white luminescence. She was 
fair with an inkling of redness. She had black hair and was the closest 
to the Prophet (s) in likeness.” 4 


By Allah, she was just as the poet has described: 



j — A J 




Jliio ' (> - 1 c. J J 



U> y. St 1 3 i j 0 e si 

JSjt jl gj 4 3 I r ' ' 


Whiteness is covered in the face of her hair 
and disappears in it, for it was soft, flowing and black 

Just like the bright day was inside it, 
and as if the night would become dark through it ” 7 

Her title al-Zahra 5 6 , which all agree upon, speaks to her lofty status. Are 
those false judgements supported by what is known of Fatimah’s 
astuteness and character as reflected in the words of the Mother of 
Believers, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her): “Fatimah would 
speak in the womb of her mother, and when she was born, she fell into 


5 Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hajar al-Haythami (d. 974 A.H.), Al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah fi al-Radd c ala 
Ahl al-Bida c wal-Zandaqah, vol. 2, p. 465; Muhammad ibn c Ali al-Sabban (d. 1206 A.H.), Is c af al- 
Raghibin fi Sirat al-Mustafa wa Fada’il Ahl Baytihi al-Tahirm, p. 173 

6 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p. 222 

7 Abu c Abdillah al-Hakim al-Nisaburi (d. 403 A.H.), al-Mustadrak c ala al-Sahihayn, vol. 3, p. 176 


Introduction 


11 


prostration and raised her finger [in attestation to the oneness of 
God].” 8/ ° 

Or is it supported by the words of fAdshah: “I have not seen anyone 
who resembles the Prophet of Allah more in manner, demeanour, 
conduct and speech, and in his standing and sitting, than Fatimah. 
Whenever she entered, the Prophet (s) would stand up and go towards 
her, kissing and welcoming her, and then he would take her hand and 
make her sit in his place. ” 9/1 

Al-BayhaqI has also mentioned in his al-Sunan [from c A 3 ishah]: “I have 
not seen anyone who resembles the Prophet of Allah (s) more in speech 
and elocution than Fatimah.. ,” 10/v 

Does the author’s invective against Imam c Ali ( c a), where he portrays 
the Imam in a negative light, claiming that Fatimah was deemed to be 
unattractive by him, and describing him as having an ugly, frowning 
face, match what has come to us about his brilliant handsomeness: that 
‘his face was so beautiful that it resembled the full moon, his neck was 
like a vessel of silver, 11 his smile was bright and when he smiled, his 
teeth looked like well- arranged pearls...’? 1 2/A 

And what of the following couplets recited about him by Abu al-Aswad 
al-Duwall? 


8 Muhib al-DIn al-Tabari (d. 694 A.H.), Dhakha’ir al-Vqba fi Manaqib Dhawi al-Qurba, p. 45 

9 Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn c Abd Rabbih (d. 328 A.H.), al- c Iqd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 186 

10 Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn c AlI al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 A.H.), al-Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 7, p. 101 

11 Ibn c Abdal-Barr al-Andalusi (d. 463 A.H.), Al-Isti c ab ft Ma c rifat al-Ashab, vol. 3, p. 1123 

12 Abu Nahrn Ahmad ibn ‘Abdillah al-Isfahani (d. 430 A.H.), Hilyat al-Awliya 1 wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya \ 
vol. 1, p. 84 


12 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


>LJI 



^L_JU 



: r 




U ^ 




When I witnessed the face of Abu Turab, 

I saw the full moon burning the eyes 13 

Indeed: 

They were jealous of the young man when they could not find his equal, 
so the people became his enemies and haters 

Just like the fellow wives of a beautiful maiden say about her face 
out of jealousy and hatred: ‘Indeed, it is ugly !’ 14 

What does your free conscience inform you about c All regarding what 
the author attributes to him of ‘laziness and hesitation’ when this same 
c All is the one who boldly embarked on dangerous missions and 
attacked the vanguards of the armies in the battles and wars? 

He was the one who defended the Prophet of Allah (s) in every 
catastrophe and calamity from the time he brought the true religion [of 
Islam], and even slept on his bed, putting his life at risk, [in order to 
save the Prophet], until he laid in his final resting place. 


13 Sibt ibn al-Jawzi (d. 654 A.H.), Tadhkirat al-Khawas min al-Ummah fi Dhikr Khasa’is al-A’immah, p. 
445 

14 Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi (d. 748 A.H.), Tarikh al-Islam wa Wafayat al-Mashahir wal- 
A c lam, vol. 16, p. 312 



Introduction 


13 


Is c All not the only brave warrior about whom the following verse was 
revealed: Do you regard the providing of water to Hajj pilgrims and the 
maintenance of the Masjid al-Haram as similar [in worth] to someone who has 
faith in Allah and believes in the Last Day and wages Jihad in the way of Allah? 
(Q9:19) As well as the verse: And among the people is he who sells his soul 
seeking the pleasure of Allah (Q2:207)? 

When did c Ali stop fighting against the infidels or defending the honour 
of the Prophet such that it would be right to accuse him of laziness or 
hesitation in any affair from the matters of religion? Yet false 
statements have no limits or bounds. 

Can it even be fathomed that Amir al-Mu 3 minm would have such a bad 
relationship with his pure wife? Even while the Prophet (s) said to him: 
“You are similar to me in creation and character and you are from the 
same tree from whence I came.” 157 ’ How then, could the Prophet (s) see 

him as the best of his ummah, the most excellent of them in 
discernment and the best of them in character, such that he said: ‘“All 
is the best from my ummah, the most learned among them and the most 
excellent in discernment”? 167 ' ' 

And his (s) saying to Fatimah: “I have married you to the first of my 
ummah to accept Islam, and the most learned of them, and the most 
judicious of them.” 177 " 


15 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 12, p. 500 

16 c AlI ibn c Abd al-Malik Husam al-DIn al-Muttaql al-Hindl (d. 975 A.H.), Kara al- c Ummal fi Sunan al- 
Aqwalwal-Afal, vol. 11, p. 902 

17 Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal al-Shaybani (d. 241 A.H.), Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 5, 
p. 26; Muhib al-DIn al-Tabari (d. 694 A.H.), al-Riyad. al-Nadirah fi Manaqib al- c Ashrah, vol. 3, p. 160 



14 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Or his telling her: “I have married you to the first from my ummah to 
accept Islam and the best of them in character.” 18/u 

Did the Prophet say all this while he saw and heard of the relationship 
[of c Ali and Fatimah]? Lies of the deceivers! Rather, c Ali ( c a) was just as 
the truthful and trustworthy as Prophet (s) informed us. 

Does your intelligence accept the accusation that this man (may Allah 
seal his tongue) makes about c All - that he struck Fatimah, the flesh of 
the Prophet (s)? c All was the one who always followed the Prophet (s) 
and frequently heard him say to Fatimah: “Indeed Allah is angered by 
that which angers you and pleased by that which pleases you.” 19/ ' r 

Furthermore, he (s) said while holding her hand: “Whoever knows her 
has known her, and whoever does not know her then [know that] she 
is part of my flesh, she is my heart and my soul, so whoever hurts her 
has hurt me.” 20/u 


18 al-Riyad. al-Nadirah, vol. 3, p. 144 

19 al-Mustadrak c ala al-Sahihayn, vol. 3, p. 167; Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 601; al-Muwaffaq ibn Ahmad 
al-Khwarizmi al-Hanafi (d. 568 A.H.), Maqtal al-Husayn, vol. 1, p. 90; Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kanji 
al-Shafi c I (d. 658 A.H.), Kifayat al-Talib fi Manaqib c All ibnAbiTalib, p. 364; Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 12, p. 
209; al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 507; Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi (d. 748 A.H.), Mizan 
al-I c tidal fi Naqd al-Rijal, vol. 1, p. 488; Ibn Hajar al- c Asqalani (d. 852 A.H.), al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al- 
Sahabah, vol. 8, p. 57 among others 

20 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p. 228; Mu’min ibn al-Hasan al-Shablanji al-Shafih (d. 13 th Century A.H.), 
Nur al-Absar fi Manaqib Al Bayt al-Nabi al-Mukhtar, p. 96; Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Qastalani al- 
Misri (d. 923 A.H.), Irshad al-Sari li Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 121 


Introduction 


15 


He (s) also said: “Fatimah is part of me, that which makes her happy 
makes me happy and that which hurts her hurts me.” 21/ '° 

He (s) said: “Fatimah is part of me, so whoever angers her has angered 


He (s) said: “Fatimah is part of me, that which makes her sad makes me 
sad and that which makes her happy makes me happy.” 23/ ' v 

Was the Prophet’s praise of c Ali restricted to his being the first to accept 
Islam such that one would need to speculate about its secret? And 
would that be something sufficient to convince his daughter? Indeed if 
his praising him with this attribute was for that purpose, he would have 
limited himself to telling Fatimah only about this and then go straight 
to the intended objective. Then why is it that the Prophet (s) would take 
the hand of c All at times, in the presence of all his companions, and say: 
“Verily this is the first person who believed in me and he will be the 
first person to take my hand on the Day of Judgment”? 24/U 

Why did he (s) at other times address his companions saying: “The first 
among you to join me at the spring of Paradise is the first of you to have 
accepted Islam - c Ali ibn Abl Talib”?" 


21 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 328; Ahmad ibn Shu c ayb al-Nasah (d. 303 A.H.), Khasads Amir al- 
Mu’minin, p. 146 

22 Muhammad ibn Ismahl al-Bukhari (d. 256 A.H.), Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 5, pp. 21 & 29; KhasadsAmir 
al-Mu’minin, p. 146 

23 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 323; al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 548; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 172; 
Kara al- c Ummal, vol. 12, p. 203; Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 3, p. 44 

24 al-Isabah, vol. 7, p. 354 


16 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


How did this [apparently] fabricated secret remain hidden to the 
companions who were present and those who succeeded them in 
virtue, such that they themselves began praising him with the same 
quality, as narrated from Salman al -Farsi, Anas ibn Malik, Zayd ibn 
Arqam, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn Hajal, Hashim ibn ‘Utbah, 
Malik al-Ashtar, ‘Abdullah ibn Hashim, Muhammad ibn Abl Bakr, 'Amr 
ibn al-Hamiq, Abu ‘Umrah ‘Uday ibn Hatim, Abu Rafi‘, Buraydah, 
Jundub ibn Zuhayr, Umm al-Khayr bint al-Hirash and others. 

Does the claim that the Prophet (s) paid little attention to c Ali get any 
support from the Qur 3 an, which refers to him as the pure ‘soul’ of the 
Prophet and declares his love as the reward for Prophethood? 

Or his (s) saying in the hadlth of the roasted bird, which has been 
narrated in the books of Sihah and Masanld: “0 Allah, bring to me the 
most beloved of your creation so that he may eat it with me.” 25/< ' 

Or his (s) saying to ‘Adshah: “Indeed c Ali is the most beloved of all men 
to me and the most honourable of them in my sight, so understand his 
rights and show him honour and respect.” 26 ^' 

Or his (s) saying: “The most beloved of all people to me among the men 
is ‘All.” 27/ " 


25 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, pp. 77 & 185; Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 13, p. 143; Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al- 
Juwaynl al-Shafih (d. 730 A.H.), Fara’id al-Simtayn fi Fadadl al-Murtada wal-Batul wal-Sibtayn wal- 
Admmah minDhurriyatihim, vol. 1, pp. 212, 213, 322 

26 al-Riyad. al-Nadirah, vol. 3, p. 116; Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, p. 62 

27 Another version reads: ‘the most beloved of my family...’ 


Introduction 


17 


Or: “ c All is the best of those whom I leave behind after me.” 28/,T 

Or: “The best of your menfolk is c All ibn Abl Talib and the best of your 
womenfolk is Fatimah bint Muhammad .” 297 ’' 4 

Or: “ c All is the best of mankind, so whoever turns away from him has 
rejected the faith.” 307 ” 

Or: “Whoever does not believe that c All is the best of people has 
apostatized.” 317 ” 

Or, in the hadlth of ‘the banner’ that has been unanimously agreed 
upon, [he (s) said]: “Tomorrow I will surely give the banner to a person 
who loves Allah and His Prophet and who is loved by Allah and His 
Prophet.”” 

Or: “ c All is to me like my head is to my body.” 327 ” 

Or: “ c All is to me just as I am to my Lord.” 337 ” 

Or: “ c All is the most beloved of them to me and the most beloved of 
them to Allah.” 347 ” 


28 c Abd al-Rahman al-Ijl al-Shafil (d. 756 A.H.), Kitab al-Mawaqif, vol. 3, p. 276; Nur al-DIn, c AlI ibn 
Abl Bakr al-Haythami (d. 807 A.H.), Majma c al-Zawa c id wa Manba c al-Fawadd, vol. 9, p. 113 

29 Tank} i Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 59 

30 Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 11, p. 942 

31 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 4, p. 313; Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 11, p. 942 

32 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 7, p. 462; al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 366; Nur al-Absar, p. 163 

33 c AlI ibn Burhan al-Din al-Halabi (d. 1044 A.H.), Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah fi Sirat al-Amin al-Ma’mun, 
vol. 3, p. 489; al-Riyad al-Nadirah, vol. 3, p. 119 

34 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 10, p. 87 


18 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Or his (s) saying to c All: “I am from you and you are from me.” Or: “You 
are from me and I am from you.” 35/n 

Or: “ c All is from me and I am from him, and he is the master of all the 
believers after me.” 36/n 

Or what he (s) said in the hadlth about sending the Surah al-Bara 3 ah 
upon which all are agreed: “No one can take it but the man who is from 
me and I am from him.” 37/rr 

Or: “Your flesh is my flesh and your blood is my blood, and the truth is 
with you.” 38/rt 

Or: “There is no Prophet but that he had a counterpart from his ummah 
and my counterpart is c Ali.” 39/r ° 

Or what has been authenticated by al-Hakim and has been narrated by 
al-Tabarani from Umm Salamah who said: “When the Prophet (s) was 
angry he did not allow anyone to come and speak to him privately 
except c Ali.” 40/n 


35 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 204; Khasads Amir al-Mudninin, pp. 87 & 204 

36 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 356 

37 Khasads Amir al-Mudninin, p. 49 

38 al-Muwaffaq ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizml al-Hanafl (d. 568 A.H.), al-Manaqib, p. 129 

39 al-Riyad. al-Nadirah, vol. 3, p. 120 

40 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 360; c Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 
A.H.), Tdrikh al-Khulafa \ p. 150 


Introduction 


19 


Or what fATshah said: “By Allah! I have not seen anyone more beloved 
to the Prophet of Allah than c Ali, nor any woman in this earth more 
beloved to him than his ( c All’s) wife.” 41/vv 

Or what Buraydah and Ubay said: “The most beloved of people to the 
Prophet of Allah (s) among the men was c AlI and among the women was 
Fatimah.” 42/rA 

Or the narration of Jumay c ibn c Umayr who said: “I went with my aunt 
to fATshah and she asked her, ‘Who among the people was most 
beloved to the Prophet of Allah?’ She replied, ‘Fatimah.’ ‘And among 
the men?’ She replied, ‘Her husband, as none was known to be more 
sawwam (oft-fasting) and qawwam (oft-praying in the night) [than 
him].’” 43 ' 4 ’’ 

How could the Prophet (s) give more attention to anyone else when he 
( c Ali) was the first man chosen by Allah after him from the people of 
this earth when He looked amongst them, as he (s) informed Fatimah 
when he said to her : “V erily Allah examined the people of the earth and 
chose from them your father, so He sent him as a Prophet, then He 
examined them a second time and chose your husband, so He revealed 
upon me [His command] and I married him to you and chose him as my 
successor. ' 


41 al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 167; Khasa’is Amir al-Mu’minm, p. 127 

42 Khasa’is Amir al-Mu^minin, p. 128; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 168 

43 Abu c isa Muhammad ibn c Isa al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 A.H.), Jami c al-Mukhtasar min al-Sunan c an 
Rasulillah (s), vol. 5, p. 701 

44 Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 11, p. 901; Majma c al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 165 


20 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Or: “Verily Allah chose two from the people of this earth, one is your 
father and the other is your husband.” 45/i ' 

In addition to this, many other authentic traditions have been mentioned by 
Shaykh al-Amini to prove the invalidity and falsehood of that deviant book. 

Nevertheless, the attacks that have been carried out against the family of the 
Prophet of Allah are numerous and we shall point to some of them later at the 
appropriate juncture God-willing. 

Before commencing the main discussion, there is no harm in mentioning an 
introduction as a prologue to the subject, and because the subject of this book 
is a personality who is above what can be comprehended by human beings, it is 
necessary for us to introduce some issues that may be considered 
‘metaphysical’ but there is no problem in this because the personality we are 
discussing is unique and metaphysical, and the veracity of this claim will 
become clear and evident [in the following pages]. 


45 Mawaqifal-Iji, p. 8 


CHAPTER ONE 


The Law of Heredity 

One of the issues that have long been established is the fact that attributes of 
parents are hereditable and can be transferred to their child, from the time it 
develops in the loins of its father up to when it moves to the womb of the 
mother where it grows, and after birth these attributes begin to manifest 
gradually. In fact, even breastfeeding has an astounding effect on the character 
of the child who is being fed, and in a narration from Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a), he 
says: “Do not give your child to a foolish woman to nurse, for indeed 
breastfeeding has effect.” 17 ” And many scholars have written in detail about 
this principle. 

In light of this, it behoves me to mention the biography of the parents of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) so that we may derive certain conclusions 
regarding the great status of al-Sayyidah Fatimah in relation to her parentage, 
but this will cause the discussion to lengthen and will change the subject of this 
book to something else, so we will suffice with the following brief words: 

The Master of the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad ibn c Abdillah (s) is the 
purest being, the noblest creation, and the best person in the entire universe. 
It was for his sake that Allah created the universe. There is no honour, nobility 
or virtue in existence but that the greatest possible share of it is found in the 
Noble Prophet (s). This is a very brief summary of what can be said about the 


1 Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Hur al- c AmilI (d. 1104 A.H.), Tafsil Wasa’il al-Shi c ah ila Tahsil Masa’il 
al-SharFah, vol. 21, p. 247 



22 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Prophet (s), and there is no exaggeration or hyperbole in these words, rather it 
is as we say: ‘clear as the sun is bright and honey, sweet.’ 

This is the Prophet of Allah (s) from whose loins al-Zahra 3 was conceived. 

As for Khadljah, she was of a fair complexion, tall and beautiful. Considered 
among the honourable ladies of her community, she was wise in her affairs and 
had great wit. She was insightful and self-confident. She managed her trading 
caravan brilliantly, understanding the principles of economics, exportation 
and importation. This was as far as her attributes as a person or as a woman is 
concerned. 

As for her qualities as a wife, she gave away the great wealth she had earned to 
her husband, the Prophet, to do with as he saw fit. The wealth of Khadljah had 
a strong impact on the strengthening of Islam at that time, as the religion of 
Islam was still in its formative stages and there was a dire need for financial 
support. Thus, by the Grace of Allah, through the wealth of Khadljah, the goal 
of Islam was achieved. 

The Prophet (s) said: “No wealth ever benefitted me the way the wealth of 
Khadljah benefitted me!”‘ T The Prophet (s) would use her wealth to release 

those who were indebted and those who were suffering hardships, and to 
support those who were incapable of supporting themselves. He gave in times 
of misfortune and assisted his poor companions while in Makkah, and even 
helped those who wished to migrate [to Madlnah], He spent whatever he 
needed of it while she was alive and then he and her children inherited [what 
remained] from her when she passed away . 2 


2 Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi (d. 460 A.H.), Amalx al-Tusi, p. 468 



The Law of Heredity 


23 


From this, the meaning of the Prophet’s (s) words become clear: “The religion 
was not uplifted or established except by the sword of c All and the wealth of 
Khadljah.”“ 

Fler behaviour with the Prophet (s) in their married life was worthy of great 
respect and admiration, and it is for this reason that after her death, whenever 
the Prophet (s) remembered her or she was mentioned in his presence, he (s) 
would pray for divine mercy to be showered upon her and would miss her 
greatly, at times even shedding tears out of sadness for [having lost] her. 

One day, when the Prophet (s) mentioned Khadljah, c A 3 ishah said: “...that old 
lady... Allah has replaced her for you with one who is better than her!” The 
Prophet (s) replied: “Allah has not replaced her with anyone better than her - 
she believed in me when all the other people disbelieved me; she accepted me 
when the others belied me; she made me a partner in her wealth when others 
deprived me; and Allah blessed me with children from her and deprived me of 
children from other than her!” 3/ ‘° 


3 Al-Isffab, vol. 4, p. 1824 


CHAPTER TWO 


The Marriage of the Great Prophet (s) 

The Noble Prophet (s) married al-Sayyidah Khadljah al-Kubra when he was 
twenty-five and she was forty years old; and some have said that she was 
twenty-six years old 1 or twenty-eight years old . 2 It is claimed that she had been 
married twice before, yet others have opined that she was a virgin when she 
married the Prophet (s ), 3 but this is not the opinion of the majority [of 
historians]. 

The marriage of the Prophet (s) to al-Sayyidah Khadljah was not like the 
common marriages that took place in those days. Rather, it is considered to be 
one of a kind because this blessed matrimony was not the result of costly gifts 
and extravagant expenses, and there was no material incentive or any other 
similar objective which is often the case in marriages of great personalities that 
are contracted for political [or other expedient] motives. 

In fact, there was no match between the Prophet (s) and al-Sayyidah Khadljah 
as far as economic status is concerned, for the Prophet (s) used to live under 


1 Cd. Muhammad Rida Imam! Khatunabadi (d. 1135 A.H.), Jannat al-Khulud. 

2 Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi (d. 1110 A.H.), Bihar al- Anwar al-Jami c ah liDurar 
al-Akhbar min al-A’immat al-Athar, vol. 16, p. 12 

3 Cf. al-Baladhuri and Abu al-Qasim in their respective books, al-Murtada in al-Shafi, Abu Ja c far in 
al-Talkhis and Ibn Shahrashub in al-Manaqib 



The Marriage of the Great Prophet (s) 


25 


the patronage of his poor uncle Abu Talib, while al-Sayyidah Khadljah was the 
wealthiest and most affluent woman in Makkah, so there was a world of 
difference between his lifestyle and hers. 

Nevertheless, al-Sayyidah Khadljah had learnt or heard that the Prophet (s) had 
a bright future and would one day be a great leader. It was probably her slave 
Maysarah, who told her about what happened to the Prophet (s) during his trip 
to Syria as a trader in Khadljah’s caravan. Maybe the words that the monk Dir 
Busri had spoken about the Prophet near Syria had somehow reached her. This 
is when she decided to propose the idea of marriage and opening up to the 
Prophet, she requested him to seek her hand in matrimony from her father 
Khuwaylid (or from her uncle according to another account). 

The Prophet, however, preferred to marry a poor lady whose lifestyle matched 
his own. He thus apologized to Khadljah and held back from carrying out her 
request for this reason. But the clever, wise and magnanimous lady, al-Sayyidah 
Khadljah, replied saying that she had gifted herself to the Prophet (s) so how 
could she not give away her wealth for him and put it under his control? 

She asked the Prophet (s) to send his uncles to her father Khuwaylid with the 
marriage proposal. The Prophet (s) brought this unique message to his uncles, 
and his aunts were overcome by astonishment when they heard this news from 
him - indeed, it was strange! A lady who was so rich that hundreds of workers 
and employees were sustained by the blessing of her wealth, and her business 
thrived in both winter and summer between Yemen and Makkah, and between 
Makkah and Syria; a lady who had received marriage proposals from chiefs and 
noblemen and had rejected them; such a lady was ready to gift herself to a poor 
young man who lived under the patronage of his uncle Abu Talib! 

[They asked themselves:] Do you think Khadljah has truly offered herself to the 
Prophet (s)? Is there any truth to this news? Safiyyah bint c Abd al-Muttalib (the 


26 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


aunt of the Prophet (s)) stood up and proceeded to the house of Khadljah to 
investigate. She found that they had already started making preparations for 
the wedding ceremony. 


Al-Sayyidah KhadIjah at the Gates of Prosperity 

Safiyyah returned to her sisters (the aunts of the Prophet) and informed them 
about the veracity of the news. They all began rejoicing with a jubilation that 
was mixed with astonishment, bewilderment and amazement. 

Khadljah’s hand had been sought by the Arab chieftains and noblemen but she 
had turned all of them down because she did not consider them appropriate 
suitors. So what had made her choose this poor man as her husband - a person 
who possessed neither worldly wealth nor the smallest parcel of land? How 
surprising! 

The Prophet’s uncles went to Khadljah’s house and sought her hand in marriage 
from her father Khuwaylid, or her uncle, who refused at first but later agreed. 

Additionally, it was necessary to offer an amount of dowry that was befitting 
the status of Khadljah, so how would he acquire such an amount? And from 
where? And who would give this dowry? 

Then al-Sayyidah Khadljah once again overcame this obstacle and gave a gift of 
four thousand dinars to the Prophet, telling him to keep that as her dowry and 
give it to her father Khuwaylid. 

In another narration, we find that it was Abu Talib who paid the dowry from 
his own wealth. 


The Marriage of the Great Prophet (s) 


27 


If al-Sayyidah Khadljah believed in [lofty ideals and] values and was ready to 
sacrifice material wealth in order to attain [true] nobility, her father did not 
espouse the same ideals; and it is not uncommon to find a big difference 
between the beliefs of a father and that of his son or daughter. 

This dissimilarity in thinking is present between different classes of [related] 
individuals - between siblings, between husband and wife, and even between 
parent and child. 

This type of undertaking was indeed very rare and surprising, for it was 
unheard of among the Arabs for a woman to give a dowry to her husband. It is 
not surprising then, that Abu Jahl was overcome with jealousy and said: “0 
People, we have seen the men giving dowry to women but we have never seen 
women giving dowry to men!” 

Abu Talib answered him angrily: “What does it concern you, 0 ignoble man? A 
person like Muhammad deserves to be sought and given, whereas a person like 
you gives gifts that are not accepted!” Or he said: “if they were like this nephew 
of mine, the men would be sought with the most expensive sums and highest 
dowries, and if they are like you, they would not be married unless they gave 
the highest dowries.” 

The blessed wedding took place in the best possible manner and the Prophet 
moved into al-Sayyidah Khadijah’s house. These were the happiest days of 
Khadijah’s life because she had attained her greatest aspiration and realized her 
sweetest dream. 

Al-Sayyidah Khadljah bore male children, all of whom died in infancy, and she 
gave birth to four daughters: Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, Ruqayyah and Fatimah 
al-Zahrak Fatimah was the youngest and had the loftiest status and highest 
rank. 


28 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


There is a difference of opinion among the historians and traditionists 
(i muhaddithun ) about the first two daughters. Some said that they are not the 
Prophet’s daughters, but the fact is that they were his daughters from his own 
loins , 4 and we shall elaborate upon this later God-willing . 5 


4 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 16 

5 We have taken the details of al-Sayyidah Khadijah’s wedding from the sixteenth volume of al- 
Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar. 


CHAPTER THREE 


A Quick Word About Metaphysics 

We now know who al-Sayyidah Khadljah was and have an idea about some of 
her virtues and excellent traits that represent brilliant examples of perfection 
in the human being. This is the lady who bore al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
and nursed her with breast milk that was mixed with merits and virtues. 

Fatimah al-Zahra 5 is the daughter of two illustrious parents - and we have seen 
some of what relates to their lives and their virtues. This brief summary will 
enable us to understand the uniqueness of our mistress Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and 
through this vantage point, what she inherited [from her parents] will become 
evident for us. 

There are certain realities that cannot be denied, and have been clearly 
mentioned in the lofty mutawatir traditions from the Holy Prophet (s) and his 
pure progeny ( c a). Realities that have not been discovered by modern science 
and have not been unravelled by the latest scientific studies, despite their 
extensiveness and despite having reached the limits of atoms and particles 
smaller than that, and the planets and what lies beyond them. 

These realities are such that cannot be studied or observed by instruments and 
microscopes, and they cannot be captured by the lenses of cameras, even with 
the help of ultraviolet rays or other rays that are higher in the spectrum. 



30 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The analogies of physics and logic fall short of comprehending these truths, as 
they are realities that are beyond the scope of matter and the scale of reason. 
They cannot be perceived by the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell and 
touch); rather, they are from the secrets of Allah that have been entrusted to 
creation, and if you wish to call them ‘metaphysical’, then you may do so. 

Before we discuss these realities, we must mention some brief introductory 
points: The sperm that finds its way to the womb results in the formation of a 
foetus. This sperm is made from blood and blood is derived from food after it 
has undergone the digestive process and has ripened and been cooked in the 
sophisticated laboratory that is found inside the body. There is no doubt that 
the sperm made from the blood that is derived from pork or intoxicants (for 
example) is different from that made from blood that is formed by eating the 
meat of sheep and the like, because the constitution of this blood differs greatly 
from that, and thus the result of each differs from the other. 

Food has a particular effect on the soul of the human being and his ego. There 
are certain foods that bring joy to the heart, tranquillity to the body, and have 
a calming effect on a person, and there are other foods that do just the opposite 
of this. 

Foods that are permissible and pure have a positive effect on the soul and spirit 
of the human being, and contrarily impure food like intoxicants or 
impermissible [foods] like that which is stolen or usurped have a negative 
effect. 

This very effect manifests itself in the sperm that is created from the lawful or 
unlawful food, from the pure or impure, and if we want to produce evidence 
and give proof for this, our book would be protracted and would turn away from 
its intended goal. 


A Quick Word About Metaphysics 


31 


In the same way, the food that parents eat have a direct effect on the 
development of their offspring and lead the child either to good or evil, because 
it is from this food that the sperm develops and is then transferred from the 
loins of the man to the womb of his wife, attaching itself to the wall of the womb 
where it grows and develops until it becomes a fully developed foetus. 

So the food, based on its type and depending on the legal ruling related to it, 
like being lawful or unlawful, pure or impure, has an astounding and 
bewildering effect on the fate of the child - how he thinks about matters and 
the choices that he makes in his life, whether he turns towards justice and 
uprightness or strays and deviates [from the right path]. 

This is also true about the psychological states of the spouses when they 
undertake the [blessed] act of intercourse. This has a direct effect on the fate of 
the child and his psychological state in the future. Fear and anxiety in them has 
a negative effect on the future of the poor child, and contrarily, tranquillity and 
calmness has a positive effect on the child. Similarly, passionate desire and deep 
yearning has an effect on the beauty of the child, his goodness and intelligence, 
whereas lack of desire and weakness of lust results in the opposite of this. 

From these two points i.e. the effect of food and the psychological state [of the 
parents], we direct the esteemed readers to some authentic traditions. Shaykh 
al-MajlisI, may Allah elevate his status, has mentioned the following tradition 
in the sixteenth volume of Bihar al-Anwar: 

...JibraTl descended upon the Prophet of Allah (s) and called out, “0 
Muhammad! The Highest of the high has sent His salutations to you and 
has commanded that you withdraw yourself from Khadljah for forty 
days.” 


32 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


This was something difficult for the Prophet (s) because of his immense 
love for her. So the Prophet (s) began fasting in the mornings and 
spending the nights in prayer, until the end of this period. He sent 
'Ammar ibn Yasir to Khadljah saying: “Tell her: 0 Khadljah! Do not 
think that my isolation from you is desertion or lack of love and desire 
for you, rather my Lord has ordered me to do this so that His will may 
be done. So do not think of me, 0 Khadljah, except positively, for indeed 
my Lord, the Mighty and the Great, boasts of your servitude to His 
noblest angels all the time. 

When night falls, therefore, shut the door and take your mattress from 
your bed, for indeed I will be in the house of [my aunt] Fatimah bint 
Asad.” 

Khadljah wept incessantly every day for losing the [company] of the 
Prophet (s). When forty days were over, JibraTl descended and said: “0 
Muhammad! The Highest of the high sends you His salutations and 
orders that you prepare yourself for His greetings and gift.” 

The Prophet (s) asked: “0 JibraTl, what is the gift of the Lord of the 
Worlds and what is His greeting?” JibraTl replied: “I have no knowledge 
of it.” 

A short while later, MikaTl descended and brought with him a tray that 
was covered with a kerchief made of fine silk or brocade and placed it 
in front of the Prophet (s). JibraTl ( c a) then came forward and said: “0 
Muhammad, your Lord commands you to break your fast tonight with 
this food.” 

c Ali ibn Abi Talib ( c a) says: “Whenever the Prophet (s) broke his fast, he 
would instruct me to open the door for those who wanted to share in 


A Quick Word About Metaphysics 


33 


the food, but on this night, the Prophet (s) asked me to sit at the door 
of the house saying: ‘0 son of Abu Talib, this is food that is prohibited 
on all but me.”’ 

c All ( c a) said: “I sat at the door and the Prophet (s) brought the food and 
uncovered the tray. It had some wet dates and a bunch of grapes. The 
Prophet (s) ate from it until he was satiated and drank the water until 
his thirst was quenched. When he extended his hands to wash them, 
JibraTl poured water for him and MlkaTl washed his hands and Israfil 
wiped his hands, and the remainder of the food and the vessel [of water] 
was taken back to the heavens.” 

Then the Prophet (s) stood to pray but JibraTl came to him and said: 
“Prayer is forbidden to you at this moment, until you have gone to the 
house of Khadljah and laid with her. For indeed Allah, Mighty and Great 
is He, has taken an oath that He will create from your loins an excellent 
progeny this night.” Thus the Prophet (s) rushed towards the house of 
Khadljah. 

Khadljah says: “I had become accustomed to loneliness so whenever 
night fell, I would cover my head, close my curtains, lock my door, 
recite my prayers, turn off my lamp and retire to my bed. On this 
particular night, I was neither fully asleep nor fully awake when the 
Prophet (s) came and knocked at the door. I called out: ‘Who is knocking 
at the ringlet [of the door] which none other than Muhammad has ever 
knocked?’ 

The Prophet (s) called back with his sweet voice and loving words: 
‘Open the door 0 Khadljah, for it is I, Muhammad.’” Khadljah says, “I 
stood up rejoicing that the Prophet (s) had come and [quickly] opened 
the door. Whenever the Prophet (s) entered the house, after coming in 


34 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


he would ask for a vessel [of water] to perform ablution for prayer. 
Then he would pray a short two-rak c ah prayer before retreating to his 
bed. 

On this night, however, he did not ask for a vessel and he did not pray... 
rather, there transpired between him and me what occurs between a 
husband and his wife. Indeed, I swear by the One who created the 
heavens and made water flow forth from the earth, the Prophet (s) did 
not leave my side until I felt the weight of Fatimah in my belly.. .” 1/n 

We can derive the following from this narration: 

1) Allah ordered His Prophet (s) to seclude himself from Khadijah and to 
isolate himself from her for some time so that this would lead to an 
increase in desire and yearning. 

2) The Prophet (s) was, during this period, occupied in worship and 
engrossed in matters related to elevating the soul in order to connect 
to the higher realms. 

3) He opened his fast with the paradisiacal food that was sent as a gift from 
heaven, which quickly turned into spermatozoa because of its fineness. 

4) The development of sperm by fine heavenly food is not the same as 
[what results from] the material food of this world. 

5) He immediately went to the house of Khadijah in preparation for 
transferring the sperm with all the prerequisites. 

This narration has been mentioned by the following Sunni scholars with slight 
variations [in wording]: 

— Al-Khwarizmi in Maqtal al-Husayn 2 


1 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 16, p. 78; 

2 Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 105 and 110 


A Quick Word About Metaphysics 


35 


— Al-Dhahabl in Mlzan al-I c tidal 3 

— Al-Dhahabl in Talkhis al-Mustadrak 4 

— Al- c AsqalanI in Lisan al-Mlzan 5 6 

In addition, there are numerous traditions similar in meaning with slight 
differences in their wordings, but which essentially contain the same message 
about the creation of the sperm that led to the birth of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 from 
the food of Paradise. Herewith we mention only a few of these narrations for 
the sake of brevity: 

1) From Imam al-Rida ( c a): The Prophet (s) said: “When I was taken up to 
the heavens, JibraTl took my hand and led me inside Paradise where he 
gave me some dates which I ate. This then turned into sperm in my 
loins, and when I descended back to earth, I laid with Khadljah so she 
became pregnant with Fatimah. Thus Fatimah is a houri in the form of 
a human being, and whenever I wish to smell the fragrance of Paradise, 
I inhale the fragrance of my daughter Fatimah.” 6/ ‘ v 

2) From Imam al-Baqir ( c a), from Jabir ibn c Abdillah who said: It was said 
to the Holy Prophet (s), “Indeed you veil Fatimah and cling to her, 
always keeping her close to yourself... and you treat her differently 
from the way you treat your [other] daughters?” He (s) said, “Verily 
JibraTl came to me with an apple from the apples of Paradise, and when 
I ate it, it turned into liquid in my loins. Then I was intimate with 


3 Mlzan al-Ttidal, vol. 3, p. 267 

4 Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi (d. 748 A.H.), Talkhis al-Mustadrak c ala al-Sahlhayn, vol. 3, p. 
156 

5 Ahmad ibn c Ali ibn Hajar al- c Asqalani al-Shafih (d. 852 A.H.), Lisan al-Mlzan, vol. 4, p. 364 

6 Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn al-Babawayh (d. 381 A.H.), Amall al-Saduq, p. 411 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Khadljah so she became pregnant with Fatimah. Thus I get the scent of 
Paradise from her.” 77 ” 

3) ibn c Abbas narrates: 'ATshah came to the Prophet (s) while he was 
kissing Fatimah, so she said to him: “Do you love her 0 Prophet of 
Allah?” He replied: “Indeed, by Allah, if you were to know the extent of 
my love for her, you would increase your love for her. When I was taken 
up to the fourth heaven... then I was given dates that were softer than 
foam, more fragrant than musk and sweeter than honey. I took one date 
and ate it and the date turned into sperm in my loins. When I descended 
to the earth, I was intimate with Khadljah and she became pregnant 
with Fatimah. Thus Fatimah is a houri in the form of a human being and 
whenever I desire Paradise, I smell the fragrance of Fatimah.” 87 ” 

The following people have narrated the above tradition with slight variances 
from FAlishah, ibn c Abbas, Sa c Id ibn Malik and c Umar ibn al-Khattab: 

— Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in his Tarikh 9 

— Al -Khwarizmi in Maqtal al-Husayn 10 

— Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-Ttidal I 11 

— Al-Zarandi in Nazm Durar al-Simtayn 

— Al- c Asqalani in Lisan al-Mizan 12 

— Al-Qanduzi al-Hanafi in YanabT al-Mawaddah 


I Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn al-Babawayh (d. 381 A.H.), c Ilal al-SharaY, vol. 1, p. 183 

8 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 18, pp. 350, 351 

9 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 259 

10 Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 105 

II Mizan al-Ttidal, vol. 1, p. 494 
12 Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 5, p. 160 


A Quick Word About Metaphysics 


— Muhib al-DIn al-Tabari in Dhakha’ir al-Vqba 13 

The following has also been narrated by al-Shaykh ShiTayb al-Misri: 

Some of the honourable narrators have reported that one day, al- 
Sayyidah Khadljah told the Noble Prophet (s) that she wished to see a 
fruit from the fruits of the Abode of Peace, so jibraTl descended to the 
Prophet of Both Worlds from Paradise with two apples and said: “0 
Muhammad, the One who had placed for everything a measure says to 
you: ‘Eat one and give the other to Khadljah al-Kubra to eat, then lay 
with her, for indeed I will create from both of you Fatimah al-ZahraT” 
So the chosen one did what the trustworthy messenger had directed 
and instructed him to do... and whenever the Prophet yearned for 
paradise and its bounties, he would kiss Fatimah and smell her beautiful 
fragrance, saying as he inhaled her holy scent: “Fatimah is a houri in 
human form.” 14 

There are other authentic ( mutawatir ) narrations with similar connotations, but 
we suffice with the above. 

Another point that is worthy of mention here is the fact that these narrations 
indicate that Khadijah’s pregnancy with Fatimah came about immediately after 
the ascension of the Prophet ( mi c raj ), and the ascension, according to what has 
been recorded in some books of hadith, took place in the third year of the 
Prophethood, and some have said it was in the second year, and other dates 
have also been mentioned. 

Some narrations from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) explicitly state that she 
was born five years after the mab c ath (i.e. the start of the Prophetic mission), 


13 Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, pp. 44-45 

14 Shu c ayb ibn Sa c d al-Hurayfish (d. ca. 802 A.H.), al-Rawd al-Fa’iq fi al-Mawa c idh wal-Raqa’iq, p. 214 


38 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


and this would mean that she remained in her mother’s womb for more than 
two years which is obviously incorrect, so how can we reconcile these two 
versions? 

This apparent contradiction can be resolved in the following ways: 

1) The Prophet (s) was taken up to the heavens more than once as has 
been mentioned in the book al-Kafi , 15 1 take this to be the best answer. 

2) Taking the narration stating that she was born on the second or third 
year of mab c ath to be correct since this corresponds to the statement 
that the mfiraj (ascension to the heavens) took place in that very same 
year, especially after we take into consideration the different 
narrations about the month in which the ascension took place. 


The Unborn Child Speaks to Her Mother 

One of the extraordinary qualities of al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) was that she used 
to talk to her mother Khadljah while she was in her womb. It is not only the 
ShTah scholars who recount this miracle; rather, many of the Sunni scholars 
and traditionists have also mentioned this. c Abd al-Rahman al-Shafih, for 
example, says: Her mother Khadljah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: 
“When I was pregnant with Fatimah, the pregnancy was easy. She would speak 
to me from my belly.” 16/ °' 

Al-Dihlawl has narrated in Tajhlz al-Jaysh from the book Madh al-Khulafa } that: 
When Khadljah was pregnant with Fatimah, she used to speak to her from 
inside the womb and Khadljah did not disclose this to the Prophet (s). One day, 


15 Muhammad ibn Ya c qub al-Kulaynl (d. 329 A.H.), Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 442, hadlth no. 13 

16 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2 p. 227 



The Unborn Child Speaks to Her Mother 


39 


the Prophet (s) came to her and found her speaking while there was nobody 
with her. He asked her whom she was speaking with so she replied: “[I am 
speaking with] the child that is in my womb, for it speaks to me.” The Prophet 
(s) said: “Glad tidings to you 0 Khadljah, this is the daughter whom Allah will 
make the mother of eleven khulafa } who will come after me and [after] their 
father.” 177 "' 

Shu c ayb ibn Sa c d al-Misrl says: when the disbelievers asked him to show them 
the splitting of the moon, Khadljah was pregnant with Fatimah and [her 
pregnancy] was showing. Khadljah said: “Woe be to the one who belies 
Muhammad while he is the best of my Lord’s messengers.” At this point, 
Fatimah called out from her womb: “0 mother, do not fear and do not fret, for 
indeed Allah is with my father!”"’' When her pregnancy came to an end and she 
delivered Fatimah, the place was illuminated by the light of her presence. 18 

We have already mentioned in the introduction the narration from al-Sayyidah 
Khadljah about how Fatimah al-Zahra 3 used to speak to her from inside the 
womb. 


17 Cf. Madh al-Khulafa 1 al-Rashidm, p. 211 

18 al-Rawd al-Fadq, p. 214 



CHAPTER FOUR 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 Enters This World 

One of the astounding things [about this great lady] is the difference of opinion 
about her date of birth, and whether it was before the commencement of the 
Prophetic mission ( mab c ath ) or after it. While we find numerous narrations that 
state that she was born five years or three years after the mab c ath, there are 
some who opine that the date of her birth was five years before the mab c ath. 
The first opinion is supported by narrations from the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) and is also 
accepted by some of the Sunni scholars. The second opinion is limited to 
scholars and traditionists of the SAmmah. 

Some of the narrations about the date of her birth are as follows: 

1) In al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi: She was born five years after the [initiation of] 
Prophethood ( mab c ath ) and three years after the [Prophet’s] night 
journey ( isra } ). When the Prophet (s) passed away, Fatimah was 
eighteen years old. v ° r 

2) Al-Manaqib (of ibn Shahrashub): Fatimah was born five years after the 
[commencement of] the Prophethood and three years after the night 


al-Kafi vol. 1 p. 428; Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p. 7 


42 


Fatimah al-Zahra 2 3 * ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


journey (isra } ), on the twentieth of Jumada al-Akhirah. She stayed with 
her father in Makkah for eight years and then migrated.. 

3) In al-Bihar from Imam al-Baqir ( c a): Fatimah bint Muhammad was born 
five years after the mab c ath of the Messenger of Allah and she died at 
the age of eighteen years and seventy-five days. 2/ °° 

4) Rawdat al-Wadzin: Fatimah was born five years after the mab c ath of the 
Prophet... 01 

5) Iqbal al-A c mal: Shaykh al-Mufld has mentioned in his book Hadadq al- 
Riyad: the twentieth of Jumada al-Akhirah was the birthday of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 5 , in the second year after the mab c ath.° v 

6) Misbah al-Kafami: She was born on Friday the twentieth of Jumada al- 
Akhirah in the second year after the mab c ath, and it has [also] been said 
[that it was] five years after the mab c ath.° k 

l) Al-Misbahayn 3 : According to some narrations, on Friday the twentieth 
of Jumada al-Akhirah, two years after the mab c ath, Fatimah ( c a) was 
born. 01 Another narration states that it was five years after the mab c ath; 
and the c Ammah say that she was born five years before the mab c ath. 


2 Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p. 8 

3 Meaning the two books named al-Misbah i.e. the al-Misbah of al-Kaf c amI and the al-Misbah of al- 

Tusi (Tr.) 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 Enters This World 

8) Dala’il al-Imamah from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a): Fatimah was born on the 
twentieth of Jumada al-Akhirah, forty -five years after the Prophet was 
born. 4/1 ' 

This is a sample of statements from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) and the 
earlier Shhah scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) about the birth of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) after the mab c ath. 

Some of the scholars of the c Ammah say that she was born before the mab c ath : 

1) Ma c rifat al-Sahabah by Abu Nahm: Fatimah was the youngest daughter 
of the Prophet. She was born while the Quraysh were renovating the 
Ka c bahf' 

2) Maqatil al-Talibm by Abu al-Faraj: Fatimah was born before the 
[commencement of] Prophethood at a time when the Quraysh were 
renovating the Ka c bah.” 

3) ibn al-Athir in al-Mukhtar min Manaqib al-Akhyar 

4) Al-T abar! in Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba 

5) Al-SuyutI in al-Thughur al-Basimah 

These are just some of the sources, and the researcher may find this opinion 
about the birth of al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in most of the books of the c Ammah. 

We have already mentioned the traditions that are narrated in the books of the 
c Ammah about her conception from the sperm [that developed] from the food 
of Paradise. 


4 Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p. 9 


44 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


After reading these narrations, albeit in summary, it becomes clear to us that 
the birth of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was after the commencement of the 
Prophethood, as there was no ascension nor was there any descent of JibraTl or 
MIkaTl to the Prophet with any revelation before the mab c ath. In this way we 
become aware of the falsity of the view that she was born five years before the 
mab c ath and realize that those who say this have an ulterior motive that is 
driving them to this differing opinion, namely that they want to dispense with 
the narrations about the descent of heavenly food and the conception of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah from the fruit of Paradise. 

Another goal they have is to try and prove that Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was 
undesirable and nobody wanted to marry her, and this is why she reached the 
age of eighteen (in their estimation) while nobody had sought her hand in 
marriage. We shall discuss this matter further in a later chapter about her 
marriage. 

In any case, al-Tabari has narrated in Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, al-Safuri al-Shafi c i in 
Nuzhat al-Majalis and al-Qanduz! in YanabF al-Mawaddah, from Khadljah ( c a) who 
said: “When the time of my delivery approached, I sent for the midwives of the 
Quraysh but they refused to come and assist me because of Muhammad (s ). 5 As 
I was in this state [of labour], four women, whose beauty and luminance defied 
description, came to me. One of them said: ‘I am your mother HawwaV Another 
said: ‘I am Asiyah.’ The third one said: ‘I am Umm Kulthum the sister of Musa’ 
and the last said: ‘I am Maryam - we have come to assist in your affair.’”'"' 

This tradition has also been narrated in the following way: When Khadljah 
wanted to deliver [her child], she sent for the women of Quraysh asking them 
to come and assist her in what women who give birth undergo, but they turned 


5 Ibid., p. 2; 'Abdullah Afandi al-Bahrani (d. 12th Century A.H.), c Awalim al- c Ulum wal-Ma c arif vol. 
11, p. 55 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 Enters This World 


45 


her down saying, “We will not come to you - you have become the wife of 
Muhammad (s).” As she was in this condition, four women came to her. Their 
beauty and luminescence was beyond description. One of them said to her: “I 
am your mother HawwaV’ The other said: “I am Asiyah bint Muzahim.” Another 
said: “I am Umm Kulthum the sister of Musa,” and the fourth one said: “I am 
Maryam bint Tmran (the mother of c Isa); we have come to assist you in the 
matter that women undergo [during childbirth].” She (Khadljah) said: “Thus 
was Fatimah born. And when she entered into this world, she fell on the earth 
in prostration and raised her finger.” 671 ‘ 

Mufaddal ibn c Umar narrated: I asked Abu c Abdillah al-Sadiq ( c a), “How was the 
birth of Fatimah?” He replied: “Yes... When she (Khadljah) was pregnant with 
Fatimah, Fatimah would talk to her from within her womb and console her. She 
kept this a secret and did not inform the Prophet of Allah (s) about it. One day, 
the Prophet came home and heard Khadljah talking to Fatimah, so he asked her, 
‘0 Khadljah, whom are you talking to?’ ‘To the child in my womb - it talks to 
me and comforts me,’ she replied. He said, ‘0 Khadljah, JibraTl has just informed 
me that it is a girl, and she is a pure and blessed child. Allah, the Most High, will 
continue my lineage through her. He will place the Imams in her progeny and 
will make them His vicegerents on earth after the completion of 
revelation.’” 771 ° Then the Imam ( c a) mentioned that four women descended 

[from heaven] in order to assist Khadljah with her delivery... He ( c a) said: 
“Fatimah was born pure, and when she fell to the earth, a light emanated from 
her the brightness of which was so great that it illuminated all the houses of 
Makkah... then ten houris entered, each one of them carrying a tray from 
Paradise with an ewer that was filled with water from [the pool of] al-Kawthar. 
They each gave the vessel to the lady who was in front of her, and she washed 


6 Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba, p. 45 

1 al-Rawd al-Fa’iq, p. 214; Bihar al- Anwar, vol. 43, p. 2 



46 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


her with the water of al-Kawthar. Then two white cloths were brought that 
were whiter than milk and more fragrant than musk and amber. She was 
swaddled in one and covered with the other. Then she was questioned, so 
Fatimah pronounced the testimonies of faith ( shahadatayn ), saying: ‘I bear 
witness that there is no god but Allah, and that my father is the Messenger of 
Allah and the Master of all Prophets, and my husband is the Master of all 
Legatees ( awsiya 8 9 ) and my two sons are the Masters of the Youth [of 
Paradise]. ,8/11 Then she (Fatimah) greeted them and called each one by her 

name. Each one came forward and smiled at her. The houris were overjoyed 
and all the inhabitants of the heavens congratulated each other on the birth of 
Fatimah. A glowing light was seen at that moment in the sky, the likes of which 
the angels had never witnessed. The women said, ‘Take her, 0 Khadljah, a pure, 
purified, honourable and auspicious child who is blessed and whose progeny is 
blessed.’ So she took her, with joy and happiness, and placed her next to her 
breast and nursed her.” 9/lv 

Ibn c Asakir has also narrated in al-Tarlkh al-Kablr that when Khadljah gave birth 
to a boy, she would hand him over to the wet-nurse so that he may be nursed, 
but when she gave birth to Fatimah, nobody other than Khadljah nursed herd* 
This has also been narrated by ibn Kathlr in al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah. 


8 Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba, p. 44 

9 Ibid., vol. 43, p. 2 


CHAPTER FIVE 


Her Naming 

The naming of a newborn child, or naming in general, is the practice ( sunnah ) 
of Allah, the Most High. Indeed, Allah named Adam and Hawwa 3 on the day they 
were created. He taught Adam all the ‘names’ - and all the people have and 
continue to follow this practice. So naming is a necessity for civilized man, and 
it may be possible that the humans who live in the wild forests, because of their 
distance from civilization, do not know about naming and do not name [their 
children]. 

The names of human beings differ with the passing of generations and ages, 
and because of the differences in language. Sometimes there is a correlation 
between the name and the [attributes of the] named one and sometimes there 
is no such correlation. The name may have a meaning in the dictionary of Islam 
or it may have no such meaning and may have been something invented 
without any lexical basis. 

As for the close servants of Allah, the act of naming [a child] is considered 
something of great importance by them, and the matter is never bereft of 
significance, for a human being is called and addressed by his name, and what 
a huge difference there is between a good, beautiful name and an evil, ugly one! 
What a vast difference there is between the effect on the soul of the owner of 



48 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


the former [kind of name] and that of the latter! The same goes for the effect 
on the one who hears the name. Look, for example, at the wife of c Imran who 
gave birth to a daughter, so she said: ...and I have named her Maryam (Q3:36). 

Allah chose the name ‘Yahya’ for one of His Prophets even before he was 
conceived in his mother’s womb, because Zakariyya had asked his Lord: ...so 
grant me from Yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the house of 
Ya c qub, and make him, my Lord, one with whom You are pleased. 0 Zakariyya! We give 
you glad tidings of a son whose name will be Yahya, never before have we made anyone 
his namesake (Q19:7-8). And if you look at the words of the Almighty: never before 
have we made anyone his namesake, it will become clear to you that the 
assignment of names for those who are close friends of Allah is done by Allah, 
the Mighty and Sublime, and Allah is the one who takes the responsibility of 
naming them and does not delegate this to their parents. 

Once this is understood, we turn to the many traditions that speak of the 
naming of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 - how she was named, that she was 
named Fatimah for specific reasons and purposes, and that her naming was not 
done at the spur of the moment, nor was it born simply out of joy and seeking 
goodness. Rather, there is a noticeable correlation between the name and the 
named one; in fact, in this case the name truly defines the named one. Through 
the following narration what we are saying will be made clear: 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “Fatimah has nine names with Allah, the Mighty and 
Sublime: Fatimah, al-Siddlqah, al-Mubarakah, al-Tahirah, al-Zakiyyah, al- 
Radiyah, al-Mardiyyah, al-Muhaddathah and al-Zahra 3 ...” 17 '’ 

We shall now look briefly that the meanings of each of these names: 


Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p. 10 


Fatimah ( c a) 


49 


FAtimah ( c a) 

Various narrations have come to us about the reason for naming her ‘Fatimah’. 
Before we mention these traditions, it is noteworthy that the name ‘Fatimah’ is 
derived from al-fatam, which means to cut off. It is said: fatamatil ummu tiflaha 
(the mother weaned her child) and fatamtul habl (I severed the rope). c Allamah 
al-MajlisI (may Allah shower him with mercy) said about its meaning: 

Many times the active participle ( ism al-fa c il ) is used to denote the 
passive participle ( ism al-maful) as when it is said: sirrun katim (lit. a 
hiding secret) to mean maktum (a hidden secret) and makanun c amir (lit. 
an inhabiting place) to mean ma c mur (an inhabited place) or as is 
mentioned in the verse of the Qur’an: fl c ishatin radiyah (Q69:2l) to mean 
mardiyyah (in a pleasant life). 

Now we present to you the traditions: 

1. “Because her followers have been safeguarded from Hellfire” 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq from his forefathers (peace be upon 
them), from the Messenger of Allah (s) that Jibra’il said to him: ...She has been 
named Fatimah on earth because her followers (shFah) are cut off ( fatamat ) from 
the fire of Hell. 2/V ' 


2. “Because Allah has safeguarded her and her followers off from Hellfire” 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Rida, from his forefathers (peace be upon 
them), that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “0 Fatimah, do you know why you 
have been named Fatimah?” c Ali ( c a) asked: “Why has she been thus named?” 


2 Ibid., p.18 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 4 5 6 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


He (s) said: “Because she has been cut off ( futimat ), along with her followers 
( shPah ), from Hellfire.” 3/V ' 

He (s) also said: “She was named Fatimah because Allah has safeguarded her 
and her progeny from Hellfire - those of them who meet Allah [on the Day of 
Judgement] with belief in His Oneness ( tawhld . ) and in what I have come 
with.” 4/VY 

ibn c Abbas narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “...and He named her 
Fatimah because Allah has safeguarded her and those who love her from 
Hellfire.” 5/vr 

Al-Qanduzl al-Hanafl narrates from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet of Allah (s) 
said: “My daughter was named Fatimah because Allah has safeguarded her, her 
progeny and those who love her from the fire of Hell.” 6/Vt 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) that: Fatimah will stand outside 
the gates of Hell... She will then say: “0 my Lord and Master, You named me 
Fatimah and through me you have safeguarded those who loved, adored and 
followed me and my family from the fire of Hell, and Your promise is true, and 
You never break Your promises.” v ° 

So Allah (the Almighty) will say: “You have spoken the truth 0 Fatimah. Indeed 
I have named you Fatimah and have safeguarded you, those who love and follow 


3 Ibid., p. 14; Dhakhadr al-Vqba, p. 26; Sulayman ibn Ibrahim al-Qanduzi al-Hanafl (d. 1294 A.H.), 
Yanabf al-Mawaddah li Dhawi al-Qurba, vol. 2, p. 251; and a similar tradition has been narrated by 
al-Kharkushi in Sharaf al-Nabl and Ibn Battah in al-Ibanah among others. 

4 Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 pp. 18-19 

5 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 14 p. 287; Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, p. 26; Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 12 p. 205; Zayn al-DIn 
Muhammad al-Munawi al-Shafih (d. 1031 A.H.), Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami c al-Saghir, vol. 1 p. 217 

6 Yanabi c al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 121; Nur al-Absar, p. 96 


Fatimah ( c a) 


51 


you, and love your progeny and follow them, from the fire of Hell; and My 
promise is true and I never break My promises...” 77 '' 1 


3. “Because she was safeguarded from evil” 

It is narrated by one of the companions that Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “Do you 
know the meaning of Fatimah?” The companion said: “Tell me 0 master.” He 
( c a) said: “She who has been cut off from [all] evil.” vv 

Then he added: “if Amir al-Mu'mimn had not married her, she would not have 
had any match [for matrimony] on the face of this earth until the Day of 
Resurrection, from Adam onwards.” 8/VA 

This tradition has also been narrated by some scholars among the c Ammah such 
as ibn Shirawayh al-Daylaml [who narrates] from Umm Salamah who said: The 
Prophet of Allah (s) said, “if Allah had not created c Ali, there would be no match 
for Fatimah.”''’ 

Al-KhwarizmI al-Hanafi narrates this in his Maqtal al-Husayn ( c a), al-Tirmidhi in 
his al-Manaqib, al-Munawi al-Shafih in his Kunuz al-Haqa } iq, and al-Qanduzi al- 
Hanafi in YanabP al-Mawaddah from Umm Salamah and from c Abbas the uncle 
of the Prophet (s). 

4. “Because the creation is unable to understand her” 

It is narrated that Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “...and she has been named Fatimah 
only because the creation is unable to [truly] understand her.” 9/A ' 


7 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 15 

8 Ibid., p. 16 

9 Ibid., p. 65 



52 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


5. “Because Allah weaned her on knowledge” 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) that when Fatimah ( c a) was born, 
Allah sent an angel who made Muhammad’s tongue name her ‘Fatimah’. Then 
He (the Most High) said: “Indeed I have weaned you on knowledge and have 
kept you away from catamenia.”*' 

Abu Ja c far ( c a) said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah, the Mighty and Most High, has 
weaned her on knowledge and away from catamenia through [His] 
covenant.” 1 0/A ’' 

The Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) loved and cherished this name and would respect those who 
were named Fatimah. One of the companions of Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) who was 
blessed with a baby girl was asked by him what he had named her. He replied: 
“I named her Fatimah.” The Imam ( c a) said: “Fatimah? May Allah’s peace and 
blessings be on Fatimah. Now that you have named her Fatimah, you must 
ensure never to strike or insult her, and [you must always] honour her.” AT 

Al-Sakun! narrates: I came to Aba c Abdillah al-Sadiq ( c a) while I was in the state 
of sorrow and anguish. He asked me: “0 Sakunl, why are you sad?” I replied: “A 
girl has been born to me [while I was praying for a boy]...” He asked: “What did 
you name her?” I said: “Fatimah.” He sighed: “Ah, ah, ah!” Then he said: “Now 
that you have named her Fatimah, you must never insult, curse or strike 
her.” 11/At 


10 ibid., p. 13 

11 Wasa } il al-Shl c ah, vol. 21, p. 482 


Fatimah ( c a) 


53 


In Safinat al-Bihar, [it is narrated that] Abu al-Hasan al-Kazim ( c a) said: “Poverty 
does not enter a house in which there is a ‘Muhammad’... or a ‘Fatimah’ from 
among the womenfolk.” 12 

In the hadith that we have quoted above from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) wherein he 
states: “Indeed Allah, the Mighty and Most High, has weaned her on knowledge 
and away from catamenia through [His] covenant,” the meaning of the word 
‘covenant’ is the realm of al-Dharr. This is the realm that is alluded to in the 
verse wherein Allah says: And when your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from 
their loins, their descendants and made them bear witness over themselves [by asking] 
“ Am I not your Lord?” They replied, “Yes, indeed! We bear witness [to it]...” (Q7:172) 

In summary, Allah took the progeny of Adam from his loins in the form of 
intelligent particles ( al-dharr ) and presented them in front of Adam saying: 
“Verily I take from your progeny their covenant that they will worship [only] 
Me and will not ascribe any partners to Me and [in return] I will guarantee their 
sustenance.” Then He said to them: “Am I not your Lord?” They replied: “Yes, 
Indeed! We bear witness that you are our Lord.” Then He told the angels: “Bear 
witness [to this].” They said: “We bear witness.” 

It is said that Allah gave them intelligence and comprehension such that they 
could hear His speech and understand it, and then He returned them into the 
loins of Adam. All people are thus confined until all those who were removed 
at that time come out [into this world], and all those who follow the path of 
Islam follow the primordial intrinsic nature, and whoever disbelieves and 
apostatizes has turned away from the primordial intrinsic nature ( al-fitrah al- 
ula). 


12 c Abbas al-Qumml (d. 1359 A.H.), Safinat al-Bihar wa Madinat al-Hikam wal-Athar, under ‘fatama’ 



54 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


This is a summary of what is found in a large collection of narrations and 
reliable traditions, and the realm that is mentioned is known as the Realm of 
the Particles ( c alam al-dharr) or the Realm of the Covenant ( c alam al-mithaq). 
Imam al-Baqir ( c a) points out that al-Siddiqah al-Tahirah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was 
pure from the monthly habit from that realm and from that time. 

As for the narrations that talk about the realm of al-dharr , there are too many, 
and at this juncture, we will mention but a few of them: 

1) In al-Kafi, from Imam Abu c Abdillah al-Sadiq ( c a): The Holy Prophet (s) 
was asked, “In what matter did you precede the progeny of Adam?” He 
replied: “Indeed I was the first to confirm [my belief in] my Lord. Indeed 
Allah took the covenant of the Prophets and made them bear witness 
over themselves [saying], ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They replied: ‘Yes, 
Indeed!’ And I was the first to reply.”* 0 

2) From Abu Baslr: I asked Abu c Abdillah al-Sadiq ( c a), “How did they reply 
while they were only particles ( dharr )?” He replied: “[Allah] put in them 
the ability to reply when questioned.”*' 1 Al- c Ayyashi added [to this]: 
“meaning in the [the realm of the] covenant.” 

3) Zurarah said that he asked Imam al-Baqir ( c a) about the meaning of the 
verse: And when your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins... 
He ( c a) replied: “From the loins of Adam - his progeny until the Day of 
Resurrection were removed in the form of particles; then He made 
them recognize Him and showed them His creation, and had this not 
happened, nobody would have ever known his Lord.” AV 

4) When c Umar ibn al-Khattab performed the Hajj and touched the black 
stone, he said: “Indeed I know that you are nothing but a stone, you 


Fatimah ( c a) 


55 


neither cause benefit nor harm, and had the Prophet (s) not kissed you 
with reverence, I would not touch you.” AA 

Upon hearing this, c Ali ( c a) said to him: “0 Aba Hafs, do not say this, for 
indeed the Prophet of Allah (s) did not kiss [the Black Stone] but for the 
matter which he knew about and if you had recited the Quhan and 
understood its inner meanings as others have, you too would know that 
it surely harms and benefits, and it has eyes, lips and an eloquent 
tongue that bears witness to the one who approaches it with an 
approaching [of veneration], ” A ’ c Umar said: “Show me this in the Book 

of Allah 0 Aba al-Hasan.” c All ( c a) said: “The verse wherein Allah says: 
And when your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their 
descendants and made them bear witness over themselves [by asking] Am I not 
your Lord?’ They replied, ‘Yes, indeed! We bear witness [to it]...’ So when they 
confirmed in submission that He was indeed the Lord and they were 
servants, He took from them the covenant that they would perform 
pilgrimage to His sacred house. Then Allah created a scroll that was 
finer than water and commanded the Pen: ‘Write down the pilgrimages 
of My creation to My sacred house.’ So the Pen wrote down the 
pilgrimage of the Children of Adam in the scroll. Then it was said to the 
Stone: ‘Open your mouth!’ So it opened its mouth, and the scroll was 
placed in it. Then He said to the Stone: ‘Preserve it and bear witness for 
my servants who come for pilgrimage.’ So the Stone descended [to the 
Earth] in obedience to Allah. 0 c Umar, do you not say while kissing the 
Stone: ‘I have fulfilled the trust and abided by the covenant so bear 
witness that I have made the pilgrimage?”’ c Umar said: “By Allah! Yes.” 
c All asked: “What is that [trust and covenant]?” 


56 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


One can find many narrations related to the subject of the Realm of al-Dharr in 
al-Kulaynfs Kitab al-Kafi, al-Majlisi’s Bihar al- Anwar and in other hadith texts. 

This matter has perplexed some of our scholars. They were unable to 
understand the meaning of the verse so they began doubting these narrations 
(may Allah forgive them), despite their large number, and despite the 
explicitness of the verse. 

In summary, the Realm of Particles is the Realm of the Covenant, and from that 
realm, and even before it, superiority and excellence belonged to the Prophet 
of Allah (s) and his Pure Progeny, and among them his daughter, the pure 
Fatimah al-Zahrak 

It is not difficult to accept this statement, for there are numerous traditions, 
narrated by both the Sunni and ShTah scholars, that have reached or surpassed 
the limit of tawatur , 13 that support this matter. 

As for the narrations that are found in the ShTah books, there are too many to 
enumerate or count. Some of the narrations in the book of the SAmmah include: 

l) Al-Safuri al-ShafiT has narrated that al-KisaT and others have said: 
When Allah created Adam... and upon it was [seated] a young woman 
who was surrounded by light and luminescence, and on her head was a 
golden crown studded with gems and jewels the likes of which no 
human had ever seen. Adam asked: “0 my Lord, who is this?” He 
replied: “Fatimah bint Muhammad (s).” He asked: “0 my Lord, who will 
be her husband?” Allah said: “0 JibraTl, open for him the door of the 
emerald palace.” So he opened it for him and Adam saw in it a dome of 
camphor, which had a throne of gold and on it was seated a young man 


13 Meaning that the sheer number of these narrations from different sources precludes the 
possibility of forgery and establishes their authenticity. (Tr.) 


Al-Siddiqah 


57 


who was as handsome as Yusuf ( c a). He said: “This is her husband, c All 
ibn Abl Talib...” 14 ^' 

2) Al- c Asqalani has narrated from Imam al-Hasan ibn c All al- c Askari ( c a), 
from his forefathers, from Jabir ibn c Abdillah, from the Prophet of Allah 
(s) [who said]: “When Allah created Adam and Hawwa 3 , they began 
prancing in Paradise and said: ‘Who is better than us?’ And while they 
were in this state, they saw the image of a young woman the likes of 
whom they had never seen. She had glowing light around her that was 
so bright, it was almost blinding. They asked: ‘0 Lord, what is this?’ He 
replied: ‘This is the image of Fatimah, the Mistress of all Women from 
your descendants.’ They asked: ‘What is this crown on her head?’ He 
replied: ‘ c All, her husband.’ Then they asked: ‘And what are the two 
earrings she wears?’ He replied: ‘Her two sons. This existed in the 
depths of My knowledge two thousand years before I created you.”’ 15/ ’' 


Al-Siddiqah 

As we have mentioned earlier, one of her names was al-Siddlqah, meaning the 
one who is ‘exceptionally truthful’. The word al-Siddlq is the hyperbole of [the 
superlative] al-Saduq (very truthful). It is said al-Siddlq is one from whom much 
truth is heard. Rather, it refers to one who never tells a lie, ever. Some define it 
as: One who is most complete in truthfulness and whose deeds match his words 
- the righteous one who is always truthful. And it has been said: It refers to one 


14 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2 p. 223 

15 Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 3 p. 346 


58 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


from whom falsehood does not come forth as he has been accustomed to [speak 
only] the truth. 

It denotes one who is true in his words and beliefs and this truth is actualized 
in his actions. 16 It is also said: al-Siddiq is one who constantly attests to that 
which leads to the truth. And: He is one whose habit is [speaking the] truth. 
And: He is the one who affirms all that Allah and His Prophets have commanded 
and does not doubt any of it. This is supported by the verse: And those who believe 
in Allah and His Prophet, they are indeed the Siddiqun... (Q57:19) 

These are the definitions of the term al-Siddiq, and what we find in the many 
verses and narrations is that the status of the Siddiqin is among the ranks of the 
Prophets and the Martyrs, and they shall be judged in a special manner [on the 
Day of Judgment] and have a distinctive rank and station. Consider the 
following verses and what we say will become evident to you: 

— Whoever obeys Allah and the Prophet, they are with those whom Allah has 
blessed, among the Prophets, the Siddiqin, the Martyrs and the Righteous, and 
excellent companions are they! (Q4:69) 

— And mention in the Book Ibrahim, indeed he was a Siddiq, a Prophet. (Q19:4l) 

— And mention in the Book Idris, indeed he was a Siddiq, a Prophet. (Q19:56) 

— The Messiah is but a Prophet, other Prophets have passed before him, and his 
mother is a Siddiqah. (Q5:75) 

In the commentary of [the verse] ‘and his mother is a Siddiqah’, it has been said 
that she was called Siddiqah because she believed in the signs of her Lord and 
the station of her son, and accepted that which he informed her about, as 
evinced in the verse: And she accepted the words of her Lord. (Q66:12) Another 


16 Muhammad ibn Muhammad Murtada al-Zubaydl (d. 1205 A.H.), Taj al- c Arus min Jawahiral-Qamus, 
under ‘sadaqa’ 



Al-Siddiqah 


59 


reason given is that it was because of the extent of her truthfulness and the 
greatness of her station as a result of what she underwent [in her life]. 

After studying these verses and commentaries, we understand that expression 
of belief in Allah, the Prophets, the Heavenly Scriptures and Divine Legislation 
is sometimes manifested verbally but without action. When a person believes 
that Allah, the Most High, sees him and yet he still disobeys Him; he knows Allah 
has made obligatory upon him certain rights with respect to matters pertaining 
to wealth and other things, but he still does not fulfil those rights; he knows 
that Allah has forbidden intoxicants, interest and fornication, yet he does not 
refrain from these vices - such a person may believe in Allah, in the lawful and 
the forbidden, in reward and punishment, in Paradise and Hell, but his actions 
do not correspond with his beliefs i.e. he has not reached a point where words 
match deeds and beliefs correspond to actions. 

However, the Siddiqin are those who accept the truth, believe in it, and act in 
accordance to this belief. Such people are few in number in every era and place. 
If one were to compare these criteria to the actions of people, it would become 
evident and clear that the number of Siddiqin is indeed very small, and in some 
towns, there may not even be one Siddiq. 

After all this, it becomes easy for one to understand that al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 ( c a) attained the rank of the Siddiqin and thus the Messenger of Allah 
(s) named her al-Siddlqah. The Prophet of Allah (s) said to c Ali: “You have been 
given three things that nobody else has been given, not even me. You have been 
given a father-in-law like me, and I have not been given one like myself. You 
have been given a wife like my daughter, who is a Siddiqah, and I have not been 
given a wife like her. You have been blessed with al-Hasan and al-Husayn and I 


60 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


have not been granted offspring like them. But you are [all] from me and I am 
from you.” 177 ” 

Mufaddal ibn c Umar asked Imam al-Sadiq ( c a): “Who washed [the body of] 
Fatimah?” He replied: “It was Amir al-Mu 7 minm.” Mufaddal said: “I became 
somewhat surprised when I heard this. Seeing my reaction, the Imam said, ‘It 
seems you are shocked by what I have told you?’ I said, ‘It is so, may I be your 
ransom!’ He said, ‘Do not be surprised by this, for indeed she was a Siddlqah , and 
none could have washed her but a Siddlq. Don’t you know that Maryam was not 
washed by anyone other than c lsa?” 18/,r 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) states in a tradition about al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a): “...And 
she is al-Siddlqah al-Kubra, and on her knowledge was the first generation 
nurtured.’” 197 ” 


Al-Mubarakah 

Barakah is defined in the lexicon Taj al- c Arus as growth, felicity and increase. Al- 
Raghib says: When divine blessings flow forth without being held back, and in 
such a way that they cannot be counted or encompassed, it is said - for 
everything in which tangible increase is witnessed - “it is mubarak and in it is 
barakah.” 

Allah had blessed al-Sayyidah Fatimah with a variety of boons and placed the 
progeny of the Prophet of Allah (s) in her descendants. He has put much 
goodness and virtue in her progeny, for she died leaving behind only two boys 


17 al-Riyad al-Nadirah, vol. 3 p. 173 

18 Tlal al-SharaV, vol. 1, p. 184 


19 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43 p. 105; Amali al-Tusi, p. 668 



Al-Mubarakah 


61 


and two girls, namely: Imam al-Hasan, Imam al-Husayn, Zaynab and Umm 
Kulthum. In the tragedy of Karbala 3 , all of al-Husayn’ s children were killed 
except c Al! ibn al-Husayn (Zayn al- c Abidln). One account has it that seven 
children of Imam al-Hasan and two children of Lady Zaynab were also 
martyred. As for Umm Kulthum, she did not have any children. 

Even after the tragedy of Karbala 3 , the slaughter of the progeny of the Prophet 
(s) and the descendants of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 continued, from the Battle of 
Harrah and the quashed uprising of Zayd ibn c Al! ibn al-Husayn, to the Battle of 
Fakh and the expulsion of the c AlawIs during the reign of the Umayyads. When 
the period of the Banu c Abbas came, they dealt a record blow in their battle 
against the c Alaw!s and in their annihilation and extirpation. One may refer to 
the book Maqatil al-Talibin to find more details on such events. 

This war that was waged against the family of the Prophet (s) continued for 
over two centuries, until the eleventh Imam, al-Hasan al- c Askar! ( c a) was killed 
by poison in the city of Samarra 3 . The Ayyubid Salah al-Din was no less ruthless 
than the Abbasids in spilling the blood of the family of the Prophet (s) and of 
their followers. He was responsible for carrying out the slaughter and massacre 
of such a large number of people in the Arabian Maghreb that it makes one’s 
skin quiver. Despite all this, Allah has blessed the progeny of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
and has placed in it much bounty. 

In commenting on the verse: Indeed We have given you abundance (Q108:l), 
exegetes have given differing interpretations. Even though the most common 
interpretation of the word al-Kawthar is that it is the famous [paradisical] pond 
of the Hereafter, or the well known river of Paradise, the word ‘ kawthar ’ itself 
refers to something plentiful and to ‘great good’. Al-Suyuti, in his commentary 
al-Durr al-Manthur, says regarding the meaning of al-Kawthar that al-Bukharl, 
ibn Jarir and al-Hakim have all narrated from the chain of Abu Bishr, from Sahd 


62 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


ibn Jubayr, from ibn c Abbas that: “al-Kawthar means the great goodness which 
Allah bestowed upon him (i.e. the Prophet ).’” 0 Abu Bishr says: “I said to Sa c Id 

ibn Jubayr that the people are under the impression that it (i.e. al-Kawthar) 
refers to a river in Paradise.” He said: “The river in Paradise is part of the great 
goodness that He conferred upon him .” 11 

The more appropriate interpretation, which has been mentioned by al-RazI in 
his commentary, is that the word al-Kawthar refers to al-Siddlqah Fatimah al- 
Zahrak Al-TabarsI 20 has mentioned in his commentary Majma c al-Bayan under 
his exegesis of Surah al-Kawthar that al-Kawthar means great and bountiful 
goodness , 21 and it is also said to mean numerous descendants and offspring - 
and this is evident in his progeny from the descendants of Fatimah, to such an 
extent that their numbers cannot be counted, and they will continue [to exist 
and multiply] until the Day of Resurrection. 

In his commentary, Fakhr al-RazI says about this verse: 

The third opinion is that al-Kawthar refers to his offspring. They said: it 
is because this Surah was revealed in response to the one who 
denigrated him for not having any children, so the meaning of this 
verse is that Allah will give him a progeny that will last throughout the 
ages. Look at how many have been killed from the Ahl al-Bayt, yet the 
world is still full of them, while there is not a single person of the Banu 
Umayyah who is remembered. In addition, look at how many of them 


20 Which is pronounced ‘al-Tibrisf or ‘al-Tabrisf according to other opinions (Tr.) 

21 Abu c Ali al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan al-Tabarsi (d. 548 A.H.), Majma c al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 10, 


p. 835 


Al-Mubarakah 


63 


are senior, respected scholars, like al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Rida 
( c a), al-Nafs al-Zakiyyah and others like them . 22 

Another occassion of revelation that is mentioned [for this Surah] is that a 
disbeliever mocked the Prophet when one of his sons died, saying: “Indeed 
Muhammad is without posterity, so if he dies, his memory [and teachings] will 
die along with him.” ,v Thus Allah revealed this Surah to His Prophet as a means 

of consoling him, as if to say: ‘if your son has died, We will grant you Latimah, 
and even if she is only one, Allah will turn this one into many.’ 

These words are affirmed by what we see today in the world of the descendants 
of Fatimah, who are also the descendants of the Prophet of Allah (s), spread 
throughout the globe. Almost one million in Iraq, three million in Iran, five 
million in Egypt, a few million in the Far-West, five million in Algeria and 
Tunisia, and many in Libya. Similarly, there are millions in Jordan, Syria, 
Lebanon, Sudan, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, India, Pakistan, 
Afghanistan and the Indonesian islands there are approximately twenty 
million. It is rare to find a Muslim country where there is not a single 
descendant of Latimah al-Zahra\ It has been estimated that they number about 
thirty-five million in total, if a more precise and accurate census was carried 
out, it is possible that the number would be even greater . 23 

These are the descendants of the Prophet of Allah (s) and they are from the 
progeny of c Ali and Latimah. Among them were kings, emirs, viziers, scholars, 
scribes, lofty personalities and illustrious individuals. Some of them felt 
honoured by their relationship [to the Prophet] and were proud of it while 
others took it for granted and did not care about it. Some of them are among 


22 Fakhr al-DIn Muhammad ibn c Umar al-Razi (d. 606 A.H.), Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol. 32, p. 117 

23 This figure was estimated in 1366 A.H. - as of today, the number has increased and only Allah 
knows how many there are. 


64 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


those who follow the path of the Ahl al-Bayt and some follow other paths. It is 
very surprising to learn that some Muslims were not happy to accept this 
lineage i.e. being part of the descendants of c All and Fatimah, up to the Prophet 
of Allah (s). Rather, they deemed this type of claim to be false and fabricated, 
and fought against it vehemently and without any leniency, even spilling the 
blood of innocent people because of this reality. 

Look at the attitude of al-Hajjaj, the bloodthirsty and murderous governor, 
towards this matter; as well as that of Mansur al-Dawaniqi, Harun al-Rashid and 
others who followed in their footsteps and adopted their ways. It has been 
narrated from c Amir al-Sha c bi who said: “One night, al-Hajjaj sent for me. I got 
scared, so I performed ablution, made my [last] will and then went to him. I saw 
that the table had been laid and the sword had been unsheathed. I greeted him 
and he returned my greetings saying, ‘Do not fear, for I guarantee your safety 
tonight and tomorrow until midday.’ Then he made me sit next to him and 
gestured to the guards, who brought before him a man tied up in chains and 
shackles. Al-Hajjaj said, ‘This old man claims that al-Hasan and al-Husayn were 
the children of the Holy Prophet. Let him produce his evidence from the Qur’an 
otherwise I will strike his neck.’ 

I said, ‘His chains must be removed for if he produces his evidence then he will 
be permitted to leave and if not then the sword will not cut through this iron.’ 
So his chains and shackles were removed and when I saw him, I recognized that 
he was none other than SaTd ibnjubayr. I became sad and asked myself, ‘How 
will he possibly come up with evidence for this from the Qur’an?’ Al-Hajjaj 
shouted, ‘Bring me evidence from the Qur’an for what you have claimed 
otherwise I will chop off your head!’ SaTd replied, ‘Wait a moment.’ Then he 
remained silent for a while until al-Hajjaj repeated his threat. Again he replied, 
‘Wait a moment.’ When al-Hajjaj repeated his order the third time, SaTd said, ‘I 
seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Most 


Al-Mubarakah 


65 


Beneficent, the Most Merciful.’ Then he quoted the verse: And We bestowed to 
him Ishaq and Ya c qub... and this is how we reward the virtuous. Then he stopped and 
said to al-Hajjaj, ‘Read what comes after this.’ So he recited: And Zakariyya and 
Yahya and c Isa... Then SaTd asked, ‘Why is Tsa mentioned here?’ He replied, ‘He 
was from his offspring.’ He said, ‘if Tsa was from the offspring of Ibrahim while 
he never had a father, and was only the son of his great-granddaughter, yet he 
was ascribed to him [as his offspring] despite his being so distant, then al-Hasan 
and al-Husayn are more worthy of being ascribed to the Prophet of Allah (s) 
with their nearness to him.’ Upon hearing this, al-Hajjaj ordered that he be 
given ten thousand gold coins and instructed that they take this to his house, 
and allowed him to return.” 

Al-Sha c bi said: “When I awoke [in the morning], I said to myself, ‘I must visit 
this Shaykh and learn the commentary of the Quhan from him,’ because I 
thought I knew the meanings of the Qur’an but [realized that I] did not know 
them. When I came to him, he was in the masjid and the gold coins [that al- 
Hajjaj had given him] were in front of him. He was dividing them into stacks of 
ten and giving them away in charity saying, ‘All this is by the blessing of al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a)! if we disheartened one person, then we have 
delighted a thousand and pleased Allah and His Prophet (s).”’ 24 

The verses that SaTd ibn Jubayr (may Allah be pleased with him) used as 
evidence were: And We gave to him Ishaq and Ya c qub and guided each of them. And 
Nuh We had guided before, and from his offspring, Dawud and Sulayman, Ayyub, Yusuf 
Musa and Harun, thus do We reward the virtuous. And Zakariyya and Yahya and c lsa 
and Ilyas, each of them was from the righteous. (Q6:84-85) 

A discussion on the same subject also took place between Harun al -Rashid and 
Imam Musa ibn Ja c far ( c a). It is narrated in the book c Uyun Akhbar al-Rida that 


24 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 229 


66 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Harun al-Rashld said to Imam Musa ibnja c far ( c a): “Why have you permitted the 
Muslims to give you the ascription of the progeny of the Prophet (s) and call you 
with the title, ‘Son of the Messenger of Allah’ while you are the children of c All 
- and a man is only ascribed to his father, and Fatimah was only a vessel, while 
the Prophet (s) was your maternal grandfather?” The Imam replied: “if the 
Prophet (s) were to come back to life and ask for your daughter’s hand in 
marriage, would you permit him [to marry her]?” Al-Rashld replied: 
“Subhanallah! Why would I not allow it? I would be proud among the Arabs, the 
non-Arabs and the Quraysh for such an honour.” The Imam said: “But he (s) 
would never ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage nor would I give her in 
marriage to him.” He asked: “And why not?” The Imam replied: “Because he 
begot me and did not beget you.” Al-Rashld said: “Ahsant, 0 Musa!” Then he 
asked: “How do you say that you are the offspring of the Prophet ( c a) while the 
Prophet did not have any scion? Only males can be scions, not females, and you 
are the children of his daughter and she is not a scion.” 

The Imam sought to be excused from answering this disconcerting question 
and asked al-Rashld to allow him not to reply it, in accordance with [the 
injunction of] precautionary dissimulation. Al-Rashld refused saying, “No, you 
must tell me about your evidence for this 0 son of c All - as you, 0 Musa, are 
their leader and the Imam of their age. So I do not pardon you and you are not 
excused from all that I ask until you bring to me proof from the Book of Allah. 
You, the descendants of c All, claim that nothing of the Qur’an alludes you, 
neither the [letters] alifnor the waw, but that you have knowledge of its inner 
meaning, and you have argued your case using the verse: We have not omitted 
anything from the Book... (Q6:38) so you have freed yourself from relying on the 
opinions of the scholars and their deductions.” 

The Imam said: “Then do you allow me to respond?” Al-Rashld said: “Respond.” 
The Imam said: “I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name 


Al-Mubarakah 


67 


of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. And from his offspring Dawud 
and Sulayman, Ayyub, Yusuf Musa and Harun, and thus do we reward the virtuous. 
And Zakariyya and Yahya and c Isa... Who is the father of Tsa?” Al-Rashld replied: 
“ c lsa did not have a father.” The Imam responded: “We only link him to the 
progeny of the Prophets ( c a) through Maryam ( c a). In the same way, we have 
been linked to the progeny of the Prophet (s) through our mother Fatimah 
( c a)...” 25 

These are the verses that the Imams ( c a) used as evidence for tracing their 
lineage back to the Prophet of Allah (s) through al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahrak 
As for the traditions that clearly state this, there are numerous. We will 
mention only a few: 

1) From ibn c Abbas who said: “My father (al- c Abbas ibn c Abd al-Muttalib) 
and I were sitting with the Prophet of Allah (s) when c All ibn Abl Talib 
entered and greeted us, so the Prophet (s) replied his greeting and 
smilingly stood up to welcome him and embraced him. He kissed him 
between his eyes and made him sit on his right-hand side. Upon seeing 
this, aPAbbas asked, ‘Do you love him?’ The Prophet (s) replied, ‘0 
uncle, By Allah, Allah loves him more than I do. Indeed Allah has placed 
the progeny of each of the Prophets in his own loins but he has placed 
my progeny in the loins of this man.”' 26/u 

2) It is narrated that the Prophet (s) said: “Indeed Allah (the Sublime and 
Mighty) has placed the progeny of all the Prophets in their own loins 
but he has placed my progeny in the loins of c All.” 27/ ” 


25 Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn al-Babawayh (d. 381 A.H.), VyunAkhbar al-Rida, vol. 1, p. 81-82, hadith 
no. 9 

26 Tarlkh Baghdad, vol. 2 p. 158; al-Manaqib li al-Khwarizmi, p. 328 

27 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, p. 74; YanaW al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 237 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


3) In the book Khasads Amir al-Mu } minin, al-NasaT narrates from 
Muhammad ibn Usamah ibn Zayd, from his father, that the Prophet of 
Allah (s) said: “Indeed you, 0 c All, are my daughter’s husband, and the 
father of my progeny. You are from me and I am from you.” 28/ ' 

4) He also narrates that Usamah said: “I paid a visit to the Prophet of Allah 
(s) one night for some [urgent] work, so he came out while he had with 
him something that I did not recognize. When I had finished what I 
came for, I asked, ‘What is this that you are covering [with your cloak]?’ 
So he opened his cloak and all of a sudden, I saw al-Hasan and al-Husayn 
on his flanks. He said: ‘These are my two sons, and the sons of my 
daughter. 0 Allah, you know that I love them both so love them 
both!’” 297 ''' 

The narrations that clearly state that al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a) were the 
children of the Prophet (s) are indeed numerous. 

Some ignorant individuals have tried to come up with explanations [for these 
traditions] in order to negate the paternity of the Prophet (s) in relation to his 
two sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a), using the verse: Muhammad is not the father 
of any man among you... (Q33:40) as their proof. They think this means that the 
Prophet (s) was not anyone’s father, despite knowing that this verse was 
revealed in order to negate the relationship of Zayd, who had been adopted by 
the Prophet (s) and who had divorced Zaynab bint Jahash after the Prophet 
married her to him, after which the Prophet himself married her as mentioned 
in the verse: So when Zayd had accomplished what he wanted with her, We wedded 
her to you so that there would be no blame on the faithful in respect to the wives of their 


28 Khasa’is Amir al-Mu’minin, pp. 148-149 

29 Ibid. 


Al-Mubarakah 


69 


adopted sons after they are through with them, and Allah’s command is bound to be 
fulfilled. (Q33:37) Here the issue being clarified is that the Prophet (s) is not the 
father of Zayd such that marrying his ex-wife becomes forbidden to him. For 
the impermissibility of marrying the wife of one’s son is contingent on the 
relationship (of father and son), so one who is not tied by the bond of this 
relationship is not forbidden from marrying the other’s ex-wife. This is what 
the verse is referring to when it states: Muhammad is not the father of any man 
among you. The Prophet (s) had indeed fathered some sons, namely Ibrahim, al- 
Qasim, al-Tayyib and al-Mutahhar. 

It has been verified and established that he (s) said about al-Hasan ( c a): “Verily 
this son of mine is a master.” 307 ' He also said: “These two sons of mine, al- 

Hasan and al-Husayn, are Imams, whether they rise up or sit down.” 31/ '' r In 

addition, it is reported that he (s) said: “All the children of one’s daughter are 
ascribed to their father, except the children of Fatimah, for indeed I am their 
father.” 327 ' In addition, it is said that the phrase ‘any man among you’ (Q33:40) 
is talking about adult males at that time - and none of his sons were adults at 
that time. 

In concluding this chapter, we note that everything that can be said about the 
paternity of the Prophet of Allah for his male sons has been established in his 
relationship with al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and what applies to the former also 
applies to the latter. 


30 al-Isabah, vol. 2, p. 71 

31 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 278 

32 Ibid., p. 284 


70 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Al-Tahirah 

As was mentioned earlier, one of her names is al-Tahirah. It is narrated from 
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ( c a), from his father, that: “Fatimah bint Muhammad 
was named al-Tahirah because of her purity from every form of filth and 
pollution, and she never once saw menstruation or postnatal bleeding 
(nifds).” 33/ ''° 

The best thing we can discuss in relation to this subject is the Verse of 
Purification ( ayah al-tathir ) wherein Allah, the Most High, says: Indeed Allah 
desires to repel all impurity from you, 0 People of the Household, and purify you with a 
thorough purification. (Q33:33) This verse is considered one of the most 
important and highly significant verses due to the greatness of its meaning and 
purport, because it speaks of the merits of the Prophet’s Household just as it 
addresses other important issues. 

There are differing opinions about this verse and it has occupied the minds of 
many. It may be correct for us to say that the Verse of Purification is [like] a 
battleground of differing views and conflicting opinions, especially regarding 
the meaning of the phrase ‘the Household [of the Prophet]’ - whom this refers to 
and whom it includes. One thing that is certain, and about which there is no 
doubt, is that one of the people included in the Verse of Purification is al- 
Siddiqah al-Tahirah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - and there is a consensus about this 
among the all the exegetes and traditionists of both the ShTah and Sunni 
schools, except for a negligible few who opine differently. 

All the narrations that have been recorded about the revelation of this verse 
mention the inclusion of c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a). There are 
certain statements that indicate the inclusion of the wives of the Prophet (s) 


33 Ibid., p. 19 


Al-Tahirah 


71 


also, based on the apparent meaning of the term ‘household’ or the context of 
the verses that precede and follow this verse, both of which address the wives 
of the Prophet. Yet all the traditions clearly mention that the Prophet did not 
even allow his wife al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah to come under the cloak before 
the Verse of Purification was revealed. 

We have briefly discussed this verse in the book c Ali ( c a) - from Cradle to Grave, 
and here we will mention some of the traditions with references from the books 
of Sunni scholars, in keeping with the format of this monograph, in order to 
derive benefit therefrom. We should note that those who state that the Verse 
of Purification was revealed about c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a) are 
too many to enumerate - they may even be in the hundreds. 

If we wanted to present the statements of the exegetes and traditionists about 
this verse, it would become a lengthy exercise and the book would lose its 
structure and format. We will thus only mention twenty statements from well 
known Sunni scholars, exegetes and traditionists, and this should be sufficient 
for [convincing] any unbiased individual. 

l) Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates from Abu Sa c id al-Khudri, about the 
verse: Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, 0 People of the 
Household, and purify you with a thorough purification, that he said: “The 
Prophet (s) gathered c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and then 
he covered them with a cloak saying, ‘These are the members of my 
household. 0 Allah, remove all impurity from them and purify them 
with a thorough purification.’ At that moment, Umm Salamah was at 
the door so she said, ‘0 Prophet of Allah, am I not among them?’ He 
replied, ‘You are indeed upon good’ or ‘[headed] towards good.’” 347 '' 1 


34 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 10, p. 183; c Ubaydullah ibn Ahmad al-Haskanl (d. 480 A.H.), Shawahid al- 
Tanzll li Qawa c id al-Tafdil, vol. 2, p. 36 


72 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


2) Al-Zamakhsharl says: It is narrated from 'Adshah that the Prophet (s) 
once went out wearing a long cloak made of black fur that had been 
embroidered. Then al-Hasan ibn c All came [to him] and he covered him 
with it. Then al-Husayn came and he entered in it too. He was followed 
by Fatimah, and the Prophet put her under the cloak as well. Then c Ali 
came and he too was drawn under it [by the Prophet]. Then he (s) said: 
Indeed Allah wishes to remove all impurity from you , the Ahl al-Bayt, and to 
purify you with a thorough purification . 35/ ' ' v 

3) Fakhr al-Razi says: It is narrated that when he (s) went out in a black 
cloak and al-Hasan came to him, he covered him in it. Then al-Husayn 
came to him and he covered him as well. Then Fatimah, then 'All. Then 
he recited: Indeed Allah wishes... 36 ^ ' A 

4) ibn al-Athir al-Jazari relates: 'Umar ibn Abi Salamah (the foster son of 
the Prophet (s)) said: “When the verse Indeed Allah wishes to remove all 
impurity from you, the Ahl al-Bayt, and to purify you with a thorough 
purification was revealed to the Prophet (s) in the house of Umm 
Salamah, the Prophet (s) called Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn and 
covered them with a cloak while 'All was also behind him. Then he said: 
‘These are my Ahl al-Bayt, so remove all impurity from them [0 Allah] 
and purify them with a thorough purification.’ At that moment, Umm 


35 Mahmud ibn c Umar al-Zamakhshari (d. 538 A.H.), al-Kashshaf c an Haqalq al-Tanzil wa c Uyun al- 
AqawilfiWujuh al-Ta’wil, vol. 1, p. 369 

36 Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol. 8, p. 71 



Al-Tahirah 


Salamah asked: ‘Am I also among them 0 Prophet of Allah?’ He replied: 
‘You are in your position; you are upon goodness.’” 377 ' 

5) Sibt ibn al-Jawzi narrates from Wadlah ibn al-Asqa c who said: “I came 
to Fatimah ( c a) in order to ask her about c Ali, so she replied, ‘He has 
gone with the Prophet of Allah (s),’ so I sat down [outside] waiting for 
him. At that moment, I saw the Prophet (s) approaching and he was 
accompanied by c All, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. He was holding each of 
their hands, and when he entered the house he made al-Hasan sit on 
his right thigh, al-Husayn on his left thigh and made c All and Fatimah 
sit in front of him. He then covered them with his cloak or robe and 
recited: Indeed Allah wishes to remove all impurities from you the Ahl al- 
Bayt... Then he (s) said: ‘0 Allah! These are my true Ahl al-Bayt!”’ 387 "' 

6) Imam al-Wahidi, in his book Asbab al-Nuzul, narrates from Umm al- 
Salamah, the wife of the Prophet (s), who recalled that the Messenger 
of Allah was in her house when Fatimah came to see him holding a pot 
of food. He said to her: “Call your husband and sons for me.” So c AlI, al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn all came and sat down to partake of the food that 
was on the platter while he (the Prophet (s)) was seated upon a blanket 
from Khaybar. Umm Salamah said: “While I was in the room praying, 
Allah revealed the verse: Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, 
0 People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification, at 
which point the Prophet took the blanket and covered them with it. 
Then he raised his hands towards the sky and said: ‘0 Allah, these are 
my Ahl al-Bayt and those who are closest to me, so remove impurity 


37 c AlI ibn Muhammad ibn al-Athir al-Jazari (d. 630 A.H.), Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma c rifat al-Sahabah, vol. 
2, p. 13 

38 Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 510 


74 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


from them and purify them with a thorough purification.’” Umm 
Salamah then says: “[when I heard this] I turned my head towards the 
room and asked: ‘Am I [also] with you 0 Messenger of Allah?’ He replied: 
‘Your end is good, your end is good!”’ 397 '" 

Al-TirmidhI has also narrated in his Sahih, that from the time this verse 
was revealed, for up to about six months, the Prophet (s) would pass by 
Fatimah’s house whenever he was proceeding for prayers and say: “[it 
is time for] prayer, 0 Ahl al-Bayt! Indeed Allah wishes to remove all impurity 
from you.. .” 40/ 

7) ibn Sabbagh al-Malik! narrates a similar tradition from al-Wahidl and 
adds to it the following statement: ...Some of them have composed [the 
following] couplets about this: 

0 jAl UJl J J iJt A ^jlj A Cj ! j AZ 0JJ all jl 

o I j 1 9 *1 fy-j a! 

Indeed the Prophet, his deputy and his two sons, 
and his daughter the Chaste, the Pure 

Are the people of the cloak and Indeed through their love 
I seek safety and salvation in the Hereafter 41 

8 ) Abu Bakr al-Suyuti has quoted this narration with numerous chains in 
his works, from Umm Salamah, SAdshah, Abu Sahd al-Khudri, Zayd ibn 


39 c AlI ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (d. 468 A.H.), Asbab Nuzul al-Qurian, under the commentary of Q33:33 
,0 Jami c al-Tirmidhl, vol. 5, p. 352 

41 Ibn al-Sabbagh al-Malikl (d. 855 A.H.), al-Fusul al-Muhimmah fi Ma c rifat al-AImmah, vol. 1, p. 140 


Al-Tahirah 


Arqam, ibn c Abbas, al-Dahhak ibn Muzahim, Abu al-Hamra 3 , c Umar ibn 
Abl Salamah and others who said: The Prophet (s) called Fatimah, c Ali, 
al-Hasan and al-Husayn when the verse ‘Indeed Allah wishes to remove all 
impurities from you theAhl al-Bayt...’ was revealed, and covered them with 
a cloak saying: “By Allah! These are my Ahl al-Bayt so remove from 
them all impurity and purify them with a thorough purification.” 427 " 1 " 

9) Al-Tabari narrates from TJmar ibn Abl Salamah, that this verse was 
revealed about the five lofty personalities. He relates from Umm 
Salamah that the Messenger of Allah (s) took a cloak and covered 
Fatimah, 'All, al-Hasan and al-Husayn with it while he was also with 
them [under it], then he recited this verse: Verily Allah wishes to remove 
from you all impurity , 0 Ahl al-Bayt, and to purify you with a thorough 
purification. Then she said: “I approached them seeking to enter [the 
cloak] with them, but the Prophet (s) said to me: ‘Remain where you are 
- you are upon goodness.’” 437 ' ' 4 

In another narration, she said: “The Messenger of Allah (s) said to 
Fatimah, ‘Bring your husband and two sons to me,’ so she brought them 
to him. He turned a fragrant cloak over them and then placed his hand 
upon them saying: ‘0 Allah this is the family of Muhammad, so send 
your salutations and blessings on the family of Muhammad, indeed You 
are the Praised, the Exalted!”’ Umm Salamah said: “I lifted the cloak in 
order to enter it with them, but the Prophet (s) pulled it back [thereby 
preventing me from doing so] and said: ‘You are upon goodness.’” 447 " ° 


42 c Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr Jalal al-Din al-Suyutl (d. 911 A.H.), al-Durr al-Manthur ft Tafsir al- 
Ma’thur, vol. 5, p. 198; al-Khasa^is al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 394 and al-Itqan fi c Ulum al-QuAan, vol. 2, p. 533 

43 Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba, p. 21 

44 Ibid. p. 22 


76 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


10) Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurtubi says that this verse was revealed 
about the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) 45 

11) ibn al- c Arabi also mentions the same. 46 

12) Ibn c Abd al-Barr al-Andalusi says this in his book al-Istl c ab. 47 

13) Al-BayhaqI says this in his Sunan. 48 

14) Al-Hakim al-Nisaburi narrates something similar to what has been 
related earlier from Umm Salamah, until the part where she said: 
“...The Prophet (s) then said: ‘0 Allah these are my Ahl al-Bayt.’ [Then 
he narrates] Umm Salamah said: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, am I not part of 
the Ahl al-Bayt?’ He said: ‘You, my [dear] wife, are upon goodness, [but] 
these are my Ahl al-Bayt.. .’” 49/ ' n 

15) Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal mentions this in his Musnad. 50 

16) Al-NasaT says this in his al-Khasa } is. 51 

17) Muhammad ibnjarir al-Tabari notes this in his Tafsir. 52 

18) Al-Khwarizmi also mentions this in his work. 53 


45 Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurtubi (d. 671 A.H.), al-Jamh al-Ahkam al-Qufan, vol. 
14, p. 182 

46 Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah ibn al- c Arabi (d. 543 A.H.), Ahkam al-Qur’dn, vol. 3, p. 571 

47 al-Isti c ab, vol. 3, p. 1100 

48 al-Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 149 

49 al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 451 

50 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 331 

51 Khasa’is Amir al-Mu’minin, p. 49 

52 Muhammad ibnjarir al-Tabari (d. 310 A.H Jami c al-Bayan fl Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 22, p. 6 

53 al-Mandqib li al-Khwarizmi, p. 61 


Al-Tahirah 


19) Al-HaythamI also mentions this. 54 

20) Ibn Hajar al-Haythami says this in al-Sawa c iq. 55 

We have chosen these select few from a vast number of exegetes and 
traditionists and had it not been for fear of ennui, we would continue quoting 
sources, but the sources we have quoted should suffice for one who has a [clean] 
heart or gives attentive ear. 

I do not feel the need to add anything more about this subject after the Verse 
of Purification has given testimony that al-Zahra 3 is pure - in the most complete 
sense of the word. Moreover, we shall soon present the reader with numerous 
narrations about her being unpolluted ( batul ). In keeping with the style and 
format of this book, we now mention something brief about her name al- 
Tahirah... 

Indeed Allah had purified her from the monthly habit of women, and from 
every filth and impurity, and from every vile and polluted thing; everything 
that naturally causes revulsion, draws the devils close, brings forth 
chastisement, sullies one’s reputation, leads to committing sins, agitates one’s 
intrinsic nature and does away with magnanimity. 

ibn c Arabl says that the term ‘impurity’ here refers to all that disgraces the 
human being. 56 This is the meaning of infallibility that the ShTah believe in 
with respect to the Prophets, Imams and al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 . It is 
indeed a lofty status and an exalted rank that Allah bestowed upon some of His 
special servants. 


54 Majma c al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 166 

55 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 423 

56 Muhammad ibn c Ali Muhyi al-Din ibn c Arabi (d. 638 A.H.), al-Futuhat al-Makiyyah, vol.l, p. 196 


78 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Infallibility need not necessarily be linked to teaching people about divine 
ordinances, for if the Prophets and Imams were deemed infallible because of 
their carrying out the work of dissemination (tabllgh), then this would mean 
that others who do not accomplish the same task could be not be deemed 
infallible. Yet we see that Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) proved the infallibility of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) using the Verse of Purification, in the 
discussion that took place between himself and Abu Bakr. We produce herewith 
some of what was said: 

c Al! ( c a) said to Abu Bakr: “0 Aba Bakr, do you read the Book of Allah?” He said: 
“Yes.” “Then tell me about the verse wherein Allah the Almighty says: Indeed 
Allah wishes to remove from you every impurity, 0 household of the Prophet, and to 
purify you with a thorough purification - about whom was it revealed? About us or 
other than us?” He said: “It was [revealed] about you.” c All ( c a) said: “So if a 
group of witnesses bore witness that Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger 
of Allah, had committed an indecency what would you do?” He said: “I would 
carry out the legal punishment upon her as I would with any other Muslim 
woman!” Amir al-Mu’minln ( c a) said: “Then you would indeed be among the 
disbelievers in the sight of Allah.” He asked: “Why is that?” He replied: “Because 
you would have rejected the testimony of Allah about her purity and accepted 
the testimony of people against her...” 57/m 

One of the consequences of this purity is remaining pure even in death, despite 
the fact that the body of every human being, no matter how pious or devout he 
or she may be, becomes completely impure when they die, such that a ritual 
bath is required even for one who touches that dead body after it has turned 
cold, and the corpse does not become pure except after it is given a ritual bath. 


57 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 176; Ahmad ibn c AlI al- TabarsI (d. 588 A.H.), Ihtijaj c ala Ahl al-Lijaj, vol. 
l,p. 92 


Al-Tahirah 


79 


However, the infallibles were pure during their lifetime and even after their 
death. 

In the book Wasa^il al-ShI c ah, it is narrated from al-Hasan ibn c Ubayd that he said: 
“I wrote to al-Sadiq ( c a) asking, ‘Did Amir al-Mu’minln take a ritual bath after 
washing the dead body of the Messenger of Allah (s)?’ He replied, ‘The Prophet 
is pure and purified, but Amir al-Mu’minln did this [anyway] so that the sunnah 
would be established upon this practice. ,58/ ' u 

We shall present more details about this in the chapter on ritual washing at the 
end of this book, God-willing. 


58 Wasa’il al-Shi c ah, vol. 3, p. 291, hadlth no. 7 


CHAPTER SIX 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 

A hadlth has been narrated in Shhah books pertaining to the revelation of the 
Verse of Purification. It is known as the Tradition of the Cloak ( hadlth al-kisa 3 ) 
and is recorded in al-Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Bahrani’s book c Awalim al- c Ulum as 
well as others. This tradition has been narrated by Jabir ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ansarl 
as follows: 

From Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) who 
said: “One day my father, the Messenger of Allah (s), came to me and 
said: ‘Peace be upon you 0 Fatimah!’ I replied: ‘And upon you be peace.’ 
Then he said: ‘I find myself feeling weak.’ I said to him: ‘I seek refuge 
for you with Allah from weakness.’ He (s) said: ‘0 Fatimah, bring me the 
Yemeni cloak and cover me with it.’” 1 

Fatimah ( c a) said: “I brought the Yemeni cloak for him and covered him 
it. At this point I noticed that his face was shining like the full moon on 
a dark night.” Then she ( c a) said: “It was not long before my son al- 
Hasan ( c a) came. He said: ‘Peace by upon you 0 mother!’ I replied: ‘And 
upon you be peace 0 coolness of my eyes and apple of my heart!’ He 


1 c Awalim al- c Ulum, vol. 11, p. 931 



Hadith al-Kisa : 


81 


said: ‘0 mother, I smell a fragrance like that of my grandfather the 
Messenger of Allah (s).’ I said: ‘Yes my son, your grandfather is resting 
under the cloak.’ So al-Hasan approached the cloak and said: ‘Peace be 
upon you 0 grandfather, 0 Prophet of Allah! Do you permit me to come 
under the cloak with you?’ He (s) replied: ‘And upon you be peace my 
son and the custodian of my [paradisical] pond, I give you permission 
[to do so].’ So he entered under the cloak with him.” 

Then Fatimah ( c a) said: “It was not long before my son al-Husayn ( c a) 
came. He said: ‘Peace by upon you 0 mother!’ I replied: ‘And upon you 
be peace 0 coolness of my eyes and apple of my heart!’ He said: ‘0 
mother, I smell a fragrance like that of my grandfather the Messenger 
of Allah (s).’ I said: ‘Yes my son, your grandfather and brother are 
resting under the cloak.’ So al-Husayn approached the cloak and said: 
‘Peace be upon you 0 grandfather, 0 he who has been chosen by Allah! 
Do you permit me to come under the cloak with you?’ He (s) replied: 
‘And upon you be peace my son and the intercessor of my community, 
I give you permission [to do so].’ So he entered under the cloak with 
them.” 

Fatimah ( c a) continued: “Shortly after this, Abu al-Hasan c Ali ibn Abl 
Talib ( c a) came. He said: ‘Peace by upon you 0 daughter of the 
Messenger of Allah!’ I replied: ‘And upon you be peace 0 Aba al-Hasan, 
0 Master of the Faithful!’ He said: ‘0 Fatimah, I smell a fragrance like 
that of my brother and cousin, the Messenger of Allah (s).’ I said: ‘Yes, 
there he is with your two sons under the cloak.’ So Amir al-Mu 3 minm 
( c a) approached the cloak and said: ‘Peace be upon you 0 Messenger of 
Allah! Do you permit me to come under the cloak with you?’ He (s) 
replied: ‘And upon you be peace my brother, my successor and my flag 


82 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


bearer, you have my permission [to do so].’ So c All ( c a) entered the 
cloak. 

Then I myself approached the cloak and said: ‘Peace by upon you 0 
father, 0 Prophet of Allah! Do you grant me permission to enter the 
cloak with you?’ He (s) replied: ‘And upon you be peace my daughter 
and part of my flesh; you have my permission [to do so].’ So I entered 
under the cloak with them all. 

Once we were all under the cloak, my father, the Messenger of Allah (s), 
took the edges of the cloak and motioned with his right hand to the sky 
saying: ‘0 Allah, these are my Ahl al-Bayt, my nearest family and closest 
supporters, their flesh is my flesh and their blood is my blood. That 
which hurts them hurts me and that which disturbs them disturbs me. 2 
I am at war with those who are at war with them and at peace with 
those who are at peace with them. I am the enemy of their enemies and 
I love those who love them. They are from me and I am from them. So 
bestow Your salutations, blessings, mercy, forgiveness and [divine] 
pleasure upon me and upon them, and remove all impurity from them 
and purify them with a thorough purification.’ 

Allah, the Almighty, said: ‘0 My Angels and the inhabitants of My 
heavens, know that indeed I have not created the raised sky, the 
stretched earth, the bright moon, the illuminating sun, the revolving 
planets, the flowing river or the sailing ship except for the love of these 
five people who are under the cloak.’ The trustworthy archangel JibraTl 
asked: ‘0 my Lord, who are [these individuals] under the cloak?’ Allah, 
the Almighty, said: ‘They are the household of the Prophet and the 


2 And in another version: ‘...and that which makes them sad makes me sad.’ 


Hadith al-Kisa : 


83 


wellspring of Prophethood; they are Fatimah, her father, her husband 
and her sons.’ 

JibraTl said: ‘0 Lord, do You grant me permission to descend to the 
earth so that I can join them and be the sixth one [under the cloak]?’ 
Allah, the Almighty, said: ‘I grant you permission.’ SoJibraTl descended 
[to earth] and said: ‘Peace be upon you 0 Messenger of Allah! The Most 
Exalted Lord has sent His salutations and has conveyed His greetings to 
you, and says: “By My Honour and Glory, I have not created the raised 
sky, the stretched earth, the bright moon, the illuminating sun, the 
revolving planets, the flowing river or the sailing ship except for your 
sake;” and He has permitted me to enter under the cloak with you, so 
do you permit me to enter 0 Messenger of Allah?’ 

The Prophet of Allah (s) said: ‘And upon you be peace 0 trusted 
custodian of divine revelation, I permit you [to enter].’ So JibraTl 
entered under the cloak with us. Then he said: ‘Allah has revealed unto 
you saying 3 : Indeed Allah wishes to remove all impurity from you, the 
household [of Prophethood], and to purify you with a thorough purification.’ 
c All ibn Abl Talib said: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, tell me about this 
gathering of ours under the cloak and its significance in the sight of 
Allah.’ The Prophet (s) replied: ‘By Him who appointed me a Prophet in 
truth and chose me to deliver the message of salvation [to mankind], 
whenever this event is recounted in any gathering of the people of this 
world wherein our followers and friends are present, the mercy of Allah 
descends upon them and angels surround them, seeking forgiveness for 
them until they disperse.’ 


3 In another version: ‘Then he said to my father, “Indeed Allah sends a revelation upon you 
saying:...’” 


84 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


c All ( c a) said: ‘Then indeed, by the Lord of the Ka c bah we are successful 
as are our followers!’ 

Then the Messenger of Allah (s) said again: ‘By Him who appointed me 
a Prophet in truth and chose me to deliver the message of salvation [to 
mankind], whenever this event is recounted in any gathering of this 
world wherein our followers and friends are present, if there is anyone 
amongst them who is grieved, Allah shall remove his grief, and if there 
is anyone who is distressed, Allah shall alleviate his distress, and if 
anyone has any needs, Allah will fulfil his needs. c Ali ( c a) said: Then 
indeed, by the Lord of the Ka c bah, we are successful and our ShTah are 
also successful and felicitous both in this world and the next!’”"’ 


The Shi c ah and HadIth al-Kisa 3 

It has been the practice among the ShTah, throughout the ages, to recite hadlth 
al-kisa 3 in their gatherings, meetings and assemblies, for blessings, fulfillment 
of needs and to receive divine mercy. Many amazing results have been 
witnessed by the recitation of this great hadlth, from the sick being healed to 
the fulfilment of [legitimate] desires and the alleviation of hardships and 
distress. 

The Tradition of the Cloak has been narrated in the following sources: 

— Ghurar al-Akhbar by al-Daylam! (the author of Irshad al-Qulub ) who was 
an eight-century (A.H.) scholar. 

— Al-Muntakhab by al-Turayhi (the author of Majma c al-Bahrayn). 

— Nahj al-Mahajjah fi Fadadl al-Admmah by Shaykh c Ali Naq! ibn Ahmad al- 
Ahsa 3 ! (a twelfth century scholar). 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 


85 


— c Awalim al- ( Ulum by Shaykh ‘Abdullah Afandl al-Bahrani - He has 
narrated it using strong and complete chains from a group of great 
scholars such as ‘Allamah al-Hilli, Shaykh al-Tusi, Shaykh al-Mufid, ibn 
Qulawayh, ‘All ibn Ibrahim (the author of Tafsir al-Qummi), Shaykh al- 
Kulayni and others. 

At the same time, there are certain scholars who have written entire works 
about this hadith, its meaning and the ways through which it has reached us. 
Whoever seeks further details should refer to the book Ihqaq al-Haqq by al-Qadi 
Nurullah al-Tustari . 4 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 


Throughout history, poets played an important role in presenting this noble 
tradition in the form of beautiful rhyming verse in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. 
Among these, the honourable Sayyid Muhammad al-Qazwini, son of Sayyid 
Mahdi al-Qazwini al-Najafi al-Hilli, has presented this noble hadith in the 
following poetic form: 


e-\ k stfh Q .fs o\\ ^J_ idlo 




oljl li* Js 


^3 7 ^ . ls ^ 4 A? 

4 llJgp c- 1 wSnJIjj 4P j .a 



frl wvjJl j , . .*>- 4. , . ,,oJg Is 1 J 

iS/l wL ^ jl :J j 

® LSj' LT- 5 ! : LT- J 
frl ^ Ip j 9 

A .1 u 9 J A It'* * A . \ U 




4 — 6 s . rj 




4 Nurullah ibn Sharaf al-Din al-Tustari (d. 1019 A.H.), Ihqaq al-Haqq wa Izhaq al-Batil, vol. 2, p. 558 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 




S/I ^ I *S 


:JI is 




L~SJl o 


1.9 jA l A ^ AJ I C. — U 




I— 


I f!b\ 


-J 14 I Jl 9 


I Si\ 


£— :L> 1^5 — 


,\» ji ^ ii i «jist 

lj J9I — Uj kjr Ji j — » 


:JI i 


d SS\ c. 


S/l J JillSlI 


Jl is 


IJL_» «.l_Jjl »—> *J :d-Ji9 


J — 


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I fj]\ SU Jl A dS/l j d 


dlj Jl — »4>- ^5— 9 1 — Al 51 


j .t. , 1 1 U . .a l 9 U-\— aa .- 

I *L>Jl *1 »JsJl d — .>c ^ aj :oJi9 


*}J>-I P J ^oli :Jl 9 J ll 4 la Sljl •« 


c — t=*s : 


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|t JSj v£5 jJl si aJ |» g 1 laJ As 


LS UJI OljU Jl al 


'd Pj J — 4>- J — UJl 4 — ll (_gjl j 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 






J*}1 pJlj oJ^Jl 


_^_U ^y>j\ 


j!> ^ 5 r 


ji ji ii v, h r 


“r^ (*-*j — u — - p — ^ Jr 


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j- ■ .>cJ 0 1 . ,.woJ 1 ■ 3 ■ .>eJ <* « 

L^JI Jr-* 


L> :cUi : JU 


Jr-’J 


4 J 1 c*j jJl 1 ^ 3 w\ *j* _a ; ^ 1 (Jl__a3 

l , ■ ■ A o-tli Jt * :Jl 9j 

^ J j * ol >j 1 j !C-* Lfl3 

1 UJ *sl jjJ c 1 ... ^ 1 I L ** ■ >■! ^ wl, . ZS- Is 

LJ wvw« >t3 .A ijl 9 

l , . .-.^„> ^ a^I (jl ! J ^ Hi 

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l o-^jLjj l Jl*» (J j fij j & J 

L_» :c^ :^-1 p Jl — i 
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s*- — ^1 J — ^ 5 — 9 j— p"Jl IJ — fl j— i lSj-^T I—' " 


I j 9 jJlJ I « jA J ll ^ 9 


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1^4 . A . ^3 * ■ 1 - A 1 1 4 A y .* M ^ 1 ! ' , d 


Jw jt-fc. 9 ^ ]j 'A S' 


88 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Ss- L&«.1 - G 


4^>-l 


'Ji 


Si *23 jl J ^Jl Jj__j|j 


u. 


ui" 


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v jI >k£>k}\j JZ. «JJ 4 ; Ip j 

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ii -J23 Si 1 

v L_^Sllj Ip Jl 5 

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J I .'in-ll n j C. J ^| ‘ J I C 4 

v l Jl jjj oJM 1 t < \ 





I ijs-l j (_g J. J I CL- 1> j-Jat ^ols 


Fatimah, the best of women, has narrated to us 
the narration about the lofty personages, the Ashab al-Kisa J 

She says: Verily the master of humankind 
came to me on one day of days 

And said: I surely feel in my body 
weakness that has today enfeebled me 

Fetch me the Yemeni cloak 
and cover me with it quickly 

She said: I brought it answering his call 
quickly, and covered him with the cloak 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 


89 


I was gazing at his face [which was] like the full moon 
on the fourth after ten nights had passed 5 

Only a short while had passed 
until Abu Muhammad al-Hasan came 

He said: 0 mother I surely sense 
the sweet fragrance that I believe 

To be the fragrance of the Prophet 
the brother of his trustee al-Murtada, c Ali 

I said: Yes, this is him under the cloak 
wrapped up in it, covered and shrouded 

So his [grandjson came close to him, offering salutation [and] 
seeking permission [to enter]. He (s) said: Enter thou with honour 

Not much time passed thereafter 
when his grandson al-Husayn alone did come 

He said: 0 mother, I smell next to you 
a fragrance like that of redolent musk 

And by the right of the One who has bestowed you with honour 
I believe it is the fragrance of the Prophet al-Mustafa (s) 

I said: Yes, [he is] under this cloak 
and next to him is your brother, resting 


5 Meaning on the fourteenth night (Tr.) 


90 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


His grandson approached him, seeking permission 
and offering greetings. He (s) said to him: Enter with us 

Much time had not passed when 
came their father, the brave lion [of Islam] 

The father of the Imams, the noble guides, 
al-Murtada, the fourth companion of the cloak 

He said: 0 mistress of all women 
and she to whom I was wed in the heavens 

Indeed, I smell in your sanctuary a fragrance 
like that of a fresh redolent rose-flower 

Whose uniqueness tells of the presence of the master of mankind 
and the greatest person to have responded [to the call], circumambulated [the Ka c bah] 

and performed pilgrimage 

I said: Yes, he has covered himself with the cloak 
and your two sons have joined him under it 

So he approached while asking permission 
from him (s) to enter. He (s) said: Enter quickly 

She said: Then I went towards them offering my salutations, 

He (s) said: Enter my beloved [daughter] with honour 

And when the place had been illuminated by their presence, 
all having come together under that one cloak 

The Lord of all creation, the Mighty the High, announced 
to all the angels in the highest heavens 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 


91 


I swear by My Power and Glory, 
by My ascendancy above every high one 

There is no elevation that I have raised as a firmament 
and there is no land has been spread out on earth 

Nor have I created the bright moon, 
no, and neither the illuminating sun 

Nor the seas in which waters flow, 
no, and neither the ships that on the seas sail 

But for the sake of those who are under the cloak, 
Those whose affair is not doubtful 

The trusted one said: I asked: ‘0 Lord! And who 
is under the cloak? By their right, tell us!’ 

He answered me: ‘They are the wellspring of Prophethood 
and the place of descent for revelation and majesty’ 

He said: ‘They are Fatimah, her husband, 
al-Mustafa and her sons, al-Hasanan’ 6 

I said: ‘0 Lord! Do you permit me 
to go down to earth - to that house? 

So that I can become the sixth under the cloak, 
just as I was made a servant and protector?’ 


6 Meaning al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a) (Tr.) 


92 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


He said: ‘Yes. ’ So he came to them offering salutations , 
seeking permission and reciting to them [the verse of] “innama” 7 

Saying: ‘Indeed Allah has distinguished you with it, 
a miracle for the one who pays heed 

The Exalted Lord sends you His salutations, 
and bestows upon you the greatest honour 

And He says, announcing and informing 
His illustrious angels of what we have just said’ 

c Ali said: I said [to the Prophet], ‘0 my beloved 
what share [of benefit] is there in our meeting thus?’ 

The Prophet (s) said: ‘By He who has chosen me 
and distinguished me with revelation and selected me 

News of this [event] is not recounted 
in the gathering ofShTah, the best community 

But that the Lord sends down mercy 
and they are surrounded by a large host 

Of angels who are true 
protecting them until they disperse 

Never is there any amongst them aggrieved 
but that his grief is from him removed 


1 Referring to the Verse of Purification (Tr.) 


Hadith al-Kisa 3 and the Poets 


93 


Never amongst them does any have a need 
which he finds difficult to attain 

But that Allah, the Bountiful, fulfils his need 
and sends down, out of His grace, His divine pleasure’ 

c All said: ‘We and those who love us, 
our ShFah, who have been made good from antiquity 

Are successful by what we have gained, by the Lord of the Ka c bah’ 
so each individual must thank his Lord! 8 

Amazing it is that the trusted archangel seeks permission 
from them [to enter] whereas the treacherous one attacks them 

Sulaym said: I asked, ‘0 Salman, 
did they enter when they were not granted permission?’ 

He said, ‘Yes, [I swear] by the Majesty of the all-Omnipotent Lord, 
and at that time al-Zahra 1 did not have a veil 

But she hid herself behind the door 
out of concern for her veil and covering 

The moment they saw her, they squeezed her [behind it] tightly; 
By my life - she almost died of sorrow 

Crying out: ‘0 Fiddah lift me up 
for by my Lord, they have killed my baby!’ 


8 Husayn c AlI Al al-Shaykh Sulayman al-Biladi al-Bahrani, Riyad al-Madh wal-Ratha \ p. 11 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The daughter of the Guide miscarried, 0 what grief, 
her child; he who had been named Muhsin’ 


CHAPTER SEVEN 

Her Other Names: Al-Radiyah 

Satisfaction with what Allah, the Most High, has decreed for His servant is 
considered one of the highest levels of faith in Allah. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 was satisfied with the unpleasant [worldly] life that Allah had decreed 
for her. This book in its entirety aims to discuss the tribulations and hardships 
that befell her, from her tender young age up to the time she left this world, 
while in her prime of her youth. Throughout all this, she remained completely 
satisfied with what Allah had destined for her, including the fear, persecution, 
deprivation, poverty, grief, sadness, distress, suffering and anguish that she 
underwent; and this book highlights some of the hardships that she faced in 
her life. Indeed, it would be appropriate to include her [amongst those who are 
addressed] in the words of the Almighty: 0 soul at peace! Return to your Lord well 
pleased [with Him] and having pleased [Him] (Q89:27-28), because she was pleased 
with the [promised] reward of Allah, with what Allah had planned for her and 
what He decreed for her in this world, until Allah became well pleased with her. 



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Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Al-Zakiyyah 

Words that are derivatives of ‘al-tazkiyah’ are mentioned numerous times in the 
Glorious Qur’an, such as the verses: He who purifies it is successful (Q91:9), Did you 
slay an innocent soul... (Q18:74), That I may grant you a pure son (Q19:19) and That is 
more beneficial and purer for you (Q2:232). 

This word (i.e. tazkiyah ) means purification and growth. So the first verse 
[mentioned above] means: ‘He who purifies his soul by cleansing it of lowly and 
vile traits such as gluttony, loquaciousness, anger, jealousy, niggardliness, love 
for authority, love for this world, arrogance and self-praise [is successful].’ 
Purification of oneself from these traits is achieved by purging them from 
oneself, and by performing righteous deeds that are contrary to miserliness, 
arrogance and the like. The second verse means: ‘Have you killed a pure soul 
that has not committed any crime or any action that warrants its slaughter?’ 
The third verse means: ‘A son who is pure from sin and perfect in his good 
actions.’ 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) was al-Zakiyyah in the complete sense of the 
word, with all its meanings and connotations, and the Verse of Purification 
suffices to prove this matter. Thus, she is al-Zakiyyah meaning that she has 
been purified from all filth, and we have already discussed the meaning of filth 
( rijs ) in our analysis of the Verse of Purification. 

As for the fourth verse, it denotes ‘growth and increase’, and al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) is al-Zakiyyah in that sense also. We have already 
mentioned something that relates to this under the discussion of her title al- 
Mubarakah. 


Al-Mardiyyah 


97 


Al-Mardiyyah 

Indeed those who have attained the pleasure of Allah have a lofty rank and an 
elevated status, for there are but a few servants of Allah with whom Allah is 
pleased and who have attained His approbation because of their moderation 
and steadfastness. Amongst those who succeeded in attaining this lofty status 
and elevated rank was our mistress Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), for Allah was well 
pleased with her, and she had attained His pleasure by her worship and 
obedience, her austerity and charity, her patience and steadfastness. 

Al-Hafiz al- c Asqalani has narrated that the Prophet of Allah (s) said: “Jibradl 
came to me and said, ‘0 Muhammad, verily your Lord loves Fatimah so bow 
down in prostration!’ So I prostrated.. A 17 '’' Al-Dhahabi has also narrated that 

Jibradl descended upon the Prophet (s) when Fatimah was born and said: 
“...Allah sends His salutations to you and He sends His salutations to your 
newborn child.” 27 ' 


Al-Muhaddathah 

Before anything else, we must answer the question: Do angels converse with 
anyone other than the Prophet? And can they be seen or heard by anyone other 
than the Prophet (s)? In order to respond to these questions, we turn to the 
Glorious Qur 3 an to glean the correct answers: 

l) Allah says: And when the angels said, “0 Maryam, verily Allah has chosen you 
and purified you and chosen you above all the women of the world. 0 Maryam, 


1 Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 3 p. 275 

2 Mizan al-Wdal, vol. 4 p. 19 


98 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


be obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow down with those who bow.” 
(Q3:42-43) 

It is clear from this verse that the angels addressed Maryam with the 
aforementioned words of praise and divine mandates. There is no 
doubt that she could hear their call and understand their words, 
otherwise what use would there be in addressing her thus? And it is 
said that the one who spoke to her was JibraTl himself. 3 

2) The Almighty says: And mention Maryam in the book, when she withdrew 
from her family to an easterly place. So she took a veil (to screen herself) from 
them; and We sent to her Our spirit and it appeared to her in the form of a 
handsome man. She said, “I seek refuge with Allah from you, if you are God- 
fearing. ” He said, “I am but a messenger of your Lord that I may give you [glad 
tidings of] a pure son. ” She said, “How can I get a son while no man has touched 
me, nor have I been unchaste?” He said, “So shall it be. Your Lord says: It is easy 
for me. And We shall make him a sign for the people and a mercy from Us, and 
it is a matter which has been decreed.” (Q19:17-2l) 

The exegetes are in agreement that the words ‘Our spirit’ is referring to 
[the angel] JibraTl, who came to her in the form of a complete man, not 
lacking in anything. He stood in front of her and a conversation took 
place between them. 

3) The Almighty says: And his wife, standing by, laughed as We gave the news 
of [the birth of] Ishaq, and after Ishaq, Ya c qub. She said, “0 my! Shall I, an old 
woman, bear children, while my husband [too] is an old man? That is indeed 
an odd thing!” They said, “Are you amazed at Allah’s dispensation? Allah’s 
blessings and mercy be upon you the Ahl al-Bayt. Verily He is the Owner of all 
Praise and Glory.”( Qll:71-73) 


3 Majma c al-Bayan under the commentary of this verse. 



Al-Muhaddathah 


99 


These verses are talking about the angels visiting the house of Ibrahim 
al-Khalil ( c a) in order to bring him glad tidings of a son. His wife Sarah 
was serving them and bringing them food, thinking that they were 
[ordinary] guests. These verses clearly show that Sarah spoke with the 
angels, and they addressed her as mentioned above. 

4) The Almighty says: And We revealed to the mother of Musa [saying], “Nurse 
him. Then, when you fear for him, cast him into the river. Q28:7) 

The exegetes have mentioned that the meaning of ‘We revealed’ is ‘We 
inspired’ and ‘put in her heart’. According to one opinion, she was 
called and [directly] addressed in this way. 

In his commentary of al-Jami c al-Saghlr, al-Munawi quotes the following from al- 
Qurtubi: 

Muhaddathun is the plural of muhaddath, meaning one who is inspired 
or who has a true intuition. This is one in whose heart something is 
placed in the form of inspiration and unveiling ( mukashafah ) from the 
higher realms, or one whose tongue flows with truth without intending 
it, or with whom the angels converse even though he [or she] is not a 
Prophet, or one who is correct when he offers an opinion or an 
estimation - as if he was informed about it and it was cast into his heart 
from the heavenly realm. Thus, it manifests in the way it comes upon 
him, and this is an honour that Allah bestows upon whomsoever He 
wishes from among His righteous servants; and this is a lofty rank from 
the ranks of the close servants of Allah. 4 

After these preliminary notes, it is not difficult for us to understand that al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was a Muhaddathah, as the Mistress of all Women 


4 Fayd al-Qadir, vol. 4, p. 664 


100 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of the World and the daughter of the Master of all Prophets and Messengers is 
no less in rank and status than Maryam, daughter of c Imran, or Sarah, wife of 
Ibrahim, or the mother of Musa. This, of course, does not mean that Maryam or 
Sarah or the mother of Musa were Prophets, and similarly, it does not mean 
that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra’ was a Prophet. 

Shaykh al-Saduq has narrated in c llal al-SharaY from Zayd ibn c Ali who said: I 
heard Aba c Abdillah (al-Sadiq) saying, “Fatimah was named Muhaddathah 
because the angels would descend from the heavens and call out to her, just as 
they called out to Maryam, daughter of 'Imran, saying: ‘0 Fatimah, verily Allah 
has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above all the women of the 
world.’” 57 '" 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said to Abu Baslr: “...And indeed we have the Book ( mushaf) 
of Fatimah, and what would make them understand what the book of Fatimah 
is?” He then added: “It is three times the size of this Qur’an of yours, and by 
Allah, it does not contain a single letter from your Qur’an. Rather, it consists of 
what Allah dictated and revealed to her...” 67 '" 

This hadlth uncovers certain matters for us that require investigation and 
study. When the Imam ( c a) says: ‘three times the size of this Qur’an of yours,’ 
he means the size in terms of the volume of its contents, and because the Qur’an 
is a famous book that is known to the Muslims at all times and in all places - 
they know its size and how many chapters and verses it contains. This is why 
the Imam ( c a) used the Qur’an as a comparison and a gauge by which to describe 
the Book of Fatimah ( c a) in terms of size and volume. 


5 c Ilal al-Shara’f, vol. 1, p. 182 

6 al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 238, hadlth no. 1 


Al-Muhaddathah 


101 


So for example, if the Qur’an was printed with average-size letters on medium- 
sized pages, we can estimate that its pages would number about five hundred. 
Now, if we were to print the Book of Fatimah ( c a) using the very same font and 
page-size, we would end up with a book that has one thousand five hundred 
pages i.e. three times the number of pages in the Qur’an. This is what the Imam 
( c a) means when he says: ‘three times the size of this Qur’an of yours’. It does 
not mean that the Qur’an, which is currently in our possession, is incomplete 
and that the Book of Fatimah is required to render it complete. No, and a 
thousand times no! Neither does it mean that Allah revealed another Qur’an to 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a). All those who make such claims are either ignorant or 
recalcitrant fabricators of lies. 

As for the word ‘mushaf, even though it has become synonymous with the 
Qur’an in our present time, its lexical meaning is simply ‘book’. In his Mukhtar 
al-Sihah, al-Razi says: [it is] mushaf or mishaf, and the former is more correct 
because it is derived from ashafa meaning ‘that in which pages have been 
compiled’. In [the dictionary] al-Munjid we find: al-mashaf and al-mushaf the 
plural of which is masahif is a collection of pages placed together between two 
covers of a bound book. And in Sirah al-Lughah: mishaf or mushaf means ‘a 
notebook’. 

Al-Farra’ says: The Arabs found it difficult to pronounce the dhamma [vowel] on 
letters so they made its [first letter] mim, maksur and its original form is with 
the dhamma, hence the words mushaf, mukhda c , mutraf etc. because it is derived 
from ashafa meaning ‘that in which pages have been collected’. 

In Misbah al-Munir we read: ...al-sahifah is a piece of leather or paper which has 
writing on it... and its plural is suhuf and sahahf... and al-mushaf has a dhamma 
on the mim though it is more commonly pronounced with a kasra. 


102 


Fatimah al-Zahra 1 * 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


In Aqrab al-Mawarid: al-mushaf is a passive participle (ism maful)... and it refers 
to a compilation of pages or a collection of pages between two covers of a bound 
book... and there are two other pronunciations for this i.e. al-mishaf and al- 
mashaf. Its plural is masahif. In [the famous lexicon] Lisan al- c Arab: al-mushaf is a 
collection of written pages between two covers... and it has also been recorded 
with kasra and fatha [on the mim\. 

In the following hadith, Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) tells us about the meaning of al- 
Muhaddathah and Mushaf Fatimah: 

...One of his companions asked him about the mushaf of Fatimah, so the Imam 
( c a) paused for a long time and then said, “Indeed you are searching for that 
which you want and that which you do not want! Fatimah remained [alive] for 
seventy-five days after the Messenger of Allah (s), and she had become 
extremely sad because of the death of her father. Jibradl used to come and 
console her, telling her about her father and his station [in Paradise], and 
informing her about what would transpire after her death. c All ( c a) would write 
all this down - this is the mushaf of Fatimah.” 7/m 

Al-Husayn ibn Abl al- c Ala narrates from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a): “...the mushaf of 
Fatimah is not purported to contain the Quhan, but in it is what the people 
require from us, and we do not require [to refer to] anyone. It even contains the 
laws pertaining to lashes, half lashes, quarter lashes and the penalty for 
scratches. ..” 8/u ° 


1 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 195; Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Saffar (d. 290 A.H.) Basa’ir al-Darajat fi 

Fadahl Al Muhammad (s), p. 154; al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 241 

8 al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 239; Basadr al-Darajat, p. 152; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 26, p. 38 


Al-Muhaddathah 


103 


In another hadith, the Imam ( c a) said: “As for the mushaf of Fatimah ( c a), it 
contains information about future events, and the names of all those who will 
rule until the Flour of Judgment.” 97 ' n 

What remains to be explained is the phrase ‘revealed to her’. We understand 
from the Qur’an that revelation from Allah is not limited to Prophets. Rather, 
Allah, the Most Fligh, reveals to other than Prophets as well. Look at these clear 
verses: 


— So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed to every 
heaven its affair...( Q41:12) 

— And when I revealed to the disciples saying: Believe in Me and in My 
Messenger...(Q,5:lll) 

— When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you so make firm those who 
believe.. ,(Q8:12 ) 

— And your Lord revealed to the bee saying: Make hives in the 
mountains... (Q16:68) 

— And we revealed to Musa’s mother saying: Nurse him...( Q28:7) 

— When we revealed to your mother what was revealed (Q20:38) 

These are some of the verses that clearly show that revelation is not only 
restricted to Prophets, or even to human beings for that matter. Allah, the Most 
High, revealed to the heavens and to the disciples [of Tsa ( c a)], to the angels, to 
the bee, and to the mother of Musa. Thus, it is not difficult for one to accept 
that Allah, the Almighty, sent revelations to the Mistress of all Women of the 
World and the daughter of the Master of Prophets and Messengers, Fatimah al- 
Zahra’ ( c a). All that is said about the commentary of revelation upon the mother 
of Musa can be said about the meaning of revelation upon Fatimah al-Zahra’. 


9 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 26, p. 18 



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Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


In conclusion, we say that the mushaf of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra’ is a 
voluminous book that contains all the laws of jurisprudence in detail and 
comprises of the Islamic penal code. Even those crimes that are to be punished 
with a single lash [of the whip], or half a lash or a quarter lash, or even the 
penalty to be paid by one who scratches someone else with a single scratch [is 
contained therein]. In it are the names of the rulers of the world who will reign 
in all the lands from that time until the Day of Resurrection. All this is in the 
Knowledge of Allah who has knowledge of all things and is aware of everything, 
the Omnipresent and Omniscient. Also, there is mention of the significant 
occurrences and epic battles and massacres that would take place [in the 
future] as well as other important matters. It does not, however, contain any 
part of the Qur’an as the hadlth explicitly states. 

We have discussed this matter at length because some individuals with sick 
souls and ill hearts have taken this hadlth as a fertile pasture [and a means] for 
mocking and reviling the ShTah and their beliefs. It is as if they have not read 
these verses or did not understand them, or they feigned forgetfulness and 
opted to attack the ShTah in a vehement manner [despite knowing about these 
verses]. They have said what they said and their reckoning is with Allah on the 
Day of Accounting and Judgment. 


Al-Zahra 3 

The Prophet (s) is reported to have said: “...On that day, Allah created the light 
of Fatimah al-Zahra’ like a lamp and hung it on the side of the Throne. Thus is 


Al-Batul 


105 


illuminated the seven heavens and seven earths. And this is the reason that 
Fatimah was called: al-Zahra 3 (the radiant). ” 10/ '' ,v 

ibn c Abbas narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “As for my daughter 
Fatimah, she is the Mistress of all Women of the World, from first to last, and 
she is part of me, the light of my eyes and the apple of my heart. She is the soul 
inside me. She is a houri in the form of a human being. When she stands in the 
prayer niche before her Lord, her light radiates for the angels in the heavens in 
the same way that the light of the starts shine for people on earth.” 11/m 

From these two narrations we learn the reason for naming her al-Zahra 3 ( c a), 
and there are other traditions with similar purport, as well as the fact that she 
had a face that was bright and glowingly radiant. However, we will suffice with 
what we have already mentioned. 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) has other names that we have not yet 
mentioned, and each of her names indicates a virtue and an excellence which 
distinguishes her [from others]. These names include al-Batul (the chaste), al- 
c Adhra 3 (the maiden), and al-Haniyah (the affectionate) - because of her great 
affection and love for her children. Her epithet was: ‘Mother of her father’, and 
this was her greatest epithet. 


Al-Batul 

Know that Allah, the Most High, has ordained certain laws and systems that 
govern [all] His creation, from the inanimate objects to plants, animals and 
human beings. He has made all creatures subservient to these laws. So for 


10 Ibid., vol. 43, p. 17 

11 Ibid., p. 73; Faradd al-Simtayn, vol. 2, p. 35 



106 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


example, it is the nature of fire to burn and this is the way fire has been created 
by Allah. Similarly, plants require a limited time and a specific place with 
certain conditions in order to grow and bear fruit. Look at the seed that is 
planted and the factors that facilitate its growth on the earth, as well as the 
amount of time of it takes to grow. This is the way Allah has created the plants. 

In the same manner, Allah has made animals subservient to specific [natural] 
laws as far as their size, colour etc. is concerned. Human beings are also bound 
by the laws of nature in their innate physical and spiritual dispositions. 
However, Allah has placed His close friends above these laws and outside its 
limits in certain circumstances, for important reasons. Put differently, Allah 
has made these laws subservient to His close friends ( awliya by His leave. Look 
at the burning fire which incinerates all that comes into contact with it; Allah, 
the Almighty, made it cool and safe for Ibrahim al-Khalll ( c a). Similarly, Allah 
made a gourd plant grow above Yunus ( c a) after the fish had cast him on the 
bare shore while he was sick, despite the fact that a gourd seed requires a long 
time to germinate, grow and sprout leaves that could cover a human being, or 
any other creature for that matter. In this way, Allah made the plant 
subservient to His close servant, Yunus ( c a). 

Procreation cannot take place except through intercourse and the transference 
of a man’s sperm into the womb of a woman, followed by the development of 
the sperm into a clot, then a lump of flesh, then into bones and finally into a 
different creature, until the foetus is fully formed in six months at the very least, 
or in nine months as is normally the case. This is the way Allah has ordained 
the law of procreation between human beings. But this law was nullified for 
Maryam when she conceived Tsa ( c a) and became pregnant with her child while 
no mortal had touched her, so she took refuge in a distant place. Birth pangs then 


Al-Batul 


107 


brought her to the trunk of a date palm and this is where she gave birth to Tsa. 
And all this took place within a span of six to nine hours only. 12 

In the same manner, miracles were performed at the hands of the Prophets and 
their legatees ( awsiya } ) in a way that was extraordinary and beyond the laws of 
nature. The examples of this are numerous and one finds many stories in the 
Glorious Qur 3 an about the Prophets and their legatees defying the laws of 
nature, such as the descent of Adam to earth, the welling up of the earth with 
water in the story of Nuh ( c a), the pregnancy of Sarah with Ishaq ( c a) despite 
being a barren old woman, the transformation of Musa’s staff into a swiftly 
moving snake, the healing of a blind man and a leper and bringing the dead 
back to life by Tsa ( c a), and the night journey of ascension by the Messenger of 
Allah (s) as well as many other extraordinary events that contravened the laws 
of nature. 

I have mentioned all this as a preamble for what follows: 

The menstrual cycle which women experience every month from the time they 
attain puberty until they reach fifty or sixty years of age is nothing but [the 
discharge of] blood gone bad, that had accumulated in the vessels and organs 
which Allah has put in the body of the woman so that it would serve as food for 
the foetus, but when there is no child in the womb this blood is discharged; and 
it may [instead] be converted to milk when she is nursing her child. 

Allah, the Almighty, says: They ask you about menstruation. Say that it is hurtful... 
(Q2:222) meaning that menstrual blood is a harmful substance which can hurt 
the body of the woman, so it must be expelled in order for the woman to remain 
safe from sicknesses and ailments. During the monthly cycles, many 
physiological and psychological changes take place that alter the woman’s 


12 Majma c al-Bayan, Surah Maryam vol. 6, p. 511 


108 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


disposition, the colour other face, and even her temperament and character. It 
is possible to know when a woman is in her menses through her countenance 
and eyes, and even from her looks and movements. This bleeding does not 
resemble the normal bleeding that a human being experiences [from wounds 
for example]. Rather, it is something completely different. 

When a woman has her monthly periods, she feels emotional and has a sense of 
diffidence and helplessness, even though the matter is beyond her will and 
control. Nevertheless, she still suffers the pain of this thing that cannot be 
spoken of openly to anyone, and especially not to men. The bleeding and the 
strain that she undergoes [during this period] brings about weakness and 
helplessness in both the body and spirit of a woman. It is for this reason that a 
woman is excused from the obligation of prayer and fasting while in her 
periods, and Allah has forbidden her from remaining in the masjids, entering 
Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi, reciting the four c azadm (i.e. the Surahs 
which have verses of obligatory prostration), and other such acts that have 
been mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. These same laws are also 
applicable during postnatal bleeding ( nifas ) for the very same reasons that we 
have just mentioned. 

However, Allah, the Most High, did not want the Mistress of all Women, Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 , to be sullied by this physical and spiritual filth, so He removed all 
impurity from her and purified her with a complete purification. Here are some 
authentic narrations that clearly point to this fact: 

l) Al-Qanduzi narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Fatimah was 
named al-Batul because she is free from menstruation and postnatal 
bleeding.” 13/m 


13 YanabF al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 322 


Al-Batul 


109 


2) Muhammad Salih al-Kashfl al-Hanafi has narrated that the Prophet (s) 
said: “Fatimah has been named Batul because she is free and cut off 
from that which women undergo every month.” 14/ ' r ' 

3) Al-Amritsarl narrates that the Prophet (s) was asked about ‘Batul’ thus: 
“We have heard you, 0 Messenger of Allah - saying that Maryam was 
Batul and Fatimah is Batul [how is this]?” He replied: “al-Batul is she 
who has never seen red, meaning she has never menstruated; for 
indeed menstruation is disliked in the daughters of the Prophets.” 157 ""' 

4) Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Shafi c I has narrated from ibn c Abbas who said: The 
Messenger of Allah (s) said, “My daughter is a human houri, she has 
neither menstruated nor bled...” 167 "”'' This has also been narrated by al- 
NasaT. 

5) ibn c Asakir has narrated from Anas ibn Malik, from Umm Salim who 
said: “Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) never saw blood - 
neither in menstruation nor in puerperium.” 17/ ' rr 

6) Al-Hafiz al-Suyuti [narrates]: One of the special traits of Fatimah (may 
Allah be pleased with her) was that she never menstruated. ' rt 

7) Al-Rafih narrates in al-TadwIn from Umm Salamah who said: “Fatimah 
(may Allah be pleased with her) never saw blood during her 
puerperium ( nifas ) or menses.”"" 0 


14 Muhammad Salih al-Kashfl al-Hanafi (d. 1060 A.H.), al-Manaqib al-Murtadawi, p. 123 

15 c Ubaydullah al-Hanafi Al-Amritsari, Arjah al-Matalib, p. 241 

16 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 14, p. 287 

17 Ibn c Asakir al-Shafi c i (d. 571 A.H.), Tarikh Damishq,, vol. 40, p. 354 


110 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


8) Al-Tabari narrates in Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba from Asma 3 bint c Umays who 
said: “Fatimah gave birth to al-Hasan and I did not see her bleed during 
menses or puerperium, so the Prophet (peace be upon him and his 
progeny) said: ‘Do you not know that my daughter is pure and purified? 
She does not bleed in menstruation and after giving birth.”’""' This has 
also been narrated by al-Safur!. 18 

9) Abu Baslr reported that Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “Allah, the Almighty, 
forbade other women to c All as long as Fatimah was alive.” I asked: 
“Why is that?” He replied: “Because she was pure and never 
menstruated.”' TV Shaykh al-Majlisi says that this answer can be 
understood in two ways: 

First, because she never menstruated, there was no reason for him to 
seek out anyone else, so Allah forbade him [from marrying] anyone else 
in consideration for her status and honour. Second, her lofty status 
prevented this, and this can be evinced from some of the attributes that 
are specific only to her. 19 

It is my opinion that the purity of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 9 ( c a) from this 
bleeding is one of the manifestations of the Verse of Purification that explicitly 
states that all forms of filth have been removed from the Ahl al-Bayt and that 
they have been purified a thorough purification. 


18 Nuzhat al-Majalis, p. 227 

19 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 153 



Al- c Adhra : 


111 


Al-'Adhra 3 


As mentioned earlier, one of her names is al- c Adhra\ meaning that she was 
always a virgin. We have noted the numerous narrations that clearly show that 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was created through a heavenly fruit [that 
the Prophet (s) ate when he went for the mhraj] and the Prophet (s) declared 
that she was a houri in the form of a human being. These statements are not 
figurative or exaggerated; rather, they represent the reality and truth. 
Alongside these narrations, we find the words of Allah: We have created them a 
special creation, and made them virgins (Q56:35-36), and this means that the houris 
(al-hur al- c In) are always virgins. 

In Majma c al-Bayan under the commentary of this verse, we read: “Their spouses 
do not come to them but that they find them to be virgins. ”' rA In addition, look 
at the following hadith, which explains the matter clearly: 

A man asked Imam al-Sadiq ( c a), among other questions, “How can a houri be a 
virgin every time her mate comes to her?” He replied: “Because she has been 
created from a pure substance, she is neither afflicted by any disability nor does 
her body get mixed with any defect... nor is she sullied by menstruation, for her 
uterus is affixed.. A 207 ""’ 


20 Hashim ibn Sulayman al-Bahranl (d. 1107 A.H.), Al-Burhan fi Tafslr al-Qur’an, vol. 5, p. 266 


CHAPTER EIGHT 

Her Life and Her Upbringing 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 opened her eyes to this world and saw the face 
of her father, the Messenger of Allah (s). She suckled from her mother, al- 
Sayyidah Khadljah, milk that was mixed with virtues and perfection. She grew 
up in the household of prophethood and was nurtured at the locus of the 
descent of divine revelation with a worthy nurturing. Her father, the Prophet 
(s), fed her with fruits of divine knowledge and bestowed upon her godly 
teachings. He taught her the best lessons of monotheism, the loftiest teachings 
of faith and the most beautiful realities of Islam. He raised her with most 
excellent upbringing, as the Prophet saw in his daughter the ability and perfect 
readiness for the reception and comprehension of [his] knowledge, and he 
found in her pure and noble soul all the spirituality, illumination and 
preparedness [required] to ascend the levels of perfection. 

In this respect, the Divine wisdom [of the Almighty] willed that the life of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 should be filled with adversities, hardships and 
tragedies, from a very young age. Thus she opened her eyes to this world at a 
time when her father was afraid, being attacked by his close and distant 
relatives alike, and shunned by the disbelievers and polytheists. 



Her Life and Her Upbringing 


113 


At times Fatimah would come to Masjid al-Haram and witness the disbelievers 
harassing him in different ways and tormenting him while he was sitting next 
to the Hijr IsmaTl, reciting the Qur’an. One day, she saw one of the polytheists 
throwing a filthy placenta of a she-camel on the back of her father as he 
prostrated. Al-Zahra’ witnessed that painful event and proceeded to wipe off 
the dirt from her father’s back and clothes, as she uttered words of rebuke and 
admonishment while they laughed at her, as the depraved riffraff are wont to 
do. 

Ibn c Abbas narrates that the Quraysh gathered at the Hajr (al-Aswad) and made 
a covenant in the name of al-Lat, al- c Uzza and Manat: “if we see Muhammad we 
will surely act as one and kill him.” Fatimah ( c a) came to the Prophet (s) crying 
and told him about what they had said...' 4 ' 

The problems intensified and the tribulations increased until the Prophet (s) 
was forced to move to Shi c b Abl Talib, and his family accompanied him along 
with the family of Abu Talib, to this place. They lived under the shadow of fear 
and terror. Every night they expected the polytheists would carry out an attack 
on them, especially after the disbelievers wrote the ‘Treatise of Severance’ ( al - 
Sahifah al-Qati c ah) through which they besieged the Bam Hashim with an 
economic blockade, not allowing them to sell or buy anything, not even food. 
In fact, they even prevented food from reaching them through other means. As 
a result, they were faced with starvation, and this affected the children the 
most. It was no surprise, therefore, that the sounds of children weeping [out of 
hunger] reached the ears of the inhabitants of Makkah, causing some of them 
[who were their bitter enemies] to rejoice and others to feel sorrow. 

The duration of their siege was three years and a few months, and al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah was among those who had to suffer this hardship. All these difficulties 
gave rise to the spirit of struggle, determination and perseverance in al- 


114 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Sayyidah Fatimah. It was as if this was a period of training and exercise for what 
was to come in the near future. One thing that made matters a little easier and 
gave solace and comfort to al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was her witnessing 
the chivalry of that great hero, Abu Talib, as he stood firm in his support for her 
father, the Prophet. At times, he would take his sword and, accompanied by his 
brother Hamzah, walk behind the Prophet towards the Holy Mosque in order 
to announce his support and backing for the Prophet. It was as if they were two 
armed soldiers in a state of alert. At times some of the slaves of Abu Talib would 
join them and walk behind the Prophet and it would look like a platoon of 
soldiers or a small army contingent. 

On some occasions he would announce his compliance and alliance with the 
Prophet (s), thereby declaring his acceptance of Islam by manifestly following 
the truth. He recited odes, which were most effective in those days, in support 
of the Prophet (s). 

It is narrated by al-Tabari that when the chiefs of Quraysh saw Abu Talib 
supporting the Prophet (s) they came to him and said, “We have come to you 
with the most handsome and chivalrous youth of Quraysh, c Amarah ibn al- 
Walid, that we may give him to you and in exchange you can hand over to us 
your nephew who has brought disunity amongst us and has dashed our dreams, 
so that we may kill him!” 

Abu Talib said, “You have not been fair to me! You want to give me your son so 
that I may raise and nourish him, while I should give you my son so that you 
may kill him? Rather, each of you should bring me his son so that I may kill him 
[instead].” 17 ' n Then he recited: 


Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310 A.H.), Tarikh al-Umam wal-Muluk, vol. 1, p. 545 



Her Life and Her Upbringing 


115 


<jj j — Ji j*. — US' S ly — 7 




lLJuJI 


JuJI J« 



We preserve the Messenger, messenger of the King, 
with a radiance that shines like the brilliance of lightening 


I defend and support the messenger of the King, 
with the protection that a close friend is deserving 


His words and poems that show his belief in Islam are too many to enumerate. 
Among them are: 


V ixl I Jjl Ja_>- ^ Ul I 

ij jl sdaJlj 4 ■ * j ^ ojjl U—i ^ I i jj! !l 


Do you not know that we found Muhammad [to be] 
a Prophet like Musa, mentioned in the early scriptures? 

Did not our father Hashim tighten his belt [in determination] 
and advise his children to take up the sword and lance [in defence of the truth]? 2 

And in one of his odes: 





I jl! 9 J 


jj SsJL 


J . ' — i p b 



2 Abu Hafan al-Mahrazmi (d. 257 A.H.), Diwan Abu Talib, p. 160; c Abd al-Malik ibn Hisham al- 
Himyari (d. 218 A.H.), al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah„ vol. 1, p. 352 


116 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


They said to Ahmad: You are but a man 
with an untruthful tongue and of weak means 

Indeed Ahmad has come to them with [nothing but] 
truth , and has not brought them any falsehood 

And his statement about the Sahifah, which is one of the miracles of the Prophet 

(?): 




L. 


cS -1 * 


J «! jlS 


g I j) -g * : l g j ^ - a o c- j ^ c.t L-^. -Cg 

^ £ | f. 

j—aS' l_tg ^9 y—A ^ Lp IqU -i^g L-G9 *Ujl U— *P . ^-w-g i ^ 


There is indeed in the matter concerning the Sahifah a lesson , 
when those who were absent are told of it they would be amazed 

Allah effaced from it their disbelief and faithlessness, 
and what they harboured of malice against the speaker of truth 

The son of c Abdullah was proven to be true among us, 
despite the anger of our community, he remained steadfast 

A poem in which he exhorts his brother Hamzah to follow the Prophet and to 
be patient and steadfast in obedience to him: 

I jA-*p C-—a3j y_ J_U I j—q Jg ..g y _S"j y->_3 Id I 

ij Aiil ^ 9 Aiil J j a J: y yA J_g dLjl d— Jl9 jl j—a -1—49 


Patience 0 Abu Ya c la upon the religion of Ahmad, 
be a supporter of the faith, you will be granted patience 


Her Life and Her Upbringing 


117 


It pleased me indeed when you said you were a believer, 
so be, for the sake of Allah, a supporter of the Messenger of Allah 


And his address to al-Najashl (the king of Habashah) urging him to help the 
Prophet : 


.! ^ JAJ J— 1 jj Id jl idl-do Jt_j 1*7 

I * — — H / — i (j — ^ j 4-» LSd_)l J-^» H 




U J . 


i_3 J_*2 j 



-j/ 


j/4 9 4 ! jhj ? ^Llj 

I JtoJ. -dj lld_j 4i) I j L>o»j *}t_9 


Know 0 king of the Habash that Muhammad 
is a Prophet like Musa and the Masih, son of Maryam 

He has come with guidance just as they both came with guidance, 
and every [Prophet] guides and safeguards by the command of Allah 

Indeed, you read about him in your books [as being one] 
with truthful speech, not the speech of the delinquent 

So put no equals for Allah, and submit [to Him], 
for indeed the pathway of Truth is not dark 

He also said: 


4 ^ui dll r /Li 

ld_Aj iS /p j^*Jl jd— 9 


^^/i dii 

4 L>sd 4*0 *d a 4 1 Jj Cjj 


Verily Allah has honoured the Prophet Muhammad, 
and the most honourable of Allah’s creation among the people is Ahmad 


118 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


He named him from His own name in order to venerate him, 
so the Lord of the Throne is Mahmud, and this is Muhammad 3 

He also said: 


J 4 'iji ( j &\ — Li I Jj 

( J I jLI P i J 

J aljSU i«_^P ^L_JI JL_*J 


J UuS/l Jj_i L-jC iLjjlJ 


J— H j—Ja 4 _i>- I — to 

J jLillj I iSJL 4 ip J Jill 


J 4&I 

4 —)^ ^ 


_OJ 




|t il» Jl l j o iJ*}L_^Jl 4_J S jJb 

i ij 'if I UjI o I I j «JL*j . t 11 




You have lied, by the House of Allah, [whenyou say] we have defeated Muhammad, 
and [all this] when we are there to protect him with our swords and spears 

While we protect him until we fall by his side, 
forgetting even our own children and wives 

The clouds are quenched by the whiteness of his face, 
the nourisher of orphans and the protector of widows 

Those of the Bani Hashim who are in danger turn to him [for assistance], 
for they are, with him, in mercy and excellence 

Do you not know that our son is not deemed a liar 
by us, and we do not care for the words of the falsifiers? 


3 Hassan ibn Thabit recited this couplet in his poetry in praise of the Prophet (s) 


The Death of al-Sayyidah Khadljah al-Kubra 


119 


He is helped hy the Lord of the Creation with divine succour , 
and he brought a religion of truth, without any falsehood 

I undertake to support the Prophet Muhammad, 
and will fight to protect him with all [my] might and resources 4 

These are just some of his many statements that show his acceptance and 
manifest support for the Noble Prophet (s). if it was not for his belief in Allah 
and his faith in Islam, he would not have taken such a position and would not 
have put himself and his children in harm’s way while helping the Prophet and 
strengthening his religion. This support and boldness was not because he was 
a close family member, for the Prophet had eight uncles (other than Abu Talib), 
so why did history not record all of them taking the same noble stance? In fact, 
history tells us that some of his uncles took a shameful position, as in the case 
of his uncle Abu Lahab. 


The Death of al-Sayyidah Khadijah al-Kubra 

As years passed and time continued on its course, the life of al-Zahra 3 was filled 
with hardships and calamities. She reached the age of seven or close to eight 
when a tragedy, which brought deep sorrow and profound grief to her heart, 
befell her. It was the death of her mother al-Sayyidah Khadljah, the kind and 
loving mother who would always take tender care of her young daughter 
Fatimah, whom she would often look at with eyes full of sorrow and sadness, 
because she knew that al-Zahra 3 would suffer the hardship of her loss. 

When al-Sayyidah Khadljah was bedridden and the spectre of death was 
reigning over her, the Messenger of Allah (s) came to her as she faced the pangs 


4 DiwanAbu Talib, pp. 258 


120 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of death, and said to her, “Despite the difficulty we will have to endure due to 
your loss, 0 Khadljah, when you meet your peers, convey to them our 
greetings.” She asked, “Who are they 0 Messenger of Allah?” He (s) replied, 
“Maryam daughter of Tmran, Kulthum sister of Musa and Asiyah wife of 
Fir c aun.” She said, “Mayyou [always] be happy 0 Messenger of Allah.” 57 '” 

The Messenger of Allah (s) used to say: I was commanded to give Khadljah glad 
tidings about a palatial house made of pearl ( qasab ) [for her] in Paradise, where 
there is neither clamour ( sakhab ) nor hardship or exertion. 67 '” ibn al-Athlr says 
in his al-Nihayah: [The word] al-qasab in this tradition means a large hollowed 
out pearl [that is laid out] just like a lofty palace. And al-sakhab refers to the 
noise and clamour of quarrels and arguments. 

Al-Sayyidah Khadljah would weep and cry, so Asma 3 bint c Umays asked her, “Do 
you cry while you are the Mistress of all Women of the World? And you are the 
wife of the Prophet and have been given glad tidings of Paradise by him!” She 
replied, “I am not crying for this reason. Rather, a woman must have a lady with 
her on her wedding night whom she can divulge her secret to and whom she 
can turn to for assistance. Fatimah is becoming a young lady and I am afraid 
that there will be nobody by her side during her time of need.”'” Asma 3 said, 
“0 my mistress, by Allah, I promise that if I remain alive until that time, I will 
take your place and fulfill this duty...” 

Khadljah left this world at the age of sixty-three (according to one account). 
Her death was a painful blow to the heart of the Prophet, especially since the 
Prophet also lost his uncle Abu Talib a few days or months later, and this 
compounded his grief. So much so that he named that year ‘the year of sorrow’ 


5 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 19, p. 24 

6 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 6, p. 279 


The Death of al-Sayyidah Khadljah al-Kubra 


121 


(' ( am al-huzn) because he faced two great tragedies in it: the loss of his wife 
Khadljah, not only because she was his wife, but because she was the first 
person to believe in his prophethood [among the womenfolk]. Furthermore, as 
a wife, she was a helper, an assistant and a supporter to her husband as she gave 
away thousands and thousands from her own wealth in the way of Islam. She 
had a character that was unique in Makkah, rather, among all Arabian women. 

She was buried in Hajun, and the Prophet (s) descended into her grave [to bury 
her], Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) sought solace in the presence of the Prophet (s) 
and would circle around him asking, “0 Messenger of Allah, where is my 
mother?” The Prophet could not answer her. She would go around asking this, 
until JibraTl descended and said, “Indeed your Lord has commanded you to 
convey greetings to Fatimah and tell her: ‘Your mother is in a house made of 
pearls, its rooms are made of gold and its pillars are of made of red rubies. It is 
right between the houses of Asiyah the wife of Fir c aun and Maryam daughter of 
Tmran.’” Upon hearing this, Fatimah said: “Indeed Allah is al-Salam, and from 
Him is al-Salam and to him returns al-Salam.”' 4 ° 

The other tragedy that he faced was the loss of his uncle Abu Talib, who had 
raised the Prophet from the day his grandfather c Abdul Muttalib passed away. 
He was only eight years old at the time. His patronage continued until the 
Prophet became fifty-three years old, and that was the year when Abu Talib 
passed away. Abu Talib had served and supported the Prophet throughout 
these long years and this was considered one of his greatest virtues and merits, 
because had it not been for him, the religion of Islam would have died in its 
cradle: 


1—1 jjJlJI J_ls L_J ^_blj v. lit 

I i > J Id asj I J (_£ j I 4 U £9 


122 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 




b jJij 




bli b aHj 


If it were not for Abu Talib and his son, 
none would have followed the religion, so they stood 

One in Makkah, calling out and supporting [the Prophet], 
and the other in Yathrib, facing death [as he fought the enemies of Islam] 

For the sake of Allah one supported the path of guidance in the beginning, 
and for the sake of Allah the other reached the peak of exaltedness. 


These two tragedies had a great impact on the life of the Prophet and changed 
its course, because had it not been for the death of Abu Talib, he would never 
have migrated to Makkah. It was because he lacked a supporter and helper, and 
the fact that there was no one else among his uncles who could take the place 
of Abu Talib, not even his uncle Hamzah. His son, c Ali ibn AbiTalib ( c a) eulogized 
him with the following verses: 


-Lhj 1 JJ) ' b Jl ^ ll L " : -P J J ... r. ll U ... . C- i. . 111? 1 ! | 

Jlp ^ JiLisJl J_ a! iJj-Jb J_a J_Jd 
^ p Zj-* j j bl' d. — 'S> J—is 4 jI j dJ ij ill uJj 


Aba Talib was the protector of the downtrodden, 
the sought after rain and the light that eliminates darkness 

Your loss has weakened the defenders [of the faith], 
and the custodian of divine bounties prayed over you 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and the Migration 


123 


Your Lord has granted you His pleasure, 
for you were the best of uncles for the Pure One 7 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and the Migration 

When the Messenger of Allah (s) was stricken by the deaths of al-Sayyidah 
Khadljah and his uncle Abu Talib, he made the decision to migrate from 
Makkah. He instructed c Ali to lie on his bed that night - the night that came to 
be known as laylat al-mabit. This was the night when about forty (or fourteen) 
men from the polytheists had gathered and surrounded the house of the 
Prophet with the intention of ambushing and killing him. The Prophet left and 
proceeded towards the cave [on his way to Madinah] while al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
remained in the house, expecting the enemies to pounce on her house at any 
moment as she heard their open declarations of disbelief and apostasy against 
the Prophet. 

Only Allah knows how frightened and terrified she was throughout the night, 
knowing the violent nature of the polytheists and the hardness of their hearts. 
The worst possible scenario was considered by her to be the most likely. In the 
morning, the attackers pounced on the house, wielding their unsheathed 
swords, as thought they were predacious wolves or hunting dogs in search of 
their prey. They approached the bed of the Prophet, but did not find him there. 
Rather, they found c All ( c a) sleeping on the Prophet’s bed, wrapped up in the 
gown of the Prophet (s). So their plots came to naught and they left the house 
having failed in their mission. They were about to burst out of fury and rage. 


7 'Abbas al-Qumml (d. 1359 A.H.), Kitab al-Kuna wal-Alqab, vol. 1, pp. 109-110 


124 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


These moments were the most disconcerting and terrifying moments for the 
[tender] heart of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). 

Flow good it would have been if the matter ended there, but the hatred of 
disbelief remained hidden in the hearts just as an ember is concealed under the 
ashes. When Amir al-Muhnimn ( c a) left Makkah with the Fawatim i.e. Fatimah 
al-Zahra 5 , Fatimah bint Asad (the mother of Imam c All) and Fatimah bint al- 
Zubayr ibn c Abd al-Muttalib, the enemy confronted them on the way, trying to 
obstruct their path and prevent them from migrating. The situation was tense 
and fear gripped the hearts of the Fawatim. They were on the verge of a grave 
calamity, and it would have befallen them had it not been for the protection 
and special grace of Allah. The famed heroism and courage of Imam c Ali ( c a) also 
played a role, and in the end, by the will and power of Allah, c Al! and the Fawatim 
were saved from the evil of the enemy. 

When the Fawatim reached [the gates of] Madlnah, the Prophet (s), who had 
arrived there earlier, was waiting for them. When they arrived, the Prophet 
entered Madlnah [with them] and came to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansarl, 
where his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra 3 joined him and stayed with Umm Ab! 
Ayyub al-Ansarl. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah lived under the shade of her father in 
Madlnah, having undergone painful hardships and tribulations including the 
death of her mother Khadljah, her father’s migration from his hometown and 
birthplace, the enemy’s attack on their house, her own migration from Makkah 
and being pursued by the enemy. But was this the end of her adversities and 
suffering? 

No. Rather, this was just the beginning of many more calamities and successive 
tribulations to follow. For not a year had passed after the migration, that the 
polytheists began gathering in Makkah and set their sights on Madlnah in order 
to wage war against the Prophet and the Muslims. JibraTl descended and 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Day of Uhud 


125 


warned the Prophet about the plot, so he (s) came out of Madlnah with the 
Muslims, both the Ansar and the Muhajirun, in order to confront the enemy 
before they could reach the city of Madlnah. They arrived at a place between 
Madlnah and Makkah called Badr. It was here that they came face to face with 
the polytheists while the latter’s numbers were three times that of the Muslims. 
The victory and triumph was for the Muslims and the polytheists faced a 
crushing defeat after which the Prophet returned to Madlnah, triumphant and 
victorious. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Day of Uhud 

One year and a month later, the Battle of Uhud took place. In this battle, seventy 
companions of the Prophet (s) were martyred. These were the select elite 
among his followers and the foremost of them was his uncle, the Master of 
Martyrs, Hamzah ibn c Abd al-Muttalib. The Prophet (s) himself was also injured 
on his noble forehead and a stone struck his pure mouth, breaking his two front 
teeth. Blood was flowing over his beard as if it was henna or dye. It was in these 
moments that Satan let out a loud cry that was heard by the Muslims in Uhud 
and even the people of Madlnah heard it. He cried out, “Muhammad has been 
killed!” 

Upon hearing this, the hearts of the Muslims in the battlefield became restless, 
and the fleers fled while the true believers remained steadfast. The restlessness 
in the households of Madlnah was no less than that of the Muslims in the 
battlefield. Safiyyah bint c Abd al-Muttalib (the aunt of the Prophet) and 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 came out to Uhud. Fatimah cried out and putting her hands 
on her head, she began wailing. All the HashimI and Qarashi women came out 
to express their grief. By the time Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Safiyyah arrived at 
Uhud, the battle had already ended, the martyrs had been slain and the 


126 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


wounded had been maimed. The Prophet was surveying the fallen and looking 
for those companions who were missing. Then he came to the body of Hamzah 
and found it in that indescribable state, having been mutilated in the worst and 
ugliest manner. They had severed his fingers and toes, cut off his nose and ears, 
split open his belly, removed his liver, and left him in that state. 

The mangled sight was painful, upsetting and scarring for the heart of the 
Prophet, as it showed how the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s), his helper 
and his defender, had been tortured. Sorrow and anger had overwhelmed the 
Prophet and while he was in this state, he saw his aunt Safiyyah and his 
daughter Fatimah coming towards him, so the Prophet (s) covered the body of 
Hamzah with his cloak, concealing it from head to toe such that none of the 
mutilations could be seen. Safiyyah and Fatimah came forward crying out and 
sat next to the body of Hamzah. They began mourning and weeping, and the 
Prophet joined them and wept with them. Then Fatimah noticed the wounded 
forehead of the Prophet (s) and the blood that had dried up on his pure face and 
noble beard, so she let out a cry and began to wipe away the blood saying: “May 
the wrath of Allah intensify upon the one who has bloodied the face of the 
Messenger of Allah!” She then washed away the blood from her father’s face 
while c Ali poured the water from his shield. When Fatimah noticed that the 
water was increasing the bleeding, she took a straw mat, burnt it and placed the 
ashes as a salve on her father’s forehead, using it to stop the bleeding. Can you 
imagine how these moments must have affected the heart of Fatimah? She was 
overwhelmed by great sorrow and intense fear, as a righteous daughter who 
understood the status of her father. 

When c Ali ( c a) returned from Uhud, he gave Fatimah his sword and said: “Take 
this sword, for indeed it has been true to me this day.”' n Then he recited the 
following verses [of poetry]: 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Day of Uhud 


127 




Jl iSL_A al 




J — fij j — 


ji 




iS j-*t — ; 


r 

IS" j Jail 9 


oLp 




J-5" jJ-v* 

l _ 

a- jld Si d ^ tj 1 l ^2 ^ 


jlaJI 


u-i 


a 9 aJL a IjjUi 

0 j at ^ur ic . 

lsHj J^- 9 


Here Fatimah, the sword which is not dispraised, 
for I am neither cowardly nor ignoble 

By my life, I have done my best to help Ahmad, 
and to obey my Lord, who knows everything about His servants 

I want the reward of Allah, nothing else, 
and His pleasure in the Paradise of Everlasting Bounty 

lama man who arose whenever war [against Islam] erupted 
and flared up, without [giving any excuse or] deserving any blame 

I was the one who duelled the son of c Abd al-Dar until I wounded him 
with the shiny sword, which cuts right through the bones 

I thus left him on the ground causing his contingent to disperse, 
all feeling despondent and helpless [by his] having being wounded 


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My sword in my hand as I swing it like a piercing flame, 

I strike with it, splitting the bones and skulls [of the enemy] 

I continued this until my Lord scattered their ranks 
and I had avenged the blood of every forbearing one 

Wipe the blood of the enemy from it for indeed it has 
made the family of c Abd al-Dar drink from the goblet of Hell 

The Prophet (s) said: “Take it 0 Fatimah, for indeed your husband has fulfilled 
his duty. Allah has caused the warriors of Quraysh to be slain by his hand.” uv 

Respected reader, you have seen that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was 
present at Uhud after the battle had ended, and when she saw her father’s 
injury, she washed away his blood with water and placed the ashes of a burnt 
straw mat on his forehead. This is what the historians have reported. However, 
in our day and age, a group of people arose who considered this event a stage 
where they could enact their rare performances, so they wrote with complete 
resolve, persistence and repetition, that Fatimah used to come to all the battles 
to nurse the wounded, attend to them and give them aid! I do not understand 
what these people hope to achieve with these lies. Al-Sayyidah undertook the 
task or nursing her father’s wounds only on one occasion in her life, and that 
too was after the battle had come to an end. Can it then be said of her that she 
used to attend all the battles, nurse the wounded, and care for them? I do not 
understand what the goal of these people is in spreading such falsehoods and 
lies. Do they want to undermine the sanctity and virtue of al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 ? Or do they seek a way to open the door to mixed gatherings? 

Let us assume that Naslbah bint Ka c b came out in the battle of Uhud to attend 
to the wounded. Does this mean that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 - the 
Mistress of all Women of the World in chastity, modesty, respect, purity and 


The Hardships Faced by al-Sayyidah Fatimah in her Father’s House 


129 


virtue - should be likened to the nurses in hospitals, clinics and medical 
institutions? I do not know, but they might know and understand what could 
warrant such a lie! 


The Hardships Faced by al-Sayyidah Fatimah in her Father’s House 

One of the hardships that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) faced in her life 
was the suffering that she had to endure at the hands of some of the wives of 
her father, the Prophet (s). They were the ones who were afflicted by some form 
of [superiority] complex and were thus jealous of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
for her talents and virtues, especially since the Prophet (s) used to show great 
fondness for her and shower her with his affection. He loved her with a 
remarkable love that inflamed a sense of concealed envy in the hearts of some 
of his wives. 

Shaykh al-Majlisi narrates from the book al-Khisal, from Abu c Abdillah (imam 
al-Sadiq ( c a)), who said: “The Messenger of Allah (s) entered his house and found 
FAfishah confronting Fatimah and shouting at her: ‘By Allah, 0 daughter of 
Khadijah, you think that your mother was better than us in virtue - in what way 
was she better than us? She was nothing more than one of us!’ The Prophet 
heard what she said to Fatimah, and when Fatimah saw the Messenger of Allah 
(s), she began to cry. He said to her: ‘Why are you crying 0 daughter?’ She said: 
‘FATshah mentioned my mother and disparaged her so I cried.’ The Prophet (s) 
became angry and said: ‘Enough, 0 Hamra 3 ! 8 Indeed Allah, the Exalted, has 
blessed the affectionate and fruitful wife, and Khadijah (may Allah bless her) 
bore me a pure son (who was named ‘Abdullah) and he was purified, and she 
bore me al-Qasim and Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum and Zaynab; whereas you 


8 This was one of the titles of Wishah and literally means ‘the red one’. 


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are among the wives whose wombs have been made barren by the will of Allah 
and you have not given birth to anything.’ 9/UA 

FAdshah had on many occasions behaved inappropriately towards al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and this shows the deep-seated hatred she bore against 
her. In fact, no other wife went to such extremes with the Mistress of all Women 
of the Worlds. Among these instances is what you will read when we discuss the 
subject of Fadak, where FAdshah bore witness in front of her father Abu Bakr 
that Prophets do not leave any inheritance, so that al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) 
would be deprived of her inheritance from her father (s). In another instance, 
we find that when the news of al-Zahra 3 ’s death reached FAdshah, she smiled! 
You will read how, while on her deathbed, al-Sayyidah Fatimah asked Asma 3 
bint c Umays to ensure that FAdshah was not allowed to attend her funeral. This 
clearly proves her anger and displeasure towards FAdshah; and the Prophet (s) 
has said: “Verily Allah is angry at whomsoever Fatimah is angry [with] and 
pleased with whomsoever Fatimah is pleased with .” 9 10 

Additionally, in the previous hadlth , it is clearly stated that the daughters of 
Khadljah al-Kubra are all from the Prophet of Allah (s), not from any other 
spouse. This narration is not the only evidence for this fact; rather, there are 
many indubitable proofs that they were all the real daughters of the Prophet 
(s). Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this book to explain more about 
this. We may, God-willing, present this discussion in another work, and 
highlight the importance and significance of this matter. 


9 Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn al-Babawayh (d. 381 A.H.), Al-Khisal, vol. 2, p. 405 

10 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p. 228 


CHAPTER NINE 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was only nine years of age, but she was 
blessed with early physical development, rather, physical perfection. She was 
distinguished, from a very young age, by her intellectual maturity and acumen. 
Allah had endowed her with a perfect intellect, a brilliant mind, and cleverness 
that is beyond description. She also had a plentiful share of grace, beauty and 
elegance in herself and from what she had inherited [from her parents]. Her 
talents were numerous and extraordinary, and her acquired and inherited 
virtues surpassed that of every daughter and [even] every son. 

Upon appraisal of her religious and literary education, one realizes that she was 
the most learned woman who excelled above all others. History has not borne 
witness to any other woman who has attained such a level of erudition, 
knowledge and refinement as her. This, notwithstanding the fact that she did 
not study in any school and never graduated from any academy other than the 
‘School of Prophethood’ and the ‘Academy of Divine Revelation’. 

It is not surprising that many of the famous companions of the Prophet (s) 
sought her hand in marriage, but the Prophet apologized to them saying, “Her 
matter is in the hands of her Lord, if He wills her to be married He will get her 
married.”'” SlnTayb ibn Sa c d al-Misri narrates in al-Rawd al-Fa } iq: 



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When the sun of her brilliance glimmered in the sky of prophethood 
and the full moon of her magnificence shone on the horizon, the 
attentions were turned towards her and the sights of the righteous 
were drawn towards her beauty. The elite among the Muhajirun and 
Ansar sought her hand in marriage. He (s) turned them down and said, 
“I am waiting for a decree [from my Lord] about her affair.”' 0 ' 

Abu Bakr and c Umar proposed to her, but the Prophet (s) said, “She is still too 
young.” 17 '"' And when c Abd al-Rahman ibn c Awf proposed, the Prophet did not 
reply and simply turned away from him. 

After looking at the Prophet’s statement that “she is still too young,” the 
spuriousness of the narrations about her birth five years before the 
commencement of the Prophetic mission ( mab c ath ) becomes evident, because if 
it was true, her age at this time would have been eighteen years, as some of the 
narrators have claimed. Yet how can an eighteen year old girl be considered 
too young while the Messenger of Allah (s) married FAlishah when she was, at 
most, ten years of age, and the Prophet did not consider her to be ‘too young’! 
So how could his teenage daughter be considered too young for marriage? 

If indeed it was as they claim, and she was born five years before the mab c ath, 
her age in Makkah, before the migration to Madinah, would have been sixteen 
or seventeen, and this is the best age for marriage. So how is it that nobody 
proposed to her in Makkah, neither from the Banu Hashim nor from any other 
clan? Rather, she was not even considered to be of marriageable age [at that 
time]. 

c Ali ibn al-Muttaqi has narrated in Kanz al- c Ummal from Anas ibn Malik, who 
said: “Abu Bakr came to the Prophet (s), sat in front of him and said, ‘0 Prophet 


Khasa’is Amir al-Mu’minm, p. 136; Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 596 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 


133 


of Allah, you know of my sincerity and how I was among the first to accept Islam 
and I am such and such....’ He (s) replied: ‘So what is it that you seek?’ He said: 
‘Marry Fatimah to me.’ He (s) became silent or [according to another report] 
turned away from him. Abu Bakr returned to c Umar and said, ‘I am doomed!’ 
c Umar asked, ‘How is that?’ He said, ‘I asked for Fatimah’s hand from the 
Prophet (s) and he turned away from me.’ c Umar said, ‘Wait here. Let me go to 
the Prophet and ask him for that which you had asked from him.’ So c Umar 
came to the Prophet (s) and sat in front of him and said, ‘0 Messenger of Allah, 
you know of my sincerity and my early acceptance of Islam, and that I am such 
and such...’ He (s) said, ‘So what is it that you seek?’ c Umar replied, ‘Marry 
Fatimah to me.’ The Prophet turned away from c Umar, so he returned to Abu 
Bakr and said, ‘He is waiting for the command of Allah about her matter.’” 2/w 

Al-HaythamI has narrated in Majma c al-Zawa } id that the daughters of both Abu 
Bakr and c Umar were asked by their fathers to seek Fatimah’s hand in marriage 
from the Prophet of Allah. When each one of them spoke to the Prophet on 
behalf of her father, the Prophet (s) replied saying, “Not until the divine decree 
descends.” When they heard this reply, they wished that they had not spoken 
to the Prophet about the matter. It is possible that the Prophet did not wish to 
tell them frankly that he was saving her for someone who was her equal and 
did not want to forthrightly say that their fathers were not good enough for her 
or to openly state that his daughter’s level is above theirs. 

The Prophet wanted the matter to take its natural course. Imam c Ali ( c a), the 
Commander of the Faithful, had put up at the house of Sa c d ibn Mu c adh 
(according to one narration) since he arrived in Madlnah, so Sa c d ibn Mu c adh 
came to him, while he was busy [working] in one of the farms of Madlnah, and 
said: “What is stopping you from seeking Fatimah’s hand in marriage from your 


2 Kanz al- c Ummal, vol. 13 p. 662 


134 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


cousin [the Prophet of Allah]?” '° r In Muntakhab al-Vmmal, it is narrated that 

c Umar went to c Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and said: “What is stopping 
you from [proposing to] Fatimah?” He replied: “I fear that my proposal will be 
rejected!” c Umar said: “if the Prophet does not marry her to you then to whom 
will he marry her, while you are the closest among the creation of Allah to 
him...?”'" 4 

c Ali did not mention Fatimah to anyone throughout his entire life, and he never 
mentioned his desire [to marry her] to the Prophet (s) out of modesty and 
shame. In addition, his financial situation at that time was very constrained. He 
did not possess anything of the wealth of this world and did not have a house 
or property in Madinah. So how could he marry? Where could he get married 
and where would he live? And al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 was not a woman whose 
marriage could be taken lightly! However, the purpose of marriage is to 
establish a matrimonial home and to lay the foundation for a family; and Islam 
came to open the shackles and fetters that had hindered people from the 
traditional practice of marriage. It made this matter, which is considered one 
of the innate needs of humankind that is required to keep the systems of social 
and family life stable, easier for them. 

Marriage became, through the blessing of Islam, a simple matter and the ethnic 
and tribal prejudices of the past were slowly waning. The Prophet was playing 
an important role in reshaping the society and he was the role model and 
exemplar for the Muslims. His movements and pauses, his actions and deeds 
were all considered proof and evidence for the Muslims. The Prophet used to 
fight against blind following of the practices of the age of ignorance, and the 
habits of [the era of] disbelief, by the hand and tongue, through speech and 


action. 


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135 


Thus c All came to the Prophet (s) to seek Fatimah’s hand in marriage. Despite 
the complete authority of the Prophet (s) over all the Muslims, male and female, 
and over his daughter and everyone else, he preserved Fatimah’s honour and 
did not announce his approval for the marriage before seeking Fatimah’s 
consent. By this action of his, he declared [to the world] that it is necessary for 
the bride to give her consent because she is the one who will have to live with 
her [future] husband and will become his life-partner, as he becomes her life- 
partner. 

Indeed, marrying off a girl without her permission or consent is a defeasance 
of her honour, disparagement of her self-esteem, and crushing of her persona. 
It is an action that manifestly declares to her that she has no right to have an 
opinion about who her spouse should be; as if she were cattle or a domesticated 
animal that is sold off or gifted away without her own permission or consent. 
So the Prophet (s) said: “0 c All, many others have mentioned [their interest in] 
her before you, so I asked her about them and noticed displeasure on her face; 
but wait here until I get her response. The Prophet (s) stood and left c Al! 

sitting there, waiting for an answer. He went to his daughter Fatimah and 
informed her that c All had come to ask for her hand in marriage. 

At times it is necessary for a father to inform his daughter about the one who 
has come to propose to her and mention to her his attributes such as his age, 
the work he does and all the other details about him, if he is not well-known, so 
that the daughter may be well informed before taking a decision. However, in 
this case there was no need for all this. c All ( c a) was well-known and needed no 
introduction. Fatimah knew c Ali and was aware of his past achievements, his 
merits and virtues, and was not unaware of anything [regarding him]. So the 
Prophet (s) found it sufficient to say: “0 Fatimah, c Ali ibn Ab! Talib, whose close 
relation [to us], virtue and faith you are aware of, has sought your hand in 
marriage, and indeed I had asked my Lord to get you married to the best of His 


136 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


creation and the one who is most beloved to Him. What do you say about 
this?”' 01 Fatimah remained silent and did not turn her face away. The Prophet 
(s) did not see any displeasure on her face so he stood up exclaiming, “Allah is 
great! Her silence is her approval!” w 

The Prophet considered her silence to signify her consent and approval for the 
marriage, as it is not expected of a young, shy maiden to declare her approval 
openly, rather what is expected is her open disapproval and rejection if she 
does not consent. Because modesty prevents her from openly declaring her 
approval but does not prevent her from announcing her rejection. The Prophet 
returned to c Ali, who was still waiting for him, and informed him about her 
consent. He asked him about the extent of his preparedness for the subsequent 
steps that needed to be taken, as presenting a dowry is necessary both as a 
religious obligation and a conventional one. Additionally, this wedding would 
be exemplary and would reverberate as a model for the coming generations, so 
it was important that all aspects be taken into consideration, and it would be 
improper to neglect any aspect of it, despite maintaining [its] simplicity. 

The Prophet then asked c Ali: “Do you have anything with you [as a dowry] that 
I can marry you with?” c Ali replied: “May my mother and father be your 
ransom! By Allah, there is nothing about my affair that is hidden from you. I 
have only my sword, my shield and my camel!”' ° A This was the wealth of Imam 

c Ali and all that he possessed of this world when he was on the verge of getting 
married. The Prophet responded to his words with magnanimity and said: “0 
c Ali, as for your sword, you cannot do without it. You use it to fight in the way 
of Allah and you kill the enemies of Allah with it. As for your camel, you need it 
to carry water to your date palms and to your family, and use it to travel from 
place to place. So I marry you with your shield, and accept that as a dowry from 
you. Sell it and bring the money to me!”'"' c Ali ( c a) had gotten this shield from 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 


137 


the booty of the Battle of Badr - the Prophet (s) had given it to him. 3 The shield 
was named al-Hatmiyyah because it used to break the swords, as is mentioned 
in Lisan al- c Arab. 

c All ( c a) sold his shield for four hundred and eighty (or five hundred) dirhams 
and brought the money to the Prophet (s), placing it in front of him. It was 
agreed that the price of the shield would be the dowry for the most honourable 
young woman in the entire world and the best female in the universe i.e. the 
Mistress of all Women of the Worlds and daughter of the Master of all the 
Prophets and Messengers, the most noble of all creation! The Prophet of Allah 
(s) married off his pure daughter to his vicegerent c All ibn Abi Talib in this 
simple manner so that the shackles of blind following that people had fettered 
themselves with would be broken. The Prophet (s) did this so that the people, 
who are millions of times lower in status and honour, could follow his example. 
He married off his daughter, who was the Mistress of all Women, for such a 
small dowry, so that young Muslim women would not feel too proud to accept 
small dowries. And [for] many other reasons and benefits that we cannot 
elaborate upon in detail here. 

All this happened on earth. In the heavens, however, Allah preserved the 
honour of the Mistress of all Women. For Allah had married Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
to Imam c Ali ibn Abi Talib before her father, the Prophet of Allah, married her 
to him. This is not far-fetched, since Allah married those who were much lower 
in status than Fatimah al-Zahrab Was it not Allah who married Zaynab bint 
Jahash to the Prophet when He said: So when Zayd was through with her We wedded 
her to you...? (Q33:37) Was it not Allah who married His prophet to the believing 
woman who offered herself to the Prophet (Q33:50)? Then what is to prevent a 
blessed assembly in the heavens where such a marriage ceremony would take 


3 al-Isabah, vol. 8, p. 54 


138 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


place with angels and archangels in attendance, as is mentioned in some of the 
narrations? All this was a means of honouring her and her father, her husband 
and her sons who will be born to her, and who will be the Proofs of Allah to all 
of creation. 

The marriage ceremony that took place in the fourth heaven next to Bayt al- 
Ma c mur was one of its kind, unique, and never witnessed ever before in the 
universe. All the angels had gathered in the fourth heaven and a pulpit was set 
up. It was a pulpit of light, and Allah commanded one of the angels whose name 
was Rahil to ascend the pulpit and glorify and praise Him, and there is no angel 
more eloquent and more beautiful in speech than Rahil. So he ascended the 
pulpit and said: “All praise be to Allah, before the first of the foremost, and the 
One who will remain after the worlds perish. We praise Him for making us 
angels, spiritual beings, submissive to His Lordship, grateful for His blessings, 
and for keeping away from us insatiable lustful desires and making our only 
desire and yearning His praise and glorification. The One who showers all with 
His mercy and bestows His blessings upon everyone. Far above the apostasy of 
the polytheists, and exalted by His greatness above the falsehood of the 
disbelievers...” Then he said: “Allah, the Mighty Sovereign, has chosen His best 
and most honourable servant for his maidservant, the Mistress of all Women, 
the daughter of the greatest Prophet (s), Master of the Messengers, and Leader 
of the God-wary. He has thus joined his line with the line of a man from his 
family, his close companion, the testifier of his message, the one who was quick 
to accept his words - c Ali, who is now married to Fatimah al-Batul, the Prophet’s 
daughter.”' 1 ' Then JibraTl presented the message of Allah, the Most High: 
“Praise is My magnificence, majesty is My grandeur, and all the creatures are 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 


139 


My slaves and handmaidens. I have wedded Fatimah, My maidservant to c Ali, 
the best of My servants - bear witness [to this] 0 My angels!” 4/n ' 

A group of Sunni scholars have also narrated this tradition. Some of them 
include: c Abd al-Rahman al-Safuri, who narrates fromjabir ibn c Abdillah (may 
Allah be pleased with him), who said: “Umm Ayman came to the Prophet (s) 
crying, so he asked her why she was crying. She said: ‘A man from the Ansar 
married off his daughter and almonds and sugar were strewn at her wedding, 
so I recalled that nothing was strewn when you got Fatimah married.’ He (s) 
said: ‘By He who has sent me with honour and selected me for Prophethood, 
when Allah married c Ali to Fatimah, He ordered the archangels to circle around 
the Throne. Among them were JibraTl, MikaTl and Israfil; and He commanded 
the birds to sing, so they sang. He then commanded the tree of Tuba to scatter 
pearls, white gemstones, green emeralds and red rubies.’”''” In another 
narration, it is mentioned that the wedding took place at the Sidrat al-Muntaha 
and Allah commanded it to scatter what it had within itself, so it strewed pearls, 
gemstones and corals. 4 5 6 

Al-Hafiz Abu Na c Im narrates from c Abdullah ibn Mas c ud: “...then Allah ordered 
the tree of heaven so it brought forth jewels and ornaments, then He 
commanded it to scatter them over the angels. So whoever took a greater share 
from it on that day would take pride in it until the Day of Resurrection.” 67 ' 11 ” 

Others, such as al-Khwarizml (in Maqtal al-Husayn), al- c Asqalani (in Lisan al- 
Mlzan and Tahdhlb al-Tahdhib ) and al-Qanduzi (in Yanab? al-Mawaddah) have also 
narrated this. 


4 Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p.110 

5 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p. 223 

6 Hilyat al-Awliya 1 , vol. 5, p. 59 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


It has been narrated in Nuzhat al-Majalis from Anas ibn Malik who said: “Once, 
when the Prophet (s) was in the masjid, he told c Ali: ‘JibraTl has just informed 
me that Allah had married you to Fatimah and made forty thousand angels bear 
witness [to it]. He also commanded the tree of Tuba to scatter over them 
gemstones, rubies, jewels and ornaments, so it did this. The houris rushed to 
collect the gemstones and ornaments in their trays, and they exchange them 
[with one another] as gifts until the Day of Resurrection.’”' 11 Al-Suytiti has also 
narrated this in Tahdhir al-Khawas. 

The Prophet (s) recited the marriage formula in the masjid while he was on the 
pulpit, where he could be seen and heard by the Muslims. In this way, he 
established the sunnah of pronouncement and testimony in the recitation of 
marriage formulae as well as the [recommended] amount of dowry, so that the 
Muslims may follow in his footsteps and not be excessive in their [demanding 
large] dowries. He (s) also said: “Do not be excessive in [demanding] dowry such 
that it leads to enmity.”' 10 The Prophet (s) determined that the dowry be [set 

at] five hundred dirhams, and this became his sunnah. He even married his 
wives with this amount and the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) also never went 
above this amount in their dowries. 

Turning back to the marriage of al-Sayyidah Fatimah, we see that c All ( c a) sold 
his shield and came with the amount to the Prophet, who then divided it into 
three portions: a third of the sum was for buying furniture and household 
utensils, a third for purchasing perfumes for the first night of marriage ( laylat 
al-zifaf) and a third was given to Umm Salamah as a trust that would be returned 
to c All just before the wedding so that it could be used to pay for the wedding 
feast (walimah). 

It is natural that the marriage of al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) to c All ( c a) roused 
feelings of jealousy and enmity in the hearts of some, and especially in those 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on the Threshold of Marriage 


141 


who had previously proposed to Fatimah through her father but had been 
turned down by him. Small wonder it is then, that a group from the Quraysh 
came to the Prophet and said: “You have gotten your daughter married to c All 
for a paltry dowry.” Fie replied them saying: “It is not me who got c Ali married 
[to her], rather Allah married him [to her] on the night when he took me up to 
the Sidrat al-Muntaha...” 77 '™ He (s) also said: “I am but a human being like you, 
I get married among you and marry you [to your spouses] - except Fatimah, for 
indeed her marriage was decreed from the heavens. ” 8/nv 

The Prophet gave some money to Abu Bakr to buy some household items for 
Fatimah’s new home, saying to him: “Buy with this money for my daughter that 
which she would require in her new home.”'™ He sent Bilal and Salman to 

accompany Abu Bakr and help him carry what he bought. It is said that he also 
sent c Ammar ibn Yasir and a group of other companions [to help]. Abu Bakr 
said: “The amount that the Prophet gave me was sixty three dirhams.”'™ So 
they went to the market and bought the required items, which included: 

— Two carpets woven from Egyptian yarn, one made of fibre and another 
of fleece 

— A leather mat 

— A pillow made of leather and stuffed with palm fibre 

— A cloak made in Khaybar 

— A receptacle for water 

— Water-skins and jars 

— A water filter 

— A fine woollen curtain 

— A shirt worth seven dirhams 


7 Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn al-Babawayh (d. 381 A.H.), Man La Yahduruh al-Faqih, vol. 3 p. 401 

8 al-Kafi, vol. 5 p. 568 



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— A veil ( khimar ) worth four dirhams 

— A black basket 

— A bed covered with a bed-cover made of interwoven palm fibre 

— Four cushions made of leather from Tadf and stuffed with leaves from 
the Idhkhar plant 

— A straw mat 

— A hand mill 

— A large bronze vessel 

— A container for milk 

— A water sprinkler 

When the purchasing was completed, Abu Bakr carried some of the things and 
the other companions of the Prophet (s) carried the rest. When the items were 
presented before the Prophet of Allah, while he was in the house of Umm 
Salamah, he began examining them with his hands and saying: “May Allah bless 
the Ahl al-Bayt.” In another narration, we find: He raised his head towards the 
sky and said: “0 Allah bless the people whose [household] vessels are made of 
earthenware. ”' v ' 

These were all the furnishings that the Master of the Prophets (s) bought for 
his daughter, the most honoured of women and the Mistress of all Women of 
the World. Yes, it is true that marital bliss is not dependant on lavishness, 
luxury and extravagance, or on magnificent gowns, expensive furniture, 
valuable gemstones, vessels of gold and silver, costly carpets and drapes, lofty 
palaces, big cars, sophisticated lighting, air conditioning systems etc. as some 
simple-minded people think. How many women strut in their lavish attires and 
costumes, sit on comfortable cushions, adorn themselves with jewellery lined 
with pearls and gemstones hanging from their necks, on their arms and from 
their earlobes, yet despite all this they are utterly miserable and feel that they 
are in hell, completely unhappy in their lives? Yet how many women live in 


Intercession on the Day of Judgement was Part of Fatimah’s ( c a) Dowry 


143 


small shacks or humble dwellings, milling, kneading, baking, washing, 
sweeping, nursing [children] and bearing all sorts of hardships while living a 
very simple life, deprived of the hundreds of appliances [that could make things 
easier], and despite all this they live a happy life, as if their small, simple homes 
are like the Garden of Eden. 

The same example can be given about men as well, for [at times] we find a grand 
lofty palatial house belonging to a man who enters it with unwillingness, as if 
he is entering a cage, trying to escape it time after time; and a simple home 
which a man returns to with longing and desire, not willing to leave it, 
especially when it is built on the foundations of marital joy and bliss. However, 
it is sad to see that millions of young men and women consider marital joy and 
happiness in life to be the result of wealth and acquisitions, and deem simplicity 
in life as a means to wretchedness and a sign of deprivation. So these poor 
young men and women remain unmarried as they wait, expecting marital joy 
to knock on the door of wealth! 


Intercession on the Day of Judgement was Part of Fatimah’s ( c a) Dowry 

If al-Sayyidah Fatimah got married with a small dowry in obedience to the 
wishes of her father, the Prophet, so that the Muslims may follow his example 
and his wise objectives may be achieved, this does not mean that al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah had to forget her status or that her greatness was overlooked. Rather, 
her lofty status, her honoured personality, her exalted position and her 
inclination towards virtues and merits had to be preserved; and for this reason, 
Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Damishqi has narrated in Akhbar al-Duwal wal-Athar al-Uwal: 

It is reported that when she heard that her father had married her off, 
having determined a certain amount for her dowry, she said [to him]: 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“0 Prophet of Allah, verily the daughters of people are married with 
[dowries of] dirhams, so what then distinguishes me from them? I 
beseech you to return it and ask Allah, the Most High, to make my 
dowry the [approval of my] intercession for the sinners of your 
ummah.” 

At this point JibraTl ( c a) descended, bringing along with himself a silk 
parchment upon which was written: ‘Allah has made the dowry of 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 the intercession for the sinners of her father’s 
ummah’. When she was on her deathbed, she asked that this parchment 
be placed upon her heart, under her shroud, and this was done. She 
said, “When I am raised on the Day of Resurrection, I will raise this 
parchment with my hand and intercede for the sinners of my father’s 
ummah.”' v ' 

This narration shows how al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was endowed with 
exalted magnanimity, a great personality, farsightedness and a lofty status, for 
she asked her father to pray to Allah, the Most High, that He may bestow upon 
her this great right, namely the right of intercession on the Day of Judgement. 
The Prophet’s prayer was answered and his wish was granted. A muniment to 
this effect was also sent down from the heavens, and al-Sayyidah Fatimah will 
present this muniment when it is required. 

It has also been narrated by al-Safuri in Nuzhat al-Majalis that al-Nasafl said: 
“Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet (s) to let her dowry 
be the intercession for his ummah on the Day of Judgement, and when this day 
comes, she will ask for her dowry.” m Many similar narrations have come to us 
from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a), telling us that Allah made intercession 
on the Day of Judgement part of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s dowry. 


Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 


145 


Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 

There was a brief gap between the time when the marriage contract was recited 
and the bride was brought to her new home. This was because c Ali ( c a) was too 
shy to ask the Prophet (s) for his wife, and the Prophet also wanted to maintain 
the honour of al-Sayyidah Fatimah by not sending his daughter to her marital 
home before her husband had asked for her. This interlude lasted for a month 
or a couple of months and neither side said anything about it. In the end, c Aqll 
came to Imam c All and asked him why he was quiet and doing nothing [about 
the matter]. He urged him to make the required preparations for his new bride 
to be brought to his house, but c Ali ( c a) was shy to ask the Prophet (s) to send 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah to his home. However, c AqIl insisted that he pursue the 
matter, so they both proceeded to the Prophet in order to speak to him about 
it. On the way, they met Umm Ayman and she asked them not to go directly to 
the Prophet, promising to help resolve the issue herself. She then went to Umm 
Salamah and informed her about the matter. She, in turn, informed all the other 
wives of the Prophet about it. So all of them went to see the Prophet together 
and surrounded him saying: “May our fathers and mothers be ransomed for you 
0 Messenger of Allah! We have come to you with a request that would have 
delighted Khadijah had she been alive!” When the Prophet heard the name of 
Khadijah, he began to weep. Then he said: “Khadijah! And who can ever be like 
Khadijah? She believed me when others belied me; she supported me in 
spreading the true religion and assisted me with her wealth! Indeed, Allah 
commanded me to give Khadijah glad tidings of a house in Paradise made of 
pearly emeralds, wherein there is no commotion or hardship.”' VT 

Umm Salamah said: “May our parents be your ransom, 0 Prophet of Allah! You 
have not mentioned anything but the truth about Khadijah. However, she has 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


gone to her Lord, and Allah has granted her felicity - May Allah join us with her 
in Paradise and grant us His pleasure and mercy. 0 Messenger of Allah! Here is 
your brother in this world, and your cousin by relation, c All ibn Abi Talib. He 
would like his wife, Fatimah, to move to his house and share his mantle with 
hirn.” m 

In another narration, it was Umm Ayman who said: “0 Prophet of Allah! if 
Khadljah was alive, she would have been delighted by Fatimah’ s moving to her 
husband’s house, and c All wants his wife by his side, so give joy to the heart of 
Fatimah by uniting her with her husband, and bring them together so that they 
may be filled with happiness. ”' v ° He (s) replied: “Why does c All not ask me for 

this himself?” She replied: “He feels ashamed to ask this of you 0 Prophet of 
Allah!” He said: “Go to c All and bring him to me.” Umm Ayman came out only 
to find c AlI waiting for her in order to learn of the Prophet’s reply. She took c All 
( c a) to the Prophet (s) and he sat in front of the Prophet with his head lowered 
out of shame. The Messenger of Allah (s) asked him: “Do you wish that your wife 
be brought to your house?” He replied: “Yes, may my father and mother be your 
ransom!” The Prophet said: “Okay, I will send her to you this night or by 
tomorrow night God-willing. Prepare a house so that Fatimah can move there.” 
c All said: “There is no house available except the house of Harithah ibn al- 
Nu c man.” The Prophet said: “We feel embarrassed [to ask this of him] as we 
have already taken most of Harithah ibn al-Nu c man’s houses!” m 

The news of this reached Harithah, so he came to the Prophet and said: “0 
Messenger of Allah, my soul and my possessions all belong to Allah and His 
Prophet. By Allah, nothing is more beloved to me than your taking from me, 
and what you take is more beloved to me than what you leave behind.”' vv 0 
what magnificent faith in Allah and in the Prophet! 0 how beautiful the belief 
in the Hereafter and its rewards! Harithah gave one of his houses to c All, who 


Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 


147 


in turn began furnishing it and preparing the bridal chamber. He laid out gravel 
on the ground and erected some wooden posts on which he placed lamps. He 
bought water-skins and jars, and placed a plank from one wall to the other for 
the clothes! He then laid out the hide of a ram and cushions of palm-fibre. This 
is all that c All ( c a) possessed of the material wealth of this world and its 
adornments! 

As we have mentioned, the dowry that c Ali ( c a) gave to the Prophet (s) was 
divided into three: a third was for buying the furnishings, a third was for 
perfume and a third was left as a trust with al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah. This last 
amount was taken back by the Prophet and given to c All as [a form of] 
assistance, since he was about to embark on a new life and there would 
obviously be great need for money. He (s) said to him: “0 'All, it is necessary to 
have a wedding feast (walimah).”' yA Look at the compassion, the lofty character 

and the true love and affection [of the Prophet (s)]! Some of the companions 
also gave gifts to c All, and the Prophet told c All to prepare a great feast. He gave 
this instruction because Allah loves that one should feed his fellow human 
beings, and there is much goodness in the wedding feast. It has many benefits 
and numerous advantages. Through it the empty stomachs are filled, the seeds 
of love are planted in the hearts of people, and above all, it is a means of 
attaining the pleasure of Allah. 

Despite this, unfortunately today we have transformed the wedding feast into 
a private gathering and replaced the serving of food with mere refreshments 
and sweets, which neither nourish nor alleviate hunger! We must not forget 
that al-Sayyidah Fatimah set a record when it came to giving charity in the way 
of Allah, and exercising self-sacrifice in order to gain His pleasure. You would 
be hard pressed to find any woman who even comes close to her throughout 
history! 


148 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Al-Safurl has narrated from ibn al-Jawz! 9 that the Prophet (s) gave her a new 
gown for her wedding night and the night when she moved to her husband’s 
home, as her old gown was frayed. When a beggar came to her door and said: “I 
seek from the House of Prophethood an old gown.” She proceeded to give her 
tattered gown to him but recalled the words of Allah: You will never attain true 
righteousness until you give away that which you love (Q3:92), so she gave him the 
new gown. When the wedding night approached, JibraTl descended and said: 
“0 Muhammad! Allah sends you salutations and has commanded that I salute 
Fatimah; and He has sent a gift for her from the attires of Paradise made from 
green silk brocade...”"'’ 

A wedding feast, which consisted of meat, bread, dates and butter, was 
prepared. The Prophet (s) rolled up his sleeves and started mixing the dates 
with the butter in order to make a sweet dish that could be served to the guests. 
Then he told c All to invite the people to partake in the wedding feast ( walimah ). 
Imam c Ali ( c a) came to the masjid and found it teeming with Muslims, among 
whom were the Ahl al-Suffah - the poor emigrants ( muhajirun ) who did not 
possess anything at that time, along with the people of Madlnah from the Ansar 
and others who were not wealthy. What was c Ali ( c a) to do with such a large 
number of people when the food was limited? His noble and pure soul did not 
allow him to invite a group to the exclusion of others, while all of them wished 
to partake of the walimah of the Prophet’s daughter, and every one of them 
wanted to be present at that blessed banquet. 

c All's faith in the power of Allah and in the blessed status of the Prophet (s) 
made everything easy. He climbed upon a raised platform and said in a loud 
voice, which was audible to everyone present: “0 people, please accept our 
invitation to attend the walimah of Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad.” u ' His 


9 Nuzhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p. 226 


Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 


149 


voice even reached the gardens of Madlnah and its farms, and all the people, 
men and women, came flocking towards the banquet. They ate, drank, and even 
took some of the food with them. It was here that the blessing ( barakah ) of the 
Holy Prophet (s) became manifest, as the food did not run out. In fact, it did not 
even diminish, and the Prophet instructed that containers filled with food be 
sent to his wives’ houses, and he kept the best of the food in a [separate] 
container saying: “...and this is for Fatimah and her husband!” 

When night fell and the time came for al-Sayyidah Fatimah to leave her father’s 
house and move to her husband’s home, the Prophet (s) made all the 
arrangements necessary for his daughter’s relocation. Even though al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah’s marriage was unique in its simplicity and moderation, and its lack of 
pretentiousness, extravagance and the like, it was nevertheless surrounded by 
signs of greatness and magnificence. So much so that al-Haythami narrates in 
Majma c al-Zawaid from Jabir who said, “We attended the wedding of c All and 
Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with them), and we had never witnessed a 
wedding [ceremony] so beautiful...”'*' 

The Prophet (s) had instructed his wives to beautify al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 ( c a) in preparation for her wedding night, so they began putting perfume 
on her and adorned her with jewellery. One was busy combing her hair while 
others were making her up. She wore the gown that JibraTl had brought for her 
from Paradise - a gown that was priceless and beyond comparison. The Noble 
Prophet (s) bestowed special attention and consideration upon his daughter al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and had a deeper affection for her than he did for 
his other daughters. The reasons for this include: her own merits and virtuous 
character, and the personality of her husband c All ibn Abl Talib, for he was a 
person of great virtue and was the cousin of the Prophet, his brother, his 
legatee, his successor and flag-bearer, and none of his other sons-in-law had 
this special close relationship and lofty status. The Messenger of Allah (s) knew 


150 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


that his pure daughter would be included in the Verse of Purification ( ayah al- 
tathir), the Verse of Malediction ( ayah al-mubahalah ) and the verse about loving 
the [Prophet’s] near relatives ( ayah al-mawaddah), and that she would be the 
mother of the Infallible Imams until the Day of Resurrection. 

The night came when al-Sayyidah Fatimah felt that she was an orphan and 
missed the presence of her loving mother Khadijah - and every mother has an 
important role to play on the night of her daughter’s wedding. But where was 
Khadijah this night? When the sun had set, the Prophet called for his daughter 
and his son-in-law. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah came forward wearing a long gown 
with its train trailing on the ground, her face was covered with pearl-like drops 
of perspiration out of the shyness she felt standing in front of her father, the 
Master of the Prophets. Allah, the Most High, willed that the marriage of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah should be unique in every sense, and this is what the 
Messenger (s) also wanted, so that his daughter would not feel sad that her 
mother was not there with her. For this and other reasons, the Prophet brought 
his mule, al-Shahba 3 and put a folded velvet duvet upon it before asking 
Fatimah to ride on it. He (s) instructed Salman to lead the mule and the Prophet 
himself drove it forward. 10 

In all honesty, does one ever come across or read in the history of all the great 
figures who have ever lived, from the Prophets to the kings, viziers and sultans, 
that a daughter is taken to the house of her new husband while the Master of 
Prophets is driving her mule? Indeed, the inhabitants of the heavens also 
participated, along with the people on earth, in the wedding of the ‘houri in 
human form’. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi narrates in his Tarikh , 11 al-Juwayni in 
Far add al-Simtayn, al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-Ftidal, al- c Asqalani in Lisan al-Mlzan , al- 


10 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 104 

11 Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 6, p. 136 



Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 


151 


Qirmanl in Akhbar al-Duwal and al-Qanduz! in YanabF al-Mawaddah [all] from ibn 
c Abbas who said: “When Fatimah was being taken to the house of c Ali, the 
Prophet (s) was in front of her, JibraTl was on her right, MikaTl was on her left 
and seven thousand angels were behind her, all glorifying Allah and praising 
Him until dawn.” u ' r 

It is narrated from Imam Musa ibnja c far ( c a), from his forefathers, fromjabir 
ibn c Abdillah al-Ansari that: ...when it was the night of her wedding, the Prophet 
(s) brought his mule al-Shahba 3 , 12 placed upon it a velvet duvet and said [to 
Fatimah]: “Sit on it.” He then instructed Salman to lead it and the Prophet (s) 
himself drove it. On the way, he suddenly heard a sound and when he turned, 
he saw JibraTl and MikaTl, each accompanied by seventy thousand angels. The 
Prophet (s) asked them: “What has made you descend to the Earth?” They 
replied: “We have come to escort Fatimah as she moves to the house of c All ibn 
Abl Talib.” Then JibraTl pronounced the takblr, followed by MlkaTl and all the 
angels and the Prophet (s) also recited the takblr. From that night onwards, it 
became the practice to recite the takblr when bidding farewell to brides. 13/ur 

The members of the Banu Hashim accompanied the retinue of al-Sayyidah al- 
Zahra 3 and the Prophet (s) instructed the daughters of c Abd al-Muttalib (his 
aunts) and the womenfolk of the Muhajirun and Ansar to accompany Fatimah 
on the way. The wives of the Prophet (s) walked in front reciting poetry. Umm 
Salamah was reciting: 

o'ill P- J 9 4j jSs O J jj •f 

ol 9 I J OJj ( jft ZS" J « ^_UJt I >j fy. jul J 0 jj_J S” i\j 


12 The Prophet (s) had named his camel, al- c Adba } , his mule al-Shahba } , his staff al-Mamshuq, his 
turban al-Sahab and so on. 

13 Muhammad ibn Jarir ibn Rustam al-Tabari (d. 5 th Century), Dala’il al-Imamah, p. 102 


152 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 



J sj Lj aS" J xj ljlJ_A J si 

^ !l *1 ^ j ^ J 

jj 4 l . *09 J—e C J Lj 


Advance together, by the help of Allah, my fellow women, 
and thank Him in all situations 

And recall how the Lord Most High has blessed you 
by relieving you of hardship and calamity 

For He has guided us after we were disbelievers 
and has revived us - Lord of the heavens 

We are now with the best of all women, 
may her maternal and paternal aunts be her ransom 

0 daughter of he who has been favoured by the Exalted One 
with revelation from Him and divine messages 

Then FATshah said: 

y>-\ j jz 0 j I 1 

ll jl Jl Ljj ilj 

4JI ^ Ip j »j>J ! j 

La jS'i lap I iiLi l . jj_— 


^j-3 1_« j j_S" ilj 

^ 1 Z J *p J 4 1) Jj 

JL)I j <j«'l 4& 




ja \ L 


; L 1 




0 women, hide and conceal yourselves [from the men], 
and speak that which is appropriate in [such] gatherings 


Preparations to Bring the Bride to Her New Home 


153 


And remember the Lord of Men as He has selected us 
for His religion along with all the grateful servants 

All praise be to Allah for His great bounty 
and thanks to Allah, the Mighty, the Powerful 

We are with her, for Allah has granted her loftiness, 
and has favoured her with pure immaculacy 

Then Hafsah said: 


j— ^ 4 — 4 — 0— ' "J 

iS L-; 0— - 1 J — 

^-2> j-J- Lip 

J— ^ ^ 5 


j mLI pi — ’ 4 pLls 

j_r l 5 Jp ii LiL^li 

Si Lis ^ 3 auI Li 

1 — *>! ' — f; l/U' — = r jj — "9 


Fatimah is the best of womankind, 
her face is like the bright full moon 

Allah has favoured you above all creation 
with the unique blessing of the verse of al-Zumar [revealed in your honour] 

Allah married you to a virtuous young man, 
c Ali, the best of those who are present 

So advance fellow women with her, for she is 
the noble daughter of the most honourable person 


Then Mu c adhah mother of Sa c d ibn Mu c adh said: 


154 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


4 j : 

A > jl>eJ 

O 

-jIUj 


J- 


a J! «a J ^ j ijj i! 


A 3 l « 

_» 4&1 i 


<S* 


L$J' 


r ] * — 

u j 




i_s-P 0-^i 

1^1 *sd 45*sM St ojji 9 


I present my speech in which is contained 
the virtue that I recall and bring to light 

Muhammad is the best of the children of Adam, 
he has not an ounce of arrogance or haughtiness 

Through his grace we learnt our means to salvation, 
so Allah shall reward him with great goodness 

And we are with the daughter of the Prophet of guidance, 
possessor of honour, being firmly established in it 

Her origin is at the lofty pinnacle, 
to which nothing, I surmise, can ever draw near 

The women would repeat the first verse of every poem as they entered the 
house. The Prophet (s) called for c All and then he called Fatimah. He placed 
Fatimah’s hand in the hand of c All saying: “May Allah bless the daughter of the 
Messenger of Allah. 0 c All, this is Fatimah, [my beloved daughter] whom I am 
entrusting to you. 0 c All, Fatimah is the best wife [one could possibly have]. 0 
Fatimah, c All is the best husband [one could possible hope for], 0 Allah, bless 
them both, shower them with Your bounties and grant them good children. 0 
Allah, these two are the most beloved of Your creation to me so love them and 


Opinions About Her Age When She Got Married 


155 


appoint a guardian to look over them, for I seek refuge for them with You, and 
for their progeny, from the accursed Satan.” ut 

The Prophet then asked for water, took a handful, rinsed his mouth with it and 
spat into a cup. Then he sprinkled some of it on the head of Fatimah, on her 
chest and between her shoulders. After this, he called c Ali and did the same to 
him. The Prophet (s) then instructed the women to leave, so they did, and only 
Asma 3 bint c Umays remained behind. When the Prophet was about to leave, he 
saw a lady in black. He asked: “Who are you?” She replied: “Asma 3 bint c Umays.” 
The Prophet said: “Did I not ask you [all] to leave?” She said: “Yes, 0 Messenger 
of Allah, may my father and mother be your ransom! I did not intend to act in 
disobedience, but I had given Khadljah my word...” u ° and she told him what she 

had promised. The Prophet (s) began to cry when he heard the words of 
Khadljah, realizing that she had thought of this night [in advance], and the fact 
that on this night, Fatimah would be heartbroken [due to the absence of her 
beloved mother]. He said: “By Allah, is this why you have remained behind?” 
Asma 3 replied: “Yes, by Allah!” He (s) said: “0 Asma 3 , may Allah fulfil your 
wishes in this world and the next.”' A1 


Opinions About Her Age When She Got Married 

Historians and traditionists differ in their opinions with regard to the year in 
which the marriage of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) took place. Al-Sayyid 
Ibn Tawus narrates in al-Iqbal, quoting Shaykh al-Mufld [who said]: “Her 
marriage took place on the night of the twenty-first of Muharram, three years 
after the Hijrah.” 14/Uv In al-Misbah, we find: [The marriage took place] on the 


14 c AlI ibn Musa ibn Tawus (d. 664 A.H.), Iqbal al-A c mal, vol. 2, p. 585 


156 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


first of Dhl al-Hijjah, and it has [also] been narrated that it was on the sixth of 
that month . 15 In al-Amali [al-Tusi states]: Her marriage took place sixteen days 
after the death of Ruqayyah, the wife of c Uthman. This was after the latter’s 
return from Badr during the last days of Shawwal. 16/UA 


A Study About Asma 3 Bint c Umays and Umm Salamah 

Asma 3 bint c Umays was the wife of Ja c far ibn Abi Talib, and Ja c far had emigrated 
to Habashah with his wife and a number of Muslims many years before the 
Hijrah from Makkah [to Madinah], He returned from Habashah to Madinah 
during the conquest of Khaybar in the fifth year of the Hijrah. This is 
unanimously agreed upon by the historians. However, we find some narrations 
that state Asma 3 bint TJmays was present with al-Sayyidah Khadljah al-Kubra 
in Makkah when she was on her deathbed, as we have mentioned earlier. We 
also see many narrations that clearly state that she was present at the wedding 
of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and mention her by name and title (Asma 3 bint 
c Umays al-Khath c amiyyah). 

The author of Kashf al-Ghummah narrates that Asma 3 bint c Umays was present 
at the wedding of al-Sayyidah Fatimah, as does al-Hadrami , 17 Ahmad ibn Hanbal 
in al-Manaqib, al-Haythami in Majma c al-Zawa } id, al-Nasa 3 ! in al-Khasa } is, 18 Muhib 
al-Din al-Tabari in Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba (narrating from ibn c Abbas, and from al- 
Khwarizmi (narrating from al-Husayn ibn c Ali ( c a)), and from al-Sayyid Jalal al- 


15 Ibrahim ibn c AlI al- c AmilI (d. 905 A.H.), Misbah al-Kafami, p. 514 

16 Amali al-Tusi, p. 43 

17 Abu Bakr Shihab al-Din al-Hadrami (d. 1341 A.H.), Rashfat al-Sadi min Bahr Fadadl al-Nabi al-Hadi, 
p.ll 

18 Khasads Amir al-Mudninin, p. 137 



A Study About Asma 3 Bint c Umays and Umm Salamah 


157 


Dm c Abd al-Hamld ibn Fakhkhar al-MusawI, and from al-Dawlabl and from 
Imam al-Baqir ( c a), from his forefathers). Al-Majlisi has also narrated from some 
of these individuals in al-Bihar. 19 

We know that the marriage of al-Sayyidah Fatimah took place after the Battle 
of Badr and before Uhud, meaning in the first or second year of the Hijrah, so 
how can we resolve this contradiction? This is a chronological discrepancy for 
which historians have not been able to find a compelling and correct answer. 
Shaykh al-Majlis! has tried his best to come up with some explanations or 
interpretations; 20 however, these do not accord with the fact that the name of 
Asma 3 bint c Umays al-Khath c amiyyah has clearly been mentioned (in the 
traditions). What al-Qummi mentions in Safinat al-Bihar is even more 
astounding. He narrates from Mujahid that Asma 3 bint c Umays said: “I was in 
the company of c A 3 ishah [during her wedding], and along with some other 
women, I prepared and presented her to the Prophet of Allah.” She added: “By 
Allah, we did not see any food with him other than a bowl of milk. He drank 
from it and then presented it to c A 3 ishah, but the young girl was shy so I said to 
her: ‘do not turn away the hand of the Messenger of Allah. Take it from him.’ 
So she bashfully took it and drank from it. Then he (s) said: ‘Give some to your 
companions [too].’ We all said: ‘We do not desire it.’ He replied: ‘Hunger and 
dishonesty do not go together!’ I asked: ‘0 Prophet of Allah, if one of us says 
about a thing, “I do not desire it,” is that considered a lie?’ He (s) said: ‘Indeed 
lies are recorded. Even the smallest of lies are recorded.’” 217 '*’ 

The aim of mentioning this narration is to show that Asma 3 bint c Umays was 
present at the time of the Prophet’s marriage to c A 3 ishah, and this took place 


19 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 131 

20 Ibid, p.135 

21 Safinat al-Bihar, vol. 7, p. 454 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


before al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) got married. In addition, it is well 
known and has been established from numerous sources that Asma 3 bint 
c Umays was present when Imam al-Husayn ( c a) was born, in the fourth or fifth 
year of the Hijrah. All these events occurred before the Battle of Khaybar, 
meaning before Ja c far ibn Abl Talib returned from Habashah. Al-Majlisi also 
narrates in al-Bihar from Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kanjl [who states] in his book, 
Kifdyat al-Talib, that Asma 3 bint c Umays was present at the wedding of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 . Muhammad ibn Yusuf says: 

This is what ibn Battah says, and the narration is sound; but the 
mention of Asma 3 bint c Umays in this tradition is not correct because 
this Asma 3 was the wife of Ja c far ibn Abl Talib... and the Asma 3 who was 
present at the wedding of Fatimah ( c a) was Asma 3 bint Yazld ibn al- 
Sakan al-Ansarl. Asma 3 bint c Umays was with her husband Ja c far in 
Habashah, and she returned with him during the conquest of Khaybar 
in the seventh year of the Hijrah. The marriage of Fatimah took place a 
few days after the Battle of Badr, so the Asma 3 mentioned in this 
narration was the daughter of Yazld ... 22 

I am of the opinion that, had Asma 3 bint c Umays not been mentioned explicitly 
in the narrations, with her full name and title, it would have been possible to 
accept this explanation, but how can we accept this reading and extrapolation 
when it is against what we find clearly recorded in the narrations, namely that 
it was Asma 3 bin c Umays al-Khath c amiyyah? As for Asma 3 bint Yazld al-Ansarl, 
we must ask ourselves: How could she have been in Makkah when al-Sayyidah 
Khadljah passed away, while she is an Ansar! i.e. an inhabitant of Madlnah? And 
it was the same Asma 3 who was at Khadljah’s deathbed who [also] attended the 
wedding of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 in Madlnah. I think al-Kanjl said this because the 


22 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 134 



A Study About Asma 3 Bint c Umays and Umm Salamah 


159 


names of these two individuals are similar, but none of the historians have 
mentioned the presence of Asma 3 al-Ansarl in Makkah during the passing away 
of al-Sayyidah Khadljah. 

The most plausible and appropriate reply to this question in my opinion, is that 
Asma 3 bint c Umays, the wife of Ja c far ibn Abi Talib, travelled with her husband 
to Habashah but returned to Makkah shortly thereafter, and she migrated to 
Madinah [with the other Muslim women]. It is possible that she travelled to 
Habashah more than once, because the distance betweenjeddah and Habashah 
is just the breadth of the Red Sea, and it is not overly difficult to traverse this 
distance back and forth. Even though history has not recorded Asma 3 having 
done this, we note that history has also not recorded Abu Dharr’s migration to 
Habashah, yet it has been narrated from Abu Dharr that he said: “I migrated to 
Habashah along with Ja c far ibn Abi Talib...”"' - This has been reported by al- 
MajlisI from al-Saduq’s c llal al-SharaY . 23 

I have also come across the following narration quoted by al-MajlisI in al-Bihar, 
in the chapter about the wedding of al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a), from ibn 
Babawayh’s book Mawlidu Fatimah: “The Prophet instructed the daughters of 
c Abd al-Muttalib... and the Prophet (s), Hamzah, c Aqil, Ja c far and the Ahl al-Bayt 
walked behind her.” 24/ "' The presence of Ja c far in this narration solves the 

problem. The only thing that remains is the fact that the migration of the 
Prophet (s) took place after the demise of al-Sayyidah Khadljah al-Kubra, 
despite the difference of opinion about the exact date of her death in terms of 
how long before the Hijrah it transpired. It is apparent, however, that she 
passed away less than a year before the Hijrah. On the other hand, Ja c far ibn Abi 
Talib migrated to Habashah twice, and his second migration was after the death 


23 c Ilal al-SharaV, vol. 1, p. 163 


24 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 115 



160 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of al-Sayyidah Khadljah and before the Hijrah of the Prophet to Madlnah. The 
evidence for this is a report wherein we find that when the Prophet hid in the 
cave (on his way to Madlnah), he said: “I see the ship of Ja c far sailing in the 
sea. 

From this, it becomes easy for us to conclude that Asma 3 bint c Umays was 
indeed in Makkah when Khadljah passed away and was present at her funeral. 
As for Umm Salamah, we notice the name of al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah in the 
days preceding the marriage of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 . The Prophet (s) 
was in her house on the day when c Ali proposed to Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), and 
as mentioned earlier, the Prophet left part of the dowry of Fatimah with her as 
a trust. She was the one in charge of the women and supervised the wedding of 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah. All this despite the fact that historians have recorded that 
the Prophet (s) married her in the fourth year of the Hijrah, and the marriage 
of al-Sayyidah Fatimah took place in the second year of the Hijrah, right after 
the Battle of Badr and before the Battle of Uhud. How is it, then, that Umm 
Salamah was there in all these events when she was not the wife of the Prophet 
(s) at that time? We can answer this question as follows: 

Firstly, there is a debate about when she got married to the Prophet (s). It is 
possible that the Prophet married her in the first days of the Hijrah, or that the 
marriage of al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 took place on the fourth year after Hijrah, 
even if this is highly unlikely and cannot be seriously considered. Secondly, al- 
Sayyidah Umm Salamah was the cousin of the Prophet (s), so there is no reason 
for her not to be involved in the marriage preparations of her niece al-Sayyidah 
al-Zahra 3 ( c a), or for the Prophet not to give her the responsibility of keeping 
part of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s dowry as a trust, or for her not having a say in 
expediting al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s move to her husband’s house. In all 
probability, this is the stronger answer. This is what comes to mind, but [only] 
Allah knows the reality of all things. 


The House of Fatimah ( c a) 


161 


The House of Fatimah ( c a) 

In the modern world, there arose a sense of eagerness to preserve some of the 
old heritage in the form of structures, buildings and lands that were deemed 
important and valuable because of their historical significance. Hence, new 
laws were enacted towards this end, such as the laws related to the preservation 
of universities and academic institutions, as well as masjids and other places of 
worship, as a respect for knowledge, religion and culture. However, this is 
something that had already been established by [the command of] Allah and by 
those who are close to Him, in the heavens and the earth, from the beginning 
of time. For this reason, we find certain injunctions about the respect of masjids 
and especially that of Masjid al-Haram, such as the ruling that certain kinds of 
people, like the polytheists and those who are ritually impure (the mujnib and 
had'd), cannot enter it, or the unlawfulness of allowing any impurity to remain 
in it. Additionally, it is forbidden to do anything that would undermine its 
sanctity, or to hunt in the haram (which is the area all around Makkah as 
delimited in the books of jurisprudence). 

After considering this preamble, know that the house in which al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) lived and resided was surrounded by sanctity, spirituality 
and illumination. It was a place of reverence and honour, and everyone who 
knows the true status of Fatimah, her father, her husband and her children 
understands the sanctity of this house. Shaykh al-MajlisI (may he be showered 
with mercy) narrates from Anas ibn Malik and Buraydah who said: “The 
Prophet (s) recited: In houses Allah has allowed to be raised and wherein His name is 
celebrated. He is glorified therein morning and evening. (Q24:36), so someone stood 
up and asked: ‘What houses are these 0 Prophet of Allah?’ He replied: ‘The 
houses of Prophets.’ Abu Bakr stood up and pointing at the house of c All and 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Fatimah, he asked: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, is this house one of them?’ The 
Prophet replied: ‘Yes, it is one of the best among them!’” 257 '”" 

ibn c Abbas said: “I was in the Masjid of the Prophet when he recited [the verse]: 
In houses Allah has allowed to be raised and wherein His name is celebrated. He is 
glorified therein morning and evening (Q24:36); so I asked: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, 
what are these houses?’ The Prophet (s) replied: ‘Houses of the Prophets,’ and 
then he pointed towards the house of Fatimah!” 267 ' 11 And in al-Kaf T, we find a 
narration from Jabir ibn c Abdillah al-Ansari, who said: “The Prophet (s) came 
out one day and proceeded towards the house of Fatimah ( c a) while I was with 
him. When we arrived at her door, the Prophet placed his hand on the door and 
opened it slightly saying: ‘al-Salamu c alaykum.’ Fatimah replied: ‘ c alayka al-Salam 
yaRasulalldh.’ He then asked: ‘May I enter?’ She replied: ‘Please enter 0 Prophet 
of Allah.’ He asked: ‘Should I enter along with the one who is accompanying 
me?’ She replied: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, I have not covered myself with a veil.’ 
The Prophet (s) said: ‘0 Fatimah, take the excess of your covering and veil your 
head with it.’ So she did that. Then the Prophet once again said: ‘al-Salamu 
c alaykum.’ She replied: ‘ c alayka al-Salam yd Rasulallah.’ He then asked: ‘May I 
enter?’ She replied: ‘Yes, 0 Prophet of Allah.’ He said: ‘Along with the one who 
has accompanied me?’ She replied: ‘You and the one who has come with you 
[may enter]. ..’” 27/ ' , ° 


25 Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 4, p. 76 (quoting from Tafsir al-Tha c lab() 

26 c AlI ibn c isa al-Irbili (d. 692 A.H.), Kashf al-Ghummah fi Ma c rifat al-A\mmah, vol. 1, p. 319 


21 al-Kafi, vol. 5 p. 528 


CHAPTER TEN 


Her Married Life 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) moved to her husband’s house, and this was 
a move from the house of prophethood to the house of vicegerency and imamah. 
This brought about development in her felicitous life, for after she had lived 
under the light of prophethood she now became linked to the imamah [as well]. 
Life in her marital home increased in its brilliance and beauty, as she lived in 
an environment encompassed by purity and virtue, surrounded by great piety 
and simple living. She would assist her husband in matters of faith and the 
Hereafter. She was in harmony with his religious inclinations and helped him 
in his endeavours. 

How sweet is married life when there is complete harmony between the 
spouses in their attitudes, outlooks and worldviews, based on the foundation of 
mutual respect and veneration. This is not surprising, because al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 held her husband in high esteem and understood his lofty 
position in the eyes of Allah, and hence respected him as a pious Muslim lady 
would respect her Imam. Rather, her respect for him was even greater. For al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah was cognizant of the right of c All ( c a) and his true status, thus 
she obeyed him as was his right, because he was the dearest of all people to the 
Prophet of Allah and was the guardian of the Divine Covenant and the successor 



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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of the Final Messenger. He was the brother of the Prophet and his heir, and he 
possessed great qualities and a distinguished past. 

In the same way, c All ( c a) used to show al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) the 
respect she deserved, not only because she was his wife, but because she was 
the most beloved of all creation to the Prophet of Allah, the Mistress of all 
Women of the World, and because her light was from the light of the Prophet. 
She was one of those through whom Allah opened the Book of Creation and 
Existence, and because she was the embodiment of greatness, possessing a host 
of excellent virtues, any one of which would bring the woman who possessed it 
honour and veneration. So what about Fatimah al-Zahra 3 in whom all these 
merits, excellent traits and virtues converged - something no other woman in 
the world can possess. From her honourable and lofty lineage, to her 
spirituality and holiness, how she was conceived and her status with Allah, her 
worship, knowledge, faith, piety, devotion and purity, along with hundreds of 
other unique personal traits and characteristics that we will not discuss in 
detail in the interest of brevity. 

After what we have related and what we have not related, it is possible to 
fathom the circumstances in which this happy couple lived, and the blissful (in 
every sense of the word) life they enjoyed. One that was not disturbed by 
poverty, unsettled by penury or shaken by hardships. A life wafted by the 
breeze of love and harmony, and adorned with warmth and affection. 

c All ( c a) said: “By Allah, I never became angry or expressed my displeasure with 
her for anything until Allah took her soul; and she never got angry with me or 
disobeyed me in any matter. Whenever I saw her, all my troubles and grief 
would vanish.” 17 '’ 1 It has also been narrated from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) that 
Fatimah ( c a) took the responsibility of cleaning the house and preparing the 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 134; c Awalim al- c Ulum, vol. 11, p. 424 


Historical Fallacies About c Ali ( c a) 


165 


dough and bread for c All ( c a), while c All took the responsibility of all that needed 
to be done outside the house, like bringing the firewood and the groceries. One 
day he asked her: “Do you have anything [to eat]?” She replied: “By the One 
who has granted you a lofty position, for the past three days we have had 
nothing that we could serve you with.” He asked: “Why did you not inform me 
about this?” She said: “The Prophet of Allah (s) forbade me from asking you for 
anything, saying: ‘Do not ask my cousin for anything, if he brings something 
then so be it, otherwise do not ask him.’” 2/ ' ,v 

It is not known exactly how long the Imam and al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) lived 
in the house of Harithah ibn Nu c man. We know, however, that the Prophet (s) 
built her a house that was attached to the masjid, with a door that opened 
[right] into the masjid, like all the other houses he had made for his wives. So 
Fatimah moved into that new house adjoining the house of Allah, and next to 
the house of the Prophet of Allah (s). 


Historical Fallacies About c Ali ( c a) 

We have reiterated the fact that some authors have wronged al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) by spreading various lies and falsehoods about her. We have 
already mentioned that the marriage of Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) to al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) caused a wave of hatred to emerge in the hearts of the envious, 
who then began to look for any means of upsetting their blissful marriage and 
bringing about turmoil and agitation, as is usually done by the wicked 
individuals who lack any form of self-respect and dignity because of their own 
failures in life. 


2 Bihar al-Anwar vol. 43 p. 31 



166 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


One of the disturbances that they caused was spreading the rumour that c Ali 
had proposed to the daughter of Abu Jahl. The news reached al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 that her husband had proposed to the daughter of the chief 
of polytheists and the leader of disbelievers, Abu Jahl. She was affected by this 
and went to her father the Prophet of Allah (s), but the truth was soon revealed 
and the reality came to light that this was a fabricated story. This is the 
summary of one lie that was disseminated about Amir al-Mu 3 minm. However, 
let us look at how some authors and writers took this false accusation as an 
excuse to slander and defame Amir al-Mu 3 minIn ( c a), so they began beating 
their imaginary drums and playing their made-up instruments. 

Among such writers is one Egyptian lady, Bint al-ShatP, who wrote without 
thinking about what she was writing. She considered this fabricated story to be 
an established fact, without any room for doubt. She writes: 

c All aspired to marry another wife after Fatimah... without considering 
that this act would cause the displeasure of the daughter of the Prophet 
of Islam. 3 

I do not know what to say in response to such reckless and foolish words! Is 
there a man in this world who does not know that his wife would dislike a co- 
wife? Or that she would be displeased if her husband married another wife? 
Even the most simple-minded of people understand this, but the author says: 
“...[he did this] without considering that it would displease the daughter of the 
Prophet of Islam!” Then she continues: “0 how much better it would have been 
if c Ali remained patient with one wife.” She then proceeds to fill the pages of 
her book with censure for Abu Jahl and his stance against Islam, following that 
up with a comparison between the daughter of Abu Jahl and the daughter of 
the Prophet, as a means of mocking the presumed proposal of marriage. 


3 ‘Adshah c Abd al-Rahman (d. 1419 A.H.), Banat al-Nabi, p. 167 


Historical Fallacies About c Ali ( c a) 


167 


Interestingly, the author’s resentment has its roots in the teachings of some 
extremist Christian orientalist scholars who played around with Islamic 
history, especially the inimical Jesuit priest Henri Lammens (1863-1937). It is 
unfortunate that the author forgot to act with deliberation and careful 
consideration regarding these fabrications and hastily accepted them as the 
‘gospel truth’. She relied on her mental weavings and imaginations, which is 
normally the practice of fiction writers. 

Here we see the reply of the respected scholar al-Sayyid Hasan al-Amln to these 
fabrications. In the third volume of his book, under the heading ‘Fabrications 
against the Prophet, c All and Fatimah’ he writes: 

It has been narrated in the book Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba that c Al! wanted to 
marry the daughter of Abu Jahl [as a second wife] after Fatimah, and 
that the Prophet got angry when he heard this and rebuked him for it 
from the pulpit, condemning him and denouncing him. The author of 
this work has mentioned all the details of this in his book; and this is a 
direct affront to the character of Muhammad, even before being an 
attack on c All and Fatimah. 4 

As for it being an attack on the character of the Prophet, this is because it gives 
the impression of someone who refuses to apply the divine injunctions to 
himself and those who are close to him while commanding others to abide by 
them. He permitted the people to marry more than one wife but did not wish 
his daughter’s husband to do so. This is one of the most atrocious things that 
can be attributed to the Prophet; yet the enemies of Muhammad were able to 
do this, and to beguile the shortsighted people into believing it and then relate 
it in their books, without considering its implications. 


4 Hasan bin Muhsin al-Amln, Da’irat al-Ma c arif al-Islamiyyah al-ShFiyyah, vol. 3, p. 10 



168 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


As for it being an attack on c Ali, this is because it apparently shows that he made 
Fatimah angry and in doing so, he evoked the anger of the Prophet himself. 
With regards to Fatimah, it is an affront to her because [it would mean] she 
refused to be subject to the laws of Allah, which were brought by her father. We 
shall not bother ourselves with examining the chain of narrators, as this 
narration is clearly corrupt in and of itself. Instead, we will ask: Why did the 
narrators specifically select the daughter of Abu Jahl for this honour? Why did 
they not claim that he wanted to take any other second wife, apart from the 
daughter of Abu Jahl? Is this because the daughter of Abu Jahl was more 
beautiful and perfect than any other young Arabian girl of her age? They chose 
her because they wanted it to be the gravest possible affront to the personality 
of c Ali ( c a), for he did not select anyone but the daughter of the worst enemy of 
the Prophet and of Islam, in order to anger the Prophet and his daughter 
Fatimah. 

The fabrication thus reveales itself as such and exposes its forgers, if they had 
a little more intelligence, they would have reduced their exaggerations and 
would not have praised themselves while insulting Muhammad, his daughter 
and his cousin. For they included in this fable of theirs, a quotation from the 
Prophet wherein he mentions one of his son-in-laws from the lineage of c Abd 
al- Shams and then praises him for being a good son-in-law - one who was loyal 
and kept his word. This means that the Prophet praised his Umayyad son-in- 
law from the lineage of c Abd al- Shams by calling him truthful and loyal. The 
conclusion [that they wish to draw], therefore, is that the other son-in-law of 
the Prophet ( c Ali ibn Abi Talib) lied to him and betrayed him, and the Prophet 
thus censured him for being an undutiful son-in-law! 

In this way, as we have mentioned, the lie has been exposed the falsehood has 
become manifest, without having to put ourselves into much difficulty [to 
produce further evidence for this]. There was another purpose for this false 


The Birth of Imam al-Hasan ( c a) 


169 


narration, in addition to demeaning the Prophet, and disparaging c All and 
Fatimah, and that was to turn away the attention of people from the truth about 
those who had really angered Fatimah and show c Ali ibn Abi Talib to be the 
target of her anger. Thus, those who reported this narration did so in different 
contexts, such that each context fulfilled a particular purpose. One such 
context is the Prophet’s saying: “Fatimah is part of me, whoever disturbs her 
has disturbed me and whoever hurts her has hurt me,” 5 which they interpret 
to mean that Allah forbade c All from marrying a second wife after Fatimah, 
thereby hurting the Prophet. 


The Birth of Imam al-Hasan ( c a) 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) became pregnant with her son, al-Hasan ( c a), 
when she was twelve years old. The light of the Imam and imamah transferred 
from the loins of c Ali to Fatimah, and it naturally illuminated her face, making 
it shine with brilliance, as was befitting of her name, al-Zahrak When the time 
of delivery approached, the Prophet had to travel so he came to bid farewell to 
his daughter Fatimah. He left her some instructions concerning the awaited 
child who would [soon] be born. One of these instructions was that she should 
not wrap him in a yellow cloth. 

Fatimah delivered her first child in mid-Ramadan (according to one report) 
three years after the Hijrah. It was a great day. Asma 3 bint c Umays was one of 
the women present at his birth and she wrapped him up in a yellow cloth, not 
out of deliberate defiance to the instructions of the Prophet, but rather out of 
negligence and forgetfulness, or because she was unaware of his instructions. 
When the Prophet (s) came, he said: “Show me my son; what have you named 


5 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 328; Khasa’isAmir al-Mu’minin, p. 146 


170 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


him?” Fatimah had asked c Ali ( c a) to name him and he had said: “I cannot name 
him before the Prophet of Allah comes.” 

When the Prophet came and took the child, he said: “Did I not forbid you from 
wrapping him in a yellow cloth?” He removed the yellow cloth and threw it 
aside, then he took a white cloth and wrapped the baby in it. He (s) then turned 
to c All ( c a) and asked: “Have you named him?” c Ali replied: “I could not name 
him before you.” The Prophet (s) said: “And I cannot name him before my Lord 
[names him].” So Allah, the Almighty, revealed to JibraTl that a child has been 
born to Muhammad, so descend and convey salutations and congratulations to 
him and say: “Verily c Ali is to you as Harun was to Musa, so name the child as 
Harun named his son.” Thus JibraTl descended and conveyed the 
congratulations saying, “Verily Allah, the Most High, commands you to name 
him with the name of Harun’ s son.” The Prophet (s) asked: “What was that 
name?” JibraTl replied: “Shabbar.” 6 The Prophet said: “My language is Arabic.” 7 
JibraTl said: “Name him al-Hasan.” So the Prophet named him al-Hasan and 
then proceeded to recite the Adhan in his right ear and the Iqamah in his left 
ear m 

On the seventh day, the Prophet sacrificed two rams and gave the midwife meat 
and money. He then shaved the child’s head and gave charity that was 
equivalent to the hair’s weight in silver. Then he daubed the child’s head with 
khaluq (which is a fragrant paste made from saffron and other ingredients) and 
said: “0 Asma\ [smearing] blood is the practice of Jahiliyyah.” 8 The Prophet 
kissed al-Hasan and placed his tongue in the child’s mouth. The baby sucked 


6 Or Shubbar (Tr.) 

7 Because Shabbar is a Hebrew word, not an Arabic one. 

8 It was a pagan Arab custom to daub the baby’s head with blood. 


The Birth of Imam al-Husayn ( c a) 


171 


the Prophet’s noble tongue. It is said that all this happened on the seventh day 
after his birth. 9 


The Birth of Imam al-Husayn ( c a) 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 5 ( c a) became pregnant with her second child, and 
after six months of pregnancy, she began feeling the pains of labour. And the 
Prophet of Allah (s) had already given them the glad tidings of the birth of al- 
Husayn. 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) reports that the neighbours of Umm Ayman [once] came to 
the Prophet (s) and said: “0 Prophet of Allah, Umm Ayman did not sleep last 
night. She wept the whole night and is still weeping this morning.” The Prophet 
sent for Umm Ayman, so she came to him. He said to her: “0 Umm Ayman, your 
neighbours came to me and informed me that you cried the whole night. May 
Allah never let your eyes weep! What has made you cry?” She replied: “0 
Prophet of Allah, I saw a dream that was terrifying and heart-rending, so I cried 
continuously the whole night.” The Prophet (s) asked her to narrate what she 
had seen, ‘for indeed Allah and His Prophet know better’. She said: “It is too 
difficult to speak about.” He said to her: “The vision is not as you have seen it. 
Tell me about it.” So she said: “I saw on this night what seemed to be one of 
your limbs hanging in my house!” The Prophet (s) said to her: “Rest your eyes 
for you have seen good. 0 Umm Ayman, Fatimah will bear a son called al- 
Husayn and you will nurture him and care for him, so one who is part of me will 
be in your house.” 


9 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 239 


172 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


When Fatimah gave birth to al-Husayn ( c a), Umm Ayman brought him to the 
Prophet (s), so he said: “Welcome to the carrier and the carried one. 0 Umm 
Ayman, this is the interpretation of your dream [which has come to pass].”'” 

Umm al-Fadl, the wife of al-'Abbas (uncle of the Prophet), also saw a dream that 
was similar to the dream of Umm Ayman. Many women were present at the 
time of his birth, including Safiyyah bint c Abd al-Muttalib (aunt of the Prophet), 
Asma 3 bint c Umays and Umm Salamah. When al-Husayn was born, the Prophet 
(s) said: “0 aunt, bring my son to me.” Safiyyah replied: “0 Prophet of Allah, we 
haven’t cleaned him yet.” He said: “0 aunt, you are going to clean him? Verily 
Allah, the Most High, has cleansed and purified him.’”'" 

Jibrahl came to the Prophet (s) and instructed him to name him al-Husayn. This 
was the name of Prophet Harun’s other son, which was Shabblr in Hebrew. 10 A 
large group of angels descended upon the Prophet to congratulate him on the 
birth of al-Husayn and to offer condolences for his [future] martyrdom. The 
Prophet (s) took al-Husayn and placed his noble tongue in his mouth, 
whereupon al-Husayn began sucking it. The Messenger of Allah would come to 
visit him every day and would give al-Husayn his noble tongue to suck on, until 
his flesh developed and his bones became firm through the blessed saliva of the 
Messenger of Allah (s). Al-Husayn did not suckle at his mother’s breast, or at 
the breast of any other woman for that matter! Al-Sayyid Bahr aPulum says: 

i * 

4*— P y> ’ <j— ‘ 0 ^ d J — 1 — P y> 

A xj Lb A Co O j li A ] Ld A jj la I i I A o l^j I A Jsju 

By Allah the babe never did suckle 
at the breast of any female, but was nourished by Taha 


10 Or Shubayr [Tr.] 



The Birth of al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra ( c a) 


173 


Who gave him his finger at times and 
at other times his noble tongue , from which his nature developed 

Seven days after his birth, the Prophet (s) instructed that his head be shaved, 
his hair’s weight in silver be given as charity, and an animal be sacrificed. 11 
More details regarding this can be found in our book: Imam al-Husayn - from the 
Cradle to the Grave. 


The Birth of al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra ( c a) 

It is correct to say that al-Sayyidah Zaynab ( c a) was born after al-Husayn ( c a). In 
other words, al-Sayyidah Zaynab is the third child of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 according to most historians, except a few odd historians who opine that 
she was the fourth, because they think that she was conceived after al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 had suffered a miscarriage. In this way, they aim to cover up 
the heinous crime that was perpetrated against her at the door of her house, 
after the Prophet had passed away, which led to her miscarriage. Among those 
who have espoused this anomalous position is the Egyptian author Bint ShatP, 
in her book Heroes ofKarbala } ( Batalat Karbala 0, wherein she writes: 

Indeed al-Zahra 3 , daughter of the Prophet, was about to give birth to a 
newborn in the household of prophethood, after the Prophet had 
experienced the joy of his two beloved grandsons al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn, but the third child, who was al-Muhsin ibn c Ali, did not 
survive... 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 44, p. 198; al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 465 


174 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


It is not important for us to argue against this fallacy now, for we shall have 
ample opportunity to do so later when we discuss al-Muhsin ibn c Ali and show 
that he was the last child of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) who died before birth, in his 
mother’s womb, as a result of the trauma and her being squeezed between the 
wall and the door of her house. All that we would like to mention here is a short 
history of the life of al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra, in keeping with the style of 
this book. More details can be found in our other work: Zaynab al-Kubra - from 
the Cradle to the Grave, for indeed, her illustrious life deserves to be studied and 
analysed in detail. What we will mention here is a brief summary of her birth 
and early life. 

Al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra was born five years after the Hijrah, and she was 
the third child born into the noble household of the Prophet and Imam c Ali ( c a). 
She is a person who needs no introduction, and what can one say about a lady 
whose father is al-Murtada, c Ali ibn Abl Talib ( c a), and whose mother is the 
Mistress of all Women of the World, al-Siddlqah al-Kubra Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , the 
heart of the Prophet (s); and whose brothers, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, are the 
Masters of the Youth of Paradise. She is the product of virtue and the result of 
greatness, surrounded by an aura of honour from all sides. So do not ask about 
the breast that suckled her, or the lap that nurtured her, or the education that 
she received, or the affection that surrounded her, or the house in which she 
opened her eyes [to this world]. And there is no need to ask about what she 
inherited [from the traits of her parents], or the result of her upbringing, or the 
effects of her pure family environment on her personality, in addition to the 
qualities she developed [on her own] and her talents and potential that were 
manifested and realized. 

It is indeed hurtful to see how history has oppressed al-Sayyidah Zaynab in the 
same way it oppressed her father and mother, and her entire family, for it did 
not pay her the attention she duly deserves, and did not speak about her as a 


The Birth of al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra ( c a) 


175 


person of great character and stature ought to be spoken about. She was, after 
all al-Sayyidah Zaynab al-Kubra, the c Aqilah (woman of letters) among the 
Hashimls and the granddaughter of the Messenger of Allah (s). Her grandfather, 
the Prophet, had named her Zaynab, which is a compound word from [the two 
nouns] ‘Zayn’ and ‘al-Ab’ (meaning ‘adornment of her father’). Shaykh 
Muhammad Jawad al-Mughniyah in his book, al-Husayn wa Batalat Karbala \ 
mentions an article that was published in the Egyptian newspaper al- 
Jumhuriyyah (on 31/ 10/1972) which quoted excerpts from the book that was 
penned by the Egyptian, Yusuf Mahmud. Here is some of what he wrote: 

She was born in the month of Sha c ban, five years after the Hijrah. After 
her birth, Fatimah brought her to c All and said: “Name this newborn 
child.” He (May Allah be pleased with him) said to her: “I cannot name 
her before the Prophet of Allah (s).” The Prophet was on a journey at 
that time, so when he returned, they asked him to name her but he said: 
“I cannot precede my Lord [in naming her].” At that moment, JibraTl 
descended, conveying the salutations of the Almighty to the Prophet, 
and said: “The name of this newborn child is Zaynab, as this is the name 
Allah has chosen for her.’”''' 

This is what the author of the article has written, without mentioning any 
reference of this narration. I have quoted it word for word. 

Al-Sayyidah Zaynab had an illustrious life and a history that is replete with 
merits and virtues, and full of calamities and hardships that she had to endure 
at various times in her life. From the time when she was yet a child to when she 
became a young girl, with the passing away of her grandfather the Holy Prophet 
(s) and her mother al-Siddlqah al-Tahirah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), as well as all 
the events that she had to witness in the twenty -five years when her father, c Ali 


176 


Fatimah al-Zahra 5 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


al-Murtada ( c a), was forced to remain out of public life. Then she had to move 
from Madlnah to Kufah, which was her father’s capital at that time. 

It was the will of Allah that al-Sayyidah Zaynab should witness the brutal attack 
on her noble father, Imam c All ( c a), which shook the highest heavens. This was 
followed by her witnessing the battles that were fought between her brother, 
al-Hasan ( c a), and Mu c awiyah, son of the Liver-eater, and what resulted 
therefrom, until the time when her brother Imam al-Hasan ( c a) died after being 
poisoned. A few years later, al-Sayyidah Zaynab had to face an even greater 
calamity, a calamity of historic proportions i.e. the bloody tragedy of Karbala 5 , 
which took place in a remote area and involved a lengthy journey. Al-Sayyidah 
Zaynab endured all these hardships without breaking down or losing her wits, 
she remained composed and collected throughout. 

When she returned to Madlnah, the Umayyad ruler ordered that she be exiled, 
so she chose Egypt and this is the place where Allah had decreed that she should 
leave this life - a life full of tragedy and hardship - in the land of the Nile. This 
became her resting place and a sanctuary and refuge for the millions of souls 
[that visited her] over the centuries up to our present time, and until the day 
which is known only to Allah. 

This was a short summary and a brief glimpse into the life of our mistress 
Zaynab al-Kubra (blessings and salutations upon her and her grandfather, her 
mother, her father and her two brothers). We shall discuss more about this in 
the book: Zaynab al-Kubra - from the Cradle to the Grave, God-willing. 


The Birth of al-Sayyidah Umm Kulthum 

The household of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Imam c Al! (peace be upon 
them) welcomed the birth of their second daughter and fourth child with the 


The Birth of al-Sayyidah Umm Kulthum 


177 


same joy and happiness that was witnessed during the birth of all their previous 
children. Umm Kulthum shared with her sister Zaynab the honoured lineage, 
excellent upbringing, and all the events that transpired during her life, even 
though she differed from her in some aspects. She is also among those who have 
been oppressed by history, and had to endure such pain and hardship that 
would be unbearable even for the strongest of men. 

We may briefly talk about her life when we discuss her sister Zaynab al-Kubra 
(in the book: Zaynab al-Kubra - from the Cradle to the Grave) and highlight some of 
the important aspects of her life that deserve analysis, God-willing. 


CHAPTER ELEVEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Qurba 

This is the verse in which Allah says: Say, “I do not ask you for any recompense 
except that you love [my] near ones;” and whoever performs a good deed we shall 
enhance its goodness; indeed Allah is forgiving and appreciative. (Q42:23) 

As is evident, in this verse Allah, the Almighty, addresses His Noble Prophet: ‘0 
Muhammad, tell them that you do not ask for anything as reward for conveying 
the divine message to them except that they should show love to your near 
relatives.’ There is a general consensus among all the scholars and followers of 
the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) that the word ‘qurba refers to those who are close relatives 
of the Prophet. There are also verified and authentic traditions in the books of 
both the ShTah and the c Ammah, which specify who these near relatives were 
and mention them by name. Among the narrations that have been relayed by 
the Sunni scholars in their sahih books and exegeses is the following tradition: 

When this verse was revealed, the people asked: “0 Prophet of Allah, 
who are these near relatives of yours whom we have been commanded 
to love?” He (s) said: “ c Al! and Fatimah and her two sons...” 17 ’''’' 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 23, p. 232 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Qurba 


179 


This tradition has been mentioned by a group of Sunni scholars, including: 

— ibnHajar in al-Sawa c iq 2 

— Al-Tha c labl in his Tafslr 

— Al-SuyutI in al-Durr al-Manthur 

— Abu Na c Im in Hilyat al-Awliya } 3 

— Al-Juwaynl al-Shafhl in Far aid al-Simtayn 4 5 

There is another tradition that al-Tabari and ibn Hajar have also narrated 
wherein the Prophet (s) said: “Indeed Allah had placed my recompense from 
you in the love of my Ahl al-Bayt, and I will surely ask you about them tomorrow 
[on the Day of Judgment]. ” 5/, ' r 

These are some of the narrators who mentioned and transmitted this tradition 
in general. Now we shall mention the specific traditions where the Imams of 
the Ahl al-Bayt said that they are the ones whom this verse is referring to: 

1) In Ibn Hajar’s al-Sawa c iq: It is reported that c All ( c a) said: “[it was 
revealed] about us, the family of the Prophet, that no one preserves our 
love but the true believer.’”' ' ‘ Then he recited the verse: Say, T do not ask 

you for any recompense except that you love of [my] near ones,’ and whoever 
performs a good deed we shall enhance its goodness; indeed Allah is forgiving 
and appreciative. 6 

2 ) Also in al-Sawa c iq: It is narrated that Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba ( c a) gave 
a sermon in which he said: “I am from the Ahl al-Bayt whose love and 


2 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 487 

3 Hilyat al-Awliya 1 , vol. 3, p. 201 

4 Fara’id al-Simtayn, vol. 2, p. 13 

5 Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, p. 26 

6 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, p. 487 


180 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


obedience had been made incumbent upon you by Allah, the Almighty, 
when He revealed to Muhammad (s): Say, ‘I do not ask you for any 
recompense except that you love of [my] near ones,’ and whoever performs a 
good deed we shall enhance its goodness; indeed Allah is forgiving and 
appreciative; and the attainment of [all] goodness is through love for us, 
the Ahl al-Bayt...”' , ’° 

3) Also in al-Sawa c iq: When a person from Syria approached Imam Zayn al- 
c Abidin c Ali ibn al-Husayn ( c a), while he was a prisoner, forced to stand 
outside the gates of the Umayyad courtyard in Damascus, and said to 
him: “Praise be to Allah who has vanquished you...” He ( c a) replied: 
“Have you read the verse: Say, I do not ask you for any recompense except 
that you love of [my] near ones?” 7 

The poet, Kumayt al-Asadl, alludes to this when he says: 

i I flj I [a l g'jl" 4-J T JT 

We found a verse about you [0 family of the Prophet] in [the chapter] Ha Mim, 
that both the God-wary and the ignorant among us have misinterpreted. 8 

4) It has been reported from Jabir ibn c Abdillah that a Bedouin came to the 
Prophet (s) and said: “0 Muhammad, summarize [the religion of] Islam 
for me.” He (s) replied: “That you bear witness there is no god but Allah, 
alone, without any partners, and that Muhammad is his servant and 
Messenger.” He asked: “Do you seek any recompense [for this] from 
me?” The Prophet replied: “No, except that you love my close 
relatives.” He asked: “Your near relatives or my own near relatives?” He 


7 Ibid., p. 262 

8 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 23, p. 231 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Qurba 


181 


(s) replied: “My near relatives.” The Bedouin said: “Put your hand 
forward so that I may pledge my allegiance to you. As for those who do 
not love you and your near relatives, may the curse of Allah be upon 
them!” The Prophet (s) said: “Amen.” 9 ^' 1 

ibn Hajar also mentioned the following two verses of poetry from ibn al- c Arabi: 

J-*' 5 4 ^ J' "i" cs — ^ J Jj 

i ( ^ 3 <0 y ** 1' ^ I 4 ♦ - i -"i (_$ J_^!l I 1 . 1 h 

I consider the love of the family ofTaha to be obligatory, 

Despite those who kept a distance [from them], I have espoused their nearness 

For the Messenger did not seek any reward for his guidance 
and Prophethood, but the love of his near relatives 10 

And Imam al-Shafi c I recited the following two verses: 

4jjj! ill J, jJs 

4 J 0*>Lv!5 'H p-£d_Lp Ai_ 

0 Household of the Prophet of Allah, your love 
has been made obligatory by Allah in the Qufan that He revealed 

It is a sufficient testimony of your greatness that 
whoever does not send salutations upon you, his prayers are not accepted! 1 1 


j t- ~ ■ • j & ! Lj 

^j! jU-Jlll ^ • he- ^ LLS"" 


9 Kifayat al-Talib, p. 90 

10 al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol.2, p. 488 

11 Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafih (d. 204 A.H.), Diwan al-Imam al-Shafi% p. 93 



182 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Shaykh al-Amlnl (may Allah have mercy on him), has mentioned in the third 
volume of [his work] al-Ghadlr, forty-five names of narrators, traditionists and 
commentators from the c Ammah who have narrated that this verse was 
revealed about c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (peace be upon them all). 
They are: Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ibn al-Mundhir, ibn Abl Hatim, al-Tabari, ibn 
Mardawayh, al-Tha c labl, Abu c Abdillah al-Mulla, Abu al-Shaykh al-NasaT, al- 
Wahidl, Abu NaTm, al-BaghawI, al-Bazzaz, ibn al-Mughazill, al-Haskanl, Muhib 
al-DIn, al-Zamakhsharl, ibn c Asakir, Abu al-Faraj, al-Juwaynl, al-Nisaburl, ibn 
Talhah, al-RazI, Abu al-Sa c ud, Abu Hayyan, ibn Abl al-Hadld, al-BaydawI, al- 
Nasafi, al-Haythaml, ibn Sabbagh, al-Kanjl, al-MunawI, al-Qastalanl, al-Zarandl, 
al-Khazin, al-Zarqanl, ibn Hajar, al-Samhudl, al-Suyutl, al-Safurl, al-Sabban, al- 
Shablanjl, al-Hadram! and al-Nabhanl. 12 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Mubahalah 

Allah, the Most High, says: Should anyone argue with you concerning it, after the 
knowledge that has come to you, say, “Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our 
women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly and call 
down Allah’s curse upon the liars.” (Q3:6l) 

This incident is considered one of the well known events by Muslims, from the 
time it happened until today, and I see no need to mention any sources or 
references for it. Suffice it to say that all the exegetes and traditionists, with 
rare exceptions, agree that this verse was revealed upon the Messenger of Allah 
(s) when he was having a dialogue with the Christians of Najran about c lsa son 
of Maryam ( c a). Here is the summary of what transpired as narrated by Amir al- 
Mu’minln c All ibn Abl Talib ( c a): 


12 al - Ghadir , vol. 3, p. 245 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Mubahalah 


183 


A delegation from Najran 13 came to the Prophet (s), led by three of their 
high priests: al- c Aqib, Muhsin and al-Asqaf. They were accompanied by 
two well-known Jews. They came to test the Messenger of Allah (s). Al- 
Asqaf said to him: “0 Aba al-Qasim, who was the father of Musa?” The 
Prophet (s) replied: “Tmran.” Al-Asqaf asked: “And who was the father 
of Yusuf?” He (s) replied: “Ya c qub.” Al-Asqaf continued: “May my 
parents be your ransom, and who is your father?” The Prophet replied: 
“‘Abdullah ibn c Abd al-Muttalib.” Al-Asqaf then asked: “And c isa, who is 
his father?” At this point, the Prophet (s) remained silent, so JibraTl 
descended [telling him what to say] and he (s) replied: “He (Tsa) is the 
Spirit of Allah and His Word.” Al-Asqaf asked: “You mean he was a spirit 
without a body?” The Prophet (s) remained silent until Allah revealed 
to him: Verily the case of c Isa with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created 
him from dust, then said to him, “Be,” and he was. (Q3:59) 

Al-Asqaf leapt up in dismay when he heard the Prophet say that Tsa 
was made from dust, and retorted: “0 Muhammad, we do not find this 
[statement] anywhere in the Torah or the Gospels or Psalms. We do not 
find this [claim] anywhere but with you!” At this point, Allah revealed 
to the Prophet (s): Then say [to them], “Come! Let us call...” They said: “You 
have been fair to us 0 Aba al-Qasim. So when should we meet with you 
[for the Mubahalah]?” He (s) replied: “Tomorrow, if Allah wills.” 

The next day, after completing the dawn prayer, the Prophet (s) took 
the hand of c Ali and made him stand in front of him, he made Fatimah 
( c a) stand behind him, and al-Hasan and al-Husayn stand on his right 
and left, respectively. Then he said to them: “When I recite the 
supplication, say Amen.” He then proceeded with them towards the 
place where they would meet the Christians. When they saw him 


13 Najran is an area located between al-Hijaz and Yemen 


184 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


bringing his closest family, they regretted their acceptance of the 
Mubahalah and deliberated with one another saying: “By God, he is 
indeed a Prophet, if we participate in the Mubahalah against him, God 
will answer his prayer against us and will destroy us all, and nothing 
can save us from this unless we retreat.” 14/,, ' v 

Al-RazI reports in his exegesis that the Christian leader of Najran said: “Fellow 
Christians! Indeed I see such [bright] faces that if they were to ask God to cause 
the mountain to crumble, He would make it crumble! So do not participate in 
the Mubahalah as you will be destroyed, and then there will remain no 
Christian on the face of this earth until the Day of Resurrection.” So they came 
forward, sat in front of the Prophet, and said: “0 Aba al-Qasim, pardon us.” He 
(s) replied: “All right. I have pardoned you. However, By the One who has sent 
me with the truth, know that if I would have invoked a curse upon you, Allah 
would not have let any Christian remain on the face of this earth.’”' ' A 

We have mentioned this event here briefly, and have written more about this 
verse in the book: c All- from the Cradle to the Grave. Our discussion here will focus 
on the part of the verse that states: ‘and our women and your women,’ as there is 
a consensus among the Muslims that the Prophet (s) did not take any men with 
him except c All, any children except al-Hasan and al-Husayn nor any women 
except his daughter Fatimah al-Zahrab He never took any of his wives with him, 
and instructed them to remain at home. He did not take any of his aunts, like 
Safiyyah bint c Abd al-Muttalib, who was his father’s sister, or his cousins like 
Umm Han! bint Abi Talib; nor did he invite any other women from the Banu 
Hashim, or the Muhajirun or Ansar. 

Indeed, if there was any other woman like Fatimah al-Zahra 3 among the 
Muslims, in greatness, purity, chastity and piety, the Prophet (s) would have 


14 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 21, p. 348 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Chapter of Hal Ata 


185 


invited her to join him in the Mubahalah, as Allah had commanded him to invite 
his womenfolk (as seen in the aforementioned verse), but he did not find any 
woman suitable to be brought for the Mubahalah except his daughter al- 
Siddlqah al-Tahirah, and that is why he chose her [alone]. 

Al-Qanduzl al-Hanafl has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s) that: “if Allah 
knew of any servants on earth who were more honourable than c All, Fatimah, 
al-Hasan and al-Husayn, He would have commanded that I bring them with me 
to the Mubahalah, but He commanded me to bring [only] them, as they are the 
best of creation.” 15/ ’ , ' , 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Chapter of Hal Ata 

Allah, the Most High, says: Indeed the pious will drink from a cup seasoned with Kafur. 
A spring where the servants of Allah drink , making it gush forth as they please... and 
your endeavour has been well appreciated. (Q76:5-22) 

These verses were revealed when al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , her husband 
Amir al-Mu 3 minm and their two children al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a) gave 
charity [in the way of Allah], Al- Wahid! mentions in his book al-Basit, al-Tha c labl 
in his Tafslr al-Kabir, Abu al-Mu 3 ayyad Muwaffaq in Kitab al-Fada% and others 
[also mention] that these verses were revealed about c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan 
and al-Husayn ( c a). For our purposes here, it will suffice to recount what al- 
Zamakhsharl says in his exegesis ( al-Kashshaf ): 

Ibn c Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn fell ill, so the Messenger of Allah (s) visited them with a group 
of companions. They said: ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, why don’t you keep a vow 


15 YanabF al - Mawaddah , vol. 2, p. 266 


186 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


(nadhr) for the well-being of your sons?’ So c Ali, Fatimah and Fiddah 
(their maidservant) vowed that if the children became well, they would 
fast for three days. When the condition of al-Hasan and al-Husayn 
improved, they [all fasted but] did not have anything (to eat), so c All 
took a loan from the Jew, ShanTun al-Khaybarl, of [about] nine 
kilograms of barley. Fatimah ( c a) ground a third of the barley into flour 
and used it to make five flat-breads, one for each of them. She then 
placed the bread in front of them in order that they may open their fast 
with it. Just then, a beggar came to the door and said: “al-Salamu 
c alaykum 0 family of Muhammad! A poor Muslim beggar is at your door! 
Feed me, and Allah will nourish you with the food of Paradise.” 

They all gave away their bread and were left with nothing but water. 
The next day, they fasted again and when it was time to open their fast, 
and the food was [again] placed in front of them, an orphan came to the 
door and they gave away their food to him. On the third day, a prisoner 
came to their door and they did the same thing. On the fourth day, c All 
(may Allah be pleased with him) took al-Hasan and al-Husayn by the 
hand and went to the Prophet (s), and when he saw them trembling like 
nestlings due to intense hunger, he said: ‘How it hurts me to see you in 
this condition!’ He (s) stood up and went with them to Fatimah, who 
was in her prayer niche in such a state that her stomach had shrunk to 
her spine and her eyes had sunk [into their sockets]. This troubled him 
greatly. At that moment, JibraTl ( c a) descended and said, “Take this 0 
Muhammad, may Allah bless your Ahl al-Bayt.” Then he recited the 
Surah (of Hal Ata) to him?' ' 

Let us look briefly at the exegesis of these verses: 

‘Indeed the pious’ - the pious ones being referred to here are c Ali, Fatimah, al- 

Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a). 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Chapter of Hal Ata 


187 


‘Will drink from a cup’ - this refers to a vessel that contains a drink; or the word 
‘cup’ here refers to the drink itself rather than the vessel that holds it. 

‘Seasoned with Kafur’ means that it will have the special taste of the spring in 
Paradise called Kafur, which is named thus because its water will be as white 
and cool as camphor but without any of its other characteristics. 

‘Making it gush forth as they please’ - meaning that they are easily able to make it 
flow wherever they wish. 

‘They fulfil their vows’ and that is why they deserve this great reward, for vows 
are what human beings impose upon themselves, so if they fulfil their own 
vows, then they are more inclined towards obeying the commandments of 
Allah. 

‘They give food out of love for Him,’ despite their desire for the food because of 
their intense hunger, ‘to the needy, the orphan and the prisoner’ and show self- 
sacrifice at a time when they are themselves hungry, yet they prefer to give 
away the food, out of compassion, to the needy the orphan and the prisoner. 

“We feed you only for the sake of Allah; we neither want any reward nor thanks from 
you” - meaning we neither want any reward in the form of action nor gratitude 
in the form of words from you. 

Mujahid said: “They did not say anything when they gave away their food, and 
that is why Allah praised them for it.’”'" 

“Indeed we fear from our Lord a day, frowning and fateful” - frowning here depicts 
terror, just as the lion or the oppressive tyrant frowns. 

‘So Allah saved them from the ills of that day,’ and keeps them safe from its terror 
and harm ‘and granted them freshness’ in their faces ‘and joy’ in their hearts. ‘And 


188 


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He rewarded them for their patience’ in showing selflessness despite great hunger 
‘with a garden and [garments of J silk’. 

Then Allah describes their state in Paradise: 

‘Reclining therein on couches,’ in the utmost ease and comfort ‘they will find in it 
neither any [scorching] sun,’ whose heat troubles them ‘nor any [biting] cold’ that 
brings them discomfort. ‘Its shades will be close over them and its fruits will be 
hanging low’ so it will be easy for them to take the fruits of Paradise. 

‘They will be served around with vessels of silver and goblets of crystal’ that have been 
created by Allah; ‘crystal of silver [ from which] they dispense in a precise measure’ 
which will be sufficient to fulfil their desires and wishes... 

The descriptions of the blessings and bounties of Paradise continue until the 
end of the chapter, including: its springs called Zanjabil and Salsabil, the 
servants who serve its inhabitants, the vast kingdom which will be theirs, the 
attires made of silk brocade, the ornaments that they will beautify themselves 
with, and the drinks and flesh of birds that they will consume therein. 

It is amazing that despite mentioning the numerous bounties of Paradise in this 
chapter, Allah did not mention the houris [of Paradise] in it. This is because the 
verses were revealed for c Ali, Fatimah and their two sons, and He wished to 
preserve the great status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , so He did not mention the wide- 
eyed houri out of reverence for the Mistress of all Women of the Worlds. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Verse of Light 

Allah, the Most High, says: Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable 
of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a 
glittering star lit... (Q24:35) 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


189 


Al-Hafiz ibn Mughazill al-Shafih has narrated in his book al-Manaqib, from c Ali 
ibn Ja c far, who said: “I asked Aba al-Hasan [al-Kazim] ( c a) about the [meaning 
of] words of Allah: ‘a niche wherein is a lamp...’ He ( c a) said: ‘the niche is Fatimah, 
the lamp is al-Hasan and al-Husayn is the glass.’ About the phrase ‘as it were a 
glittering star lit’ he said: ‘Fatimah was like a shining star among the women of 
the worlds...’ and about ‘whose oil almost lights up’ he said: ‘knowledge was about 
to flow forth from her.’” 16/ ’ , '’ , 

We have already noted some of the narrations that talk of the brilliant and 
effulgent nature of al-Zahra 3 ( c a). In another similar narration, we find that the 
Prophet (s) said: “...and the light of my daughter Fatimah is from the light of 
Allah... ” 17/, ' r 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 

Indeed, it is very difficult to determine the actual status of al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 in the eyes of her father the Messenger of Allah (s), and the truth is 
that this is beyond the ability of the tongue and the pen, and beyond the scope 
of any analysis and expression. It may be possible for us to say in a nutshell that 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) had the greatest place in her father’s heart 
and had the loftiest status in his eyes. The Prophet (s) used to love her in a 
unique manner, such that his love was mixed with respect and honour, in a 
manner never witnessed in the love of any father towards his daughter. This 
love was not based only on fatherly love, rather, the Prophet used to consider 
his daughter to be a noble and distinguished individual. This was due to her 


16 c AlI ibn Muhammad ibn al-Mughazili al-Maliki (d. 483 A.H.), Manaqib Amir al-Mu’minm c Ali ibn 
AbiTalib, p. 382 

17 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 15, p. 10 


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Fatimah al-Zahra l) * 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


possessing great virtues and merits. It is also possible that the Prophet (s) had 
been instructed to show her respect and to honour her, for he never missed any 
opportunity to demonstrate the greatness of his daughter and emphasize her 
merits and lofty station in the sight of Allah, the Most High, and in the eyes of 
His Prophet (s). 

It is a known fact that the same endless praise was not heard from the Prophet 
for any of his other daughters. His praise was not simply a result of personal 
attachment and affection; on the contrary, it was just not possible for him to 
remain silent about the virtues of his daughter and her lofty status in the sight 
of Allah. If she did not have such a great station in the sight of Allah, the Prophet 
(s) would not have treated her in this manner as she was his child, and Allah 
has commanded children to respect their parents and not the other way 
around. 

He (s) had a few reasons for doing this, such as: to clearly demonstrate her 
status in the sight of Allah and His Prophet, as he knew what would befall his 
beloved daughter after his death - all the injustice, oppression and tyranny. 
Thus, the Prophet wanted to do his part to inform the people about her, so that 
nobody would have any excuse to feign ignorance [about her status]. Let us now 
look at some of the narrations that speak of the status of al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
and her place in the heart of the Prophet (s): 

l) Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) narrates from his forefathers ( c a), from al-Sayyidah 

Fatimah ( c a), who said: “When the verse: Do not consider the Apostle's 

summons amongst you to be like your summoning one another (Q24:13) was 
revealed, I stopped calling the Prophet of Allah ‘0 father’ and started 
calling him with the words ‘0 Prophet of Allah’, so he came to me and 
said: ‘0 Fatimah, this verse was not revealed for you or your family and 
children. You are from me and I am from you. This verse was only 
revealed for the rude, haughty, arrogant people from the Quraysh. You 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


191 


should say “0 father,” for indeed this enlivens my heart and pleases my 
Lord,’ then the Prophet kissed my forehead.. .” 18/,u 

2) FAlishah bint Talhah narrates from FAdshah, who said: “I have not seen 
anyone more similar in speech and elocution to the Holy Prophet (s) 
than Fatimah. Whenever she came to him, he would welcome her, kiss 
her hands and make her sit in his place. And whenever he visited her, 
she would stand to welcome him and kiss his hands...’”' 

3) Bazl al-Haraw! asked al-Husayn bin Ruh, “How many daughters did the 
Prophet of Allah (s) have?” He replied, “Four.” He asked, “Who was the 
best among them?” He said, “Fatimah.” “How could she be the best 
when she was the youngest of them all and had thus spent the least 
amount of time with the Prophet (s)?” He asked. “Because of two 
qualities that Allah had blessed her with,” ibn Ruh replied. “First, she 
inherited from the Messenger of Allah (s) and second, the lineage of the 
Prophet continued through her. And Allah did not bless her with this 
except because of the sincerity He saw in her.’”' 11 

4) It has been narrated from Hudhayfah that the Prophet (s) never went 
to sleep until he had first kissed the face of Fatimah... 19/m 

5) Ibn c Umar said that the Prophet (s) kissed the forehead of Fatimah and 
said, “May your father be your ransom; remain just as you are!” 20/m 
And in another narration [it is reported that] he said, “May my father 
and mother be your ransom.’”'''' 


18 Manaqib Amir al-Mu’minin, p. 427 

19 Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 108 

20 Ibid. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


6) It has also been reported that FAdshah said: “The Prophet (s) kissed 
Fatimah’s neck,” and another narration states that [when she saw this] 
she said, “0 Prophet of Allah, you have done something that I have 
never seen you do.” He replied “0 FAdshah, whenever I yearn for [the 
fragrance of] Paradise I kiss Fatimah’s neck.” 217 ''''' 

7) In another narration, FAdshah is reported to have said: “Whenever the 
Prophet (s) returned from a journey, he would kiss the neck of Fatimah 
saying, ‘From her I smell the fragrance of Paradise.’” 22 ^’'' 

8) It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) that: “The fragrance of 
the Prophets is the scent of quince; the fragrance of the wide-eyed 
houri (of Paradise) is the scent of myrtle; the fragrance of angels is the 
scent of [the] rose, and the fragrance of my daughter Fatimah al-Zahra 2 
is a combination of the scents of the quince, myrtle and rose.” 23/ ’ , ’ , ’ , 

9) It has also been narrated from him (s) that: “...if beauty were to be 
personified, it would be Fatimah; rather, she is even greater [than it]. 
Indeed, my daughter Fatimah is the best of all people of the world in 
nobility, honour and virtue.” 24/ ” r 

10) Imam al-Husayn ibn c Ali ( c a) narrates that his grandfather, the Prophet 
of Allah, said: “Fatimah is the joy of my heart, and her two sons are the 
apples of my eyes. Her husband is the light of my vision and the Imams 
from his progeny are the trustees appointed by my Lord and His rope 


21 Dhakhahr al- c Uqba, p. 36 

22 Yanabr al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, pp. 59-60 

23 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 63, p. 177 

24 Fara’id al-Simtayn, vol. 2, p. 68 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


193 


that extends between Himself and His creation. Whoever holds on to it 
is saved and whoever turns away from it is doomed.” 257 " 4 

11) It has further been narrated that the Prophet (s) gave some water to al- 
Zahra 3 and as she drank it, he said, “May it bring you health and 
wellbeing, 0 mother of the immaculate and righteous ones...” 267 " 0 

12) It is narrated that Fatimah al-Zahra 7 ( c a) said: “The Messenger of Allah 
(s) said to me, ‘Should I not give you glad tidings? When Allah wishes to 
gift His friend’s wife in Paradise, He will ask you to send some of your 
ornaments to her.’” 277 " 1 

From the following authentic narrations that have been accepted by both 
schools, we can gain a better understanding of the factors that led to the 
greatness and loftiness of the Mistress of all Women of the Worlds: 

1) The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “The best women of Paradise are: 
Khadljah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Asiyah bint 
Muzahim (the wife of Fir c aun) and Maryam bint c Imran.” 28/ " v 

2) He (s) also said: “The best of all women of the worlds are four: Maryam 
bint Tmran, Asiyah bint Muzahim, Khadljah bint Khuwaylid and 
Fatimah bint Muhammad.” 297 "* 


25 Ibid., p. 66 

26 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 76, p. 57 

27 Dalahl al-Imamah, p. 67 

28 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1 p. 293; al-Isti c ab, vol. 4 p. 1821; al-Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 650; al-I c tiqad, p. 160; 
Usd al-Ghabah, vol. 7 p. 80 

29 Ibid. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


3) He (s) also said: “Four women are sufficient [as role models] for you 
among all the women of the worlds: Maryam bint c Imran, Khadljah bint 
Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad and Asiyah the wife of 
Fir c aun.” 30/m 

These three traditions clearly show the special position of the four ladies above 
all the other women of the world. However, they do not specify who the best 
among them is. Nevertheless, we do have authentic narrations that specify al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 as being the best among them. This is something 
we cannot doubt, and we consider it unanimously agreed upon, because she was 
‘a part of the Prophet (s)’ and nobody else can be compared to her. 

We are not alone in our position regarding her. Many of the erstwhile and late 
scholars and traditionists who were unbiased, as well as some contemporary 
scholars, hold this view. Some of their statements include: 

l) Masruq narrates that FATshah said: “All of us (the wives of the Prophet) 
were present when Fatimah arrived, and by Allah, her manner of 
walking was the same as that of the Messenger of Allah (s). When he (s) 
saw her, he welcomed her and said, ‘Welcome, my daughter!’ then he 
made her sit to his right or his left and told her a secret, so she began 
crying uncontrollably. When he saw her great sorrow, he confided 
something else to her and she began to laugh. So I said to her, while all 
the women were present, ‘The Prophet (s) confided a secret to you and 
you began crying?’ When the Prophet (s) had left, I asked her, ‘What 
secret did he tell you?’ She replied, ‘I cannot give away the secret of the 
Messenger of Allah.’ 


30 al-Isffab, vol. 4, p. 1822; Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Salamah al-Tahawi (d. 321 A.H.), Sharh 
Mushkil al-Athar, vol. 1, p. 140; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 171; al-Husayn ibn Mas c ud al-Baghawi al- 
Shafih (d. 516 A.H.), Ma c alim al-Tanzil, vol. 1, p. 439 



The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


195 


After the Prophet (s) had passed away, I said to her, ‘I have come to you 
to seek my right (!) why do you not tell me [about that secret]?’ Fatimah 
replied, ‘Now, I can tell you about it.’ Then she said, ‘The first secret he 
told me was that JibraTl would present the Quhan to him once every 
year, but that year he presented it to him twice. This meant that his 
time [of death] was drawing close so he advised me to fear Allah and 
remain patient, for I am the best of his progeny. As I heard this I cried 
in the way that you saw. When he saw how sad I was, he confided a 
second secret to me and said: “0 Fatimah, wouldn’t you like to be the 
mistress of the believers and the women of this ummah?’”” 31/rr ' 

2 ) Al-Baghawl narrates in Masabih al-Sunnah [that the Prophet (s) said]: 
“Would you not like to be the mistress of all women of the world and 
the mistress of the women of this ummah and the mistress of all the 
believing women?”"’ 

The traditions that speak of her high status and superiority over the women of 
the worlds are too numerous to list, and most of them have been narrated from 
FAlishah, Tmran ibn Hasln, Jabir ibn Samarah, ibn c Abbas, Abu Buraydah al- 
Aslaml and others. Al-Bukharl has narrated this tradition, 32 as have many Sunni 
scholars like al-Qastalanl, al-QanduzI, al-Muttaql, al-Haythaml, al-NasaT, al- 
Tahawl and others. 


31 Muhammad ibn Sa c d al-Basri (d. 230 A.H.), al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 191; and this has been 
related with slight variance by Muslim ibn Hajjaj (d. 261 A.H.) in his al-Jami c al -Sahih, vol. 7 p. 142; 
Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir al-Baladhuri (d. 279 A.H.), Ansab al-Ashraf, p. 552; c Abd al-Rahman ibn 
Abi Bakr Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 A.H.), al-Khasads al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 394; Ahmad ibn al-Husayn 
ibn c AlI al-Bayhaqi (d. 458 A.H.), al-I c tiqad wal-Hidayah ila Sabil al-Rashad, p. 383; al-Dhakhadr al- 
c Uqba, p. 39; Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 600 

32 Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 203 


196 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


This hadlth has also been relayed through numerous chains. In some of the 
narrations it is reported that she laughed because the Prophet informed her 
that she would be the first person from his household to join him, and in other 
narrations the reason for her smile or laugh was that the Prophet informed her 
she was the ‘Mistress of all Women of the World’. 

Ahmad ibn Hanbal has, however, reported a narration that combines both of 
these traditions: 

From FAhshah who said: “Fatimah approached, walking in the same manner as 
the Prophet of Allah (s). He said to her, ‘Welcome my daughter!’ and made her 
sit on his right or his left side. Then he told her a secret and she started crying, 
after which he told her another secret and she started laughing. I said: ‘I have 
never seen happiness this close to sadness,’ then I asked her about what he (s) 
had told her. She said: ‘I would never reveal the secret of the Prophet of Allah 
(s).’ It was only after he had left this world that I asked her about it again, so she 
said, ‘The secret he told me was: “JibraTl shows the Quhan to me once every 
year but this year he has shown it to me twice and I think that this is a sign that 
my death is near. You will be the first from my household who will join me [in 
the afterlife] and I am the best person to precede you;” so I cried when I heard 
this. Then he said: “Are you not pleased that you are the Mistress of all Women 
of this World (or of all believing women)?” At which point I laughed.’” 337 '' 1 ”'' 

Al-Bukharl has narrated that the Prophet (s) said: “Fatimah is part of me, 
whoever angers her has angered me.”’ rT He further narrates from Abu al-Walld 
that the Prophet said: “Fatimah is part of me, whoever hurts her has hurt 


33 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 6, p. 282 



The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


197 


me.” 34/m This same tradition has been reported in different words but with the 
same meaning, as follows: 

— “Fatimah is part of me, whatever hurts her hurts me, and whatever 
angers her angers me.” 35/,r ‘ 

— “Fatimah is part of me, whatever distresses her distresses me and 
whatever makes her happy makes me happy.” 36/,ri 

— “Fatimah is a part of me, [and] Fatimah is a piece of me so whatever 
hurts her hurts me,’”" 

— “Fatimah is a piece of me, whatever makes her happy makes me 
happy.” 37/,rA 

— “0 Fatimah, verily Allah is angry when you are angry and pleased when 
you are pleased.” m 

— “Whoever knows her has known her, and whoever does not know her 
then know that she is part of me.”” ' 

— “She is my heart and my soul, so whoever hurts her has hurt me and 
whoever hurts me has hurt Allah.””' 

— “Indeed Allah is angered by that which angers Fatimah and is pleased 
by that which pleases her.””'' 

These traditions have been narrated by more than fifty individuals among the 
traditionists ( muhaddithun ), such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bukharl, ibn Majah, 
al-Sijistanl, al-Tirmidhi, al-NasaT, Abu al-Faraj, al-Nisaburl, Abu Nahm, al- 
Bayhaql, al-Khwarizml, ibn c Asakir, al-BaghawI, ibn al-jawzl, ibn Athlr, ibn Abl 


34 Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 21 

35 al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 173 

36 Jam? al-Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 698 

37 Murtada Husaynl FIruzabadI (d. 1410 A.H.), Fadadl al-Khamsah min al-Sihah al-Sittah vol. 3, p. 154 



198 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


al-Hadid, al-Suyutl, Ibn Hajar, al-Baladhurl and others - it would be too difficult 
to list them all. We have mentioned a few examples of their traditions, along 
with references, at the beginning of the book. 

These traditions have generally been accepted by the companions and the 
successors as evinced by the sheer number of the reports ( tawatur ), their 
authentic chains as well as their widespread acceptance among the Muslims. As 
regards the companions, we will have an opportunity later to look at how many 
of them accepted this tradition and acknowledged having heard it from the 
Prophet (s). As for the successors, we find that Abu al-Faraj has narrated that: 

‘Abdullah ibn Hasan came to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz while he was a 
young and hefty lad. The caliph showed him respect, made him sit next 
to himself, and carried out his requests. Then he held the side of the 
lad’s flabby belly and pressing it hard, until he was in pain, he said: “I 
do this to remind you to intercede for me [on Judgment Day].” 

When ‘Abdullah ibn Hasan had left, the people started criticizing 
‘Umar, saying: “Why did you treat a young child in this manner?” He 
replied: “A reliable person narrated a tradition to me, such that I felt I 
was hearing it straight from the lips of the Holy Prophet (s) himself, 
saying: ‘Verily Fatimah is part of me, that which pleases her pleases me. 
And I knew that if Fatimah was alive she would be pleased with the way 
I showed respect to her grandchild.’” They asked: “Then why did you 
press his stomach and say what you said?” He replied: “All the Ban! 
Hashim have been given the right to intercede, so I wished that he 
would intercede on my behalf.” 38/ur 


38 Abu al-Faraj c AlI ibn al-Husayn al-Isfahani (d. 356 A.H.), al-Aghanl, vol. 9, p. 180 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


199 


Al-Samhudl says after narrating the tradition ‘Fatimah is part of me, whatever 
hurts her hurts me’: ...so whoever hurts anyone from the progeny of Fatimah 
or makes them angry has put himself in grave danger of being included in this 
[statement] and the opposite is also true for the one who pleases her by loving 
them and honouring them. 

Al-Suhayll says: This tradition proves that whoever insults her is an infidel, and 
whoever sends salutations to her has sent salutations to her father. It can 
further be deduced that her children are like her [in this regard] because they 
are part [of him] like her, and detaching a branch from its root is like detaching 
something from itself, which is impossible, because the branch is made up of 
the same material as the root and grows from it. 

It could be that the grave danger al-Samhud! is referring to, is what has been 
mentioned in the verses: Indeed those who torment Allah and His Apostle are cursed 
by Allah in the world and the Hereafter, and He has prepared a humiliating punishment 
for them. (Q33:57) and: As for those who torment the Apostle of Allah, there is a painful 
punishment for them. (Q9:6l) 

After considering these verses and pondering upon these traditions and 
narrations, what could one say about the person who hurts Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ? 
I return once more to the love that the Prophet (s) showed to his daughter al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra\.. 

It is difficult to count the traditions which clearly state that whenever the 
Prophet (s) wanted to travel, the last person whom he would bid farewell to 
from his family was Fatimah ( c a) and the first person he would come to meet 
when he returned from any journey was Fatimah. 39 Whenever he (s) returned 


39 al-Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 1 p. 26; Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba, p. 37; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3 p. 169 


200 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


from his journey, he would come to his daughter Fatimah first, then he would 
proceed to his house and meet his wives. 40 

He (s) used to prefer al-Zahra 5 to his wives, and this was only because Allah 
preferred her over them and over all the other women of the world. Thus [it is 
narrated that] when he returned from one of the battles, and found that she 
had hung a cloth or a curtain on her door and had made al-Hasan and al-Husayn 
wear silver bracelets, he did not enter [her house]. She realized that he did not 
come because he saw the curtain [hanging outside] so she took it down and 
removed the bracelets from the hands of the children, before breaking them 
into pieces. The young boys went to the Prophet (s) crying, so he embraced 
them and told his servant: “0 Thawban, go to so-and-so [and give him these 
pieces]. These are my family members and I would not like them to enjoy all the 
pleasures [reserved for them] in this world only. 0 Thawban, buy for Fatimah a 
necklace of beads and get two ivory bracelets.”” 4 

This tradition has been narrated by al-Khatib aPUmari in Mishkat al-Masablh, 
al-Tabari in Dhakhadr al- c Uqba, al-Nuwayri in Nihayat al-Urub, al-Qanduzi in 
YanabF al-Mawaddah, al-Tabarani in al -Mujam al-Kabir, al-Zubaydi in Ittihafal- 
Sadah, and others. Some of our own scholars who have narrated this tradition 
include: Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi and al-Tabarsi in Makarim al-Akhlaq (who 
has a more detailed narration but with slight variance): 

From Zurarah, from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) [who said]: “Whenever the 
Prophet (s) intended to travel, he would bid farewell to his family, and 
the last person whom he bade farewell to was Fatimah ( c a), then he 
would set off on his journey from her house. When he returned, he 
would first come to see her [before anyone else]. Once, he went on a 
journey and it so happened that c Ali ( c a) had come by some money, 


40 al-Isffab, vol. 4, p. 1895; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 169 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


201 


which he gave to Fatimah before he left; so she bought two silver 
bracelets and a curtain which she hung over her door. When the 
Prophet (s) returned, he entered the masjid and then turned to go to 
Fatimah’s house as always. She stood up in excitement and joy, 
expecting to meet her father. However, when he noticed that she had 
worn silver bracelets and had hung a curtain on her door, the Prophet 
(s) sat down [outside] and looked at her [from a distance]. Fatimah 
became sad and cried, saying, ‘My father has never done this before.’ 

She called her two sons, removed the curtain from her door and the 
bracelets from her hands, and giving the curtain to one and the 
bracelets to the other. She said to them, ‘Go to my father and after 
greeting him say: after you left we did not make any changes other than 
this; do with it as you see fit.’ So they came to him and conveyed their 
mother’s message. The Prophet (s) kissed them, embraced them and 
made each one of them sit on his thigh. He then instructed that the 
bracelets should be broken into small pieces and distributed among the 
Ahl al-Suffah - a group of destitute Muhajirln who did not possess 
houses or wealth.. .” u ° 

This tradition, which is well known by both the schools and has been narrated 
through numerous chains, needs some elaboration and explanation. We know 
that the narrators of this tradition did not give the required explanation [for 
what they narrated]. It should be noted that the curtain mentioned here is not 
the light curtain that is usually hung at the entrance behind the door of the 
house, because hanging this type of curtain is recommended ( mustahab ) as it 
encourages additional veiling and covering. Far be it from the Prophet (s) to be 
angered by a curtain that hangs on the entrance of the house of Fatimah. 
Rather, what is meant is that al-Sayyidah Fatimah had hung a curtain on the 
door of the house (not at the entrance) to cover the wooden door, and to adorn 


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it - what is known in our time as ‘decor’. Of course, what she did was not 
something forbidden, it is just something incongruous with the abstemiousness 
and asceticism that is expected of the family of Muhammad ( c a) or the lofty 
example of generosity that is to be taken from them; and the same can be said 
about the matter of the bracelets and necklace. 

If indeed this tradition is authentic, it would have been better for al-Sayyidah 
al-Zahra 3 ( c a) to give the curtain as charity in the way of Allah, especially at a 
time when there were many needy people and poverty was rife among the 
destitute Muhajirin, as an act of generosity and selflessness. 

Ibn Shahin has narrated this tradition in Manaqib Fatimah from Abu Hurayrah 
and Thawban, with a slight difference. He says: “After al-Zahra 3 had given the 
curtain and bracelets to her father, the Prophet (s) said, ‘She has done the right 
thing, may her father be her ransom (repeating this thrice). What does the 
family of Muhammad have to do with this [transient] world when they have 
been created for the Hereafter and this world has been created for them?”” ,n 

And in the narration of Ahmad ibn Hanbal [he (s) is reported to have said], “For 
they are my household and I do not want them to consume the bounties [that 
have been reserved for them] here, in this [transient] world.” ,tv 

What can be construed from this explanation is that the Prophet (s) did not 
want his daughter’s share of heavenly reward and blessings to be diminished 
[by enjoying the pleasures of this world], because enduring the bitterness of life 
and tolerating its hardships has a recompense in the Hereafter. The following 
tradition clarifies this matter further: 

It is narrated in Tafsir al-Tha c labi from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) and Jabir ibn c Abdillah 
al-Ansari, who said: “The Prophet (s) saw Fatimah wearing a cloak made from 
camel hide, grinding away at the millstone with her bare hands as she nursed 
her son, so tears began to flow from his eyes and he (s) said to her, ‘0 my 


The Status of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with Her Father the Holy Prophet (s) 


203 


daughter, taste the fleeting bitterness of this world so that you may attain the 
[lasting] sweetness of the Hereafter.’ She replied, ‘0 Messenger of Allah, I praise 
Allah for His bounties and thank Him for His blessings.’ At this point the verse: 
Soon your Lord will give you that which will please you. (Q93:5) was revealed.” 41/UA 


41 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 86 


CHAPTER TWELVE 

Her Asceticism and Charity in the Way of A t.t. ah 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was very ascetic, and by asceticism ( zuhd ) 
here, we mean ‘renunciation of a thing, abandoning it and having no inclination 
towards it.’ As a person’s desire for the Hereafter increases, his asceticism also 
increases and as the Hereafter becomes greater in his eyes, the world becomes 
more insignificant to him. Similarly, when a person’s intellect, knowledge and 
faith in Allah increases, his [feelings of] contempt and disdain for the pleasures 
of this world increase. 

Do you see how small children play and enjoy themselves, or cry and quarrel 
with one another for toys of no value, but when they become intellectually 
mature they distance themselves from the very same toys and consider it 
demeaning to act in a childish manner, taking it to be beneath their dignity and 
something that would disparage their character. All this is because of their 
development and their transformation from immature children to mature and 
intelligent adults. In the same way, the close friends of Allah ( awliya ; ) look at 
the provisions of this world with disdain and their hearts are never inclined 
towards this world and what it contains. They do not love this world for the 
sake of this world. Rather, they love this world for the sake of the Hereafter. 
They only desire to remain in this world so that they can worship Allah, and 



Her Asceticism and Charity in the Way of Allah 


205 


their only reason for wanting wealth is so that they can give charity in the way 
of Allah to fill the stomachs of the hungry, clothe the bodies of the unclothed 
and to assist the needy and destitute. 

After understanding this, it is easy to comprehend the basis of asceticism in the 
eyes of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), as she knew the reality of this 
transient life and that of the true life of the Hereafter. It is therefore not 
surprising that she was content with very little of the worldly provisions and 
chose for herself the excellent qualities of generosity and selflessness. Worldly 
wealth was considered insignificant by her and she hated opulence and 
extravagance. 

She was, after all, the daughter of the most ascetic of ascetics, and her life was 
always surrounded by asceticism. She was the first person to follow in the 
footsteps of her father, the great ascetic Prophet (s). Even her married life was 
filled with contentment and austerity, for her husband, Imam c Ali ( c a), was the 
first person to follow the Prophet in his asceticism and no other individual is 
noted in the history of Islam to have been more ascetic than Imam c Ali ibn Ab! 
Talib Ca ). 1 

He was the one who addressed gold and silver with the words: “0 yellow one 
and 0 white one, deceive someone else [as I will not fall for your deception]!” 
At one time c Al! ( c a) instructed that a thousand coins be given to one of the 
[needy] Bedouins. The representative asked, “[a thousand coins] of gold or 
silver?” c Al! replied, “In my eyes they are both like [valueless] rocks, so give him 
that which will benefit him more.” m We have given more details about this 
matter in our book: c All-from the Cradle to the Grave, and only mention it here in 


Cf. Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Sharif al-Radi (d. 406 A.H.), Nahj al-Balaghah, Letter no. 45 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


passing, to show the asceticism of c All ( c a) as we discuss the asceticism of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahrak 

We have already cited some of the traditions that show her asceticism and 
generosity in the way of Allah, which led to the revelation of Surah Hal Ata as 
well as other similar examples. Let us now look at the traditions that further 
demonstrate the same trait [of asceticism]: 

In the book Bisharat al-Mustafa, [it is narrated] from Imam al-Sadiq, narrating 
from his father ( c a) who narrated fromjabir ibn c Abdillah al-Ansarl [who said]: 
“The Prophet (s) led us in the c Asr prayer, and when he finished, he remained 
seated as the people surrounded him. At that moment, a frail old man from 
among the desert Arabs, wearing tattered clothes, slowly approached. The 
Prophet (s) stood up to welcome him and asked about his health. The old man 
replied, ‘0 Prophet of Allah, I am hungry so feed me, I am unclothed so clothe 
me, I am poor so be generous with me.’ The Prophet replied, ‘I do not have 
anything to give to you, but the one who points towards goodness is like its 
doer [so I shall point you towards the one who will assist you]. Go to the house 
of the one who loves Allah and His Prophet, and who is loved by Allah and His 
Prophet. Go to the house of Fatimah.’ 

Fatimah’s house was adjacent to the house of the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) 
told Bilal, ‘0 Bilal, take him to the house of Fatimah.’ So the Bedouin went with 
Bilal and when they came to the door of Fatimah, he shouted in his loudest 
voice, ‘Peace be with you, 0 household of prophethood, the frequenting place 
of angels and the place where JibraTl, the trusted spirit, descends with 
revelation from the Lord of the Worlds!’ Fatimah responded, ‘And upon you be 
peace. Who are you?’ He said, ‘An old man from the Bedouins. I had approached 
your father, the Master of Humanity, seeking relief from my hardship as I am, 
0 daughter of Muhammad, unclothed and hungry, so please assist me, may 
Allah have mercy upon you.’ 


Her Asceticism and Charity in the Way of Allah 


207 


This was at a time when Fatimah, 'All and the Prophet (s) had not eaten for 
three days, and the Prophet (s) was aware about their condition. Fatimah took 
the sheep-hide that al-Hasan and al-Husayn used to sleep on and gave it to him 
saying, ‘Take this. May Allah grant you something better than this as well.’ The 
Bedouin said, ‘0 daughter of Muhammad, I complained to you of hunger and 
you gave me a sheep-hide? What will I do with it and how will it alleviate my 
hunger?’ When she heard this, Fatimah removed the necklace she was wearing, 
that had been gifted to her by the daughter of Hamzah ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib, 
and gave it to the Bedouin saying, ‘Take this and sell it, may Allah exchange it 
with something better for you.’ 

The Bedouin took the necklace and went to the Masjid of the Prophet (s). The 
Messenger of Allah was sitting with his companions, so he said to him, ‘0 
Prophet of Allah, your daughter Fatimah has given me this necklace saying, 
“Sell it; may Allah grant you respite.’” The Prophet (s) wept and then said, ‘How 
can Allah not grant you respite when Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, the 
Mistress of all Daughters of Adam, has given this to you!’ At that moment, 
'Ammar ibn Yasir (may Allah have mercy upon him) stood up and said, ‘0 
Messenger of Allah, do you permit me to buy this necklace?’ The Prophet 
replied, ‘Buy it 0 'Ammar, for if all the earthly and heavenly creatures were to 
be your partners in purchasing it, Allah would never chastise them with fire.’ 
'Ammar asked the Bedouin, ‘How much will you sell the necklace for?’ He said, 
‘For a satiating meal of bread and meat, a Yemeni cloak with which I can clothe 
myself and in which I can pray to my Lord, and enough money to enable me to 
reach my family.’ 

Since 'Ammar had sold his share of the booty of Khaybar that the Prophet (s) 
had given to him, he said [to the Bedouin], ‘I will give you twenty gold coins, a 
hundred silver coins, a Yemeni cloak and my horse which you can use to take 
you back to your family, along with a satiating meal of bread and meat.’ The 


208 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


man said, ‘How generous you are with your wealth!’ 'Ammar went with him and 
gave him all that he had promised. 

The Bedouin returned to the Prophet (s) and the Messenger of Allah said to him, 
‘Are you sated and clothed?’ He replied, ‘Yes, and I am now wealthy, may my 
parents be your ransom.’ ‘Then repay Fatimah for what she has done [by 
praying for her],’ he (s) said. The Bedouin said, ‘0 Allah, You are the Lord whom 
we did not bring into being, and there is no Lord whom we worship other than 
You. You are the one who sustains us from all directions. 0 Allah, give Fatimah 
that which no eye has seen and no ear has heard...’ 

'Ammar took the necklace, perfumed it with musk and covered it with a Yemeni 
cloak. He had a slave called Sahm whom he had bought with his share of the 
booty of Khaybar. He gave the necklace to the slave saying, ‘Take this necklace 
and give it to the Prophet of Allah (s) and yourself along with it.’ The slave took 
the necklace and came to the Messenger of Allah (s), giving him 'Ammar’s 
message. The Prophet said, ‘Go to Fatimah and give her the necklace and 
yourself along with it.’ The slave went to her with the necklace and told her 
what the Prophet (s) had said, so Fatimah took the necklace and freed the slave. 
The slave began to laugh, so she asked him, ‘What has made you laugh?’ He 
replied, ‘I am laughing out of amazement at the greatness of this necklace. It 
fed a hungry man, clothed an unclothed man, enriched a poor man, freed a 
slave and returned to its owner!”’ 27 ’' 0 ' 

It is narrated in al-Bihar from the Tafslr of Furat ibn Ibrahim, from Abu SaTd al- 
Khudri, who said: “One day 'All ibn Abi Talib ( c a) was hungry so he said, ‘0 
Fatimah, do you have any food [in the house]?’ She replied, ‘No, by the One who 
has honoured my father with prophethood and honoured you with 
vicegerency, we have no food. In fact, we have had nothing to eat for the past 


2 Muhammad ibn Abi al-Qasim al-Tabari (d. 553 A.H.), Bisharat al-Mustafa li ShFat al-Murtada, p. 139 


Her Asceticism and Charity in the Way of Allah 


209 


two days, and that which I gave you to eat was from my share and the share of 
our two sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn.’ c All said, ‘0 Fatimah, why did you not 
inform me about this [earlier] so that I could have something about it?’ She said, 
‘0 Aba al-Hasan, I feel ashamed in front of my Lord to put a burden on you that 
is difficult for you to bear.’ 

c All ibn Abl Talib went out of the house trusting that Allah would provide. He 
took a loan of one dinar in order to buy some provisions for his family. On his 
way, he met Miqdad ibn al-Aswad. It was a very hot day and Miqdad was 
suffering from the heat, so when c Ali ibn Abl Talib ( c a) saw his state, he asked, 
‘0 Miqdad, what has caused you to come out at such an hour?’ He replied, ‘0 
Aba al-Hasan, leave me as I am and do not ask about my state!’ c All ( c a) said, ‘0 
brother, I would not feel right to leave you without knowing about your state.’ 
Miqdad replied, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, I beseech you for the sake of Allah, let me be 
on my way and do not ask me about my state!’ He ( c a) responded, ‘0 brother, it 
does not behove you to hide your state from me.’ Miqdad said, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, 
if you insist [i will tell you]. By the One who has honoured Muhammad with 
prophethood and honoured you with vicegerency, nothing has distressed me 
thus but my struggle [for sustenance], for I have left my family in a state of 
severe hunger, and when I hear my family crying out of hunger, I cannot bear 
it. That is why I have left my home at this hour. This is my state and my story!’ 

c Al!’s eyes were filled with tears when he heard this, until [even] his beard 
became wet. He said to Miqdad, ‘I swear by the One upon whom you swore, 
nothing has caused me distress but the same thing which has caused you 
distress. I have taken a loan of one dinar and I give it to you, preferring you over 
myself.’ Saying this, he gave the dinar to Miqdad and turned back. He entered 
the Prophet’s Masjid and prayed the Dhuhr, c Asr and Maghrib prayers. After the 
Prophet had led the Maghrib prayer, he came to c Ali ibn Abl Talib, who was 
seated in the first row, and tapped him with his leg. c All stood up and followed 


210 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


the Prophet (s) until they came to one of the doors of the masjid. After 
exchanging greetings, the Prophet asked him, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, do you have 
anything to eat for dinner so that we can come and have a meal with you?’ He 
lowered his head and remained silent, unable to reply the Prophet (s) out of 
shame. 

The Prophet (s) knew all about the affair of the dinar - from whom he had taken 
the loan and whom he had given it to. Allah had revealed to the Prophet (s) that 
he was to have dinner at the house of c Ali ibn Abi Talib on that night. So when 
he saw his silence, he (s) said, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, why do you not say anything? 
Neither do you reply in the negative and leave nor do you reply in the 
affirmative and invite me to join you?’ He replied bashfully and respectfully, 
‘Please do join us!’ The Prophet (s) took c All's hand and they proceeded towards 
the house of Fatimah. When they entered, she was sitting on her prayer mat 
having just completed her prayer, and behind her was a pot with smoke rising 
from it. 

When she heard the Prophet’s voice, she stood up and greeted him. He was the 
dearest person to her heart. He (s) replied her greeting and patted her head 
gently with his hand saying, ‘How are you my daughter?’ She replied, ‘Fine.’ He 
(s) said, ‘Serve us dinner, May Allah have mercy upon you.’ So she took the pot 
and placed it in front of the Prophet (s) and c Ali ibn Abi Talib... c Ali asked, ‘0 
Fatimah, where did you get this food? I have never seen food of this colour, nor 
have I smelt such an aroma or tasted such delicious food before?’ The Prophet 
(s) placed his blessed palm between ‘All’s shoulders and tapped him saying, ‘0 
‘All, this is the recompense for your dinar and the reward that has come from 
Allah for your dinar. Indeed Allah provides for whomever He wishes without 
any reckoning.’ 

After this, the Prophet (s) began to cry, with tears flowing on his cheeks. He (s) 
said, ‘Praise be to Allah, who has not let you leave this world before He has 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 


211 


rewarded you. He has made you, 0 c Ali, follow the path of Zakariyya and has 
made you, 0 Fatimah, follow the way of Maryam, daughter of c Imran. Whenever 
Zakariyya visited her in the prayer niche ( mihrab ), he would find that she had 
food.’” 3/, °' 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 

Worship has two meanings, a general meaning and a specific meaning. The 
general meaning of worship is: every act that brings a person closer to Allah, 
the Glorified, including good intentions, kind words, righteous deeds, 
praiseworthy traits etc. The specific meaning of worship is: prayer, fasting, 
going for pilgrimage, giving charity and all the prescribed actions that we know 
of. 

The true meaning of worship, in its complete sense, was manifested in the life 
of al-Sayyidah al-Tahirah Fatimah ( c a). Her entire life was [spent in] worship, 
from the beginning right up to the very end. From her carrying water to the 
houses of the poor and the destitute, to her feeding [the hungry] and exhibiting 
selflessness, teaching [other women] the rules of Islam, bearing the 
responsibility of housework, leading an abstemious and simple life, being a 
good wife and defending the rights of her husband, and [bearing patiently] all 
the hardships and pain that she underwent after the death of her father, the 
Prophet of Allah (s); all of this - and all that you have read so far and will read 
after this about her life - all of it was sincere worship that was done to attain 
the pleasure of Allah, the Glorified, in addition to her prayers, invocations, 
whispered supplications etc. 


3 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, pp. 59-61 


212 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


ibn c Abbas relates about the verse: They used to sleep a little during the night and at 
dawn would plead for forgiveness. (Q56:17-18) that it was revealed about c All ibn 
Abl Talib, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. 47 ''" Some of the other narrations 
related to this include: 

1) It is narrated from Imam al-Hasan ( c a) that: “I saw my mother Fatimah 
( c a) standing in her mihrab on a Thursday night, and she continued 
praying, bowing and prostrating, until dawn. I heard her supplicating 
for the believing men and women, mentioning their names and 
earnestly praying for them, while not asking the Almighty for anything 
for herself. So I said, ‘0 mother, why don’t you pray for yourself like you 
pray for others?’ She replied, ‘My son, [think about] the neighbour first 
and then yourself.’” 57 ''"'" 

2) The Holy Prophet (s) said: “My daughter Fatimah is the Mistress of all 
Women of the Worlds, from first to last, and she is part of me. She is the 
light of my eyes and the apple of my heart. She is the soul that is inside 
me. She is a houri in human form. When she stands before her Lord (the 
Almighty) in her mihrab, her light shines for the angels in the heavens 
just as the light of the stars shine for the people on earth. Allah, the 
Almighty, says to His angels: ‘0 My angels look at My servant Fatimah, 
the mistress of all My female servants, standing in front of Me, 
trembling out of fear of Me. She has come to me with complete sincerity 
and I make you witnesses to My decree that her followers (shi c ah) will 
be safe from the fire [of Hell]...’” 67 ’'" 4 5 6 


4 Shawahid al-Tanzil, vol. 2, p. 268 

5 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 82 

6 Ibid. p. 172 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 


213 


3) In the book c Uddat al-Da c I of ibn Fahd al-Hilli, it is narrated that Fatimah 
used to [continuously] exert herself in prayer out of the fear of Allah.’'” 

4) Al-Hasan al-Basri narrates: “No one in this ummah used to worship 
[Allah] more than Fatimah. She used to stand [in worship] until her feet 
would get swollen.” 77 ’' 01 

5) It has been narrated from Imam Ja c far al-Sadiq ( c a): “Whoever prays 
four rak c ahs and recites Surah al-lkhlas fifty times in each rak c ah, then 
know that this was the prayer of Fatimah and it is the Prayer of the 
Penitents.” 8/ ’ , ° v 

6) It is also narrated from him ( c a) that: “My [grand]mother Fatimah used 
to recite a two rak c ah prayer that was taught to her by Jibradl ( c a) and 
after completing the salam, she would recite the tasbih 9 and then say: 

S ^ I bJ I dbkdl I ^ O l LfJ I Jd ! S 0 

Syj J dbl b-LLbll 

^ jr" bkdLi liddi ^ JdUl ffi iSJi dr" jkblb jlsjJlJ 

.o jlp liSd I bird dr« jkdlb 


Glory be to the Possessor of sublime and lofty might. Glory be to the Possessor 
of great and exalted magnificence. Glory be to the Possessor of the exquisite 
pre-eternal kingdom. Glory be to the One who is covered in splendour and 
beauty. Glory be to the One who dons the cloak of light and reverence. Glory be 


1 Mahmud ibn c Umar al-Zamakhshari (d. 538 A.H.), Rabi c al-Abrar wa Nusus al-Akhyar, vol. 2, p. 274 

8 Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 564 

9 i.e. the Tasbih of al-Zahra 5 ( c a) 


214 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


to the One who sees the footsteps of an ant on the rock. Glory be to the One who 
sees the displacement of air as a bird flies in the sky. Glory be to the One who 
is thus and no one else is thus save Him. 10 


7) It is narrated that the Prophet (s) [once] told Amir al-MiPmimn and his 
daughter Fatimah ( c a), “I want to share something special with both of 
you that Allah, the Almighty, taught me and informed me about, so 
preserve it [and act upon it].” They said, “Yes, 0 Messenger of Allah, 
what is it?” He replied, “Pray two rak c ahs and in each rak c ah, recite 
Fatihat al-Kitab followed by Ay at al-KursI thrice, Surah al-lkhlas thrice, 
and the last verses of Surah al-Hashr (from verse no. 21) thrice. Then 
sit, recite the tashahhud [and salam ], praise Allah the Almighty, send 
salutations and blessings on the Prophet and then pray for the 
believing men and women. After this, recite the following supplication: 


C-pS ill elpdll aJ d±Jlp GUl ja pJil *JST diU! J\ 1 

La cfJ-Ap ^ L*» i J 

.UTj Ids' ^ 


0 Allah , I ask You by all of Your [beautiful] names through which You respond 
to supplications when You are called by them, and I beseech You by all those 
who have a right upon You, and I beg You by the right You have over all those 
who are under You, please grant me.... (such-and-such). 11 


8) From Imam Ja c far al-Sadiq ( c a): “When something terrifying happens 
perform two rak c ahs the way al-Zahra 3 ( c a) used to pray. Recite al-Hamd 
followed by al-lkhlas fifty times in the both rak c ahs. After you have 


10 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 98, p. 185 

11 Ibid., vol. 89, p. 365 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 


finished the salam, send salutations upon the Prophet (s) and then raise 
your hands and say: 

iii> #sr pj6 i djdi j idi ^ u j Ji jlu 

jl ^Jj^l ^31 oUldl ^ul>JI i - he £Su1p 3Ji>- ^y> Jp«jj 

Aj <jl ^^ddl 4»dp C~>ja\ ^dJi ^ . U»ll dh>-^L l^j ^pjI 

« jjll^jl jp U*}L ij hjj jllll d-Jl9 ^dJl |> .h*Jl lLU-^Lj £dL>-l3 J°h'l 

4jh>-l ^Llj dl 1 ^ ^h>c-\ j ijuiP Lfddl lLI‘U— I C-od^9 

dial C-~>l L«j j AlLh [#>*>tj\j 

^iddl £ljA*di!j till* (_g I j iJidl ( pjlj iJidl jijJlj 

„ , ,S *i t , | , = j '„s 

fillip jlj lLUJUjIj t jL . j diJ j^ilj dll i*L>-lj 3Jj Jj 

^Jlp ddiiyU dJiijj dhhJi Jlp i^Jjlt ji iijd ddfuij 

Ujj 1 Ijc-NI <jJU_Ju| 1^9 jl9 La j>- I jl IgJ jl ^ .hid I jljlj oljjdl 

(jl j 4^1 j JlP jl i-l!L*lj dilJj dUjU-^l 1^3 

OIjjI ^5j3j j 4^3 IXJ j lijjio ^2>-j3 ^J^>c7j 4 ] I j wL*J>ti 

^*A< frll2p|^ jjij 4 I 1 LII ^3 

Jl „ o t „ 0^0 — o 0 ^ 4 5: 

4^?l^a>Jl ^JLjj jJLflJl ^kL* wUi3 \j>: jIj toll5l ^3 ^^3 

C. Q->- J 4l^k«Jl fillip j 4jjJl> C-w^Jj J i>-lj>Jl l5 ^jUJ| j 

.4jIs>-^/I 4^3 UiUjI Owlp j sUjIl j 4lJg.>gjl ^ 

4»^>-l^j| jlijlJ i^LxJl Liiiwjo U *x!L>zJ ^s> 

^ C-i^3! lij ^!l 4^olj]l ^3 


216 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


i <dlP I jfJL# 4Ij ^ I L>- 4Zj Jjb (JL/? 

j li h ^ jwtpJ £S jwip frUd iiLol 

j c- 'iP j* 'd ^j-^j ji ca^j }a ^ 'd 

£ o_^ ^ o £ o Q O s' i o 

4j ^CdlJ ^ getJ* \j *U-a^l 31^1 j tUll Jlp ^3^! 

ia iHJIj dJJlal j 4j 0 j&Jo v -J ll^ JT i>-ls>- g') 

^5>cji^^- ^J S^s<2J2j ^lp > LfJjL^jl wL^>t^ J ! ^ (^>cJ J 

lal pj 4ai?lij Ulpj 1 ai>sJ j 

t a LiiilS'^j^ ^ ^ • l c- lalil^ia* lalp^ IoLp^ 

Jj^jj ai~>! *i/l ill ^ jpu C^ 5 *" *b/_5 ^j9 jt^jusaJj aJlJl I y^jiLcs 

.»j j5” b loS^ las' ^ ( JAs aX>ui Jlj 


0 Allah, I turn to You through them and I ask You by their great right, the 
gravity of which is not known to anyone other than You; and by the right of the 
one whose right is great in Your sight. And by Your beautiful names and perfect 
words, which You have commanded me to call you by. I ask you by Your great 
name - the name You commanded Ibrahim ( c a) to call the birds with and they 
responded [coming back to life]. And by Your great name by which you 
commanded the fire: ‘Be cool and safe for Ibrahim, ’ and it turned so. And by the 
most beloved of Your names to You and the most honoured of them in Your 
sight and the greatest of them; the name through which the quickest answer 
can be attained and through which most supplications are answered, and of 
which You are most worthy and deserving. 

1 beseech You, I seek You, I beg You, I ask Your forgiveness, I request Your 
favour, I turn entreatingly to You, I humble myselfbefore You, I submit myself 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 


217 


to You, I acknowledge my misdeed to You, I curry favour with You and keep 
pressing [ for Your mercy]; and I ask You by the Scriptures that You have 
revealed to Your Prophets and Messengers, salutations and blessings upon 
them all, the Torah, the Bible and the Glorious Qur’an - from the beginning to 
the end. For indeed, in these books is Your greatest name, and Your [other] 
beautiful and lofty names. I seek Your proximity and ask You to bless 
Muhammad and his progeny, and to bring relief to Muhammad and his 
progeny, and let my relief be linked to their relief, starting with them [and then 
extending to me]. And [I ask that] You open the doors of the heavens for my 
supplication on this day, and that You permit, on this day and this night, my 
relief and the granting of my wishes and hopes, both worldly and otherworldly, 
for indeed poverty has approached me, hardship has come upon me, adversity 
has covered me and neediness has compelled me. I have been marked by 
abjectness and overcome by penury. The judgment has passed against me and 
I have been surrounded by sin; and this is the time when You have promised 
your close friends that You will respond to them. 

Send Your blessings on Muhammad and his progeny, and touch me with Your 
healing hand, look at me with Your merciful eye, cover me with Your vast 
mercy, turn to me with the face that You turn to the prisoner when You free 
him, and the misguided one when You guide him, the perplexed one when You 
steer him aright, the poor one when You enrich him, the weak one when You 
strengthen him, and the fearful one when You make him secure; and do not 
leave me alone to face Your enemy and my enemy, 0 Lord of Majesty and 
Bounty. 

0 One about whom none knows how He is, where He is or how powerful He is, 
except Him. 0 He who has barricaded the air by means of the sky and has placed 
the earth on water, and has selected for Himself the best of names. 0 He who 
has named Himself with the name through which the needs of all seekers who 


218 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


call [Him] by it are fulfilled. I ask You through that name, for there is no 
intercessor stronger for me than it. And by the right of Muhammad and the 
family of Muhammad, [I ask] that you bless Muhammad and the family of 
Muhammad, and that you fulfil my needs, and that you make Muhammad, c Ali, 
Fatimah, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, c Ali, Muhammad, Jafar, Musa, c Ali, 
Muhammad, c Ali, al-Hasan and al-HuJjah - peace and blessings of Allah, and 
His mercy 12 be upon them all - hear my words, so that they may intercede with 
You on my behalf; and [I ask] that you accept their intercession on my behalf 
and do not turn me away disappointed. By the truth that there is no God but 
You and by the right of Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad, bless 
Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and do for me... (such-and-such) 13 

1 4 

0 Most Generous One. 

9 ) Al-Sayyid ibn Tawus al-Hilll narrates from Safwan that Muhammad ibn 
c All al-Halabl came to Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) on a Friday and said, “Will you 
teach me the best deed that I can perform on a day such as this?” Fie 
( c a) replied, “0 Muhammad, I do not know anyone who was held in 
higher esteem in the Prophet’s eyes than Fatimah, and nobody greater 
than her father, Muhammad ibn c Abdillah (s), ever taught her. He (s) 
said: ‘Whoever wakes up on Friday and takes a bath, then lines up his 
feet and performs four rak c ahs in sets of two, reciting in the first rak c ah 
al-Hamd and fifty times al-lkhlas, in the second rak c ah Fatihat al-Kitab 
and fifty times Wal c Adiyat, in the third rak c ah Fatihat al-Kitab and fifty 
times al-Zilzal, and in the fourth rak c ah Fatihat al-Kitab followed by al- 
Nasr (which was the last Surah to be revealed) fifty times - and after 


12 And in another version: ‘Your peace, blessings and mercy be upon them...’ 

13 Here one may ask for their wishes and needs from Allah. 

14 Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tawus (d. 460 A.H.), Misbah al-Mutahajjid wa Salah al-Muta c abbid, pp. 


302-304 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and Worship 


219 


completing the prayer he supplicates thus [will have his supplication 
answered and his needs fulfilled]: 

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AJJi dJlfu S U^JL aljill blj tluillL Sljill ^ufu dilj eyildl 

^ ^ df*i ^ ^ Cs^- 5 J df* 7 j' <lnLr?^' 


.LJip b Ljtp b l^p b l^p b l^p 


0 My Lord and Master, whoever prepares, mobilizes and readies or gets ready 
to entertain a creature [ from Your creation] out of hope of some gain or benefit, 
or a gift or grant that he may get from him [then he is a loser]. As for me, I turn 
only to You and prepare and get ready only hoping for Your assistance, Your 
bounty, Your grant and Your reward, so do not deprive me of that, 0 He from 
whom no seeker returns disappointed and whose treasure does not diminish by 
granting favours. I have neither come to You through the good deeds that I have 
done, nor with the hope of any creature’s intercession. I approach you only with 
the intercession of Muhammad and his household, Your blessings be upon them 
all. I seek Your great pardon, with which You pardoned those wrongdoers who 
were engaged in sinning, and the length of their sin did not prevent You from 
granting them forgiveness. You, my Master, are indeed oft-returning with 


220 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


bounties, yet I am oft-returning to my sinful ways. I ask by Muhammad and his 
pure progeny, that You forgive my grave sin, for indeed none forgives grave 
sins except He who is great. 0 Great One, 0 Great One, 0 Great One, 0 Great One, 
0 Great One, 0 Great One, 0 Great One. 15 

The traditions about the worship of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) are 
numerous, especially [about] the supplications that she would recite when 
whispering to her Lord. I do not see the need for mentioning anything more 
about her worship and her great fondness and love for prayer, as well as her 
continuous desire to supplicate privately to Allah, the Most High. She was, after 
all, the daughter of the foremost among worshippers and the one who would 
stand in worship for so long that Allah had to reveal the verses: Taha; We have 
not revealed the Qur’an [so] that you should be in distress. (Q20:l-2) 

She is the one who understood the true meaning and value of worship, to the 
extent of her cognizance of the greatness of Allah, the Most High. So it is not 
surprising that al-Sayyidah Fatimah used to enjoy worship and took pleasure in 
standing in front of Allah, the Almighty, as she humbled herself before her Lord. 
It was as if she never tired of standing, bowing and prostrating. 


The Tasbih of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 

It has been narrated from Imam c Al! ( c a) that he once said to a man from the 
Banl Sa c d, “Should I not tell you about myself and Fatimah? She was with me 
yet she was the most beloved of his family to him. 16 She used to carry the heavy 
water-skin so much that it left a mark on her chest, and she used to grind the 


15 Ibid. p. 319; 'All ibn Musa ibn Tawus (d. 664 A.H .), Jamal al-Usbu c bi Kamal al- c Amal al-Mashru c , pp. 
132-133 

16 Meaning; the most beloved of the Prophet’s (s) family to him. 



The Tasbih of Fatimah al-Zahra : 


221 


millstone so much that her hands became blistered. She would sweep and clean 
the house until her clothes were covered in dust. She would light the fire under 
the cooking pot until her clothes were covered with soot. All this caused her 
grave injury, so I said to her, ‘Why don’t you go to your father and ask him for 
a servant who could help relieve you from the hardships you are undergoing 
because of this work.’ So she went to the Prophet (s) but found him surrounded 
by people, hence she felt shy and left.” 

He ( c a) continued, “The Prophet (s) learnt that Fatimah had come to see him, so 
he came to us while we were resting. He said, ‘Peace be with you’ 17 but we 
remained silent out of embarrassment because of the situation we were in. He 
repeated the greeting but we remained silent. When he repeated it the third 
time, we were afraid that if we did not reply, he would leave, as this was his 
practice. He would say salam thrice and if he was permitted to enter he would 
do so, otherwise he would leave. So I said, ‘And with you be peace 0 Messenger 
of Allah. Please come in.’ He came in and sat near us. Then he said to Fatimah, 
‘0 Fatimah, what did you want from me yesterday?”’ 

Imam c All ( c a) continued, “I was afraid that if she did not reply he would stand 
up to leave, so I turned to him and said, ‘By Allah, I will inform you of it 0 
Messenger of Allah! She has carried the heavy water-skin until it left a mark on 
her chest and has ground the hand-mill until her hands have become blistered. 
She has cleaned the house until her clothes have become dusty and has lit fires 
under the cooking pot until her clothes blackened. So I said to her, ‘Why don’t 
you go to your father and ask him for a servant who would help you with these 
difficult chores.’ 

The Prophet (s) replied, ‘Should I not instead teach you something that would 
be better for both of you than a servant? Before you go to sleep at night, recite 


17 It is not obligatory to reply the salam if it is said in order to seek permission to enter. 


222 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Subhanallah thirty-three times, al-Hamdu lillah thirty-three times and Allahu 
Akbar thirty-four times.’ I turned to the Prophet and said, ‘We are pleased with 
Allah and His Prophet, we are pleased with Allah and His Prophet, we are 
pleased with Allah and His Prophet.”’ 18/,, ° A 

It is narrated that Imam c Ali ( c a) said, “Some of the foreign kings had sent slaves 
as gifts, so I said to Fatimah, ‘Go to the Prophet of Allah (s) and ask him for a 
servant.’ So she went and asked him for this... The Prophet (s) said to her, ‘0 
Fatimah, I will give you something that is better for you than a servant and 
[better than] this world and all that it contains. After every prayer, recite the 
takblr thirty-four times, the tahmld thirty-three times and the tasblh thirty 
three-times, and then end with the tahlll. This is better for you than what you 
wanted and it is better than the world and all it contains.’ Thus she ( c a) would 
constantly recite this tasbih after every prayer such that it was ascribed to her 
and called: ‘The tasblh of Fatimah.’” 19/ ’'° , 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) is reported to have said [to one of his companions], “0 Aba 
Harun, verily we instruct our children to recite the tasblh of Fatimah ( c a) in the 
same way we instruct them to pray; so recite it at all times, for indeed nobody 
who has kept reciting it has ever become wretched.” 207 ”' 

It is mentioned in the book Makarim al-Akhlaq that Fatimah, the daughter of the 
Prophet of Allah (s), had a rosary ( subhah ) made of twisted wool with knots 
numbering the sum of glorifications ( takblrat ) that she would recite while 
turning it with her hand. However, when Hamzah ibn c Abd al-Muttalib (may 
Allah be pleased with him) was martyred, she used the earth from his grave to 
make a rosary, and other people emulated her. When al-Husayn ( c a) was killed, 


18 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 82 

19 Ibid. 

20 Ibid., vol. 82, p. 328 



The Tasbih of Fatimah al-Zahra : 


223 


the matter was transferred to him, so they used the earth of his grave because 
of its excellence and merit . 21 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) is reported to have said: “The rosary is made of blue thread 
and thirty-four beads. This was the rosary of our mistress Fatimah ( c a). When 
Hamzah was killed, she made a rosary out of earth from his grave and would 
use it to recite the tasbih after every prayer. ” n ' 

Imam al-Baqir ( c a) said: “Allah is not worshipped with any glorification better 
than the tasbih of Fatimah. if there was anything better than it, the Prophet 
would have surely gifted it to Fatimah.” 22/ ’ , '” , 

It has also been narrated that Imam Abu c Abdillah al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “Whoever 
glorifies Allah with the tasbih of Fatimah has indeed remembered Allah with 
much remembrance .” 23/nr 

Aside from this, there are various other narrations about the excellence of the 
tasbih of Fatimah ( c a). In some of these narrations, we are told that first the 
takblr, then the tahmld and then the tasbih is to be recited, and this is the 
stronger opinion that is accepted by the majority. Shaykh al-Majlis! has 
mentioned the views of the jurists and their opinions about the order of the 
recitation in detail . 24 

It has become clear to us through these traditions that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 ( c a), despite her lofty status, great prestige and honourable lineage, used 
to do housework and would manage the household affairs herself. At times, c Al! 
( c a) used to help and assist her, and it is narrated that Imam c All ( c a) said: “One 


21 al-Hasan ibn al-Fadl al-TabarsI (d. 548 A.H.), Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 281 

22 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 64 

23 Ibid, and in Tafsir Majma c al-Bayan under the commentary of Q33:41 

24 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 85, p. 339 



224 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


day, when the Prophet (s) came to visit us, Fatimah was sitting at the stove and 
I was busy cleaning the lentils. He (s) said, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan!’ I replied, ‘Yes, 0 
Messenger of Allah.’ He said, ‘Listen to me, for I speak only by the command of 
my Lord: There is no man who helps his wife in her household chores but that 
he is rewarded, for every hair on his body, the worship of an entire year, fasting 
in the day and worshipping in the night.. .”’ 25/nt 


25 Ibid., vol. 101, p. 132; Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Shu c ayri (d. 6 th Century A.H ,),Jami c al- 
Akhbar, p. 102 


CHAPTER THIRTEEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Knowledge 

It has been established, from all the traditions that we have mentioned, that al- 
Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was the closest human being to the Messenger of Allah 
(s) and her connection and link to the Prophet was like the connection of a part 
to the whole. Thus the love, affection, care and fondness between them reached 
the highest level. It is not surprising, therefore, for the Prophet (s) to teach his 
daughter the best acts of worship, show her how to adopt the best etiquette, 
and bestow upon her the loftiest and most valuable of instructions. 

Al-Zahra 3 ( c a) received this heavenly knowledge from that pure, fresh spring 
and imbibed the exquisite nectar of truth from the receptacle of divine 
revelation, hence her attentive and observant heart was filled with all types of 
wisdom. Her bright mind and her perceptive intellect helped her understand 
the meanings of these teachings, and preserve them in the best way and the 
most perfect form. 

She had heard many of her father’s teachings and had learnt a large part of the 
Islamic laws, supplications, ethical principles and wisdoms from him. All this 
was in addition to what Allah had inspired her with of knowledge and wisdom. 
We have already mentioned some of the details about this when we discussed 
her name ‘al-Muhaddathah’. 



226 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Jabir ibn c Abdillah narrates that the Prophet (s) said: “Verily Allah has made 
c All, his wife and his children the Proofs of Allah over His creation, and they are 
the doors of knowledge for my ummah, so whoever follows them will be guided 
to the right path.” 1/n ° 

It is indeed truly unfortunate that only very little has been narrated from her, 
because of her situation, and we will discuss this shortly, if al-Zahra 3 ( c a) lived 
longer than she did and had a greater opportunity, the world would have been 
filled with knowledge, understanding and wisdom. This is not just a hollow 
claim, it is a reality and there is no doubt in it. We see that al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 
got only two opportunities to speak in her life: first, when she gave a sermon in 
the Masjid of her father the Holy Prophet (s) and second, when she spoke to the 
women who had gathered at her house after they came to visit her during her 
illness. 

We will shortly see the level of her knowledge and the greatness of her 
understanding as well as her ability to articulate, present and explicate. But 
alas, she lived a short life. We have mentioned the date of her birth, and we see 
that she died before reaching the age of twenty! So what would have happened 
if al-Zahra 3 had lived until she was fifty or sixty, and had more opportunity to 
speak? She would most surely have left a great intellectual treasure for the 
Muslim ummah as well as knowledge of different arts and sciences! 

Let us look now at some of the sacred traditions that have been narrated from 
her: 


l) From the Tafsir attributed to Imam al- c Askar! ( c a): A lady came to al- 
Siddlqah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and said, “I have a frail old mother and 
she is confused about something related to her prayers. She has sent 


Shawahid al-Tanzil, vol. 1, p. 76 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Knowledge 


227 


me to ask you...” So Fatimah ( c a) answered her query. Then she asked 
another question, and al-Zahra 3 answered that too. Then she asked a 
third and a fourth etc. until she had asked ten questions. All of them 
were answered by al-Sayyidah Fatimah. The lady was ashamed for 
asking too many questions and said, “I do not wish to disturb you, 0 
daughter of the Messenger of Allah.” 

Fatimah ( c a) replied, “Come and ask me as many questions as you like. 
Do you think that a person who has been hired for a day to climb a 
mountain with a heavy load, and his wage [for this] is one hundred 
thousand dinars, would consider it a burden?” She said, “No.” al-Zahra 3 
( c a) said, “I have been promised a reward, for each question [I answer], 
of more than the number of pearls that can fill the space between the 
heavens and earth, so I have a greater reason not to consider it a 
burden. I have [also] heard my father (s) saying: ‘Verily when the 
scholars among our followers are resurrected, they will be granted 
attires of honour in accordance with the extent of their knowledge and 
their effort to guide the servants of Allah; and any one of them can 
receive up to a million garments of light. 

Then a caller will call out: “0 those who cared for the orphans of 
Muhammad (s), and supported them when they were separated from 
their [spiritual] fathers, who were their Imams, these are your students 
and the orphans whom you nurtured and supported. So place upon 
them the attires of knowledge as you imparted it to them in the world.” 
Thus each one of those orphans will be granted attires to the extent of 
knowledge they learnt from them. Until they - i.e. the orphans - will 
be granted up to a hundred thousand robes of honour, and these 
orphans will similarly grant these attires to those whom they taught. 


228 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Then Allah, the Most High, will say: “Return [the robes] to the scholars 
who took care of the orphans until you have given them all their attires, 
and give them even more, so that they may gain their full reward and 
can pass on the robes of honour to those who preceded them and they 
too should pass them on to those [of their teachers] who preceded 
them.’” 

Then Fatimah ( c a) continued, “0 maidservant of Allah, one thread of 
that robe of honour is a million times greater than all upon which the 
sun shines!” 2/m 

2) In Da c awat al-Rawandi, Suwayd ibn Ghafalah reports: c Ali ( c a) was struck 
by some hardship, so Fatimah ( c a) came to the Messenger of Allah (s) 
and knocked on his door. He said, “I sense the presence of my beloved 
at the door. 0 Umm Ayman, go and see!” So she opened the door and 
Fatimah entered. The Prophet (s) said to her, “You have never come to 
us at such an hour before.” She said, “0 Prophet of Allah, what food do 
the Angels have with their Lord?” He replied, “Glorification.” She said, 
“And what is our food?” The Messenger of Allah (s) said, “By the One in 
whose Hand is my soul, the fire of the stove has not been lit in the 
houses of the family of Muhammad for a month. I will [instead] teach 
you five phrases that JibraTl ( c a) has taught me.” She said, “0 Prophet 
of Allah, what are the five phrases?” He (s) said [they are]: 


2 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p. 3 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 4 ( c a) and Knowledge 


229 


0 Lord of the first and the last, 0 Best of the first and last, 0 Possessor of 
enduring might, 0 He who shows compassion to the needy, 0 Most Merciful. 

Fatimah ( c a) returned home, and when c All ( c a) saw her, he said, “May 
my parents be your ransom. What news do you bring 0 Fatimah?” She 
replied, “I went for this world and brought back the Hereafter!” c All 
said, “You bring good, you bring good.” nv 

3) In al-Kafi it has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) that Fatimah 
came and complained to the Prophet (s) about some matters, so the 
Prophet (s) gave her a piece from the trunk of a palm tree and said, 
“Learn what is inscribed on it.” The inscription read: ‘Whoever believes 
in Allah and the Final Day should not disturb his neighbour. Whoever 
believes in Allah and the Final Day should honour his guest. Whoever 
believes in Allah and the Final Day should either speak that which is 
good or remain silent.’ 3/nA 

4) Fatimah ( c a) has said: “Whoever sends up his sincere worship to Allah, 
Allah sends down to him that which is in his best interest.” 4/m 

5) Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) said: “I heard my father, the Messenger of Allah 
(s), when he was on his death bed and all the companions had gathered 
around him, say: ‘0 people! I am soon to leave this world and I wish to 
tell you something in order to discharge my duty towards you. Know 
that I leave behind with you two [weighty] things: the Book of my Lord, 
the Almighty, and my progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt.’ Then he took c All by 
the hand and said, ‘Here! c All is with the Quhan and the Quhan is with 


3 al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 667 

4 Bihar al- Anwar, vol. 71, p. 184 


230 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


c Ali, they will not separate until they meet me at the pond [of Kawthar] 
so I ask you to follow them both after I die.”” ,v ' 

Al-Qanduzl al-Hanafl said that this tradition has been narrated by thirty 
companions, and most of its chains are authentic and good. 5 6 * 8 

6) She ( c a) said: The Holy Prophet (s) has said: “Whoever wears a carnelian 
( c aqlq) ring will continue seeing goodness for as long as he wears it.” 6/TV ' 

7) Fatimah bint Rasulillah said: “What good is there in fasting for the one 
who fasts if he does not restrain his tongue, his ears, his eyes and his 
limbs [from that which is forbidden]?” 7/ ' ,v ’' 

8) Zayd ibn c Ali al-Shahid narrated from his father c Ali ibn al-Husayn who 
narrated from his father ( c a), who narrated from Fatimah, daughter of 
the Prophet (s), who said: “I heard the Holy Prophet (s) say: ‘Verily on 
Fridays there is a specific time when no believer asks Allah, the 
Almighty, for anything but that He bestows it to him.’” She said: “I 
asked, ‘0 Prophet of Allah, what time is that?’ He replied, ‘When half of 
the sun’s sphere has set in the west [before dusk].” mr 

He (Zayd) continued: “Fatimah ( c a) used to tell her servant to climb on 
the roof and inform her when she saw that half of the sun’s sphere had 
set in the west, so that she could supplicate [to Allah at that 
moment]. ” 8/,vt 


5 Yanabi c al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 96 

6 Amali al-Tusi, p. 311 

1 Mustadrak al-Wasa% vol. 7, p. 366 

8 Dala’il al-Imamah, p. 71, and with a slight difference in Ma c ani al-Akhbar, p. 400 


The Tradition of the Tablet (Hadith al-Lawh) 


231 


9) Hasan ibn Hasan has narrated from his mother Fatimah bint al-Husayn 
who narrated that Fatimah al-Kubra bint Rasulillah (s) said: “The 
Prophet of Allah said: ‘One who sleeps with the foul smell of pinguid 
meat on his hand should blame none but himself.’” 9/ ’ ,v ° 

10) It has been narrated from c Abdullah ibn al-Hasan, from his father, from 
Fatimah al-Kubra ( c a), who said: “The Messenger of Allah (s) said, 
‘Whenever two cruel soldiers meet in battle, Allah abandons them and 
does not care which one of them is victorious, and whenever two unjust 
soldiers fight, disaster strikes the one who is more oppressive of the 
two.’” 10/,vi 

11) Fatimah bint al-Husayn narrates that Fatimah al-Kubra ( c a) said: “The 
Prophet of Allah (s) said: ‘All the children of Adam affiliate themselves 
with their c asabah, except the children of Fatimah, for indeed I am their 
c asabah.’” 11/,vv 

Note: c Asabah is the plural of c asib, just as talabah is the plural of talib, 
and a person’s c asabah are his children and his paternal relatives, 
because they are the people who surround him. 


The Tradition of the Tablet (Hadith al-Lawh) 

12) In al-Kafi, Abu Baslr narrates that Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “My father 
said to Jabir ibn c Abdillah al-Ansarl, ‘I need to ask you something; when 
do you have time so that I can meet you privately?’ Jabir replied, 


9 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 1, p. 554 

10 Ibid., p. 553 

11 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 228 


232 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


‘Whenever you like.’ So one day they met and he said, ‘0 Jabir, tell me 
about the tablet that you saw in my mother Fatimah bint Rasulillah’s 
hand and what my mother told you about what was inscribed therein.’ 
Jabir said, ‘Allah is my witness that I went to your mother Fatimah ( c a) 
during the lifetime of the Prophet of Allah (s) and congratulated her on 
the birth of al-Husayn. I saw a green tablet in her hand - 1 think it was 
made of emerald - and it had some inscriptions on it that were as bright 
as the sun. 

I said to her, “May my parents be your ransom 0 daughter of the 
Prophet of Allah, what is this tablet?” She replied, “This is the tablet 
that Allah gifted to FTis Prophet (s). It contains the names of my father, 
my husband, my two sons and all the successors from my progeny. My 
father gave it to me in order to offer me glad tidings through it.’” Jabir 
said, ‘Then your mother Fatimah ( c a) gave it to me. I read it and copied 
it down.’ My father (imam al-Baqir) asked, ‘Do you have it with you 0 
Jabir, and can you show it to me?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ So my father 
accompanied him to his house and Jabir brought out a sheet of leather. 
My father said, ‘0 Jabir, look at what you have written and I will recite 
it for you.’ So Jabir looked at his writing and my father recited it 
[without looking at it], and not even one letter was different from what 
he said. Whereupon Jabir said, ‘I bear witness, by Allah, that I saw the 
following written on the tablet: 

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful 

This is a message from Allah, the Powerful, the Wise, to Muhammad His 
Prophet, His light, His emissary, His veil and His guide, which the Trusted Spirit 
has descended with from the Lord of the Universe: 


The Tradition of the Tablet (Hadith al-Lawh) 


233 


Glorify - 0 Muhammad - My names, and be grateful for My blessings and do 
not deny My bounties. Verily I am Allah, there is no god but Me, Destroyer of 
the tyrants, Aider of the oppressed and Master of the Day of Judgment. 

Verily I am Allah, there is no god but Me, so whoever hopes for other than My 
kindness or fears anything other than My justice, I will indeed punish him with 
a punishment the like of which I have never used to punished anyone else in all 
My creation. So worship only Me and put your trust only in Me. I have never 
sent a Prophet whose days come to an end and whose time finishes but that I 
assign a successor for him, and I have preferred you over all the prophets and 
your successor over all the successors. And I have honoured you with your two 
grandsons, Hasan and Husayn. 

I have made Hasan the keeper of My knowledge after his father’s time comes to 
an end. I have made Husayn the custodian of My revelation and have honoured 
him with martyrdom, giving him a felicitous end- for he is the greatest among 
those who lay down their lives and the highest of the martyrs in rank. I have 
placed My perfect word and My conclusive argument with him. Through his 
progeny, will I reward and punish. The first among them is c Ali, the Master of 
the Worshippers (Sayyid al- c Abidm) and the Adornment of the Bygone Friends 
of Allah (Zayn Awliya 1 al-Madln). 

Then his son, who resembles his grandfather, the Praised one (al-Mahmud), 
Muhammad, the splitter of My knowledge (al-Baqir c llmi) and the repository of 
My wisdom (al-Ma c din li Hikmati). 

Those who doubt will be destroyed in [the case of his son] Jafar. The one who 
refuses him is like the one who refuses Me. This is a true promise from Me: I will 
certainly grant Jafar an honourable abode [in the Hereafter] and I will ask him 
about his followers, helpers and friends. 


234 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


After him I have selected Musa , [to illuminate the path for My servants] in the 
face of the blindingly dark trial, because the chain of My command does not get 
severed and My manifest proof is not hidden, and indeed My close friends will 
be given drink from the full cup. 

Whoever denies any one of them has denied My blessing, and whoever changes 
a verse from the Book has ascribed lies to Me; and woe be to the liars and 
denier s! 

When the time of Musa ends, My servitude and love will be seen in My chosen 
servant c All He is My friend and helper, and the one upon whose shoulders I 
will place the charge of the Prophets, with which I will test him. He will be 
assassinated by an arrogant fiend and buried in the city that was built by al- 
c Abd al-Salih (i.e. the city ofTus), next to the worst of my creatures. 

This is a true promise from Me: I shall give him the joy of a son, Muhammad, 
who will be his successor after him and the heir of his knowledge. He is the 
repository of My knowledge, the holder of My secret and My proof over the 
people. No servant shall believe in him but that I make Paradise his recompense 
and give him permission to intercede for seventy members of his family, all of 
whom would be deserving of the fire of Hell. 

I will make felicitous his son c Ali, My friend and helper, My witness over the 
people and the custodian of My revelation. From him will I bring out the caller 
to My path and the keeper of My knowledge, al-Hasan. 

And I will complete that with his son “mim, ha, mim, dal ”, 12 the mercy for 
mankind. He shall have the perfection of Musa, the splendour of c lsa and the 
patience of Ayyub. During his time [of occultation], my friends will be 
humiliated and their heads will be exchanged as gifts, just as the heads ofal- 


12 ‘Muhammad’ written in disjointed letters. (Tr.) 



The Tradition of the Tablet (Hadith al-Lawh) 


235 


Turk and al-Daylam 13 were exchanged as gifts [among their enemies], and they 
will be killed and burnt. They will be frightened, scared and terrified. Their 
blood will flow on the earth and their women will wail and scream. 

These are My true friends (awliya 3 ). Through them will I remove every strife of 
blinding darkness. Through them I will stop the quakes and remove the 
shackles and fetters. They are the recipients of the blessings of their Lord and 
His mercy, and it is they who are the rightly guided. 

c Abd al-Rahman ibn Salim says: Abu Baslr said: “if you don’t hear any 
other tradition in your life but this one, it is sufficient for you. So 
protect it from all but those who are worthy of it.” 14/,VA 

After learning about the knowledge of al-Zahra 3 and how close she was to the 
Prophet (s), let us see what al- c Aqqad has said and then you can either laugh or 
cry: 

In his book Fatimah wal-Fatimiyyun, al- c Aqqad has mentioned a weak tradition, 
deeming it as good and reliable himself, as though he finds it pleasing. Part of 
it contains the following preposterous statement: 

The sense of religiosity in the heiress of Muhammad and Khadljah was 
such that she was extreme in her beliefs about religious ordinances. So 
much so that she thought that if she ate cooked food, it would become 
obligatory to perform ablution ( wudu } ). This is evident from the 
tradition of Hasan ibn al-Hasan, from Fatimah who said: “The 
Messenger of Allah (s) came to visit me and ate some meat. At that 
moment, Bilal recited the call to prayer ( adhan ) so he stood up to pray. 


13 These were two tribes among the polytheists of the past whose enemies treated them 
ruthlessly. (Tr.) 

14 al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 527 



236 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


I held his robe and said: ‘0 father, do you not perform the ablution?’ He 
asked: ‘For what reason should I perform ablution my daughter?’ I said: 
‘Because of that [food] which has touched fire.’ So he said: ‘Is not the 
best of your food that which has touched fire?”’ 

This shows that when she was ignorant about something, she would 
espouse the stricter view rather than the more tolerant one, and she 
preferred putting herself in hardship rather than being more lenient 
with herself. 15 

I do not know how such a lie was fabricated. A lie that was contrived by the 
hand of vain desire and spoken on the tongues of liars and falsifiers! I do not 
even seek a reference for this fable from al- c Aqqad, for the so-called tradition 
has evident signs of falsity, deception and fabrication, and one does not even 
need to look at its original source [to determine this]. 

I only wish to ask: From whom did al-Zahra 3 take her religious knowledge? And 
from whom did she learn the laws of Islam? Wasn’t her father, the Holy Prophet 
(s), the primary source of her education? And wasn’t her husband the Gate to 
the City of the Prophet’s knowledge? And before both of these was the Glorious 
Qur’an, part of which was revealed in her house! So where did this 
misconception [of hers] come from? From the Qur’an? From her father? From 
her husband? And how is it that the Mistress of all Women of the World was 
ignorant about this ruling despite it being something that is occurs frequently 
and affects people in their daily lives? 

Was it the case that al-Sayyidah Fatimah used to take her religious instructions 
from liars and fabricators such that she learnt this ruling from them? Was it for 
this reason that she held the robe of her father in order to prevent him from 


15 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad (d. 1384 A.H.), Fatimah al-Zahra’wal-Fatimiyyun, p. 58 


Fatimah al-Zahra 5 ( c a) and the Hijab 


237 


praying without ablution? I do not know, but maybe al- c Aqqad and those who 
fabricated this fable know! 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and the Hijab 

One of the teachings of Islam, which was observed by al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 
in the best manner possible, is the protection of a woman’s dignity and the 
preservation of her identity through the wearing of a veil and a covering. Al- 
Zahra 3 ( c a) knew - and this has been confirmed by [contemporary] sociological 
studies also - that millions of crimes, offences and scandals result from being 
dressed inappropriately, putting on make-up, lewdness and mixing with the 
opposite gender, all of which are referred to in our times as ‘freedom’ and 
‘progress’! 

If you do not believe this, then just peruse the newspapers and magazines that 
are published daily and weekly in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, so that 
you may come to know the number of victims who are sacrificed in the name 
of ‘civilization’, ‘progress’ and ‘freedom’! 

From the cases of rape to the crimes of abortion and infanticide, the instances 
of infidelity in marriage, the destruction of the family and splitting the 
household apart, and many other forms of corruption all result from the evil of 
indecency and its negative consequences. 

Let us recall that not even a small fraction of these offences were committed 
against the Muslim woman when she believed in veiling and in chastity and 
modesty! That was when she believed in the lawful ( halal ) and the forbidden 
(i haram )! That was when she did not allow any unrelated man to look upon her! 


238 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


How different it is when she puts her body, her head and her face on display for 
hundreds or thousands of strange men, of different faiths and persuasions, to 
see! When principles and values are lost, the Muslim woman falls to where she 
has fallen and that which is bound to happen to her, happens. 

Take a look at the following two traditions which show the amazement of the 
Prophet (s) at the words of his pure and chaste daughter, Fatimah al-Zahra 3 , 
about women, and his approval and appreciation of her views: 

1) Abu Nahm narrates from Anas ibn Malik, who said: “The Holy Prophet 
(s) asked, ‘What is the best thing for women?’ We did not know what to 
say, so c All went to Fatimah and informed her about this. She said, ‘Why 
do you not reply: “the best thing for them is that they should not look 
at [strange] men and should not be seen by them.’” So c All went to the 
Prophet and informed him of this. The Prophet said, ‘... it is true that 
she (Fatimah) is part of me.’” 16/m 

This has been narrated in another way as follows: 

c All ( c a) narrates that he asked Fatimah, “What is the best thing for 
women?” She replied, “That they should not look at men and should 
not be seen by them.” So when c All related this to the Prophet (s), he 
said, “Fatimah is part of me.”™' 

2) ibn al-Mughazill says in his Manaqib that Imam c Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn 
c All ( c a) narrated that Fatimah bint Rasulillah (s) was once asked for 
permission [to enter] by a blind man, so she veiled herself from him. 
The Prophet (s) asked her, “Why have you veiled yourself from him 
when he cannot see you?” She replied, “0 Prophet of Allah, if he cannot 


16 Hilyat al-Awliya\ vol. 2, p. 40 


Fatimah al-Zahra 5 ( c a) and the Hijab 


239 


see me, then I can see him and he can also smell my fragrance.” The 
Prophet (s) said, “I bear witness that you are part of me!’” 1 *' 


CHAPTER FOURTEEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 

There is no doubt that supplication plays a very important role in the life of 
every human being and influences his happiness, the fulfilment of his wishes 
and desires, and the realizations of his hopes and aspirations. This is especially 
true when all the doors are closed to an individual, and all the material means 
at his disposal are of no avail; it is then that a person turns to supplication and 
whispers to the Mighty Lord who has power over all things - just as Allah says: 
Call unto Me, I will answer you. (Q40:60) 

In fact, supplication is not limited only to times of need. It should be part of 
one’s daily routine because it strengthens the ties of a servant with his Lord and 
gives him spiritual purity, illuminating his heart. Through it, he can reach the 
heights of human perfection. 

It is for this reason that the close friends of Allah, the Glorified, always 
supplicate to Him and take pleasure in supplication, making it an integral part 
of their lives. Many supplications have been narrated from al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 ( c a), as she regularly used to supplicate to her Lord with these 
invocations. In the following pages, we will mention a few examples of these 
supplications in order to derive benefit therefrom: 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


l) One of the supplications that she was taught by the Prophet of Allah 
(s) was: 


Abu al-Mufaddal Muhammad ibn c Abdillah ibn c Abd al-Muttalib al- 
Shaybanl has recorded in the third volume of his Amdll, narrating from 
al-Hasan ibn c All ( c a), from his mother Fatimah bint Rasulillah (s), that 
the Prophet said to her: “0 my daughter, should I not teach you a 
supplication that none recites but that he is answered, and by which no 
magic or poison can affect you, no enemy can harm you, Satan cannot 
come to you, and through which the Most Merciful Lord will never turn 
away from you, your heart will never go astray, your prayer will never 
go unanswered and all your needs will be fulfilled?” 


She said: “0 father, that would be more beloved to me than the whole 
world and all that it contains.” He said: “Recite the following: 


Jr ■* h OjjisJlj J*J! ^9 Udi XsjSIj j jS .Ls jp! b 

i b 4ill Xb b 4ill 

frL^-.^'yb bUlLH .3_U> j^pJb obiylxJl $\ s>vj b lllapl Xpybdj 

. 9 4j b) e^j i^-b^yp d i^-b^yp 4l^>- l^j il ^ pUj 

C. . oi.S’' j ^.US>- 1 L^j £i jpJb CLblaP 





I -AJ 1 (JlAJJjj OjALUL 4jiJb>- ^3 4>rl^.) 1) L> 

Ij 


242 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


4 * iiipol jiiii j> j£\ ^ 4j uips ^a!i iifui 

U"? l5^* ^ ^Ip L«^L^» j jlJ Li) oJb j 

J!o o s i s -£ Q JJ 

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•Sll^ LS^ £ °3^ 
.*. j Is ^>cjIj3>- l~ z^gij ^j~°Uc. I U 'yi tls-i'ill o3a Jp«j cLULi! 


0 Greatest remembered one, and the First of the foremost in Power and Glory. 
0 Most Merciful to all who seek mercy and Granter of refuge to all those who 
turn to Him. 0 He who shows compassion to all those who complain to Him 
about their sorrow and grief. 0 He who is the best one to be asked for goodness 
and the quickest in giving it. 0 He whom the angels, who are surrounded by 
light, are afraid of. I beseech You with the names that the bearers of Your Divine 
Throne, and those who surround it, glorify and implore You with, out of fear of 
Your chastisement. And by Your names that JibraYl, MlkaYl and Israfil call unto 
You with - 1 beseech You to answer my supplication and remove my hardship 
and cover up my sins. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


243 


0 He who shall command the Cry to be called among His creation so that they 
awaken and are resurrected. By that name with which You give life to the bones 
when they have turned to dust , I implore You to give life to my heart, open my 
breast and mend my condition. 

0 He who has distinguished Himself with everlastingness, and has created for 
His servants death, life and annihilation. 0 He whose action is a word and whose 
word is a command and whose command flows in accordance with His will. I 
ask You by the name that Your friend [Ibrahim] called You with when he was 
being thrown into the fire, and by which You answered him and said: ‘Ofire, be 
cool and safe for Ibrahim.’ And by the name with which Musa called unto You 
from the right side of the mountain, and You answered him. And by the name 
through which You created Tsafrom the Holy Spirit, and by the name through 
which You forgave Dawud, and by the name through which You gifted Yahya 
to Zakariyya, and by the name through which You removed distress from 
Ayyub, and forgave Dawud, and made the wind and the devils subservient to 
Sulayman and taught him the speech of birds. 

And by the name through which You created the Divine Throne. By the name 
through which You created the Seat [of Divine Authority]. And by the name 
through which You created the immaterial beings. By the name through which 
You created the Jinn and Man. And by the name through which You created 
Your entire creation. By the name through which You created all the things 
that You intended and by the name through which You exercise Your authority 
over all things. 

1 ask You, by all these names, to grant my wish and to fulfil my desire, 0 Most 
Benevolent One! 


244 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


For indeed if you recite this, the answer will be: ‘Yes, yes, 0 Fatimah!’” 1 


2) Another supplication from our mistress Fatimah al-Zahra 3 (s): 

4 J. 3^'i L 4 W ^ p-P 1 

*>1^0 i 13 ^1p Uj j Jjl7 ^ U ^ 

UJ j%4^' jf>- <UA> 

.UUUol IjI j ^ j \j\J j 4 j Uj i! 

o ,, Of o g ^ £ O o f 

Uj fihplh ^g l L^ l l j 4_5? dJj’Li 4_5T^ (_5? L 5^ 4 ' 

• h UJ vi.Lyj Jj 


0 Allah, make me content with what You have given me. Hide my faults and 
give me good health for as long as You give me life, and forgive me and have 
mercy on me when You give me death. 0 Allah, do not let me undergo hardship 
in seeking that which You have not decreed for me, and make that which You 
have decreed for me easy to acquire. 0 Allah, repay my parents, and all those 
who have a right over me for the good they have done to me, with the best of 
rewards. 0 Allah, enable me to discharge that which You have created me for, 
and do not let me get engrossed in [seeking] the things that You have 
guaranteed for me. Do not punish me while I plead for Your forgiveness, and do 
not deprive me while I beg from You. 0 Allah, lower me in my own estimation 
and increase Your awe in my heart. Inspire me to worship You and do the things 
that please You and eschew the actions that displease You, 0 Most Merciful of 
the merciful . 2 


1 c Ali ibn Musa ibn Tawus (d. 664 A.H.), Muhaj al-Da c awat wa Manhaj al- c Ibadat, pp. 139-141 

2 Ibid., p. 141 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


245 


3) One day the Prophet (s) came to Fatimah ( c a) and found that al-Hasan 
( c a) was not well. The Prophet was very distressed so JibraTl ( c a) 
descended and said, “0 Muhammad, do you want me to teach you a 
supplication that will cure al-Hasan of his ailment if you recite it?” He 
said, “Yes.” JibraTl said, “Say: 


A>. jjl j »J«!l Jill i jllaiiJI ji LJiil! £UJ| cJl ^ I all * 5 ? J4L1 
u ^ olsUliiJl olyplJlj oUlUl oUiSJ! fjk Ji cJl ^1 all V 

. Obbsj 1 


0 Allah, there is no Lord but You, the Greatest and Most High, the Pre-eternal 
Sovereign, Bestower of the Great Blessing, the Most Generous. There is no God 
but You, the Most High, the Great. You are the Custodian of the perfect words 
and the answered supplications. I beseech You to remove the distress ofso-and- 


So the Prophet (s) recited it and then placed his hand on the forehead 
of al-Hasan ( c a), and by the Grace of Allah, he was cured. 3 


4) The Supplication of Light (Du c a al-Nur): 

This supplication is well known among the Shhah. The Supplication of 
Light has been narrated from al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). It has 
been tried and tested throughout the ages, and has proven to be an 
especially effective cure for fever. Many of our scholars have 
mentioned it in their books of supplications and traditions, including 
al-Sayyid ibn Tawus in his book Muhaj al-Da c awat. 


3 Ibid. 


246 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The summary of this tradition is that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 
taught this supplication to Salman al-Fars! (may Allah be pleased with 
him) and said to him: “if you wish never to be afflicted by fever in this 
world, then pay heed to these words that have been taught to me by my 
father, Muhammad (s). [whenever I had a fever] I would recite this in 
the day and at night: 


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^ J yd L JJl tyf i 

.yy jAlUl d I j Ji>Go ll-CCi JlP dydJl 


In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. In the name of 
Allah, the Light. In the name of Allah, the Light of light. In the name of Allah, 
Light over light. In the name of Allah, the One who manages all affairs. In the 
name of Allah who created light from Light. Praise be to Allah who created light 
from Light, and sent down Light on the mountain (Tur), in the inscribed book, 
in the unrolled parchment, by a determined measure, on the Prophet, the giver 
of glad tidings. Praise be to Allah, who is remembered with awe and reverence, 
who is known to be the Most Glorious, and who is thankfully praised in times of 
joy and distress. And salutations and blessings of Allah on our master, 
Muhammad, and on his pure progeny .” 4 


4 ibid., p. 7 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


247 


Salman said: “By Allah, I have taught this to more than a thousand 
people who were afflicted with fever in Makkah and Madlnah, and they 
got cured from it by the permission of Allah.” 


5) In Kashf al-Ghummah: From ‘Abdullah ibn al-Hasan, from his mother 
Fatimah bint al-Husayn, from Fatimah ( c a) who said, “Whenever the 
Prophet of Allah entered the masjid he would say: 


y&pl ^*-^-111 dll ^Ip ^*^3 dl 4ill 

-j CjIjjI 


In the Name of Allah and all praise belongs to Allah; and blessings and 
salutations of Allah upon the Messenger of Allah. 0 Allah, forgive my sins and 
open for me the doors of Your mercy. 

And when he came out of the masjid, he would say the same thing 
except that he would add ‘...the doors of Your mercy and grace.’” 5 

6) From Zayn al- ‘Abidin (‘a) who said: “My father (‘a) held me close to his 
chest on the day of his martyrdom, while blood was flowing from his 
body, and said: ‘0 my son, remember this supplication which was 
taught to me by my mother Fatimah (‘a), who in turn learnt it from the 
Messenger of Allah (s), who was taught by Jibradl (‘a) that in times of 
grief, sorrow and hardship, and when great calamity befalls, one should 
recite: 


Jip jUaj b ^ JgjJl jljJillj ds> jlysllj 

jp b jp b Jt U pk ja b jdjbDl 


5 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 1, p. 553 


248 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


.idffj Ibff jXs>cJ J!j JXs>cJ 


By the right ofYasin and the Qur’an full of wisdom, and by the right ofTaha 
and the great Qur’an; 0 He who is able to fulfil the desires of those who ask, 0 
He who knows what is in the heart, 0 He who banishes sorrow from the 
sorrowful, 0 He who dispels grief from those who grieve, 0 He who is merciful 
to the aged, 0 He who provides for the infant child, 0 He who needs no 
explanation, send blessings upon Muhammad and his progeny and grant 
me...(mention your wishes).”’ 6 


7) Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “Fatimah ( c a) one day came to her father (s) 
complaining about a toothache. The Prophet (s) placed his right index 
finger on her aching tooth and recited: 


dtj iJ Ijyi jl — JlP lilljJij lUj yu lillLtl Aillij Aill 

,<dT 


In the name of Allah and by Allah; I ask You by Your might and majesty, and 
by Your power over all things - by the fact that Maryam did not give birth to 
anyone other than c lsa, Your Soul and Word - that you relieve all the pain that 
is being felt by Fatimah bint Khadijah. 

As soon as he said this, she was relieved and felt no more pain...” 7 


6 Qutb al-DIn al-Rawandl (d. 573 A.H.), al-Da c awat, p. 54 

1 Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 406 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


249 


8) It is narrated that when Fatimah once visited the Prophet (s), he asked 
her, “Should I not give you some provision?” She replied, “Yes.” He 
said, “Recite the following: 


jJli jlsjijlj oljjiJl 'JyJ JS" Hyjj 13 j 

c-jIj i cilhs L y~iU Jj'i/I d~>! d>-l d~>! 313 ^ ClL 

t liiijS jfhkll CJlj i CLisjs jAlliJl Oilj didAj 
dr? Atlp JJd Jddd 

.^v)\ ^yi b /j\ *jr j p\ 


0 Allah, our Lord and the Lord of all things, the Revealerofthe Tawrat, Injil and 
Furqan, the splitter of seeds and kernels. I seek Your protection from the evil of 
every living being that You hold by its forelock. You are the First, nothing 
existed before You and You are the Last, nothing shall exist after You. You are 
the Manifest, there is nothing above You and You are the Hidden, there is 
nothing beneath You. Send Your blessings on Muhammad and his household, 
upon him and them be peace, and repay my debts, and remove me from 
poverty, and make every matter easy for me,0 Most Merciful of those who show 

l >’8 

mercy ! 


9) c All ( c a) said: “Fatimah once complained to the Prophet of Allah (s) of 
sleeplessness, so he told her: ‘0 daughter, recite: 

\jj Ajjdsi\ \jj 4j jLsdl ^ j^LsySl ^* 15 " \j j AajL>J| O jhtl l \j 


8 Muhaj al-Da c awat, p. 142, and in Dhakha’ir al- c Uqba, p. 49, Fatimah ( c a) asked her father for a 
slavegirl so he taught her this supplication. 


250 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


0 He who satiates the hungry stomachs, 0 He who clothes the naked bodies, 0 
He who calms the palpitating hearts, 0 He who gives rest to the sleepless eyes, 
calm my anxious heart and let my eyes get sleep quickly. ’ 

He ( c a) said: “When she recited this, her problem went away [and she 
got sleep].” 9 


10) The following supplication was [also] narrated from al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a): 

j 1 y>- ohdJl d -Tip U JjJddl Jip lilt jdSj c_d*Jl db»Jl*j 

UjJi jt ibi U-j liisr diUi J\ L$i .j I jj- siajli cJisr ill 

1^3 dJJLtlj jJC. j 'y dilldlj JLA. ]\j ^9 j ...rf’.x] I j 

dlgj>-j Jl yliJt dtilLtlj OJdJl d*j Sjj dJJLtlj LijJ! dJJLtlj 

Old^l djJj toj dl o jyg i jIp dJjUil ^jJl 

i >j b oltLa 


0 Allah, by Your knowledge of the unseen and Your power over the creation, 
give me life if You know life is good for me and cause me to die if death is better 
for me. 0 Allah I ask you for sincerity in my actions, and that I remain fearful 
of Your majesty in times of happiness and anger, and moderate in wealth and 
poverty. And I ask You for incessant blessings, and for coolness of the eyes that 
does not stop, and for satisfaction with Your divine decree. I ask for a good life 
after death, and I ask You to allow me to look upon Your countenance 10 and 
have a yearning for meeting You, without any harm or tribulation [befalling 


9 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 76, p. 213 

10 Meaning: ‘allow me to gain Your mercy and favour’ - since we do not believe that Allah is a 
body that has a perceivable countenance. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and Supplication 


251 


me]. 0 Allah, adorn us with the ornament of faith and place us among the 
guided leaders, 0 Lord of the worlds. 11 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 94, p. 225 


CHAPTER FIFTEEN 


The Prophet Informs al-Zahra? About Future Events 

It is natural that al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) - with her special status and 
proximity to her father, the Prophet of Allah (s) - was informed about general 
and specific future events by him. We know that the Prophet (s) used to inform 
the people about what would transpire after his death and about the signs of 
the End of Days and the period before the Day of Judgement. Is it then possible 
to imagine that he did not know what would happen to his family after he left 
this world? And especially what his beloved daughter, Fatimah al-Zahra 3 would 
undergo? Or could it be possible that he knew all this but did not inform his 
family about that which concerns their future? 

Indeed, the Prophet (s) informed his family about what would happen to them 
at the hands of the people soon after his death and later onwards. Notice how 
much the Prophet (s) told his companions and wives about the martyrdom of 
al-Husayn ( c a). It is certain, therefore, that he informed his beloved daughter 
Fatimah about the hardship, calamity, tribulation and misfortune that would 
befall her. This was especially true during the last weeks of his noble life, and 
particularly on the last day of his life, for his time was limited and there was no 
other opportunity for the Prophet of Allah (s) to divulge and disclose the reality 
to his daughter, telling her clearly [about what would transpire] and giving her 



The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 


253 


glad tidings that she will not remain [alive] after him but for a short while, 
before she joins her father, the Prophet, in the highest plane and loftiest 
heaven. He then informed her about how circumstances would change [after 
his death]: 

1) It has been narrated by c Abdullah ibn al- c Abbas that when the Prophet 
(s) was on his deathbed, he began crying until his beard became wet. 
Someone asked, “0 Prophet of Allah, what has made you cry?” He said, 
“I am crying for my progeny and what they will undergo at the hands 
of the evil ones among my ummah after my death. It is as if I can see my 
daughter Fatimah being oppressed after me as she cries out ‘0 father!’ 
and nobody from my ummah assists her!” When Fatimah ( c a) heard this, 
she started crying so the Prophet (s) said, “Don’t cry my dear daughter.” 
She said, “I am not crying because of what will happen to me after you. 
Rather, I am crying because of having to be separated from you, 0 
Prophet of Allah.” So he said to her, “I give you glad tidings then, 0 
daughter of Muhammad, of your joining me swiftly, for you shall be the 
first person to join me from my household.” 1/ ' ,A '' 

2) Ibn c Abbas has also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s) said: 
“...When I saw her (Fatimah), I told her what would happen to her after 
I leave this world, for it is as if I see myself with her as disgrace enters 
her house, her honour is infringed, her right is usurped, her inheritance 
is seized, her ribs are broken, her child is miscarried while she cries out, 
“Wa Muhammadah !” and nobody is there to respond to her cries. She 
calls out for help and nobody comes to help her! She thus remains sad, 
tormented, crying - at times, because the revelation has ceased coming 
down to her house, and at other times because she misses me - feeling 


Bihar al- Anwar, vol. 43, p. 156 



254 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


lonely when night falls and she does not hear my voice as she used to 
when I would recite the Qur’an in the middle of the night. Then she sees 
herself humiliated after she had been revered during the lifetime of her 
father.. .” 2/,Ar 

This is one of the numerous traditions that have come to us from the 
Holy Prophet (s) describing how he informed the Ahl al-Bayt about 
what would happen after him [after his death]. The last time that he 
forewarned his family (meaning 'All, al-Zahra’, al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn) about this was during his final illness, just a few hours before 
his demise. 

3) Jabir ibn 'Abdillah al-Ansarl narrates that during his final illness, after 
which he left this world, the Prophet (s) said to Fatimah ('a), “May my 
parents be your ransom! Send for your husband and bring him to me.” 
So Fatimah said to al-Hasan or al-Husayn, “Go and call your father and 
tell him your grandfather summons him.” When 'All ibn Abl Talib came, 
he found Fatimah sitting next to the Holy Prophet saying, “0 what 
hardship has befallen you, father!” The Prophet (s) replied, “No 
hardship shall befall your father after this day 0 Fatimah, but say 
instead what your father said when [his son] Ibrahim died: ‘The eyes 
weep and the heart aches, but we say not that which angers our Lord, 
yet we are grieved by your loss 0 Ibrahim.’” 2 3 ''™ 4 

4) It is narrated that the Prophet (s) called 'All, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn ('a) and asked everyone else who was in his house to leave. He 
said to Umm Salamah, “Stand at the door and allow no one to enter.” 


2 Ibid., vol. 43, p. 172 

3 Abu al-Qasim Furat ibn Ibrahim (4 th Century A.H.), Tafsir Furat al-Kufi, p. 586 


The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 


255 


Then he said to c Ali, “Come closer,” so he came closer. He then took the 
hand of Fatimah, placed it on his chest for a long time, and took the 
hand of c Ali with his other hand, but when he (s) wanted to speak, he 
was overwhelmed by his tears and could not speak. Upon seeing this, 
Fatimah cried intensely as did c Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a). Fatimah 
said, “0 Messenger of Allah, my heart has been cut open and my core is 
burning with grief at your tears - 0 Master of all Prophets, from first to 
last, and 0 Trustee of his Lord and His Messenger, His beloved and His 
Prophet!” 

“Who will be there for my children after you, and when hardship befalls 
me after you? Who will be there for your brother c All, helper of the 
faith? Who will be there to receive the divine revelations and 
commandments?” Then she cried, falling upon his face, so he kissed 
her. c All, al-Hasan and al-Husayn all drew close to him so he raised his 
head, took Fatimah’ s hand and placed it on c All's hand saying, “0 Aba 
al-Hasan, this is the trust of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad being 
entrusted to you, so protect her for the sake of Allah and for my sake, 
and [I know] you will surely do this.” 

“0 c Ali, she is - by Allah - the Mistress of all Women of Paradise, from 
first to last. She is - by Allah - the Greater Maryam! By Allah, I did not 
arrive at this station until I had asked Allah for certain things regarding 
you and He granted me what I asked for. 0 c All, do what Fatimah asks 
you to do, for I have instructed her to do what JibraTl has asked of her. 
And know, 0 c All, that I am pleased with the one whom my daughter 
Fatimah is pleased with, as is my Lord and His angels. 0 c All, the wrath 
of Allah is on the one who oppresses her. His wrath is on the one who 
usurps her rights, and on the one who infringes on her honour.” 


256 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Then the Prophet (s) drew Fatimah close to himself and embraced her. 
Kissing her head, he said, “May your father be your ransom 0 
Fatimah.. .” 4/,A ° 

5) In a lengthy narration from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a), it is reported that the 
Messenger of Allah (s) said to his daughter Fatimah ( c a): “... Do you not 
wish to see the angels in the vast heavens looking upon you and upon 
what you command? [Do you not wish to see them] looking at your 
husband when all the [evil] people are brought forth [on the Day of 
Resurrection] as he argues against them in front of Allah? What do you 
think Allah will then do with the killer of your son and those who kill 
you and your husband?” 57 ™ 1 

The Prophet (s) informs his daughter here - explicitly - that she will be 
killed, as will her husband and son. You will also read in the following 
chapter about what happened to the Mistress of all Women and how 
much pain and hardship she underwent, which eventually led to her 
martyrdom and death. 

6) It is narrated that Imam Musa ibn Ja c far ( c a) said: “I asked my father, 
Abu c Abdillah [al-Sadiq] ( c a), ‘Was Amir al-Mu 3 minm not the one who 
wrote down the final will of the Prophet (s) as he dictated it to him, and 
were JibraTl and the archangels ( c a) not witnesses to this?’ So the Imam 
lowered his head for a long time and then replied, ‘0 Aba al-Hasan, it 
was as you say, but when the matter 4 5 6 descended upon the Messenger 
of Allah (s), the will came down from Allah in written form and JibraTl 
brought it along with the other trusted archangels of Allah, the Most 


4 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 22, p. 484 

5 Ibid., vol. 44, p. 265 

6 It is possible that the ‘matter’ being referred to here is death. 



The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 


257 


High. Then JibraTl said: “0 Muhammad, ask everyone to leave except 
your trustee and executor - so that he may take the will from us and 
make us witnesses that you have given it to him, and that he promises 
to act upon it.” 

So the Prophet (s) instructed everyone to leave the house except 'All 
('a) and Fatimah - who remained between the curtain and the door. 
JibraTl then said: “0 Muhammad, your Lord sends salutations to you 
and says: ‘This document contains My covenant with you and that 
[mission] which I had charged you with and entrusted to you. I testify 
that you acted upon it and My angels testify [to this] as well, and I am 
sufficient - 0 Muhammad - as a witness.’” 

He [imam al-Sadiq] continued: ‘The Prophet (s) began to tremble and 
said, “0 JibraTl, my Lord is al-Salam, and from Him is al-Salam and to 
Him returns al-Salam. True and good are His words; please bring the 
document.” So JibraTl gave it to him and asked him to pass it to Amir 
al-Mu 3 minm ('a). The Prophet [gave it to him and] told him to read it 
aloud and he read it word by word. The Prophet [then] said, “0 'All, this 
is the covenant of my Lord, the Almighty, with me. It is His charge upon 
me and His trust, and I have conveyed it, advised [others] of it and 
fulfilled it!” 

'All ('a) said, “I bear witness - may my parents be your ransom - that 
you conveyed it and advised others of it, and what you have said is true. 
My ears, eyes, flesh and blood all testify to this!” JibraTl said, “And I 
bear witness to this for both of you.” The Prophet (s) then said, “0 'All 
you have taken my will and understood it. Do you guarantee that you 
will act upon it and fulfil what is in it?” 'All ('a) replied, “Yes - may my 
father and mother be your ransom - I promise to act upon it, and may 
Allah help me and grant me success in fulfilling it.” 


258 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The Messenger of Allah (s) said, “0 c All, I want witnesses to testify to 
your [pledge of] loyalty to me on the Day of Resurrection!” c Ali ( c a) said, 
“Yes. Take witnesses.” So the Prophet (s) said, “Verily JibraTl and 
MlkaTl are in front of us at this moment and with them are the [other] 
archangels. I make them my witnesses over you!” He replied, “Yes. Let 
them bear witness; and I too make them bear witness [to this] - may my 
parents be your ransom!” So the Prophet made them bear witness. 

One of the conditions that the Prophet (s) stipulated, as per the 
instruction of JibraTl ( c a), who in turn was commanded by Allah, the 
Almighty, was [that he said]: “0 c All! Do you promise to befriend the 
friends of Allah and His Prophet and turn away from the enemies of 
Allah and His Prophet, keeping aloof from them with patience and 
forbearance, despite the loss of my right and the usurping of your share 
and the violation of your honour?” He said, “Yes, 0 Messenger of Allah.” 

Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) said: “By the One who splits the seeds and creates 
the human beings, I heard JibraTl say to the Prophet, ‘0 Muhammad! 
Let him know that his honour will be infringed, and this is like the 
honour of Allah and the Holy Prophet [being violated]; and that his 
beard will be dyed with blood from his head!’ When I heard these words 
from the trusted angel JibraTl, I fell down on my face and said, ‘Yes, I 
accept and am pleased, even if my honour is violated! Even if the 
prophetic practices are abandoned, the [holy] Book is torn, the Ka c bah 
is damaged and my beard is dyed with blood from my head; I will 
remain ever patient, until I meet you.’” 

Then the Prophet (s) called Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and 
informed them about what he had told Amir al-Mu 3 minIn, and they too 
replied as he had replied. The will was then sealed with a seal of gold 
that was untouched by fire and given to Amir al-Muhninm ( c a).” 


The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 


259 


The narrator said: “I asked Aba al-Hasan [al-Kazim] ( c a), ‘May my 
parents be your ransom! Will you not tell me what was written in the 
will?’ He said, ‘The ways of Allah and the practices of His Prophet.’ I 
asked, ‘Was there any mention of their unlawful seizure of power and 
their opposition to Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a)?’ He said, ‘Yes, by Allah, each 
and every thing, word for word. Have you not heard the words of the 
Almighty: Indeed it is We who revive the dead and write what they have sent 
ahead and their effects [which they left behind], and We have recorded 
everything in a manifest register? (Q36:12) By Allah, the Holy Prophet (s) 
asked Amir al-Mu 3 minin and Fatimah ( c a): “Have I not told you about 
what will happen to you [after me] and what you will have to endure?” 
They replied: “Yes. And about how we will have to be patient with the 
ills and the bitter hardships that befall us.’”” 7/,AV 

In those last moments, the Holy Prophet (s) placed his head on the chest of c Ali 
( c a) and his heart felt restless as he embraced Fatimah, which he did repeatedly. 
His tears flowed like rain until his blessed beard became wet and the shawl that 
was covering him was also soaked. Al-Hasan and al-Husayn came forward, 
kissing his feet and crying in a loud voice. c Ali ( c a) wanted to lift them up but 
the Prophet (s) said: “Let them [remain with me and] smell my fragrance as I 
smell theirs, and let them get the most of me as I get the most of them, for they 
will both face great hardships after me. May Allah curse those who oppress 
them. 0 Allah! I am leaving them both in Your care and [to] the righteous 
believers.”™* 

Do not ask about how al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 wept in those final 
moments as she saw the great Prophet and her kind, loving father on his 
deathbed. She addressed her father with tears flowing: “May my soul be 


7 Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 281 


260 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


ransomed for yours, and may my face be a protection for your face! 0 father, 
will you not tell me anything, for indeed I see you and know that you will soon 
be leaving this world, and I see the pangs of death overwhelming you.” He said 
to her: “My daughter, I will soon be separated from you, so please accept my 
[final] salutations.”™ And in Kashf al-Ghummah [it is narrated that he (s) said]: 
“My dear daughter, you will indeed be oppressed after me! You will be wronged 
after I die, so [know that] whoever hurts you has hurt me and whoever wrongs 
you has wronged me; whoever keeps ties with you has kept ties with me and 
whoever cuts off ties with you has cut off ties with me; whoever is just with you 
has been just with me for indeed you are from me and I am from you. You are 
part of me and you are the soul that is inside me!” Then he said: “It is to Allah 
that I complain against those who oppress you from my ummah 

Only a short while had passed after this when c Ali ( c a) stood up saying: 
“Condolences to you all and may Allah increase your reward for the pain of 
losing your Prophet, for indeed Allah has taken his soul!””' Upon hearing this, 
voices were raised in wailing and crying. This was the saddest day in the history 
of mankind and the most painful blow to the hearts of the Muslims. No other 
day saw more crying and weeping than that day. 

This is how those bitter and painful moments, which were the most difficult 
moments in the life of al-Zahra 3 , passed. How did those minutes effect the heart 
of Fatimah, as she saw her father’s body lying lifeless in front of her? Al-Zahra 3 
would say: “0 father! You have been called to your Lord. 0 father! Your place of 
rest is the garden of Firdaus (in Paradise). 0 father! JibraTl has been informed 
by us of your passing. 0 father! You have answered the call of your Lord!” 8/ ” Y 


8 Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 15 


The Prophet Informs al-Zahra 3 About Future Events 


261 


c All ( c a) was [crying and] saying: “0 Messenger of Allah!” al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn were weeping and crying: “0 grandfather! 0 grandfather!” 

c All ( c a) stood up to make the arrangements for washing the body of the Holy 
Prophet (s) and shrouding it, and when the time to pray over him came, al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was one of the people who prayed over the body of 
her great father. 9 

Al-Zahra 3 continued weeping incessantly until the Holy Prophet (s) was buried. 
Upon returning home, she gathered all the women and said: “We belong to 
Allah and to Him do we return. Revelation from the heavens has now been cut 
off from us!”” r Then she recited a eulogy for her father [which we will recount 

shortly]. Later, she asked Anas ibn Malik, “How could you bring yourself to 
throw dust on the Prophet of Allah?”” 4 

It is narrated that Imam al-Baqir ( c a) said: “Fatimah was never seen laughing or 
happy from the time the Holy Prophet (s) passed away, until she left this 
world.” 10 And in another narration: “...except one time when she gave a small 
smile.”” 0 In addition, Tmran ibn Dinar narrates that after the Prophet [died], 
Fatimah did not laugh until she left this world, because of the great and intense 
sorrow she felt, being separated from her [beloved] father (s) .”" 


9 Cf. al-Tabarsi, al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, p. 75 

10 Muhammad ibn c Ali ibn Shahrashub al-Mazandaranl (d. 588 A.H.), Manaqib Al Abl Talib, vol. 3, p. 


362 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 

Every day in the world, fathers die and their daughters experience the grief of 
their loss, and cry and mourn for them. However, the level of grief and sadness 
varies among the different fathers and daughters based on the extent of love 
between each father and his daughter. There are many daughters who get 
nothing from their fathers but paternity. There is no love or affection between 
them, so it is as if they share no relationship or bond. On the other hand, there 
are some fathers who shower their daughters with love, affection and respect, 
and they are careful not to hurt their daughters’ feelings and ensure that 
nothing should tarnish their honour. Such fathers find similar feelings of love 
and reverence reciprocated by their daughters. In these instances, the bond of 
love between the father and daughter is indeed strong and the loss of the father 
leaves a deep wound in the heart of his daughter. 

We have seen how close the Messenger of Allah (s) was with his pure daughter 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), and it is important to understand that the relationship 
of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 with her father, and her love for him, was not 
merely because he fulfilled his paternal duties or because he was a Prophet, 
rather al-Sayyidah Fatimah considered him a loving father and an affectionate 
parent, who was always kind and compassionate. At the same time, she knew 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 


263 


that he was the Messenger of Allah and the Master of all the Prophets and 
Messengers, so she respected her father the way any believing woman would 
respect her Prophet, and she revered him with the greatest reverence and 
veneration. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) was, after all, the most learned 
woman in Islam and the most knowledgeable about the greatness of the 
Prophet of Islam. 

After this introduction, it becomes clear to us that the calamity of the demise 
of the Prophet (s) took away from his righteous daughter all ease and comfort, 
all calmness and tranquillity. Al-Zahra 3 experienced the greatest hardships and 
the worst of calamities among all of creation. Let us see what Fiddah, the 
maidservant of al-Zahra 3 , says about the overwhelming sorrow of al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah at the demise of her father, the Prophet (s): 

“When the Prophet (s) passed away, both the young and old grieved and wept 
a lot. The loss was especially difficult to bear for his close relatives, companions 
and friends, and was even difficult for unrelated strangers. Everyone was seen 
weeping and mourning. There was nobody on earth, from the relatives, 
companions and intimate friends, who was more grief-stricken and who wept 
more than al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). Her grief would constantly 
become renewed and increase, and her crying became more intense all the 
time. She sat for seven days weeping incessantly, and each day her weeping 
would be more intense than the day before. 

When the eighth day came, she unburdened all that she had hidden of her 
sorrow and could bear it no longer. When she came out and wailed, all the 
people began weeping, and the womenfolk rushed to her. The lanterns were 
switched off so that the faces of the women would not be seen. Al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah would cry out to her father saying: ‘0 father! 0 Chosen one! 0 
Muhammad! 0 Aba al-Qasim! 0 Caretaker of the widows and orphans! Who will 


264 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


now take charge of the Qiblah and the Musalla? Who will now take care of your 
bereaved and grieving daughter?’ 

Then she came forward stumbling over her gown, unable to see what was in 
front of her because of her tears that flowed continuously, until she reached 
near the grave of her father, the Prophet of Allah (s). When she saw the 
chamber and when her eyes fell on the place where the call to prayer was 
recited, she fainted. The women rushed to her and sprinkled water on her face 
and chest, until she regained consciousness. 


Then she stood up saying, ‘My strength has been taken away, my patience has 
come to an end, my enemy gloats over my grief, and my sorrow is killing me. 0 
father! I have become sad and forlorn, distressed and alone. My voice has gone 
silent, my back has been broken, my life has become bitter and my days have 
become dark. I do not find - 0 father - anyone to comfort me and to console 
me. I have nobody to aid me in my weakness, for after you, the revelation has 
ceased andjibraTl does not have a place to descend to and MlkaTl has nowhere 
to come. Everything has been overturned after you, 0 father, and the doors [of 
hope] have been shut in my face. I find no joy in life after you, and as long as I 
breathe, I will continue grieving for you. My yearning for you will never 
decrease and neither will my sorrow.’” v 

Then she recited: 


u :.c . 




d j— dl— dp 



Jp 


Lsi 1 


J ) Jj>- 


J-S” ^ 


4 9 J i 


-iji (J-i J 


J Jbd 





jl 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 


265 


Indeed my sorrow for you is a new sorrow, 
and my heart is, by Allah, relentlessly pouring forth 

Every day in it increases my melancholy, 
and my despair from your loss knows no end 

My hardship is great and my solace has forsaken me, 
and my tears are fresh at all times 

Indeed a heart that becomes accustomed to bear patiently your loss, 
or to accept consolation is surely hard as stone . 1 

Then she cried out: ‘0 father, after you the lights of this world have dimmed 
and its flowers have withered away, as they were irradiated by your graceful 
presence. 0 father, I will remain sad until I finally meet you! 0 father, I have not 
slept since you were separated from me! 0 father, who will now take care of the 
widows and orphans? And who is there [now] for the ummah until the Day of 
Resurrection? 0 father, after you we have been oppressed! 0 father, the people 
have now turned away from us, whereas in your presence we used to be 
respected by the people! So which eye would not shed copious tears for your 
loss? And which heart does not feel intense grief? And which eyelid closes to 
sleep after you? You are the spring of religion and the light of the Prophets. 
How is it that the mountains do not move and the seas, after you, are not sucked 
under the ground? And how is it that the earth does not shake? 0 father, I have 
been struck by grave misfortunes and the tribulations that have befallen me are 
many. I have - 0 father - faced severe hardship and terrible injustice [after 
you]. 

0 father, the angels are mourning for you, and the celestial bodies have stopped 
moving. Your pulpit is empty after you and your prayer niche is missing your 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 176 


266 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


whispered prayers. Your grave is pleased to have you within in, and Paradise 
yearns for you and your supplications and prayers. 0 father, how dark has the 
place you used to sit become! 0 how sad I am until I am quickly reunited with 
you. 

Abu al-Hasan, your trusted brother, the father of your sons al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn, your successor, your intimate friend and the one whom you raised 
when he was a child and took as a brother when he had grown, is grieving for 
you. He was your closest friend and companion. He was the first among the 
Muhajirun and Ansar. 

Grief has engulfed us! Weeping is killing us! Sorrow has overwhelmed us!”’ m 


Then she cried and wailed in a manner that would break the hearts, and recited: 


J^l r * 


JljP ^ IP jl J ( 5 j- *25 9 


A.J !l 




-LJ 




U 




^2J'J 


t i 

'y I ._’a ^ j 4&I 


4 !>l Jj 


J xj j Jallj 1 J Hj Jl 4>Jl J 9 

il ^ I j j* ^ j llj j j ><j>J! ill Ssj j 

s.1 I Jbw ^ ^ 9 j I 11 J 1 ‘Ij I ill £\j j 


jl 


L S*' 


I > c 


m ui o‘ 


— I Jl ^ — 9 jl *25 jl ^i^ll ill—SsJJ 

P 0 U_ - ■ ■ S'* j C id I ^ .... I ^ i ! 


J Hi Uj 


Lit 


1 — J — ^ ls — fH 1 — J . 


My patience has waned and my solace has forsaken me, 
after I lost the seal of the Prophets 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 


267 


Eye, 0 Eye, shed tears that flow like a river, 
and be sure not to be niggardly with your tears! 

0 Prophet of the Lord, 0 he who was chosen by Allah, 

0 refuge of the orphans and the weak 

Indeed the mountains and wild animals all weep for you, 
as do the birds and the earth after the skies 

The Hajun, the Rukn and the Mash c ar all weep for you 
0 master, as does the sacred valley of Bathed (Makkah) 

The prayer niche weeps for you as does the Qur } an 
that was recited loudly [by you] in the mornings and evenings 

And Islam weeps as well for it has become among the people 
a stranger like the rest of the strangers 

If you see the pulpit that you used to ascend, 
it is now ascended by darkness after it was occupied by light 

0 Lord hasten my departure from this world, 
for indeed life has become bitter for me my Master! 2 

Then Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) took some dust from the grave of her father, the 
Prophet of Allah (s), and started smelling it as she recited: 

1— Jl 7 1 a j 1 1 -i a ^ j j I .1 A';*-! 4 _j y * *** t Ip I^L— « 

UU l J J - ^ O S jl i_jl Jsl C_, ( J 9 

I JU ^ L_^l Lr _ip I j_J ** ^_Jp 


2 Ibid., p. 177 


268 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 




J—9 


W 6-*^ pr-* (j- 4 ^ u? 

l ^oJl ^ ^-o-. fiJ I j JJj U £- s^2J>-l ^ jJl 3 

L^L_v^ C— SC L5 -ip £ l . - jJLJ L5 i i iy «i O lil i 

L^l — ij ill — J gj . — 11 j — U»-S/j ^ ii J — *j j j_^Jl j — U^-S*i 


For the one who smells the fragrance of the earth of Ahmad’s grave, 
what does he care if he does not smell any other perfume throughout his life 

Say to the one who has disappeared under the layers of earth, 

If you hear my cries and calls...: 

Such hardships have befallen me that 
if they were to befall on days they would turn to nights! 

I used to be protected under the shadow of Muhammad, 
never fearing injustice, as he was my supporter 

But today I fear the depraved and I am afraid of 
the one who wrongs me, fending off my oppressor with my robe 

So just as the turtledove cries during the night 
perched on its branch, I cry during the day 

After you, I will surely make grief my inseparable companion 
and will make my tears for you my ornament 

Zaynl Dihlan has narrated the following elegy in al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah that she 
( c a) recited to eulogize her father after he (s) was buried: 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 


269 


j! j — ^*Jl j 

jl «j J — Tj j s<2» ^ !>~dj l — .ibh — 11 i jj — i 4 — !xJi 


OjJ— 5"" j *.L> wJl (^1 si j__^pI 

£ 


jl ^”j^lj jh *<S/I ji o Jlj oj ^ Lk*»j! 2 j Dl 4 SvJj 




JlP 


OS. J ijjl **<dl ** jll ^t-d >“ I ’ 


The horizon of the skies have been covered in dust and 
the sun is wound up, turning daytime into darkness 

The land is desolate after the demise of the Prophet 
due to sorrow at his loss, often quavering 

So let the east weep over him and the west, 
and let the [tribe of] Mudar weep and all ofYaman 

Let the mountain with lofty peaks weep over him, 
and the house with curtains and corners (i.e. the Ka c bah) 

0 Seal of the Prophets whose light is blessed, 
may the Revealer of the Qur’an send His blessings upon you 

Then she returned home and started crying and weeping. After this, her head 
was always covered, her body became frail, her back was bent out of grief, her 
eyes were always full of tears, her heart was sad and she would faint every now 
and then . 3 She would say to her two sons: “Where is your grandfather who used 
to honour you and carry you on his shoulders from time to time? Where is your 
grandfather who loved you the most and did not even let you walk on the 


3 Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol. 3, p. 362 


270 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


ground? I do not see him opening this door ever again, nor do I see him carrying 
you both on his shoulders as he always used to do!””’ 

When the Holy Prophet (s) passed away, Bilal refused to recite the adhan saying, 
“I will not recite the call to prayer for anyone after the Prophet of Allah (s).” 
One day Fatimah said: “I have a strong desire to hear the voice of my father’s 
muadhdhin reciting the adhan." When Bilal heard this, he began reciting the 
adhan. When he said: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar," she recalled her father and 
the days when he was alive. She could not control herself and broke down 
crying. When he called out: “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah," Fatimah 
( c a) swooned and fell on her face, having lost consciousness. The people said to 
Bilal: “Stop 0 Bilal! Indeed the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (s) has left this 
world!” They thought that she had died. So Bilal stopped his adhan and did not 
complete it. When Fatimah regained consciousness and requested him to 
complete the adhan, he asked to be excused saying: “0 Mistress of all Women, I 
fear for you and what happens to you when you hear my voice as I recite the 
adhan." So she excused him. 4/r " 

Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) said: “I washed the body of the Prophet (s) in his shirt. 
Fatimah would ask me to show the shirt to her. Then she would smell its 
fragrance and faint. When I saw this, I hid it.” 5/r ' ' And it is narrated from Imam 

Ja c far al-Sadiq ( c a) that: “Fatimah lived for seventy five days after the Prophet 
of Allah (s). During this time, she was never seen smiling or laughing. She would 
come to the graves of the martyrs every Monday and Thursday and say: ‘This is 
where the Holy Prophet stood, and this is where the polytheists were 
positioned.’” 67 ’’'’' 


4 Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 298 

5 Bihar al- Anwar, vol. 43, p. 157 

6 Ibid., p. 195 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) After the Death of the Prophet (s) 


271 


Mahmud ibn Labld said: “When the Prophet of Allah (s) died, Fatimah ( c a) would 
go to the graves of the martyrs and sit next to Hamzah’s grave and weep. One 
day, I went to the grave of Hamzah and saw her there, weeping. I gave her time 
until she calmed down. Then I came to her and offering greetings, I said: ‘0 
Mistress of all women, indeed my heart has been deeply hurt by your weeping.’ 
She replied: ‘0 Aba 'Amr, it is my right to cry for I have suffered the loss of the 
best of fathers, the Prophet of Allah. 0 how I miss the Messenger of Allah! ,r r 
Then she began reciting the following verses: 

awIj o! « ^ i! o 3 ( J_9 .-■< L « jj OL. ISI 

If one day a person dies , his memory gradually diminishes, 
yet the memory of my father, by Allah, has increased ever since he died! 7 

What we learn from history and the abovementioned narrations is that al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) used to cry over her father at her home, and when they 
prevented her from weeping in her home, she went to Uhud. But when she 
became ill and could not go to Uhud, she would go to BaqT and to the house of 
sorrows ( bayt al-ahzan), as we shall see in the coming pages. 


7 'Abbas al-Qumml (d. 1359 A.H.), Bayt al-Ahzan, p. 181 


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 

We have now reached a very sensitive and important point in our discussion - 
sensitive historically and theologically. I do not know what the consequence of 
the words we mention here will be! I do not know what the reaction to these 
words will be! And I do not know how the reader will judge me after reading 
this and what kinds of accusations will be levelled against me! Sectarianism, 
divisiveness, causing disturbance and disunity, questioning the honour of the 
companions and many other qualities may be ascribed to me by the esteemed 
readers! 

It may be that one is displeased by these realities, or considers them to be lies 
and fabrications and then passes judgment on me in absentia, saying or writing 
whatever seems appropriate to him. This is not as important to me as ensuring 
that the reader knows that whatever I will mention here is neither taken from 
ShTah sources nor from the books of the Imam! scholars. Rather, I will only 
mention what is found in Sunni sources and those works that the Ahl al-Sunnah 
wal Jama c ah consider reliable. 

Then, if these reports are correct and true, it will suffice as good evidence; but 
if they are weak and incorrect then the responsibility does not fall on my 
shoulders. Rather, it lies with the original sources. In other words, the fault is 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


273 


not mine - it is the fault of the history that recounts these events. For if these 
events were not established in the eyes of the erstwhile Sunni scholars, they 
would not have mentioned them in their authentic works which are considered 
reliable and trustworthy. 

Before entering into the actual discussion, I wish to enumerate the sources and 
historical references. It is better if the reader refers to these to ensure that we 
have been faithful in our quotations and narrations. After reading this chapter, 
one is free to choose his stance with regard to these events, alone, with his own 
conscience. How it pains me that I am not free with my pen and words to record 
on these pages all the painful events, distressing circumstances, turbulent 
episodes and difficult times that the family of the Prophet of Allah and his pure 
progeny had to undergo, less than a week after his demise. Indeed, freedom is 
accorded to everyone and to every group except to the family of the Prophet! 

The well-known ‘freedom of the press’ in our time, ‘freedom to defend oneself 
which is permitted in all the courts of the world, the ‘freedom of choice and 
expression’ which is commonly accepted in different parts of the world, and all 
the other various types of freedoms exist, but speaking about the tribulations 
that befell the family of the Prophet and recounting the pain and anguish that 
they suffered is considered an unforgivable sin! 

The great scholar, Professor c Abd al-Fattah c Abd al-Maqsud says in his book al- 
Imam c All ibn Abl Talib: 

A group of them gathered, sometimes in secret and other times openly, 
calling the son of Abu Talib [and urging him to take the reins of 
leadership] because they saw him as the person most capable of 
managing the affairs of the people. Then they rallied around his house, 
calling his name and asking him to come out to them so that they could 
return his usurped right to him... so the Muslims were divided by this 


274 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


matter into allies [of the current caliph] and supporters [of the 
caliphate of c Ali], and Madlnah had been split into two factions. The 
unity that was much sought after began showing rifts, and was on the 
verge of a split. Then, nobody but Allah knows what would have 
happened after this in the future... Then would c Ali not, in the eyes of 
Ibn al-Khattab, deserve to be put to death so that strife and sedition are 
averted and divisions do not come about? 

This is something that would be in line with the aggressive attitude of 
c Umar in his fervour to maintain the unity of Islam. The fact that this is 
what the people were talking of and whispering about shows that the 
misgivings [about this possibility] were considered real, rather than 
mere conjecture. For no one could surmise or know what was in ibn al- 
Khattab’s mind, but they all followed their imaginations that were 
based on what they knew of this man who had a violent nature and, it 
is possible that some of them knew what he would do based on all his 
previous encounters and saw with the mind’s eye what would happen, 
before the eyes could actually witness it. if c Ali would have stood firm 
against the threats of c Umar when he sought his acceptance and 
allegiance for the caliphate of Abi Bakr, it may take a short while to 
consider the consequences of this position and to imagine the 
outcomes before one realizes that it would necessarily lead to c Umar 
exceeding the limits and considering this opposition as rebellion that 
must be dealt with in the harshest and most violent manner! 

In addition, rumours had already preceded TJmar’s footsteps on that 
day, as he went with some of his companions and supporters towards 
the house of Fatimah, with the intention of forcing the cousin of the 
Holy Prophet to, willingly or unwillingly, pledge the allegiance that he 
had so far refused to assent to. Some people were saying that the sword 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


275 


would be the only thing that would make him submit! Others were 
saying that the sword would be met by a sword! Yet others said that 
‘fire’ was the only means that could preserve the unity and gain 
‘acceptance’ and assent! 

Are there any fetters on the tongues of men that prevent them from 
relating the story of the firewood that ibn al-Khattab instructed them 
to bring and place around the house of Fatimah, while c All and his 
companions were inside, so that it may be a means of coercion and a 
way to force submission? Indeed all these stories, as well as the 
premeditated or improvised plots, along with the attack of the son of 
al-Khattab, were quick to vanish, like foam on water. 

The man was enraged as he proceeded towards the house of c Ali. The 
sparks of rebellion had been ignited. His supporters and aides 
accompanied him but as they were about to storm through, they saw a 
face like the face of the Prophet of Allah appear at the door, veiled in 
sorrow. On its sides were the signs of pain, in its eyes were the marks 
of tears and above its forehead was a frown of anger that was flaring up 
and a rage that was boiling... 

c Umar stopped in his tracks out of fear and his vehemence evanesced. 
All his supporters also stopped behind him, in front of the door, when 
they saw the likeness of the Prophet in front of them, looking at them 
through the face of his beloved daughter al-Zahra 3 , and they lowered 
their gazes out of disgrace or shame. Then their determination was 
overturned when they saw Fatimah move towards the grave of her 
father, slowly, like a shadow, with footsteps burdened by grief. The eyes 
turned towards her and the ears keenly listened to her as she raised her 
weak, sad and sorrowful voice, calling out to [her father] Muhammad, 


276 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


whose resting place was before her, and repeatedly crying: “0 father, 0 
Prophet of Allah! ...0 father! 0 Prophet of Allah!” 

It was as if the earth was shaking under this rebellious group because 
of the distressful cry. And as al-Zahra 5 approached the pure grave, she 
called for help from her father: “0 father! 0 Prophet of Allah! ...look at 
what Ibn al-Khattab and ibn Abl Quhafah have done to us after you!” 1 2 "' ‘ 

She had not finished her words before all the hearts were overcome 
with sorrow and tears were flowing from all the eyes. The people 
wished that they were able to split the ground upon which they stood 
so that they could disappear into the belly of the earth... 1 

We have quoted these passages from the book of the contemporary Egyptian 
professor, c Abd al-Fattah. However, some examples of what erstwhile scholars 
and early traditionists mention are as follows: 

1) In al-Tqd al-Farid, Tarikh Abi al-Fida } and Adam al-Nisa } : 

Abu Bakr sent a group under the command of c Umar ibn al-Khattab 
saying, “if they refuse [to give their pledge of allegiance] then fight 
them.” c Umar came forward with a firebrand intending to set fire to the 
house. When Fatimah saw him, she said, “0 son of al-Khattab, have you 
come to burn our house?” “Yes,” he replied, “if you do not accept what 
the ummah has accepted.” 271 "’ 3 

2) In Tarikh al-Tabari, al-Imamah wal-Siyasah and Shark Ibn Abi al-Hadid: 


1 c Abd al-Fattah c Abd al-Maqsud (d. 1993), al-Imam c Ali ibn Abi Talib, p. 225 

2 al- c Iqd al-Farid, vol. 5, p. 13; Abu al-Fida 3 Ismail ibn c AlI (d. 732 A.H.), al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al- 
Bashar, vol. 1, p. 156; 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


277 


He called for some firewood saying, “By Allah, your house will be burnt 
with you inside unless you come out and give your pledge of 
allegiance.” Or he said, “Either come out and pledge allegiance, or I will 
burn it along with those who are inside it!” Someone said to him, 
“Fatimah is inside [the house].” He responded, “Even if [she is, I will still 
burn it]!” 3 ^' 1 

3) ibn Qutaybah 4 mentions in al-Imamah wal-Siyasah: 

[He was asked:] “How did c Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah honour his 
countenance) pledge allegiance?” He replied, “Abu Bakr found out that 
a group of individuals who had refused to pledge allegiance to him were 
with c Ali (may Allah honour his countenance), so he sent c Umar there. 
c Umar called out to them while they were in the house of c Ali but they 
refused to come out. So he asked for some firewood to be brought and 
said, ‘By the one in whose hand is c Umar’s life, you will either come out 
or I will burn it down along with those who are inside it!’ It was said to 
him, ‘0 Aba Hafs, Fatimah is inside!’ He replied, ‘Even so!’ 

So they all came out and gave their pledge of allegiance, except c Ali. He 
said, ‘I have taken an oath that I will not come out or place my robe 
upon my shoulders until I have compiled the Qur’an.’ So Fatimah (may 
Allah be pleased with her) stood at the door and said, ‘I do not know 
any group that attended a worse gathering than you. You left the body 


3 Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 3, p. 198; 'Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawari (d. 276 A.H.), al- 
Imamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 16 

4 He is the learned jurist Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawari, a 
scholar of the third century A.H. and an expert of literature, Arabic grammar and history. He was 
born in Baghdad in 213 AH and in 276 AH he passed away. He has written many books, the most 
famous among which is the one we have quoted which is famously known as Tarikh al-Khulafa \ 
This word has been printed numerous times in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. 


278 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of Prophet of Allah (s) in front of us and decided your affair between 
yourselves. You did not seek our approval and did not give us our due 
right! ”’ 5/r ' v 

4) The poet, Muhammad Hafiz Ibrahim, says in his Qasldah al- c Umariyyah: 

l (> -aH i ^ Up! » j Y I j X c- I gJls ^ l*J 4 ! jSj 

L^J £_1 _ J jl ilLJip V iljb 

i -fl <> ft ^ 

L_^b- j jljJ p 9 ^ 1 -g j o j-sj as*- ^_j! J~p jo U 

And the words that Vmarsaid to c Ali, 
how honourable its listener and great its addressee 

I will bum your house leaving none aside, 
if you do not pledge allegiance, even if the daughter of Mustafa is inside 

None but Abu Hafs could have uttered this, 
in front of the champion of c Adnan and its defender 

5) Mustafa al-Dimyatl, in his commentary on the above poem, states: 
ibn Jarir al-Tabari says: Jarir has narrated to us from Mughlrah, from 
Ziyad ibn Kulayb who said: “ c Umar ibn al-Khattab came to the house of 
c AlI, while Talhah, al-Zubayr and some men from the Muhajirun were 
with him. He said [to them], ‘I swear by Allah that I will burn the house 
down if you do not come out and pledge allegiance!’ So al-Zubayr came 
out with his sword drawn, but the sword fell from his hand so they 
pounced on him and took him away...” 6/r ' A 


5 al-lmamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 16 

6 Mustafa al-Dimyatl, Sharh al-Qasidah al- c Umariyyah, p. 38 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


279 


6) Al-Shahristani 7 has narrated from al-Nazzam that c Umar struck the 
stomach of Fatimah on the Day of Allegiance (yawm al-bay c ah), until she 
miscarried her child (al-Muhsin). He then screamed, “Burn her house 
along with those who are in it!” At that time, there was nobody in the 
house other than c All, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. 87 '"" 

Something similar has been narrated by al-Baladhurl 9 and al-Safadi al- 
Shafih. 10 And in ibn Hajar’s Lisan al-Mizan, we read: “ c Umar kicked 
Fatimah, so she miscarried [her child] Muhsin.” 11/n ' 

7) In Mlzan al-I c tidal of al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi, we find a similar narration. 12 
ibn Khazzabah reports that Zayd ibn Aslam said: “I was among those 
who carried firewood with c Umar to the door of Fatimah when c Ali and 
his companions refused to give the pledge of allegiance. c Umar said to 
Fatimah, ‘Come out of the house otherwise I will burn it along with 
those who are inside it!’ At that moment, Fatimah was in the house with 
al-Hasan, al-Husayn and a few of the Prophet’s companions. Fatimah 
said, ‘Will you burn my children?’ He replied, ‘Yes, by Allah, unless you 
come out and pledge allegiance!””"" 


7 He is the learned ShafFi jurist Muhammad ibn c Abd al-Karim al-Shahristani, a sixth century 
(A.H.) scholar. He has many books, the most well known amongst which is al-Milal wal-Nihal, 
which has been printed numerous times in Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. 

8 Muhammad ibn c Abd al-Karim al-Shahristani (d. 548 A.H.), al-Milal wal-Nihal, p. 71 

9 Ansab al-Ashraf, vol. 1, p. 404 

10 Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi al-Shafi c I (d. 764 A.H.), al-Wafi bil-Wafayat, vol. 6, p. 15 

11 Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 1, p. 268 

12 Mlzan al-I c tiddl, vol. 1, p. 158 


280 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


This is what we were able to find in the books of the Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama c ah, 
and it is possible that others may find more than this in the early sources and 
in the books of history. 

After surveying these historical records, the position of some Muslims towards 
the family of the Prophet (s) has become evident, and it is clear that certain 
individuals did not care about the sanctity of the holy lady, al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra 3 , or the sanctity of her house. They never considered the status of her 
husband, Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a), or the honourable position of her sons al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a), and did not preserve the respect of the Noble Prophet 
through them. 

We have noted from these texts that a group came to force Imam c Ali ( c a) from 
his house in order to take his pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr. We have seen 
how they threatened to burn the house down along with all who were in it from 
the family of the Prophet of Allah (s). Al-Sayyidah Fatimah was never expecting 
to see, in her life, a day like this and oppression such as this, even though her 
father, the Prophet, had informed her about it, with or without mentioning the 
details, but hearing it is different from seeing it, and experiencing a tribulation 
is different from hearing or seeing it. 

if al-Sayyidah Fatimah had heard from her father that her situation will change 
and that after he (s) dies, the hidden rancour will become manifest, then now 
she actually witnessed it. A group had attacked her home in order to force her 
husband out - from the house that the Prophet himself would not enter until 
having sought permission from Fatimah. It was not possible for al-Zahra 3 to stay 
silent and remain a spectator. What family would remain silent and calm when 
they see a group wanting to attack their home in order to force the head of the 
family to come out? Fear, panic and anxiety reaches its peak and all peace and 
tranquillity is taken away from such a family. The children cry and wail out of 
fear and voices are raised in those horrifying moments. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


281 


Before the group attacked, al-Sayyidah Fatimah was behind the door and had a 
scarf covering her head, but she had not worn the full veil ( khimar ). So when 
the group attacked, al-Sayyidah Fatimah hid herself behind the door in order 
to veil herself from those men. They pushed the door with such force that they 
crushed her behind it. At this time, she was six months pregnant. In that 
moment, al-Sayyidah cried out due to intense pain because her baby was killed 
by the impact of the door - and do not even ask about the spikes on the door 
that pierced her chest because of the force of the push. 

It was then that the group caught Imam c Al! and sought to force him out of the 
house, while al-Sayyidah Fatimah tried to prevent them from taking her 
husband, despite the severe pain she felt and the agitation of the foetus inside 
her womb. At this moment, the order to strike Fatimah, the beloved of the 
Prophet of Allah, was issued. The children of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 who witnessed 
this event have the following to say: 

1) Imam al-Hasan ( c a) addressed al-Mughirah ibn Shu c bah in the court of 
Mu c awiyah saying: “You are the one who struck Fatimah, daughter of 
the Holy Prophet, until you made her bleed and she miscarried the 
child that was in her womb. By this you dishonoured the Prophet of 
Allah, disobeyed his command and infringed on his sanctity. The 
Prophet of Allah had said to her, ‘You are the Mistress of the women of 
Paradise.’ Most surely Allah will put you in the fire of Hell...” 13/ru 

2) In the book of Sulaym ibn Qays: ...TJmar came forward and banged on 
the door shouting, “0 son of Abu Talib, open the door!” Fatimah ( c a) 
said, “0 c Umar, what do we have to do with you, why don’t you just 
leave us alone?” He responded, “Open the door otherwise I will burn it 
down!” She ( c a) said, “0 c Umar, do you not fear Allah? You are willing 


13 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 197; al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, p. 278 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


to invade my house and attack my home?!” But he refused to go away. 
Then c Umar called for fire to be brought and he set fire to the door. 
When the door was burning, he pushed it open. When Fatimah ( c a) 
faced him she cried, “0 father! 0 Prophet of Allah!” c Umar raised his 
sword, while it was still sheathed, and struck her on her side with it, so 
she cried out. He then raised his whip and lashed her arms, as she 
exclaimed, “0 father! How evil is what Abu Bakr and 'Umar are doing 
after you!” 

'All ibn Abi Talib ( c a) tackled 'Umar and held him by the collar, then he 
shook him and threw him to the ground, injuring his nose and neck. He 
wanted to kill him but remembered the words of the Prophet (s) and 
how he had advised him to remain patient. So he said, “By the one who 
honoured Muhammad, 0 son of Sahhak! if it was not for the Book of 
Allah and the promise I had given to the Prophet of Allah, you would 
have known that no one can ever enter my house [like this]...” 

'Umar began shouting for help, so the people came to him. They 
entered the house [of Amir al-Mu 3 minm] and overpowered him, 
placing a rope around his neck. Fatimah ('a) tried to block their way at 
the door of the house, so Qunfudh took a whip and stuck her with such 
force that when she passed away from this world, there were marks on 
her arms that looked like large bracelets because of his lashes. Then he 
forcefully pushed her towards the doorpost, breaking her ribs and 
causing her to miscarry her child. After this, she remained bedridden 
until she died a martyr because of this. nr 

3) In the book Irshad al-Qulub: From al-Zahra 3 ('a) who said: “...They 
gathered firewood outside our door and brought fire in order to burn 
our house down and us along with it. I stood at the doorpost and 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


283 


beseeched them, for the sake of Allah and my father, to stop what they 
were doing. c Umar took the whip from Qunfudh and lashed at my arm 
with so much force that it got swollen such that it looked like a thick 
bracelet [on my arm]. Then he kicked in the door with his leg and 
pushed it on me while I was pregnant, so I fell down on my face as the 
fire raged on. He then struck me with his hand until my earrings fell 
out of my ears. At this time labour pains came upon me and I miscarried 
Muhsin, [who was killed] without any fault.’”"' 4 

4) Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “...The cause of her death was that Qunfudh, 
the slave of c Umar, struck her with the sheath of his sword on his 
command, so she miscarried Muhsin and fell severely ill because of 
this...” 14/n ° 

From this we deduce that more than one person struck the daughter of the 
Prophet (s), with a whip and at other times, a sheathed sword, and this is what 
led to her miscarriage. 

Poets also describe the pain and anguish of this grave oppression. One of them 
says: 

L ~^»Jl ilh I C C Jg.a. — ■ U 

The daughter of guidance miscarried , 0 what sorrow , 
her baby who was named Muhsin 

Another says: 


14 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 170; c Awalim al- c Ulum, vol. 11, p. 557 


284 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 





Those who forced their way into the house ofBatul, 
and caused her to miscarry her precious child 

Yet another says: 

j 2 ~ 1' 1 ^ » 1 - ^ La 

jj il»Jl l g h J, J| ) I 8 d? JJJ— 1— « 


Can you fathom what happened to Fatimah because of the spikes, 
how her ribs were broken? 

Flow the baby was miscarried and how, the eyes became red 
and how her earrings fell off, strewn? 

Another poet says: 

jij—Sfi j 

I do not know the news of the spikes, 
ask her chest [about it] - for it is the treasure of secrets 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah called her servant Fiddah for help crying, “0 Fiddah! Take 
me away with you and let me lean on your chest, for by Allah, they have killed 
the baby in my womb!” rn Fiddah rushed forward and held al-Sayyidah Fatimah 

in her arms as she tried to carry her to the room, but the foetus was miscarried 
before al-Zahra 3 reached her room. 

It is well known that the pain of miscarriage is worse than the pain of childbirth, 
and Fatimah, the beloved daughter of the Prophet, wailed in such a manner that 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


285 


every heart would feel pain and every eye would shed tears [upon hearing it]. 
The baby left this world as his mother looked on. However, the people did not 
pay heed to what had happened to the Mistress of all Women and the daughter 
of the Master of Prophets; rather, they took her noble husband, after having 
disarmed him and tying the rope of his sword around his neck. They ruthlessly 
pulled him from his house to the masjid by force in order to make him pledge 
allegiance. 15 

Here the pen stops moving and the tongue becomes mute, unable to express 
what this brave and chivalrous man had to endure. The champion of Islam and 
the great warrior; the Imam in whose eyes al-Zahra 3 was more valuable than 
anything else, who cherished her more than everything and considered her to 
be the most praiseworthy human being after the Prophet. Salman witnessed 
this perplexing sight and commented: “Can this be done to such a person? By 
Allah, if he were to pray to Allah, the sky would fall on the earth!” 16/nv 

Take a moment with me and let us weep for c All, as he listened to the wails of 
his beloved wife Fatimah! He heard the cries of his little sons and daughters as 
they looked towards their mother and father, not knowing what to do. Should 
they encircle their mother and listen to her wail because of the pain of losing 
her baby, or should they accompany their father who has been surrounded by 
people who are pushing him from behind and pulling him forward? Agony, 0 
what agony! c All wants to assist his wife when he sees her in this state, but the 
rope is around his neck, and the people are pushing him away, as the cries of 
the children have made him restless. He looks right and left and cries: “0 


15 It is surprising that Mu c awiyah rejoiced at the calamity that befell Imam c Ali (‘a) and wrote to 
him: “And you were pulled towards them the way a camel that has a stick placed in its nose is 
pulled, so that they could take your pledge of allegiance by force...” (Cf. Nahj al-Balaghah, letter 
28, p. 387) 

16 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 28, p. 261 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Hamzah! But I do not have Hamzah by my side today, 0 Ja c far! But Ja c far is not 
with me today!” ru 

In the end, they drag the rightful successor of the Prophet out of the house in 
this atrocious manner, while abusing and taunting him. The women who were 
standing on the way lamented with raised voices and wailed, but of what use 
are cries when faced with brute force? Will those hard hearts become soft 
because of the screams and cries of women? 

Fatimah opened her eyes at that moment, and it is possible that she regained 
consciousness because of the frightened screams of her children. She said, “0 
Fiddah, where is c Ali?” Fiddah wept and replied, “They have taken him to the 
masjid!” Fatimah forgot her agony and stood up. Her body was writhing in pain 
from head to toe, but she gathered her courage for this grave situation and 
critical juncture. As al-Sayyidah Fatimah prepared to come out in order to save 
her husband from the predicament and redress the situation, Imam c Ali was in 
the Masjid of the Prophet, ibn Qutaybah says: 

They recalled how c Ali was brought before Abu Bakr as he kept saying: 
“I am the servant of Allah and the brother of His Prophet.” Someone 
said to him, “Pledge your allegiance to Abu Bakr.” He said, “I am more 
deserving of this than all of you. I will not pledge allegiance to you 
when it is you who ought to pledge allegiance to me. You have taken 
this affair from the Ansar and have convinced them using the excuse of 
your nearness to the Prophet (s) while you usurp it from the Ahl al- 
Bayt! Did you not tell the Ansar that you are more worthy of this 
because of your proximity to Muhammad (s), such that they gave you 
the reins of leadership and surrendered the authority to you? Now I use 
the same evidence, which you used against the Ansar, against you - we 
are closer to the Prophet of Allah (s) in life and death, so be just with us 
if you fear for your souls.” 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


287 


c Umar said to him, “You will not be released until you pledge 
allegiance.” c All replied, “Extract the milk well for half of it is yours! 
Support him today so that he may pass it on to you tomorrow. By Allah, 
0 c Umar, I do not accept your words and I will not pledge my allegiance 
to him.” Abu Bakr said, “if you do not wish to pledge your allegiance to 
me then I will not force you to do so.” c All addressed the people and 
said, “0 Muhajirun, I call upon you by Allah, do not expel the heir and 
representative of Muhammad among the Arabs from his house and 
from inside his home, forcing him towards your own houses and homes 
and do not divest from his family the right that is theirs and their status 
among the people. By Allah, 0 Muhajirun, we, the Ahl al-Bayt, are more 
deserving of this matter than you, as long as there is one [among us] 
who recites the Book of Allah, understands the religion of Allah and 
knows the ways and practices of the Holy Prophet.. .” r " 

This is what ibn Qutaybah has narrated in his book al-Imamah wal-Siyasah. 17 

In his Tafslr, al- c Ayyashi narrates: 

They forced him out of his house with a noose around his neck and 
pulled him past the grave of the Prophet (s). He said, “0 brother, the 
people have reckoned me weak and were about to kill me.” c Umar said 
to him, “Pledge allegiance!” c All said, “And what will you do to me if I 
refuse?” c Umar said, “Then, by Allah, I will strike your neck!” “In that 
case, I will be a martyred servant of Allah and brother to the Prophet of 
Allah,” said c Ali. And in another narration, he said, “In that case you will 
have killed a servant of Allah and the brother of the Holy Prophet.” 
c Umar retorted, “A servant of Allah, yes, but brother of the Prophet, 
no!” and in another narration, he said, “As for your being the brother 


17 al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 15; al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, p. 73 


288 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of the Prophet of Allah, we do not accept that attribution.” The Imam 
( c a) said, “Do you deny that the Prophet (s) established a bond of 
brotherhood between myself and him?” “Yes,” he said. Then a lengthy, 
heated debate ensued between the rightful successor of the Prophet ( c a) 
and that clique. 187 "' 

At that point, Fatimah arrived at the masjid holding the hands of her sons, al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn, accompanied by all the Hashimi women. Al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah saw her husband being threatened with execution, so she came 
forward calling out and saying, “Leave the son of my uncle alone! Leave my 
husband alone! By Allah, [if you do not let him go] I will surely remove my veil 
and place my father’s shirt on my head before I pray to Allah against you!” rT> 
And in another narration [she said], “By the One who sent Muhammad with the 
truth, if you do not let him go, I will open up my hair and place the shirt of my 
father, the Holy Prophet (s), on my head. Then I will cry out to Allah, the Most 
High, [against you]. For indeed, the camel of Salih is not more honourable in 
the sight of Allah than me, nor is its baby camel more honourable than my 
children!” 197 "" 


In another narration, al- c Ayyashi reports that she said: “0 Abu Bakr, do you 
wish to make me a widow? By Allah, if you do not leave him, I will open my hair 
and rent my garment before going to the grave of my father and crying out 
[against you] to my Lord!”"" Then she took al-Hasan and al-Husayn and left 
towards the grave of the Prophet (s). 

In yet another narration, she said: “What do you want with me 0 Aba Bakr? Do 
you want to make my children orphans and me a widow? By Allah, if it was not 


18 Muhammad ibn Mas c ud al- c AyyashI (d. 320 A.H.), Tafslr al- c Ayyashi, vol. 2, p. 67 

19 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 28, p. 206, al-Ihtijaj vol. 1, p. 86 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the Face of the Whirlwinds 


289 


considered a sin, I would open my hair and cry out to my Lord.” A person among 
the group said to Abu Bakr, “What do you hope to achieve by this? Do you want 
the wrath [of Allah] to descend on this ummah?” r ' lt 

c Ali told Salman, “Take care of the daughter of Muhammad...” Salman came 
forward and said, “0 daughter of Muhammad, Allah sent your father as a mercy 
[for mankind] so turn back [and do not curse these people]!” She said, “0 
Salman, they want to kill c Ali! I do not have the patience [for that] so let me go 
to the grave of my father and open my hair, rent my garment and cry out to my 
Lord.” Salman said, “I am afraid that [if you do this] Madinah will sink into the 
ground, and c Ali has sent me to you, asking that you return to your house and 
refrain from this.” She ( c a) replied, “Then I will return and bear patiently, and I 
will listen to him and obey his wishes. ” 20/r ’ , ° 

In al-Radawi al-Najafi’s book Ihtijaj al-Zahra } [we read]: ...Then c Ali turned 
running towards al-Sayyidah Fatimah. When he reached her, Fatimah began 
kissing his shoulders and, with tears flowing from her eyes, she said, “May my 
soul be sacrificed for yours, and my life be sacrificed defending yours. 0 Aba al- 
Hasan, I am with you in both good times and bad.” 21/rn 

In short, al-Sayyidah Fatimah did not return to her house until she had taken 
her husband with her and saved him from that clique, having delivered him 
from the forceful attempt to take the pledge of allegiance from him. 


20 Bayt al-Ahzan, p. 121 

21 al-Radawi al-Najafi, Ihtijaj al-Zahra \ p. 140 


CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 


The Sermon of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Fadak 

The best words and the most truthful statements to begin this topic with are 
the words of Allah, the Most High. For who is more truthful in speech than 
Allah? And whose words are truer than Allah’s? The Almighty says: Then give to 
the near of kin his due, and to the needy and the wayfarer. This is best for those who 
desire Allah’s pleasure, and these it is who are successful. (Q30:38) 

In this verse, Allah is addressing his beloved Messenger Muhammad (s), and 
commanding him to give the near of kin his right. So who is the near of kin, and 
what is his right? We have mentioned, when discussing the Verse of Qurba or 
the Verse of Mawaddah, that the ‘near of kin’ refers to the close relatives of the 
Prophet namely, c Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a); so the meaning of 
this verse is: ‘give your close relatives their due rights.’ 

Abu SaTd al-Khudri and others have related that when this verse was revealed 
to the Prophet (s), he gifted Fadak to Fatimah, handing it over to her. This has 
been narrated by Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) and is well known 
among all the ShTah scholars. A considerable number of Sunni scholars have 
also narrated this using various chains. For example, it has been mentioned in 
Kanz al- c Ummal and in the explicatory margins of the Musnad of Ahmad ibn 
Hanbal, under the topic of Silat al-Rahim, from the book al-Akhlaq, from Abu 
SaTd al-Khudri who said: “When the verse: ‘Then give to the near of kin his due...’ 



The Sermon of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Fadak 


291 


was revealed, the Prophet (s) told Fatimah, ‘Fadak is yours.” ,r,v He (the author) 
added: al-Hakim has [also] narrated this in his Tdrikh. 

In al-Suyutl’s al-Durr al-Manthur [we read]: al-Bazzaz narrates from Abu Ya c la, 
ibn Abl Hatim and ibn Mardawayh, from Abu Sahd al-Khudrl who said: “When 
the verse: ‘Then give to the near of kin his due...’ was revealed, the Prophet (s) gave 
Fadak to Fatimah.” 1/r,A ibn Abl al-Hadld al-Mu c tazill says in his Sharh al-Nahj, 

and it has been narrated through various chains other than the chain of Abu 
Sahd, that when the verse ‘Then give to the near of kin his due...’ was revealed, the 
Prophet (s) called Fatimah and gave her Fadak . 1 2 

What is Fadak? This question encompasses five main issues. The first is in 
relation to what Fadak was, and the second is whether it was the personal 
property of the Holy Prophet (s) or did it belong to all the Muslims. Third, 
whether the Prophet gave Fadak to his daughter as a gift during his lifetime or 
not. Fourth, whether the Prophet (s) had heirs who inherit from him or not. 
Finally, whether al-Sayyidah Fatimah worked on Fadak during the lifetime of 
her father, the Prophet, or not. 

As for the answer to the first question, the lexicographers have mentioned 
different meanings for Fadak. In al-Qamus, it is defined as ‘a village in Khaybar.’ 
In al-Misbah: ‘Fadak is a town two days away from Madinah. It is near Khaybar 
and is one of the lands that Allah bestowed on His Prophet (s) as part of the 
spoils of war.’ In al-HamawI’s Mu c jam al-Buldan [we read]: ‘Fadak is a village in 
Hijaz, two or three days away from Madinah, that Allah granted to His Prophet 
(s) in the seventh year of the Hijrah, as part of a peace pact. This was after the 
Prophet (s) descended upon Khaybar and conquered all its fortresses, except 
the last three. When the siege that the Muslims laid on these fortresses became 


1 al-Durr al-Manthur, vol. 4, p. 177 

2 Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 16, p. 285 


292 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


difficult for them (the enemies) to bear, they asked the Prophet to exile them 
instead, and he agreed. When the news of this reached the people of Fadak, they 
sent a message to the Prophet (s) asking him to make peace with them in return 
for half of their produce and wealth. The Prophet agreed to this, so Fadak was 
taken without any war or fighting and thus became the personal property of 
the Prophet of Allah (s).’ 

In order to answer the second question, namely whether Fadak was the 
personal property of the Prophet (s) or not, we turn to the verse of the Quhan 
wherein the Almighty says: And whatever Allah bestowed to His Messenger from 
them, you did not press forward against it any horse or riding camel, but Allah gives 
authority to His Messengers against whom He pleases and Allah has power over all 
things. Whatever Allah has bestowed to His Messenger from the people of the towns, it is 
for Allah and for the Messenger, and for the near of kin, the orphans, the needy, and the 
wayfarer... (Q59:6-7) 

The phrase “whatever Allah bestowed" means: Allah returned that which was in 
the possession of the polytheists to the Prophet, as Allah is the true owner. 
“From them” means: from the Jews who were exiled. “You did not press forward 
against it any horse or riding camel”: to press forward a horse means to urge it 
forward and gallop speedily. The word al-rikab in this verse refers to the camel. 
The phrase therefore means: you did not take possession of this property by 
overrunning the enemy using your horses and camels. “But Allah gives authority 
to His Messengers against whom He pleases” means: Allah gives His Prophets 
authority and power over their enemies without having to fight them in battle, 
by putting fear in their enemies’ hearts. Thus Allah gave the wealth of Banu 
Nadir to His Prophet as his personal property, to dispose of as he wished. It was 
not like the spoils of war that is divided [equitably] among the soldiers. 

“Whatever Allah has bestowed to His Messenger from the people of the towns”: 
meaning from the wealth of the disbelieving people of the towns; “it is for Allah 


The Sermon of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Fadak 


293 


and for the Messenger”: meaning that Allah has made that wealth the property of 
His Prophet, “and for the near of kin”: i.e. those who are closely related to the 
Prophet, “and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer” from the near of kin. 

Al-TabarsI narrates from ibn c Abbas that the verse: ‘Whatever Allah has bestowed 
to His Messenger from the people of the towns...’ was revealed about the property of 
the disbelievers among the townspeople. They were the Banu Qurayzah and 
Banu Nadir who lived inside Madinah. And Fadak, which was three miles 
outside Madinah, Khaybar and the villages of c Uraynah and Yanbu c a were all 
given by Allah to His Prophet to do with as he pleased. When the people asked, 
“Will we not get a share of it?” the abovementioned verse was revealed. We 
have already seen what al-Hamawi has said about Fadak in Mu c jam al-Buldan - 
that it was taken without being overridden by horses or camels, so it belonged 
solely to the Prophet of Allah (s). 

The answer to the third question can be found in the commentaries of the 
traditionists on the verse: ‘Then give to the near of kin his due...’ which state that 
the Prophet (s) gave Fatimah Fadak. We can even present more evidence for 
this: 

Ibn Hajar mentions in al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah and al-Samhudi in Tarikh al- 
Madinah, that c Umar said: “I shall tell you about this matter. Indeed Allah gave 
His Prophet from these spoils that which He did not give anyone else, and said 
[in the Qur’an]: And whatever Allah bestowed to His Messenger from them, you did not 
press forward against it any horse or riding camel, but Allah gives authority to His 
Messengers against whom He pleases and Allah has power over all things. So this was 
the personal property of the Prophet of Allah.. 

What we learn from all these verses and narrations, therefore, is that Fadak was 
the property of the Holy Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) gave it to Fatimah as a 
gift, by the command of Allah when He said: ‘ Then give to the near of kin his due.’ 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


We shall answer the fourth question shortly. As for the answer to the fifth 
question, it is gleaned from the statements of the historians and traditionists to 
the effect that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 used to work on Fadak, and Fadak 
was under her control. We see that Imam c All ( c a) mentions this clearly in his 
letter to c Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was his governor in Basrah: “Yes, Fadak was 
in our hands - from all of that upon which the sky cast a shadow - but the hearts 
of a group became covetous of it whereas others were generous with it, and 
Allah is the best Judge. ..” 3/rr ’ 

Ibn Hajar says, in the second chapter of al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, that Abu Bakr 
took Fadak away from Fatimah. This means that Fadak was in Fatimah’s 
possession during the lifetime of the Prophet and Abu Bakr later took it away. 
c Allamah Majlis! quotes from the book al-Khara’ij that when the Holy Prophet 
(s) entered Madinah, after taking possession of Fadak, he came to Fatimah ( c a) 
and said, “0 daughter, Allah has bestowed Fadak on your father and has made 
it my personal property, to the exclusion of the other Muslims, to do with it as 
I please. And you mother, Khadijah, had a dowry that I was yet to pay, so I have 
made it (Fadak) yours in lieu of this, and I have gifted it to you and your children 
after you.” Then he asked for some parchment and called c Ali ibn Abi Talib 
saying, “Write down that Fadak has been gifted to Fatimah by the Prophet of 
Allah.” So c Ali bore witness to this, as did one of the servants of the Prophet and 
Umm Ayman. rn 

When the Prophet of Allah (s) passed away, Abu Bakr took over the reins of 
authority. After ten days had passed and the matter had been firmly 
established, he sent someone to Fadak to remove the representative of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a). Fadak belonged to Fatimah in three ways: Firstly, it was 
something already in her possession, and she was using it. It was impermissible 


3 Nahj al-Balaghah, Letter 45, p. 417 


The Sermon of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Fadak 


295 


to take Fadak from her except for a valid reason and with strong evidence, as 
the Noble Prophet (s) had said: “The onus of evidence is on the claimant, and 
the oath is to be taken by the respondent.’”" 1 ” So al-Sayyidah Fatimah was not 

required to produce any evidence, because she was the owner. Secondly, she 
got Fadak as a gift, given to her by her father, the Prophet of Allah. Thirdly, it 
was hers by right of inheritance. However, the people differed on this third 
aspect, and they sought evidence for it, asking her to present witnesses to 
establish that the Prophet had gifted it to her and denying that Prophets could 
have heirs [who may inherit their possessions]. 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah could seek her right using any of the above arguments. 
Hence, she first sought Fadak using the argument that it was a gift, then she 
argued that it was her inheritance, as al-Halabl has mentioned in his Sirah : 

Fatimah came to Abu Bakr after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s) and 
said, “Fadak is a gift from my father, he gave it to me during his 
lifetime.” Abu Bakr rejected this saying, “I want witnesses who can 
attest to this.” So c Ali testified, but he asked for another witness, so 
Umm Ayman came forward and confirmed it. He said to her, “Do you 
claim your right using the testimony of one man and one woman?” rrr 

Al-TabarsI narrates in al-lhtijaj: 

Fatimah ( c a) came to Abu Bakr and said, “Why do you deprive me of my 
rightful inheritance from my father the Prophet of Allah, while I have 
two witnesses who attest to the fact that the Prophet of Allah (s) made 
it mine by the command of Allah?” He said, “Bring me these witnesses.” 
So Umm Ayman came and said, “0 Abu Bakr, I will not give my 
testimony until I have reminded you of what the Prophet of Allah (s) 
said. I ask you, by Allah, do you not know that the Holy Prophet said, 
‘Umm Ayman is one of the women of Paradise’?” “Yes,” he replied. 


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Then she said, “I bear witness that when Allah revealed the verse: ‘Then 
give to the near of kin his due...’ to the Holy Prophet (s), he gave Fadak to 
Fatimah [as a source of income for her] in accordance with the 
command of Allah.” Then c Ali ( c a) came and gave a similar testimony, 
so he (Abu Bakr) wrote it down for her and gave her the parchment 
[confirming her ownership]. When c Umar came, he asked, “What did 
you write on that parchment?” He replied, “Fatimah claimed Fadak and 
brought her witnesses, Umm Ayman and c Ali, so I wrote it down for 
her.” c Umar snatched the parchment from Fatimah, spat on it and 
ripped it up, so Fatimah ( c a) went away crying. 4/rr ‘ 

In Sirat al-Halabi [it is reported]: c Umar took the parchment and tore it. 5/rr ° 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) that al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) came 
to Abu Bakr, upon the instruction of Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a), and said to him, 
“You have claimed the position of my father and said that you are his successor. 
You have occupied his seat. So if Fadak was yours and I would have sought it 
from you as a gift, it would have been incumbent upon you to return it to me.” 
He replied, “You are right.” Then he asked for a paper to be brought and he 
wrote down instructions that Fadak should be returned [to her], and she left 
with that paper in her hand. On the way, c Umar saw her and asked, “0 daughter 
of Muhammad, what is this paper in your hand?” She replied, “It is the 
instruction of Abu Bakr that Fadak should be returned to me.” He said, “Let me 
see it.” She refused to hand it over to him, so he kicked her with his foot and 
then struck her. He then took the paper and tore it up. 6/m 


4 Al-lhtijaj, vol. 1, pp. 91-92 

5 Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 3, p. 391 

6 Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mufid (d. 413 A.H.), al-Ikhtisas, p. 185; al-Sharif al-Murtada 'All 
ibn al-Husayn al-MusawI (d. 436 A.H.), al-Shafi fi al-Imamah, vol. 4, p. 97; Muhammad ibn al-Hasan 


A Heated Exchange Between Imam c Ali and Abu Bakr 


297 


She said to him, “You have ripped apart my paper, may Allah rip apart your 
belly!” 7/rrv 


A Heated Exchange Between Imam c Ali and Abu Bakr 
We return to what al-Tabarsi said: 

After this, when 'All ('a) came to Abu Bakr while he was in the masjid, 
with the Muhajirun and Ansar around him, he said, “0 Abu Bakr, why 
did you deprive Fatimah of her inheritance from the Prophet of Allah 
(s) when the Prophet had given it to her during his lifetime?” Abu Bakr 
said, “This is booty for the Muslims, so if she can bring witnesses that 
the Prophet had given it to her [then we will return it], otherwise she 
has no right over it!” 'All ('a) said, “0 Abu Bakr, will you pass judgement 
between us contrary to what Allah has commanded for the Muslims?” 
He said, “No.” He ('a) said, “Then if something is in the possession of 
Muslims and I make a claim on it, whom will you ask for evidence?” “It 
is you whom I will ask,” he said. Imam 'All said, “Then why do you ask 
Fatimah to produce evidence for what was in her possession during the 
lifetime of Prophet (s), until he left this world, yet you do not ask the 
Muslims to produce evidence and witnesses for their claims?” 

Abu Bakr became silent [for a while] and then said, “0 'All, leave this 
matter aside, for indeed we are unable to argue with you. if she brings 
reliable witnesses [then we will return it to her], otherwise it will be 
considered booty for the Muslims. Neither you nor Fatimah will have 


al-Tusi (d. 460 A.H.), Talkhis al-Shafi, vol. 3, p. 125; Lisan al-Mizan, vol. I, p. 268; Mlzan al-Mdal, vol. 
1, p. 158 (in the last two sources it is stated the c Umar kicked Fatimah...) 

7 c Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram (d. 1391 A.H.), Wafat al-Siddiqah al-Zahra \ p. 78 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


any right over it!” Then Imam c All ( c a) said, “0 Abu Bakr, do you read 
the Book of Allah?” He said, “Yes.” “Then tell me about the verse: Indeed 
Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, 0 People of the Household, and 
purify you with a thorough purification; was it revealed about us or about 
someone else?” “It was revealed about you,” he said. The Imam ( c a) 
asked, “So if witnesses come forward and claim that Fatimah, the 
daughter of the Prophet (s), has committed an indecent act, what would 
you do to her?” He replied, “I would punish her the way I would punish 
any other Muslim woman!” “Then you would be considered a 
disbeliever in the sight of Allah!” said c Ali ( c a). “Why is that?” he asked. 
“Because you will have rejected the testament of Allah regarding her 
purity and accepted the testimony of the people against her, just as you 
have rejected the verdict of Allah and His prophet that Fadak is hers, 
and assumed it to be the booty of the Muslims; while the Prophet of 
Allah (s) has said: ‘The onus of evidence is on the claimant, and the oath 
is to be taken by the respondent.’” 

Upon hearing this, the people began murmuring and some rejected the 
position of others saying, “By Allah, c Ali has spoken the truth.” rTA 

The fAilamah narrates in his Kashkul from Mufaddal ibn c Umar, from Abu 
c Abdillah [al-Sadiq] ( c a), a tradition that has some important points which we 
summarize as follows: 

When Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah took over the position of leadership, a caller 
called out: “Whoever had a debt or a commitment with the Prophet of Allah 
should come forward so that it may be repaid.” Jabir ibn c Abdillah and Jarir ibn 
c Abdillah al-Bajali came forward and claimed all that the Prophet of Allah (s) 
owed them, so Abu Bakr gave it to them. Then Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and 
asked for Fadak and [her share of] the Khums and booty, so he said, “Bring me 
evidence, 0 daughter of the Prophet.” She argued using verses of the Quhan 


A Heated Exchange Between Imam c Ali and Abu Bakr 


299 


and said, “You have accepted the claims of Jabir ibn c Abdillah and Jarir ibn 
c Abdillah al-Bajali and did not ask them for any proof, whereas my evidence is 
from the Book of Allah.” Later they asked her to present witnesses, so she sent 
for c Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Umm Ayman and Asma 3 bint c Umays, who was the 
wife of Abu Bakr at that time, and all of them testified to what she had said. 

They responded saying, “As for c Ali, he is her husband, and al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn are her children. Umm Ayman is her servant and Asma 3 bint c Umays 
used to be married to Ja c far ibn Abi Talib, so she will testify in favour of the Ban! 
Hashim; and she has also served Fatimah. So all these people are biased towards 
their own interests.” 

c Ali responded, “As for Fatimah, she is part of the Prophet of Allah, and whoever 
wrongs her has wronged the Prophet himself, and whoever belies her has belied 
the Prophet of Allah. As for al-Hasan and al-Husayn, they are the sons of the 
Prophet and the Masters of the Youth of Paradise. Whoever belies them has 
belied the Holy Prophet, for the people of Paradise are truthful [and never tell 
lies]. As for myself, the Prophet said, ‘You are from me and I am from you. You 
are my brother in this world and the next. Whoever rejects you has rejected 
me, whoever obeys you has obeyed me and whoever disobeys you has 
disobeyed me.’ And as for Umm Ayman, the Prophet promised that she would 
go to Paradise and he (s) also prayed for Asma 3 bint c Umays and her progeny.” 

c Umar said, “You are as you have described yourselves, but testimony that is 
biased cannot be accepted!” c Ali ( c a) said, “if you accept that we are as we have 
described, yet when we testify for ourselves you do not accept it, and the 
testimony of the Prophet of Allah [regarding us] is not acceptable [to you], then 
verily we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return, if when we make a claim for 
ourselves you ask us for evidence, then there is no helper who can assist, and 
[by doing this] you have surely questioned the sovereignty of Allah and the 
authority of His Prophet, which you have removed from his household and 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


placed in the household of another without any proof or evidence, and indeed 
those who act unjustly shall know to what final place of return they shall go back.” 

Then he ( c a) said to Fatimah, “Go back and let Allah be the judge, for indeed He 
is the Best of Judges.”'"'"'' 

When al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) saw that they had nullified the 
testimony of her witnesses, who affirmed that Fadak was a gift, and her efforts 
were of no avail, she came and sought her right using the argument of her right 
of inheritance. She had made all the necessary arrangements to carry out the 
biggest offensive that would have the most far-reaching effect, knowing fully 
well that the rulers would not accept the clear evidence and irrefutable proof 
[that she had], as the poet has said: The sign of the sword wipes out the sign of the 
pen. 

Every community will judge them as dictators for they were bereft of logic and 
reason bore no fruit with them. However, al-Sayyidah Fatimah had another 
goal, and that would surely be achieved. Her goal was to have the oppression 
she underwent recorded in the annals of history and to remove the veil from 
the actions of that clique and [expose] their [evil] intentions. Therefore, she 
decided to go to the masjid and give a sermon through which her far-sighted 
goal would be attained. 


The Secret Behind Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s Claim on Fadak 

It is possible for someone to say that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was an 
ascetic who did not care for the allures of this world, so what would make 
someone who is uninterested in the adornments of this world rise up and 
struggle continuously for her rights in this way? What reason could there be 
for the insistence and persistence in retaking Fadak and giving such importance 


The Secret Behind Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s Claim on Fadak 


301 


to those lands of date palms, while al-Sayyidah Fatimah enjoyed such a lofty 
position and exalted status [in the sight of Allah]? What was the purpose of 
seeking this world, which is considered by them (the Ahl al-Bayt) to be ‘more 
insignificant than the snort of a she-goat’, ‘more contemptible than the bone of 
a pig in the mouth of a leper’ and ‘of less value than the wing of a gnat’? 

What drove the Mistress of all Women of the Worlds to burden herself with 
such troubles and to endure such suffering in seeking her lands, when she knew 
that her efforts would be in vain and she would be unable to prevail over the 
situation and could not take back those lands from the usurpers? It is possible 
that these questions may come to mind when thinking about this matter. 

The answer is, firstly, when the government confiscated the property of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and placed it under the ‘custodianship of the state’ 
(as mentioned in the tradition), their goal was to weaken the position of the Ahl 
al-Bayt by waging an economic battle against c All. They wanted c Al! to be poor 
so that people would not rally around him. They did not want him to possess 
any economic strength, and it was through such politics that the hypocrites 
had earlier sought to encroach upon the right of the Holy Prophet (s) when they 
said: Do not spend on those who are with the Apostle of Allah until they scatter off. 
(Q63:7) 

Secondly, the lands of Fadak were highly productive and very fertile. The yields 
therefrom were impressive. In fact, ibn Abl al-Hadld says that its date palms 
were as many as the date palms of Kufa during ibn Abl al-Hadld’s time. Shaykh 
al-MajlisI has quoted from Kashf al-Mahajjah that the annual income of Fadak 
was twenty-four thousand dinars and according to another tradition, it was 
seventy thousand dinars. This difference might be due to the different years 
[when the accounts were taken]. In any case, this is a very large sum and cannot 
be ignored. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Thirdly, what she really sought (and the real reason for her claim on Fadak) was 
the caliphate and her husband’s right of leadership - the same general 
leadership and overall authority that her father, the Prophet of Allah (s), had. 
Ibn Abl al-Hadld says: “I asked c All ibn al-Fariql, a teacher in Baghdad’s al- 
Madrassah al-Gharbiyyah, ‘Was Fatimah right?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied. I asked, ‘Then 
why did Abu Bakr not give Fadak back to her if she was right?’ He smiled and 
then said something beautiful that was befitting of his position and status. He 
said, ‘If he gave Fadak to her on that day in response to her claim, she would 
have come to him the following day to claim the caliphate for her husband and 
would remove him from his post. Then he would not be able to make any 
excuses because it will have been recorded that he deems her to be truthful in 
her claims, whatever they may be, without any need for proof or evidence.””" 4 ' 

Fourthly, rights are demanded and are not bestowed [as favours]. Therefore, 
one whose rights have been usurped has to seek what is rightfully his, even if 
he does not need it or will not make use of it. This does not contradict one’s 
asceticism or disinterest in this world, and it is improper to remain silent when 
one’s rights are trampled upon. 

Fifthly, even if a person is abstemious in this world and desires the Hereafter, 
he still needs wealth that is befitting of his position and by which he can 
preserve his dignity, help his near kinsfolk and spend in the way of Allah, as 
wisdom dictates. Do you not see how the Holy Prophet (s), who was the most 
abstemious ascetic, made use of the wealth of Khadijah in order to strengthen 
Islam? We have already recounted this when discussing the wealth of Khadijah. 

Sixthly, common sense dictates that a person should seek his usurped right. 
Here, two possible scenarios can be imagined: Either a person is successful in 
getting what he seeks, and this is the desired outcome, or he will be 
unsuccessful in getting his property. Nevertheless, by asking for it, he will have 
made the oppression manifest and declared that he has been oppressed and 


The Secret Behind Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ’s Claim on Fadak 


303 


that his property has been usurped. This is especially the case when the usurper 
claims to be righteous and virtuous, and pretends to be pious and religious. In 
such a case, by asking for his right, the oppressed person demonstrates to the 
people and the future generations that the oppressor is not truthful in his 
claim. 

Seventhly, there are many ways by which those who have important principles, 
which they adhere to, are able to draw the hearts of people towards themselves. 
Some win over their hearts using wealth or good character, whereas others use 
promises, threats and the like. However, the best way to win over the hearts of 
most people is to show that you have been oppressed, for the hearts [always] 
sympathize with the oppressed person, whoever he may be, and to loathe the 
oppressor, whoever he may be. This is the most effective and compelling way 
for principled people to achieve their goals through bringing about awareness 
in the people by winning over their hearts. 

There are some other reasons that we must mention; and these were the 
reasons for which al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) went to the Masjid of the 
Holy Prophet (s) in order to seek her rights. She never went to the house of Abu 
Bakr to discuss the matter with him personally; rather, she chose a more 
appropriate place - the centre of Islam in those days and the place where 
Muslims would assemble i.e. the Masjid of the Holy Prophet (s). She also chose 
the right time - when the masjid was full of people from all walks of life, from 
both the Muhajirun and the Ansar. Moreover, she did not come to the masjid 
alone. She came with a group of ladies, as though she was leading a procession 
of women. The beloved daughter of the Prophet (s) had even selected a place in 
the masjid beforehand where she would sit, and a curtain was put up so that al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah could sit behind it, for she was the pride and the mistress of 
all the veiled women. These points are very important [and should not be 
overlooked]. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Abu Bakr prepared to listen to the argument of the Mistress of all Women, the 
daughter of the most eloquent speaker and the most learned woman in the 
entire world. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah gave an unrehearsed, methodical, coherent 
sermon, without any hesitation or stutter and free from fallacy, equivocation, 
sarcasm, vituperation, and anything that was not befitting of her greatness, 
dignity and lofty status. This sermon is considered an everlasting miracle of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and a clear sign of the great religious erudition 
that al-Siddiqah possessed. 

As for the eloquence and articulacy, the beauty of expression, the charm of 
speech, the strength of argument, the soundness of proof, the coherence of 
ideas, the use of metaphors and similes, the depth of subject, the focus on the 
goal and the diversity of discourse, these were such that the pen alone is 
incapable of describing, rather we must seek the aid of the reader’s mind [and 
imagination], Al-Sayyidah Fatimah was armed with the weapon of clear proof 
and irrefutable evidence, and the Muslims who were present in the masjid were 
waiting for her to speak and awaited the outcome of that debate, the likes of 
which had never been witnessed before. 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah sat in the place that had been prepared for her behind the 
curtain, and it is possible that this was the first time she had entered the masjid 
after the death of her father, the Prophet of Allah (s). It was not surprising then, 
that she was overcome by grief and cried out softly. I am unable to describe that 
whimper and its deep impact on the souls. One cry only, without uttering a 
word, moved the emotions of the people and everyone began to cry. I do not 
know what meaning that one cry carried and why the people started weeping. 
Can one whimper make eyes weep, tears flow and hearts ache? These are 
riddles that I do not know how to solve. Maybe someone else is able to solve 
these mysteries! 


The Sources of al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon 


305 


The Sources of al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon 

Before recounting the sermon of al-Zahra 3 ( c a), it would not be out of place to 
discuss the narrators of this sermon and its sources in the books of the ShTah 
and Ahl al-Sunnah. This would help us understand its importance in the eyes of 
the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a), since it serves as a historical record that highlights the 
injustice faced by the Ahl al-Bayt and the extent of persecution, harassment 
and repression that the family of the Prophet (s) went through at the hands of 
certain individuals. 

We do not claim to have gone through all the sources; rather, we only mention 
what we were able to find from [some of] the historical documents: 

— Al-Sayyid al-Murtada c Alam al-Huda (d. 436 A.H.) narrates this sermon 
in the book al-Shafl, from c Urwah, [who narrates] from SAdshah. 

— Al-Sayyid ibn Tawus narrates it in al-Tara’if from al-Zuhrl, from 
SAdshah. 

— Al-Shaykh al-Saduq has narrated it from Zaynab bint c All ( c a). 

— He has also narrated it with another chain from Zayd ibn c Ali al-Shahld, 
from his aunt Zaynab bint c All, from her mother Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). 

— Additionally, he has narrated it from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Jabir, 
from Zaynab bint c All ( c a). 

— ibn Abl al-Hadid has mentioned it in his commentary on the Nahj al- 
Balaghah, quoting from the book al-Saqlfah by Ahmad ibn c Abd al- c Aziz 
al-Jawhari, with four different chains: 

— From some members of the Ahl al-Bayt, from Zaynab bint c All ( c a) 
— From Imam Ja c far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq ( c a) 

— From Imam Muhammad ibn c Ali al-Baqir ( c a) 

— From c Abdullah ibn Hasan ibn al-Hasan ( c a) 

— c Al! ibn Tsa al-Irbili, in the book Kashf al-Ghummah, quotes it from al- 
Jawhari’s book al-Saqlfah. 


306 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


— Al-Mas c udl mentions this sermon in Muruj al-Dhahab. 

— Al-TabarsI [narrates it] in al-lhtijaj. 

— Ahmad ibn Abi Tahir [relates it] in the book Balaghat al-Nisa\ 

...And many others whose names will only lengthen the discourse. 

The attribution of this sermon to al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) is 
something unanimously agreed upon by scholars, historians etc. ibn Abi al- 
Hadid, in his commentary on the Nahj al-Balaghah, quotes al-Sayyid al-Murtada, 
who said: 

Abu c Abdillah al-Marzubani narrated from c Ali ibn Harun, from 
‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad, from his father who said: “I was in the presence 
of Abu al-Husayn Zayd (al- Shahid) ibn c Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘All ibn Abi 
Talib ( c a) when he mentioned the speech that Fatimah ( c a) gave when 
Abu Bakr refused to return Fadak to her. I said, ‘These people think that 
it is fabricated and is actually the speech of Abu al- c Ayna\ because it is 
highly eloquent.’ He replied, ‘I have heard the elders of the family of 
Abu Talib narrating it from their fathers and teaching it to their 
children. My father has narrated it to me from my grandfather, who 
narrated it from a chain that reaches Fatimah ( c a) [herself]. The learned 
elders among the Shhah have narrated it, memorized it and taught it 
[to others] before the grandfather of Abu al-‘Ayna 3 was even born! And 
al-Husayn ibn ‘Ulwan [also] narrated [it] from ‘Atiyyah al- c Awfi, who 
heard ‘Abdullah ibn Hasan ibn al-Hasan relating this speech from his 
father.’ Then Abu al-Husayn Zayd said, ‘How do they deny that these 
were Fatimah’s words while they narrate the speech that FAlishah gave 
when her father died, which is even more astounding, without 
investigating its authenticity? if only they did not have hatred for us, 
the Ahl al-Bayt!’” rn 


The Main Points of the Sermon 


307 


This is some of what we were able to find in the sources about the sermon of 
Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a); and other researchers might even discover more sources 
for this sermon. 


The Main Points of the Sermon 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) chose to begin and end her sermon in a 
unique manner. She did not restrict herself to focusing on the matter of her 
rights only, rather, she took the opportunity to make the springs of divine 
teachings gush forth for the Muslims, to show them the beauty of Islam and 
explain the philosophy and wisdom behind religious injunctions and precepts. 
This is how she prepared the groundwork for her main goal and purpose. 

The following are the main themes of her sermon: 

— Praising and glorifying Allah 

— Proof for the oneness of Allah 

— A discussion on Prophethood 

— A discussion about the age of ignorance ( jahiliyyah ) 

— The achievements of the Prophet 

— Addressing those who were present in the gathering 

— A discussion about the Qur’an 

— Explaining the wisdom behind religious precepts and the philosophy of 
Islam 

— Embarking on the main issue (of her rights) 

— The events that occurred during the lifetime of the Prophet 

— The stance of her noble husband during those events 

— Explaining how judgment was passed against the family of the Prophet 

— Explaining how the Muslims had abandoned the family of the Prophet 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


— Addressing the ‘head of state’ in the matter of [her] inheritance 
— Presenting the proofs and evidence 
— Admonishing the Ansar and reproving them 
— The answer of the ‘head of state’ 

— Countering his words and refuting his fallacious arguments 
— The excuse of the ‘head of state’ 

— Addressing those present in the gathering 
— Complaining to the Prophet of Allah (s) 

We shall now look at the sermon itself. 


The Timeless Sermon 

c Abdullah ibn al-Hasan narrates from his forefathers that when Abu Bakr 
decided to confiscate Fadak from Fatimah and she heard about this, she put on 
her veil and her outer cloak and went out, with a group of women from her 
community encircling her. Her walk was no less dignified than the walk of the 
Holy Prophet (s). When she came to Abu Bakr, she found him surrounded by a 
group of the Muhajirun, the Ansar and others. A curtain was hung up for her 
and she and sat down. Then she let out a soft whimper that made all the people 
who heard it burst into tears (they wept so loudly that the mosque reverberated 
with the sound of their weeping). There was commotion in the gathering. She 
took a long pause until the weeping stopped and the gathering turned silent/” 

She then began her sermon by praising and glorifying Allah, and sending 
salutations on His Prophet. Once again, the people broke out in tears and when 
they had stopped weeping, she continued her speech. She ( c a) said: 


The Timeless Sermon 


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o^lji j^'i ^'3 a^I 


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Fatimah al-Zahra I * 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


4llp 41^2 3 jJ^Jl 4l^a| j 4lJ ^>1 Jlp 4^1 L5^*^ Ojjhft* J 

.^jO Jjj Ail! 


Glory be to Allah for His great blessings , and gratitude to Him for that which He has 
inspired, and praise be to Him for what He has brought to pass. From the all- 
encompassing blessings that He grants to the ever-expansive grace that He bestows and 
all the bounties that He continuously confers. Its magnitude is greater than can be 
enumerated, its extent is beyond measure and its limit is beyond comprehension. He has 
invited the people to express their gratitude in order to seek its increase and continuity, 
called upon them to praise Him by augmenting it and followed up by bidding them to 
ask for more of its like [in the Hereafter]. 

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, having no partners - a statement the 
inner meaning of which has been defined as sincerity, its means have been instilled in 
the hearts and its meaning gleams in the minds. He cannot be perceived by sight, 
described bywords or depicted by imaginations. He originated everything from nothing 
that existed before, and created everything without following any previous model. He 
fashioned everything with His power and made it all with His will, without any need for 
bringing it into being or any possible benefit that could come from forming it; only the 
affirmation of His wisdom, the proclamation of His obedience, the manifestation of His 
power, the servility of His subjects and the exaltation of His call. Then He placed reward 
in His obedience and punishment in His disobedience, in order to turn His servants away 
from His chastisement and urge them towards His Paradise. 

I bear witness that my father Muhammad is His servant and Prophet. He chose him even 
before sending him [with the Message], named him before picking him [for prophethood] 

and selected him before appointing him [as a Messenger]. At a time when the creation 

was hidden in the unknown, covered by the curtain of uncertainty and close to the edge 


Commentary of the Sermon 


311 


of non-existence - out of the knowledge of Allah, the Most High, about the final outcome 
of every matter, the complete awareness of the events that will transpire and the 
cognizance of the end of all affairs - Allah sent him in order to complete His mission, to 
establish His order and enforce His unchanging decree. He found the people divided in 
their beliefs, secluded around their sacred fires, worshipping their idols and denying 
Allah despite having intrinsic knowledge about Him. So, through Muhammad (s), Allah 
illuminated their darkness, removed the ambivalence from their hearts and illumined 
the obscurity of their sight. He rose among the people with guidance, saved them from 
perversion, removed their [spiritual] blindness, led them to the right faith and called 
them towards the straight path. Then Allah took him back with kindness and election, 
affinity and preference. 

Thus Muhammad (s) is now in ease and comfort, [free] from the hardships of this world, 
surrounded by the blameless angels and the pleasure of the Forgiving Lord, in the 
company of the Almighty King. May Allah bless my father, His Prophet, the custodian of 
His revelation, His chosen servant, the one whom He selected from all His creatures and 
whom He is most pleased with. Peace, blessings and mercy of Allah be upon him. 


Commentary of the Sermon 

“Glory be to Allah for His great blessings” - It is incumbent, legally, rationally and 
conventionally, to show gratitude to one who bestows a favour. Allah deserves 
praise for the evident blessings He bestows like life, health etc. 

“And gratitude to Him for that which He has inspired” of the inner blessings such as 
knowledge, cognizance and the instincts that He has inspired human beings 
and non-humans with, for inspiration is an instruction [directly] to the heart 
and soul. It is a form of instruction that cannot be scrutinized by any individual. 


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“And praise be to Him for what He has brought to pass” - Allah, the Almighty, has 
blessings that He withholds until the Hereafter, such as Paradise and its 
bounties, and blessings that He bestows in this world. He thus grants certain 
blessings before others. 

“Of the all-encompassing blessings that He grants” - The general blessings that Allah 
bestows, like water, air, earth, fire, and before all this the blessing of creation 
and origination; and the basal blessings like the earth’s force of gravity and the 
precise and exact distance between the earth and the moon, and between the 
earth and the sun; and the atmosphere that envelopes the globe and all the 
other physical realities that man knows and does not know. Allah initiated all 
these blessings before man was deserving of them. 

“And the ever-expansive grace that He bestows” - This comprises of the all- 
inclusive, complete and perfect blessings, like the limbs and organs, and the 
faculties and senses that human beings and other creatures use to perceive 
what is around them. 

“And all the bounties that He continuously confers” - The divine bounties and 
blessings are continuous and incessant. 

“Its magnitude is greater than can be enumerated” - As the Almighty says in the 
Glorious Quhan: If you enumerate Allah’s blessings, you will not be able to count them. 
(Q16:18) 

“Its extent is beyond measure” - This statement may be referring to the fact that 
the human being cannot compensate his Lord for the blessings and bounties He 
bestows. 


“And its limit is beyond comprehension” - Man cannot fathom [the limits of] divine 
blessings. 


Commentary of the Sermon 


313 


“He has invited the people to express their gratitude in order to seek its increase and 
continuity” - Gratitude leads to increase in blessings and its uninterrupted 
continuity, as the Almighty says: If you are grateful , I will surely give you more. 
(Q14:7) 

“Called upon them to praise Him by augmenting it” - Praising Allah also leads to an 
increase in divine bounties and favours. 

“And followed up by bidding them to ask for more of its like [in the Hereafter]” - The 
Almighty bids His servants and invites them to seek more of that which brings 
goodness and mercy, like giving alms in the way of Allah, showing compassion 
[to the needy] etc. 

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, having no partners - a statement 
the inner meaning of which has been defined as sincerity” - This means that the 
statement ‘There is no god but Allah’ is rooted in sincerity; as Amir al-Mu 3 minm 
( c a) says: “The perfection of belief in the Unicity of God is sincere [and 
exclusive] devotion to Him, and the perfection of sincere devotion to Him is 
negating attributes from Him.” 8/rtr It is said that the term ikhlas means 

considering Him to be devoid of any limitations like a body (jism) or an accident 
farad), or any other similar limitations. The negation of attributes from Him 
refers to the attributes that are extra to His essence, because every existent 
thing is described by an attribute, and its attribute is separate from its essence. 
Therefore, a human being is other than [his] knowledge and the knowledge is 
other than the human being. However, the knowledge of Allah is the very same 
as His essence, as are all His other attributes. This subject has been discussed at 
length by scholars in the books of theology. 


8 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon no. 1 



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“Its means have been instilled in the hearts” - Allah instilled the truth about His 
Unicity in the hearts, and this is referred to as the intrinsic propensity towards 
belief in His Unicity ( al-tawhid al-fitri). He says [in the Qur’an]: ...The nature of 
Allah upon which He has fashioned mankind. (Q30:30) This means that Allah created 
humankind, nurtured them and fashioned them in a manner that clearly shows 
that they have a single, omnipotent, omniscient, living and pre-eternal Creator 
who cannot be compared with anything and nothing can be compared to Him. 

“Its meaning gleams in the minds” - Through [their] contemplation and reflection, 
Allah makes the meaning of His Unicity ( tawhid ) clear for human beings. This, 
of course, refers to Conceptual Unicity (al-tawhid al-nazari) i.e. reflecting on the 
proofs and evidence and examining the signs in the horizons and in their own souls. 
(Q41:53) 

“He cannot be perceived by sight” - Since Allah is not a body ( jism ), substance 
( jawhar ) or accident ( c arad ), and the eyes cannot see anything but bodies and 
‘accidents’, which are themselves properties of a body like colour, height, width 
etc. because sight perception comes about through the reflection of light into 
the eye, thus Allah cannot be seen with the eyes. Therefore it is impossible for 
any creature to see Allah, in this world or in the next, as He says: The sights do 
not perceive Him, yet He apprehends all sights, and He is the Knower of subtleties, the 
all-Aware. (Q6:103) Moreover, He said [to Musa ( c a)]: You shall never see Me. 
(Q7:143) This inability is not limited to sight; rather, it includes all the other five 
senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch. 

It is quite regrettable that certain groups among the Muslims believe that Allah 
has a body, and they unapologetically state this belief, declaring it openly in the 
various television and radio stations. They raise their voices, yelling aloud: 
“Verily Allah descends to the lowest heaven riding a donkey!” Nevertheless, 
this is not surprising for a group that bases all its beliefs and practices on the 
words of one who has been described as a liar and a forger of narrations, falsely 


Commentary of the Sermon 


315 


ascribing them to the Prophet and others. They have written that c Umar ibn al- 
Khattab beat this man with a stick and forbade him from relating traditions 
because of his numerous lies, inventions and concocted fabrications. 

I have also heard some of those who claim to be scholars saying - in the 
broadcasts - that the Prophet saw his Lord on the night of Ascension ( mi c raj ) 
with his own eyes. What unbelief! What apostasy! What ignorance! The Quhan 
states: Sights cannot perceive Him, but the ignorant ones say: “Sights perceive 
Him.” They abandon the word of Allah, “which is not approached by falsehood 
neither from before it nor from behind it,” (Q41:42) and accept the words of the man 
who, if not a liar, was in the very least an ill-informed person who was prone to 
error. And if some Muslims are ignorant of the correct understanding of Unicity 
(tawhld), which is the foundation of faith, then what of belief in Prophethood, 
the Imamate and the Hereafter? And what of the practical legal rulings and 
religious injunctions and ordinances? 

“[Nor can He be] described by words” - How can a person describe a thing that he 
cannot see and understand? Just as c All ( c a) said: “His description has neither a 
defined limit nor an accessible characteristic.” 9/rM This is because His attributes 

are the very same as His essence, and since His essence cannot be 
comprehended, neither can His attributes. 

“Or depicted by imaginations” - Allah gave human beings certain abilities such as 
the five faculties of recollection, retention, imagination, contemplation and 
common sense. Imagination is the faculty by which the particulars of things 
may be grasped. For example, a person may imagine a beautiful woman, a 
magnificent palace, a lush garden etc. and whenever a person imagines or 
visualizes something, it is something created. Man is unable to imagine the 


9 Ibid. 


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Creator as He truly is, meaning that he can never know how He is, as the 
Almighty’s essence cannot be visualized or imagined. 

“He originated everything from nothing that existed before” - He created the 
universe from nothing i.e. He brought it into existence from nonexistence. 

The materialists say it is impossible to create something from nothing, since 
matter constitutes the building blocks of all things. Yet when you ask them: 
“What has matter itself come from? Where was it first found? Who created it?” 
You will find that they become dumbfounded and have no answer. Because if 
they say: “Matter came about from non-matter,” we will respond: “Then what 
prevents other creatures from being created from non-matter?” And if they 
answer: “Matter came about from other matter,” we will ask: “What did that 
other matter originate from?” And so on and so forth. 

Thus, the belief that Allah created everything from nothing is better and more 
viable than the theories of the materialists. 

“And created everything without following any previous model” - Allah created 
everything without [pre-existing] matter, from nothingness and without 
following anyone in its fashioning. 

Look at all the new inventions. All their inventors followed models and designs 
of some other things. They made the aeroplane when they saw the birds and 
examined how they flew, drawing back their legs towards their bellies during 
flight and then extending them again as they descended. They made the 
submarines after seeing how the fish dive into the depths whenever they wish 
and come up towards the surface whenever they want. 

This is true for all the advancements in the fields of technology and industry; 
everything is based on imitation of something else. However, Allah created the 


Commentary of the Sermon 


317 


universe without imitating, emulating or following anything else that was 
similar to this universe. 

“He fashioned everything with His power” - Allah fashioned everything with His 
perfect, unlimited power, without the participation of anyone else; [He did this] 
with His might and power to create and originate, without using any 
instruments or tools. 

“And made it all with His will” - Meaning that He created it with His will, not His 
words. The form, shape, figure, nature, number and all its other attributes were 
in accordance to His will. He created it by His own determination, without being 
coerced, and by His will that when He wills something He says to it ‘be’ and it is. 
(Q36:82) In the supplication of Imam Zayn al- c Abidln ( c a) we read: ...All things 
proceed according to Your will. By Your desire, they follow Your command without Your 
word and by Your will, they obey Your prohibitions without Your forbiddance... 10/ri ° 

“Without any need for bringing it into being” - Allah created the universe without 
needing to, and He never sought comfort or aid from His creation. He possesses 
complete perfection in its truest sense, and He never needs anything. 

“Or any possible benefit that could come from forming it” - There was no benefit for 
Allah in creating these forms and figures, if we negate need and benefit in 
creation and formation, we must find out what its purpose was, because any 
action without purpose is futile, and Allah is far above this. 

“Only the affirmation of His wisdom” - Another version reads “the demonstration of 
His wisdom.” In any case, the meaning reflects the purpose of creation and 
origination as the manifestation of divine wisdom. The Almighty knows the 


10 c AlI ibn al-Husayn ( c a) (d. 94 A.H.), Sahifat al-Sajjddiyyah, Supplication no. 7 


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lofty wisdom behind the creation of the universe, and it is possible that part of 
this wisdom was that Allah originated the creation so that they may know Him. 

“The proclamation of His obedience” - He created the creation in order to inform 
them about the incumbency of obedience to Him and compliance with His 
commandments. As He says: I did not create the jinn and men except that they may 
worship Me. (Q51:52) Worship and devotion can only be carried out after 
cognizance, for what is the value of worship without cognizance? And what is 
the value of cognizance without worship and devotion? 

“The manifestation of His power” - The Power of Allah is ever-present. He only 
wanted to manifest part of His power and thus He created the minerals, plants, 
animals and humans. He placed within each of these groups signs of His power. 
He created the planets and celestial bodies, the heavens and the cosmos. He 
created the white and red blood cells, and made the tiny ant, giving it limbs and 
elaborate organs, and many other amazing creations that we cannot list in the 
interest of brevity. In short, everything in existence manifests the great power 
of Allah. 

“The servility of His subjects” - Allah created His subjects so that they may obey 
His commandments and keep away from what He has forbidden. Worship 
means obedience and subservience. 

“And the exaltation of His call” - Allah created everything to be a means of 
strengthening the proof and evidence that may be used by the [chosen] 
inviters, such as Prophets, to direct people towards Allah. 

“Then He placed reward in His obedience” - Human beings only embark on actions 
for two reasons: to attain some benefit and reward, or out of fear of loss and 
punishment. A businessman trades in order to gain some profit and because he 
is afraid of poverty. A student studies to become educated or out of a sense of 
duty and in order to escape the ignorance that acts a barrier, preventing him 


Commentary of the Sermon 


319 


from progress and advancement. Man does not obey or submit except out of 
greed for reward and recompense, or fear of punishment and reprisal. It is for 
this reason that Allah, in His infinite wisdom, placed reward and recompense 
for obedience and submission [to His commands]. 

“And punishment in His disobedience” - Meaning that He put in place a penal code 
for the disobedient - those who go against His commands and transgress His 
ordinances. Why? 

“In order to turn His servants away from His chastisement” - He instituted 
punishment in this world and chastisement in the Hereafter in order to prevent 
the servants from doing those things that bring about His wrath. 

“And urge them towards His Paradise” - He introduced rewards and punishments 
to prevent His servants from sinning and urge them towards the path to 
Paradise - which is only attained by doing those actions that make one 
deserving of Paradise. 

“I bear witness that my father Muhammad is His servant and Prophet” - al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 bore witness to the testimonies of faith ( shahadatayn ) and 
after sufficiently expounding upon the meaning of Unicity ( tawhid ), she turned 
to the belief in Prophethood and confirmed that her father was, firstly, a perfect 
servant who had totally submitted to the will of Allah (and this is a stage that 
man must reach by his own volition, whereas prophethood is a level that a 
Prophet arrives at without striving). Then she bore witness that he was a 
Messenger, meaning that he was a Prophet sent by Allah to the people, with 
divine law. 

“He chose him even before sending him [with the Message]” - Allah chose him from 
the people of knowledge, just as one of us would nominate the best and most 
suitable individual from a large group, or select a single fruit that we may 
choose from hundreds, after examining it to see if it has all the required 


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qualities that are not found in any other, like the right size, colour, ripeness, 
taste, type etc. In the same way, Allah chose Muhammad (s) before sending him 
as a Messenger. This means that his worthiness for this task was established 
and known to Allah before He sent the Prophet into the arena of action, 
struggle, and invitation to [the path of] Allah, and there was no need for any 
test to determine his merits, abilities and capacity to handle the responsibility. 
Rather, Allah knew that the Prophet was capable of carrying this heavy burden. 

“[He] named him before picking him [ for prophethood]” - Allah named him 
Muhammad before creating him, or identified him in advance, since it was in 
His knowledge that Muhammad (s) will be a Prophet. Alternatively [this phrase 
could mean that] He informed His Prophets about the coming of the Holy 
Prophet before He created him. 

“And selected him before appointing him [as a Messenger]” - Allah selected him 
before sending him as a Prophet. 

“At a time when the creation was hidden in the unknown” - Indeed, Allah chose 
Muhammad at a time when the people did not exist and were concealed and 
hidden in the unknown, meaning that they were in the secret knowledge of 
Allah and did not have any external existence that could be perceived. 

“Covered by the curtain of uncertainty” - This phrase is an explanation of the 
previous one. The uncertainty being referred to here is one that is accompanied 
by fright and refers to the desolation of the darkness of the unknown. 

“And close to the edge of non-existence” - The edge of something is its outer limit 
and its end. This phrase means that creation was far from existence i.e. it was 
non-existent. 

“Out of the knowledge of Allah about the final outcome of every matter”- Allah chose 
Muhammad (s) because He knows the outcome of matters and how every affair 


Commentary of the Sermon 


321 


will end. He knew what would become of mankind and the outcome of sending 
the Prophet to them. Allah knew the capability of the Prophet and his merits, 
including his sublime character and praiseworthy traits, and it is for this reason 
that He chose him for the task from that time. 

Many traditions from the Prophet (s) clearly state that the first thing which 
Allah created was the ‘Muhammadan Light’. For example, he (s) said: “Verily 
Allah created my light and the light of c Ali twelve thousand (or twenty four 
thousand) years before He created Adam (or before He created the heavens and 
the earth). ” rn And other similar traditions that have been recorded in the early 
sources. 

“And the complete awareness of the events that will transpire” - And [He chose him] 
because of His awareness of everything that will happen and all the events that 
will come to pass over the ages. 

“And the cognizance of the end of all affairs” - And because of His knowledge about 
the time and place of every matter that He has decreed, and the expediency 
that He saw in it. 

“Allah sent him in order to complete His mission” - Allah sent Muhammad (s) to fulfil 
the wise purpose for which He created everything. Another possible meaning 
is that He sent him as the Seal of Prophets in order to complete the prophetic 
mission. 

“And to establish His order” - [He sent him] with a strong and determined will to 
execute His rule and decree, and His order amongst His creation. 

“And enforce His unchanging decree” - And to execute His prescribed duties that 
cannot be forgone, and are based on divine decrees which are final and cannot 
be changed or altered. 


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At this point al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 begins describing the religious and 
moral corruption at that time: 

“He found the people divided in their beliefs” - The Holy Prophet (s) saw that the 
people were divided and followed different creeds. There were Jews, Christians, 
Magians, Sabians, Atheists and Agnostics. 

“Secluded around their sacred fires” - This indicates their worship of fire and care 
for it, so the Magians are being referred to here as they used to venerate fire to 
the point of worship. In fact, they would even build edifices for fire and take 
steps to preserve it and ensure that it does not go out. 

“Worshipping their idols” - idols are usually made from wood, stone or the like, 
and kept in places of worship like temples. People bow down in front of them 
and prostrate before them in worship. 

“Denying Allah despite having intrinsic knowledge about Him” - They are defiant in 
their denial despite knowing that He exists. The Almighty says: They recognize 
the blessing of Allah and then deny it. (Q16:83) This means that they know, through 
their instinct, predisposition and intellect, that the Creator and Originator 
exists, as they recognize that every created thing needs a creator and the 
universe is a created thing. Moreover, none of the creatures has claimed that 
he created the sun, moon, sky or earth, so belief in the existence of a creator is 
inescapable. 

“So, through Muhammad (s), Allah illuminated their darkness” - Through the effort 
and struggle of the Holy Prophet, Allah removed the darkness from those 
nations - the darkness of unbelief, polytheism and ignorance. This means that 
the proof and evidence that the Prophet argued with were sufficient to secure 
the extirpation of the notions upon which the worship of fire and idols were 
based. This does not mean that the Prophet uprooted all the false religions and 


Commentary of the Sermon 


323 


faiths such that they were wiped out entirely; rather, he proved that Islam was 
the true path and other paths were false. 

“And removed the ambivalence from their hearts” - Through Muhammad (s), Allah 
removed obstacles from the hearts and allowed them to grasp the affairs that 
are hidden and unseen, such as the belief in Unicity and resurrection on 
Judgment Day, for these matters were deeply confounding to them. However, 
by the blessing of the Prophet, these problems were solved. 

“And illumined the obscurity of their sight” - He removed the veils of darkness and 
obscurity from their eyes. And by darkness here we mean the deviation and 
corruption of beliefs which became like a darkness that covered their eyes and 
prevented them from seeing the truth. 

“He rose among the people with guidance” - The Messenger of Allah (s) showed 
people the right path and erected for them signs that point towards the truth 
i.e. towards belief in one God, divinely sent Prophets and the Hereafter. 

“And saved them from perversion” - He saved them from the state of misguidance 
that they lived and died in; misguidance in beliefs, morals, etiquette, manners 
and customs. It was as though they were drowning in the sea and the Prophet 
rescued them and saved them from annihilation. 

“And removed their blindness” - He restored their sight and insight. The definition 
of blindness is inability to see but when used figuratively, it refers to those who 
cannot see the truth as it truly is, and when one learns to do so, he regains his 
sight. 

“And led them to the right faith” - Guidance has many meanings. One of its 
meanings is guiding someone who is lost to the correct path and another 
meaning is helping someone arrive at his destination. The Holy Prophet (s) 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


carried out both types of guidance - he showed people the path of felicity and 
helped them attain it in this world and the Hereafter. 

“And called them towards the straight path” - Meaning the path that has no 
crookedness in it, and that is Islam. 

“Then Allah took him back with kindness and election, affinity and preference” - Allah 
caused him to die and took his soul to the next world with kindness, not with 
anger or wrath, and with election from him, not by force or coercion. 
Alternatively, this could mean that Allah chose the Hereafter for him and willed 
that he should leave this world. He preferred the Hereafter for him over this 
world, as He, the Most High, says: And the Hereafter is better for you than this world. 
(Q93:4) 

“Thus Muhammad (s) is now in ease and comfort, [free] from the hardships of this 
world” - He is free from its hardships and tribulations, and all the difficulties 
and opposition he faced. For death is indeed a comfort for the friends of Allah, 
and the lives of Prophets are full of discomfort because of all the hard work and 
struggle, toil and suffering they endure. 

“He is surrounded by the blameless angels” - They have encircled him and 
assembled around him. They escort his pure soul to the loftiest company and 
the most exalted in rank. 

“And the pleasure of the Forgiving Lord” - His pleasure in the Hereafter is much 
vaster because this world is incapable of manifesting the effects of His pleasure, 
but the Hereafter has greater potential. 

“In the company of the Almighty King” - He is under the protection of Allah and 
closer to His grace. 


“May Allah bless my father, His Prophet, the custodian of His revelation and His chosen 
servant” - The trustworthy custodian who was given charge of the revelation 


The Sermon 


325 


and the divine message, and the chosen servant who was selected from all His 
creation. 

“Peace, blessings and mercy of Allah be upon him.” 

In another manuscript, we read: “Thus Muhammad is now in ease and comfort from 
the hardships of this abode, the troubles of his burdens having been alleviated, and is 
now surrounded by the righteous angels .” 11 


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Dala’/i al-lmamah, p. 112 


326 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


i! U 4 jUJlS Ll>ej| 53 .£1^7 j ( jp- 

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Then she turned to the people who were present in the gathering and said: 

You are the servants of Allah, the recipients of His commandments and prohibitions, the 
bearers of His religion and revelation, and the trustees of Allah over yourselves. You are 
the propagators of His message to all people. His true proxy is present among you, as [is] 
the legacy that he (the Prophet) bequeathed and that which he left behind, giving it 
authority over you - the Articulate Book of Allah, the True QuHan, the Radiant Light, the 
Effulgent Illumination - with proofs that are manifest, mysteries that are evident and 
apparent messages that are clear. Those who follow it are envied, those who adhere to it 
are led to Allah’s pleasure and those who heed to it are saved. Through it, the 
enlightening proofs of Allah, His explicative verdicts, His forewarned prohibitions, His 
unambiguous statements, His sufficient evidence, His mandated virtues, His bestowed 
leniency and His ordained laws, are attained. 

Allah made faith (imdn) a means to purify yourselves from polytheism, prayer (salat) a 
means of freeing yourselves from arrogance, the poor-rate (zakat) a means of cleansing 
the soul and increasing sustenance, fasting (siyam) a means of establishing sincerity, 
pilgrimage (hajj) a means of upraising the religion, justice a means of maintaining 
harmony for the hearts, obedience to us (the Ahl al-Bayt) a means of maintaining order 
in the community, our leadership (imamah) a security from disunity, holy struggle 
(jihad) a glory for Islam, patience as an aid in making one deserving of recompense, 
enjoining good (amr bil-ma c ruf) as a reformation of the masses, honouring parents a 
means of protection from [divine] wrath, keeping ties with family a means of increasing 
your numbers, sanctioned retaliation (qisas) a means of preventing bloodshed, fulfilling 
vows a means of earning forgiveness, honesty in weighing and measurement a means of 


Commentary 


327 


avoiding diminution, forbidding the drinking of wine a means of becoming free of filth, 
eschewing defamation as a screen against imprecation and shunning theft a means of 
maintaining virtue. He prohibited polytheism in order to make His Lordship exclusive, 
“so observe your duty to Allah with the dutifulness due to Him, and do not die except as 
Muslims.” (Q3:102) Obey Allah in that which He has commanded and forbidden you, “for 
indeed only those who possess knowledge fear Allah.” (Q35:28) 


Commentary 

Then she ( c a) turned her focus from prophethood to the ‘two weighty things’ 
that the Noble Prophet (s) left behind - namely the Holy Book and the Pure 
Progeny, which stand in place of the Prophet - and addressing those who had 
gathered in the Prophet’s Masjid, she said: 

“You are the servants of Allah, the recipients of His commandments and prohibitions" - 
Here the believers are being told that they are recipients of the divine 
commandments and prohibitions, because they were present when the laws 
were revealed and thus they were the [primary] addressees. 

“The bearers of His religion and revelation” - You bear the responsibility of [abiding 
by] religious laws because you witnessed the conduct of the Prophet (s) and the 
rulings that he instituted. And you are the bearers of the verses that were 
brought by JibraTl when he descended with them upon the Prophet and the 
Prophet taught them to you. 

“And the trustees of Allah over yourselves” - You have been given custodianship of 
the religion by Allah and you receive divine injunctions from the Prophet, 
which you then teach to those [among you] who do not know these laws. 


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“You are the propagators of His message to all people” - It is evident that knowledge 
is passed on from generation to generation over the centuries, and since you 
were contemporaries of the Prophet and heard his speech and learnt his 
practices, it is incumbent upon you to disseminate these instructions, 
teachings, words and practices to the coming generations. You are the 
propagators of Islam to the other nations, and you must fulfil this great 
responsibility towards Islam and the Muslims. You have to convey what has 
been entrusted to you and teach others about the divine laws revealed by Allah, 
without any change or distortion, because you are the mediums between the 
Prophet (s) and the rest of the Muslims. So if you convey the message properly, 
you will be amply rewarded but if you are treacherous, then you will bear the 
burden of every corruption that comes about in the religion and amongst the 
Muslims. 

“His true proxy is present among you, as [is] the legacy that he (the Prophet) bequeathed 
and that which he left behind, giving it authority over you” - These phrases have 
been narrated in most of the traditions, but they are not bereft of ambiguity 
and vagueness. It is possible that some words might be missing or have been 
omitted. Various commentators have given possible interpretations for these 
words but each interpretation is arbitrary and has its own problems. In the end, 
it refers to how the Prophet (s) ‘enjoined that which was incumbent upon you 
and left behind amongst you that which he made his successor over you. Thus 
the Prophet left for you that which would fulfil the needs and suffice for the 
Muslims.’ Another version states: “And the legacy that we leave behind for you, and 
with us is the Book of Allah.” This phrase refers to the famous tradition that is 
accepted by all the Muslims wherein the Prophet (s) said: “Verily I leave behind 
for you two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my pure progeny - my Ahl al- 
Bayt; and they will not separate from each other until they join me at the 


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329 


Paradisiacal Pond.” 12/rtv Here, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 5 is talking about 

one of the two weighty things, namely the Glorious Quhan. She called it the 
“Articulate Book of Allah” i.e. the book that clarifies and elucidates just like a 
human being who speaks with complete clarity. 

“The Radiant Light” - The Qur’an refers to itself as ‘the Light’. It says, for 
example: Therefore believe in Allah and His messenger and the Light which We have 
revealed, and Allah is aware of what you do. (Q64:8) 

“And the Effulgent Illumination” - It is a bright, glowing light, not a dull or weak 
one. 

“With proofs that are manifest” - Its evidence and proofs are clear. Thus the proofs 
of Unicity ( tawhid ), Prophethood ( nubuwwah ), Imamate ( imamah ) and the 
resurrection on the Day of Judgment ( qiyamah ), among other beliefs, are clearly 
found by all those who understand the Qur’an and know the relationship 
between the cause and its effect. They have heard the words of the Almighty: If 
there had been in them (the heavens and earth) any god other than Allah, they would 
both have certainly been in a state of disorder. (Q21:22) He draws comparisons for Us, 
and forgets his own creation, saying: “Who shall revive the bones when they have 
decayed?” (Q36:78) I did not create the jinn and men except that they may worship Me. 
(Q51:52) Say: If men and jinn should rally together to bring the like of this Qur'an, they 
would not [be able to] bring the like of it, even if they assisted one another. (Q17:88) 
Among other similar verses that provide evidence and proof for what Islam 
teaches. 

“Mysteries that are evident” - There are some verses in the Qur’an that are clear 
in meaning and of ostensible import, and other verses that have intricate 
meanings and hidden secrets, like the mysteries of chemistry, physics, the 


12 Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih and in Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 41 


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cosmos, the stars, predictions about the future and the news about the unseen, 
or what are referred to as the ‘allegorical verses’ ( al-mutashabihat ). The 
meanings of these verses are evident and known [only] by the people of wisdom 
and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. 

“And apparent messages that are clear” - The apparent meanings of the verses of 
the Qur’an are perfectly clear. 

“Those who follow it are envied” - Those who follow the Qur’an attain a station in 
the sight of Allah that makes other people envious, meaning they wish that they 
too would attain similar stations as those who had followed the Qur’an. 

“Those who adhere to it are led to Allah’s pleasure” - The Qur’an leads those who 
follow it towards the pleasure of Allah. Alternatively [it could mean] adherence 
to the Qur’an leads to divine pleasure. Either way, the result is the same. 

“And those who heed to it are saved” - Listening to the Qur’an gets people saved, 
just as the Almighty says: And when the Qur } an is recited, then listen to it and remain 
silent, that mercy may be shown to you. (Q7:204) This is especially true if the 
listening is accompanied by reflection and contemplation, because through 
listening to the Qur’an one develops a fear of [disobeying] Allah as well as hope 
in His mercy. This is how human beings attain salvation from the wrath of 
Allah. How many an unbeliever accepted Islam because of listening to the 
Qur’an, and how many a sinner repented, and how many deviants returned to 
the straight path, and how many doubters and sceptics attained certitude 
[through listening to it]? 

“Through it the enlightening proofs of Allah are attained” - Arguments are what 
human beings use to prove their beliefs and positions. The Qur’an can be used 
in debates to present intellectual arguments and propositions, [prove] legal 
doctrines and for [other] general matters as well. 


Commentary 


331 


“And His explicative verdicts” - These are the verdicts that the Qur’an itself 
explains, or that the Prophet (s) or Imams ( c a) explain, since the Qur’an was 
revealed in their house, and ‘the People of the House know better what is in the 
house’. rtA They explained the laws of ritual worship, its methods and the 

particulars related to it, from ablution ( wudu’ ) and ritual bath ( ghusl ), to prayer 
(salah), fasting ( sawm ), pilgrimage ( hajj ), holy struggle (jihad) and the other 
obligatory actions. 

“And His forewarned prohibitions” - In the Qur’an, Allah warns His servants 
against committing prohibited acts. He warns them of a painful chastisement 
in this world and the next [if they do commit these acts]. 

“And His unambiguous statements” - Meaning the clear, decisive verses (al- 
muhkamat) that do not require elucidation. 

“And His sufficient evidence” - Another version reads: “And His sufficient 
metaphors" meaning the allegorical verses ( al-mutashabihat ) that are known to 
those who are firmly grounded in knowledge. 

“His mandated virtues” - These are the recommended actions that Allah has 
charged human beings with i.e. those [actions] that He has invited them to 
perform without making it incumbent, like the midnight prayer etc. 

“His bestowed leniency” - There are, in the Qur’an, some rules that are obligatory 
and others that are recommended. With regards to the latter, human beings 
have been given a choice and may decide to perform these actions or abandon 
them. 

“And His ordained laws” - This is what Allah has legislated and ordained for His 
servants as an inseparable part of religion. 


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Then she ( c a) turned to the subject of the philosophy or wisdom behind Islamic 
injunctions and theirs benefits and secrets, emphasizing the fact that Islamic 
laws are preventative measures more than remedial ones, as it is said, 
‘prevention is better than cure’. 1 "” This will become clear as we examine the 
following section of her sermon: 

“Allah made faith (imdn) a means to purify yourselves from polytheism” - Another 
version reads: “Allah made faith incumbent upon you...” The verses that command 
people to have faith in Allah alone, were revealed in order to purify people from 
the filth of ascribing partners to Allah. Polytheism is like the harmful microbes 
that spread disease and faith is what sanitizes them. Polytheism is impurity that 
comes over the minds and sullies the intellects, resulting in pollution of the 
hearts, whereas faith is a purifying agent that removes all that impurity. 

“And prayer (salah) a means of freeing yourselves from arrogance” - The goal of 
legislating prayer is annihilating the vice of arrogance, because prayer is 
humility and submissiveness in front of Allah and [the act of] bowing, 
prostration and self-humbling. Most of those who are afflicted by the disease of 
arrogance are people who have abandoned prayer. 

“And the poor-rate (zakat) a means of cleansing the soul and increasing sustenance” - 
In another version: “And the poor-rate (zakat) a means of increasing your 
sustenance.” The poor-rate was named ‘zakat’ because it cleanses the human 
being. The Almighty says: Take alms out of their property, that you may cleanse them 
and purify them thereby (Q9:103) and Allah has made the giving of zakat a means 
for gaining blessings and increase. Through it, Allah permits the land to flourish 
and crops begin to thrive, udders brim with milk, blessings flow continuously 
and fruits abound. 

“And fasting (siyam) a means of establishing sincerity” - It is possible for a person to 
pray in order to show off, but he cannot fast and spend his entire day hungry 


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333 


and thirsty, bearing this hardship through self-control and denial, with the 
intention of showing off. Thus, fasting (sawm) is evidently the most sincere 
worship that one can perform for the sake of Allah. 

“And pilgrimage (hajj) a means of strengthening the religion” - Pilgrimage has many 
spiritual benefits and advantages that cannot be attained by any other act of 
worship. Hajj is an assembly of a large number of believers from far off lands 
and various countries, from the East and West and from every region where 
Muslims live. They come together at a specific time and place, and in a specific 
manner. They meet and come to know one another. So the African Muslim gets 
acquainted with the Asian Muslim, and the Eastern Muslim learns about the 
state of the Western Muslim. There are many advantages of such meetings, 
aside from the numerous spiritual benefits that the pilgrim gains by performing 
the rites of hajj while humbly submitting himself to the will of Allah, seeking 
repentance and carrying out all the other acts of worship. 

“And justice [as] a means of maintaining harmony for the hearts” - In another 
version: “as a means of maintaining devotion of the hearts.” I do not know of a better 
and more perfect definition for justice than this one, because maintaining 
harmony means putting things in order, just as one would arrange the beads of 
a rosary ( subhah ) with a string; so if the string breaks, the beads would scatter 
and the order and harmony would be disrupted. Justice in society can be 
compared to the string of a rosary. Justice for the individual, couples, family 
and society, as well as being just with one’s relatives and other people, is a 
means of keeping the hearts in order and maintaining harmony and unity 
between them. When justice is lost, harmony is lost and hatred, rancour, 
discord, and in the end, conflict, take its place. Justice is not restricted to rulers, 
governors and judges. Rather, it is incumbent on every human being to live his 
life under the shade of justice, and to treat his wife, his children, his family and 
his society justly in order to maintain love in the hearts. 


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“And obedience to us (the Ahl al-Bayt) a means of maintaining order in the community” 
- Another version reads: “our obedience”. Every nation that wishes to survive 
must have the ability to choose the type of administration that governs it. 
Government is a broad term that encompasses many meanings. The governing 
apparatus, the various ministries, and the legislative body that issues directives 
on various social matters all fall under the rubric of ‘government’. It is 
obviously important for the government to have authority and for the people 
to submit to its authority and follow its directives. This is what we call 
‘regulation’. So if the government is righteous, it spreads righteousness within 
its domain and among its subjects, but if it is corrupt, then corruption becomes 
manifest in both land and sea. 

The Muslim community, which considers itself the leader of all civilized and 
cultured communities, must be organized and Allah has made obedience to the 
Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) a means of maintaining order in the Muslim ummah. This means 
that Allah has given complete and unrestricted authority only to the twelve 
Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a), as they are the pure progeny of the Holy Prophet 
(s), not to anyone else who takes over the reins of government or occupies the 
seat of power. It is not incumbent to obey such a person or comply with his 
orders. Allah made obedience to the Imams of the Holy Household incumbent 
for Muslims because He has granted them certain gifts and bestowed upon 
them the ability to recognize the best course of action for the society, what 
benefits and harms the people and what reforms and corrupts them. 

We have seen how al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) described the Quhan, 
saying that it has been kept as a guide for the people and elaborating on its 
greatness. After this, she spoke of the philosophy of Islamic teachings and 
injunctions. Then, she turned to the second of the two ‘weighty things’ i.e. the 
Pure Progeny of the Holy Prophet (s) - the Ahl al-Bayt. They are the ones who 
have been given authority over the people and whose obedience has been made 


Commentary 


335 


obligatory for the people. As Allah says: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and 
those vested with authority from among you. (Q4:59) 

By Allah, if the Muslims had opened the way for the Ahl al-Bayt and obeyed 
them from day one, this world would have been a place of ease and abundance, 
and a garden of bliss. With the passage of time, felicity would have pervaded all 
strata of human society. There would be no oppression, tyranny or bloodshed 
on the face of this earth. No wealth would be usurped, no honour would be 
violated, no soul would perish due to injustice and there would be no ignorance, 
illiteracy, backwardness or degeneration in the Muslim community. There 
would be no poverty, deprivation, persecution or hunger in the world. 
Leadership in Islam is a vast subject that needs to be analysed and discussed 
thoroughly, and this would require a large encyclopaedic volume. 

“And our leadership (imamah) as a security from disunity” - Another version reads: 
“a means of reuniting the factions.” Like the Book of Allah, the Imam is a leader 
and a guide for the people. Look, for example, at the Imam of a congregational 
prayer - how he is followed by those praying behind him in his actions, from 
standing to bowing to prostration and so on. He is thus followed in his limited 
actions, and this is why he is called the ‘leader of the congregational prayers’ 
or the ‘congregational prayer leader’. The great leadership ( al-imamah al-kubra ) 
is a divine appointment by Allah because it comes after prophethood and is just 
as important. Look at how the close friends of Allah constantly ask Allah to raise 
them to the lofty station of imamah. 

Prophet Ibrahim ( c a), the Friend of Allah, was told by the Almighty: I am making 
you an imam of the people (Q2:124) meaning a leader whose words and actions are 
followed, and one who is responsible for managing the affairs of the 
community, keeping things in order, punishing wrongdoers etc. Imamah here 
does not mean prophethood, because Ibrahim was already a Prophet and Allah 
gave him the added position of imamah. When we consider the words “I am 


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making you...” it becomes clear to us that Allah is the one who appoints the 
imam and it is not for people to decide who their leader should be, based on the 
opinions of certain individuals and their personal inclinations, if we examine 
the next part of this verse, we will realize something fundamental. He said: “And 
from among my descendants?” He (the Almighty) said, “My pledge does not extend to 
the unjust.” This means that when Ibrahim was given the imamah by Allah, he 
asked: “Will You give this honour to my descendants as well?” at which point 
the Almighty replied: “My pledge does not extend to the unjust.” Mujahid said: “The 
pledge being referred to here is the imamah.” r °' This has also been narrated 

from Imam al-Baqir and al-Sadiq ( c a). Thus, an unjust person can never be an 
imam of the people, and this, in turn, implies that the Imams are infallible 
because Allah refused to give His pledge (which is the imamah ) to any unjust 
person, and whoever is not infallible is ipso facto unjust, either to himself or to 
others. 

When we reflect upon these verses, it becomes evident that the vicegerents 
must be appointed by Allah Himself. For example, the Quhan states: 0 Dawud! 
Indeed We have madeyou a vicegerent on the earth... (Q38:26) And We ordained among 
his descendants prophethood and the Book. (Q29:27) And certainly We gave Musa the 
Book and appointed with him his brother Harun as an aide. (Q25:35) And We made them 
Imams, guiding by Our command... (Q21:73) Behold, I appoint you an Imam of the 
people. (Q2:124) ...and make us Imams for the God-wary. (Q25:74) And appoint for me 
as a minister from my family, Harun my brother. (Q20:29-30) And many similar 
verses wherein we find words like “We appointed”, “Appoint us” etc. 

Here, when al-Zahra 3 ( c a) says “our leadership (imamah),” she means the imamah 
of the twelve Imams, including her noble husband, the father of the Imams, c Ali 
ibn Abi Talib ( c a). 

“And holy struggle (jihad) as a glory for Islam” - Glory cannot be achieved but 
through strength, and strength is shown by use of weapons, assembling armies, 


Commentary 


337 


showing off the accoutrements of war, sending forth champions etc. The best 
way to show one’s might and strong character is struggling in the way of Allah. 
For strength, might, capability, sacrifice, the extent of Muslims’ connection to 
the Cause, and the display of valour in the heat of battle, resulting in victory 
and conquest of the enemies of faith, and striking fear into every adversary of 
Islam, are the only ways to attain glory. Might submits only to might, neither 
to humanitarianism, nor to revolution alone - just to might. This is how glory 
is attained. 

“And patience as an aid in making one deserving of recompense” - Patiently enduring 
hardships like poverty, sickness, debt, incarceration and loss, signify one’s 
submission to the will of Allah. This submission is a lofty trait and an exalted 
station that enables the patient human being attain great reward and full 
recompense. It is through patience that one can perform acts of worship and 
refrain from evil deeds. 

“And enjoining good (amr bil-ma c ruf) as a reformation of the masses” - Allah has made 
enjoining good obligatory for every Muslim to the extent of his ability, under 
specific conditions that have been clearly stipulated, and this is considered a 
form of holy struggle (jihad). Each individual in a Muslim society is deemed 
responsible for his religion. This is the true meaning of the Prophet’s (s) 
statement: “All of you are shepherds, and each is responsible for his flock. ” r °' 

Islam does not believe in irresponsibility or isolation from the religious 
community, because Islam considers all Muslims as one family - one nation that 
is linked by ties of faith and belief. 

“And honouring parents a means of protection from [divine] wrath” - This means that 
dishonouring one’s parents causes the wrath of Allah and His anger, just as 
being dutiful towards them is a means of protecting oneself from His wrath. 
The importance of this becomes clear when we read the [numerous] verses that 
advise us to fulfil the rights of our parents: And we have enjoined man to be good 


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to his parents... (Q29:8) They ask you concerning what they should spend. Say, 
“Whatever wealth you spend, let it be for [your] parents...” (Q2:215) Worship Allah and 
do not ascribe any partners to Him, and be good to parents. (Q4:36) Say, “Come, I will 
recount what your Lord has forbidden you from. That you shall not ascribe any partners 
to Him, andyou shall be good to the parents...” (Q6:15l) Your Lord has decreed that you 
shall not worship anyone except Him, and [He has enjoined] kindness to parents. Should 
they reach old age at your side one of them or both do not say to them as much as “Fie!” 
and do not chide them, but speak to them noble words. And lower the wing of humility 
to them out of mercy, and say, “My Lord! Have mercy on them, just as they cared for me 
when I was a small child.” (Q17:23-24) And We have enjoined man concerning his 
parents: His mother carried him through weakness upon weakness, and his weaning 
takes two years. So give thanks to Me and to your parents; to Me is the return. But if they 
strive to make you associate with Me that about which you have no knowledge, then do 
not obey them but keep with them honourable company in this world... (Q31:14-15) We 
have charged man that he be kind to his parents, his mother bore him painfully, and 
painfully she gave birth to him; his bearing and his weaning are thirty months until, 
when he is fully grown, and reaches forty years, he says, 0 my Lord, dispose me that I 
may be thankful for Your blessing wherewith You have blessed me and my father and 
mother, and that I may do righteousness well pleasing to You; and make me righteous 
also in my seed, behold, I repent to You, and am among those that surrender. Those are 
they from whom We shall accept the best of what they have done, and We shall pass over 
their evil deeds. They are among the Inhabitants of Paradise - the true promise which 
they were given. (Q46:15-16) 

After reading all these verses, what she ( c a) means when she says that 
honouring parents is a protection from [divine] wrath becomes clear for us. 
This subject requires a more detailed discussion, but this will suffice for now. 

“And keeping ties with family a means of increasing your numbers” - Another version 
reads: “And keeping ties with family as means of prolonging your lives and growing 


Commentary 


339 


your numbers.” Actions have certain natural and inescapable consequences. One 
who keeps ties with his family (i.e. the close of kin who are related to him 
through the womb of their mothers) through his words, actions or [assisting 
them with] his wealth will, as a result, live longer, have many children and 
become rich. We have many traditions that assert this - that keeping ties with 
near relatives increases wealth and prolongs life. At the same time, severing 
ties with one’s family results in the shortening of life and loss of wealth. In our 
life, we have seen many people who kept ties with their near relatives and were 
blessed with abundance and numerous offspring, despite the fact that they did 
not possess the required conditions for all this. On the other hand, we have also 
seen many of our contemporaries who severed ties with their relatives - 
meaning that they cut off all forms of communication with their close kin - and 
it was as though they cut the roots of their lifespans and destroyed their own 
lives; they lost what they possessed and were forced to take loans after they 
became poor. 

“And sanctioned retaliation (qisas) a means of preventing bloodshed” - In all the 
charters and constitutions of the world, there is no law that protects the life of 
people like the law of sanctioned retaliation (qisas). This is why the Almighty 
says: In sanctioned retaliation there is life for you, Oyou who possess intellects, that you 
may be God-wary. (Q2:179) It is astonishing how taking the life of a killer is 
considered preserving and protecting the lives of others. This is because when 
a human being decides to kill someone unjustly, if he knows that he will face 
retribution and will be executed [for his crime], it will most certainly prevent 
him from committing the crime. On the other hand, if he knows that his only 
punishment will be incarceration, and in prison there is rest, food and drink, as 
well as the possibility of pardon or parole, or using bribery and the influence of 
those who are close to government ministers to reduce his sentence etc. then 
he will easily spill the blood of the innocent. 


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The laws of non-Muslims that have been adopted in some Muslim countries do 
not cater for retribution against killers and they think that since sanctioned 
retaliation does not bring the murdered person back to life, there is no benefit 
in killing yet another person. This is why they made prison and hard labour the 
punishment for murder. However, we see that the prisons of the world are full 
of criminals who have committed murder and we find this crime to be on the 
rise everywhere. It is interesting to see that [in the above verse] Allah addresses 
the intelligent people when He says: “Oyou who possess intellects” and then He 
continues: “...that you may be God-wary.” Allah is addressing the intelligent 
people who understand and realize that sanctioned retaliation is the best 
deterrent and the strongest hindrance against murder. It is better than 
incarceration, torture and the like. Unfortunately however, divine law has been 
neglected and abandoned, and the western judicial system has been preferred 
over the laws of Allah! How can Muslims expect to be masters over themselves, 
with dignity and independence, while they blindly follow the Jews and 
Christians in their laws and charters, and even in their calendar? The Islamic 
Hijri calendar has become a thing forgotten, and the Gregorian calendar is 
better known and followed in the Islamic countries by their governments and 
citizens! A lot more can be said about this, but there is no benefit in mentioning 
all these shortcomings as there does not seem to be any hope for change in the 
foreseeable future. 

“And fulfilling vows a means of earning forgiveness” - A vow is a promise that one 
makes to Allah. Being loyal to one’s vow is the same as fulfilling one’s promise, 
as the Almighty says: ...And whoever fulfils what he has promised to Allah, He will give 
him a great reward. (Q48:10) In addition, human beings are able to attain 
forgiveness through making vows and fulfilling their vows. 

“And honesty in weighing and measurement a means of avoiding diminution” - Allah 
has made it incumbent on the buyer and seller to be wary of the rights of 


Commentary 


341 


people, not to cheat others of their possessions and to be just and fair, not 
treacherous, in their dealings. This is done by ensuring that the measurements 
used to weigh foodstuffs and other things should not be tampered with. 

“And forbidding the drinking of wine a means of becoming free of filth” - We have 
already mentioned all the different meanings of filth ( rijs ) when discussing the 
Verse of Purification ( ayah al-tathir), and wine is considered one of the filthy 
things, as the Almighty says: Indeed wine, gambling, idols and the divining arrows 
are filthy works of Satan, so avoid them so that you may be felicitous. (Q5:90) 
Numerous books and articles have been written, by both Muslims and non- 
Muslims, about the harmful effects of alcohol and the crimes that have been 
committed by those who drink. Suffice it to say that when we refer to the 
various meanings of rijs, it clearly includes many of the harmful effects of 
alcohol to one’s health, mind and the society in general. 

“And eschewing defamation as a screen against imprecation” - Another version 
reads: “And eschewing defamation of married women...” Islam is a religion that 
preserves the honour of individuals. In Islam, questioning someone’s honour is 
considered a crime - a crime that is punishable in this world and in the 
Hereafter. Ascribing debauchery to people of chastity and virtue, be they men 
or women, is not something to be taken lightly. Islam does not allow a person 
to raise doubts about the honour of individuals and to question their chastity 
and morality, if a person accuses someone, who is not known to be of lewd 
character, of debauchery, he must prove his accusation by producing evidence 
and witnesses, if he is unable to do this, he will be punishable by law. The 
Almighty says: As for those who accuse honourable women and do not bring four 
witnesses, flog them eighty lashes and never accept any testimony from them after that, 
and they are transgressors. (Q24:4) And: Indeed those who accuse honourable and 
unwary faithful women shall be cursed in this world and the Hereafter, and there shall 
be a great punishment for them. (Q24:23) From this, we glean the meaning of al- 


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Sayyidah Fatimah’s words: “And eschewing defamation as a screen against 
imprecation” i.e. those who avoid accusing others of debauchery are protected 
from imprecation ( la c nah ), and the meaning of imprecation here is being 
distanced from the mercy of Allah. 

“And shunning theft a means of maintaining virtue” - Hands are considered 
valuable assets as long as they are trustworthy and chaste, but if they steal then 
they become treacherous, dishonourable and lose value, because of having 
transgressed the limits. Abu al- c Ala 3 al-Mu c arrI once asked al-Sayyid al-Murtada 
c Alam al-Huda (may Allah be pleased with him): “How can a hand worth five 
hundred gold pieces be severed for four silver coins?” Meaning, how can a hand 
whose blood money ( diyah ) is five hundred gold coins, be severed for stealing 
something worth only four silver coins? So al-Sayyid al-Murtada answered him 
saying: “The honour of trust gave it value, and the vileness of treachery reduced 
its worth - so understand the wisdom of the Creator!”’" 0 ’' Thus we see that theft 

undermines one’s honour while eschewing theft leads to the preservation of 
one’s virtue and trustworthiness. 

In the book Kashf al-Ghummah, after her statement: “And shunning theft a means 
of maintaining virtue,” we find: “And not consuming the wealth of orphans, and 
overindulgence in the property that is rightfully theirs (fay’), as succour against 
oppression. And justice in judgment as a relief for the masses.” - An orphan is a child 
who has lost either one or both of his parents at a young age, and inherits from 
what they leave behind but because of his young age, he is not able to protect 
or manage the wealth that he inherits. It is then that the greedy hawks encircle 
him, knowing him to be weak and unable to protect himself. This is when open 
oppression and vile injustice is seen; but Allah has decreed the punishment for 
these oppressors and their chastisement in the Hereafter. He says: Verily those 
who consume the property of orphans unjustly only ingest fire into their bellies, and soon 
they will enter the Blaze. (Q4:10) So Allah made it incumbent to avoid consuming 


Commentary 


343 


the property of orphans in order to protect us from falling into injustice and 
oppression, the punishment for which has been mentioned above. 

As for the phrase: “And overindulgence in the property that is rightfully theirs (fay’)” 
- the meaning of fay’ here is one-fifth of the booty or property [that is acquired 
without battle] which Allah bestowed to His messenger [to use of as he wished], 
and we have discussed this in the introduction to the sermon and the verses 
that are related to Fadak. 

“And justice in judgment as a relief for the masses” - We have read her ( c a) words 
concerning justice in the general sense, like justice between spouses, between 
[one’s] children and between people. Here she is specifically talking about the 
justice of rulers and judges, and especially the government in power, from the 
sovereign to the ministers, governors, chiefs, judges etc. It is natural for those 
who hold high positions to feel a sense of entitlement due to the grandeur that 
surrounds them. This makes them think that they are more important, of 
greater status and loftier standing than everyone else. The common people feel 
a great distance and disconnect between themselves and the ruling class. It is 
not possible for anyone to meet the head of state or a high-ranking official, 
especially if he needs something from them - even more so if one of the 
government workers has oppressed him. This leads to antipathy between 
governments and the people, and between governmental institutions and the 
citizenry. However, if the leaders are just and cater for the rights of the weak, 
it gives rise to a spirit of hope in the hearts of the oppressed, and in the hearts 
of the entire nation. The people [then] look to the government as a child looks 
towards his father, as a student looks to his teacher and as a patient looks to his 
doctor - with love and respect. This is how comfort and empathy is achieved 
between the people and the ruling class, along with co-operation, goodwill, 
compassion, affection etc. 


344 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“He prohibited polytheism in order to make His Lordship exclusive” - Because 
polytheism is a form of disbelief, and it is incumbent on the servants to worship 
Allah alone, putting faith in Him exclusively. 

In the end, she concluded this part of her sermon with verses that are aptly 
related to her subject: So observe your duty to Allah with the dutifulness due to Him, 
and do not die except as Muslims. (Q3:102) “And obey Allah in that which He has 
commanded and forbidden you,” for indeed only those who possess knowledge fear 
Allah. (Q35:28) 


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The Sermon 


345 


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0 People, know that I am Fatimah, and my father is Muhammad (s). I say again to you, 
and what I am saying is not false and what I am doing is not in transgression. “There 
has certainly come to you a messenger from among yourselves; grievous to him is your 
distress; he is full of concern for you, and compassionate and merciful to the believers.” 
(Q9.T28) So if you trace his lineage and know him, you will realize that he is my father 
and not the father of anyone amongst your women. He is the bother of my cousin [and 
husband], and not of any of your men. How excellent it is to be related to him (s). He 
propagated the message, warned the people openly and turned against the ways of the 
polytheists, breaking their backs and strangling their throats. He called [them] to the 
way of his Lord “with wisdom and good advice.” ( Q16.T25 ) He broke the idols and struck 
the heads, until they were defeated and forced to flee. Night gave way to day and the 
pure truth shone forth. The leader of faith spoke and the camel-frothing of the devils 
were silenced. The servants of hypocrisy perished and the knots of disbelief and schism 
were undone. 

You uttered the words of faith in the presence of the bright-faced and empty-of-stomach, 
while you were on “the brink of a fiery pit.” (Q3:103) A mere draught for the drinker and 
opportunity for the lustful [were you], A flickering flame and a treading ground for 
others [were you]. You would drink from polluted water and eat dried animal skins and 
leaves. Abased and spurned, you feared being dispossessed by those around you. Then 
Allah, the Almighty, rescued you through Muhammad (s), after all these calamities and 
after suffering at the hands of barbarians, the wolfish Arabs, and the rebellious People 


346 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of the Book. “Whenever they ignited the flame of war, Allah extinguished it.” (Q5:64) 
Whenever the horn of Satan appeared or the polytheist’s maw opened [in defiance], he 
would dispatch his brother [ c Ali ( c a)] into its midst; and he would not return until he had 
trampled on its ear with the soles of his feet and put out its blaze with his sword. He 
strove for the sake of Allah and struggled in the way of Allah. He was close to the Prophet 
of Allah, a leader among the friends of Allah, always prepared and diligent, sincere, 
earnest and hard working - never fearing the reproach of any reproacher. Meanwhile, 
you were living lives of ease and comfort, relaxed, unperturbed and secure; awaiting the 
reversal of our fortunes, keenly waiting for news [of our failures], retreating during 
conflict and fleeing from battle. 


Commentary 

In this section of her sermon, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) completed her 
discussion about the philosophy of Islamic laws, and the reasoning behind 
religious injunctions. Then she proceeded to her main subject and intended 
goal, which was to seek her rights and decry the oppression she had faced from 
those in power. Before anything else, she addressed the people who were 
present in the masjid - because they had pledged their allegiance to the head of 
state - and not the head of state himself, because he was one of the parties 
involved in the litigation and dispute. This is why she introduced herself to 
those who were present, as is the norm in legal proceedings, since she was the 
plaintiff and the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s) and a member of his pure 
progeny; rather, she was the Queen of Islam. The litigation took place in the 
presence of the Muhajirun, the Ansar and others - and these were, in those 
days, the most important Muslims whose opinions carried weight. 

The matter being disputed was the land that had been in al-Sayyidah Fatimah’ s 
control for some years before it was confiscated and taken over by Abu Bakr, 


Commentary 


347 


without any legal basis. This is why al-Sayyidah Fatimah addressed those who 
were present in the gathering and said: 

“0 People, know that I am Fatimah” - She mentioned her name to the gathering; 
the name that was not unknown to anyone; the name that people had heard 
time and again from the lips of the Noble Prophet (s) as he mentioned it with 
love and affection. This phrase alone would require many pages of 
commentary. 

“And my father is Muhammad (s)” - This noble extraction is the loftiest lineage 
that a person can have - a lineage that is the envy of creation and the pearl of 
the crown of existence, more eminent than the sun. Yes, Fatimah is the 
daughter of Muhammad, Master of the Prophets, the most honourable servant, 
the purest of creatures and the best of all creation. Yes, it is the daughter of this 
great man who is giving a sermon, speaking, providing evidence and raising her 
voice against the oppression that she faced. She introduced herself so that 
nobody could say: “We did not know who she was” or “Why did she not 
introduce herself’ or “Why did she not tell us about her lineage?” So by 
mentioning this, the people were left with no excuse. Indeed, Fatimah bint 
Muhammad (s) had come to seek her rights and the property that had been 
confiscated and usurped from her. 

“I say again to you” - Meaning, I repeat and reiterate what I had said in the 
beginning, with certainty about what I say. 

“And what I am saying is not false” - i.e. there is nothing wrong in what I say. It is 
neither untrue, nor deceptive nor fallacious. 

“And what I am doing is not in transgression” - I am not unjust or oppressive in 
what I say and I have not transgressed the bounds. 


348 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“There has certainly come to you a messenger from among yourselves; grievous to him 
is your distress; he is full of concern for you, and compassionate and merciful to the 
believers. ” - She started this discussion by mentioning her father, the Messenger 
of Allah (s) and joined her speech with the words of Allah, the Most High. The 
verse she quoted means: Indeed the Prophet is from the Arabs. It is difficult for 
him to see your hardship and distress. He is concerned about you and desires 
that you attain felicity. He has compassion and mercy for the believers among 
this nation. 

“So if you [ seek to] honour him and know him” - Meaning that if you wish to know 
who is related to him, whose father he is, whose bother he is, etc. 

“You will realize that he is my father and not the father of anyone amongst your women” 
- Yes, I am his only daughter and he is my father. And none of your womenfolk 
share this pure and noble lineage with me. 

“And he is the bother of my cousin [and husband], and not of any of your men” - He is 
the brother of my husband and nobody else shares this honour. The 
brotherhood being referred to here is not one of blood, rather it is the 
brotherhood that came about on the day of al-mu } akhat, when the Prophet of 
Allah (s) established a pact of brotherhood between his companions and chose 
for himself c All ( c a) as his brother. The Prophet would refer to his brotherhood 
with c Ali on many different occasions and laid special emphasis on the words 
‘my brother’, saying: “Call my brother,” “Where is my brother?” “You are my 
brother in this world and the next,” etc. for example. 

c All ( c a) used to express his pride at being the chosen brother of the Prophet 
and even composed some couplets about this. For example, he ( c a) said: 

L«J!S a ll g-w*o j iC— 1J C-L-i A\ j_>-l lil 


Commentary 


349 


I am the brother ofal-Mustafa, there is no doubt in my relationship 
With him was I raised, and his two grandsons are my offspring 


And: 



Muhammad, the Prophet, is my brother and cousin, 
and Hamzah, the master of martyrs, is my uncle 

And: 

Crr’J ls^'j dnH dr°J 

And he who established the bond of brotherhood between those present, 
invited me and made me his brother before expounding my merits 

He ( c a) also said: “I am the servant of Allah and the brother of the Messenger of 
Allah. I am the most veracious ( al-siddiq al-akbar) and the ‘great distinguisher’ 
(al-fdruq al-a c zam) - no one else can say this [about himself] but a liar.” r ° r 

“How excellent it is to be related to him (s)” - He is the best person to be related to 
and the most honourable person to have as one’s family, because he is the 
purpose of creation and by his blessing, everything in creation gets its 
sustenance. 

“He propagated the message and warned the people openly” - The Prophet delivered 
all the messages that he was instructed to deliver and warned the people, 
telling them about the horrors of chastisement in the Hereafter. 

“Turned against the ways of the polytheists” - meaning that he turned away from 
the customs and norms of the polytheists. 


350 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Breaking their backs” - The Prophet used to strike their backs i.e. he fought 
against the disbelievers and the polytheists. 

“And strangling their throats” - He covered their mouths or gripped their throats. 
This is a metaphor for stopping them from transgression, thwarting their plots 
and refuting their falsities. 

“He called [them] to the way of his Lord ‘with wisdom and good advice.’” (Q16:125) - 
He invited them towards Allah, not towards this world; to the way of his Lord, 
not that of anyone else. He was careful about the people’s level of 
understanding and called them with wisdom, i.e. with clear speech that does 
not give way to ambiguity or doubt, towards the truth. This is how he dealt with 
the educated and cultured class. As for the general masses, he invited them 
through good advice and words that would bring satisfaction to the hearts and 
souls, as well as counsel that would benefit them in their lives. He debated with 
the disbelievers in the best manner, showing them that they were wrong using 
evidence and proofs. 

“He broke the idols” that the polytheists believed in and worshipped instead of 
Allah. 

“And struck the heads” - This alludes to his battle against the chiefs of the 
disbelievers, the flag-bearers of polytheism who themselves ignited the flames 
of war and sedition, such as Shaybah, c Utbah and Abu Jahl. 

“Until they were defeated and forced to flee” - The struggle continued for many 
years, taking the form of battles and wars, until the Prophet was able to uproot 
the sources of sedition and corruption, whereupon the strength of the 
disbelievers was broken and their morale was weakened, until they were 
defeated and forced to flee. 


Commentary 


351 


“Night gave way to day and the pure truth shone forth’’ - The darkness of disbelief 
was dispelled and the brightness of the dawn of Islam shone forth. The 
coverings that had veiled the truth were removed and the pure, unadulterated 
truth became manifest. All this is a metaphor for the rallying of the forces of 
faith. 

“The leader of faith spoke” - The leader of the faith spoke about matters 
pertaining to the religion and the Muslims, with complete freedom and 
openness. 

“And the camel-frothing of the devils were silenced” - Camel-frothing is the white 
foam that forms around the mouth of a camel when it is agitated or excited. 
The silencing of the ‘camel-frothing of devils’ refers to subduing the activities 
of the corrupt and muffling their voices. 

“The servants of hypocrisy perished” - This means that the hypocrites lost their 
influence and their efforts failed. 

“And the knots of disbelief and schism were undone” - The schemes, plots and plans 
of the disbelievers against Islam and the Muslims all failed, as in the Battle of 
the Confederates ( ahzdb ) for example. 

“You uttered the words of faith” - i.e. you recited the testimony of faith “There is 
no god but Allah...” 

“In the presence of the bright-faced and empty-of-stomach” - Whose faces were 
bright and gleaming, and stomachs were empty because of fasting or 
abstemiousness. This may be referring to specific individuals who had these 
two qualities - namely the most illustrious companions of the Prophet (s) or 
the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a). 

“While you were on ‘the brink of a fiery pit.’” (Q3:103) because of disbelief and 
ascribing partners to Allah. 


352 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Then she went on to describe the society and the kind of lives that people lived 
before the coming of Islam, saying: 

“A mere draught for the drinker and opportunity for the lustful [were you]” - if a 
thirsty person passed by a place where he found water which had no owner, or 
whose owner was weak and unable to protect his property, he would seek to 
drink from that water and quench his thirst. Similarly, if a person found food 
and its owner was weak, he would take that the opportunity to consume the 
food, even if it did not belong to him. 

“A flickering flame” - This is a flare or a flame that is hastily taken by someone 
who needs fire. 

“And a treading ground for others [were you]” - You were abased and humiliated, 
trampled upon by the mighty. 

“You would drink from polluted water” - The water that you used to drink was 
collected from marshes and pits where animals would enter and where camels 
urinated, while it is known that honourable souls are repulsed by this kind of 
filthy water and would never be willing to drink it. However, because of your 
ignorance, lowliness and ignominy, you drank it - as if you never knew how to 
dig wells, locate springs or create canals under the earth. Some people still live 
like this, to this day, in certain Muslim countries that have distanced 
themselves from religion and civilization, as we read in some newspapers and 
magazines. 

“And eat dried animal skins and leaves” - Your provisions and food consisted of 
dried meat and hide, as well as leaves from trees. For the vast arid lands were 
barren, with no growth or vegetation, and farming was something that held no 
meaning for you. 


Commentary 


353 


“Abased and spumed” - One who is spurned is rejected and driven away. Such an 
individual is not allowed to be near the people because of his vileness. 

“You feared being dispossessed by those around you” - Degeneration and decadence 
lead to disturbance in social life, anarchy, loss of peace, security, stability and 
tranquillity in the hearts. The strong prey on the weak, the affluent monopolize 
the scant resources and the rich subjugate the poor - nobody fears the law, 
worries about punishment or dreads the government. We notice that in 
countries where the rule of law is not respected by the masses, crimes such as 
kidnapping, robbery and rape are prevalent. Places where the law is only 
upheld for the poor and weak see bloodshed, looting, transgression, oppression 
etc. al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) uses this verse (Q29:67) to describe the 
situation during the ‘age of ignorance’ (Jahiliyyah ). 

“Then Allah, the Almighty, rescued you through Muhammad (s)” - He is the great 
saviour and the mighty reformer who rescued the servants from that hellish 
life they were leading. He reformed the masses, taking them away from 
corruption, vileness and depravity, and bringing about a revolution in their 
beliefs, morals and culture. 

“After all these calamities” - the calamities and hardships of ignorance that were 
faced by members of the society. 

“And after suffering at the hands ofbarbarians” - The Prophet (s) was able to rescue 
the people who had suffered at the hands of those who were stronger and 
mightier than them - those who had ignited the fires of war and fought against 
the Holy Prophet (s) with all their might; and who were greater in number than 
the Muslims and possessed more weapons and provisions. 

“The wolfish Arabs” - When a person is bereft of his humanity, morals and 
virtues, then he is reduced to the level of animals, if he lacks understanding and 
knowledge, he is comparable to a donkey and if he lacks compassion and 


354 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


kindness, then he is comparable to beasts of prey, so it is appropriate to call him 
a ‘wolf. This also applies to those bloodthirsty individuals who used to take 
pleasure in slaughtering innocents - those who used to love putting terror in 
the hearts of people - like Abujahl and Abu Sufyan, and all those who were like- 
minded. 

It is said that the ‘wolfish’ people mentioned here refers to thieves and bandits, 
as well as the wretched and vile people. 

The Holy Prophet (s) suffered at the hands of these troublemakers; starting 
from the Battle of Badr up to the Battle of Hunayn, among others. We find these 
people always causing mischief, rebellion and upheaval - they even played a 
role in the wars that the Muslims fought against the Jews. 

“And the rebellious People of the Book” - i.e. the Jews and Christians who waged 
war against the Muslims, such as the Banu Nadir, Banu Qurayzah, Band 
Qaynuqa c and the Band Asfar in MuTah. if the People of the Book (i.e. the Jews 
and Christians) followed the divine revelation that had been sent to them, they 
would never fight against the Prophet. Rather, they would submit before him 
in the first instance, because the qualities of the Prophet (s) had been 
mentioned in their books and it was easy for them to compare those 
descriptions to the person of the Prophet. Had they done this, they would have 
found that the descriptions match him one hundred percent. However, the 
rebellious ones among the People of the Book, who were insolent and whose 
haughtiness prevented them from submitting to the truth, continued their 
denial, obstinacy and rebellion. 

“Whenever they ignited the flame of war, Allah extinguished it.” (Q5:64) - They would 
scheme against the Prophet of Allah (s) and rally forces and armies, urging the 
tribes and clans to wage war against the Prophet. Their efforts were thwarted 
and in the end, victory and triumph was for the Prophet, if we examine the life 


Commentary 


355 


of the Prophet (s) from the time his mission began until his death, it becomes 
evident to us how many times his enemies plotted against him, yet their plots 
were always to no avail. 

“Whenever the horn of Satan appeared” - Whenever the horn of an animal breaks, 
another grows in its place. Here, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) is talking 
about when one of the evildoers rises up to undertake Satanic action, like the 
dissent and rebellion of the polytheists against the Prophet of Allah. This 
phrase is linked to the previous sentence: “Whenever they ignited...,” i.e. every 
time [they did this] the horn of Satan appeared... 

“Or the polytheist’s maw opened [in defiance]” - Or the viper of disbelief opened its 
mouth in order to bite the Muslim community with its fangs. 

“He would dispatch his brother [ c Ali ( c a)] into its midst” - meaning that he would 
counter those evil activities and Satanic schemes by sending his brother c Ali ibn 
Abl Talib ( c a) to thwart their efforts. The Prophet would instruct c Ali to push 
back the battalions of the polytheists and ranks of hypocrites, so c Ali ( c a) would 
risk his life and put himself in peril by facing those wild wolves head-on. He 
would fight them on his own, entering deep into the midst of battle, hence the 
phrase: “he would dispatch his brother into its midst” i.e. into the jaws of death, 
between the sharp canines of the beasts of prey, under the edge of the enemies’ 
swords, into the wave of [their] spears and the rain of [their] arrows. 

“He would not return until he had trampled on its ear with the soles of his feet” - c All 
( c a) would not return from the battlefield until he had trampled the heads of 
the disbelievers and stepped on the crown of their leader with the soles of his 
feet; like the gladiator who enters the arena and after he has defeated his 
opponent, he must push his back or head to the ground in order to show that 
the fight is finally over. In the same way, c Ali ( c a) used to charge at the enemy, 
not knowing the meaning of fear, as if he was running towards death and the 


356 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


wish to live had been removed from him. In his hand was a sword dripping with 
death, that could be seen swinging at the heads and flanks of the enemy, slicing 
their bodies into two, vertically and horizontally, splitting, breaking and 
crushing [the enemy] in the blink of an eye. Then, even before blood could 
squirt out from the veins, the attack had ended. 

“And put out its blaze with his sword” - He destroyed the roots of corruption and 
removed the thorns from the path of humanity. He extinguished the flames of 
war with his heavenly sword and paved the way for the path of the true 
testament: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of 
Allah.” 

“He strove for the sake of Allah” - He bore all the hardship and difficulty that came 
his way, only for the sake of Allah and in the way of Allah, in order to gain the 
pleasure of Allah. 

“Struggled in the way of Allah” - c All ( c a) would exert all his efforts and do his best 
to attain his lofty goal and realize his aspiration, namely the elevation of Allah’s 
word [among the people]. 

“He was close to the Prophet of Allah” - This does not mean physical proximity. 
Rather, it refers to the proximity of relationship, closeness in spirit, union of 
souls, and unity of purpose. For c Ali ( c a) is the soul of the Prophet (s) according 
to the Quhan itself, where Allah says: And our souls and your souls (Q3:6l); what 
proximity or relationship can be stronger or closer than this? 

“A leader among the friends of Allah” - Or in another version: “The master of the 
friends (awliya } ) of Allah” in which case it refers to the Holy Prophet (s). 

“Always prepared and diligent , sincere, earnest and hard-working” - This is how al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) describes her husband; as one who had rolled 
up his sleeves in preparation for hard work, for the sake of Islam and in order 


Commentary 


357 


to bring prosperity to the Muslims. He sincerely wished the best for them and 
was diligent in his work. So hardworking was he that fatigue and weariness did 
not prevent him from continuing his exertion. Indeed, the life of Amir al- 
Mu’mimn ( c a) was full of industry and struggle, action, accomplishment and 
service to Islam and the Muslims. His success in the battles is well known, as is 
his selfless service in the way of Islam and his sacrifice for the sake of Allah. 

“Meanwhile, you were living lives of ease and comfort; relaxed, unperturbed and secure” 
- c Ali ( c a) would face the dangers and perils at a time when the Muslims were 
far away from those dangers, busy in their own world, enjoying comfort, 
thinking about how to acquire pleasurable things and fulfilling their desires - 
with no sense of fear. Where were the Muslims on the night of al-mabit ? The 
night when the polytheists had surrounded the Prophet’s house with the 
intention of attacking it and killing him? Was it not c Al! ( c a) who slept on the 
bed of the Prophet (s), thereby putting his life in danger in order to save the 
Prophet? Where were the Muslims on the day of Uhud, when they fled and left 
the Prophet in the battlefield while he was being attacked by the disbelievers 
and polytheists? c Ali ( c a) remained by his side and fought against the enemy, 
breaking the record of self-sacrifice and selflessness, until JibraTl proclaimed 
his chivalry and bravery, calling out between the heavens and earth: “There is 
no youth [as brave] as c Ali and no sword [as effective] as Dhu al-Faqar.” 13/r °‘ The 

same can be seen in the Battles of Hunayn, Khandaq, Khaybar, etc. c Al! ( c a) said: 
“I put my life on the line for him in situations where heroes recoiled and the 
vanguard fell back, [this was] a bravery that Allah honoured me with...” 14A °° 

“Awaiting the reversal of our fortunes” - Certain individuals who had joined the 
ranks of the Muslims were actually hoping for the destruction of the Prophet 


13 Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 514; Manaqib Amir al-Mu’minin, p. 197 

14 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon no. 197 


358 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


and were waiting for some misfortune to befall the Messenger of Allah. Reversal 
of fortunes take place over time and may cause one to lose the blessings that 
were bestowed on him and bring calamities and hardships. 

“Keenly waiting for news [of our failures]” - They were hoping to receive news 
about our downfall. 

“Retreating during conflict and fleeing from battle” - In the Battle of Uhud, the flight 
of Muslims was a tragedy; and it was the source of disgrace in the Battle of 
Hunayn and shame in the Battle of Khaybar, and in all the subsequent battles 
where a group of Muslims turned to flee. Not to mention the Battle of Khandaq, 
when fright had overcome the hearts and terror had taken root in the souls as 
'Amr ibn c Abd Wudd appeared - and Allah spared the faithful through c Ali ( c a). 
In short, this was the stance of c All ( c a) towards Islam and the Prophet, as 
opposed to the attitude of others, whose ‘bravery’ became apparent only after 
the demise of the Prophet, and whose ‘skills’ were made known when there was 
no encumbrance for them, and the circumstances had turned in their favour! 


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The Sermon 


359 


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So when Allah chose to take His Prophet (s) to the abode of His Prophets and the dwelling 
of His sincere servants , the thorny tree of hypocrisy appeared amongst you and the robe 
of religion became ragged. The misguided , who were previously silent, began to speak. 
The unknown few arose, and the liars came forward braying [like camels] as they 
strutted, wagging their tails in your courtyards. Satan raised his head from his hiding 
place and called out to you. He found you responsive to his call and attentive to his 
deception. Then he enticed you and found you easy to arouse; he exasperated you and 
found you easy to anger. So you branded camels that were not yours and proceeded to 
other than your own watering holes. This, while the era [of the Prophet] had only just 
ended, the gash still wide and the wound still fresh. The Prophet had yet to be buried 
when you made haste, claiming that you were afraid of dissension; “Lo, they have fallen 
into dissension! And indeed Hell surrounds the unbelievers.” (Q9:49). Far be it! What is 
wrong withyou? And where are you heading while the Book of Allah is in your midst? 
Its affairs are distinct, its rulings manifest, its signs radiant, its prohibitions visible and 
its commands are clear. Yet you have cast it behind your backs. Do you wish to turn 
away from it out of aversion? Or do you wish to judge by another [book]? “Evil would be 
the exchange for the wrongdoers!” (Q18:50) “And whoever seeks a religion other than 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Islam , then it will not be accepted from him and he will be among the losers in the 
Hereafter.” (Q3:85) 

Then you only waited for as long as it took the feral [camel] to calm down and accept a 
rider taking control of its reins, before reigniting its flames and kindling its embers. You 
have responded to the calls of the misguiding Satan to extinguish the lights of the 
splendent religion and suppress the teachings of the pure Prophet. You secretly drank 
the milk while pretending to sip the froth and stalked his family and children, hiding in 
the trees and trenches. Yet we endure patiently with you through what feels like the 
stabbing of daggers and the piercing of [our] sides with spearheads. And now you claim 
that we have no inheritance! “Do they seek the judgment of [the age of] ignorance? And 
who is a better judge than Allah for the people who have certainty?” (Q5:50) Do you know 
not? Indeed it is as obvious as the midday sun that I am his daughter! 0 Muslims, will I 
be denied my inheritance? 


Commentary 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) then proceeded to talk about the change that 
happened and the revolt that took place after the Prophet’s death. She said: 

“So when Allah chose to take His Prophet (s) to the abode of His Prophets” - How 
alarming and beautiful these words are! For she did not say: “When the Prophet 
died...” rather, she said: “When Allah chose for His Prophet the abode of His [other] 
Prophets” meaning the lofty stations of Paradise, as that is the abode of the 
Prophets and the dwelling of His sincere servants. 

“The thorny tree of hypocrisy appeared amongst you” - This refers to their enmity 
that sprang forth from hypocrisy, i.e. the enmity resulting from hypocrisy. 


Commentary 


361 


“And the robe of religion became ragged” - meaning that signs of fraying became 
evident on the robe of Islam, after it had been the most fabulous and beautiful. 

“The misguided, who were previously silent, began to speak” - Those who did not 
have the audacity to speak in the past due to fear, now spoke freely. 

“The unknown few arose” - Another version reads: “The lowly few arose.” These 
were vile and lowly members of society who were known not to be noble or 
sagacious. 

“And the liars came forward braying [like camels]” - Another version reads “the 
disbelievers” (instead of “the liars”). This refers to the sound made by the young 
male camel that is not straddled. 

“Strutting and wagging their tails in your courtyards” - This is the walk of camels, a 
walk of those who are pleased with themselves, a walk of haughtiness and pride. 
All this is an analogy for the manifestation of hypocrisy that had been 
concealed, the appearance of factions and groups that were in hiding during 
the lifetime of the Prophet (s), and the transformation of weak and incapable 
individuals into weilders of power and authority. 

“Satan raised his head from his hiding place and called out to you” - al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) considers those events to be a form of compliance with 
the accursed Satan, who had sworn to Allah saying: By Your might, I will surely 
pervert them all, except Your sincere servants among them. (Q38:82-83) Satan had 
been defeated during the lifetime of the Prophet, when Islam was prospering 
and strong. Then he reared his head and came out of hiding, like the hedgehog 
that rears its head after its fear subsides. He called out to them, urging them to 
break the allegiance they had pledged on the day of Ghadir, and to usurp the 
rights from their true owners. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“He found you responsive to his call” - When Satan called you, he found you to be 
as he had expected and his estimation of you was correct. 

“And attentive to his deception” - Satan found your reaction to be ardent and your 
acceptance of his deception was like the person who believes everything that 
he is told, and does whatever he is instructed to do - without thinking or 
deliberation. 

“Then he enticed you and found you easy to arouse” - He commanded you to stand 
with him and found you rushing towards him without any sluggishness. 

“He exasperated you and found you easy to anger” - He made you angry and 
provoked you, and found you easy to anger; or found you quick to lose your 
temper as he wanted and hoped. Thus Satan found in you followers who obeyed 
his commands in all situations. 

“So you branded camels that were not yours” - As a result, you did what was not 
permissible for you to do, and chose one who was not worthy of being chosen. 
You gave the reins of government to one who did not deserve it, and you 
empowered one who was not entitled. 

“And proceeded to other than your own watering holes” like the camel-herder who 
takes his camels to a watering hole that does not belong to him. The meaning 
of this is: you took that which did not belong to you, namely, the caliphate. This 
is in reference to the improper conduct of the people in selecting the caliph, 
and the diversion of the caliphate from those who were its rightful recipients - 
because these decisions are not for the people to make; rather, it is the right of 
Allah alone. 

“This, while the era [of the Prophet] had only just ended” - All these changes took 
place only a few days after the demise of the Prophet (s). It was possible for the 
religion to change or for Muslims to forget the instructions and teachings [of 


Commentary 


363 


the Prophet] over time, but that was not the case here. Less than a fortnight 
had passed after the death of the Prophet before all this transpired. 

“The gash still wide” - The lesion on the heart that was caused by the Prophet’s 
(s) demise is still a wide gash. This is a metaphor used to show the extent of 
sorrow and the enormity of the calamity. 

“And the wound still fresh” - The wound of the Prophet’s (s) demise has not yet 
healed. 

“The Prophet had yet to be buried” - The signs of revolt became apparent even 
before the Prophet (s) was buried. Rather, it was in those hours when c Ali ( c a) 
was busy washing the body of the Prophet (s) and shrouding it that you 
assembled and wrought what you wrought. 

“When you made haste, claiming that you were afraid of dissension” - You quickly 
undertook those measures, claiming that you did what you did in order to 
prevent dissension, knowing full well that this was not the true reason for your 
actions. 

“Lo, they have fallen into dissension! And indeed Hell surrounds the unbelievers.” 
(Q9:49) - You are the dissenters and dissension is from you! Your actions are 
the cause of dissent as is your usurping the rights from their true owners in 
order to prevent dissension, as per your claim. What calamity can be greater 
than altering the direction of Islam, changing its laws, and usurping the rights 
of the Ahl al-Bayt ( c a) while treating them with such harshness and hard- 
heartedness? It was indeed very prudent for al-Sayyidah Fatimah to mention 
this verse here. 

“Far be it!” - She is expressing her astonishment and surprise at their actions. 
How could they do what they did? How could they commit such heinous crimes 


364 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


despite what they read clearly in the Qur’an and what they knew of the wishes 
of the Prophet (s) with regard to his family? 

“What is wrong with you?” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) expresses her dismay at 
their changed attitude and conduct. How could they act in such a manner? How 
could such crimes be committed by them? 

“And where are you heading” - Where is Satan diverting you to, [away] from the 
excellent path, as he incites you towards these actions? 

“While the Book of Allah is in your midst?” - All this while the Book of Allah is still 
present amongst you and with you. Another version continues... “Its injunctions 
are established, its meanings are clear and its paths are well-lit.” 

“Its affairs are distinct” - There is nothing in the Qur’an that causes doubt or 
uncertainty, because its affairs are clear and distinct. 

“Its rulings manifest” - glaring and evident. 

“Its signs radiant” - The signs that are found in the Qur’an are radiant and bright. 

“Its prohibitions visible” - Its proscriptions, which forbid you from following your 
vain desires, are clear. 

“And its commands are clear” - Its commandments, which instruct you to obey 
us, to learn the laws of Islam from us and to follow us, are manifest. 

“Yet you have cast it behind your backs” - How unfortunate that the Qur’an, with 
all these qualities, has today been cast behind your backs and you neither act 
on it nor follow its injunctions. 

“Do you wish to turn away from it out of aversion?” - This is a rhetorical question, 
because if someone casts something behind his back, it means he is averse to it. 
She ( c a) is saying: It is as though you have rejected the Qur’an or are not pleased 


Commentary 


365 


with the Qur’an and its injunctions because they go against your desires and 
goals. 

“Or do you wish to judge by another [book]?” - Do you wish to judge based on laws 
other than what has been revealed because you consider the Qur’an irrelevant? 

“Evil would be the exchange for the wrongdoers!” (Q18:50) - That which you have 
taken in place of the Qur’an is evil and its laws are ill-conceived. 

“Then you only waited for as long as it took the feral [camel] to calm down and accept a 
rider taking control of its reins” - Here al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) is 
comparing their dissension to a camel or a wild animal which is difficult to 
control, or to tame and bestride. She says: After you took over the lofty and 
elevated position of the caliphate, you waited for a short while until the 
confusion had abated before instituting your subversive policies. 

“Before reigniting its flames and kindling its embers” - Then you began to incite 
discord just as a person blows on a firebrand to stoke the flame, or moves live 
coal until its fire appears, burning the damp and dry. This statement is in 
reference to the evil acts that those people undertook, such as purloining the 
resources from Amir al-Mu’mimn ( c a), attacking the house [of Fatimah], and all 
that they did to al-Sayyidah Fatimah, her husband and her sons. In addition, 
they seized her property and deprived her of [her share of] the khums and fay\ 
among other injustices that the historians have mentioned. In short, she is 
saying: You committed these many injustices, each one more heinous than the 
next. 

“You have responded to the calls of the misguiding Satan” - Because Satan calls his 
faction to join him in the fire of Hell. The Qur’an tells us that Satan will say [on 
the Day of Resurrection]: I had no authority over you, except that I called you and 
you responded to me. (Q14:22) Indeed, the crimes that the individuals in authority 
committed against the family of the Prophet (s) were not in response to the 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


commandments of Allah and His Prophet, rather they were in response to the 
instructions of the accursed Satan. 

“To extinguish the lights of the splendent religion” - The religion of Islam has lights 
by which people are guided, in the form of the beneficial laws and injunctions 
as well as the spirituality that pervades this religion; and that group of 
individuals was trying to extinguish these lights. 

“And suppress the teachings of the pure Prophet” - The teachings of the Prophet are 
like bright lights and suppression of these teachings is tantamount to putting 
out these bright lights. 

“You secretly drank the milk while pretending to sip the froth” - Whenever milk is 
milked, it has a layer of froth, and if a person comes and pretends that he wants 
to sip only the froth, but then secretly proceeds to drink the milk, then it is a 
form of deception. This is the source of the metaphor which is used to refer to 
a person who pretends or claims one thing but wants something else. Here, al- 
Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) is informing us of the true intentions of these people, 
and the fact that they are claiming one thing but want something quite 
different. They claim that they want to prevent dissension and discord while 
what they really want is to block the family of the Prophet. 

“And stalked his family and children , hiding in the trees and trenches” - You disturb 
the family of the Prophet and his children with your deceptive schemes and 
secret plots. It was with this aim that you cut off their means of sustenance, so 
that they may become weak and poor, having been robbed of their resources, 
and nobody would thus be inclined to follow them. 

“Yet we endure patiently with you through what feels like the stabbing of daggers” - 
We bear patiently with you throughout the wrongs and injustices that we face 
from you, just as one whose body is stabbed or slashed with daggers endures 
the pain. 


Commentary 


367 


“And the piercing of [our] sides with spearheads” - And just as one whose sides are 
pierced with spearheads; meaning that the matter is not trivial or petty such 
that one can overlook or forget it. Rather, it is a great injustice and a grave 
crime. 

“And now you claim that we have no inheritance!” - After all this, in order to justify 
your inimical stance and cover up your actions, you falsely claim that we do not 
inherit anything from the Prophet of Allah (s). You deny the most important 
matter and the clearest issue in the religion of Islam i.e. the rules of inheritance, 
which are established by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. 

“Do they seek the judgment of [the age of] ignorance?” (Q5:50) - al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
al-Zahra’ ( c a) integrates this verse into her speech, as is her usual practice, 
because of her close familiarity with the Qur’an. She says: Since rejection of 
inheritance is not part of Islamic law, then are you better pleased to pass 
judgment based on the laws of the age of ignorance, which were founded on 
personal whims and interests? This was the law which taught that daughters 
should be deprived of inheritance and only the sons could inherit. 

“And who is a better judge than Allah for the people who have certainty?” (Q5:50) - 
This is another verse that she incorporates into her speech. She uses it to ask 
them if there is a better judgment or law than that which has come from Allah, 
the Most High - especially for those who believe in Allah and accept Islam. Is it 
not the case that Islamic law has replaced the law of Jahiliyyah and prescribed 
a share of inheritance for both males and females? 

“Indeed it is as obvious as the midday sun that I am his daughter!” - It is as clear to 
you that I am the Prophet’s daughter as the sun is on a bright, clear, sunny day, 
with no clouds or fog. 

“Do you know not?” - Do you not know the truth about these matters? Or do you 
not know that I am his daughter? 


368 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“0 Muslims, will I be denied my inheritance?” - 0 those who are present and hear 
my words, 0 those who nominated Abu Bakr for the caliphate, 0 ummah of 
Muhammad, I am the daughter of Muhammad! I am the daughter of the Prophet 
of Islam. They are forcefully denying my rights and my inheritance. 

Another version reads: “will my rights be usurped?” 


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0 Son of Abu Quhafah, is it in the Book of Allah that you may inherit from your father 
yet I cannot inherit from mine? “You have certainly come up with a strange thing!” 
(from Q19:27) Have you purposely abandoned the Book of Allah and cast it behind your 
backs? When it says: “And Sulayman inherited from Dawiid” (Q27:16) and when relating 
the story of Zakariyya, where he said: “So grant me from Yourself an heir who will 
inherit from me and inherit from the family ofYa c qub” (Q19:5-6) and it further states: 


The Sermon 


369 


“...but blood relatives are more entitled [to inherit] from one another in the Book of 
Allah” (Q8:75) and: “Allah enjoins you concerning your children: for the male shall be 
the like of the share of two females" (Q4:ll) and: “...if he leaves behind any property, he 
should make a bequest for his parents and relatives in kindness, an obligation for the 
God-wary.” (Q2:180) Yet you claim that I have no entitlement and inherit nothing from 
my father! Has Allah revealed a special verse [of the Qur’an] for you from which He 
excluded my father? Or do you say that people of two separate faiths cannot inherit from 
one another? Are my father and I not upon the same faith? Or is it that you have greater 
knowledge of the particular and general injunctions of the Qur’an than my father and 
cousin? So take hold of its reins, bridled and saddled, for it will surely meet you on the 
day you are assembled; and Allah is the best judge and Muhammad the best leader. The 
[final] rendezvous is on the Day of Resurrection, and when it comes, the falsifiers will be 
the losers and your remorse will be of no benefit. “For every prophecy there is an 
appointed term” ( Q6:67 ) “ Soon you will know whom a disgraceful punishment will 
overtake and on whom a lasting punishment will descend.” (Qll:39) 


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370 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


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0 people of understanding, supporters of faith and defenders of Islam, what is [the cause 
of] this negligence in defending my rights and laxity before the injustice being done to 
me? Did my father, the Prophet of Allah (s), not say: “A man is honoured through his 
offspring”? How quickly have you changed, and how hastily you have you betrayed us, 
while you possess the ability to assist me and the strength to support me in what I seek 
and pursue. 

Do you say: “Muhammad (s) has died”? This is indeed a great calamity whose damage 
is extensive, its breach is vast, and its weavings have been rent apart. The world has 
become dark by his absence; the sun and moon have been eclipsed and the stars 
scattered because of his loss. Hopes have been dashed, mountains have crumbled, 
sanctities have been violated and all sense of sacredness has been disregarded upon his 
death. This is, by Allah, a great tragedy and a dire calamity. No tragedy can be compared 
to it and no adversity is as grievous. The Book of Allah - glory be to Him - announced it 
in your courtyards, in your evenings and mornings, calling and crying out, recited and 
chanted, that the Prophets of Allah and His Messengers who came before were not able 
to overcome the definitive verdict and the inescapable decree [of death]. “Muhammad 
is but a messenger, other messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is slain, 
will you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels will not harm 
Allah in the least, and soon Allah will reward the grateful.” (Q3.T44) 


Commentary 

“0 Son of Abu Quhafah” - Here al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) addresses the 
head of state by name, not as the ‘Caliph of the Prophet of Allah’, because the 
Holy Prophet (s) did not appoint him the caliph. She did not use his epithet ‘Abu 


Commentary 


371 


Bakr’, because it would have been a show of reverence towards him. Rather, she 
said: “0 son of Abu Quhafah.” We shall discuss this ascription in detail later, when 
expounding on her talk with her husband, Amir al-Mu’mimn ( c a). 

“Is it in the Book of Allah that you may inherit from your father yet I cannot inherit from 
mine?” - By what law do you inherit from your father when he dies yet I cannot 
inherit from my father when he passes away? Are you basing your judgment 
against my inheritance on any evidence from the Book of Allah? 

“You have certainly come up with a strange thing!” - You have come up with a grave 
falsehood and a serious lie against the Qur’an. 

We have mentioned before that al-Sayyidah Fatimah was the rightful owner of 
Fadak, which was given to her as a gift and was also her inheritance. When she 
sought it as something that had been gifted to her and presented evidence for 
this, they wrought what they wrought, and now she had come to seek Fadak as 
her right by inheritance. 

“Have you purposely abandoned the Book of Allah and cast it behind your backs?” - Is 
the Qur’an not present amongst you? Why then have you discarded it and cast 
it behind your backs? 

“When it says: And Sulayman inherited from Dawud’” (Q27:16) - Is this not a clear 
ruling about the inheritance of Prophets from one another? Was Sulayman not 
the son of Dawud, the Prophet? Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) understood this verse 
to mean that Sulayman inherited the wealth of Dawud. This is also what Abu 
Bakr and the rest of the Muslims who were present in the gathering understood 
from this verse, and they did not interpret it in any other way. The same applies 
to the story of Zakariyya where he said: “So grant me from Yourself an heir who will 
inherit from me and inherit from the family ofYa c qub.” (Q19:5-6) Zakariyya ( c a) asked 
Allah to grant him a son who would inherit his wealth. 


372 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


However, after many centuries, there came a group who wanted to defend 
those who had usurped power, so they said regarding the commentary of these 
two verses: Sulayman inherited knowledge from Dawud, not wealth. Through 
this interpretation, they sought to endorse the decision of those who deprived 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) of her inheritance from her father, the Holy 
Prophet (s). 

Let us look more closely at these two verses. Firstly, the word ‘inheritance’ is 
used [both] legally and commonly to refer to wealth, if we say that someone has 
inherited from someone else, the apparent meaning of this is that he has 
inherited some wealth, not that he has inherited knowledge or wisdom, except 
if there is some qualifying statement that points to this inheritance being one 
of knowledge or wisdom, as in the verse: We made the Children of Israel heirs to the 
Book (Q40:53) and: Then We made heirs to the Book those whom We chose from Our 
servants. (Q35:32) 

As for the verse: And Sulayman inherited from Dawud (Q27:16), it is referring to 
inheritance of wealth, not inheritance of knowledge or sovereignty or the like. 
This is because Sulayman was a Prophet during the lifetime of his father Dawud, 
as Allah says in the story of the tillage, when the sheep of some people strayed 
into it by night: We gave its understanding to Sulayman, and to each We gave 
judgement and knowledge... (Q21:79) 

Al-Zamakhsharl says in al-Kashshaf in his commentary on the verse: When one 
evening there were displayed before him prancing steeds (Q38:3l), “It is narrated that 
Sulayman fought a battle against the armies of Damascus and acquired a booty 
of one thousand horses; and it is said that he inherited them from his father, 
who had acquired them as war booty from the c Amaliqah.” r ° 1 Al-Baydaw! says: 
“It is said that his father acquired them from the c Amaliqah and he inherited 


them from him...” r ° v 


Commentary 


373 


So we find that Sulayman inherited those horses from his father Dawud, along 
with other material possessions that his father left behind. Therefore, it 
becomes evident that Sulayman did not inherit knowledge or prophethood 
from his father, as he was already a Prophet during his father’s lifetime, just as 
Harun was a Prophet during the lifetime of his brother, Musa ibn Tmran ( c a). 
Therefore, Sulayman inherited the wealth of his father Dawud. 

“And when relating the story of Zakariyya, where he said: ‘So grant me from Yourself an 
heir who will inherit from me and inherit from the family ofYa c qub”’ (Q19:5-6) - As for 
this supplication of Zakariyya ( c a), some claim that he wanted someone to 
inherit his prophethood but the verse speaks for itself, for it goes on to say “and 
make him, my Lord, one with whom You are well pleased.” This shows that the 
inheritance Zakariyya meant was not inheritance of prophethood, because if 
that were the case, it would be like a person saying: “0 Allah send to us a 
Prophet and make him intelligent and pleasing in his character.” The latter part 
is redundant and it is not befitting for someone like Zakariyya to ask his Lord 
to give the Prophet [who will be his heir] a pleasing character, because 
prophethood has far greater qualities, all of which are included in prophethood 
itself [to begin with]. Fakhr al-Din al-RazI says: “That which is meant by 
inheritance in these two verses is the inheritance of wealth.” r ° A 

The exegetes have different opinions about the supplication of Zakariyya ( c a). 
In Majma c al-Bayan, al-Tabars! says that Zakariyya was afraid of what his cousins 
would do after him, hence he said: “Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me” (Q19:5) and 
his only reason for seeking an heir was because of this fear. 1 " 01 His fear of them 

could not have been for anything other than wealth, such as prophethood and 
knowledge, for he knew that Allah would never appoint a person who was 
unworthy as a Prophet, nor give such an individual His knowledge and wisdom, 
so how could he be afraid of this? if someone says: this cannot be about 
inheritance of wealth because it would mean that he was niggardly and miserly, 


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we would reply: we seek Allah’s refuge from equating these two matters, for 
wealth is granted to believers and disbelievers, to the righteous and the wicked, 
and it is not improbable that he was despondent about his cousins if they were 
wicked and corrupt people who would take his wealth and waste it away. 
Rather, being concerned about this is very wise, for doing anything to 
strengthen the wrongdoers and assist them in their evil deeds is forbidden in 
religion. Therefore, whoever considers this to be miserliness and stinginess is 
not fair in his assessment. 

“And it further states: ‘...hut blood relatives are more entitled [to inherit] from one 
another in the Book of Allah’” (Q8:75) - This means that close relatives have a 
greater right to inherit from one another. This verse refers to the general 
inheritance between relatives. 

“And: ‘Allah enjoins you concerning your children: for the male shall be the like of the 
share of two females’” (Q4:ll) - Allah commands you and instructs you on how to 
divide your inheritance between your children. When you die, your sons should 
get twice what your daughters get. This verse is also general and enjoins all the 
Muslims, without making exceptions for Prophets or stating that their children 
do not inherit. 

“And: ‘...if he leaves behind any property, he should make a bequest for his parents and 
relatives in kindness, an obligation for the God-wary’” (Q2:180) - This verse states 
that it is obligatory for a Muslim who is on his deathbed to bequeath his wealth 
to those mentioned. This is the third general verse which makes no exceptions 
for Prophets and does not say that Prophets have no heirs [for their wealth], 

“Yet you claim that I have no entitlement and inherit nothing from my father!” - You 
claim, while knowing full well that you are lying, that there is no share or 
inheritance for me from my father, the Prophet of Allah (s). By denying my 


Commentary 


375 


inheritance from my father, you are denying my relationship to him and my 
close bond with him. 

“Has Allah revealed a special verse [of the Qur’an] for you from which He excluded my 
father?” - The verses of inheritance are general and applicable to all the 
Muslims, so has Allah made an exception for my father, the Prophet, in these 
verses such that none can inherit from him? 

“Or do you say that people of two separate faiths cannot inherit from one another?” - 
Such that a disbeliever cannot inherit from a Muslim? 

“Are my father and I not upon the same faith?” - Do you doubt my faith and the fact 
that I am a Muslim who follows the laws of Islam? 

What a calamity! The matter has escalated to such an extent that the one who 
was ‘part of the Prophet (s)’ and his beloved daughter, the Mistress of all 
Women of the Worlds, has to speak in such a manner and has to use such an 
argument! Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him will we return. 

“Or is it that you have greater knowledge of the particular and general injunctions of 
the Qur’an than my father and cousin?” - The verses of inheritance are general, so 
if there was an exception made for the Prophet, he would have known about it 
and informed his daughter of it. Since he (s) did not tell his daughter, or anyone 
else for that matter, about any such special exception, it must not have existed. 
It is not logical to assume that the Prophet (s) kept this information from his 
daughter, despite her close bond with him and his deep affection for her, as well 
as the great need for explaining this rule to her so that she would not ask for 
her inheritance after he had passed away. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah is saying here: 
Do you say that you know more about the Quhan and its specific and general 
verses than my father, the Prophet of Allah (s), upon whom it was revealed? Or 
are you more knowledgeable about it than his cousin, c All ibn Ab! Talib ( c a), the 
‘gate of the city of knowledge’? For if this was the case, my husband would have 


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informed me of it and would not allow me to come to the masjid to seek my 
inheritance. 

These are all the possibilities that one can imagine about this case, and all of 
them are void. Therefore, we realize that this matter was political, not religious. 
Rather, it was a plot against the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (s) and an economic 
blockade meant to weaken their financial position. 

“So take hold of its reins, bridled and saddled” - Until this point, the speech was 
about general matters and addressed all the Muslims present in the masjid. 
Here, she turned her focus towards the head of state himself, saying: Take it - 
take Fadak; and she compared Fadak to a she-camel that had been bridled and 
saddled. By saying this, she means: take Fadak, prepared and ready. There is a 
warning underlying these words, just as one would tell a transgressor: ‘Do what 
you will, and enjoy your spoils.’ This is why she continues: “for it will surely meet 
you on the day you are assembled,” as a reminder that human beings will come 
face to face with their deeds on the Day of Resurrection, and they will find present 
whatever they had done. (Q18:49) 

“And Allah is the best judge” - On that day, Allah, the Almighty, will be the judge, 
not you. And Allah is not unjust, and nothing is hidden from Him. 

“And Muhammad the best leader” - The counsellor who will prosecute you [on 
that day] will be the Master of the Prophets and my father. He will ask you for 
the right of his daughter, Fatimah. 

“The [final] rendezvous is on the Day of Resurrection” - The tryst is the Day of 
Judgment, when all the plaintiffs will be assembled. 

“And when it comes, the falsifiers will be the losers” - Those who assert falsehood 
and claim what is not theirs will be the losers on that day. 


Commentary 


377 


“And your remorse will be of no benefit” - Regret will be of no avail on that day. A 
person may have benefitted from remorse in the world if he was determined 
never to repeat that action, but on the Day of Resurrection, remorse and regret 
are of no benefit because there are no deeds or actions there, only accounting. 

“For every prophecy there is an appointed term” (Q6:67) “Soon you will know whom a 
disgraceful punishment will overtake and on whom a lasting punishment will descend.” 
(Qll:39) - This is a warning about the never-ending, eternal chastisement of 
the Hereafter. 

“Then she addressed the Ansar” - These were the people of Madinah who had 
helped the Prophet (s) when he migrated there from Makkah. She called for 
them to come to her aid after reminding them of their illustrious past during 
the time of the Prophet. 

“She said: 0 people of understanding” - 0 noble people. And another version reads: 
“0 chivalrous people.” She uses these terms in order to stir up their emotions and 
resolve. 

“Supporters of faith” - The helpers of religion. 

“And defenders of Islam” - Those who protected Islam and safeguarded it like a 
mother safeguards her child, or as a bird protects its egg. 

“What is [the cause of] this negligence in defending my rights” - Why are you remiss 
and silent about my rights? 

“And laxity before the injustice being done to me?” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) is 
comparing their silence to the laxity and lethargy that overcomes a person just 
before they go to sleep. And one who is asleep lacks awareness. Indeed, sleep is 
the [temporary] death of consciousness, the incapacitation of senses, the stasis 
of emotion and the loss of humanity. 


378 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Did my father, the Prophet of Allah (s), not say: A man is honoured through his 
offspring?” - Meaning that the honour of a person is preserved by honouring his 
children and fulfilling their rights. Is the Prophet of Allah not my father? Am I 
not his daughter? Does it not behove you to respect my status because of the 
Holy Prophet (s)? Another version reads: “Is it not the right of the Prophet of Allah 
that his honour be preserved though his children?” 

“How quickly have you changed” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah expresses her dismay at 
how quickly they turned and showed their enmity for the family of the Holy 
Prophet (s). 

“And how hastily you haveyou betrayed us” - This phrase is actually extracted from 
an idiom that came about when a man who had a thin, skinny sheep, whose 
snot was flowing from its snout, was asked: “What is this?” He said: “Soon to be 
a lump of fat.’””'' This idiom is used to describe a person who informs others 
about something before its time. Here, al-Sayyidah Fatimah means: You 
arranged your affairs [and took sides] against us with the utmost haste and 
speed. 

“While you possess the ability to assist me” - You possess the strength and ability 
to help me and assist me in retaking my usurped rights. 

“And the strength to support me in what I seek and pursue” - You are not weak and 
incapable of coming to my aid and defending me. So what is your excuse? Why 
are you silent? Why this betrayal? 

“Do you say: Muhammad (s) has died?” - And his faith is dead, and his honour and 
reverence has perished, and his lofty teachings are no more? Is this what has 
emboldened you against us, the Ahl al-Bayt? 

“This is indeed a great calamity whose damage is extensive” - This is a grave matter, 
because the demise of great people is a grave affair. Another version reads: “Do 


Commentary 


379 


you think that since the Prophet (s) has passed away, his faith is now orphaned? Indeed 
his passing away is a great calamity.” 

“Its breach is vast” - Like a fortress whose breach is vast or like the wide gash on 
one’s body. 

“And its weavings have been rent apart” - The place which had been interwoven 
together is rent apart. All these are descriptions of the gravity of the calamity. 

“The world has become dark by his absence” - It is natural that since he was the 
light which illuminated the world, with his demise, the world turned dark. We 
find many verses in the Qur 3 an that refer to the Prophet of Allah (s) as ‘light’, 
such as: Certainly there has come to you a light from Allah, and a manifest Book. 
(Q5:15) 

“The sun and moon have been eclipsed” - The radiance that we see on the face of 
the moon is nothing but the reflection of the sun’s light, so if the light of the 
sun is eclipsed, the light of the moon will also disappear. 

“Hopes have been dashed” - The hopes that were based on the presence of the 
Prophet of Allah (s) have been dashed with his passing. 

“Mountains have crumbled” - Out of the severity of this calamity and the gravity 
of this event, even the inanimate things have been affected. As [in the verse 
where] Allah says: Had We sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have 
surely seen it humbled and crumble to pieces out of the fear of Allah. (Q59:2l) 

“Sanctities have been violated” - Sanctities are the things that a person would be 
ready to protect with his life. The sanctities being referred to here are those of 
the family of the Prophet - his pure progeny. 

“And all sense of sacredness has been disregarded upon his death” - Another version 
reads: “The sanctity [of his family] has been trampled upon after his demise.” 


380 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“This is, by Allah, a great tragedy and a dire calamity” - The demise of great people 
is a tragedy, and the greater the individual, the more dire the calamity. Indeed, 
the Prophet of Allah (s) was the greatest and most honourable of all creatures, 
so naturally his demise would be a great tragedy and a dire calamity. 

“No tragedy can be compared to it” - No tribulation greater than the death of the 
Holy Prophet (s) can be imagined in this world, because nobody in the world 
can be compared to him. 

“And no adversity is as grievous” - No adversity comparable to his demise will ever 
occur in this world, even though it is possible for an event which is greater than 
the death of the Holy Prophet (s) to occur, such as the Day of Resurrection and 
Judgment. 

Imam c Ali ( c a) described the calamity of the demise of the Prophet (s) thus: 

That which came upon me at the demise of the Prophet of Allah (s) was 
so grave that I do not think a mountain would be able to bear it. I saw 
people from my household burdened with unbearable grief, unable to 
control themselves, incapable of bearing the adversity that had 
befallen them. The tribulation had overwhelmed their patience and 
bewildered their minds, rendering them incapable of comprehension, 
understanding, speaking or hearing/ 1 ' 

“The Book of Allah - glory be to Him - announced it in your courtyards” - The Glorious 
Quhan announced the death of the Prophet in your presence and around you, 
meaning that the Quhan was recited during the night and day, and its recitation 
was heard in the masjids, houses and dwellings. Another version reads: “inyour 
Qiblah” meaning in the masjid or the place were one prays and recites the 
Quhan. 


Commentary 


381 


“In your evenings and mornings” - You would hear the verses of the Qur 3 an that 
informed you about the death of the Prophet (s), in the evenings and mornings. 

“Calling and crying out” - The announcement of the [impending] death of the 
Prophet was made in different ways: by calling out i.e. reciting with a beautiful 
voice, and by crying out i.e. reciting with a loud and strong voice. 

“Recited and chanted” - Recitation is when one recites the verses quickly and 
chanting is when one recites slowly and with reflection. 

“That the Prophets of Allah and His Messengers who came before were not able to 
overcome the definitive verdict and the inescapable decree [of death]” - The death that 
came to the Prophets before the Noble Prophet (s) was something that had been 
decreed, and there is no doubt in it. It was a definitive decree that could not be 
averted. Therefore, death is the sunnah of Allah with regard to His servants, 
Prophets and others alike. 

Then she used the following verses as evidence: 

“Muhammad is but a messenger, other messengers have passed away before him. If he 
dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels 
will not harm Allah in the least, and soon Allah will reward the grateful.” (Q3:144) - 
These verses show that Muhammad (s) is a Prophet of Allah, and other Prophets 
have come before him, and other Messengers have passed away from this world 
before him. Therefore, the death of a Messenger is not something surprising; 
rather, this has always been the way of Allah with regard to His Prophets. They 
taste death like the rest of creation. This does not mean that when a Prophet 
dies, his teachings and religion die with him, or that his honour and respect 
perishes. 

“If he dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels?” - if Allah causes him to die 
or if he is slain by the disbelievers, will you turn back to disbelief after having 


382 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


accepted Islam? This apostasy ( irtidad ) means turning back to what one was 
before and returning to his previous state. 

“Anyone who turns back on his heels” and apostatizes “will not harm Allah in the 
least” rather, it is he who shall be harmed “and soon Allah will reward the grateful” 
and obedient ones. 


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The Sermon 


383 


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Far be it, 0 Children ofQaylah! 15 Will I be deprived of my patrimony while you watch 
and listen to me? And [while you] are seated and gathered here? You are involved in the 
claim and are aware of it, and you are numerous and well equipped. You possess means 
and strength, and own weapons and shields. The case has reached you yet you do not 
respond? You hear the cry yet you do not assist me? Yet you are known for your bravery 
and have a reputation for being good and righteous. You are an elite group and the best 
of those who were selected. You fought the [pagan] Arabs and bore pains and hardships. 
You clashed with the nations and battled the champions. We have not ceased, or is it you 
who have ceased? You always complied; we ordered and you obeyed. Until, through us, 
Islam was established and the milk of prosperity began to flow, the breach of polytheism 
was subdued, the ebullition of falsehood subsided, the fires of disbelief were stifled, the 
call to rebellion was silenced and the religious order was founded. 

So why have you become confused after your clear stance? Why have you become 
secretive after your proclamation? Why have you retreated after being at the forefront? 
And why have you opted for polytheism after believing [in Allah]? “Will you not make 
war on a people who broke their pledges and resolved to expel the Messenger, while they 
attacked you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is worthier of being feared by you, should 
you be faithful.” (Q9:13) 

Lo, I seeyou now inclined to a life of ease, having distanced yourselves from the one who 
is more worthy of giving and withholding. You have withdrawn into comfort and have 
escaped from hardship to abundance. You have thus spit out what you had retained and 


15 The Ban! Qaylah are the tribes of Aws and Khazraj 


384 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


vomited out what you had swallowed. “If you are ungrateful, you and those on earth all 
together, most surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised.” (Q14:8) 

I have said what I had to say, being fully aware of your intention to forsake me and of 
the betrayal that has sprung in your hearts. However, this was the unbosoming of the 
soul, the outburst of anger, the inability to further endure, the anguish of the heart and 
the advancing of proof. So take its reins and saddle it, with its sore back and suppurating 
hooves, ever disgraceful, branded with the wrath of Allah and eternal dishonour, leading 
to “the fire, set ablaze by Allah, that roars over the hearts. ” ( Q104:6-7 ) For what you are 
doing is witnessed by Allah, “and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place 
of turning they shall turn back.” (Q26:227) I am the daughter of “a wamer unto you, 
before a severe chastisement. ” (Q34:46) So act, we too shall act, “and wait, we too shall 
wait.” (Q1 1:122) 


Commentary 

“Far be it, 0 Children ofQaylah!” - The way she addresses them commands them 
to silence and demands a response. The children of Qaylah are the [tribes of] 
Aws and Khazraj. 

“Will I be deprived of my patrimony while you watch and listen to me?” - Will they 
oppress me by withholding my rightful inheritance from my father while you 
are present in the gathering, hearing my words and my complaint, and seeing 
my beleaguered state? 

“You are involved in the claim” - You are involved and included in my claim and 
my plight. 

“And are aware of it” - You know about it and are aware of it. Another version 
reads: “you are perplexed by this dispute.” 


Commentary 


385 


“And you are numerous and well equipped” - You are many in number and are 
prepared and equipped. Thus you cannot seek an excuse due to your small 
numbers. 

“You possess means and strength” - You have the means, strength and ability to 
assist me and come to my aid. 

“And own weapons and shields” - You have the weapons with which you fought in 
the way of Allah, and you have instruments of defence. 

“The case has reached you yet you do not respond?” - My plight and call for help has 
reached you yet you do not respond to me? 

“You hear the cry yet you do not assist me?” - My cry, the cry of one who is 
beleaguered and oppressed, comes to you yet you do not help me? 

“Yet you are known for your bravery” for your fighting in the way of Allah, facing 
the enemy and waging direct combat [without turning back or fleeing], 

“And have a reputation for being good and righteous” - And performing virtuous 
actions. 

“You are an elite group” - Verily the Messenger of Allah (s) chose Madinah and 
chose you for these reasons and qualities. 

“And the best of those who were selected” - The Holy Prophet (s) selected you to 
assist him and that is why he migrated [here] to you. 

“You fought the [pagan] Arabs” in order to help the Prophet and raise the banner 
of Islam. 

“And bore pains and hardships” in wars and battles, during the intense heat and 
bitter cold, sacrificing your lives and suffering injuries. 


386 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“You clashed with the nations” - You fought the different nations of Jews, 
Christians and others, all in order to defend the Prophet. 

“And battled the champions” - You entered into combat against champions with 
bravery and without any weakness or languor. 

“We have not ceased, or is it you who have ceased?” - Meaning we have not ceased 
and neither should you. 

“We ordered and you obeyed” - We commanded and you would always obey our 
commands. 

“Until, through us, Islam was established” - You fought, endured and struggled 
incessantly until Islam spread far and wide, and through us Islam was 
established and took its proper place. 

“And the milk of prosperity began to flow” - Prosperity and wealth increased 
because of the conquests, like the milk that flows forth copiously from the 
udder. 

“The breach of polytheism was subdued” - The polytheists’ necks were lowered in 
humility in front of Islam and they lost their standing. 

“The ebullition of falsehood subsided” - meaning the outpouring and eruption of 
lies. 

“The fires of disbelief were stifled" - The fires of war, that were ignited by the 
disbelievers, were extinguished. 

“The call to rebellion was silenced” - The call to sedition was silenced and the 
upheavals calmed down. 

“And the religious order was founded” - The affair of religion came together and 
became organized after it had been dispersed. 


Commentary 


387 


“So why have you become confused after your clear stance?” - Now, after all this, how 
have you become confused when the issue before you is so clear? How have you 
fallen into the valley of perplexity? 

“Why have you become secretive after your proclamation?” - Why have you hidden 
things that were openly manifest, or those things that you used to declare 
openly? 

“Why have you retreated after being at the forefront?” - Why have you turned 
backwards after you were at the forefront for the sake of Islam? 

“And why have you opted for polytheism after believing [in Allah]?” - You have 
ascribed partners to Allah by opposing the Prophet (s) with regard to his family. 

“Will you not make war on a people who broke their pledges and resolved to expel the 
Messenger, while they attacked you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is worthier of 
being feared by you, shouldyou be faithful.” (Q9:13) - al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
( c a) incorporated this verse in her speech, even though it was revealed about 
the polytheists of Makkah who had wanted to forcefully remove the Messenger 
of Allah (s) from Makkah, or in relation to the Jews and Christians who broke 
their allegiance and plotted to remove the Prophet from Madinah. In either 
case, [by using this verse] al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 5 is calling upon them 
and actuating them to come to her aid. She is not trying to foment dissent with 
these words, nor is she looking for blood to be spilled. She does not want to 
command an army or to lead a faction. Rather, she is aware of the state of the 
people and their inclinations. She knows that the matter is part of a clandestine 
scheme. That is why she said: 

“Lo, I see you now inclined to a life of ease” - I know that you have settled down in 
a life of ease and comfort. 


388 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Having distanced yourselves from the one who is more worthy of giving and 
withholding” - You have distanced yourselves from c Ali ibn Abl Talib ( c a) who is 
more worthy and deserving of having authority over your affairs, and of 
making decisions and passing judgments related to Islam, than anyone else. 

“You have withdrawn into comfort” - You have isolated yourselves in your comfort 
and leisure. 

“And have escaped from hardship to abundance” - Because Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) 
does not flatter or compromise, and he does not favour one above the other 
when he gives, this is hard for you to bear. So you escaped from this hardship 
and moved to the one who listens to you, is easy to handle, does what you wish 
and judges in your favour. 

“You have thus spit out what you had retained” - Meaning you have expelled from 
your mouths that which you had retained. 

“And vomited out what you had swallowed ” - You have regurgitated that which you 
drank, with ease and enjoyment. This is in reference to their retreat from 
religion and rejection of faith, which is why she follows up with the verse: 

“If you are ungrateful , you and those on earth all together, most surely Allah is Self- 
sufficient, Praised.” (Q14:8) - You do not hurt anyone but yourselves and harm 
nothing but your faith. 

“I have said what I had to say, being fully aware of your intention to forsake me” - She 
( c a) is saying: I know your stance and your attitude, and when I addressed you 
and sought your help, I knew that you would not assist me or come to my aid. 

“And of the betrayal that has sprung in your hearts” - Betrayal has covered your 
hearts like the clothes that cover the body. Betrayal is the opposite of loyalty, 
so she is saying: I do not expect you to remain loyal because I know of the 
betrayal that is present in your hearts. 


Commentary 


389 


“However, this was the unbosoming of the soul” - Meaning the expression of the 
pain that is felt by the soul. Just as a vessel can be filled with water, the soul too 
can become full of sorrow and overwhelmed with grief. 

“The outburst of anger” - The manifestation of the effects of anger, in the same 
way that interior bleeding indicates an ulcer. 

“The inability to further endure” - Signifying the weakness and inability of the 
soul to bear anything more than this. 

“The anguish of the heart” - Prophet Ya c qub ( c a) said: “I complain of my anguish and 
grief only to Allah.” (Q12:86) This is the anguish that one cannot hide, thus he 
manifests it. 

“And the advancing of proof’ - I have addressed you and said what I had to, 
without any any hope or expectation of assistance from you. I only did this for 
personal and religious reasons. As for the personal reasons, I have already 
mentioned them. The reason based on religious responsibility was the 
presenting of proof and making sure you were aware of everything. I gave you 
all the evidence to support what I say, so that you have no excuse on the Day of 
Judgement and cannot say: “We were unaware about this,” or “We forgot,” or 
“We were ignorant of this.” I have left no possible excuse or justification for 
anyone. I have introduced myself and my lineage to you. I have mentioned the 
Imamah and my right on Fadak. I have proven my case using clear verses from 
the Qur’an about inheritance in general and the inheritance of Prophets in 
particular. I have sought your assistance in taking back what is rightfully mine 
and have not found in you any helper or aide. 

“So take its reins and saddle it, with its sore back and suppurating hooves” - Take the 
reins of power and fasten your bags on it. It is just like a camel with an injured 
back and sensitive hooves. 


390 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Ever disgraceful” - Continually abased in this world throughout history, and in 
the Hereafter for eternity. 

“Branded with the wrath of Allah and eternal dishonour” - The mark of Allah’s wrath 
and anger is on that camel, as is the mark of everlasting disgrace that will lead 
you to... 

“Leading to ‘the fire, set ablaze by Allah, that roars over the hearts’” (Q104:6-7) whose 
fire burns and blazes endlessly - a fire that burns the exterior and interior, and 
reaches up to the hearts. 

“For what you are doing is witnessed by Allah” - Allah sees your actions and deeds 
and nothing is hidden from Him. It is as though these actions of yours are done 
in His presence. 

“And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn 
back.” (Q26:227) - What retribution they will face and which hellish punishment 
and chastisement awaits them! 

“I am the daughter of ‘a wamer unto you, before a severe chastisement’” (Q34:46) - 
Referring to the verse of the Qur 3 an: 0 Prophet! Indeed We have sent you as a 
witness, as a bearer of good news and as a wamer (Q33:45), she is saying: I am the 
daughter of Muhammad (s) who was sent to warn you of the punishment of 
Allah, which He has promised for the unjust. 

“So act, we too shall act, ‘and wait, we too shall wait.’” (Qll:122) - Do whatever 
injustice you wish, for we too shall do what is incumbent upon us by remaining 
patient and enduring; and wait for the consequences of your actions as we too 
wait for the results of our patience during these trials. 


After having heard this, Abu Bakr said: 


Commentary 


391 


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?(^) iibf 


0 daughter of the Messenger of Allah! Your father was indeed affectionate, generous, 
gracious and merciful to the believers, and the disbelievers shall face painful 
chastisement and severe retribution. If we look at his relationships, we find that he was 
your father to the exclusion of other women, and the brother of your husband to the 
exclusion of all [his] other close companions. He preferred him over every close friend 
and he, on his part, assisted him in every important matter. None love you save the 
felicitous and none despise you save the wretched. You are the pure progeny of the 


392 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Messenger of Allah, the best of the chosen ones, our guides towards virtue and our path 
to Paradise. And you, 0 best of all women and daughter of the best of Prophets, are true 
in your words and foremost in the prodigiousness of your intellect. You will not be denied 
your right nor will your truth be contested. 

By Allah, I have never opposed the opinion of the Messenger of Allah, and have never 
done anything but by his permission. The herald does not lie to his people; I take Allah 
as my witness, and He suffices as a witness, that I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say: 
“We, the company of Prophets, neither bequeath gold nor silver, nor houses nor land; we 
only bequeath the Book, wisdom, knowledge and prophethood, and whatever we possess 
of [revenue generating] property, it is for the ruler who comes after us to dispense with 
according to his own judgment.” Moreover, we have already spent what you are asking 
for, to procure horses and weapons that the Muslims may use in battle, to fight against 
the unbelievers and quash the insurgency of rebels. This was done by the general 
consensus of all the Muslims; I did not make this decision alone and I never enforced my 
opinion on anyone. This is my state and my wealth, it is at your disposal and I place it 
before you. Nothing will be withheld from you and nothing will be kept from you. You 
are the noblewoman of your father’s nation and a pure [maternal] tree for your children. 
Your merits cannot be disputed and your honourable lineage and roots cannot be 
disparaged. Your command with respect to what I possess shall be enforced. Do you think 
I should act against the will of your father (s) in this matter? 


Commentary 

Up to this juncture, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) has said what she had to 
say and conveyed what she was duty-bound to convey in the most complete 
and perfect manner possible. Now the head of state begins his reply to her: 


Commentary 


393 


“0 daughter of the Messenger of Allah!” - Glory be to Allah! He knows who she is 
yet takes such a position [in opposition to her]! 

“Your father was indeed affectionate, generous, gracious and merciful to the believers, 
and the disbelievers shall face painful chastisement and severe retribution.” - All this 
is well known, so what is the purpose of mentioning it? 

“If we look at his relationships, we find that he was your father to the exclusion of other 
women, and the brother of your husband to the exclusion of all [his] other close 
companions.” - He affirms her statement in the beginning of her sermon where 
she said: “if you trace his lineage and know him, you will realize that he is my 
father and not the father of anyone amongst your women, and he is the bother 
of my cousin [and husband], and not of any of your men.” 

“He preferred him over every close friend” - Meaning that the Messenger of Allah 
(s) preferred c Ali over all those who were close to him. 

“And he, on his part, assisted him in every important matter” - c All ( c a) assisted the 
Prophet (s) in every important matter. 

“None love you save the felicitous and none despise you save the wretched” - This is a 
surprising admission if its ascription [to the speaker] is correct. 

“You are the pure progeny of the Messenger of Allah, the best of the chosen ones” - The 
progeny whose speech is not accepted and whose testimony is deemed 
inadmissible regarding a mere parcel of land; and the chosen ones who had to 
endure the worst kind of tribulation from the people?! 

“Our guides towards virtue” - You are the guides who lead people to that which is 
good. 

“And our path to Paradise” - You are the path to salvation and heavenly felicity. 


394 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“And you, 0 best of all women and daughter of the best of Prophets, are true in your 
words” - If you considered her to be truthful in her speech, why did you not 
return her right to her? Why did you usurp the property that was given to her 
by Allah and His Prophet? 

“And foremost in the prodigiousness of your intellect. You will not be denied your right 
nor will your truth be contested” - Why then did you take away that which was 
hers by right? Why did you deny her true words? What a contradiction between 
[your] words and deeds! 

“By Allah, I have never opposed the opinion of the Messenger of Allah” - Yes, by Allah 
you have opposed the opinion of the Messenger of Allah. 

“And have never done anything but by his permission” - No, by Allah you have not 
acted with his permission. The Messenger of Allah never permitted the gift that 
he had bestowed to his daughter Fatimah to be usurped, or her inheritance 
from her father to be denied. 

“The herald does not lie to his people” - This adage had been used incorrectly [by 
him], 

“I take Allah as my witness, and He suffices as a witness” - How surprising that he is 
swearing by Allah! Is this how he bears witness to falsehood? Does he dare to 
do this? 

“That I heard the Messenger of Allah ( s ) say: ‘We, the company of Prophets, neither 
bequeath gold nor silver, nor houses nor land ; we only bequeath the Book, wisdom, 
knowledge and prophethood, and whatever we possess of [revenue generating] property, 
it is for the ruler who comes after us to dispense with according to his own judgment.’” 
- Allah says that Prophets bequeath [their wealth] and the Messenger of Allah 
says that they bequeath nothing?! Who is right then? 


Commentary 


395 


All this aside, how can it be that you are the claimant, the witness and also the 
judge? Can this type of justice be found anywhere in the world? Or is there any 
type of law that allows this? You heard the Prophet of Allah saying this but his 
own daughter did not hear him saying it?! The Prophet informed you but did 
not inform his daughter, in whose hands he had given Fadak and who had 
control over it? And which book is it that the Prophet bequeathed? The Quhan? 
Was the Qur’an the personal property of the Prophet that he should bequeath 
it? Can prophethood be bequeathed? Is it that whenever a Prophet dies his 
prophethood is automatically transferred to his children and heirs? if that is 
the case, who inherited the Prophethood from the Messenger of Allah? 

Are you the authority or is it the one who has been vested with authority by 
Allah in the verse: The only authority over you is Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful 
who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down (Q5:55)? Who 
possesses authority after the Prophet? Is it you or is it the one to whom you 
pledged allegiance in Ghadir Khumm by the command of the Messenger of 
Allah (s), and whom you submitted to as the Master of Believers (Amir al- 
Mu’minin), who is none other than c Ali ibn Abi Talib?! Do you think that you 
know this tradition and c Ali ibn Abi Talib does not know it, while he was the 
closest and dearest person to the Prophet by your own admission? This, despite 
the fact that he is the ‘Gate to the Prophet’s knowledge’? 

If indeed the Prophet does not leave any inheritance, why is it that his two 
houses remain in the possession of his two wives? Why have these houses not 
been confiscated despite it being well known they were the personal possession 
of the Messenger of Allah (s) as clearly mentioned in the Qur’an: Do not enter the 
houses of the Prophet... (Q33:53), which shows that the houses were the property 
of the Prophet? What law and what religious injunction allows the wives to 
remain in these houses until the end of their lives? And why does 


396 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


‘nationalization’ of the Prophet’s property apply to al-Sayyidah Fatimah, the 
beloved daughter of the Messenger of Allah, yet it does not apply to his wives? 

“Moreover, we have already spent what you are asking for, to procure horses and 
weapons that the Muslims may use in battle, to fight against the unbelievers and quash 
the insurgency of rebels.” - Is it permissible to use usurped wealth in the way of 
Allah and to strengthen the Muslims? And was the Muslim army in such dire 
need for this wealth that was confiscated unjustly? 

“This was done by the general consensus of all the Muslims” - What is the worth of 
this consensus that goes against the Book of Allah? And what type of consensus 
is this where the family of the Prophet (s) are neglected and which they do not 
accept? Does consensus have any value in justifying injustice? 

It is as if Abu Bakr wanted to win over the hearts of the Muslims with these 
words so that nobody would stand up against him. Otherwise, it was known that 
Abu Bakr was the only one who claimed that the Prophet had said: “We, the 
company of Prophets, do not bequeath anything...” and the Muslims were not 
all in agreement about this ‘hadith’, which clearly contradicted the direct 
command of Allah. 

Indeed, it is reported in Kashf al-Ghummah that when c Uthman became the 
caliph, FAlishah said to him, “Give me what my father and c Umar used to give 
me.” c Uthman said, “I do not find any justification for it in the Book [of Allah] 
or in the sunnah, but because Abu Bakr and c Umar used to give it to you of their 
own accord, I will do the same.” Then she said, “Give me my inheritance from 
the Prophet (s).” He replied, “Did you and Malik ibn Aws al-Nadri not come and 
bear witness that the Prophet (s) had said: ‘We do not bequeath [any wealth]’ 
and so the right of Fatimah was invalidated? Now you come to ask for 


Commentary 


397 


it...?!” 16/r ' a How surprising that the testimony of c ATshah bint Abi Bakr was 

accepted but the testimony of Fatimah bint Rasulillah (s) was rejected! 
Moreover, the testimony of the lowly Malik ibn Aws al-Nadri was accepted yet 
the testimony of Amir al-Mu 3 minm c All ibn Abi Talib ( c a), the soul of the 
Messenger of Allah and the most beloved of all people to him, was rejected! 

Thus, it becomes clear for us that when he says: “I did not make this decision 
alone and I never enforced my opinion on anyone,” it is indeed true that he was 
not alone. Rather, his daughter c A 3 ishah supported him and testified for him. 
She was, after all, known for her stance towards Fatimah and her husband. 

“This is my state and my wealth, it is at your disposal and I place it before you. Nothing 
will be withheld from you and nothing will be kept from you.” - This is mere 
ceremonious courtesy with absolutely no truth to it. It is quite common to find 
such statements from politicians. 

“You are the noblewoman of your father’s nation and a pure [maternal] tree for your 
children. Your merits cannot be disputed and your honourable lineage and roots cannot 
be disparaged. Your command with respect to what I possess shall be enforced.” - Even 
though these words are true, they are being used as a ruse to colour the speech. 
We will later mention some of the opinions of politicians and the stratagems 
they use in different situations. 

“Do you think I should act against the will of your father (s) in this matter?” - 0 People! 
Abu Bakr cannot oppose the Prophet of Allah (s) but the Mistress of all Women 
of the World and the beloved daughter of the Prophet of Allah, from whom 
Allah removed all filth and impurity, and purified with a thorough purification, 
can act against the wishes of the Holy Prophet (s)! Does this make sense and can 
one truly accept this? How can it be opposition to the Prophet of Allah (s) when 


16 Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 1, p. 478 



398 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


one submits to the Quhan, which falsehood can neither approach from before nor 
from behind ? Can acting upon the verses that speak of inheritance between 
Prophets be considered going against the Holy Prophet (s)? 

Can accepting the speech of the Prophet’s daughter, whose infallibility is 
clearly mentioned in the Qur 3 an, and accepting the speech of her husband c Ali, 
who was the soul of the Messenger of Allah (s), be considered opposition to the 
Prophet? What can we say when meanings have been garbled, truths have been 
distorted, standards have been altered and scales have been tampered with 
such that evil is portrayed as good and good is portrayed as evil? 

This person is ascribing to the Prophet (s) words that contradict the Quhan and 
go against the laws of Islam, while the family of the Prophet (s) and his pure 
progeny do not accept these statements and belie them in light of what the 
Quhan says. Then the man seeks to distance himself (in his estimation) from 
going against that speech which has falsely been ascribed to the Prophet. Now 
let us see how al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) responds to these lies and 
falsehoods: 


She ( c a) replied: 

jlT Jj 4_ol IssLp Aiil ^jP Aiil J ijlS" U Aiil 

Si Ajlij did \jjaj jjjJli 4*ip jUaI| ^Jl ij ja^j> c3l jAflj j ajj\ 

J! y » J jAj Labljj 'ydp Ajjl < >hS" I_La 4jL>- jJSIjaJI dj? 

JpLX^'yi (J?"j JP CIjjjj)) J jAj j ((i > yd *. j 

01 jf j jJkiil sip AJ £ljf U OlNlj jlyS'll! JU £\s1j yiyJlj 


Commentary 


399 


U ^Jlp iillj jl^23 I ji\ dJy-i Jj)) ^ ^jJ jjlsdl ^9 Ol^LxJlj 

,, * , 

• «0 y a • r* 1 


Praise be to Allah! My father, the Messenger of Allah (s), never turned away from the 
Book of Allah, nor did he oppose its injunctions. Rather, he followed its directives and 
abided by its lofty teachings. Do you add on to your treachery by ascribing falsehood to 
him? And this [plot] after his death is similar to the pernicious plots that were staged 
against him during his lifetime. Here is the Book of Allah, a just adjudicator and a 
decisive articulator, [clearly] saying: “[An heir] who may inherit from me and inherit 
from the House of Ya c qub” (Q19:6) and “Sulayman inherited from Dawud.” (Q27:16) And 
the Almighty clarified how the shares are to be allotted, and legislated the laws of [filial] 
obligation and inheritance, prescribing the proper share for males and females, thereby 
removing the excuse of the falsifiers and eliminating suspicions and doubts in those left 
behind. No, “but your souls have made the matter seem decorous for you; yet patience 
is beautiful, and Allah is the one whose help is sought against what you allege. ” (Q12:18) 


Commentary 

“ Praise be to Allah!” - She said this as an expression of astonishment because of 
the graveness of this false attribution to the Prophet of Allah, the most truthful 
and veracious one, who never spoke out of [his own] desire, rather it was only a 
revelation that was revealed. (Q53:3-4) 

“My father, the Messenger of Allah (s), never turned away from the Book of Allah” - The 
Prophet never diverted from the Book of Allah. 

“Nor did he oppose its injunctions” by saying anything that contradicted the 
Quhan, and the statement “We, the company of Prophets, do not bequeath [any 


400 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


wealth]” contradicts the verses of the Qur’an that explicitly mention the 
bequeathing and inheritance of Prophets. 

“Rather, he followed its directives and abided by its lofty teachings" - Far be it for the 
Prophet of Allah to go against the Qur’an. Rather, he would act in accordance 
to the Qur’an and abide by its teachings. 

“Do you add on to your treachery by ascribing falsehood to him?” - al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) is saying: you have committed a double crime - the crime of 
betrayal by usurping Fadak and the crime of lying against the Prophet of Allah 
(s). Do you compound your betrayal by justifying it with lies? This is like a 
person who kills someone unjustly and then justifies his action by falsely 
claiming that the murdered person was a thief, thereby combining the crime of 
murder with that of mendacity. 

“And this [plot] after his death is similar to the pernicious plots that were staged against 
him during his lifetime.” - She ( c a) is saying that this is not something new, for 
similar plots and schemes against the Prophet were carried out during his 
lifetime as well. The hypocrites had tried to assassinate the Prophet (s) on the 
night of c Aqabah and to drive his camel over the edge of the valley pass, so that 
it would fall into the valley, thereby killing the Messenger of Allah. Thus, it was 
quite apt for her to mention this. For more details, refer to the commentary of 
the verse: They swear by Allah that they did not say it. But they certainly did utter the 
word of disbelief and renounced faith after their submission. They contemplated what 
they could not achieve... (Q8:74) 

“Here is the Book of Allah, a just adjudicator and a decisive articulator, [clearly] saying: 
‘[An heir] who may inherit from me and inherit from the House ofYa c qub”’ (Q19:6) - 
This is the Qur’an, a just adjudicator and a clear articulator that can resolve 
disputes. Let us refer to it and allow it to judge between us. This Qur’an says: 
...that he may inherit from me and inherit from the family ofYa c qub... (Q19:6) when 


Commentary 


401 


relating the story of Zakariyya, and we have already discussed the implications 
of this verse. 

“And ‘Sulayman inherited from Dawud...’” (Q27:16) - We have also briefly 
mentioned the inheritance of Sulayman from Dawud ( c a). You claim that the 
Messenger of Allah said: “We, the company of Prophets, do not bequeath [any 
wealth].” How does the Prophet of Allah say something that goes against the 
Quhan? And how does he oppose the ruling of the inheritance of Prophets? 

“And the Almighty clarified how the shares are to be allotted” - Allah has clearly 
stipulated how much each heir is supposed to inherit. 

“And legislated the laws of [filial] obligation and inheritance” - That which is 
obligatory consists of those portions of the inheritance which have been 
reserved for the specific heirs; like half, a third, a quarter, a sixth and an eighth, 
as mentioned in the books of Islamic law. 

“Prescribing the proper share for males and females” in all their different roles as 
husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters etc. 

“Thereby removing the excuse of the falsifiers” - What Allah has clarified in the 
Quhan and prescribed as inheritance is sufficient to remove the evil of the 
falsifiers and all those who propagate falsehood. 

“And eliminating suspicions and doubts in those left behind” - There is no room left 
for doubt and suspicion by anyone in the present or future generations. 

“No,” the matter is not as you say or claim, and neither is it something you are 
confused about. 

“But your souls have made the matter seem decorous for you...” - Rather, your souls 
have made love for political authority and power seem decorous to you, so you 


402 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


ascribed this [false] tradition to the Prophet of Allah (s) in order to attain your 
objective and achieve your goals. 


“Yet patience is beautiful, and Allah is the one whose help is sought against what you 
allege.” (Q12:18) - We bear this patiently and seek help from Allah to enable us 
to endure these hardships and tribulations. 


Now let us see how Abu Bakr defends himself. Notice how he changes his tone 
and his speech becomes shaky as he revises his approach and pays no attention 
to the contradictions in his speech. 


Abu Bakr replied: 

(_£ -CgJt Jl ijujLi iuJl H ill! ^3 Jj\ [_] Las 

S' o { iso J> 

idJljj ^33 j jiLiiil Jji ySsjl Vj lLIjI Jib! V 4 ><j>J! j Jy jJl 

bJJjj jt-Aj 'jj JJLU 'jj jYs- oJt>-! U O i>-l ^ (jLajLj OJJlttj U 

4 * i 


Allah spoke the truth and so did his Prophet. And his daughter has also spoken the truth. 
You are indeed a source of wisdom, a fountainhead of guidance and mercy, a pillar of 
faith and a wellspring of proof. I do not repudiate your apposite speech, nor do I reject 
what you say. These Muslims in front of us are the ones who compelled me to accept 
what I have accepted and it is by their consensus that I took what I did; neither by 
coercion, nor obstinacy, nor entitlement, and they are all witnesses to this. 


Commentary 

When al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) exposed the fabricated tradition that 
was invented by Abu Bakr and ascribed to the Prophet (s), and invalidated that 


Commentary 


403 


claim using irrefutable proof and evidence, Abu Bakr became weak and was 
unable to refute the evidence that was presented by al-Sayyidah Fatimah. This 
is why he tried another approach, so that he would not bear the responsibility 
alone; rather, it would be the collective responsibility of the Muslims who had 
agreed with his decisions. Thus, he said: 

“Allah spoke the truth and so did his Prophet. And his daughter has also spoken the 
truth” - He affirms the verses about inheritance between Prophets and confirms 
that the Prophet spoke the truth and did not go against the Qur’an. It is as 
though he is retracting his ascription of the tradition “We, the company of 
Prophets, do not bequeath [wealth]” to the Prophet (s). He also affirms the 
truthfulness of the Prophet’s daughter. 

“You are indeed a source of wisdom, a fountainhead of guidance and mercy, a pillar of 
faith and a wellspring of proof’ - These are surprising admissions which indicate 
concession and capitulation. 

“I do not repudiate your apposite speech, nor do I reject what you say” - He admits 
that what she said was correct and attests to the truth of her speech. However, 
all this is just for show and is mere verbal expression that is not followed up by 
action. Al-Zahra’ is truthful in what she says about her claim to Fadak, nobody 
doubts this, but the government that acknowledges the validity of her claim is 
not ready to return her right to her. Why is that? 

“These Muslims in front of us are the ones who compelled me to accept what I have 
accepted” - He is saying: these Muslims who are present before us are the ones 
who compelled me to accept the caliphate. This is a clear admission on his part 
that he was not appointed or chosen by the Prophet of Allah (s) as his successor. 
Rather, the Muslims had forced him to become the caliph. 

“And it is by their consensus that I took what I did” - Look at how the argument has 
changed. First he said: I took possession of Fadak in accordance with the 


404 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


instructions of the Prophet (s), but when al-Sayyidah Fatimah nullified this 
argument, he tried to adopt another method and turned to the argument of 
consensus of the Muslims in the confiscation of Fadak. 

Who among the Muslims agreed that Abu Bakr should take Fadak? The Banu 
Flashim? The family of the Prophet of Allah (s)? The great companions like 
Salman, Miqdad, 'Ammar and Abu Dharr? This statement is similar to the 
previous statement about ‘consensus’ and we have already seen how worthless 
this kind of consensus is. 


“Neither by coercion, nor obstinacy, nor entitlement, and they are all witnesses to this” 
- When Abu Bakr justified his actions using the argument of consensus among 
the Muslims, it was necessary for al-Sayyidah Fatimah to respond by addressing 
them. 


So Fatimah ( c a) turned to the people and said: 

a'..ss\z \ I JktJl jZJ ,. Jl I Jl Is ddijli 

t J Lp jlj °Jj_ ys' Il'HgJlis! jliS jTjill j jJjdS j JAijl 

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0 people who hasten towards false speech! 0 those who are complacent with the ugly 
action that will bring ruin! “Do they not reflect on the QuNan or are there locks on the 
hearts?” (Q47:24) No, rather your hearts have become rusted by the evil that you have 
done. Thus your hearing and sight have been taken away and you have gravely 
misinterpreted it (the QuNan). How wrongly you have referred to it, and how evil is your 
construal of it. By Allah, you will surely find its burden heavy and its consequence dire, 


Commentary 


405 


when the veil is lifted and the great adversity that follows becomes evident to you. And 
there will appear to you from your Lord what you never reckoned, “it is then that those 
who stood by falsehood will be the losers.” (Q40:78) 


Commentary 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah addressed her final reproof to the crowds who were 
present and listening to the bitter debate, and said: 

“0 people who hasten towards false speech!” - Meaning that you are quick to accept 
falsehood because you have made this man your leader and have colluded with 
him - according to his claim - in usurping my rights. 

“0 those who are complacent with the ugly action that will bring ruin!” - Being 
complacent means turning a blind eye and it refers to silence and acceptance 
of an evil deed that brings loss and ruin to the one who does it. 

“Do they not reflect on the Qur’an or are there locks on the hearts?” (Q47:24) - Have 
you forgotten the verses of the Qur’an that were revealed about us? Do you not 
understand the verses that I recited about the inheritance of Prophets? Or is it 
that your hearts are locked so tight that they do not open up to the words of 
Allah and His commandments? 

“No,” - The cause of this is not your lack of pondering upon the Qur’an... 

“Rather your hearts have become rusted by the evil that you have done” - Your evil 
deeds have overwhelmed and covered up your hearts like thick coverings, just 
as an intoxicant covers and blocks the mind of one who is inebriated such that 
he becomes confused and is no longer able to understand or feel anything. 


406 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Thus your hearing and sight have been taken away” - As negligence overcomes the 
heart, it effects one’s hearing and sight. The one who is remiss neither hears 
any sound nor does he see anything due to his negligence. 

“And you have gravely misinterpreted it (the Qurian)” - You have misinterpreted 
the verses of the Qur 3 an and the laws of Islam, trying to divert them from their 
true path. 

“How wrongly you have referred to it, and how evil is your construal of it” - You wish 
to work together and collaborate with each other in usurping the rights of the 
family of Muhammad ( c a). You have [thereby] exchanged something good for 
something evil and have substituted truth for falsehood. All these are figures of 
speech that only the intelligent can comprehend. 

“By Allah, you will surely find its burden heavy and its consequence dire” - Alluding 
to the great burden of responsibility and the heavy weight of accountability on 
the Day of Judgement. On that day, they will be questioned and punished for 
their actions with the most severe chastisement. 

“When the veil is lifted” - When you die and are transferred to the Realm of 
Requital. 

“And the great adversity that follows becomes evident to you” - And that which is 
followed by adversity becomes evident for you. 

“And there will appear to you from your Lord what you never reckoned, ‘it is then that 
those who stood by falsehood will be the losers.’” (Q40:78) - This is the verse that she 
incorporated into her speech because it was appropriate to mention here. 

With this, al-Sayyidah Fatimah completed her message to everyone and 
fulfilled her responsibility, having recorded her suffering in the annals of 
history. 


Her Complaint to the Prophet (s) 


407 


Her Complaint to the Prophet (s) 


Then she turned to the grave of the Prophet (s) and said: 


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After you [passed away], reports and chaos followed, 

Had you been present, tribulations would not abound 

We miss you just as parched land misses its rain, 

And your nation is confused, see how they have deviated 

Every family has relatives, but the position 
before God, is for those with the greatest proximity [to you] 

People manifested against us what was hidden in their hearts, 

As soon as you departed and the barrier of dust separated us from you 


408 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


They frowned at us and insulted us 
when you were gone, and all the land was usurped 

You were a full moon and an illuminating light 
from the Almighty, upon you was the Book revealed 

JibraTl would comfort us with the verses he brought, 
But now you are not here and all goodness has disappeared 

0 how I wish death would have come to us before you, 
When you passed and were, by the dune, from us covered 

We have faced calamities that none of the people 
who grieve ever faced, neither c Ajam nor Arab 


In Nasikh al-Tawarikh, the following verses have been added: 


.till 


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Those who brought oppression upon our family will know, 

On the Day of Resurrection what place they shall return to 

We will mourn you as long as we live, and as long as there remains 
in the eyes tears, they will flow forth copiously 


Her Complaint to the Prophet (s) 


409 


We were forced to bear this tribulation despite his pure character, 
Pure in extraction, ancestry and lineage 

You are the best of all servants of Allah, 
and the most truthful of people in [facing] truth and untruth 

JibraTl, the Holy Spirit, would come to visit us, 
now he comes not, so all goodness has disappeared 

The land has become narrow for me after its expanse, 

The gloom that eclipses your sons’ handsome faces causes me distress 


In Kashf al-Ghummah and other sources [it is narrated]: “Then she clung to the 
grave of the Prophet of Allah (s) and recited the verses of Hind bint Athathah: 
After you [passed awayj...” nr 

Some have said that these verses belong to [and were composed by] Hind bint 
Aban ibn c Abd al-Muttalib, and al-Sayyidah Fatimah just recited them. 
Nonetheless, al-Sayyidah Fatimah threw herself on the grave of her father as 
she recited these verses. 

In Kashf al-Ghummah [it is narrated]: “We did not see more men and women 
mourning [for the Prophet] than we did on this day.” rit 

After al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 7 ( c a) had lost hope and saw that Abu Bakr 
would not return her usurped rights, she returned home saying: “0 Allah, these 
two individuals have indeed oppressed the daughter of Your Prophet and taken 
her rights, so punish them severely.” 17/n ° 


17 Wafat al-Siddiqah al-Zahra\ p. 78 


410 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


In Sahih al-Bukhari, in the chapter on khums [we read]: So Fatimah, the 

daughter of the Messenger of Allah, got angry and turned away from Abu Bakr, 
and she remained displeased with him until she died.”'" 11 

Also in Sahih al-Bukharl, in the chapter on the origin of creation: Abu Bakr 
refused to give any of it to Fatimah, so she got angry at Abu Bakr because of this 
and turned away from him, not speaking to him until she passed away.” riv 

Muslim has also narrated something similar in his Sahih, in the chapter on Jihad, 
as has al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan, 18 Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, 19 and ibn Sa c d 
in Tabaqat al-Sahabah 20 among others. 


Audacious Insolence Towards the Family of the Prophet (s) 


Ibn Abi al-Hadid says in his Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, that when Abu Bakr heard 
her sermon and saw the effect it had on the people, leading to murmuring and 
commotion, he became frightened that the matter would backfire disastrously, 
so he climbed the pulpit and said: 


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18 al-Sunan al-Kubra, vol. 6, p. 300 

19 Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 6 

20 al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 240 


Audacious Insolence Towards the Family of the Prophet (s) 


411 


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0 People! What is this emotional acceptance of the speech of every speaker? Where were 
these sentiments during the time of the Prophet of Allah? Lo, let anyone who has heard 
[of it] speak out and anyone who has witnessed [it] give testimony. It is nothing but a 
fox whose witness is its tail, clinging to every sedition. It is like the one who says: “Renew 
it after it has grown old. ” T hese are the ones who seek assistance from the weak and ask 
for help from women; just like Umm Tihal, whose most beloved family member to her 
was the harlot. Lo! If I wanted, I would have spoken and if I had spoken, I would have set 
everything straight; but I remain silent as long as I am left alone [and not disturbed 
about such matters]. 

Then he turned to the Ansar and said: 

0 Company of the Ansar, the speech of the dim-witted amongst you has reached me. You 
are the most worthy of those who witnessed the time of the Prophet. He came to you and 
you helped him and gave him refuge. Lo! I will not extend my hand and my tongue to 
speak or act against anyone amongst us who does not deserve this. Then he descended 
from the pulpit. 21 

Ibn Abl al-Hadld then says: “I read these words to Abl Yahya Ja c far ibn Yahya 
ibn Abl Zayd al-Basrl and then asked him, ‘Whom was he alluding to?’ He 


21 Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abl al-Hadid (d. 656 A.H.), Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, 
vol. 16, pp. 214-215 


412 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


replied, ‘It was no allusion. Rather, he was explicit.’ I said, ‘if he was explicit, I 
would not ask you this.’ So he laughed and said, ‘He was referring to c Ali ibn Ab! 
Talib!’ I asked, ‘His entire speech was referring to c Ali?’ He said, ‘Yes. This is 
[about] sovereignty, my son.’ I asked, ‘Then why did he address the Ansar?’ He 
replied, ‘They had answered the call of c Ali, so he was afraid that they would get 
confused [by what they had heard], so he forbade them.’ I then asked him about 
the convoluted parts of his speech and he explained: 

‘The phrase “the fox whose witness is his tail” is an analogy that means he has 
nobody who can testify to his claims except one who is part of him. This analogy 
originates from a parable: One day the fox wanted to instigate the lion against 
the wolf, so he said to him: “He (the wolf) has eaten the sheep that you had kept 
for yourself and I was there when he did this.” He (the lion) asked: “Who will 
bear witness to this?” So the fox lifted his tail and there was some blood on it, 
and because the lion had lost his sheep, he accepted his testimony and killed 
the wolf. 

The phrase “Renew it after it has grown old” means return it to its previous 
state i.e. revive the sedition and turmoil. Umm Tihal was an unchaste woman 
during the Age of Ignorance whose name is used in adages. Thus it is said that 
one is “more unchaste than Umm Tihal,” meaning more immoral than the 
worst adulteress.’” 227 '"™ 

We do not have any comment to make on these words that were used by Abu 
Bakr about the family of the Prophet of Allah (s) and his pure progeny - those 
from whom Allah removed all filth and purified a thorough purification; nor do 
we admonish him for his etiquette in speech and the expressions he used. 
However, we [complain to the Prophet ( c a) and] say: ‘The light of your eyes, 0 
Prophet of Allah - this is what has been said about your daughter, your beloved 


22 Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 16, p. 215 


Condemnation From al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah 


413 


Fatimah al-Zahrad This is what has been said about your brother, your 
successor, your helper and flag-bearer, Amir al-Mu 3 minm c Ali ibn Abl T alib ! And 
all this from your pulpit, in your masjid and right next to your grave! May your 
eyes become cool, 0 father of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and glad tidings to you! For this 
is the honour of your family and the status of your progeny in the eyes of Abu 
Bakr and his ilk!’ 


Condemnation From al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah 
In Shaykh Jamal al-DIn al-Shamf s al-Durr al-Nazlm [we read]: 

After the sermon of Fatimah ( c a) in the masjid and the response of Abu 
Bakr, when Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) heard what 
had happened to Fatimah, she said: “Can someone like Fatimah ( c a) be 
spoken to in this way? She is, by Allah, a houri amongst humans, a pure 
soul, one who was nurtured in the laps of the pious ones and fed by the 
hands of angels. She grew in the company of pure women and got the 
best upbringing. Do you think that the Prophet of Allah would deprive 
her of her inheritance and not inform her of it? This while Allah has 
said: And warn your near relatives (Q26:214). Or did he warn her yet she 
went against his wishes? She is the best of all women, the mother of the 
Masters of the Youth [of Paradise] and the compeer of Maryam. 
Through her father, the divine message was completed. By Allah, he 
would protect her from all hardships and bestow on her all comforts 
out of his great fondness for her. Be careful, for the Prophet of Allah (s) 
is watching you and you will return to Allah - then you shall know!’”” 11 

He (the author) said: [Because of this speech] she was not given her stipend that 
year! 


414 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 

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Then she ( c a) returned [home] and Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) was awaiting her 
return and anticipating her arrival; so when she had settled in and taken 
repose, she said to Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a): 

0 Son of Abu Talib! You have huddled yourself like a foetus huddles itself and are sitting 
at home like one who has been accused. You broke the wings of the falcons but now have 
been betrayed by nestlings without so much as a feather. This is Ibn Abl Quhafah 
sequestering the gift of my father to me, and the source of my children’s sustenance. He 


Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 


415 


has declared his enmity towards me and reacted with hostility to my speech. Even the 
tribes of the Ansar withheld their assistance and the Muhajirun did not help me. The 
gathering turned a blind eye [to my plight] so neither was there any defender nor any 
guardian. I left [the house] controlling my anger but returned home crushed. You 
showed humbleness and ended up powerless and humiliated. You hunted down wolves 
[in the past] but now you are lying in the dust. You could neither ward off anyone who 
spoke against me nor stand up against any falsehood. I have no choice now. I wish I had 
died before being offended thus and before being humiliated. 

May Allah excuse me for talking to you in such an impassioned manner. Woe be to all 
mornings! My support has gone and my strength has weakened. I shall take my 
complaint to my father and my recourse is [only] to my Lord. 0 Allah! You are greatest 
in power and might, and most severe in Your retribution and punishment! 

Amir al-Mu’minln ( c a) said: 

May no evil come to you. Rather, woe be to your enemy! Calm down, 0 daughter of the 
chosen one and 0 vestige of prophethood. For I have never waned in my religion, nor 
have I erred in my responsibility. If you want a source of sustenance, then know that 
your sustenance is guaranteed, and your guardian is trustworthy. That which He has 
prepared for you is better than what has been taken away from you. So rely only upon 
Allah. 

She ( c a) said: “Allah is sufficient for me.” And then she fell silent. 


Commentary 

Amir al-Mu’minln ( c a) was waiting for al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a), his 
companion in struggle [against injustice] and partner in pain and hope, to 
return home. He was awaiting her return from the field of combat, from the 


416 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


masjid of her father, from the Islamic congress that was set up in the largest 
Islamic centre of the day. She returned exhausted from the continuous onerous 
struggle; and her entire existence was a struggle. She came back a victor, even 
though she was - at the same time - defeated in her quest, oppressed and 
wronged, heartbroken, distraught and sad. She was victorious because she had 
declared to the masses, to the [present and future] generations and to history 
itself, that she was oppressed and her rights were usurped. She condemned the 
government for the mistake that they wished to cover up and their calculated 
aggression. She was victorious because she introduced Islam as it ought to be 
[understood]. She spoke about the foundational principles of Islam, about 
tawhld, about belief in Prophets and Imams, about the philosophy of worship 
and legal injunctions, and about everything that takes place in this vast 
universe. 

She arrived back home, having one last thing to do in order to complete her 
Jihad. She returned to unveil one more truth for the people of knowledge and 
for history. She chose to do this through a conversation with her husband. A 
conversation that sounds like reproof, while at the same time [is one in which] 
she speaks about the events that transpired and about the position of the 
government at that time. She spoke about the Muslims who had been overcome 
by perplexity, bewilderment and bafflement. Their consciences bite, the feeling 
of pain causes them to shed tears, fear of the government renders them mute 
and they get perplexed. 

They see one thing and hear many: they see the head of state claiming that he 
is in charge of all affairs related to Islamic law and they hear the plight of the 
daughter of the Conveyer of Divine Law (Fatimah) along with her 
remonstration and anger against the rulers. 

She returned to her home in order to make known the position of her great 
husband in relation to the events that had transpired. 


Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 


417 


She said: “0 Son of Abu Talib!” - Some knowledgeable people, including some 
speakers and others, may surmise that al-Zahra 3 is defying her husband by 
using such a bitter tone, because she does not address him as ‘0 son of my uncle’ 
or ‘0 Aba al-Hasan ’ or ‘0 c All’ or any similar name that is befitting for a wife to 
use when addressing her husband. So they assume that this defiance came 
about as a result of what happened and the pain that she had to go through. 

Glory be to Allah! And what is wrong with this address and what shame is there 
in such a [lofty] lineage? Abu Talib was the leader of the people of Makkah, 
helper of the Prophet, a hero in Islamic history, a nobleman of the Quraysh and 
a chief of the Bam Hashim. Abu Talib was the brave warrior who was feared by 
the polytheists, and the champion under whose shadow and protection the 
Prophet would pray to Allah. Abu Talib was a dedicated man of exemplary 
chivalry and magnanimity. He was a dignified and affectionate hero. So what is 
wrong in addressing his righteous and noble son: ‘0 son of Abu Talib’? Does this 
not mean: ‘0 son of nobility and eminence; 0 son of honour and dignity; 0 son 
of heroism and valour; 0 son of zeal and safeguarding; 0 son of virtue, rather, 
of all virtues’? Are these not all the meanings of this address? 

Yes, she said “0 son of Abu Talib” as if she was stirring up his resolve, and as 
though she was arousing his intrepidity by reminding him of his honourable 
and lofty lineage. She was reminding him that he is the son of his father. It is as 
though she was saying to him: ‘Your father assisted my father and stood up in 
his defence till the very end, so why is it that you do not defend me and help 
my cause?’ Then she reminds him of his past glory and his great success in 
battle - how he vanquished lions and pulverized champions, grinding them to 
dust like a quern. Then, comparing the past with the present, she said: 


418 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“You have huddled yourself like a foetus huddles itself’ - The foetus is confined in 
the womb and cannot do anything. 

“And are sitting at home like one who has been accused” - An accused person is the 
one who remains in his house in order to escape from the people, afraid to meet 
anyone. 

“You broke the wings of the falcons” - In the past, you used to break the wings of 
the falcon, which is like the spinal column in birds. This is a metaphor for his 
valour and bravery in battle. 

“But now have been betrayed by nestlings without so much as a feather” - Now you 
have become displaced, having no weapons, and so weak that even the most 
worthless of individuals are committing aggression against you. It seems that 
she is expressing her surprise at his silence and his not rising up to demand his 
rights. 

Then she dotted her ‘i’s and clearly elaborated her position when she said: 

“This is Ibn Abi Quhafah” - The title ‘ibn Abi Quhafah’ is completely the opposite 
of the title ‘ibn Abi Talib’ in its meaning and connotation. 

Was c Abdullah ibn Judh c an not an innkeeper in al-Tadf? And did Abu Quhafah 
not work in his inn, carrying plates and pots of food from the kitchen to the 
inn? Was he not the one who called out to the people, telling them that the food 
was ready, at the instruction of ‘Abdullah ibnJudlTan? 

“Sequestering the gift of my father to me” - ibn Abi Quhafah has sequestered and 
confiscated the gift that my father gave to me. 

“And the source of my children’s sustenance” - This parcel of land was the source 
of sustenance for my children, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, as their food came from 
the produce of Fadak and its harvest, or from the khums and fay \ 


Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 


419 


“He has declared his enmity towards me” - He has announced his animosity 
towards me. The speech has gone beyond the pale of dialogue and discussion, 
and has reached the limits of pertinacity and hostility, so using evidence and 
proof is of no avail and it is not possible to reach any understanding. This is 
because he has rejected the law of inheritance and the hereditament between 
a father and his daughter. 

“And he reacted with hostility to my speech” - He went as far as to falsely attribute 
to the Prophet something that goes against the Quhan. He was the claimant, he 
was the witness and he was the judge, so he presented that fabricated tradition 
as proof for his position and claim. 

“Even the tribes of the Ansar withheld their assistance” - The Ansar, i.e. the Aws and 
Khazraj, were the sons of Qaylah, and she was their foremother. They withheld 
their assistance after having agreed to aid the religion. They abandoned me 
because ‘people follow the religion of their kings’. rv ' 

“And the Muhajirun did not help me” - The Muhajirun (i.e. the people of Makkah) 
refused to help me acquire my rights. 

“The gathering turned a blind eye [to my plight]” - What a calamity and what 
tribulation! The rest of those who were present in the masjid also turned away 
from me and emulated the others in abandoning me and behaving as if they did 
not know who I am. 

“So neither was there any defender nor any guardian” who could defend me andjoin 
me in speaking with one voice, or who could stave off the aggression of the 
aggressors. Another version reads: “nor any intercessor.” 

“I left controlling my anger but returned home crushed” - 1 left my home to go to the 
masjid while I was swallowing my anger and enduring the pain, but I have 
returned home having failed to get any support. 


420 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“You showed humbleness and ended up powerless and humiliated” - It is as though 
she considers the silence of c All ( c a) in the face of those events to be a form of 
humiliation resulting from self-restraint and not using his strength or showing 
his might. 

“You hunted down wolves [in the past] but now you are lying in the dust” - This 
statement is an explanation and a commentary of the previous one. How can a 
man who is considered a brave hero who hunts wolves, meaning that he fights 
champions and kills warriors, reach a position where he takes the dust to be his 
sitting or resting place? This means that he has no place to sit but on the earth, 
and this is the height of indigence and misery. Another version reads: “You 
hunted down wolves [in the past] but are now prey for [mere] flies,” meaning that you 
have become a prey for the weak. 

“You could neither ward off anyone who spoke [against me] nor dismiss any falsehood” 
- This sentence can be read in two ways: in the first person i.e. “I could neither 
ward off... nor stand...” or in the second person, i.e. “You could neither ward 
off...” In the first case, the meaning is: I could neither stop the speaker from 
saying what he did, nor dismiss the falsehood. In the second case, it means: you 
did not ward off the one who spoke against me nor did you dismiss the 
falsehood. 

“I have no choice now” - meaning that I have no means to defend myself and take 
back my rights; or I have no option to resist and struggle more than this, 
because I am a woman and women are limited in their roles and functions in 
society. 

“I wish I had died before being offended thus and before being humiliated” - It is 
appropriate for her to wish for death before witnessing such injustice and 
humiliation from the ummah of her father; from those individuals who were 


Her Return Home and Her Conversation With Her Husband 


421 


nurtured by the Prophet of Allah (s), who gave them respect and honour and 
saved them from the precipice of destruction. 

“May Allah excuse me for talking to you in such an impassioned manner’’ - There are 
a few possible meanings for this statement [including]: (a) May Allah forgive 
you because of the harsh way I have spoken to you. (b) My excuse [for this 
impassioned speech] is that you have fallen short in helping and supporting me. 
There are other possibilities but they seem too farfetched. 

“Woe be to all mornings!” - This expression is used during hardship and difficulty 
and shows how much suffering and pain one is undergoing. Here she ( c a) is 
saying: 0 what woe I face every morning when the sun rises. Another version 
reads: “Woe be to all mornings and evenings,” meaning that every morning and 
every evening, at sunrise and sunset, I suffer great anguish. This is because: 

“My support has gone and my strength has weakened” - The one whom I used to 
depend and rely upon has passed away and with his death, my support and my 
strength has weakened. Meaning that with the death of the Prophet, Amir al- 
Mu’minln ( c a) has become weak. 

“I shall take my complaint to my father” - Meaning that I have nobody to complain 
to about what has happened to me but my father (s). 

“And my recourse is to my Lord” - 1 seek help and vengeance [against my enemies] 
from Allah. 

“0 Allah! You are greatest in power and might” in defending and protecting [Your 
servants], and there is no might or power but with Allah. 

“And most severe in Your retribution and punishment!” - Your chastisement and 
retribution is most severe. 


422 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


With this, the speech of al-Siddlqah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) about the events that 
transpired, and the position of the government and the people, comes to an 
end. The Imam was listening to her grievance, to her pain, and to her heartfelt 
words that sprang forth from an aching soul. 


Imam c AlI Consoles Fatimah ( c a) 

Now it is time for the Imam to respond to her words and to clarify his position 
in relation to all these events which brought so much pain and grief to the 
daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s). He says to her: 

“May no evil come to you” - This is the Imam’s reply to her, because she had said: 
“0 what woe!” The Imam says to her “May no evil come to you,” meaning that you 
should not say “0 what woe!” 

“Rather, woe be to your enemy!” - Woe be to the one who hates you and has 
thereby lost this world and the next. Woe be to your enemy who has oppressed 
you, who has broken your heart and wronged you. 

“Calm down, 0 daughter of the chosen one” - Control your grief and anger, 0 
daughter of the one who was chosen by Allah and selected above all people of 
the world. 

“And 0 vestige ofprophethood” - You are part of the Prophet, and the Prophet has 
been troubled by his ummah [as well], for he (s) said: “No Prophet has suffered 
the way I have suffered.” rv ' You, 0 Fatimah, are a part and a piece of the Master 
of all Prophets, so bear patiently what has befallen you. 

Then he ( c a) mentions his position and clarifies his religious obligation in 
relation to all that transpired. He says: 


Imam c Ali Consoles Fatimah ( c a) 


423 


“For I have never waned in my religion” - 1 have never failed to fulfil my obligation, 
and neither has my religion, nor my faith, weakened. I have not done anything 
that warrants blame or rebuke, because I had been instructed to remain patient 
and quiet. The Messenger of Allah (s) ordered me to remain patient if I do not 
find any supporters, and the usurping of Fadak is not graver than the usurping 
of the caliphate, taking over the platform of government and occupying the 
seat of power. 

“Nor have I erred in my responsibility” - I have never abandoned that which was 
under my control and over which I had power. It is as though [by saying this] 
he ( c a) is giving the reason for his inaction and for not coming out to assist her. 

The ‘ability’ that is being referred to here is not rational, but religious. To 
elaborate, let us look at an example: the sick person for whom water is harmful 
is rationally able to use water for ablution, but Islamic law prohibits him from 
doing so. Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) was ‘able’ to take up his sword, fight against the 
usurpers, and kill them, as they numbered no more than ten individuals. Then 
he could take back Fadak and even the caliphate [which was rightfully his]. 
After all, was it not c Al! ( c a) who fought and single-handedly killed about thirty- 
five warriors in the Battle of Badr? We know that the people in power at that 
time were not more courageous than those who came to the battlefield to fight 
the Prophet of Allah at Badr. This is the rational ‘ability’ of the Imam ( c a). 
However, with regard to what the Imam is able to do according to the law, if 
c Al! ( c a) had risen up in order to eliminate those individuals, it would mean the 
beginning of discord, strife and civil war, and the expansion of the scope of 
sedition. Especially since there were certain individuals lying in wait, looking 
for the first opportunity to upend this new religion which was still nascent and 
whose pillars had not yet become firmly entrenched in the ground. In addition 
to this, we recall the advice of the Prophet (s) to Imam c Al! ( c a), that he should 
remain patient and silent. Therefore, it was more appropriate for him to 


424 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


sacrifice Fadak and the other properties, and remain silent in front of the 
usurpers in order to protect Islam and preserve the faith from destruction and 
collapse. 

“If you want a source of sustenance” - if your goal in asking for the lands is 
sustenance and a source of livelihood for yourself and your children... 

“Then know that your sustenance is guaranteed” - the Guarantor of your 
sustenance is Allah. He is responsible for the sustenance of all living creatures. 

“And your guardian is trustworthy” - He is Allah, the Almighty. He does not break 
His promise about that which He has guaranteed. 

“That which He has prepared for you” - The reward He has kept for you in the 
Hereafter and the lofty station that you have attained in return for bearing with 
these hardships, tribulations and oppression... 

“Is better than what has been taken away from you" of your lands and all your rights 
that they have usurped. 

“So rely only upon Allah” - Be patient in seeking His pleasure. 

“She ( c a) said: Allah is sufficient for me.’ And then she fell silent” - She followed the 
instructions of her Imam and obeyed her husband saying, “Allah is sufficient 
for me;” meaning that Allah is enough for me and I rely upon Him in all my 
affairs. Then she ( c a) fell silent and was content. 


Al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon to the Women of the Muhajirun and Ansar 

Suwayd ibn Ghafalah said: “When Fatimah ( c a) fell ill with the ailment which 
led to her demise, the women of the Muhajirun and Ansar visited her. They said 


Al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon to the Women of the Muhajirun and Ansar 


425 


to her, ‘How are you feeling, 0 daughter of the Prophet of Allah?’ She praised 
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426 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


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‘By Allah, I have become averse to your world and resentful of your men. I have spewed 
them after testing them, and loathed them after realizing their true nature. So shameful 
indeed is their blunt edge, playing after seriousness, striking soft rocks, loosening the 
spears, issuing corrupt judgments and being misguided by vain desires. “Surely evil is 
what they have sent ahead for their souls, as Allah is displeased with them and they shall 
remain in punishment forever.” (Q5:80) Indeed, I have fastened its noose around their 
necks, placed its weight on their shoulders and made certain that they suffer its 
humiliation. So may the oppressors be maimed, defeated and crushed! Woe be to them. 
How could they displace that which was established by Prophethood, and founded by 
the Messenger, upon whom the Trusted Spirit would descend and who was aware of the 
matters of this world and of religion. ‘Now verily that is a manifest loss!’ (Q39.T5) 

For what reason were they hostile towards Abu al-Hasan? By Allah, they were vindictive 
towards him due to his bravery with the sword, his fearlessness in the face of death, his 
formidable strength, his exemplary heroism and his fury for the sake of Allah (the 
Almighty). By Allah, if they had stopped each other from taking the reins [of power] that 
was entrusted to him by the Prophet of Allah, he would have taken hold of it and would 
have led them with ease, without the slightest harm coming to them and without any 
anxiety that leads to agitation. He would deliver them to a pure spring, fresh and flowing, 
abundant and brimming without being sullied at its banks, and would have brought 
them back satisfied and full. He would have advised them secretly and publicly and 


Al-Zahra 3 ’s Sermon to the Women of the Muhajirun and Ansar 


427 


would neither have taken for himself any material riches nor favoured himself with 
worldly possessions, save that which quenches the thirsty and feeds the hungry. Then, 
the difference between the abstemious and the desirous, and between the truthful and 
the liar would become clear to them. “If the people of the towns had been faithful and 
God-wary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth. But 
they denied; so We seized them because of what they used to earn.” ( Q7:96 ) “For those of 
them who are unjust, the evils of what they earn shall be visited on them and they will 
not thwart [Allah’s might].” (Q39:5l) 

Now come closer and listen. See the most unbelievable surprise life brings - and if you 
are surprised by anything, then be surprised by their statement! 0 how I wonder what 
support they are relying upon, and what pillar they are leaning on, and what handle are 
they holding on to? Over which family have they sought ascendency? “Certainly evil is 
the patron and evil is the associate,” (Q22.T3) “and how evil a substitute for the 
wrongdoers.” (Q18:50) By Allah, they substituted the primary anterior feathers for the 
tail, and the upper part for the lower. So let the people who suppose that by doing this 
they are doing good have their noses rubbed on the ground. “Look! They are themselves 
the agents of corruption, but they are not aware.” (Q2:12) Woe be to them! “Is he who 
guides to the truth worthier to be followed, or he who guides not unless he is [himself] 
guided? What is the matter with you? How do you judge?” (Q10:35) Indeed, I swear by 
my life, it has only just been fertilized, so wait until it bears fruit. Then they shall milk it 
for copious amounts of blood and lethal poison. It is at that point that the falsifiers will 
be the losers and the succeeding generations will realize the consequences of what the 
earlier generations did. Then be pleased with what you have attained of this world, be 
satisfied in your hearts with sedition, be happy with the sharp sword, the dominion of 
the evil tyrant and sweeping pandemonium. [Be ready for] the despotism of the 
oppressors who leave but little of your acquired spoils and harvested crops. What 
remorse you will have! Where are you heading to and how can you be so blind? “Shall 
we force it uponyou while you are averse to it?” (Q1T.28)”’ 


428 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Suwayd ibn Ghafalah said: “The womenfolk repeated her words to their men, 
so a group of the elite amongst the Muhajirun and Ansar came to seek her 
forgiveness saying: 


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‘0 Mistress of all Women, if Abu al-Hasan had mentioned this to us before the matter 
had been decided and allegience had been pledged [to Abvi Bakr], we never would have 
turned towards anyone other than him!’ 


She replied: 


.^S j ■ -y a" JjG I *)lj y jJd Jju jdp «-^dl 


‘Leave me! There is no excuse after what you have done and there is no recourse after 
your transgression. 


Commentary 

We do not know for certain the real motivation that led to the women of the 
Muhajirun and Ansar coming to visit al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - was it 
the suggestion of their men? Then what made those men send their women to 
the house of al-Sayyidah Fatimah? Or was it that that the women themselves 
had a sudden attack of conscience and realized that they had wronged the 
daughter of the Prophet by abandoning her, and this feeling spread amongst 
the women leading them to visit her, either to appease their consciences or 
calm their inner anguish at what had happened to the Mistress of all Women? 


23 al-Khisal, vol. 1, p. 173; c Awalim al- c Ulum, vol. 11, p. 605; al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, p. 109 


Commentary 


429 


Or was it political expediency that made it necessary for them to come and 
mitigate the tension and reduce the strained relations between al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah, daughter of the Messenger of Allah, and the ruling government of the 
day? Especially since the isolative stance that al-Sayyidah Fatimah had chosen 
for herself, and her withdrawal from society, was not without effect. Rather, it 
drew the attention of people and especially when Amir al-Mu 3 minm came out 
with al-Sayyidah Fatimah, taking her around the houses of the Muhajirun and 
the Ansar, as she petitioned their help and support but found none who was 
ready to assist her. Instead, they all abandoned her; and we shall recount the 
conversation that took place between al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and 
Mu c adh ibn Jabal, and see the opinion of his son about the negative response he 
gave. 

In any case, it is not known how many women actually visited al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah while she was bedridden, but it seems that it was not a small number. 
Rather, a large group of women were present at her bedside. So al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) seized the opportunity and took advantage of the gathering of 
women in order to clarify the situation and record in the pages of history what 
evils had been perpetrated against the pure family of the Prophet by some 
Muslims. Women make up half or more than half of any society, and every 
woman is related to at least one man - be it her husband, father, brother or son. 
Thus, she is capable of playing an active role in society, especially in passing on 
important information and spreading news. So why should al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) remain silent in such a gathering and why should she not 
mention her resentment towards the oppressors? 

They asked her, “How are you feeling, 0 daughter of the Prophet of Allah?” - It 
was the etiquette and custom for the visitors to ask the sick person about his 
health and wellbeing, to which he would respond by telling them how he was 
feeling and what he was going through. However, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 


430 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Zahra 3 ( c a) did not speak about her sickness or how she was feeling, rather she 
responded by informing them about what was ailing her heart and the personal 
hardships she was facing. Speaking about these matters was more important 
[to her] than talking about her health, because it was the true cause of her 
ailment and the sickness that had taken away her health and wellbeing - and 
discussing the cause is more important than discussing the effect. Thus 
informing them about the reason [for her state] was more important than 
telling them about the symptoms of her ailment. 

Then, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) answered the questions that were 
posed by the women as the circumstance dictated. It is not surprising that even 
in her ailing health, al-Sayyidah Fatimah did not forget the principles of 
eloquence and articulation, as well as lofty expression, in her speech. She said: 

“By Allah, I have become averse to your world” - Indeed, she loathed this world and 
abhorred that society for not believing in that which is true. 

“And resentful of your men” - It was her right to express her unhappiness and 
anger at the men of Madinah who had taken a completely negative stance 
against her. For we have seen how they expressed their discomfort with her 
weeping for her father, the Holy Prophet (s), and how they never came to her 
aid when she called upon them. 

“I have spewed them after testing them” - Meaning I have spewed them from my 
mouth after having chewed and tasted them, just as one would expel something 
disgusting from his mouth. 

“And loathed them after realizing their true nature” - I detested and reviled them 
after testing them and learning about their true nature, and I hated them with 
all my heart because of their bad conduct. 


Commentary 


431 


“So shameful indeed is their blunt edge” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 
compares the men of Madlnah to a blunt sword that cannot cut anything, 
alluding to their silence and lack of support for her. She found their silence 
about the injustice against the daughter of their Prophet to be shameful. 

“Playing after seriousness” - Meaning that they were negligent towards the truth 
after having been concerned about it in the past. They had been serious in their 
support of Islam, but now it seemed that they were playing political games. 

“Striking the soft rocks” - This alludes to submission and the acceptance of all 
those who come forward to lead them. 

“Loosening the spears” - And in another version: “Weakening the spears.” This 
refers to the looseness and shakiness of the spear due to a fault or a split in it. 
A spear must be hard and firm in order to pierce and when it is loosened or 
weakened, it can no longer pierce anything. 

“Issuing corrupt judgments” - Other versions read: “Poor judgments” and “Illogical 
opinions.” In any case, this alludes to the divergence and corruption of their 
views and the aberration of [both] their negative and positive stances. As for 
their negative stance, it was directed against the family of their Prophet (s) and 
their abandoning the Ahl al-Bayt for others. Their positive stance was their 
acceptance of a government that was opposed to the family of the Prophet. 

“And being misguided by vain desires” - How abominable were those desires that 
played with the fate of the Muslims over the centuries and throughout history, 
and the errors that resulted from following those vain, misguided yearnings 
and desires of the souls. 

“Surely evil is what they have sent ahead for their souls, as Allah is displeased with them 
and they shall remain in punishment forever” (Q5:80) - The preceding verses state: 
The faithless among the Bani IsraTl were cursed on the tongue ofDawud and c Isa son of 


432 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Maryam. That, because they would disobey and used to commit transgression. They 
would not forbid one another from the wrongs that they committed. Surely, evil is what 
they had been doing. You see many of them fraternizing with the faithless... (Q5:78-80) 
She included this verse in her speech because of the similarity of the two cases, 
and the parallel between the verses and the stance of those who abandoned her 
becomes clear when a comparison is made. 

“Indeed, I have fastened its noose around their necks” - She ( c a) places the 
responsibility of all the [succeeding] generations on the necks of these 
individuals. For when she came to the masjid and delivered her sermon, she 
had fulfilled her duty towards those who were present. Fler call for assistance 
from the Muhajirun and Ansar clearly outlined their religious duty, and when 
they did not help her, they became answerable for the consequences of their 
abandonment in front of Allah and in the eyes of history. 

“Placed its weight on their shoulders” - Meaning that they bear the burden of its 
responsibility and evil consequences. 

“And made certain they suffer its humiliation” - History will always discredit them 
and they will face endless disgrace because of their oppression of the Ahl al- 
Bayt. 

“So may the oppressors’ hands be severed, and may they be defeated and crushed!” - 
This is an invocation against them because of their treating the family of the 
Prophet unjustly. Injustice means placing something where it does not belong 
and there are different degrees and levels of injustice. One can be unjust 
towards an ant or one can act unjustly with the entire Muslim ummah. One can 
even be unjust with the friends of Allah - those whose pleasure pleases Allah 
and whose anger invokes His wrath. The oppressors deserve to have such a 
supplication made against them. May Allah cut off their hands, ears and lips, 
and may He wound their bodies! 


Commentary 


433 


“Woe be to them" - This phrase is used as an expression of dismay, and can also 
mean damnation. 

“How could they displace that which was established by Prophethood” - She ( c a) is 
surprised at their choice. How could they remove the caliphate of the Prophet 
(s) from its determined place while it is like a mountain, holding the earth and 
ensuring that it moves and rotates in a systematic fashion while protecting it 
from turbulence? 

“And founded by the Messenger” - Just as a building would collapse if it does not 
have a foundation, if the caliphate was placed in underserving hands, it would 
break down spiritually, its system would be disrupted and its structure would 
be weakened. 

“Upon whom the Trusted Spirit would descend” - JibraTl used to descend upon the 
house of the Messenger of Allah (s) and the houses of his Ahl al-Bayt. The house 
of Fatimah was also a place where the Trusted Spirit would descend. 

“And who was aware of the matters of this world and of religion” - The one who was 
astute and adept in matters concerning this world as well issues pertaining to 
religion, in all the different circumstances and varying conditions. She is [also] 
alluding here to the family of the Prophet (s) and especially her wise and noble 
husband Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a). 

“Now verily that is a manifest loss!” - Truly, by Allah, it is a manifest loss incurred 
by the Muslim ummah in all facets of its existence, from individual life, to family, 
communal, economic, civic and political life, as well as its physical and 
religious-cum-spiritual wellbeing. All this happened when the community took 
power and authority away from the hands of the family of the Prophet, and the 
individuals who came to power had worldviews that were contrary to that of 
Islam, such that Islam was one thing and they were something else. 


434 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Thus, the shedding of innocent blood was easier for them than spilling water, 
and playing with divine laws and injunctions was, for them, like playing with a 
ball or any such plaything. Indeed, the injustices that the Muslims have been 
responsible for throughout history, at which the skins quiver and hearts 
palpitate, are all the result of those tyrannical regimes that were brought into 
power by individuals from this ummah. 

It is beyond the scope of this work to mention all the pogroms and horrors 
perpetrated by some of the Muslim rulers over the course of history. For 
indeed, they covered the surface of the earth with a layer of graves comprised 
of thousands of bodies of their innocent victims - those who were sacrificed in 
order to enable them to hold on to power; not to mention the suppression, 
persecution, deprivation, starvation and misery that the Muslims suffered 
throughout the ages. Yes, this was indeed a manifest loss and the trend still 
continues and will continue for eons to come. 

“For what reason were they hostile towards Abu al-Hasan?” - What fault did they find 
with c Ali ibn Abi Talib such that they deprived him of leadership and preferred 
someone else over him? Did he lack knowledge or was he ignorant of the law? 
Did he have a bad character or was his lineage questionable? Was his faith weak 
or was he incapable of handling the affairs? Was he cowardly or of low birth? 
Did he lack honour or generosity? What flaw did they find in his character or 
dealings? 

This is not the case; rather, c Ali ( c a) was the most learned man and was the Gate 
of the Prophet’s City of Knowledge. He was the fairest and most just amongst 
them in judgment. His character most closely resembled that of the Prophet 
himself, who had (according to the Qur’an itself) the loftiest character. He was 
the son of the Shaykh of the Valleys, Abu Talib, the Believer among the Quraysh. 
He was the greatest worshipper of this nation and the bravest in spirit, 
strongest at heart and most valiant in battle. He was an agglomeration of 


Commentary 


435 


virtues, on the cusp of honour and greatness. He was the most generous and 
open-handed with his wealth. So what was the reason for keeping the caliphate 
away from him and giving it to another? In answering her own question, al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah continues: 

“By Allah, they were vindictive towards him due to his bravery with the sword” - They 
were displeased by his fearless gallantry, since c Ali had killed their predecessors 
and leaders in the battles and wars, and had shattered their false sense of pride. 
Thus they hated him for his valiant swordsmanship. 

“His fearlessness in the face of death” - He was not concerned or afraid of death. A 
warrior who descends upon the battlefield must be one who does not worry 
about dying, for just as he kills, so too can he be killed. c All ( c a) used to say: “By 
Allah, the son of Abu Talib does not care whether he falls upon death or death 
falls upon him!” 24/vvr 

“His formidable strength, his exemplary heroism” - His formidable strength refers 
to his prowess in battle as a soldier. His blows were so deadly that not only 
would his enemies be destroyed, but it would serve as a warning and a lesson 
for other enemies also! 

“And his fury for the sake of Allah (the Almighty j” - This was no ordinary anger. It 
was rage. When a person is enraged, he does not care about how many enemies 
he has to face and nothing holds him back. Nothing can obstruct such a person 
from his goal. The brave man, who fights without apprehension or fear and 
shows courage and fierceness, is said to be like a tiger or a panther in the way 
he plunges [towards the enemy]. 

From her statements, we can conclude that the cause of their deviation and 
turning away from c All ( c a) was linked to personal gain and [other] spiritual 


24 Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon no. 55 


436 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


maladies that plagued their hearts. For c All ( c a) had killed, in the battles of Badr, 
Uhud, Hunayn, Khandaq and others, a great many leaders of the polytheists, 
torchbearers of disbelief and pagan notables, such as: c Utbah, Shaybah, al- 
Walid, 'Amr ibn c Abd Wudd and c Uqbah ibn al-Walid; and the Arab tribes felt 
that they had been wronged by the sword of c Ali (a). Even after these tribes 
accepted Islam, the residue of malice and enmity remained concealed in their 
hearts. 

Additionally, ‘All’s great success in all the different arenas would naturally 
ignite the flames of jealousy in the people. His advancement and eminence in 
different fields was one of his most celebrated qualities. Verses of the Quhan 
were revealed praising him, and the Prophet spoke about his unique virtues. He 
was successful where all others had failed, and he had certain qualities that 
nobody else in the world possessed. All this had the worst effect on the sick 
hearts [of his enemies]. The feelings that they concealed in their hearts were 
like a fire burning under the ashes - until the Prophet (s) passed away and the 
path was cleared and the obstruction removed. This was when the fire of their 
enmity became manifest and began roaring. 

By Allah, I urge you to observe the following: 

We have seen that a group of companions sought al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra^’s hand in marriage from her father the Holy Prophet (s), but he turned 
them down. However, when c Ali proposed, he was welcomed and received the 
most favourable of responses. Would this, in itself, not stoke the flames of 
jealousy in the hearts? When the Prophet (s) commanded Abu Bakr to go to 
Makkah with Surah al-Bara 3 ah and recite it to the people there, and when he 
was on his way the Archangel JibraTl descended upon the Prophet and said: 
“Your Lord commands you to convey this Surah yourself or to send someone 
who is from you,” rvr so the Prophet commanded c Ali to go to Makkah and take 
over the responsibility of reciting the Surah to the people of Makkah, while 


Commentary 


437 


instructing Abu Bakr to return [to Madinah ]. 25 Would this not ignite the fire of 
jealousy in the hearts? And there are numerous other examples, if one were to 
examine the life of c Ali ( c a), one would find that he was ahead of everyone else 
in all aspects. 

JibraTl would shower upon him verses from the Glorious Qur 3 an in praise of his 
heroism, lauding his achievements, acknowledging his charity and 
commending his services. The Muslims would read these verses in the dark of 
night and light of day, whether willingly or because they had to. What is 
surprising is that c All would rush into battle at the behest of the Prophet and in 
order to save the life of the Prophet (s) - the Prophet who personified and 
embodied Islam - so how could people hate c All, when he was a mere soldier, 
without hating the Prophet (s), who was the leader of the entire army? 

Al-MajlisI narrates in al-Bihar that Abu Zayd al-Nahw! said: “I asked Khalil ibn 
Ahmad aPArudl, ‘Why did the people abandon c Ali ( c a) when he was so close to 
the Prophet (s) and had such an esteemed position among the Muslims, having 
done so much for Islam?’ He replied, ‘By Allah, [it was because] his light 
outshined their lights and he surpassed them in every virtue - and people are 
drawn to their own kind. rv ‘ Have you not heard the saying: 

odL, L_d Ji_J! J 


And every form is drawn to its like, 
do you not see the elephant drawn to another elephant?’ 

And the poetry of aP Abbas ibn al-Ahnaf: 


25 Cf. Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 213; Tafsir al-Tabari, vol. 10, p. 46 


438 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


s<2jI 4 i Sf j 9 O Ui ?l »J i la S ( J J Is j 

SS)l\j JlSs id Jlj 4 j <s o dJ i f* 1 

And he said: How did you part ways? 

So I said something that was fair: 

He was not my type so I abandoned him, 
for people are of different types and characters” 

Ibn 'Umar said to c Ali ( c a): “How can the Quraysh ever love you when you have 
killed so many of their haughty imperious leaders in the Battles of Badr and 
Uhud?” rv ° Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) replied: 

L_L>L_LiU j o I J V j ti Jl_« L_J jJL_. C~Sy L_» 

Badr neither acquired for us any friends, 
nor did it open the way for us with the people 

It is obvious that these matters are not flaws or defects that would justify 
people’s hatred for 'All ( c a). The statement of al-Zahra 3 ( c a): “By Allah, they were 
vindictive towards him due to his bravery with the sword” expresses what the poet 
said: 







They have no flaw other than that their swords 
were notched by the battles against the enemies 

This means that they faulted Imam c Ali ( c a) for what were actually his virtues 
and strengths, and for his achievements and services, as well as his bravery and 


Commentary 


439 


sacrifice, his struggle and heroism - and all these are not flaws for which Imam 
c All ( c a) may be criticized. This is something that needs a more detailed 
discussion which is beyond the scope of this book and will, God-willing, be 
addressed at length in another monograph. 


“By Allah, if they had stopped each other from taking the reins [of power] that was 
entrusted to him by the Prophet of Allah, he would have taken hold of it” - al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) likened the Muslim community to a caravan and used the analogy 
of a leader of this caravan for the caliphate. He was the one who held on to the 
reins which are used to drive the camels. She compared c All ( c a) to the leader 
who moves in front of the caravan, holding the reins of the camel in order to 
guide it. 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) did not forget to mention that the Imamah 
is an appointment from Allah and His Prophet. Thus she said: “It was entrusted 
to him by the Prophet of Allah,” meaning that the position of leadership of the 
Muslim ummah is only c All's as this was the command of the Prophet of Allah 
(s), when he stood before the people and proclaimed: “Whoever takes me as his 
master, then c All is his master.” After this, she swears saying: “By Allah” - so the 
matter is one of great importance such that it warrants the human being to 
swear by the Mighty Creator. 

“If they had stopped each other” meaning if they had prevented one another from 
doing this... 

“ c AlI ( c a) would have taken hold of the reins” and done what he was given the 
responsibility to do. He would have taken over the leadership of the Muslims in 
the best way and using the finest means. 

Then she ( c a) described the positive results of his leadership, had he been given 
the opportunity [to lead], highlighting the benefits, gains, blessings and boons 


440 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


that would have encompassed the Muslim ummah over the centuries if this had 
happened: 

“And would have led them with ease” - meaning that it would have been easy and 
straightforward for him to assume the mantle of leadership, with complete 
calm and tranquillity; for when a camel moves with a rider in a violent manner, 
then the rider is sure to get hurt by its convulsive movement, and his 
composure is lost due to the disturbance and fear that results from this. In 
addition, the camel itself also suffers when the rider pulls on its reins, which 
are tied to piercings in its nose, and at times it may even get detached from the 
nose, thereby harming both the rider and the mount. However, al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah says: 

“Without the slightest harm coming to them and without any anxiety that leads to 
agitation” - Another version reads: “Without its mount becoming fatigued or its rider 
weary.” The reins that are inserted into the nose of the camel would not get 
detached and the rider would not be harmed in any way. This means that the 
rider will remain safe from all difficulties during his journey. 

“He would deliver them to a pure spring, fresh and flowing” - The guide who leads 
the caravan must take them to a good campsite where they can stop and rest 
comfortably - on the banks of a river or near a spring of water, so that they may 
take the water they need and quench their thirst and the thirst of their animals. 
Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) says that c Ali ( c a) would have led the convoy [of 
Muslims] to a place [of ease] with pure and fresh water that flows abundantly. 

“Abundant and brimming without being sullied at its banks” - When a river brims, 
the water flows over its edges, and if the water is fresh, it does not muddy the 
banks. So abundance, freshness, purity and lack of dirt or pollution are all 
attributes of that water. All these qualities point and allude to the prosperous 
life that people would have had if power were in the hands of Amir al-Mu 3 minm 


Commentary 


441 


( c a). If this had happened, blessings would have showered down upon the 
people of this earth and justice would have prevailed in the society. Peace 
would have encompassed all the communities and comfort, tranquillity, 
harmony and freedom - in its rational sense - along with prosperity, both in 
this world and the next, would be part of every man’s fortune. 

“And would have brought them back satisfied and full” - The result of going to such 
a place [near fresh water] would have been satiation and the quenching of all 
thirst. Thus there would be no more hunger or deprivation, no more poverty 
or indigence. 

“He would have advised them secretly and publicly” - Sincere advice comes from 
one who wishes you good and does not want to deceive you. c All ( c a) wanted the 
best for the people and tried to direct them towards what was good, both 
secretly and openly. He did not want anything from leadership but that which 
was good for the people. 

“And would neither have taken for himself any material riches nor favoured himself 
with worldly possessions, save that which quenched the thirsty and fed the hungry” - 
Here al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) explains her husband’s stance with 
regards to the position of leadership. Before all else, it is important to recall 
that there are individuals in the world who love to possess power and authority, 
and to rule over the people. They act as they wish and do as they please. They 
love power because it is the means by which they achieve their personal goals 
and aspirations. They use the position of leadership to acquire all sorts of 
luxuries and comforts, living a life of great ease. 

There are others, albeit a few, who only want authority so that they may serve 
the people and reform the society. They wish to acquire what is good for the 
people in order that they may live in peace and prosperity, and have all the 
tranquillity and comfort possible. This group of individuals are friends of Allah. 


442 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


They do not feel any emptiness or deficiency in their souls that need to be filled 
or concealed through ostentation and tyranny. Rather, because of their 
completeness, they feel no need for people. In fact, it is the people who need 
them. If such individuals were to rule, they would benefit society and bring 
reform, resulting in prosperity in the lives of the people. At the same time, such 
individuals do not covet worldly wealth and are not wont to usurp the property 
of the poor or build their palaces on the bones of the weak. They possess lofty 
traits and pure souls that would never sink so low. 

These statements by al-Sayyidah Fatimah make clear for us the position of her 
husband regarding political leadership and what he would have accomplished 
had he been given the opportunity. She says: “He would neither have taken for 
himself any material riches,” meaning that had c Ali ( c a) taken the reins of power, 
he would not use the wealth of the people for his personal gain and nothing 
from the state treasury would improve his personal finances. “Nor [would he 
have] favoured himself with worldly possessions” - he would not have taken from 
the wealth of this world except that which sufficed to quench his thirst and 
protect his family from hunger. 

Ponder upon these words and then observe the lives of kings and sultans of this 
world. You will find them living in the most luxurious palaces, wearing the most 
expensive clothes, eating the most delicious foods, driving the best cars and 
living the most comfortable lives; not to mention the wealth that they have 
amassed and put aside for the proverbial ‘rainy day’! All this has been 
plundered from the state treasury and the wealth of the people! 

Indeed, this is how al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) introduces her husband, 
and history attests to the veracity of her description and the truth of her claims. 
For Amir al-Mu 3 minm, c Ali ibn Abi Talib ( c a), ruled for four years and a few 
months, and his life was exactly as she had described. At one point, he ( c a) wrote 
to c Uthman ibn Hunayf saying: 


Commentary 


443 


Realize that your Imam has contented himself with two worn-out 
pieces of cloth, from the [comforts of this] world, and two loaves for his 
meal... For, by Allah, I have neither treasured any gold out of your world 
nor amassed any wealth, nor collected any clothes other than two 
threadbare sheets, nor have I acquired even a hand-span of land. Yes, 
from all that is under the sky, we possessed Fadak, but a group of people 
coveted it and another party withheld themselves from it... 26/rvi 

Flere, a question arises that needs to be answered and that is: if Imam c Ali ( c a) 
had all these qualities that were described by al-Zahra 2 ( c a), then why was it that 
when he ruled over the people and accepted the position of authority and 
leadership, so many internal conflicts and civil wars ensued, and why was there 
so much bloodshed in his reign? Our answer to this question is as follows: 

There is no doubt that the Muslim community at the time of the Holy Prophet 
(s) was righteous and good. However, after the Prophet (s) passed away, they 
changed, deviated and strayed towards that which was wrong, if you observe 
the history of the rulers who came immediately after the Prophet - for the 
following twenty-five years - you will find numerous edicts, decrees and 
rulings that were contrary to Islamic Law, the Quhan and the sunnah. Examples 
of this include the altering of wudu\ the adhan, the method of performing 
prayer and pilgrimage, and even how marriage and divorce are solemnized, if 
we wanted to mention more instances of this, it would prolong the discourse, 
so for now, we will suffice with one more instance out of many, and the reader 
can then extrapolate the remaining examples from this... 


26 Nahj al-Balaghah, Letter no. 45 


444 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


The Massacre Perpetrated by Khalid ibn al-Walid 

Khalid ibn al-Walid once approached the Muslim tribe of Ban! al-Yarbu c with 
his contingent. One of the men in this tribe was Malik ibn Nuwayrah, an 
individual who had accepted Islam at the hands of the Prophet (s) himself, and 
whom the latter had promised Paradise. c Umar ibn al-Khattab had also 
witnessed his conversion. Khalid ibn al-Walid killed him without any reason. 
His only motive was that Malik’s wife was the most beautiful woman in her tribe 
and Khalid had seen her and coveted her. He found no other way of getting to 
her but killing her innocent husband, so Khalid killed him and on that very 
night, he fornicated with his widow! 

When Khalid returned to Madlnah, he was not punished or castigated by the 
person who ruled at that time. This is something that all historians agree upon. 
This was despite the fact that Islam does not permit marrying a widow until her 
waiting period ( c iddah ) has completed. In this case, the man did not even marry 
her, he fornicated with her! 

This tragedy, which is mentioned in most of the historical texts, shows how 
much innocent blood was spilled, how honour was violated, crimes were 
perpetrated and dignity was undermined as a result of this great calamity. How 
much could the opinion of the masses have changed towards the religion and 
the Islamic state? We have already seen the stance of these people towards the 
only beloved daughter of the Prophet of Allah (s) and towards her noble 
husband and her sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn ( c a). 


The Fickle Islamic Leadership 


445 


The Fickle Islamic Leadership 

Indeed, Islam and the Islamic leadership reached the hands of c Ali ( c a) while it 
was fickle and unstable, having been distorted and deformed completely. Imam 
c Ali ( c a) wanted to bring reform and do away with all the distortions in order to 
return Islam to the right track and adorn it with the ornaments of sacredness 
and beauty. However, he found that those who had given in to their greed 
would oppose him and were ready to draw their swords against him. This is 
what led to the civil wars that resulted in so many deaths. 

It should be noted that those who were responsible for starting the civil wars 
and planting the seeds of hostility were only four individuals: Talhah, al- 
Zubayr, SAdshah and Mu c awiyah. Al-Zubayr and Talhah were after power and 
wanted to acquire it by causing civil disturbance in the reign of the Prophet’s 
[rightful] successor, and they used SAdshah as a means of attaining their goals. 
As for Mu c awiyah, he wanted to preserve his position in Syria, as he had himself 
admitted later. 

We have briefly discussed these tragedies in the first three volumes of our 
commentary on the Nahj al-Balaghah. if one were to refer to these records and 
compare the different events, many things would become evident and one 
would understand many mysteries. 

Now we return to the sermon: 

“Then, the difference between the abstemious and the desirous, and between the 
truthful and the liar would become clear to them” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) is still 
speaking about her husband, Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a), and what would have 
happened if he was allowed to take the reins of leadership. She says that he 
would take the very least of this world - only that which was sufficient to 
quench the thirst and feed his family. It is then that the truly abstemious one 


446 


Fatimah al-Zahra’ ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


(. zahid ), who does not covet the wealth of people, would be known, as would the 
greedy, covetous individuals who englut worldly wealth as a camel engluts 
freshly sprouted spring vegetation. Similarly, the truthful one who is honest in 
his words and deeds will become distinguished from the liar who makes false 
claims and cheats in word and deed. 

Then, she ( c a) ends this part of her speech with the verse of the Qur’an that was 
applicable to this community: “If the people of the towns had been faithful and God- 
wary, We would have opened to them blessings from the heaven and the earth. But they 
denied; so We seized them because of what they used to earn” (Q7:96) - How 
appropriate this verse is and what a beautiful analogy is given in these words. 
Al-Sayyidah Fatimah is saying that if the people had accepted the words of the 
Holy Prophet (s) in his selection of c Ali ( c a) as his successor, and allowed him to 
be their leader, this world would have been a place of ease and comfort for them 
-just like Paradise. Instead, they rejected him and chose someone else, thereby 
belying the Prophet of Allah (s) by their actions, so they will witness the woes 
that come upon them. Then she follows up with another similar verse: “for those 
of them who are unjust, the evils of what they earn shall be visited on them and they will 
not thwart [Allah’s might].” (Q39:5l) - We will later discuss in some detail the 
calamities and tragedies that befell the Muslim community as a consequence of 
poor leadership. 

“Now come closer and listen” - Another version uses female pronouns for the 
addressees. Thus, based on the first version, the address is general, and based 
on the second version, only the women who visited her were being addressed. 

“See the most unbelievable surprise life brings” - Meaning, the longer you live in 
this world, the more you will witness incredible and astonishing events that 
you never thought of or imagined. 


Commentary 


447 


“And. if you are surprised by anything, then be surprised by their statement” - This 
phrase is part of a verse in Surah al-Ra c d that states: And if you are surprised by 
anything, then be surprised by their statement, “When we have become dust, shall we 
be [raised] in a new creation?” (Q13:5) 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) took the phrase from this verse and included it in her 
speech. This means that people are astounded by certain matters while in 
reality there is nothing surprising, and these things do not warrant amazement. 
On the other hand, there are some things and events that are truly surprising 
and warrant astonishment, for they do not conform with divine law, the 
intellect, human nature or even natural instincts, and they do not fall under 
any sound rubric. The surprising thing being referred to here is as follows: 

The people would refer to the Prophet of Allah (s), follow his leadership, trust 
his words and obey his commands, because he was a divinely appointed 
messenger. He was connected to the higher realm and possessed all the worthy 
qualities. It is not surprising therefore, that people would humble themselves 
before him and follow his lead in every matter. However, it is very surprising 
that after the Prophet (s) passed away, they stooped so low as to give the 
leadership [of the Muslim ummah] to individuals who did not possess any of the 
required qualities. 

How could the one who used to turn to the Prophet (s) and rely upon him feel 
no compunction and allow himself to be satisfied with leaders who did not 
possess a similar standing or status? Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) expresses her 
surprise at this election, which was completely contrary to all the norms, 
standards, and criteria, as do all the wise people of the world and those with 
healthy consciences, sound hearts and judicious souls. 

“0 how I wonder what support they are relying upon, and what pillar they are leaning 
on, and what handle are they holding on to?” - All the Muslims know the statement 


448 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of the Holy Prophet (s): “I leave behind for you two weighty things ( thaqalayn ), 
the Book of Allah and my family, the Ahl al-Bayt. As long as you hold on to these 
two you will never go astray.” 27 The meaning of this tradition is that the 
Prophet instructed the Muslims to hold on to both the Quhan and his Ahl al- 
Bayt together; but which rope did these people hold on to and grasp? 

“Over which family have they sought ascendency?” - Do these people know who 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 is? Do these people know the status of this pure, noble 
progeny - the progeny that is the most honourable on the face of this earth? 
Do these people know what they have done to the family of the Prophet, whom 
Allah had commanded them to love when He said: Say, “I do not ask you any 
reward for it except love of [my] near relatives ”? (Q42:23) These were the people 
whose obedience was made obligatory for the Muslims by the command of 
Allah: Obey Allah and obey the Prophet and those vested with authority among you. 
(Q4:59) They are the ones whose example is like that of the Ark of Nuh ( c a) - 
whoever embarked it was saved and whoever turned away from it was drowned 
and destroyed. Whoever loves them loves Allah, and whoever hurts them 
displeases Allah, and whoever hates them hates Allah! 

So by Allah, other than whom there is no deity, verily they hurt the family of 
the Prophet of Allah and his progeny, and oppressed them, angered them and 
transgressed against them. They violated their honour and encouraged people 
to mistreat them. What religion did they follow? What law did they adhere to? 
What gave them the right to do what they did to the family of the Holy Prophet 
(?)? 


11 YanabP al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 432; al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, pp. 118, 160; Khasa’is Amir al-Mu’minm, p. 
96; Kifayat al-Talib, p. 259; al-Sawa c iq al-Muhriqah, vol. 2, pp. 428, 438, 652 


Commentary 


449 


I myself do not know, and maybe the Muslims came up with some excuses in 
order to justify the violation of their honour and the squandering of their 
rights. 

“Certainly evil is the patron and evil is the associate” - al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 
( c a) took this phrase from the verse: He invokes someone whose harm is surely 
likelier than his benefit. Certainly evil is the patron and evil is the associate. (Q22:13) 
This means that the person whom he has chosen as a guardian is the worst 
patron and the worst associate. ‘Associate’ here refers to the friend who is 
chosen for social companionship. 

“And how evil a substitute for the wrongdoers” - This phrase is from the verse: And 
when We said to the angels , “Prostrate before Adam,” they prostrated, but not Iblis. He 
was one of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord’s command. Will you then take him 
and his offspring for guardians in My stead, though they are your enemies? How evil a 
substitute for the wrongdoers. (Q18:50) 

“By Allah, they substituted the primary anterior feathers for the tail” - Of all the 
sciences, the one that takes precedence and is considered to be of greatest 
importance is sociology. It is a science that examines the progress and decline 
of nations, the factors that lead to their weakness and strength, prosperity and 
corruption, as well as the consequences that follow from their prosperity and 
corruption. 

One of the ways of leading the society towards good or evil and towards 
righteousness or wickedness, and of outlining the path for the populace, is 
[through] the institution of government and the institution of religion. The 
Holy Prophet (s) said: “In my nation there are two groups of people who, if they 
act righteously, the people will be righteous, and if they are corrupt, the people 
will become corrupt. They are the scholars and the rulers.” TVV In those days, the 
institution of government and the institution of religion were one and the 


450 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


same, such that the caliph was considered both leader of government and the 
religious leader, and he was at the helm in both spheres: political and religious. 

We find that civilized nations, that are educated and advanced, have attained 
their progress and advancement in all the different domains just because the 
ruling aristocracy laid the groundwork and opened the way for them. They 
furnished them with the means and provided the necessary training along with 
incentives and motivation for action. In the same way, those nations that lag 
behind and remain backward - where ignorance, poverty, disease, deprivation, 
debauchery, impudence and disgrace are the order of the day - are the 
casualties of neglectful and irresponsible leadership; as it is said, “People follow 
the religion of their kings.” rvA 

At this juncture, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) turns her attention to issues 
affecting the society, and says: “By Allah, they substituted the primary anterior 
feathers for the tail.” The use of metaphors and analogies in one’s speech has an 
amazing effect on the soul and makes the meaning vividly clear. Al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) compares the Muslim ummah to a bird and likens the leader or the 
government to the wings of the bird, because the bird is not able to fly without 
its wings. The wings are made up of tens of large feathers which are referred to 
as the ‘primaries’ and under these large anterior flight feathers are concealed 
many small feathers called ‘secondaries’. The tail also has feathers that are 
named ‘rectrices’. The primaries are mainstays for flight and it is not possible 
for birds to fly without them. This is because primaries are like strong oars in 
the wings of a bird, which enable it to take off, rise up above the earth, and turn 
in the sky. Thus, if the primaries of a bird are cut off, it would neither be able 
to fly with its secondaries, which are smaller feathers, nor with its tail feathers; 
because the tail feathers are too weak and incapable of bearing the weight of 
the bird’s body and allowing it to take off from the ground. 


Commentary 


451 


“And the upper part for the lower” - Everything has a lower extremity, and for the 
human being, it is between his hips; whereas the upper part of his body is 
between his shoulders, and this is the strongest part of the human body which 
is commonly used to carry heavy weights. In contrast, the lower part of the 
body cannot be used in this way and is incapable of carrying such heavy 
weights. 

The meaning of these two allegories or analogies is: The community gave up 
important matters and sensitive positions, i.e. leadership of government, to 
those who were not deserving of it and were incapable of carrying out its 
necessary functions. These individuals did not have all the qualities required 
for governance and were lacking in knowledge, wisdom and leadership skills. 
This, despite their having usurped resources from their rightful owners who 
were more worthy and possessed the know-how and wisdom [needed for 
leadership]. 

They gave their pledge of allegiance to c All ( c a) at Ghadlr, as commanded by 
Allah and His Prophet (s), but later broke their pledge and reneged on their 
allegiance by pledging fealty to someone else who was not even comparable to 
c All ( c a) in knowledge, honour, eminence, courage, piety, generosity and 
magnanimity, among other virtues. 

“So let the people who suppose that by doing this they are doing good have their noses 
rubbed on the ground” - al-Zahra 3 ( c a) is praying that these people should be 
humiliated and disgraced by saying that they should have their noses rubbed 
on the ground, because they think that they are rightly guided in whatever they 
do and are righteous in their actions. 

“Look! They are themselves the agents of corruption, but they are not aware” (Q2:12) - 
Will the one who has strayed admit that he has strayed from the right path? 
Quite the opposite. He assumes that he is the one who is rightly guided and on 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


the straight path, while others are wrong. Neither logic not evidence can 
change his mind. These two phrases have been taken from the two verses: Those 
whose endeavour goes astray in the life of the world, while they suppose they are doing 
good (Q18:104) and When they are told, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they 
say, “We are only reformers!” Look! They are themselves the agents of corruption, but 
they are not aware. (Q2:ll-12) 

“Woe be to them! ‘Is he who guides to the truth worthier to be followed or he who guides 
not unless he is [himself] guided? What is the matter with you? How do you judge?”’ 
(Q10:35) - This verse speaks about guidance and the difference between those 
who guide to the truth, showing people the right path, and those who do not 
follow guidance or know the right path until they are guided towards it, 
meaning that someone else has to guide them - which of the two is more 
deserving of obedience? And which of the two is worthy of being a leader of the 
Muslim nation? 

By making this comparison, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) indicates that 
c Ali ( c a) is the man with perfect knowledge, excellence, intelligence and 
aptitude, so he is more deserving of leadership and more worthy of being 
obeyed and followed than those individuals who are lacking in their knowledge, 
intelligence, management skills and all other qualities that are necessary for 
leadership. And history has proven both of these premises: the perfection of 
Imam c All ( c a) and the ineptitude of others. 

“Indeed, I swear by my life, it has only just been fertilized” - The microbes that invade 
the body and lead to ailments which are difficult to cure, begin as germs and 
bacteria that enter the bloodstream and settle there, and as time passes the 
microbes spread in the blood, affecting the white and red blood cells. There are 
diseases such as malaria and cholera, and there is cancer and other maladies 
that spread throughout the entire body. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah is saying: “Indeed, 
I swear by my life, it has only just been fertilized,” i.e. the germs and bacteria have 


Commentary 


453 


just fertilized and settled in the Muslim ummah; soon discord will follow and 
spread. 

“So wait until it bears fruit” - Wait until the microbes spread out in the body of 
the Muslim community. For after a righteous leadership had led the Muslims, 
now an opposite, unbefitting leadership has taken its place. After the excellent 
and just law of Islam had been established in the Muslim society, laws that are 
based on vain desire and personal opinion have taken its place. This is how 
principles are changed and ideals altered. 

“Then they shall milk it for copious amounts of blood” - When a camel gives birth, it 
is milked, but when sedition comes about [in the community], it is blood that 
flows from it, not milk. This means that the result of sedition is carnage and 
bloodshed. Islam is a religion of peace and harmony, but its true meaning is 
distorted by such people and it becomes a religion of devastation, destruction, 
ruin and carnage. Look at the history of Islam and how it was distorted by these 
individuals. You will find rivers of blood flowing from the bodies of the 
Muslims. You will find mounds formed from their numerous corpses! 

For example, historians recount how c Uthman ibn c Affan undertook certain 
projects that were against the teachings of the Qur’an and the sunnah so the 
Muslims rebuked him for that; but instead of relenting, he used force, threats, 
intimidation and violence against them. In the end, his actions led to a public 
outcry among the Muslims. fA’ishah incited the people against him saying: “Kill 
the long-beard ( na c thal ) for he has apostatized. Kill the long-beard, may Allah 
destroy him!” rv '' Naflhal was the name of a Jew [with a long beard] whom 

fA’ishah compared c Uthman to. This was also done by Talhah and ibn c As. In the 
end, they assassinated c Uthman. 

After they were done inciting the people against him, they came out seeking 
vengeance for his assassination! c Uthman was killed in Madinah, yet they went 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


to Basrah to seek vengeance, while the distance between Madlnah and Basrah 
is more than a thousand kilometres. Once there, they ignited the fire of war 
that led to the death of twenty-five thousand people in the Battle of Basrah. 

Then Mu c awiyah rose up, claiming that he wanted to avenge the blood of 
c Uthman and this led to a battle in Syria, in a place close to the city of Halab 
known as Siffin. In this battle, more than ninety thousand people lost their 
lives. This was followed by the Battle of Naharwan wherein four thousand men 
were killed. After this, Busr ibn Artah was sent by Mu c awiyah from Syria to 
Madinah, Makkah and Yemen. On the way, he would butcher [innocent] people. 
So much so that thirty thousand of the followers of c Ali ( c a) were killed by him 
in Yemen and other places. 

Let us take a pen and calculate the total number of those who were killed: 25,000 
+ 90,000 + 4,000 + 30,000 = 149,000 

This is the number of fatalities. Do not even ask about the number of those who 
were injured, or the widows and orphans of these men and the other tragic 
consequences of these calamities. Do not ask about the tears that flowed, the 
eyes that wept, the hearts that broke and the wails of sorrow which made life 
hell for that community in every way. And all this happened in a span of four 
years! But the tragedy did not end there. Rather, more gut-wrenching carnage 
and massacres followed, and we will mention some of these events in the 
following pages. 

Indeed, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) continued to inform the people 
about future calamities and catastrophes that the Muslim community would 
face, which were hidden and unknown to them. These declarations were not 
mere predictions about the unknown; rather, it was information about the 
consequences and results of their actions. For if a skilled physician looks at a 
person who does not follow the dietary rules in his food and drink, and 


Commentary 


455 


consumes that which is harmful for him, he is able to inform him about his 
bleak future and the deadly diseases that will stalk him because of this actions 
which are against the general principles of maintaining a healthy diet. In the 
same way, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) looks at that society and the bad 
choices it has made with regard to its leadership, and she sees the evil 
consequences that the Muslim community will have to face as a result of those 
choices. 

She says: “Then they shall milk it for copious amounts of blood” and in another 
version: “...in a large vessel" - meaning that the amount of blood will be so much 
that it will overflow even the largest of vessels; and all this alludes to the 
copious amount of blood that will be shed. 

“And lethal poison” - they milked blood and lethal poison from it. This alludes to 
the evil consequences that were faced by Islam and the Muslims [because of 
what they did], and refers to the tribulations and calamities that befell them. 

“It is at that point that the falsifiers will be the losers” - At this time the loss of the 
falsifiers will become apparent. 

“And the succeeding generations will realize the consequences of what the earlier 
generations did” - Those who come later will know the consequence of the 
actions and deeds carried out by those who preceded them. 

“Then be pleased with what you have attained of this world” - The literal phrase “Be 
pleased” means be content and calm yourself from anxiety. This is akin to 
telling an oppressor: “May your eyes be cool” or “Glad-tidings to you” or any 
such phrase that is actually intended to mean the opposite of its literal 
meaning. 

“Be satisfied inyour hearts with sedition” - Let your hearts be content with sedition. 
This is also meant sarcastically, for hearts can never be content with 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


disturbance and sedition. Rather, peace and contentment can only come with 
safety and security. 

“Be happy with the sharp sword” - These words are inspired by the verse: So give 
them glad-tidings of a painful chastisement (Q84:24), and are similarly sarcastic. 

“And sweeping pandemonium” - Another version reads: “And never-ending 
pandemonium.” Pandemonium [here] means sedition, rebellion, anarchy and 
disturbance. 

“[Be ready for] the despotism of the oppressors” - Despotism here refers to 
dictatorship and acting against the prescribed limits and bounds, contrary to 
the system, the constitution, Islamic laws and religious injunctions. 

“Who leave but little of your acquired spoils and harvested crops” due to their 
despotism or as a result of all that she mentioned, from the sharp sword to the 
dominion, sweeping pandemonium and despotism. All of these lead to the 
reduction of acquired spoils, meaning that the booty and rightful gains will 
become less, as will the harvests. This is because of the ruling elite who will 
usurp and lavishly spend their wealth, and they will not get to see but a little of 
it. Another version states that they will “harvest your communities” meaning that 
they will mow you down with their swords. 

This was a warning about the bleak future that the Muslims faced, the hardships 
and calamities that would befall them and the woes that would come upon 
them. And all this came to pass, as the Muslims faced horrific tragedies and 
carnage that no one can imagine. By Allah, they blackened the history of Islam 
and tarnished this religion. Some of the inglorious events that followed 
included the carnage that was brought about by the ‘People of the camel’, 
Mu c awiyah, the Khawarij and some of Mu c awiyah’s henchmen. Now let us look 
at some other terrible events that transpired... 


Commentary 


457 


If we wanted to mention here all the oppression, injustice, suppression, 
subjugation and cruelty that befell the Muslim ummah, as well as the tyranny 
and spilling of innocent blood at the hands of despotic rulers, our account 
would become extremely lengthy, for recounting these hardships and 
calamities requires more than one encyclopaedia. However, in keeping with 
our approach, we have selected one of the hundreds of calamities that befell 
the inhabitants of Madinah - a terrifying tragedy which makes the skins crawl 
and the hearts sick. 

Before describing the actual event, it would not be out of place to begin with an 
introduction so as to give a background and highlight the result of changing 
the course of Islamic leadership. It would be correct for us to state that the 
despotic rulers who occupied the seat of power, and seized the reins of 
leadership by gaining dominion over the people using the sword, rejected the 
teachings of Islam that were brought by Muhammad (s). Their actions were 
neither in line with the Qur 3 an and the practices of the Prophet, nor with 
rational reasoning or the basic principles of human rights, justice and the 
Islamic way. Rather, they took control of people’s possessions and lives as they 
pleased, in accordance with their whims and personal fancies, driven by greed, 
covetousness and lust. 

People had no honour and their lives had no value in their eyes. These rulers 
did not care if the people lived in peace and comfort or died out of starvation 
and poverty. That which concerned them was preserving their positions of 
authority, maintaining their grandeur, and satisfying their lust, vain desires 
and lavish caprices, even if it meant shedding the blood of innocent, poor 
Muslims. What could a Muslim’s life and the sanctity of Islam be worth in the 
eyes of such an oppressive, despotic, bloodthirsty dictator who would never 
behave the way he did if he truly believed in Allah and the Last Day. 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Some may think that there is some exaggeration and embellishment on my part 
when I say this, but if one were to learn about the history of the Umayyads and 
Abbasids, and see the massacres and genocide that they perpetrated, he would 
certainly believe my statements and may in fact consider my words to express 
only a small fraction of the bitterness that the Muslim community experienced 
over the centuries. They made life a living hell and a painful torment for the 
Muslim society they were ruling over with their swords and whips. Here is one 
example of what we mean: 


The Battle of al-Harrah 

Muslim ibn c Uqbah, who was one of the brutal and fiendish Arabs, was sent by 
Yazld ibn Mu c awiyah to Madlnah with thirty thousand men . 28 Yazld told 
Muslim ibn c Uqbah: “When you occupy Madlnah, plunder it for three days and 
let all its wealth, animals, weaponry and food be taken freely by the army.”"' 
The army marched towards the city of the Prophet (s) and the inhabitants of 
Madlnah prepared to face the invading army outside the city. They met at a 
place known as al-Harrah where a battle took place. Hundreds from the families 
of the Muhajirun and Ansar were killed while the rest fled back towards 
Madlnah. The Syrian army followed them until they arrived at Madlnah. The 
Muslims took refuge in the sanctuary of the Prophet, so the Syrian troops began 
slaughtering the people of Madlnah next to the grave of the Prophet (s) until 
the blood flowed over the grave of the Messenger of Allah! 

After this, a caller from the Syrian army called out the command of their leader 
Muslim ibn c Uqbah: “I have made the city of Madlnah lawful for you !”" 1 What 
do you think a conquering army would do when granted full freedom and given 


28 al-lmamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 2, p. 186 



The Battle of al-Harrah 


459 


complete immunity? The troops set their sights on looting the possessions and 
violating the honour of the people. They raped more than three hundred 
virgins and that year, more than a thousand children were born whose fathers 
were not known. Let me inform the esteemed reader that one of the soldiers 
even raped a Muslim woman inside the Masjid of the Prophet (s )! 29 

The soldiers would enter the houses of the people of Madlnah and take all that 
they found inside. Some of them raided the house of Abu SaTd al-Khudrl, one 
of the famous companions of the Prophet (s), who was a poor old blind man at 
that time. They found him sitting on the earth because another group of 
soldiers had already ransacked his home. When they searched his house and 
found nothing, they did not want to leave empty-handed, so they pulled out his 
beard and the hair of his eyebrows as he cried out: “I am a companion of the 
Messenger of Allah!” But they paid no heed to such titles. They also found some 
doves in his house, so they slaughtered them and threw them into the well 
before exiting his house. 

One of the soldiers entered the house of a woman who had been dispossessed 
of all that she owned. He found her sitting on the ground suckling her baby, so 
he pulled the baby by its leg, snatching it from her, and then smashed its head 
on the wall, crushing it and causing blood to flow as the mother watched. 

After this, Muslim ibn c Uqbah gathered all the people of Madinah and took their 
pledge and admission that they were the slaves and serfs of Yazid ibn 
Mu c awiyah. Then the army exited Madinah, leaving behind corpses and 
thousands of orphans and widows whose only food was weeping and whose 
drink was tears, their bed was the earth and their possessions were pain, 
anguish, horror and lamentation. The Syrian army then turned towards 
Makkah with the aim of burning down the Ka c bah and killing people inside the 


29 c Abbas al-Qumml (d. 1359 A.H.), Tatimmat al-Muntaha, p. 2220 



460 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


holy sanctuary of Masjid al-Haram, in order to eliminate c Abdullah ibn al- 
Zubayr who had barricaded himself in the Holy Mosque wherein whoever enters 
is secure. (Q3:97) 

Do not ask about the calamities that befell the people of Madlnah - calamity 
after calamity and tribulations, one after another. As for the terror that was 
perpetrated by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi in Iraq, it would make even a 
babe’s hair turn grey and cause the one who reads about it to be filled with 
horror and disgust. So much so that even TJmar ibn c Abd al- c Aziz said: “if every 
nation brought its most wicked person and we brought al-Hajjaj, we would 
trounce them.”™ And c Asim said: “There was nothing that was forbidden by 

Allah but that al-Hajjaj did it!” rAr 

These were a few examples of what happened, and after learning about the 
horrific events, that sicken the one who reads about them, the veracity of what 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) said, when she warned the people who had opted for 
those leaders instead of the family of the Prophet (s), becomes clear to us. The 
aptness and accuracy of her words: “Then glad tidings to you of the sharp sword, the 
dominion of the evil tyrant, the sweeping pandemonium, and the despotism of the 
oppressors who leave but little of your acquired spoils and harvested crops,” which 
perfectly describe the misfortunes and tragedies that the Muslim community 
later faced, is also made manifest. 

In the end, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) concluded her address to the 
women with the following words: 

“What remorse you will have!” - This phrase has been taken from the verse of the 
Quhan that states: Alas for the servants! There did not come to them any apostle but 
that they used to deride him. (Q36:30) This means: Great will be your regret and 


The Battle of al-Harrah 


461 


remorse for losing righteousness, guidance, peace, security, reward and 
recompense in this world and the next. 

“Where are you heading to?” - I do not know where [you hope] your actions will 
lead you, as you have strayed from the path of guidance and have followed the 
path of destruction and loss. 

“How canyou be so blind?” - The truth has become hidden to you because of your 
lack of deliberation about it. 

“Shall we force it upon you while you are averse to it?”- This phrase is part of the 
verse that states: He said , “0 my people! Tell me, if I stand on a manifest proof from my 
Lord, and He has granted me His own mercy though it should be invisible to you, shall 
we force it uponyou while you are averse to it?" (Qll:28) She is saying: Do you want 
me to force you to understand and compel you to accept it while you are 
unwilling to do so? This is something that I cannot do. My only responsibility is 
to present the evidence to you and show you the path, not to compel you to 
understand [and accept] it. 

At this point, al-Sayyidah Fatimah stopped her conversation with the women 
and the women stood up to leave. 

Suwayd ibn Ghafalah said: “The womenfolk repeated her words to their men, 
so a group of the elite amongst the Muhajirun and Ansar came to seek her 
forgiveness.” 

It is unfortunate that the matter is unclear and vague, for none of the women 
have been named nor have the names of the men from the elite of the 
Muhajirun and Ansar been recorded. What we can deduce from the various 
traditions is that the women did not know of the political ploy that was in play 
and they had no idea what their men had been planning during this tumultuous 
period. They just came to visit al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 because she was 


462 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


sick, but after she addressed them and expressed her anger towards their 
menfolk, each woman got up as if she had been awoken from slumber or 
aroused from her negligence, and they gained some awareness and 
understanding about the truth. 

Only Allah knows what quarrels and arguments took place between those 
women and their husbands when they returned home from visiting al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah ( c a) such that it led to their husbands coming to the house of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah seeking forgiveness. Forgiveness for what? Forgiveness for 
their abandoning her and turning away from assisting the family of the 
Messenger of Allah (s)? It was as if they did not know anything and were 
ignorant of all the events that had transpired. As if they had not pledged their 
allegiance to c Ali ( c a) at Ghadir - something that they did during the lifetime of 
the Prophet (s) and about seventy days before he left this world. As if they had 
not heard al-Zahra 3 ’s sermon and her protest against the head of state and the 
Muhajirun and Ansar in the Masjid [of the Prophet]. As if they had not heard 
her cries [as she was crushed] behind the door of her house. It was as if they 
were not in Madinah [at the time] and knew nothing at all, and only now had 
they come to learn of the truth so they came to ask for pardon, giving vain, lame 
and disingenuous excuses. They said, “0 Mistress of all Women, if Abu al-Hasan 
had mentioned this matter to us before we had pledged our allegiance [to Abu 
Bakr] and sworn fealty, we never would have turned towards anyone other than 
him!” 

Look at this illogical and irrational excuse. I do not understand what they 
expected Abu al-Hasan to remind them about. Had Allah not reminded them [in 
the Qur 3 an] that: Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who 
maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down? (Q5:55) Did they not hear 
the Messenger of Allah (s) raising his voice on the Day of Ghadir [saying]: 
“Whoever considers me his master should consider c Ali his master. 0 Allah, 


The Battle of al-Harrah 


463 


befriend anyone who befriends him and bean enemy to anyone who has enmity 
with him; help those who help him and abandon those who abandon him”? 30/rAt 

Along with many other verses that were revealed about c All ( c a) and words of 
praise and explicit pronouncements that they heard from the lips of the 
Messenger of Allah (s) stating that c All ( c a) was his successor. 

What did c All ( c a) have to remind them about? Was anything hidden or 
unknown to these people such that it would have been necessary to tell them 
or inform them about it? And aside from all this, did Amir al-Mu 3 minm not 
present numerous arguments [about his rights] when they took him from his 
house to the masjid in order to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr? 

Did they not hear? Did they not know? Did they not understand? 

In addition to this, look at the manner in which they sought pardon and the 
absurdity of their argument: “If Abu al-Hasan had mentioned this matter to us before 
we had pledged our allegiance [to Abu Bakr] and sworn fealty, we never would have 
turned towards anyone other than him!” Glory be to Allah! Had they not sworn their 
fealty to c Ali ( c a) on the Day of Ghadir when they pledged their allegiance to him 
as the successor of the Prophet, as Allah and His Prophet had commanded them 
to do? Or were they just playing around on that day and making fun of Allah 
and His Prophet? 

It is surprising that they thought it permissible to break that pledge and 
allegiance but now it was not permissible to go against the pledge of allegiance 
that was actually in contravention to the previous pledge they had made to c Ali 
( c a) on the Day of Ghadir! Indeed, this was their false excuse, and that is why al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah asked them to leave her house, saying: 


30 al-Ihtijaj, vol. 1, p. 74; YanabF al-Mawaddah, vol. 1, p. 99; Musnad Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 281; Khasads 
Amfr al-Mu’minm, p. 16; al-Durr al-Manthur, vol. 2, p. 259 



464 


Fatimah al-Zahra 1 2 3 4 5 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


“Leave me!” - Keep away from me; hold your tongues in my presence. 

“There is no excuse after what you have done” - They fell short in their apology. It 
may [also] mean that they did not have an appropriate excuse for doing what 
they had done. 

“And there is no recourse after your transgression” - We want nothing to do with 
you after you have taken this position. 

This is how al-Sayyidah Fatimah made them leave her house after their 
disingenuous apologies. 


The Sources of Her Sermon to the Womenfolk 

We have examined the words of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) which were 
spoken in the Masjid [of the Prophet (s)], at her home, and when she was 
bedridden. Many truths and facts became clear from what was said in her 
sermons. A number of sources that narrate her sermons in the masjid have 
already been mentioned, and it would be prudent now for us to examine some 
of the sources that recount her sermon to the womenfolk: 

1. Ma c ani al-Akhbar by ibn Babawayh [al-Saduq] (d. 381 A.H.) where the 
chain of the sermon ends at Fatimah bint al-Husayn ( c a). 

2. The same author also narrates [it] from c Umar ibn c All ibn Abl Talib, 
from his father Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a). 

3. Al-Tabars! in al-lhtijaj, from Suwayd ibn Ghafalah - as mentioned at the 
beginning of the sermon. 

4. The Amali of Shaykh al-TusI, who narrates from ibn c Abbas. 

5. Daladl al-Imamah by al-Tabari, narrating from Imam c Ali ibn al-Husayn 
Zayn al- c Abidln ( c a). 


Completing the Proof and Leaving No Excuse for the Muhajirun and Ansar 


465 


6. Balaghat al-Nisa 2 by Abu al-Fadl ibn Abl Tahir, narrating from c Atiyyah 
al- c Awfi. 

7. Kashf al-Ghummah by al-Irbili, narrating from the book al-Saqifah by 
Ahmad ibn c Abd al- c Az!z al-Jawharl. 31 

8. Ibn Abl al-Hadid, in his Shark Nahj al-Balaghah, has also narrated if from 
al-Jawharl. 

9. A c lam al-Nisa } by c Umar Rida Kahhalah. 32 

10. Al-Shaykh al-MajlisI in Bihar al-Anwar. 33 


Completing the Proof and Leaving No Excuse for the Muhajirun and Ansar 

It would have been more appropriate to discuss this before mentioning her 
sermon to the womenfolk, but because we wanted to maintain the continuity 
of sermons, we will discuss it here. 

Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) was following a wise course, that was logical and in 
accordance with religious teachings, when he seized the opportunity to let 
people know the truth and to prove that he had been treated unjustly, thereby 
leaving no excuse for the community and getting the matter recorded in the 
annals of history, so that the generations that follow, and all the future 
generations, may become aware about it. It would be right to say that Imam c Ali 
( c a) felt it was necessary to complete his argument with the people and clarify 
that the caliphate was his right - bestowed upon him by Allah and His Prophet. 
He did this even though he knew that the people would not respond positively 


31 Kashf al-Ghummah, p. 147 

32 c Umar Rida Kahhalah al-Damishql (d. 1408 A.H.), A c lam al-Nisa’ fi ‘Alamay al- c Arab wal-Islam, vol. 
4, p. 123 

33 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, 157-158 


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Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


to his claim. In the same vein, he also made it clear to them that Fadak was the 
right of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra\ 

Fie was the legitimate caliph and successor of the Prophet of Allah (s), whether 
the people acknowledged this or not, and whether the community submitted 
to him or not. In the same way, Fadak remained the property of al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra\ whether they gave it to her or not. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah had 
a position of eminence and was a well-known personality in the community, so 
there was nothing wrong in her bearing the hardship involved in supporting 
her husband to seek his right and let people know about the truth. It is 
therefore not surprising that she accompanied her husband and her two sons, 
the Masters of the Youth of Paradise, and sought assistance from the 
companions - so that none of the people would have any excuse before Allah to 
say: ‘We were ignorant about this’ or ‘We forgot about it. Why did c AlI not come 
to remind us and to inform us about the truth and about his rights?’ 

For this reason, c All ( c a) led al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 on a she-donkey, 
taking her around the houses of the Muhajirun and Ansar for forty days, with 
al-Hasan and al-Husayn following behind them, as she called out: “0 people of 
the Muhajirun and Ansar, come to the aid of Allah and your Prophet’s daughter, 
for you pledged your allegiance to the Prophet of Allah on the day when you 
pledged that you would guard him and his family in the same way that you 
guard yourselves and your families. So honour your pledge to the Prophet of 
Allah.” rA ° But nobody answered her or came to her aid. 

She came to Mu c adh ibn Jabal and said: “0 Mu c adh ibnjabal! I have come to you 
seeking your assistance. You pledged allegiance to the Prophet of Allah and 
vowed to help him and his family and to protect them the way you protect 
yourself and your family. Indeed Abu Bakr has usurped my land of Fadak and 


Completing the Proof and Leaving No Excuse for the Muhajirun and Ansar 


467 


removed my agent from it.” 34 He said, “Is there anyone else besides me?” She 
said, “No. Nobody has responded to my pleas.” He said, “Then how will I help 
you by myself?” Al-Sayyidah Fatimah came out of Mu c adh’s house saying, “By 
Allah, I will not speak to you until I meet my father, the Prophet of Allah!” 

When ibn Mu c adh came home, he asked his father, “Why did the daughter of 
Muhammad come to you?” He replied, “She came to ask for my help against 
Abu Bakr, because he has taken away Fadak from her.” “And what was your 
reply?” asked his son. “I told her that I cannot do anything on my own.” “So 
you refrained from assisting her?” “Yes.” “Then what did she say to you?” “She 
said, ‘By Allah I will not speak to you until I meet my father, the Prophet of 
Allah.’” His son said, “Then by Allah, I too will not speak to you until I meet the 
Prophet of Allah!”™ 1 

ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawari says in al-Imamah wal-Siyasah : 

c Ali (may Allah honour his countenance) came out at night with 
Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (s), riding a mount, and went to a 
gathering of the Ansar to ask for their assistance. In response, they said: 
“0 daughter of the Messenger of Allah, we have already pledged our 
allegiance to this man. Had your husband and the son of your uncle 
come to us before Abu Bakr, we would not have turned him away.” c Ali 
(may Allah honour his countenance) said: “Did you expect that I would 
leave the Prophet of Allah (s) in his house without burying him in order 
to come and debate with the people about his successorship?” Fatimah 
said: “Abu al-Hasan did only that which was required of him, and they 
will be held accountable by Allah for what they have done.” 35/rAV 


34 Ibid., vol. 43, p. 102 

35 al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 16 


CHAPTER NINETEEN 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the House of Sorrows 

I do not know what effect the weeping of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) had 
on the sick souls of the people such that they felt disturbed by it! Was the cry 
of a woman sitting in her home so disturbing that it took away the comfort of 
those strange individuals? The chiefs of Madinah gathered together and came 
to Amir al-Mu 3 minin ( c a) saying, “0 Aba al-Hasan, Fatimah cries in the night and 
during the day, so none of us can take repose and sleep in our beds at night and 
we cannot work and earn our livelihoods in the day. We request you to ask her 
to either cry only at night or only during daytime.” 1 "" 

Imam c Ali ( c a) came to Fatimah al-Zahra 3 while she was weeping. When she saw 
him, she quietened down. He said to her, “0 daughter of the Prophet of Allah, 
the chieftains of Madinah came to ask me to request you to cry for your father 
either only at night or only during the day.” She said, “0 Aba al-Hasan, how 
short is my stay among them! How soon will I leave them behind! By Allah, I 
will neither remain silent at night nor during the day, until I join my father, the 



Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) in the House of Sorrows 


469 


Holy Prophet (s).” “Then do whatever you see fit, 0 daughter of the Prophet,” 
he said. 1/TM 

Indeed, the chiefs of Madinah did not understand the right of the Prophet of 
Allah (s) and his status, for if they had known this, they would have joined his 
only daughter in her grief and would have accompanied her in shedding tears 
for the most honourable being and the greatest person to have passed away 
from this world. How much better it would have been for them - if they did not 
wish to join her or help her - to remain silent and not prevent her from 
grieving. However, they might be excused for what they did because politics 
forced them to prevent the beloved daughter of the Prophet (s) from crying for 
the Master of Messengers. 

It was befitting for al-Sayyidah Fatimah to continue weeping because of that 
great calamity and tragedy, and not pay heed to the requests of the people who 
had their own agendas and goals, which were known to Allah. Thus Amir al- 
Mu’mimn built for her a [small] house outside Madinah, which became known 
as the House of Sorrows ( bayt al-ahzan). 2 In the mornings when she awoke, al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn would walk in front of her as she came out to go to al- 
Baqi c , weeping. She would continue weeping next to the graves and when night 
fell, Amir al-Muhninln came to her and took her back home, holding her hand. 
So let those who were disturbed by the crying of Fatimah rest in comfort, and 
let their consciences feel at ease, and let them sleep on their cosy beds at night 
in peace, without being bothered by the weeping of Fatimah! 


1 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 177 

2 'All ibn ‘Abdillah al-Samhudl (d. 911 A.H.), Wafa 1 al-Wafa 3 bi Akhbar Dar al-Mustafa, vol. 3, p. 94 
(Quoting from al-Ghazali who says that it is recommended to offer prayers in the Masjid of 
Fatimah ( c a) in al-Baqi c and some have said that it was famously known as the ‘house of sorrows’ 

because Fatimah ( c a) would weep for her father in it.) 


470 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


We now turn to some of the poetry that was composed about this great 
injustice. One poet says: 


1 L_gD 1 ^ djU £■ 

I ji i >1 s<2»»Jt 


I liol J 49 lSj— ® •' ^ 9 


They prevented al-Batul from weeping, 
when she cried for her father night and day 

Saying to her: calm down, for you disturb us, 
But how? When hardship has taken away her calm 

Another says: 



They said to Fatim: “You disturb us 
by the lamentation and weeping, long and without end” 

One of the great scholars, al-Sayyid Baqir al-Hindi, saw Imam al-Mahdl ( c a) in 
his dream, and the Imam recited the following couplet in reference to this 
injustice: 

c— J JUu L -z'Uj V ^Jlyl 

Do you think that I can ever take 
after the house of sorrows, joy in anything? 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Her Deathbed 


471 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Her Deathbed 

Alas, how sad I feel for her and for her youth, for the pain she suffered, for her 
broken and heavy heart, and for her shattered will. She became bedridden as 
sickness and emaciation had taken a toll on her. The beautiful and bright flower 
began to wither away. No remedy or cure worked, and she did not expect to 
recover. She was waiting for death; she was waiting to escape from this life. She 
sought to join her father, the Prophet. Her sun was about to set. The candle of 
the Prophet was about to be extinguished. The world had become constricted 
for her. She looked at her illustrious husband sitting at home, having been 
stripped of all his assets, his rights having been usurped. She saw how her 
property had been confiscated and her wealth seized. She sought help but 
nobody came to her aid, and she asked for assistance but nobody was ready to 
assist her. They had prevented her from crying for her father, the Prophet of 
Allah (s) and the noblest of fathers. 

It is narrated from Imam al-Baqir ( c a) that one of her supplications was: “0 Ever- 
living, 0 Eternal One, by Your mercy I seek rescue, so rescue me. 0 Allah, save 
me from the fire [of Hell] and make me enter Paradise, and let me join my father 
Muhammad.”’’’ ' When Amir al-Mu 3 minm would say to her, “May Allah cure you 
and restore your health,” she would say, “0 Aba al-Hasan, how quick will be my 
rendezvous with the Prophet of Allah.” 3/r ” 

Imam Zayn al- c Abidln narrates that his father Imam al-Husayn ( c a) said: “When 
Fatimah bint Rasulillah (s) fell ill, she asked c Ali ( c a) to keep her matter a secret 
and not to inform anyone about it, as she did not want anyone to know about 


3 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 217 


472 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


her illness, and this is what he did. He would care for her himself and Asma 3 
bint c Umays would also help him without telling anyone...” 4/r ” 

From this tradition, the extent of the displeasure of al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 with the community, for the position they took in relation to the 
daughter of the Prophet (s), becomes clear. The resentment must have been 
deep, like a deep wound in the body which takes a long time to heal or does not 
heal at all. This is how a person who has been injured keeps away from society 
and opts for seclusion. After having socialized with them, he would no longer 
want to talk to them or even meet them. This state can only be understood by 
those who have faced injustice and lack of compassion from close relatives, 
friends or their community. They would detest even looking at them, let alone 
speaking to them or sitting with them. A person can reach a situation where he 
becomes weary of life and prefers death in order to gain peace and relief from 
living among such iniquitous hard-hearted individuals. 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah sought the care of her illustrious husband, and I do not 
know how the Imam took care of her during her illness. Did he prepare the food 
that she was required to eat in her illness and did he take over and perform all 
the household chores himself? In any case, Asma 3 bint c Umays also had the 
honour of helping to care for al-Sayyidah Fatimah. She may have been chosen 
for this task because of her closeness and deep affection for al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a). So much so that she considered herself part of the Bani 
Hashim, especially since she was the wife of Ja c far ibn Abi Talib. She was truly a 
kind lady, loyal and compassionate. She was cautious of the rights of others and 
had a lofty personality. Historical accounts show that aside from her astuteness 
and intelligence, she also had a good nature and a virtuous character. Al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah also had the same love and affection for her. 


4 Ibid., p. 211 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) on Her Deathbed 


473 


When Ja c far ibn Abl Talib was martyred in the Battle of Mu 3 tah and news of this 
reached the Prophet (s), he wept and so did the companions. When the news 
reached the the Prophet’s chambers, the HashimI women began to weep. The 
Prophet went to Asma 3 and called Ja c far’s children. He began stroking their 
heads and showing them affection. He carried them and placed them on his 
chest. When Asma 3 saw this, she realized that something was wrong and asked: 
“0 Messenger of Allah, have you received any news about Ja c far?” The Prophet 
began to cry and said to her, “Grieve for Ja c far, for he has been martyred.” So 
she began weeping and wailing.’”"" 

The Prophet then went to his daughter Fatimah’ s house and said to her, 
“Prepare some food for the family of Ja c far as they are occupied in 
mourning.” r,t So al-Sayyidah Fatimah took flour, baked plenty of bread, and 

placed some dates [on a tray] along with it before sending it to Jaflar’s family. 
It is noteworthy that the Prophet did not ask any of his wives or any other 
HashimI woman to do this, probably because the Prophet wanted the great 
reward for this action to go to his daughter Fatimah. Or the Holy Prophet (s) 
chose her for this deed because of the good relation and numerous services that 
Asma 3 bint c Umays had rendered to the family of the Prophet in the past. We 
have seen that Asma 3 was present with al-Sayyidah Khadljah on her deathbed 
and had assisted in the preparations that were required for the wedding of al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah. Furthermore, Asma 3 was with al-Sayyidah Fatimah when she 
gave birth to Imam al-Husayn and played the role of midwife with the help of 
some other women. 

Despite the fact that she married Abu Bakr after her husband Ja c far was 
martyred, she continued having a close relationship with the Ahl al-Bayt and 
did not change in the least, even after the Holy Prophet passed away. On the 
other hand, the position of Abu Bakr towards the Ahl al-Bayt was well known. 
In spite of the ‘cold war’ between the Ahl al-Bayt and the government headed 


474 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


by Abu Bakr, Asma 3 was not affected by love for her husband and she defied the 
government in a manner that defies belief. How did Abu Bakr allow her to go to 
the house of c Ali ( c a) and serve al-Zahra 3 and her children? Why did he not 
command her to cut off her ties with the Ahl al-Bayt at that particular moment? 

In any case, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 used to take comfort in Asma 3 ’s 
presence and would confide in her. She would share her pains and sorrows with 
her as if she was a sister and the most beloved of people who was closest to her 
heart. During the last days of her life, al-Sayyidah Fatimah said to her: “What 
can I do when I have become emaciated and my skin has dried up on my 
bones?” r, ° And in al-Tahdhlb, in a narration from Abu c Abdillah [al-Sadiq] ( c a), 

she (Fatimah) said to Asma 3 : “I have become emaciated and all the flesh has 
gone from my body. Will you not make me something that will cover me?” 
Asma 3 said, “When I was in Abyssinia, I saw the people making something 
[beautiful] - should I not make it for you? if you like, I can make it for you.” She 
said, “Yes.” So Asma 3 called for a bedstead and turned it upside down. Then she 
asked for some palm branches and fastened them to its supports and then 
draped it with a cloth saying, “This is what I saw them doing.” She ( c a) said, 
“Make me something like this and cover me with it, may Allah keep you hidden 
from the fire [of Hell ].”’’ 11 

In the narration of al-Isti c ab, Fatimah ( c a) said: “How beautiful this is - [when 
covered by it] the body of a woman cannot be distinguished from that of a 
man.” nv It is also narrated that when she ( c a) saw what Asma 3 had made, she 
smiled; and she was never seen smiling after the death of her father except at 
that moment. 


The Reasons for Her Failing Health 


475 


The Reasons for Her Failing Health 

The news of al-Sayyidah Fatimah’s illness spread in Madlnah, and people heard 
about her failing health. Al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was not suffering from 
any chronic ailment; rather, it was the painful tragedy and grief that had caused 
her to be overcome by weakness and emaciation. Her incessant weeping for her 
father and for what had befallen her aided in the dissipation of freshness and 
vigour from her face. The injustice, hard-heartedness and disrespect that she 
had witnessed from some of the Muslims, along with the turn of events and the 
changes in the political and social climates, had a profound effect on her. 

The tragedy that befell her between the wall and door of her house had led to 
her miscarriage. Lashes had scarred her pure body and left deep marks. The 
violent assault had hurt her body, mind and soul. All these events played a part 
in her failing health and her inability to carry out her regular chores in the 
home. 


The Two Shaykhs Visit al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 

The news spread about al-Sayyidah Fatimah’s resentment and indignation 
towards the government and all those who advocated for the government, 
thereby abandoning the principles and values [of Islam] and feigning 
forgetfulness of all the verses of the Qur 3 an that were revealed about the 
Prophet’s family. They were the ones who turned away from every statement 
they had heard from the lips of the Prophet about the rights of al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 and her husband and sons. 

The people began to realize the mistake they had made by assisting the 
government in power, which was not recognized as legitimate by the family of 
the Prophet of Allah (s). This was the government that had taken a negative 


476 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


stance towards the daughter of the Prophet. In the end, the people in power 
became aware of the [growing] resentment of the masses that resulted from 
their evil actions. They therefore sought to cover up what they had done by 
offering to make amends for what had transpired. They decided to visit al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah in order to appease her and bring an end to the whole matter, 
letting bygones be bygones. This is what they thought and planned. 

We have witnessed in our day and age, many criminals who tyrannize innocent 
people and humiliate them using different methods of oppression and torture, 
then they come to the victims and privately apologize for what they did, 
thinking that by offering an apology they can wash away their misdeeds. But 
al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 knew about these ruses; she knew all about these matters. 

Let us now see what exactly took place, as recounted by ibn Qutaybah and 
c Umar Kahhalah: 

c Umar said to Abu Bakr, “Come with me to Fatimah, for indeed we have 
angered her,” so they both went together. They sought permission 
from Fatimah [to enter] but she did not give them permission. They 
came to c Ali and spoke to him, so he brought them inside the house to 
see her. When they sat next to her, she turned her face away from them 
and towards the wall. They greeted her and she, peace be upon her, did 
not reply their greeting. Abu Bakr spoke first and said, “0 beloved 
daughter of the Prophet of Allah! By Allah, the family of the Prophet is 
more beloved to me than my own family, and you are more beloved to 
me than my own daughter FATshah! I wished I had died when your 
father passed away and not remained in this world after him. Do you 
think that after [knowing] you and your great status and honourable 
position, I would deprive you of your right and your inheritance from 
the Prophet of Allah? Verily I heard your father, the Prophet of Allah 


Another V ersion of Their Visit 


477 


(s) saying, ‘We do not bequeath anything. All that we leave behind is 
charity.’” 

She said, “Do you think that if I narrate a tradition of the Prophet of 
Allah (s) to you, you will acknowledge it and act upon it?” They both 
replied, “Yes.” She said, “I ask you by Allah, did you both not hear the 
Prophet of Allah (s) say: ‘The happiness of Fatimah is my happiness and 
the anger of Fatimah is my anger; so whoever loves Fatimah loves me 
and whoever pleases Fatimah pleases me, and whoever angers Fatimah 
angers me?’” “Yes,” they both said, “we have heard this from the Holy 
Prophet (s).” She said, “I make Allah and His angels my witness that the 
two of you have angered me and have not pleased me, and when I meet 
the Prophet (s), I will complain to him about the two of you.” 

Abu Bakr said, “I seek refuge with Allah, the Almighty, from His anger 
and from your anger, 0 Fatimah.” Then, when she said, “By Allah, I will 
surely supplicate against you in every prayer that I offer,” he began to 
lament and cried so much that it seemed he would collapse, and his soul 
would depart from his body. He left the house crying, so people 
gathered around him [to see what had happened] so he said [to them], 
“Every man sleeps close to his spouse, taking joy in her presence, while 
you have left me alone in my state. I do not need your allegiance - take 
back your pledges from me!” 5/T1A 


Another Version of Their Visit 

In c Ilal al-SharaY [it is narrated]: When Fatimah ( c a) fell ill in her final days, Abu 
Bakr and c Umar came to visit her. They sought permission to see her but she 


5 al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, vol. 1, p. 17 


478 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


refused to grant them permission. When Abu Bakr saw this, he made a vow to 
Allah that he would not go under the shade of any roof until he met with 
Fatimah and appeased her. So he slept outside in the cold, with no roof over his 
head. c Umar came to c Ali ( c a) and said, “We went to her (Fatimah) many times, 
seeking permission to see her and seek her forgiveness, but she refused to grant 
us permission, if you can persuade her to give us permission to meet her then 
please do so.” He replied, “Alright,” and then went to Fatimah ( c a) and said, “0 
daughter of the Prophet of Allah, you have seen what these two men have done. 
They have come numerous times and you have refused to meet them. Now they 
have asked me to request on their behalf that you grant them an audience.” She 
said, “By Allah, I will never meet them and I will never speak to them until I 
meet my father and complain to him about what they have done to me.” c Ali 
( c a) said, “I promised them that I would convince you to meet them.” She said, 
“If you have promised them, then this is your house and wives have to obey 
their husbands. I will not go against your wishes. Allow them to come if you 
wish.” 

c Ali ( c a) let them in. When their eyes fell on Fatimah, they greeted her but she 
did not reply and instead turned her face away from them. So they went to the 
other side and faced her, but she turned away again. This happened a couple of 
times. She said, “0 c Ali, cover me with the cloth,” and she told the women who 
were near her, “turn away my face!” However, each time they turned her face, 
the two [who had come to visit her] went to the other side so that they were 
again in front of her. Abu Bakr said, “0 Daughter of the Prophet of Allah, we 
have only come to seek your forgiveness and assuage your anger. Please forgive 
us and pardon us for what we have done to you.” 

She said, “I will not speak a single word to you until I meet my father and 
complain about what you have done and the crimes you have committed 
against me.” Then she turned to c Ali and said, “I will not speak to them until I 


Another V ersion of Their Visit 


479 


have asked them about something that they heard from the Prophet of Allah, if 
they acknowledge it, I will express my opinion.” They said, “By Allah, that is 
her right and we shall not speak anything but the truth.” She said, “I ask you, 
by Allah, do you remember that the Prophet of Allah called you both outside in 
the darkness of night to tell you something about c Ali?” They said, “Yes, by 
Allah.” She continued, “I ask you, by Allah, have you heard the Prophet say, 
‘Fatimah is part of me and I am from her; whoever hurts her has hurt me and 
whoever hurts me has hurt Allah; and whoever hurts her after my death is like 
one who has hurt her during my lifetime, and whoever hurts her during my 
lifetime is like the one who hurts her after my death’?” They said, “Yes, by 
Allah.” She said, “All praise be to Allah!” Then she said, “0 Allah, I make you my 
witness, so bear witness 0 you who are present here, that these two have hurt 
me in my life and even as I approach death. By Allah, I will not speak to the two 
of you until I meet my Lord and complain to Him about you and what you have 
done to me and against me.” 

Abu Bakr started wailing and crying, “How I wish my mother had not given 
birth to me!” 'Umar said, “It is surprising that people made you their leader 
while you are a senile old man! You are upset by the anger of a woman and 
pleased by her happiness? And what of the one who angers a woman?” Then 
they stood up and left. r ” In the book Bayt al-Ahzan [it is narrated]: When they 
left, Fatimah said to Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a), “Have I done what you wished?” He 
said, “Yes.” “Will you now do what I ask of you?” “Yes,” he said. “Then I implore 
you, by Allah, not to allow them to pray at my funeral or stand over my grave.” 6 

I say: There was no need for this bitter weeping which “almost led to his soul 
departing from his body” - as mentioned in the narration of ibn Qutaybah - 
and Abu Bakr did not have to lament and wail. All he had to do to placate al- 


6 Bayt al-Ahzan, p. 187 


480 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Sayyidah Fatimah was to return what was rightfully hers, give back her lands 
and apologize for his actions. However, the man wished to remain stubborn in 
his stance and was not ready to back down yet he wanted Fatimah al-Zahra 3 to 
be pleased with him! I do not think any person or any law would accept this, 
and I doubt that any religion, faith, conscience or logic would advocate this, 
except the logic of aggression and pressure, and the logic of force and authority. 
However, al-Sayyidah Fatimah was stronger in spirit and did not give in to this 
logic or fall for this ploy. 

A question may come to mind here, and that is: what made Abu Bakr soften his 
position and humble himself in this manner? And what made al-Zahra 3 remain 
firm in her position? Al-Jahiz has answered this question and his answer is 
sufficient for us. He says in his RasaHl: 

... if they say: How can you claim that he oppressed her while every time 
her anger increased, his attitude became mellower and he exhibited 
more empathy? When she said to him, “By Allah, I will never speak to 
you again,” he replied, “By Allah, I will never abandon you.” Then she 
would say, “By Allah, I will pray to Allah against you,” and he would 
reply, “By Allah, I will pray to Allah for you.” In addition to this, he 
tolerated her harsh words against him in his court, in the presence of 
the Quraysh and the Companions, despite the requirement of respect 
and reverence, and where she ought to have shown deference. Yet 
despite this, he was regretful and apologized while speaking very 
highly of her and acknowledging her greatness. He showed her respect 
and sympathy saying, “Nobody’s poverty is more distressing to me than 
yours and nobody’s affluence brings me greater joy than yours, but I 
have heard the Prophet of Allah say: ‘We, the company of Prophets, do 
not leave behind inheritance and all that remains from us is charity.’” 4 


Umm Salamah Visits al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 


481 


We would respond to them: This is not evidence for exoneration from 
oppression or innocence from tyranny. We have seen how many 
oppressors use guile and ruse when they carry out their plots against 
their enemies. They use words to mislead people into believing that 
they are the ones being victimized in order to gain sympathy for 
themselves and turn the people against those who are truly being 
oppressed... 7 


Umm Salamah Visits al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 

Al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah is considered one of the best wives of the Prophet 
of Allah (s), during his lifetime and after he passed away. She never hurt the 
Prophet with her words or deeds, and never conspired against him with her co- 
wives, as some of the others had done, like in the case of the maghafir for 
example, until the verse: 0 Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself] what Allah has 
made lawful for you, seeking to please your wives? (Q66:l) was revealed. Rather, she 
was a good companion and spouse to him during his lifetime. After he (s) passed 
away, she held an honourable position and was respected by the family of the 
Prophet, and she never turned away from them during the various tumultuous 
events that befell this pure progeny. She always stood firm in their defence and 
assisted them while sharing in their pains and sorrows. 

When al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) fell ill, Umm Salamah came to visit her and said, 
“How do you feel after resting the night, 0 daughter of the Messenger of Allah?” 
She ( c a) replied, “I awoke between grief and tribulation: the loss of the Prophet 
and the oppression of his successor. By Allah, the veil has been removed from 
the one whose leadership is based on other than what Allah had decreed in the 


7 c Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz (d. 255 A.H.), Rasa’il al-Jahiz (al-Siyasiyyah), p. 468 


482 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


revelation and what the Prophet had expressed in its interpretation; but it is 
the hatred for Badr and the vengeance for Uhud upon which the hearts of the 
hypocrites are set...” 8/t '' 

It is worth noting that al-Sayyidah Umm Salamah was the only one, from among 
the wives of the Prophet, who came to visit Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and ask about 
her health. So where were the other wives? Why did they not share in the pain 
of the only daughter of the Prophet of Allah? In addition, we shall see that al- 
Sayyidah Fatimah had asked Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) to inform Umm Salamah 
about her demise when she passed away. 


c A 3 ishah bint Talhah Visits al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) 

SAlishah bint Talhah came to visit her and said, “May my father and mother be 
sacrificed for you - what is making you cry thus?” She ( c a) replied, “Do you ask 
me about the tragedy which has prevented birds from flying and men from 
walking? That matter which has been raised to the heavens and that calamity 
which has become well-known on earth? Indeed the two of them acknowledged 
Aba al-Hasan in the past, yet they concealed their enmity for him as long as 
they could and did not manifest it. However, when the light of religion dimmed 
by the passing away of the trusted Prophet, they revealed what was in their 
hearts and manifested their bitter feelings. They usurped Fadak, and woe be to 
the one who took possession of Fadak. It was indeed a gift from the Almighty 
Lord to His trusted Messenger, and he (s) had given it to me for the sustenance 
of his progeny from my offspring; and this is indeed in the knowledge of Allah 
and witnessed by His trusted Messenger. So if they have taken away from me 
the source of sustenance and deprived me of it, I will hold them accountable for 


8 Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol. 2, p. 205 


Al- c Abbas Tries to Visit al-Sayyidah Fatimah 


483 


it on the Day of Judgment and they will surely find that they have consumed 
molten liquid in the burning inferno of hell.” 9/1 ' T 


Al- c Abbas Tries to Visit al-Sayyidah Fatimah 

When the illness of the Mistress of all Women of the World became worse, al- 
c Abbas ibn c Abd al-Muttalib came to visit her, but he was informed that she was 
in a bad state and nobody was allowed to see her. Thus he left and went back 
home before sending a message to c Ali ( c a) wherein he said: “0 nephew! Your 
uncle sends you greetings and says: I have been overwhelmed by sadness at the 
condition of Fatimah, the beloved daughter of the Prophet of Allah (s) and the 
coolness of his eyes and mine, which has broken my spirit. Indeed, I fear that 
she may be the first amongst us to meet the Prophet of Allah (s), who revered 
her, loved her and brought her closer to his Lord. Therefore, if there is no 
recourse in her affair, then - may I be ransomed for you - gather the Muhajirun 
and Ansar so that they may pay their last respects and pray over her, thereby 
gaining reward, and in this is the beauty of our faith.” 

c All ( c a) responded by sending a message through Ammar, saying: “Give my 
greetings to my uncle and tell him, ‘I do not doubt your sincerity and empathy, 
and I understand your advice, but while your opinion holds merit, Fatimah bint 
Rasulillah (s) is still oppressed and deprived of her rights and dispossessed of 
her inheritance. The wishes of the Prophet (s) regarding her were not carried 
out and her right, and the right of Allah, were overlooked - and indeed Allah is 
sufficient as a Judge and an Avenger for the oppressed. I ask you, 0 uncle, to 
allow me to forego that which you have advised, for she has asked me to keep 
her affair a secret.’” 


9 Amali al-Tusi, vol. 1, p. 207 


484 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


When the messenger read out the words of c Ali to al- c Abbas, he said: “May Allah 
forgive my nephew, for indeed he is worthy of being forgiven. The opinion of 
my nephew cannot be impugned. Indeed, no child greater than c All was born to 
c Abd al-Muttalib, except the Prophet (s). c Ali was always ahead in every virtue 
and possesses every merit. He was the most valiant of them and the strongest 
against the enemies in defence of the true believers, and he was the first to 
believe in Allah and His Prophet.” 1074 ,r 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 on the Threshold of the Afterlife 

On the last day of her life, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 was lying on her plain 
bed, the sickness having taken its worst toll on her and leaving nothing of her 
but skin and bones. She fell asleep for some time on that day and saw her father, 
the Prophet of Allah (s), in a dream. That may have been the first and last time 
that al-Zahra 3 saw her father in a dream. She saw him in a pearly white palace, 
and when he saw her, he (s) said, “Come to me my child! I am indeed yearning 
for your company!” She replied, “By Allah, I have a greater yearning to meet 
you, 0 father!” He said, “By tonight you will be by my side!” 1 1/4,4 

She woke up and prepared for her journey to the afterlife, for she had heard 
from her father, the most truthful one, that “Whoever sees me has truly seen 
me,” 4 " and she heard about her departure from this world from him, so there 

was no room for doubt about the truth of this news. She opened her eyes, and 
gathered her strength. She stood up and made the necessary arrangements, 
using the final moments of her life in this world. 


10 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 210 

11 Ibid., p. 179 


Fatimah al-Zahra 5 on the Threshold of the Afterlife 


485 


Only Allah knows what must have been going through her mind and heart in 
these moments, for she was happy with the death that was soon coming to her, 
as it would give her relief from the sorrows and grief of this world. She would 
soon join her father, the great Prophet (s), in the lofty stations in the abode of 
truth with the Omnipotent King. (Q54:55) Then, the glad tidings that were given to 
her by the Holy Prophet (s) would be realized, for indeed he had told her: “You 
will be the first of my progeny to join me.” 4 ' 1 

On the other hand, her heart must have been sad to leave her great husband 
and noble spouse all alone in this harsh world, without any supporter or 
confidant, other than Allah, the Most High. Al-Zahra 3 had been the best helper 
and supporter of her husband throughout all the events that had transpired, so 
who would take her place when she left this world? Another thing that caused 
her pain in those moments and brought more anguish to her heart was the fact 
that she would be leaving behind her small children, who were like nestlings 
that had not yet developed their wings. 

We had previously mentioned that one of her names was al-Haniyah, because 
she had the greatest empathy and compassion for her children, and had greater 
love for them than any mother would have for her child. She [knew that she] 
would be leaving behind pieces of her heart who would become targets of the 
arrows of this treacherous period that spared neither the young nor old, 
neither the indigent nor the noble. She had heard from her father (s) numerous 
times that the family of the Prophet would be oppressed and suffer different 
hardships, tribulations and calamities, and she had witnessed some of this first 
hand after the death of her father, the Holy Prophet (s). Only Allah knows how 
heavily these misgivings and apprehensions were weighing down on her 
broken heart. 

In any case, grief was of little benefit at this point and it was necessary to accept 
the bitter future and surrender to the will of Allah, and to use the remaining 


486 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


few moments that were flying by like clouds in the sky. Al-Zahra 3 began walking 
slowly, leaning on the wall, towards the place where water was kept. She began 
washing her children’s clothes with her frail hands. Then she called her 
children and began washing their heads with water and [dry] clay - for they did 
not have anything to wash with other than clay. 

Let us pause for a moment and weep over this great lady whose death had 
drawn close, yet she was washing the heads and bodies of her little children, as 
if she was bidding them farewell. All the while, she wept silently and tears 
flowed from the corners of her eyes onto her pale face, over her withering skin. 
Imam c All ( c a) came into the house only to find his beloved wife out of bed, 
performing household chores. The Imam’s heart was overwhelmed with 
compassion when he saw her performing the normal chores that she did when 
she was well. It was not surprising then, that he would ask her why she was 
doing all that work when she was not well. She replied him directly, “Because 
this is the last day of my life. I have washed my children’s heads and their 
clothes because they will soon become orphaned without a mother!” 4 ' v The 
Imam asked her how she came to learn of this and she informed him about her 
dream, and in this way, she announced her impending demise to her husband 
as a matter of certainty. 


The Will and Testament of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 

Thus, al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 3 got the opportunity, during her last 
moments in this world, to reveal to her husband that which was concealed in 
her heart all this time and to state her final wishes that were to be carried out 
no matter what the cost and without any compromise, because of the 
importance of the objective. It is as if we see her having returned to her bed 
after completing her household chores, when she said, “0 cousin, indeed I have 


The Will and Testament of Fatimah al-Zahra : 


487 


been given notice of my death and will soon meet my father, so I want to state 
my final wishes to you and let you know what is in my heart.” c All ( c a) said to 
her, “Tell me what you wish, 0 daughter of the Prophet of Allah,” and he sat by 
her side after asking everyone else to leave. 

She said, “0 cousin, you have never lied to me or betrayed me, and I have never 
opposed you in anything since we got married.” c All ( c a) said, “I seek refuge with 
Allah! You are, by Allah, more knowledgeable, righteous, pious, virtuous, noble 
and fearful of Allah than that. Y ou have never gone against my wishes, and your 
separation and loss is very difficult for me. Only that there is no escape from it. 
By Allah, you have renewed the tribulation of the loss of the Holy Prophet, and 
your loss weighs heavily on my heart - indeed we belong to Allah and to Him shall 
we return. What a painful, difficult and distressing ordeal! It is a tribulation from 
which there is no relief and a calamity from which there is no respite!” Then 
they both cried for a while. The Imam took her head, placed it on his chest and 
said, “Tell me of your final wishes, whatever they may be, for you will find me 
loyal and I will do whatever you ask of me. I will give preference to your wishes 
over my own.” She said, “May Allah reward you with the finest reward. 0 
cousin! My wishes are as follows: firstly, that after my death you marry my 
sister’s daughter Umamah, for indeed she will be kind to my children, and 
verily men cannot live without women.” Then she said, “I [also] do not want 
anyone amongst those who oppressed me to witness my funeral, for they are 
my enemies and the enemies of the Prophet of Allah. So do not allow any of 
them, or their followers, to pray upon me; and bury me in the darkness of night, 
when the eyes are shut and people are asleep. ” 12/i ' A 


12 ibid., p. 191-192 


488 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Another Account of Her Final Will 

She said: “0 cousin, when I pass away, wash my body without uncovering it, for 
indeed I am pure and purified; and perform the hunut on me with what remains 
from the hunut used on my father, the Prophet of Allah (s). Then pray upon me, 
and let only those few individuals who are close to our family pray with you. 
Bury me at night, not during the day and in secret, not openly. Keep the location 
of my grave hidden, and let none of those who oppressed me witness my 
funeral. 0 cousin, I know you will not be able to remain alone after me, so if you 
remarry, keep a day and night for your wife and a day and night for my children. 
0 Aba al-Hasan! Do not scold them, for they [will] have become heartbroken 
orphans; yesterday they lost their grandfather and today they will have lost 
their mother. Woe be to the community that kills them and has animosity 
towards them.” 4 ' 1 


Then she recited: 


( 3 1 j a'l ? j j j £2 It J* *o|j 

(jL. iaj t .1 *- /"■ .A A . _ .. . 

31 j-*h i_a. .Igj 


t-j 1 d ijt 

l_j dL aj\ Jij—S 1— » 



Cry, if you must cry, 0 great guide, 
and let tears flow for it is the day of separation 

0 companion ofal-Batul, I askyou 
to care for my children, for yearning is now their ally 

Cry for me and cry for my orphans, 

and forget not the one who shall be massacred on the plains ofTaffin Iraq 


Another Account of Her Final Will 


489 


Imam al-Baqir ( c a) said that when Fatimah ( c a) wanted to express her last 
wishes, she said to Amir al-Mu’minln: “0 Aba al-Hasan, the Holy Prophet had 
promised me and informed me that I would be the first from his family to join 
him, and that which is decreed will happen, so be patient with the command of 
Allah and accept His will.” 137 *'' 

It has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) that when al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
was on her deathbed, she began to cry. Amir al-Mu’minln ( c a) said to her, “What 
is making you cry, my lady?” She said, “I am crying about what you will undergo 
after my death.” He said, “Do not cry, for indeed I consider that to be something 
small in the way of Allah.” 147 *" 

In another narration, it is reported that she said to Amir al-Mu’minln ( c a), “I 
have something to ask of you, 0 Aba al-Hasan.” He said, “Anything, 0 daughter 
of the Prophet of Allah.” She said, “I implore you, by Allah, and by Muhammad 
the Messenger of Allah, not to allow Abu Bakr and c Umar to pray over me." 157 *'' 

And in yet another narration from c All ( c a), it is reported that he said, “Fatimah 
( c a) expressed her last wishes to me and said: ‘if the two of them pray over me 
I will complain to my father against you the way I complain to him against 
them.’” 167 *"" 

These were some of the narrations about the final wishes of al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 5 , which she expressed due to the pain that she had to endure 
from that community and the hardship she had to go through at the hands of 
those hard-hearted oppressors. She chose to record her name among the 
foremost of those who were oppressed and deprived of their rights, so that her 


13 Bayt al-Ahzan, pp. 183-184 

14 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 125 

15 Bayt al-Ahzan, p. 183 

16 Al-Hasan ibn c AlI Tmad al-DIn al-Tabari (d. after 698 A.H.), Kamil al-Baha% p. 398 


490 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


name would become a symbol against oppression and persecution. Al-Sayyidah 
al-Zahra 3 wanted her funeral to be a demonstration of her anger against the 
government and all those who helped and aided it or even accepted its 
legitimacy. It was a proclamation of her displeasure with all those who had 
taken a negative stance against her. 

She asked that her body be buried at night, that all the funeral rites, including 
washing, shrouding, prayer and burial, be done in secret, and that nobody 
should participate in her funeral except those who had neither sullied their 
consciences with deviance nor blackened their souls with sin. These were the 
[few] individuals whose stance regarding al-Sayyidah Fatimah was positive, 
throughout her revolt. 


Hunut of Paradise 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah had some other wishes, which she also conveyed to her 
husband. She wanted him to prepare her grave, recite the Qur 3 an next to her 
tomb etc., which were not as important as the previously mentioned requests. 
Then, al-Sayyidah Fatimah asked Asma 3 bint c Umays for the hunut that JibraTl 
had brought from Paradise saying, “0 Asma 3 , bring me the remaining hunut that 
was brought for my father, from such and such place, and keep it near me.” 17/l 1 ‘ 

Hunut is lotus jujube and camphor, and it has been narrated from c Ali ( c a) that 
it was in the final will [of the Prophet] that he should be covered with hunut. 
“...So the Prophet of Allah (s) called me a few moments before his death and 
said, ‘0 c Ali and 0 Fatimah, this is my hunut from Paradise, which was brought 
by JibraTl, and he conveyed his greeting to you both and told me to divide it 
and keep some aside for myself and for the both of you.”’ Fatimah ( c a) said, “0 


17 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 186 


Hunut of Paradise 


491 


Father, a third of it is for you, and let the remainder be kept under the care of 
c All ibn Abl Talib.” The Prophet (s) began to weep and held her close to his chest 
saying, “You are successful, righteous, guided and inspired.” Then he said, “0 
c All, decide about the remainder.” “Half of it is hers and the remainder is for 
whomever you see fit, 0 Prophet of Allah,” he said. “It is for you,” said the 
Prophet (s). 18/n ° 

Then al-Sayyidah Fatimah called Salma, the wife of Abl Rafi c , and said to her, 
“Prepare some water for me.” And in another version, she said, “Pour me some 
bathwater.’”' 1 Then she asked for her new clothes and bathed in the best way 

possible before putting them on. She then asked for her bed to be placed in the 
centre of the house. 19 

I do not understand the purpose of her bathing and putting on new clothes 
while al-Sayyidah Fatimah was in the last moments of her life, so close to death. 
Possibly, and Allah knows best, she ( c a) wanted to wash away the marks of 
injuries from her limbs and ribs - the injuries she sustained when pushed 
behind the door of her house, as we have mentioned earlier. Thus she removed 
the clothes that were stained in blood and pus, perhaps in order to hide them 
from those who were close to her and who would be present when her body 
was washed. 

Some have opined that she bathed herself in lieu of the washing after death, 
and asked that her body not be washed after she died. It is amazing how some 
narrators could make up such a fable, when it is well known that washing the 
dead body becomes obligatory after death, not prior to it. Yes, an exception is 
made for the one who has been convicted of murder - that he should wash 
himself before being executed - but the former case has nothing to do with the 


18 Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 2, p. 209 

19 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 184 


492 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


latter. Jurists have ruled that it is permissible for a husband to wash the body 
of his wife after her death, using as evidence the fact that Amir al-Mu 3 minin 
washed the body of al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) after her death, as this had become 
something as clear as day. So what use is there in mentioning such an unusual 
opinion which nobody can take seriously? 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) Leaves This World 

Al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) moved to her bed that had been laid out in the centre 
of the house, and lied down facing the Qiblah, placing her hand under her 
cheek, after having prepared food for her children. It is said that she sent her 
two daughters, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum, to the house of one of the Hashimi 
women, so that they would not witness the death of their mother. She did this 
out of compassion and love, and in order to protect them from the shock of 
witnessing such a calamity. 

It may be deduced from some narrations that Imam c Ali, al-Hasan and al- 
Husayn ( c a) were outside the house at this time, and their leaving the house 
might have been for some important reason or due to unavoidable 
circumstances. In any case, they were not present in those final moments of the 
life of al-Sayyidah Fatimah, and it was only Asma 3 who was present and by her 
side. Some narrations state that her servant Fiddah was also present. 

When the time of her death came, as her soul left her body and the veils were 
removed, al-Sayyidah Fatimah narrowed her eyes and gazed intently, then she 
said: “Greetings to Jibra 3 il. Greetings to the Prophet of Allah. 0 Allah, I am with 
Your Prophet. 0 Allah, I am in Your Abode, the Abode of Peace.” Then she said, 
“Do you see what I see?” She was asked, “What do you see?” She said, “A convoy 
from the heavens, and with them is JibraTl and the Prophet of Allah. He is 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) Leaves This World 


493 


saying, ‘Come to me my child, for that which awaits you is better for you.”’ Then 
she opened her eyes and said, “And upon you be peace, 0 taker of souls - be 
quick with me and do not hurt me.” Then she said, “I proceed towards Thee 0 
Lord, and not towards the Fire.” Then she closed her eyes, extended her hands 
and feet, and left this world. 1 ' v 

Asma 3 ripped her collar [out of grief] and fell on her, kissing her and saying, “0 
Fatimah, when you meet your father the Prophet of Allah, convey to him 
greetings from Asma 3 bint c Umays.” Al-Hasan and al-Husayn came into the 
house only to find the lifeless body of their mother. They said, “0 Asma 3 , what 
causes our mother to sleep at this hour?” She said, “0 sons of the Prophet, your 
mother is not sleeping, she has left this world!” Al-Husayn said, “0 brother, 
accept my condolences on the passing away of our mother!” Al-Hasan threw 
himself on her and kissed her feet saying, “0 mother! Speak to me before my 
soul leaves my body [out of grief]!” Al-Husayn also fell at her feet and kissing 
them, he said, “0 mother! I am your son, al-Husayn! Speak to me before my 
heart bursts and I die!” Asma 3 said to them, “0 sons of the Prophet, go and 
inform your father about the passing away of your mother.” So they left crying, 
“YaMuhammadah! Yd Ahmadah! Today the pain of your death has been renewed 
by the death of our mother!” When they came near the masjid, they raised their 
voices and wept. tu 

A group of companions rushed towards them and asked why they were crying. 
They said, “Our mother Fatimah has passed away!” Imam c Ali ( c a) fell on the 
ground and said: “Who will console me now, 0 daughter of Muhammad? You 
used to console me, so who will do this after you have gone?!” The narrator 
said: “Then c Ali ( c a) took Hasanayn back home only to find Asma 3 seated next to 
Fatimah, ( c a) crying and saying, ‘0 the orphans of Muhammad!’ When his eyes 
fell on the dead body of the Mistress of all Women, he reached out, threw down 
his turban from his head and his cloak from his shoulders, and cried loudly. 


494 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Then he ( c a) uncovered her face, only to find a parchment on which was 
written: 0 c Ali, I am Fatimah bint Muhammad; Allah married me to you so 

that I may be yours in this world and the next. You are more deserving of me 
than others. Perform my hunut, wash me and shroud me by night, pray over me 
and bury me by night, and do not inform anyone. I leave you in the care of Allah 
until the Day of Resurrection, and convey my salams to my children.’” 2 ^'’ 


20 Bayt al-Ahzan, pp. 195-196 


CHAPTER TWENTY 


After Her Death 

The city of Madlnah was engulfed in sorrow. The men and women wept, and 
the people grieved just as they had done when the Prophet of Allah (s) passed 
away. The womenfolk of Madlnah gathered at the house of al-Sayyidah Fatimah 
and saw her body lying in her room, with her orphaned children around it, 
weeping for their mother whom they had lost at the prime of her life. The 
women began wailing so loudly that it felt as if the city of Madlnah shook as 
they cried out: “0 Mistress! 0 daughter of the Prophet of Allah!” 1 

People rushed in droves to the door of her house, where c Ali was sitting with al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn by his side, crying, and when the people saw them, they 
too began to cry. Umm Kulthum wept and said: “0 [grandjfather! 0 Prophet of 
Allah! Now we have truly lost you and shall never see you again!””' Wishah 
came and sought to enter the house, but Asma 3 said to her, “Do not enter.” So 
Wishah turned to Abu Bakr and said, “The she-goat is preventing me from 
going to the daughter of the Prophet of Allah, and she has placed for her a bridal 
howdah.” Abu Bakr came and stood outside the door and said, “0 Asma 3 , why 
have you prevented the wives of the Prophet from entering the house of the 
Prophet of Allah? And why have you placed a bridal howdah?” Asma 3 said, 
“Fatimah had instructed me not to allow anyone to enter, and I showed her 


Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 192 



496 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


what I had made while she was alive, and she had asked me to make this for 
her.” Abu Bakr said, “Then do what you have been instructed to do,” and left.”' 

Abu Bakr and c Umar came to c All to offer condolences and said, “0 Aba al-Hasan, 
do not go ahead to offer prayers on the Prophet’s daughter without us.””’' c All 
( c a) did not reply them. c Umar said to Abu Bakr, “ c All did not respond because 
of his intense grief.” 2 The people waited for the body to be brought out, but c All 
( c a) instructed Abu Dharr (and in some reports he told Salman) to tell the people 
to disperse, as the funeral rites of the Prophet’s daughter had been postponed 
to later that night. 3 c Umar said to Abu Bakr, “They want to bury her in secret so 
that we may not witness her funeral.” 4 Thus the people dispersed, thinking that 
the funeral would take place the next day, because al-Sayyidah Fatimah al- 
Zahra 3 passed away after the time of c Asr prayers, or early in the night. 5 


The Ritual of Washing and Shrouding 

As the night passed, the voices turned silent and the people fell asleep. This was 
when the Imam began carrying out the final wishes of al-Sayyidah Fatimah. He 
took her slender body, which had undergone so much hardship that it now 
resembled a thin crescent. He took her pure body in order to carry out the 
prescribed Islamic rituals, and placed it on the washing platform. He did not 
remove her clothes as per her instructions - for there was no need to remove 


2 Kamil al-Baha % vol. 1, p. 311 

3 He said that the funeral would take place later that night, but the people misunderstood him 
and thought that it had been postponed to the next day. 

4 Kamil al-Baha F, vol. 1, p. 311 

5 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 145 


The Ritual of Washing and Shrouding 


497 


clothes from the body that was purified by Allah, and it was sufficient to pour 
water on the body, as he had done when washing the pure body of the Prophet. 

At this point, Asma 3 bint TJmays - that loyal lady who had persevered in her 
good relations with the Ahl al-Bayt - brought water to c Ali so that he could wash 
Fatimah. Imam al-Husayn ( c a) said: “He washed her thrice and five times, and 
in the last washing, he placed some camphor and covered her with a long cloth 
under her shroud as he recited, ‘0 Allah, she is Your servant and the daughter of 
Your Prophet, the chosen one, and the best of Your creation. 0 Allah, teach her the proof 
and make her evidence strong. Raise her station and let her join her father Muhammad 
(s)."’ 6/nr 

After washing her, he carried her and placed her on the shroud. Then he dried 
her with the garment that was used to dry the body of the Prophet of Allah and 
placed the hunut from heaven on her, which was different from the earthly 
hunut. Then he covered her in the shroud and used seven pieces of cloth to 
shroud her. 6 7 

c Ali ( c a) performed the washing himself and did not ask any of the women to 
assist him in it for the following reasons: 

1) He was carrying out her last wishes and instructions. 

2) To reaffirm her infallibility and purity, for washing a dead body is 
considered a means of purifying it. However, for the infallibles, it is not 
permissible for fallible hands to wash them. Rather, it is only the duty 
of the infallible himself to carry out this purification, and we have 
already seen a tradition from Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) stating that she was 


6 Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 2, p. 199 

7 Ibid. 


498 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


‘the most truthful’ (al-Siddlqah) and hence none could wash her but 
one who was ‘the most truthful’ (al-Siddlq). 

The aim of her final instructions [regarding the washing of her body] was the 
affirmation of her infallibility, and this was something that remained true at all 
times and in all situations. The Imam ( c a) himself attested to this when he said, 
“I washed her in her clothes and I did not uncover her, for by Allah she was 
blessed, chaste and pure...” 8/tu 

There are also some uncommon traditions that are quite odd, including one 
from al-Dawlabl and others, that al-Zahra 3 ( c a) bathed before her death and left 
instructions that nobody should wash her body after her death, and thus she 
was buried without the ritual washing! One of our erstwhile scholars even tried 
to justify this error [in narration] by stating that it must have been one of her 
special traits. 

I say: Is it possible to assert these kinds of things by ‘probably’ and ‘maybe’? 
Especially since numerous other authentic traditions clearly state that c All was 
the one who washed her body? In addition to this, washing the dead body of a 
Muslim is a religious obligation. 


Farewell 0 Mother! 

The Imam saw that Fatimah’s orphans were looking at their kind and loving 
mother as she was being covered in her shroud. This is a unique moment in 
one’s life that cannot be described by the pen. It is a moment wherein yearning 
is mixed with sorrow, for it is indeed the last and final farewell! The emotions 
of a caring father for his heartbroken children overwhelmed him. He did not 


8 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 179 



Farewell 0 Mother! 


499 


tie the ends of the shroud, but instead called out in a voice filled with sorrow: 
“0 Hasan, 0 Husayn, 0 Zaynab, 0 Umm Kulthum... come to your mother, for this 
is the moment of separation and your reunion will now be in Paradise!”” 0 The 

children were waiting for this opportunity and this permission to approach 
their houri of a mother and to express their pain and anguish, to cry and let 
their tears flow. So they rushed forward and fell upon on that pure body just as 
butterflies fall on a lantern. 

Al-Hasan and al-Husayn cried out: “What sorrow that never will fade! We lost 
our grandfather Muhammad al-Mustafa and our mother Fatimah al-Zahra 3 . 0 
mother of al-Hasan and 0 mother of al-Husayn, when you meet our grandfather 
Muhammad al-Mustafa, please convey our greetings to him and tell him we 
have become orphans after you in this world!”” 1 They were crying in muffled 

voices and made their loving mother’s shroud wet with their tears, only to dry 
it with their wails and sobs. The scene was very emotional and sad, as the hearts 
were engulfed by sorrow, sentiments were inflamed, feelings were aroused and 
the grief was overwhelming. 

Then something happened which the pen is incapable of explicating or 
explaining, that caused the laws of nature to collapse, giving way to the 
metaphysical. The matter is quite amazing in itself, because it challenges what 
is considered natural and normal. c Ali ( c a) said - while he was sharing in the 
grief of the orphans of Fatimah, “I make Allah my witness that she made a 
sorrowful sound and removed her hands from the shroud, hugging them both 
close to her chest for a long time.”” v 

If the life of al-Sayyidah Fatimah had come to an end, her feelings and 
awareness had not yet ended, if her pure soul had left her purified body, the 
link between her soul and body had not yet been completely severed, for her 
soul was strong and still able to move her body in special circumstances. That 


500 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


painful scene affected the inhabitants of the heavens who were observing what 
was happening in the house of c Ali ( c a). It would not be surprising for the angels 
to have wept and shared in the grief of the Ahl al-Bayt. It is no wonder that 
Imam c Ali ( c a) heard one of them say, “0 c Ali! Lift them up, for the angels in the 
heavens have started weeping and the beloved now wishes to be with his 
beloved.” 4 ™ The Imam moved forward to lift his children from their mother’s 

bosom as tears flowed from his eyes. 


The Funeral Prayers 

After the rituals of shrouding and hunut had been completed, it was time for the 
funeral prayer, followed by her burial. Only those individuals who were allowed 
to participate in her funeral were present. They were the ones who never 
oppressed Fatimah and did not remain silent in the face of those events - their 
stance was not that of mere spectators who were unaffected by what was 
happening. They were present at that late hour on that dark night, scared and 
cautious, because the rites were being carried out at night and in secret. The 
darkness of night was used along with cautious silence and calm, in order to 
carry out the last wishes of that wise lady, al-Sayyidah Fatimah. 

Those present were: Salman, 'Ammar ibn Yasir, Abu Dharr al-Ghifarl, al- 
Miqdad, Hudhayfah, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas c ud, al- c Abbas ibn c Abd al-Muttalib, al- 
Fadl ibn aPAbbas, ‘Aqil, al-Zubayr, Buraydah and a few members of the Banl 
Hashim. They accompanied the bier of Fatimah al-Zahra 3 - the only daughter 
whom the Holy Prophet left behind in his community, yet she was like a 
stranger in Madinah, uncelebrated and destitute, as if nobody knew her. It was 
as if she was not a person of great stature and exemplary character. 


The Funeral Prayers 


501 


These were the people who participated in the funeral of the Mistress of the 
Women of the Worlds. Imam c All ( c a) was at the forefront, accompanied by al- 
Hasan and al-Husayn, and he led the prayers over the beloved of the Prophet of 
Allah saying, “0 Allah, I am pleased with the daughter of Your Prophet. 0 Allah, 
she was distraught so put her at ease. 0 Allah, she was abandoned, so join her 
[with her father, the Prophet (s)]. 0 Allah, she was oppressed so judge for her, 
and indeed You are the Best of Judges.” 974 ” 

Then he offered two rak c ahs of prayer and raised his hands imploring, “This is 
the daughter ofYour Prophet, Fatimah. You have taken her out of darkness into 
the light.” 41 "' At that moment, light covered the earth, shining for miles. Imam 

c All ( c a) prayed over her because she was an infallible, and only an infallible can 
pray over an infallible. The funeral prayer is a supplication for mercy, however, 
for an infallible, this supplication can only be made by another infallible. This 
is as far as the law is concerned. As for the rational and intellectual basis for 
this, we know that al-Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra 9 , despite her noble status and 
lofty position, went to the ruler’s court to seek her rights and we have seen how 
the caliph at that time responded to her. Then she went to the masjid and gave 
that powerful sermon but was not shown support by those who were present. 
We have also mentioned that c All ( c a) used to take her to the houses of the 
Muhajirun and Ansar in order to seek their assistance, but they turned her 
away. 

The tragedy that happened at the door of her house had left permanent scars 
on her body. The attitude of the Muslims towards the daughter of the Prophet 
also left al-Sayyidah Fatimah deeply hurt, because it was a direct affront to her 
and an open injustice and intentional transgression. They trampled on her 
dignity and disregarded her elevated station. These are not things that could 


9 al-Khisal, vol. 2, p. 588 



502 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


be forgotten or overlooked; the transgressors had to be confronted for the 
atrociousness of their actions, and this had to be recorded in the annals of 
history. This could only be done through denunciation and taking umbrage at 
their actions. The stipulations mentioned in her last will indicate that al-Zahra 3 
lived, after the death of her father, with anger and resentment towards those 
individuals and her resentment and anger continued until her death, and after 
her death until the Day of Resurrection. Thus, al-Sayyidah Fatimah did not want 
that group to participate in her funeral or to pray over her and witness her 
burial, or even to know the location of her grave. 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 in Her Final [Earthly] Abode 

We have seen how al-Sayyidah Fatimah ( c a) expressed in her last wishes to Amir 
al-Mu 3 minin ( c a), that he should bury her at night and not inform anyone about 
the location of her grave. In fact the whereabouts of her grave remain unknown 
from the time of her death until the Appointed Day. This was done in order to 
gain the attention of the Muslims, especially the pilgrims who visit the grave of 
the Prophet (s) in Madlnah and the graves of the Imams ( c a) in al-BaqT, who ask 
one another about her grave but find no sign of it or information about it. Her 
grave was and remains unknown to the Muslims, because of the uncertainty 
and differences among the historians and narrators. Some traditions state that 
she was buried in al-Baqh and other narrations say that she was buried in her 
chamber, and when the expansion of the Prophet’s Masjid was carried out, her 
grave became part of the mosque, if the latter is true, then the demarcations 
that were drawn by the Imam in al-BaqF were meant to mislead and turn people 
away from her true gravesite. if the Imam had indeed buried her in al-BaqF 
then the [exact location of the] grave was and still remains unknown. In any 
case, they dug a grave for al-Sayyidah Fatimah. They dug a grave for that 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 in Her Final [Earthly] Abode 


503 


radiant flower, that glowing pearl, and four men advanced - c All, al- c Abbas, al- 
Fadl ibn c Abbas and a fourth person - carrying that frail body. 

c All ( c a) descended into the grave, because he was her guardian and the one 
responsible for her affairs, and he received the daughter of the Prophet of Allah 
(s), placing her in her final resting place. He put her cheek, which would often 
be rubbed on the ground in prostration to Allah, on the earth. 10 This was the 
very cheek that the Prophet of Allah (s) used to kiss every night before going to 
sleep. As he placed her cheek on the earth, he said, “0 earth, I am leaving this 
trust of mine with you - the daughter of the Prophet.” 41 ”' 

Imam al-Sadiq ( c a) said: “When Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) placed Fatimah bint 
Rasulillah in her grave, he recited: ‘In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 
In the name of Allah, and by [the will of] Allah, and upon the path of the Prophet of Allah, 
Muhammad ibn c Abdillah (s); I have given you, 0 most truthful one, to one who is more 
worthy of you than myself, and I accept for you that which Allah has willed for you.’ 
Then he recited the verse: From it did We create you, into it shall We return you, and 
from it shall We bring you forth a second time (Q20:55).” m The intellect cannot 

fathom, and the pen cannot describe the state of c Ali ( c a) in those moments, and 
how heavy his heart was with grief. 

Then he came out of the grave, after having layered the bricks [to cover it], and 
those who were present came forward to throw earth onto [the grave of] that 
pearl of the Prophet. They buried her, thereby burying the person who most 
resembled the Prophet of Allah (s) in manner, character and speech. They 
buried the first martyr from the family of Muhammad. The buried the one in 
whom all the virtues and merits had converged. They concealed within the 
earth the houri in human form. 


10 The act of placing one’s cheek on earth in prostration is known as ta c fir. (Tr.) 


504 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


c All ( c a) levelled her grave. At that moment, it was as if his wound was fresh so 
he could not feel the pain. When a person is wounded or his bones are broken, 
he does not feel the pain immediately. It is only after some time has passed that 
the severity of the pain is felt, leaving him withering and crying. The body of 
Fatimah was in front of c Ali ( c a) as he washed her, shrouded her, prayed over 
her and buried her. Now al-Zahra 3 was hidden from view and could no longer 
be seen. This was when Imam c Ali felt the intense pain, in its most severe form. 
Those moments on that difficult night were filled with grief and heartache, and 
a gaping hole was left in the Imam’s heart by that tragedy. 

Fatimah al-Zahra 3 died a martyr to injustice, a victim of oppression and 
transgression. With her loss, the Imam lost his life partner and the most 
beloved of all people to him and to the Prophet of Allah. He lost his wife in the 
prime of her youth, while she was very young. He lost the woman who was his 
soul mate in faith, in this world and in the Hereafter. He lost his spouse who 
had shared in the hardships and bitter moments of his life with complete 
patience. He lost a houri who was far superior to any of the women of this 
world. Imam c Ali would not find anyone like her on the face of this earth in 
innocence, piety, knowledge, excellence, nobility, honour, virtue and 
character. It was not possible therefore, for him to seek solace in another 
woman. In addition, this tragedy was compounded by the last wishes of his wife 
that she should be buried at night and in secret, and that her grave be kept 
hidden such that there should be no sign of it. 


Complaint to the Prophet of Allah 

It was for these reasons that the Imam was overwhelmed by grief when he 
shook off the earth of her grave from his hands, and tears started rolling down 
his cheeks. He turned towards the grave of the Prophet of Allah (s) and said: 


Complaint to the Prophet of Allah 


505 


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Salutations to you , 0 Prophet of Allah, from myself Salutations to you from your 
daughter who is now with you. She rests in the ground next to you and Allah has willed 
that she should quickly join you. My patience at the loss of your beloved [daughter] has 
worn thin, 0 Prophet of Allah, and I am finding the death of the Mistress of all Women 
of the World too difficult to bear. I only find solace in following your sunnah in your time 


506 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


of loss and in the sorrow that overwhelmed me when I was separated from you. Indeed, 
I had placed you in your grave after you passed away while resting on my chest. I closed 
your eyes with my own two hands and took charge of all your affairs myself. Verily, in 
the book of Allah I find the means of acceptance [of these hardships]. For indeed we 
belong to Allah and to Him shall we return. Indeed the trust has been returned and the 
borrowed has been taken back. Al-Zahra 1 has been taken from me; and how unpleasant 
is the earth, with its vegetation and barren plains [after losing her]! 

0 Prophet of Allah, my grief is unending and my nights are sleepless, and sorrow never 
leaves my heart. Until Allah decides that I should join you in the abode wherein you 
reside, my heart will continue to grieve and my sorrow will not end. How quickly has 
Allah separated us, and I complain only to Allah. Your daughter will inform you about 
how your community rallied against me and colluded in usurping her rights - so ask her 
and find out from her about what happened. How great were the waves of anguish in 
her heart, yet she did not find any means of letting it out ; and you will say: Allah will 
judge, and He is the Best of Judges. 

Peace be upon you, 0 Prophet of Allah, with farewell salutations from one who is neither 
weary nor enervated. If I leave, it is not out of weariness and if I stay, it is not because I 
have doubts about what Allah has promised those who remain patient. Ah! Ah! Yet 
patience is more beautiful and blessed. Had it not been for the oppression of the usurpers, 

1 would have made it incumbent on myself to visit your grave and to withdraw towards 
it for lengthy periods. I would have wailed the way a mother wails at the tragic loss of 
her child. But your daughter was buried in secret, and her right was usurped by force, 
and she was openly deprived of her inheritance! All this happened only a short while 
after you had gone and the memory of your loss was still fresh in the minds. Thus do we 
complain to Allah, 0 noble Prophet, and in you do we find the best consolation. May Allah 
blessyou and her, and shower His mercy uponyou both. 11 


al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 459; Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mufld (d. 413 A.H.), al-Amali, p. 281-283 


Complaint to the Prophet of Allah 


507 


It is narrated that when Fatimah ( c a) passed away, and after c All ( c a) had 
performed all the rites and buried her, he returned home but felt very lonely 
there so he wept bitterly and recited: 


J Jlp ol a_»j! ^ 

J_ds Jlj—ill j J S j 

J-^ V j! J-l* 


~° j — ls — ^ " J — ^ lSj 1 

dr-* J-& 

J J *J I olsU ftX9l jlj 


I find the burdens of this world to be numerous, 
and its inhabitant remains burdened until death 


For every bond of friendship there is a separation, 
and all that comes before separation is little 


My losing Fatimah after having lost Ahmad 
is evidence that no bond of intimacy ever lasts 12 

It has been narrated that Imam Ja c far ibn Muhammad [al-Sadiq] ( c a) said: “When 
Fatimah passed away, c Ali used to visit her grave every day. One day, he came 
there and threw himself on the grave saying: 



L*J j 1 1 ^ Ip 


Why is it that I pass by the graves with greetings, 
yet no reply comes from the grave of my beloved ? 13 


12 al-Fusul al-Muhimmah, vol. 1, p. 673 

13 Ibid. 


508 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


Failed Attempts 

As the day dawned after that night, people gathered in order to participate in 
al-Sayyidah Fatimah’s funeral. This is when they were informed that the 
beloved daughter of the Prophet of Allah (s) had been buried at night in secret. 
c All ( c a) had demarcated the location of seven or more graves in al-BaqT, which 
was and still is a cemetery for the people of Madlnah. Thus the people went to 
al-BaqF searching for the grave of al-Sayyidah Fatimah, but they were confused 
and could not identify her actual grave. They cried out and started blaming one 
another saying, “Your Prophet left behind only one daughter, yet she died and 
was buried without your having participated in her funeral prayers and burial, 
and you do not even know where her grave is!” 4rr 

Al-Miqdad met Abu Bakr and said to him, “We buried Fatimah last night.” c Umar 
said to Abu Bakr, “Did I not tell you that they want to bury her in secret?” al- 
Miqdad said, “She is the one who had wanted this, so that the two of you would 
not pray over her .” 14/4r4 c Umar began hitting al-Miqdad on his head and face, 

and people gathered to rescue him from c Umar. Al-Miqdad stood in front of 
them and said, “The daughter of the Prophet of Allah died while blood was 
oozing from her ribs and back because of the beating and whipping that you 
unleashed on her; and we saw what you did to c All - so it is of little surprise that 
you would beat me as well.” 15/4r ° 

Al- c Abbas said, “She had stated in her will that the two of you should not pray 
over her.” TJmar said, “You, the Ban! Hashim, will never get over your old 
jealousy against us!” c Aqll retorted, “It is you, by Allah, who have the greatest 
jealousy and the longest enmity against the Prophet of Allah and his family. 


14 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 199 

15 Kamil al-Baha% vol. 1, p. 312 


Failed Attempts 


509 


Yesterday you struck her, and she left this world with an injured, bleeding back, 
while she was unhappy with both of you.” 16/ ‘ ri 

Then, those in authority said: “Bring some of the Muslim women who can 
excavate these graves until we find her, so that we may pray over her and visit 
her gravesite ” trv They wanted to carry out this plan in order to countervail the 

plan of al-Sayyidah Fatimah in her will and to render as void all the effort that 
Imam c All ( c a) had made in hiding her grave, thereby preventing some people 
from receiving the reward of praying over her body, if this was not the case, 
then what is the meaning of excavating a grave in order to pray over the dead 
body? Did they think that c All had buried Fatimah without praying over her? 
Would any sane person think this? Which form of Islam and which religion or 
law permits excavation of the grave of a dead person whose funeral prayers 
have been performed by his guardian, in the best manner and most perfect way, 
in accordance with his final wishes? 

I believe that they were emboldened to take this audacious and impetuous step, 
which is contrary to all ethics and goes against the spirit of Islam, by their 
assumption that Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) was weak. It was as if they had forgotten 
or feigned forgetfulness about the valour and heroism of Imam c Ali in battle, 
and his great courage, that the inhabitants of the heavens and earth had 
attested to. If Amir al-Mu 3 minm had not unsheathed his sword in those trying 
times, and in the face of the injustice that took place after the Prophet’s death, 
for the sake of cohesion and unity among the Muslims and to avoid divisions in 
religion, this did not mean that he would remain quiet and let them do 
whatever they wanted, standing by silently in the face of all forms of tyranny 
and cruelty. In other words, if c Ali ( c a) was instructed to remain patient in 


16 Ibid., p. 313 


510 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


certain situations, this did not mean that he would accept any and all 
humiliation and bear it patiently. 

When the news about their intention to excavate the graves reached the Imam, 
he put on his yellow cloak, which he normally wore in battle, because long 
garments are not suitable in battle and one needs to wear clothes that allow for 
swift movement in order to fight, and this cloak was one that c Ali ( c a) wore only 
when he was at war. He wore this cloak and took his sword Dhu al-Faqar before 
proceeding towards al-BaqI c , while his eyes were red and his veins were visible 
with rage. The news of c All's arrival reached al-BaqT before him, and a caller 
called out: “ c AlI ibn Abl Talib is coming and he has sworn by Allah: if a single 
stone from any of these graves are turned, he will place the edge of his sword 
on their necks!” trA 

People took this threat seriously and believed that it would be carried out, as 
they knew c Ali was true to his words and capable of doing what he said he would 
do. However, c Umar scorned at the threat and said, “What are you saying, 0 Aba 
al-Hasan? By Allah, we will excavate her grave and pray over her!” Upon 
hearing this, the Imam took hold of the man’s collar and shoved him to the 
ground saying, “0 son of an unchaste woman! As for my own rights, I had 
foregone them in order to ensure that the people do not leave their faith, but 
when it comes to the grave of Fatimah, by the One in whose hand is my soul, if 
you or any of your lackeys touches its dust, I will quench the earth with your 
blood!” Abu Bakr said, “0 Aba al-Hasan, for the sake of the Prophet and for the 
sake of the one who is above the Throne, leave him alone for indeed we will not 
do anything you disapprove of.” m The Imam left him and the people dispersed, 
and this was never spoken of again. 17 Al-Sayyidah Fatimah’s wishes were thus 
carried out and continue to remain so, day after day. 


17 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 171 


Imam c Alf s Elegy for al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 


511 


Imam c Ali’s Elegy for al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 


It is common practice for the dead to be eulogized, and al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 
( c a) deserved to be eulogized in death just as she deserved to be praised during 
her lifetime and after her demise. An elegy is an expression of feelings, a 
manifestation of pain and regret for losing a loved one, and an articulation of 
how much one has been affected by their loss. 

Based on this definition, it was befitting for Imam c Ali ( c a) to elegize al-Sayyidah 
Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) and express his personal grief from the painful tragedy, 
for the Imam experienced greater pain from her loss than anyone else. This is 
because he knew her true status, and thus the impact of her loss was greater 
and more profound on him. It is not surprising, then, that he should be filled 
with grief and address the Mistress of all Women, his dear wife Fatimah, after 
her demise and recite: 


Lit' 


'jjl I — \ — J 1— ( 

- J j \aj jl 4 SsjI I »jlj si il V 


And: 


My soul is confined with every sigh , 
how I wish it departed as the sighs depart 

No good is there in life after you so I 
only cry for fear of my life prolonging [after you] 


^_JpOL_ 
J 3 



^ 3 



J_Jip 


L S* 


it S' dL_i L_>l Oj— S'i 


512 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


J — JJ — i5l 0 ^ 9 ^ — 51 [j—S'j J-& 

( J Jb^- i 'if j! Ip jJ Jj J J *j I »i?li (_£bl ibl jlj 

I find the burdens of this world to be numerous , 
and its inhabitant remains burdened until death 

I remembered my beloved and became as one 
whose grief had overwhelmed all past grief 

For every bond of friendship there is a separation, 
and all that comes before separation is little 

My losing Fatimah after having lost Ahmad 
is evidence that no bond of intimacy ever lasts 

And: 


J j Svilt LS aoI pJsl 9 ii J fli j ip *L J, lip! <Ji it js 

Jr — - L5— ^ J-^r ur-^ j\j ^1— 

J — J*- es — (* ^ ^ Jnr-c- 1— » V! 

Your separation is my greatest tragedy, 
andyour loss, Fatim, is the worst calamity 

I will weep in sorrow and lament with grief, 
for my companion who traversed the loftiest of paths 

Be generous to me 0 eye, and help me 
cry incessantly for my beloved companion 


Imam c Alf s Elegy for al-Sayyidah al-Zahra 3 


513 


And: 


JLs ^ s o! j). wd L»j 

^ l 5 — ur— ^ J— " 


a SwUj ! t. . 


A beloved who cannot be matched by any other beloved, 
and there is no place of another in my heart 

A beloved disappeared from my sight and touch, 
but from my heart my beloved shall never disappear 

gf £ 

L*J j j ^ Ip dL A3 j ^il « 

l_J js~ ^•'idUL. 


And addressing her, he said: 



Why is it that I stand next to the graves 
offering greetings to my beloved, yet she doesn’t reply 

My beloved, why do you not answer me? 

Or has the intimacy of the beloved been forgotten after me? 

The eminent scholar, Shaykh Ja c far al-Naqdl, states in his book al-Anwar al- 
c Alawiyyah, that when Fatimah ( c a) passed away, Amir al-Mu 3 minm ( c a) secluded 
himself from the people and would not come out except for prayer and to visit 
the grave of the Holy Prophet (s). c Ammar said: “I passed by the house of my 
master Amir al-Mu’minln, and sought permission to enter. He allowed me to go 
in and when I entered, I saw him sitting the way someone who was grieving 
would sit, with al-Hasan on his right and al-Husayn on his left. He was looking 
al-Husayn and crying. I could not restrain myself and tears started flowing from 


514 


Fatimah al-Zahra 3 ( c a) - From the Cradle to the Grave 


my eyes. I wept bitterly and when my sorrow had subsided, I said: ‘Master, do 
you allow me to speak?’ ‘Speak, 0 Aba al-Yaqzan,’ he said. I said, ‘Master, you 
instruct people to remain patient in the face of hardships, yet I find your sorrow 
to be prolonged...?’ 

He turned towards me and said, ‘0 'Ammar, the grief, like the one whom we 
have lost, is great. I have lost the Prophet of Allah [again] by losing Fatimah. 
She was a solace and consoler for me. When she spoke, my ears were filled by 
the sound of the Prophet’s voice. When she walked, she reminded me of his gait. 
I did not truly feel the loss of the Prophet of Allah until she passed away. Thus 
her loss was, for me, the greatest of losses. When I had placed her upon the slab 
in order to wash her body, I found that one of her ribs was broken and there 
was a black mark on her side from the lashing of a whip. She had hidden this 
from me out of fear that it would compound my grief. My eyes do not fall upon 
al-Hasan and al-Husayn but that my tears begin to flow, and I do not see Zaynab 
crying but that my heart becomes overwhelmed with grief for her...’