The Birth of Fatima: The Mistress of the Women of the Worlds
Fatima al-Zahra, also known as Fatima bint Muhammad, was the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Khadija, peace be upon them. The birth of Fatima is on 20th day of the Islamic month of Jumada al-Thani, five years after the commencement of the Prophet’s mission. Muslims revere Fatima al-Zahra as a symbol of purity and goodness, and many Muslims celebrate her birthday worldwide.
The birth of Fatima al-Zahra was a momentous event for the early Muslim community, as she was the only surviving child of the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Khadija, peace be upon them. Fatima al-Zahra was known for her wisdom, kindness, and devotion to her faith. She played a vital role in the early history of Islam. She is also remembered for her strong commitment to social justice and tireless efforts to help the poor and marginalized.
Fatima al-Zahra’s birthday is celebrated with great reverence and respect by Muslims around the world. On this day, many people perform special prayers and engage in charitable acts in her honor. Some Muslims also visit her (unknown tomb) in Medina to pay their respects and seek her blessings. The birthday of Fatima al-Zahra is a time for Muslims to reflect on her life and teachings and remember the important role that she played in the history of Islam.
It was with great honor and privilege that Khadijah, the esteemed wife of the Prophet Muhammad, gave birth to her daughter Fatima al-Zahra five years after the start of the Prophet’s mission. Fatima, may peace be upon her, was the only daughter of the Prophet from whom the descendants of Muhammad continued. The divine will of Allah further elevated Fatima’s status by making her the mother of the two esteemed sons of the Prophet Muhammad, Imams Hassan and Hussain, and the two pure women, Zainab and Umm Kulthum. May peace be upon them all.
“As the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and raised in the house of divine revelation, Fatima al-Zahra’s childhood was one of exceptional spiritual nourishment. The Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family, imparted a wealth of divine knowledge and wisdom upon Fatima. Her upbringing was one of profound religious enlightenment, with the Prophet himself guiding her in the sacred sciences.
It was the divine wisdom of Allah that Fatima, a pure and virtuous daughter, should endure the same hardships and sufferings as her father during the early stages of the Islamic faith. Such was the strength of her character and the depth of her devotion to the divine cause.
At the tender age of five, Fatima, may peace be upon her, tragically lost her mother and found solace only in her father, the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family, became her sole source of comfort and provided her with all the love, kindness, and respect she needed. In turn, Fatima’s tenderness towards her father and her care for him brought him great joy and served as a source of solace in his sorrows. Due to her exceptional devotion, the Prophet referred to Fatima as the “mother of her father.”
Fatima al-Zahra, may peace be upon her, showed her father the utmost tenderness and care, filling the void left by losing his beloved wife and first supporter of Islam, Khadijah. She devoted herself to serving and caring for the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family, and her kindness and warmth brought him great comfort in the face of the persecution he faced from the polytheists. Every time he visited her, she greeted him with kisses on his generous hands and did all she could to ease his pain.
Migration of Fatima to Medina
After the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family, received the divine command to emigrate, he set out for Medina, leaving behind his brother and cousin, Imam Ali, who was tasked with leading a group of women from the Banu Hashim clan, all named Fatima, on the journey to Medina. The migration of Imam Ali and the group of women, may peace be upon them all, was met with resistance from the polytheists of Mecca, who sought to humiliate them by sending a group of horsemen to force their return. But Imam Ali, with his bravery and prowess, was able to defeat the attackers and continue to Medina, as recorded in the annals of history.
Fatima’s Marriage to Ali (a)
At the young age of nine, Fatima al-Zahra, may peace be upon her, displayed all the signs of intellectual and emotional maturity. Many leaders among the Muhajireen and Ansar asked for her hand in marriage, hoping to be joined to the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him and his family. However, the Prophet graciously declined their proposals, stating that Fatima’s marriage was in the hands of Allah.
Upon the proposal of Ali, may peace be upon him, the Noble Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, bestowed his blessing on Fatima, the beloved daughter of the Prophet, agreed to marry Ali to her, may peace be upon them. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family, was known to have said that Allah had commanded him to unite “the light with the light,” for it was only through such a union that true harmony and balance could be attained. This is a statement that has been recorded in the revered narration of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family. The union was formalized in marriage, and Ali, in his devotion, sold his shield for five hundred dirhams to provide for the dowry and the establishment of the home in which they would build their lives together, may peace be upon them.
The House of the Family of the Prophet (PBUH)
This home, which served as a living embodiment of the teachings of Islam, exemplifying the building of an exemplary missionary family, was modest in its appointments. Yet, it was a bastion of high values, moral fortitude, and spiritual richness. The occupants of this house, a harmoniously married couple, lived in intimacy, love, and mutual respect. This was so beautifully captured in the words of Ali, may peace be upon him, who said of their life together, “By the grace of Allah, throughout our union, I never once succeeded in inciting her anger or coercing her in any matter, nor did she ever draw my ire or disobey me in any way. My worries and sorrows would simply melt away whenever I looked upon her.”
Their marriage was one of shared responsibilities and a division of labor, with Fatima tending to the domestic affairs and Ali, may peace be upon him, attending to the matters outside the home. This harmonious partnership bore fruit, not just in terms of their love for one another but in the form of their children al-Hassan, al-Hussein, Zainab, and Umm Kulthum – all of whom were a testament to the love and stability of their parents.
The Status of Fatima to Her Father
In her father’s eyes, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one of unparalleled affection and devotion. The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, held a special bond with his daughter, Fatima, due to her deep understanding, devout piety, and unwavering sincerity. The Prophet recognized her exceptional qualities and held her in the highest regard.
The reverence and devotion the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) held for his daughter Fatima, peace be upon her, was evident in how he would stand in respect and offer her a kiss each time she entered his presence. It was not uncommon for him to even kiss her hand. The beloved Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, would often express the deep connection he felt towards Fatima, saying: “Fatima is a part of me, anyone who causes her harm has caused harm to me, and anyone who causes harm to me, causes harm to Allah.” This sentiment underscores the deep love and affection that he had towards her.
Despite all the love and devotion he held for her, one day, Fatima, peace be upon her, came to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with a request for a female servant to assist her in the household tasks and the care of her children. Instead of granting her request, the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family provided an alternative solution. He imparted upon her a special form of prayer known as the “Tasbeeh of al-Zahra” – a series of 34 takbeers, 33 Tahmeed, and 33 Tasbeeh, to be recited after every obligatory prayer.
This spiritual solution that the Prophet offered Fatima highlights the focus on moral and spiritual matters rather than material ones within the household of the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family. It is a testament to the fact that the Prophet’s family was more concerned with the otherworldly dimension than the material dimension.
The Prophet was drawn to Fatima due to her exceptional attributes, a reflection of her esteemed position in the eyes of the divine rather than any earthly considerations.
Fatima, may peace be upon her, was known by many names that reflected her excellence and standing. Some of these names included:
Al-Zahra: Imam al-Sadiq, may peace be upon him, said that the name Al-Zahra, or “the illuminant one,” was bestowed upon Fatima as a testament to her radiant and resplendent nature. For it was believed that through her, the light of the divine was made manifest, illuminating all that she touched with a brilliance akin to that of the heavens and the earth.”
Al-Hawra: “the pure one” was a name attributed to Fatima because she was formed from the very essence of paradise. It was said that her most illustrious father, may peace be upon him and his family, was taken by Gabriel to the realm of heaven and shown the tree of blessedness. And it was from this very tree that the seed of Fatima, may peace be upon her, was said to have been conceived. And it is said that he would often remark that Fatima Hawra was a personification of celestial purity and that whenever he longed for heaven, he would kiss her with reverence.
The Muhadditha: “the transmitter of hadith,” was a title bestowed upon Fatima due to her unparalleled ability to transmit the teachings of the Prophet, may peace be upon him and his family, both while still in the womb and to the Muslim community at large. For she was said to possess a deep understanding of the wisdom imparted to her by her father, the Prophet, and was able to convey this knowledge with such clarity and eloquence that left a lasting impression on all those who had the privilege of listening to her teachings.
The Muhaddatha: “the one who communicates with the divine,” was a title bestowed upon Fatima due to her exceptional ability to converse with the angels of Allah. It was said that the angels spoke to her and even declared her to be the mistress of all women in the worlds, comparing her favorably to Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is also reported that Gabriel, peace be upon him, would visit her after the passing of her father, the Prophet, and impart upon her knowledge of the unseen. She shared this wisdom with the Commander of the Faithful, who then recorded it in a book called “The Mushaf of Fatima” in honor of her exceptional spiritual insights.
Al-Zakiyya: “the pure one” was fittingly bestowed upon Fatima for her exemplary devotion to worship. It was said that she would spend hours in prayer, standing for so long that her feet would swell, yet never once did she falter in her devotion. Even in the act of prayer, her face would be transformed by the awe of the divine, and her devotion and piety were widely recognized, earning her a reputation for being one of the most dedicated worshippers among all people. So much so that al-Hassan al-Basri, one of the early Islamic scholars, has been quoted to have said, “In the whole of the nation, there was no one more devout in worship than Fatima, may peace be upon her.”
Al-Shaheeda: “The martyr” was fittingly bestowed upon Fatima for the immense sacrifices she made to preserve the integrity of the Islamic faith. Her heartache began with the passing of her father, the Prophet, may peace be upon him and his family. She bore witness to the attempts to dismantle the foundations of Islam that her father had so tirelessly worked to establish. With a sorrow that knew no bounds, she watched as the people strayed from the rightful path of the divine caliphate, represented by the leadership of Ali, may peace be upon him. As the daughter of the Prophet, may peace be upon him and his family, she was subjected to much hardship even after the death of her father. Yet, she steadfastly defended the position of the highest guardianship, ultimately leading to her martyrdom after prolonged grief and suffering.
She, may peace be upon her, desired to etch her legacy in the annals of history, to leave behind an enduring testament of truth in the wake of her father’s passing. And so, with this intention in mind, she wisely suggested that she be interred in secret, her unmarked grave serving as a permanent reminder of her sorrowful story.
Fatima’s Status on the Day of Judgment:
On the Day of Resurrection, the status of al-Zahra, may peace be upon her, shall be a sight to behold; for it is said that on the authority of Abu Jaafar Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir, peace be upon him, he heard Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari recount that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family, declared:
“On that Day of Judgment, my beloved daughter Fatima shall arrive mounted upon a she-camel of paradise, resplendent in its ornaments of fresh pearls and emerald green legs, its tail of fragrant musk, and eyes of red rubies. Its domed light, visible both within and without, holds the promise of Allah’s forgiveness on the inside and mercy on the outside. Upon its head sits a crown of light with seventy corners, each adorned with pearls and sapphires that gleam like stars on the horizon. To its right, seventy thousand angels shall accompany her, and to its left, an equal number shall follow. Gabriel shall hold the reins, calling out in a voice as mighty as a trumpet: “Lower your gaze, for Fatima bint Muhammad approaches to be wed.” On that day, no prophet, messenger, friend, or martyr shall remain who does not lower their gaze in reverence, as Fatima approaches the throne of her Lord, the glory of His majesty, shall throw herself from her she-camel, and in a voice filled with conviction, she shall plead to her Lord: “My Allah and my Master, judge between me and those who have wronged me. O Allah, judge between me and those who have killed my son.
And so, when the call comes forth from the Almighty, may He be glorified and exalted, “O my beloved, and daughter of my beloved, ask of Me, and you shall receive. Intercede for your loved ones, and I shall grant them my intercession. By the glory and might of My kingdom, I shall not be appeased by the subjugation of the oppressor.”
Fatima shall raise her voice in supplication, “My God and my Lord, my progeny, my followers, the followers of my progeny, and the devotees of my progeny.” And then, the call shall come forth once more, from the All-Mighty, may He be glorified and exalted, “Where are the offspring of Fatima, her Shiites, her devotees, and the lovers of her progeny?” And they shall come forth, surrounded by the angels of mercy, and Fatima shall lead them until they are admitted into paradise.