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Fatimah

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Fatimah

al-Zahra
فَاطِمَة ٱلزَّهْرَاء
Fatimah Arabic Calligraphy.svg
Fatimah's name in Islamic calligraphy
Born15 BH
(605 CE) (disputed)
Died3 Jumada al-Thani
11 AH
((632-08-18)18 August 632)
(disputed)
Resting placeBurial place of Fatimah, Medina, Hejaz[3]
Title
  • al-Ṣiddīqah (The Truthful Woman)
  • al-Mubārakah (The Blessed Woman)
  • al-Ṭāhirah (The Pure Woman)
  • al-Zakīyah (The Chaste/Innocent Woman)
  • al-Muḥaddathah (The One Spoken to by Angels)
  • al-Batūl (The Chaste/The Pure)
  • al-Zahrāʾ (The Splendid One/The Lady of Light)
  • Sayyidat Nisa al-Jannah' '(Leader of The Women of Paradise)
  • Sayyidah Nisa al-Alamin (Leader of The Women of The Worlds)
[4]
Spouse(s)Ali[5]
Children
Parent(s)
Relatives

Fatimah bint Muhammad (Arabic: فَاطِمَة ٱبْنَت مُحَمَّد‎, romanizedFāṭimah bint Muḥammad, IPA: [ˈfaːtˤima b.nat muˈħammad]; 605 CE/15 BH [disputed] – died 28 August 632), commonly known as Fatimah al-Zahra (فَاطِمَة ٱلزَّهْرَاء Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ), was born to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and Khadijah.[9] Sunni Muslims hold that Fatimah was the youngest of their daughters, whereas Shia Muslims maintain that Fatimah was the only biological daughter of the couple.[10] Fatimah's husband was Ali, the fourth of the Rashidun Caliphs and the first Shia Imam. Fatimah's children include Hasan and Husayn, the second and third Shia Imams, respectively.[11]

Fatimah occupies a similar position in Islam that Mary, mother of Jesus, occupies in Christianity.[12] Fatimah was regarded by Muhammad as the outstanding woman of all time and the dearest person to him.[13] Fatimah is often viewed as an ultimate archetype for Muslim women and an example of compassion, generosity, and enduring suffering.[14] Her name remains a popular choice throughout the Muslim world.[15] It is through Fatimah that Muhammad's family line has survived to this date.[16]

Controversy surrounds Fatimah's death, within six months of Muhammad's demise.[17] Sunni Islam holds that Fatimah died from grief.[18] In Shia Islam, however, Fatimah's (miscarriage and) death are viewed as the direct result of the injuries that she suffered during a raid on her house, ordered by the first caliph, Abu Bakr.[19] Fatimah and her husband, Ali, had refused to acknowledge the authority of Abu Bakr. The couple and their supporters held that Ali was the rightful successor of Muhammad, appointed by him at the Event of Ghadir Khumm.[20]

It is well-documented that Fatimah's dying wish was that Abu Bakr should not attend her funeral.[21] She was buried under the cover of darkness and her exact burial place remains unknown to this day.[22]

Titles

Fatimah has several titles and kuniyas that often signify her moral character, mostly collected by Shia sources. Her most common title is al-Zahra, meaning "the one that shines" in reference to how she shined for the dwellers of the skies as she prayed.[23] Al-Ṣiddiqah is another title, which can be translated as "the one who never lies."[24] The title al-Ṭahirah refers to the divine purification of Muhammad's household, according to Muslims' holy book, the Quran.[25][26] Another title is al-Muḥaddithah, in view of the Shia reports that angels spoke to Fatimah on multiple occasions, similar to Mary, mother of Jesus.[27][28] The name Fatimah might signify that she will save in hereafter those who follow her example in life.[29] Some of her kunyas are

  • Umm Abiha, which translates to "mother of her father," as a reference to how Fatimah lovingly cared for Muhammad in times of hardships and war.[30]
  • Umm al-Ḥasanayn, which means the "mother of Hasan and Husayn," who are the second and third Shia imams, respectively.[31]
  • Umm al-Aimah, which translates to the "mother (and ancestor) of (all) Shia imams."[32]

Birth

Fatimah was born in Mecca to Khadija, the first of Muhammad's wives.[33] There is disagreement about the year of her birth: The mainstream Sunni view is that Muhammad's wife, Khadija, aged fifty, gave birth to Fatimah in 605 CE, five years before the first Quranic revelations.[34] This would imply that she was over eighteen at the time of her marriage, which would have been unusual in Arabia.[35] Twelver Shia sources, however, report that Fatimah was born in 612 or 615 CE, when Khadija was about forty five.[36] According to Sunni authors such as al-Tabari and Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fatimah was born when Muhammad was thirty-five years old.[37]

Sunni Muslims believe that Fatimah had three sisters, named Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, and Ruqayyah, who did not survive Muhammad.[38] However, some Shia scholars have argued that the three were the daughters of Hala, Khadija's sister, who were adopted by Muhammad at her death.[39] Fatimah also had three brothers named Qasim, Abd-Allah, and Ibrahim, all of whom died in childhood.[40]

Childhood

Fatimah grew up in Mecca while Muhammad and his few followers suffered the ill-treatment of disbelievers.[41] In one occasion, she rushed to help Muhammad when disbelievers threw fifth over him at the instigation of Abu Lahab, Muhammad's uncle and a staunch polytheist.[42] Fatimah lost her mother, Khadija, in childhood.[43] When Khadija died, Gabriel descended upon Muhammad with a message to console Fatimah.[44]

Marriage

Many of Muhammad's companions asked for Fatimah's hand in marriage, including Abu Bakr and Umar.[45] Muhammad turned them down, saying that he was awaiting a divine sign for her destiny.[46] When Muhammad's cousin, Ali, visited Muhammad, modesty prevented him from voicing his intention to marry Fatimah.[47] After Ali finally disclosed his intention on his third visit, Muhammad put forward Ali's proposal to Fatimah, who remained silent.[48] Muhammad took this to be a sign of consent.[49] Muhammad also suggested to Ali to sell his shield to pay the bridal gift or mahr.[50] In response to complaints, Muhammad replied that, "God ordered me to marry Fatimah to Ali."[51] Muhammad also told Fatimah that, "I have married you to the dearest of my family to me."[52][53]

Their modest marriage ceremony took place in the year one or two AH.[54] Fatimah's age was between nine to nineteen at the time of her marriage, according to Shia and Sunni sources, respectively.[55] Ali's age was about twenty two.[56] It is worth noting that early marriage was valued and widely practiced in that era in Arabia, as a means to encourage chastity.[57] Muhammad performed the wedding ceremony and they prepared the wedding feast with dates, figs, lamb and other donations by Madinans.[58] The couple moved into a house next to Muhammad's quarters in Medina.[59] Shia sources have recorded that Fatimah donated her wedding gown on her wedding night.[60]

According to H. Nasr, their marriage holds a special spiritual significance for Muslims because it is seen as the marriage between the greatest saintly figures surrounding Muhammad.[61] Their marriage lasted about ten years and ended with Fatimah's death. Even though polygyny is permitted in Islam, Ali did not marry any other woman while Fatimah was alive.[62]

Married life

The location of Fatimah's house in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, present-day Saudi Arabia

Fatimah and Ali led a humble life.[63] As with the majority of Muslims, the couple endured dire financial hardships in the early years of Islam.[64] Ali worked at various jobs and Fatimah was responsible for domestic chores.[65] A reference to their simple life is associated with the Tasbih of Fatimah, which consists of the phrases "God is the greatest" and "Praise be to God" and "Glory be to God."[66] It has been reported that when Fatimah was overwhelmed by the difficultly of chores and care for her four young children, Muhammad taught her this tasbih because they could not afford a maid.[67] Their financial circumstances only improved following the Battle of Khaybar, when the bounty was distributed among the poor.[68][69] Later on, Fatimah had a maid, Fidda, and the two divided the chores equally.[70][71]

Fatimah is believed to have had a happy marital life, which continued until her death in 11 AH.[72] Reflecting on his marriage with Fatimah, Ali is recorded to have said that, "Whenever I looked at her, all my worries and sadness disappeared."[73]

On the battlefield

Following the Battle of Uhud, Fatimah tended to the wounds of her father and husband and regularly visited the graves of those killed in the battle to pray for them.[74] Later, in relation to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Fatimah was asked by Abu Sufyan to mediate between him and Muhammad.[75] Fatimah also accompanied Muhammad in the conquest of Mecca.[76]

After Muhammad's death

When Muhammad died following a brief illness in 11 AH, Fatimah was severely bereaved.[77] Several grief-filled elegies to Muhammad, attributed to Fatimah, have survived.[78] At the same time, Fatimah also fiercely disputed the succession of Abu Bakr and maintained that Ali was the rightful successor to Muhammad, appointed at the Event of Ghadir Khumm.[79] Fatimah died within six months of her father.[80] Her death at a young age is subject of intense controversy with allegations against Abu Bakr and his aide, Umar.[81] Fatimah's conflicts with Abu Bakr and her death are highlighted below.

Inheritance

Fadak was a village located to the north of Medina, at the distance of two days travel.[82] As part of a peace treaty with a Jewish tribe, half of the agricultural land of Fadak was considered fay, i.e., a property acquired peacefully.[83] Fadak thus belonged to Muhammad, in line with the teaching of the Quran.[83][84] Muhammad later gifted his share of Fadak to his daughter, Fatimah.[85] Fadak was under Fatimah's custody during Muhammad's lifetime and its revenue supported charitable deeds within Muhammad's clan, Banu Hashim, who were forbidden from receiving general alms.[86]

Following Muhammad's death and shortly after assuming power, Abu Bakr seized Fadak from Fatimah.[87] Abu Bakr did so on the basis of the claim that Muhammad had personally told him that prophets do not leave inheritance and what they leave behind is public property that should be administered by the caliph.[88] Muhammad had thus allegedly disinherited his family and forced them to rely on general alms which he had forbidden for them in his lifetime.[89] Abu Bakr was initially the sole witness to this statement, which is referred to as the hadith of Muhammad's inheritance.[90]

Muhammad's widows confirmed Abu Bakr's statement, hoping that they would fare better than Fatimah.[91] According to L. Hazelton, "Even as Abu Bakr turned down Fatimah, he made a point of providing generously for Muhammad's widows---and particularly for his own daughter, Aisha, who received valuable property in Medina as well as on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula, in Bahrain."[92]

Responding to the objection that Fadak was, in fact, a gift from Muhammad, Abu Bakr reportedly asked Fatimah to present her witnesses.[93] As her witnesses, Fatimah offered her husband, Ali, and Umm Aiman, a maid at Muhammad's house.[94] Their testimony was rejected by Abu Bakr who required Fatimah to produce an additional witness.[95] It has been suggested that Fatimah expected her kinship with Muhammad to strengthen her case:[96] Fatimah and Ali are both members of Muhammad's household, known as Ahl al-Bayt, who are addressed by the sahih Hadith of Kisa and the related Verse of Purification in the Quran, "Indeed God desires to repel all impurity from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and purify you with a thorough purification."[97]

Fatimah, who considered Abu Bakr's claim to be fabricated, also delivered a speech in protest at the Prophet's Mosque, which has become known as the Sermon of Fadak.[98] In her speech, Fatimah chastised Abu Bakr for denying her right of inheritance and quoted from the Quran that Solomon had inherited from his father, David, and that Zechariah had prayed for a son who would inherit from him and from the House of Jacob.[99][100][101] Fatimah emphasized the right of every Muslim to inherit from his or her parents.[102][103][104]

Controversy

Abu Bakr's actions are often regarded as a political move to deprive Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim, of their financial resources and to strip Ali and Fatimah from their privileged status as Muhammad's kins.[105] According to R. Aslan, during his short caliphate, "Abu Bakr seemed to do everything in his power to prevent Ali from ever attaining a position of authority in the Ummah [i.e., the Muslim community]."[106] This is partly explained by Abu Bakr's conviction that the caliphate must reside outside of Muhammad's clan and partly explained by the personal enmity between Abu Bakr and Ali.[107] At the same time, by maintaining their status, Abu Bakr seemed to signal to the Muslim community that his daughter, Aisha, and the rest of Muhammad's widows were the true heirs of Muhammad.[108]

It has been suggested that Abu Bakr's caliphate was innately inconsistent with maintaining the privileged status of Muhammad's family.[109] The succession of prophets is a matter that is settled by divine selection in the Quran, rather than by shura (consultation).[110] In particular, God selects the successors of past prophets from their own family, whether or not those successors become prophets themselves.[111] If Abu Bakr were to apply the Quranic rules of inheritance to Banu Hashim, then why should they not inherit the authority of Muhammad altogether?[112]

After the confiscation of Fadak, Fatimah remained angry with Abu Bakr until her death, not long after the Fadak sermon.[113] There are reports that Abu Bakr and his aide, Umar, visited Fatimah on her deathbed to apologize which, according to W. Madelung, might incriminate Abu Bakr of "political machinations and treachery."[114] As reported by al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, Fatimah then reminded the two of Muhammad's words that, "Fatimah is part of me, and whoever angers her has angered me."[115] The dying Fatimah then told the two that they had indeed angered her and that she would soon take her complaint to God and His prophet, Muhammad.[116] It has been suggested that the damning implications of Fatimah's anger motivated the invention of stories about the reconciliation of Fatimah with Abu Bakr and Umar.[117]

The eloquence of her speech, the active participation of a young Fatimah in public life, and her pursuit of justice in the patriarchal society of her time have been commended.[118]

Attack on her house

In the immediate aftermath of Muhammad's death in 11 AH (632 CE), the Ansar (natives of Medina) gathered in the Saqifah (courtyard) of the Saida clan.[119] According to W. Madelung, the Ansar likely believed that their allegiance to Muhammad had elapsed with his death and expected that Muhammad's community would disintegrate. For this reason, the purpose of their meeting might had simply been to re-establish control over their city, Medina, under the belief that the majority of the Muhajirun (migrants from Mecca) would return to Mecca anyway.[120]

Nevertheless, Abu Bakr and Umar, both senior companions of Muhammad, upon learning about the meeting, hastened to the gathering and reportedly forced their way into Saqifah.[121] After a heated meeting, in which a chief of the Ansar was beaten into submission by Umar, those gathered at the Saqifah agreed on Abu Bakr as the new head of the Muslim community.[122]

The Saqifah event excluded Muhammad's family, who were preparing to bury him, and most of Muhajirun.[123] To protest this election, members of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim, and several of his companions gathered at Fatimah's house.[124] The protesters, including Fatimah, held that Ali was the rightful successor of Muhammad, appointed by him in the Event of Ghadir Khumm.[125] A number of close companions of Muhammad, including Abbas and Zubayr, were among the protestors.[126] Ali is reported to have explained his position to Abu Bakr.[127]

Overwhelming evidence points that Abu Bakr and his aide, Umar, led an armed mob to Ali's house and threatened to set the house on fire if Ali and his supporters would not pledge their allegiance to Abi Bakr.[128] Notably, Umar was known for his severity and short temper.[129] The scene soon grew violent and, in particular, Zubayr was disarmed and carried away.[130] However, the armed mob retreated after Fatimah loudly admonished them, "O my father, O the Messenger of God, what is this that has befallen us after you at the hands of the son of Khattab [Umar] and the son of Abi Quhafah [Abu Bakr]."[131]

To force Ali into line, Abu Bakr later placed a boycott on him and, more broadly, on Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim.[132] This strategy proved successful over time. Even in the mosque, Ali prayed alone.[133] Ali is reported to have later repeatedly said that he would have resisted (Abu Bakr) had there been forty men with him.[134] By that point, however, only his wife, Fatimah, and their four small children remained on his side.[135] Ali chose passive resistance instead.[135]

While it is believed that Ali continued to passively resist the authority of Abu Bakr until Fatimah died, what followed after the above altercation is uncertain.[136] Indeed, what followed has been the subject of intense controversy and censorship in Islam.[137] One the one hand, Shia historians list over a dozen well-regarded Sunni sources which mention that Fatimah suffered injury and miscarriage during a raid on her house led by Umar.[138] On the other hand, it is known that sensitive information has been censored by Sunni scholars who were concerned with the righteous presentation of Muhammad's companions.[139]

In particular, Shia sources include similar variations of Umar's final attempt to subdue Ali, narrated by Muhammad's close companion, Salman, and supplemented by Shia Imams:[140]

When Umar arrived with an armed mob to take Ali away by force, Fatimah, pregnant at the time, firmly refused them entry. Instead, from behind the door, she implored Umar to fear God and leave them alone. An enraged Umar (or his client, Qunfudh) ignored Fatimah's pleadings, asked for a torch and set the door on fire, before hurling himself inside and striking Fatimah behind the door. Screaming in pain, Fatimah continued to resist the intruders. There are reports that Umar physically assaulted her with a sheathed sword. Fatimah's husband, Ali, rushed towards her before being overpowered and dragged to Abu Bakr by the aggressors. Fatimah tried to position herself between Ali and the aggressors before being struck by Qunfudh. She carried the bruise from the assault when she died.[140]

Muawiya later alluded to Ali's violent arrest in a letter before the Battle of Siffin.[141]

Shortly after the alleged raid, there are reports that Fatimah miscarried her son, Muhsin, whose name had been chosen by Muhammad before his death.[142] Sunni sources, however, maintain that Muhsin was born but died in infancy.[143]

Controversy

Shia holds that her injuries during the raid by Umar directly caused the young Fatimah's miscarriage and death, a few months after Muhammad's demise.[144] For Sunnis, however, it is unimaginable that Muhammad's companions would violate the Quranic sanctity of Muhammad's family and home.[145][146][147]

Both al-Tabari and al-Masudi write that Abu Bakr, on his deathbed, regretted his order to break into Fatimah's house.[148] This appears to be a sensitive admission that has been censored by, for example, the Sunni author Abu Ubayd in his book, Kitab al-Amwal.[149] It might be noted that Umar's history of violence against women is well-documented.[150]

A common argument is that Ali would have never continued his relations with Umar had the latter organized a raid on Ali's home.[151] On the other hand, it has been suggested that Ali gave up his rights and exercised restraint for the sake of a nascent Islam.[152] There are reports that Ali turned down Abu Sufyan's offer to support his claim to the caliphate.[153] Later, in reference to Abu Bakr's caliphate, a poem began to circulate among the Banu Hashim which ended with, "Surely, we have been cheated in the most monstrous way."[154] Ali forbade the poet to recite it, adding that the welfare of Islam was dearer to him than anything else.[155] While Ali never withheld his help for the cause of Islam, the mutual distrust and hostility of Ali with Abu Bakr and Umar is well-documented.[156] About the outcome of Saqifah, Ali was recorded to have said that, "I would have overturned the tables if I was not concerned about divisiveness and disunity leading some to return to the times of infidelity."[157]

The prevalent view is that Fatimah never reconciled with Abu Bakr and Umar.[113] It is well-cited that Fatimah's dying wish was that Abu Bakr and Umar should not attend her funeral.[21] According to al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, when the two visited Fatimah on her deathbed, she reminded them of Muhammad's words that, "Fatimah is part of me, and whoever angers her has angered me."[115] The dying Fatimah then told the two that they had indeed angered her and that she would soon take her complaint to God and His prophet, Muhammad.[116] It has been suggested that the damning implications of Fatimah's anger motivated the invention of stories about the reconciliation of Fatimah with Abu Bakr and Umar.[117]

Death

Fatimah died in 11 AH (632 CE), within six months of Muhammad's demise.[80] She was 18 or 27 years old at that time according to Shia and Sunni sources, respectively.[158] The exact date of her death is uncertain in Sunni sources but the prevailing Shia view is that Fatimah died on the third of Jumada II.[159]

The Sunni view is that Fatimah died from grief, following the death of Muhammad.[160] Shia Islam, however, holds that Fatimah's injuries during a raid by Umar directly caused her miscarriage and death shortly after.[161]

A hadith from the fifth Shia Imam states that "whatever had been done to her by the people" caused Fatimah to be bedridden while her body wasted until it became like a spectre.[162] Notably, this hadith contains a hidden reference to the injuries that Fatimah suffered in the alleged raid on her house by Umar.[162] There are reports that Abu Bakr and his aide, Umar, visited Fatimah on her deathbed to apologize which, according to W. Madelung, might incriminate Abu Bakr of "political machinations and treachery."[114] As reported by al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, Fatimah then reminded the two of Muhammad's words that, "Fatimah is part of me, and whoever angers her has angered me."[115] The dying Fatimah then told the two that they had indeed angered her and that she would soon take her complaint to God and His prophet, Muhammad.[116] It has been suggested that the damning implications of Fatimah's anger motivated the invention of the stories about the reconciliation of Fatimah with Abu Bakr and Umar.[117]

It is well-documented that Fatimah's dying wish was that Abu Bakr and Umar should not attend her funeral; she asked Ali to be buried at night, with only the family members and close friends present.[163] Fatimah's last wish is at odds with the common practice of Muslims in attending funeral services.[164] In Shia sources, Fatimah's wish for a clandestine burial has been viewed as a sign of the disassociation of Muhammad's daughter with the Muslim community who largely failed to support her opposition to Abu Bakr and Umar.[165]

Ali buried Fatimah in secret and under the cloak of darkness to fulfil her last wish.[163] With him were his family and a few of his close companions.[166] In Shia sources, there are glimpses of the immense pain of Ali and their young children, including Husayn.[167] According to an account attributed to Husayn, Ali broke into tears as he completed the unmarked grave of his wife.[168] Ali then turned to the grave of Muhammad and said:[169]

O the Prophet of God, peace be upon you from me and from your daughter who hastened to meet you and is now your neighbor. My patience and endurance are giving way due to this loss while I'm still struggling to deal with the tragedy of your separation. Truly we are God's and onto Him we return. My grief knows no bounds and my nights will remain sleepless till I join you in the hereafter. Now your daughter will tell you how people united to oppress her.

As the only surviving daughter of Muhammad, Fatimah's exact burial place remains unknown, unlike most early Islamic figures.[170] However, it is likely that Fatimah was buried either in her home, a few feet away from his father's grave, or in the al-Baqi cemetery in Medina.[171]

The hostility of early Islamic rulers towards Muhammad's family perhaps forced the latter to hide Fatimah's burial place: Al-Mutawakkil demolished the shrine of Husayn, Fatimah's son, in the third century AH.[172] More recently, in 1802 CE, Wahhabis smashed the shrines of Ali and Husayn, and massacred thousands of pilgrims.[173] Shia sources report that when Umar learned about Fatimah's secret burial, he threatened to locate and exhume Fatimah's body and then re-bury her after salat al-janazah.[174] According to Shia sources, what prevented Umar was Ali's warning, "By God, as long as I'm alive and Zulfiqar is in my hands, you will not reach her and you know best [not to do it]."[175] It has been suggested that the loss of Fatimah was so traumatizing that Ali, for the first time, threatened Umar with violence, despite his earlier restraint.[176]

Descendants

Fatimah was survived by two sons, Hasan and Husayn, and two daughters, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum.[177] Controversy surrounds the fate of her third son, Muhsin. The Shia hold that Muhsin died in miscarriage, following Umar's raid on Fatimah's house, while Sunnis insist that Muhsin died in infancy of natural causes.[178] It is through Fatimah that Muhammad's progeny has spread throughout the Muslim world. Fatimah's descendants are given the honorific titles sayyid (meaning lord or sir) or sharif (meaning noble), and are respected by the Sunni and Shia alike.[179]

In the Quran

While Fatimah is not mentioned in the Quran by name, a number of verses are associated with her in classical exegeses.[180]

Fatimah is associated with the Verse of Mubahala in the Quran (Q3:61).[181] After an unsuccessful debate between Muhammad and a Christian delegation from Najran in 10 AH, the two sides decided to gather and invoke God's wrath upon "the liars," in what has become known as the Event of Mubahala.[182] The Verse of Mubahala instructed Muhammad as follows:[183]

Should anyone argue with you concerning him, 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 God's curse upon the liars.’

There is strong evidence that only Fatimah, Ail, and their two sons, Hasan and Husayn, accompanied Muhammad to this event, suggesting that Muhammad had identified these four as his people, his souls.[184] The Christian delegation stepped back and negotiated for peace in return for paying tribute.[185]

Fatimah is also associated in numerous reports with the Verse of Purification in the Quran (Q33:33), "Indeed God desires to repel all impurity from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and purify you with a thorough purification."[186] At the Event of Mubahala, when he faced off with a Christian delegation from Najran, it is well-documented that Muhammad specified Ahl al-Bayt as Fatimah, Ali, and their two sons, Hasan and Husayn.[187] On another occasion, Muhammad gathered these four under his cloak and recited the Verse of Purification, followed by, "These, O God, are my ahl al-bayt."[188] When asked if she could join them, Muhammad gently excluded his wife, Umm Salama.[189] This account from Sahih at-Tirmidhi is known as the Hadith of Kisa and these five are also referred to as the Ahl al-Kisa.[190]

Shia also interprets the Verse of Mawadda in relation to the Ahl al-Bayt, including Fatimah.[191] This verse reads:[192]

[O Muhammad!] Say, ‘I do not ask you any reward for it except love of kins.'

When this verse was revealed, there are reports that Muhammad was asked who these close relatives were and that he specified them as Fatimah, Ali, Hasan and Husayn.[193] In effect, love of the Ahl al-Bayt emerges in Shia Islam as a prerequisite for spiritual elevation of Muslims.[194] In particular, the above verse is interpreted together with verses Q34:37 and Q25:57 in the Quran.[195][196][197] A related sahih Sunni hadith states that, "No one but a believer would love Ali and none but a munafiq (hypocrite) would nurse a grudge against him."[198]

It is widely believed that verses 76:7-12 of the Quran were revealed after Fatimah, Ali, Hasan and Husayn, gave away their only meal of the day to beggars who visited them, for three consecutive days.[199]

They fulfil their vows and fear a day whose ill will be widespread. They give food, for the love of Him, to the needy, the orphan and the prisoner, [saying,] ‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We do not want any reward from you nor any thanks. Indeed we fear from our Lord a day, frowning and fateful.’ So Allah saved them from the ills of that day, and granted them freshness and joy. And He rewarded them for their patience with a garden and [garments of] silk...

It might be noted that Muslims endured dire financial hardships in the early years of Islam.[200] The Quranic praise for Mary in verse Q3:42 is often echoed for Fatimah in view of a sahih hadith that lists Fatimah, Khadija, Asiya, and Mary, mother of Jesus, as the outstanding women of all time.[201][202]

And when the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah has chosen you and purified you, and He has chosen you above the world’s women.'

Similar to Mary, a number of early sources hold that angels spoke to Fatimah on multiple occasions.[27][28]

In hadith

Since the infallibility of Muhammad is the prevalent belief across various Muslim sects, his words and deeds might offer a window to Fatimah's character beyond his paternal love for her daughter.[203][204]

By Muhammad's admission, Fatimah was the dearest person to him and "part of himself."[205] Muhammad regarded Fatimah as the outstanding woman of all time and had directly linked Fatimah's anger and approval to God's anger and approval.[206] Another account elevates Fatimah together with Khadija, Asiya, and Mary.[201] Whenever Fatimah arrived, Muhammad used to stand up, greet her and ask her to sit next to him.[207] When leaving Medina, Fatimah was the last person that Muhammad bid farewell to and she was the first he visited upon his return.[208] Her manners were described to be similar to Muhammad.[209] Muhammad held that Fatimah would be the first person to enter the Paradise and, as with Mary, she will intercede for those who honor her and her descendants.[210]

In modern culture

While Fatimah is often revered as an ultimate archetype for Muslim women, she has also gained a modern importance as a symbol for the female freedom fighter and the defender of the oppressed.[211] In his book, the philosopher A. Shariati portrays Fatimah as "the symbol of a responsible, fighting woman when facing her time and the fate of her society."[212] Fatimah is also venerated for her compassion, generosity, and suffering by all Muslims and, particularly, by the Shia.[213] Iranians celebrate Fatimah's birth anniversary on 20 Jumada al-Thani as the Mother's Day.[214]

The first ever feature film that deals with the life of Fatimah, during and after the era of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, titled The Lady of Heaven was produced in 2020 by Enlightened Kingdom.[215] The film will be premiering in the United States on the 10th of December 2021.[216]

See also

References

  1. ^ Fitzpatrick & Walker (2014, pp. 182–186)
  2. ^ Fitzpatrick & Walker (2014, pp. 182–186)
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick & Walker (2014, pp. 182–186)
  4. ^ Rogerson (2006, p. 42). Abbas (2021, p. 33)
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  101. ^ "(Q19:5-6) 'Indeed I fear my kinsmen, after me, and my wife is barren. So grant me from Yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the House of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You]!'".
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  146. ^ "(Q33:53) O you who have faith! Do not enter the Prophet's houses unless permission is granted you for a meal, without waiting for it to be readied. But enter when you are invited, and disperse when you have taken your meal, without settling down to chat. Indeed such conduct torments the Prophet, and he is ashamed of [asking] you [to leave]; but Allah is not ashamed of [expressing] the truth. And when you ask anything of [his] womenfolk, ask it from them from behind a curtain. That is more chaste for your hearts and their hearts. You may not torment the Apostle of Allah, nor may you ever marry his wives after him. Indeed that would be a grave [matter] with Allah".
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Bibliography

Further reading

Sunni primary sources

Books and journals

Shia sources

External links