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Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Published on 1st Muharram,1430/27th December, 2008.

Fatimah and Fatimah
The Daughters of Imams Hasan and Husayn ('a)

"A Discussion concerning Fatimah al-Kubra and Fatimah as-Sughra"

By Hj S.Abidin

Illustration by Hj S.Abidin. Photos courtesy of Islamic Occasions Network. 


Fatimah bint al-Hasan

Fatimah bint al-Husayn

Hasan b. al-Hasan

Sayyeda Zaynab ('a) in Cairo

The family tree surrounding Fatimah bint al-Hasan and Fatimah bint al-Husayn (alayhi mus salam)

Sayyeda Fatimah in Cairo

Corrections on Some False Reports

Al-Husayn's ('a) Wives




VNM: Fatimah and Fatimah, the pious daughters of the Holy Imams Hasan and Husayn ('a), grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad ('s) were both present at Karbala, Iraq on the Day of Ashurra, 10th Muharram, 61 A.H. (680 AD) when the third Holy Imam Husayn ('a) was martyred. This humble work endeavours to explore greater detail concerning the lives of these two Holy ladies after the event of the Battle of Ashurra. The significance of these ladies is borne from the fact that Fatimah bint Hasan was the daughter, wife and mother of three of our Holy Imams ('a), and I explore the possibility that Fatimah bint Husayn went on to become the mother of the Fatimid Caliphs of Northern Africa.

TopFatimah bint al-Hasan

Fatimah bint al-Hasan, the mother of Muhammad al-Baqir ('a), was a pure and chaste woman. Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin ('a), her husband, called her al-Siddiqa (the very truthful one). Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq ('a) said concerning her, “She was very truthful. No one in the family of al-Hasan looked like her”. It is enough for her highness that she was part of the plant of the sweet basil of the Apostle of Allah (Imam Hasan) and that she grew up “in the houses which Allah permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them. She brought up Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ('a) in her pure lap. She poured upon him rays of her pure soul. She fed him with her noble ideas that became part of his qualities” (al-Qarashi, 1999). There is no record of any other children being born to her after the Battle of Ashurra.

Her son, Muhammad al-Baqir ('a) was the first Imam who descended from 'Ali b. Abi Talib ('a), through both his father, Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin, and his mother Fatima b. al-Hasan ('a), who was praised by Imam Jafar as-Sadiq ('a) as being a faithful woman (al-Balagh, 1995, p7).

Fatimah bint al-Hasan was the daughter of Umm Ishaq bint Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah al-Taymi. Umm Ishaq later married Imam Husayn after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan and bore him a daughter also, named Fatimah (al-Mufid, 1981, p379). Therefore, Umm Ishaq was the mother of both Fatimah bint al-Hasan and Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a). Both her daughters, Fatimah b. al-Hasan and Fatimah b. al-Husayn, were therefore both cousins and sisters. This could be one of the confused points leading to misunderstandings that Imam Husayn ('a) had two daughters named Fatimah, when Fatimah b. Hasan was in fact his niece, stepdaughter and daughter-in-law. They may have been referred to as Fatimah al-Kubra and Fatimah as-Sughra.

TopFatimah bint al-Husayn

Fatimah b. al-Husayn was taken prisoner from Karbala onto Damascus and survived to return to Madinah and continue her marriage with Hasan b. al-Hasan and bear him the son ‘Abd Allah. This Fatimah is the one to whomThe shrine of Fatimah Sughra in Damascus. Photo credit Islamic Occasions Network the bad Syrian refers to in the court of Yazid. Her husband, Hasan b. al-Hasan, was not, however, taken prisoner onto Damascus from Karbala after surviving the events of the day of Ashura. He was captured and taken elsewhere. There are numerous reports of Fatimah bint al-Husayn having lived decades beyond Ashura. It is therefore questionable as to whom the tomb in Damascus, Syria truly belongs. The tomb reads – Fatimah as-Sughra. This may in fact actually be Fatimah al-Kubra who is the daughter of Imam al-Hasan, Fatimah wife of Ali Zayn al-Abidin. And Allah (swt) only knows.

Fatimah bint al-Husayn was often quoted by her nephew, the son of her brother Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin, al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.  Husayn b. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn was a man of merit and piety. He reported many traditions on the authority of his father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (a) and his aunt Fatimah b. al-Husayn (a) and his brother, Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir ('a) (al-Mufid, 1981, p405).

Transference of the Imamate

The Document Sealed with Twelve Seals. Artwork by ©The document sealed with twelve seals containing within all of the names of each successive Imam from Imam Ali b. Abi Talib ('a) through to Imam al-Mahdi (htfs) that was due to pass from Imam Husayn ('a) to his son and successor Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin ('a) is claimed to have been kept by Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a) and thereafter passed onto her brother. has stated that "An account concerning the testamentary of bequests (wasiyya) made by Imam al-Sajjad’s (‘a) father, Imam al-Husayn (‘a) was that they were deposited with Umm Salama for him (‘a). He (‘a) received them when his (‘a) father (‘a) died. Imam al-Husayn (‘a) made the request (for these) from Umm Salama, the sign of the Imamate of the one who should request them among men. (cf. al-Kafi, I, 204, tradition number 3), but other sources say that these things were in the hands of Fatimah, his daughter, (cf. al-Kafi, I, 363-4} in Al-Mufid 1981, pg.381). The facts do tend to favour the opinion that the bequests were left in the trusted care of Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) daughter, Fatimah, as she was present at Karbala, whereas Umm Salama was in Medina at the time, and according to the information above, Imam al-Sajjad (‘a) received these bequests at his father’s (‘a) death" (al-Zahra, 2005).

'Abd Allah, the son of Fatimah bint al-Husayn and Hasan b. al-Hasan, is quoted as having said:

"My mother, Fatima, daughter of al-Husayn ('a) used to tell me to sit with my maternal uncle, 'Ali b. al-Husayn Zayn al-Abidin ('a). I never sat with him without rising with some good which I had derived from him, whether it was fear of God which occurred in my heart when I realised (what) fear of God (was) or some traditional knowledge ('ilm) which I acquired from him" as was related by his grandson 'Abd Allah b. Musa b. 'Abd Allah b. Hasan b. al-Hasan (al-Mufid, 1981, p382).

Beyond the Battle of Ashura in 61AH, there are many proven accounts of the continued life of Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a). It is therefore possible that Fatimah bint al-Hasan, her cousin and sister, was killed in Damascus and never made it back to Madinah, as reports concerning any continuation of her life in Madinah are not apparent, unlike reports of Fatimah bint Husayn which are numerous.VNM. This may be why Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin said that Ash-Shams (Damascus) was by far when the greatest suffering took place possibly due also to his wife's death. The absence of references to the continued life of Fatimah bint al-Hasan is supported by the following statement made in an Ansariyan publication thus, "We have no information about the period which he (Muhammad al-Baqir) spent with his mother. That is because the references have neglected that period." (al-Qarashi 1999, p18).

Fatimah b. al-Hasan was the:

·         daughter of Umm Ishaq bint Talha b. ‘Ubayd Allah al-Taymi

·         wife of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn Zayn al-‘Abidin

·         mother of Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir ('a)

Fatimah b. al-Husayn was the:

·         daughter of Umm Ishaq bint Talha b. ‘Ubayd Allah al-Taymi

·         wife of Hasan b. al-Hasan

·         mother of ‘Abd Allah b. al-Hasan

TopHasan b. al-Hasan

Hasan b. al-Hasan, the second born son of Imam al-Hasan ('a) and son of Khawla b. Manzur al-Fazari, was the husband of Fatimah bint al-Husayn .

It is reported that Hasan b. al-Hasan sought to become engaged to one of the two daughters of his uncle, al-Husayn ('a).

“Choose my son,” al-Husayn ('a) told him, “the one of them which is preferable to you.”

Hasan became shy and could not make a choice in answer. So al-Husayn ('a) said, “I have chosen my daughter, Fatima, for you. Of the two she is the most like my mother, Fatima, daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.”(al-Mufid, 1981, p294/5).

Hasan b. al-Hasan had been present with his uncle, al-Husayn ('a) at the battle on the banks (of the Euphrates). When al-Husayn ('a) was killed and the rest of his family had been taken prisoner, Asma’ b. Kharija, his maternal uncle, had come to him and taken him in his severely wounded state from among the prisoners as the rogues prepared to cut the pure heads off the martyrs.

Asma' b. Kharija said: “By God, don’t ever let him go to Ibn Khawla.” “Let him go to Abu Hasan, the son of his sister” said Umar b. Sa’d."  He was taken to Kufa where his uncle treated his wounds and once recovered he returned to Madinah and resumed his role of collecting the sadaqat, zakat and khums taxes on behalf of his Father and Grandfather, Imam al-Hasan and Imam Ali ('a) (al-Qurashi, 2006, p711).

Hasan b. al-Hasan died when he was thiry-five years of age, may God have mercy on him, after being poisoned by Waleed b. Abdul Malik (l). When Hasan b. al-Hasan died, his wife, Fatimah b. al-Husayn ('a), pitched a tent at his tomb and she used to stand in prayer at night and fast during the day. She was like a houri of heaven in her beauty.

At the beginning of the new year, she said to her retainers: “When the night becomes dark, pull down the tent.”

Then when the night became dark, she heard a voice saying: “Have they found what they had lost?”

She answered: “Nay, they have despaired so they have reversed things.” (al-Mufid, 1981, p294/5).

TopSayyeda Zaynab ('a) in Cairo, Egypt

After the members of the Holy House who were taken prisoner, returned to Madinah, Lady Zaynab bint 'Ali b. Abi Talib ('a), the sister of Imam Husayn ('a) was exiled to her choice of country, namely Egypt, and was accompanied by her nieces Fatimah bint al-Husayn and Sakina bint al-Husayn ('a) (Shahin, 2002, p220).

"A good number of historians have recorded that Lady Zaynab was buried in Egypt. For all Egyptians, this is an unquestionable fact, and her handsome shrine there is one of the most significant signs in Egypt. About Lady Zaynab's immigration to Egypt, historians have recorded the following:

In Medina, Lady Zaynab began to rally the public support against the ruling authorities and the unjust Umayyad State. As a result, people of Medina rebelled and formed armed forces to face the ruling authorities. As a reply, Yazid sent a heavy army commanded by the criminal Muslim ibn Aqabah to kill the rebels and civilians so harshly and mercilessly. He even turned them into slaves for Yazid.

According to Shams al‑Din, 1981, Lady Zaynab was sent into exile to Egypt, where, grief‑stricken, she died the following year.

TopSayyeda Fatimah in Cairo, Egypt

Sayyedah Zaynab ('a) Mosque in Cairo.Fearing the activities of Lady Zaynab, the ruler of Medina wrote to Yazid about her danger. The tyrant wrote back that he should banish her to any country she would choose. First of all, Lady Zaynab refused, but Zaynab daughter of 'Aqil, her cousin, convinced her to leave for the good of the religion. She hence opted for Egypt. In this (final) journey, she was accompanied by her nieces Fatimah and Sukaynah daughters of Imam al-Husayn. They arrived in Egypt on the last days of Dhul Hijjah, and were received hospitably by the ruler of Egypt, Maslamah ibn Mukhallad al-Ansari, who offered Lady Zaynab to reside in his own house in al-Hamra, and she lived there for eleven months and fifteen days. On Sunday, 15th Rajab, 62 A.H., Lady Zaynab departed life and was buried in that house. There is now a handsome shrine carrying her name and teaching all generations the meanings of real humanity and defense of freedom and belief" (Shahin, 2002, p220-221).

"Lady Zaynab resided in Egypt where she died and was buried. The lady buried in Damascus is her sister, Zaynab al-Wusta" (Shahin, 2002, p221).

TopCorrections on Some False Reports:

1. Zayd bin Hasan was not present at Karbala, nor was he taken prisoner.

Abdullah b. Ali Zayn al Abidin b.Hussain. Photo credit Islamic Occasions Network2. Umar bin Hasan was a martyr of Karbala, along with his two brothers, Qasim and Abd Allah, who were all children of a Umm Walad. Umm Walad was one of the wives of Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin whose son Abdillah, is buried in Damascus. 

3. Shahzanan was not present at Karbala, as she died giving birth to the Fourth Holy Imam 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin ibn Husayn (al Sajjad). Her sister is not on the list of wives of Imam Husayn and therefore was not present either at Karbala.

TopAl-Husayn's ('a) Wives

According to Shaykh al-Mufid, Al-Husayn's ('a) wives were as follows:

1. Shahzanan daughter of Choesroe Yazdigard

2. Layla bint Abu Murra bin Urwa bin Mas'ud al-Taqafi.

3. Umm Ja'far a woman of the tribe of Qud'a

4. Rabab bint Imru al Qays bin Adi of Kalb of Ma'd

5. Umm Ishaq bint Talha b. ‘Ubayd Allah al-Taymi. (al-Mufid, 1981, p 379).


Fatimah and Fatimah, the pious ladies belonging to the Holy House of Prophet Muhammad ('s) with beautiful faces like the full moon, are victorious in their own ways and left an enduring legacy upon the Earth. It would be logical therefore to conclude that both Fatimahs would have appeared remarkably similar to one another and to the daughter of the Apostle of God, Lady Fatima al Zahra ('a).

I have drawn the conclusion that the grave in Damascus belongs to Fatimah bint al-Hasan and not the grave of Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a). Therefore it is strongly likely that Fatimah bint al-Hasan departed this world whilst imprisoned by Yazid (l) in Damascus shortly after the Battle of Ashura. Her impact on her son, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ('a) was a lasting legacy.

She ('a) is quoted thus:

"Fatima bint Imam al-Hasan (‘a) narrated from her grandmother Fatima az-Zahra’ (‘a) that the Prophet (‘s) charmed al-Hasan and al-Husayn by these words as he taught them Qur’anic verses. He recited: “I seek protection by the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every vermin, and from every envious eye.’[4]"

[4] Ath-Thuriyyah at-Tahirah an-Nabawiyyah, p.107. (Maaref-foundation,2008)

I theorize that as Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a) had moved to Egypt, perhaps accompanied by her son, 'Abd Allah, it may be logical to presume that there would be descendents in Egypt and Northern Africa. The voluminous loss of literature however prevents this theory being collaborated by proofs and evidences.

She ('a) is quoted thus:

"Fatima bint Imam al-Husayn (‘a) narrated from her grandmother Fatima az-Zahra’[4] (‘a.) that the Prophet (‘s) said, ‘If someone becomes ill, Allah reveals to his angels: stop writing against My slave as long as he is in My tie. I have tied him until I take his soul or release him.’[1]"

[1] Musnad of Fatima az-Zahra’, p.220. (Maaref-foundation,2008)

Her Son 'Abd Allah b. Hasan is quoted thus:

"Abdullah bin al-Hasan narrated from his mother Fatima that his grandmother Fatima az-Zahra’ (‘a) said, ‘When the messenger of Allah (‘a) entered the mosque, he recited: “O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your mercy”, and when he left the mosque, he recited: “O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your favor”.’[2]"

[2] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 81 p.22, Amali of Sheikh at-Toosi, p.401. (Maaref-foundation,2008)

It has been stated that the Fatimid Caliphs of the period pre Ottoman and post Abbasid eras, 296 to 567 A.H., are descendent from Lady Fatima al-Zahra ('a) and were fourteen in number. The Fatimid territories extended from Northern Africa, Egypt and up to Syria and Shiism was firmly routed in Jordon and Palestine at that time. The people of Tabriyya, half of Nablus, Quds and a large part of Oman were Shia (Mughniyyah, 1985, p219).

"The year 359AH saw the building of the Al-Azhar University of Cairo, Egypt, by Jawharus Sayqali, the Commander of the army of the Fatimid Caliph. An extensive programme of the Shia jurisprudence, faith and philosophy were taught and all verdicts and teachings throughout Egypt conformed with the religion of the Ahlul Bayt ('a).

The first text used at Al-Azhar University was al-Iqtisad, which dealt with the Jurisprudence of the progeny of the Holy Prophet ('s) and thereafter Da'a'imul Islam which contained the rules and regulations of the Ahlul Bayt ('a) regarding lawful and unlawful things" (Abidin, 2002).

It therefore may be concluded that Fatimid Caliphs are descended from Fatimah bint al-Husayn ('a) who moved to Egypt in 62 A.H. after Ashura whilst accompanying her Aunt Zaynab into her forced exile. There are other unconfirmed  reports of the Holy Head of Imam Husayn ('a) having accompanied them also giving rise to the existence of the Imam Husayn Mosque in Cairo. And Allah (swt) only knows.

No matter what view the humble reader may take concerning the lives of these two women, Fatimah and Fatimah, it is true to say that their contribution to this world was remarkable in aiding Lady Zaynab ('a) in the protection of the message of the Prophet ('s). VNM. Both of them played a role in the protection of the next Holy Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin ('a) and his son the next Holy Imam Muhammad al-Baqir ('a) as a small child and other members of the Prophet's household who survived the Battle of Ashurra, even if it may have only been for a short while.

May Allah (swt) shower his abundant blessings upon both Fatimah and Fatimah.
Salamu'alayki ya Fatimah bint al-Hasan wal Fatimah bint al-Husayn!

Allahumma salley ala Muhammad wa ale Muhammad


Abidin, S. (2002) History of Shi'ism in Egypt, Victory News Magazine

al-Balagh, (1995) Imam al-Baqir: Ahlul Bait Series, al-Balagh Foundation, Tehran, I.R.Iran, p7.

al-Qarashi, Baqir Sharif  (1999) The Life of Imam Mohammad al-Baqir, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, I.R.Iran. p17/18

al-Qurashi, Baqir Shareef (2006) The Life of Imam al-Hasan al-Mujtaba, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, I.R.Iran, p711).

al-Zahra, M. (2005) Al- Sajjad -The Witness: The Role of Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin ('a) in Ashura, Victory News Magazine,, accessed 22nd January 2009.

Maaref Foundation (2008) The Life of Fatima, Accessed 1st Muharram, 1430/27th December 2008.

Shahin, Badr  (2002) Lady Zaynab, Ansariyan Publications, Qum, I.R.Iran.

Shams al‑Din, M. M. (1981) The Rising of al‑Husayn, English translation by I. K. A. Howard, London, U.K. p. 145. Cited on source page Accessed 2nd February, 2009.

Shaykh al-Mufid (1981) Kitab al-Irshad: The Book of Guidance into the live of the Twelve Imams, The Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, London, U.K. p294/5, p379, p382, p405.

Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyyah [Lebanon] (1985) Ash Shi'ah Wal Hakimun (The Despotic Rulers) Islamic Seminary Publications, Pakistan.


Author: Hj S.Abidin
Illustrations/Map: Hj S.Abidin
Photographer: Islamic Occasions Network
Chief Editor: Hj Nurzaynab El-Fatah
Production: Hj S. Abidin
Published Date: 1st Muharram, 1430/27th December, 2008.
Modification Date: 6 Safar, 1430/2nd February, 2009.

Publication ID: 08fatimah.
Fatimah and Fatimah. The Daughters of Imams Hasan and Husayn ('a).
Copyright: © Victory News Magazine, 2010


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