Published on 23rd
The Radiant, Daughter of the Apostle of Allah
Abu Alial-Fadl ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Fadl at-Tabrisi
This chapter deals with Fatimah
az-Zahra' (the Radiant), the
daughter of the Messenger of Allah. It treats her birth, span of
life and the time of her death, as well as some of her excellences
and characteristics. It consists of three sections.
The most predominant view in the traditions transmitted by our
traditionists is that Fatimah az-Zahra' was born in Mecca, on the
twentieth of Jumada 'l-Akhirah, in the fifth year of the Prophet's
apostolic career. It is also asserted that when the Prophet died,
Fatimah was eighteen years and seven months old.
It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Yazid that (the
fifth Imam) al-Baqir was asked: "How long did Fatimah live
after the Messenger of Allah?" He answered: "Four
months; she died at the age of twenty-three." This view is
close to that reported by the traditionists of the (Sunni)
majority. They have asserted that she was born in the forty-first
year of the. Messenger of Allah's life. This means that she was
born one year after the Prophet was sent by Allah as a messenger.
The scholar Abu Sa'id al-Hafiz relates in his book Sharafu' n-Nabiyy
that all the children of the Messenger of Allah were born before
Islam except Fatimah and Ibrahim, who were born in Islam.
It is reported that the sixth Imam Ja'far
said: "Fatimah has nine names with Allah. They are:
Fatimah, as-Siddiqah ( the Righteous)
al-Mubarakah ( the Blessed)
at-Tahirah (the Pure)
az-Zakiyyah (the Unblemished)
ar-Radiyah (the one content with Allah's pleasure)
al-Mardiyyah (the one pleasing to
al-Muhaddathah (the one spoken to by angels) and
az-Zahirah (the Luminous)."
In the Musnad ( collection of transmitted hadiths) of the
eighth Imam ar-Rida ('a), it is reported that the Prophet declared:
"I named my daughter Fatimah (the Weaned One) because
Allah weaned her and those who love her from the Fire."
The Prophet also called her al-Batul (pure virgin), and said to 'A'ishah:
"O Humayra' ( a reddish white, a well-known epithet of 'A'ishah),
Fatimah is not like the women of human kind, nor does she suffer
the illness you ( women) suffer! " This is explained in
another prophetic tradition which asserts that she never
menstruated. It is likewise reported by Sunni traditionists on the
authority of Anas ibn Malik, who heard Umm Salim, the wife of Abu
Talhah al-Ansari, say: " Fatimah never experienced the blood
of menstruation or parturition, for she was created from the
waters of Paradise." This is because when the Messenger of
Allah was transported to heaven, he entered Paradise, where he ate
of its fruits and drank its water.
One of the most incontrovertible proofs of
Fatimah's sinlessness is Allah's saying:
"Surely Allah wishes to remove all abomination from you, O
People of the House, and purify you with a great
The argument in favour of this, is that the Muslim
community has unanimously agreed that the 'People of the House'
(i.e., ahlu 'l-bayt), intended in this verse are the People of the
Household of the Messenger of Allah. Traditions (ahadith) of both
the Shi'i and Sunni communities have asserted that this verse
particularly refers to Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn. The
Prophet, moreover, spread over them all one day a Khaybarite
mantle and prayed:
"O Allah, these are the People of my Household, remove all
abomination from them and purify them with a great
Umm Salamah said: "I too, O Apostle of Allah,
am of the People of your House!" He answered: "Your lot
shall be good!"
The Divine Will expressed in this verse must by necessity be
either an abstract will not implemented by an action, or a will
accompanied by an action. The first option is untenable because it
implies no particular applicability to the People of the Prophet's
House; such a will is shared by all obligated ( mukallafin) human
beings. Nor is abstract will by itself cause for praise. The
entire community has concurred on the view that this verse
proclaims the excellence of the People of the Prophet's House over
all others, and that the verse refers to them alone. Thus the
second option (that the Divine Will referred to in the verse is a
will accompanied by action) is true, and in it is clear proof of
the sinlessness of those who were intended in the verse. It
implies further that it is impossible for them to commit any evil
action. Moreover, any others whom we have not named here are no doubt not
held by general consensus as possessing 'ismah (protection from
error). Thus since the verse necessarily implies sinlessness it
must apply to them (the People of the Prophet' s House), because
it pertains to no other individuals.
Another proof of Fatimah's sinlessness is the Prophet's saying
"Fatimah is part of me. Whatever causes her hurt, hurts
He also said:
"Whoever hurts Fatimah, hurts me, and whoever hurts me,
hurts Allah, exalted be His Majesty"
The Prophet said
"Allah becomes wrathful for Fatimah's anger, and is
pleased at her pleasure."
Had she been one who was guilty of committing sins, it would not
be that anyone causing her hurt would by this cause the Prophet
himself hurt in any way. On the contrary, if anyone were to
disgrace and hurt her deservedly - even if he were to inflict upon
her the severest punishment permitted by the limits set by Allah -
if her action necessitated such retaliation, it would be pleasing
Among the signs indicating Fatimah's exalted status with Allah
is an incident related by both Shi'i and Sunni traditionists on
the authority of Maymunah (the Prophet's wife) , who reported that
Fatimah was found asleep one day, the hand-mill beside her turning
of its own accord. She informed the Apostle of Allah of this, and
"Allah knew the weak condition of His handmaid; He
thus inspired the hand-mill to turn by itself, and so it did."
Among the reports asserting her excellence and high distinction
over all other women is the tradition reported on the authority of
'A'ishah who said:
"I never saw a man more beloved of the Apostle of Allah
than 'Ali, or a woman more dear to him than Fatimah."
Sunni traditionists also reported on the authority of the
Commander of the Faithful who said:
"I asked the Messenger of Allah, 'Who is more beloved
to you, Fatimah or I?'
'Fatimah is more beloved to me, and you are dearer to me than
These traditionists also reported from
Anas ibn Malik that:
"Fatimah is the most excellent of all the women of
In another tradition it is reported that the Prophet said:
"The most excellent among the women of the world are:
Maryam daughter of 'Imran
Asiyah daughter of Muzahim (wife of Pharaoh)
Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid and
Fatimah daughter of
It is also related on the authority of Ibn
'Abbas who said:
" The most excellent of the women of Paradise
Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid
Fatimah daughter of Muhammad
Maryam daughter of 'Imran and
Asiyah daughter of Muzahim
Traditionists report that 'Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf' said:
"I heard the Apostle of Allah say, 'I am a tree, Fatimah
is its trunk and Ali is its pollen. Hasan and Husayn are its
fruits, and our followers (Shi'ah) are its leaves. The roots of
the tree are in the Garden of Eden, and its trunk, fruits and
leaves are in Paradise.' "
The traditions which our Companions (that is, Shi'i hadith
transmitters), may Allah be pleased with them, have reported in
proof of. Fatimah's special place among the children of the
Apostle - her honoured status and distinction over all the women
of humankind - are beyond number.
We shall, therefore, limit ourselves to the reports which we have
Among the things which Allah completed the great honour of the
Commander of the Faithful in this world and the world to come was
His special favour towards him in having him unite in marriage
with the noble daughter of the Messenger of Allah, who was the
most beloved of all creatures to him, the consolation of his eyes
and mistress of the women of the world.
the many ahadith (traditions) concerning this event is the sound
hadith reported on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, who said:
"As the Apostle of Allah was sitting one day, Ali came to see
He addressed him saying,
'O 'Ali, what brings you here?'
'I came only to greet you with the salutation of peace',
The Prophet declared:
'Here comes Gabriel to tell me that Allah has willed to unite
you in marriage with Fatimah, peace be upon her. He has, moreover,
called as witnesses to her marriage a thousand thousand angels.
Allah has revealed to the tree of Tuba, " Scatter your pearls
and rubies! " Black-eyed houris rushed to pick the precious
stones up, which they shall exchange as presents among them till
the Day of Resurrection.'"
It is related on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, who said:
"On the night when Fatimah was married to Ali, the Messenger
of Allah stood before her. Gabriel stood at her right hand and
Michael at her left. Seventy thousand angels stood behind her,
praising and sanctifying Allah. The Commander of the Faithful
prided himself on his marriage to her on numerous occasions."
Abu Ishaq ath-Thaqaf reported on the authority of Hakim ibn Jubayr,
who reported from al-Hajari who related from his uncle who said:
"I heard Ali say one day, "I shall utter words
which no other man would utter but that he would be a liar. I am
'Abdullah (Allah's servant), and the brother of the Apostle of
Allah. I am the one whose guardian is the Prophet of mercy, for I
have married . the mistress of all the women of the community. I
am the best of the vicegerents.' "
Numerous reports expressing similar ideas have been transmitted.
Tath-Thaqafi reported on the authority of Buraydah, who said:
"On the nuptial night of Ali and Fatimah, the Prophet said to
'Do not do anything until you see me.' He then brought
water - or the traditionalist reported that he called for water -
which he used to perform his ablutions for prayers, pouring the
rest over 'Ali. The Prophet then prayed,
'O Allah, bless them! Shower your blessings over them, and
bless for them their two young lions (that is, their two sons
Hasan and Husayn).'" ath-Thaqafi also related on the
authority of Shurahil ibn Abi Sa'd, who said: "On the morning
after Fatimah's wedding, the Prophet brought a skinful of milk,
and said to Fatimah,
'Drink! May your father be a ransom for you.' He likewise
said to Ali,
'Drink! May your cousin be a ransom for you.'
is reported that Fatimah died on the third of Jumada 'l-Akhirah in
the eleventh year of the hijrah. She survived the Prophet by only
ninety-five days. It is also reported that she survived him by
The Commander of the Faithful (Ali) himself took charge of her
washing. It is reported that Asma' daughter of 'Umays assisted him
in washing her. Asma' related: "Fatimah had stated in her
will that no one should wash her corpse except Ali and I. Thus we
washed her together, and the Commander of the Faithful prayed over
her along with Hasan and Husayn, 'Ammar ibn Yasir, Miqdad, 'Aqil'
az -Zubayr, Abu Dharr, Salman, Buraydah and a few men of Banu
Hashim. They prayed over her in the night, and in accordance with
her own. will Ali the Commander of the Faithful buried her in
There is much disagreement among traditionists as to the exact
spot of her grave. Our own traditionists have asserted that she
was buried in the Baqi'. Others said that she was buried in her
own chamber, and that when the Umayyad rulers enlarged the Mosque
of Medina, her grave came to be in the sanctuary. Still others
argued that she was buried between the grave and pulpit of the
Prophet. It is to this that the Prophet alluded in his saying:
"There is between my grave and pulpit a garden of the
gardens of Paradise."
The first view is unlikely, while the two other views are nearer
to the truth. Thus, those who wish to apply the principle of
caution (ihtiyat) when performing ziyarah, or pilgrimage, to her
grave, should do so in all three places.
This is all that we wished to say concerning Muhammad, the
Elect Prophet (al-Mustafa) and his daughter Fatimah, the Radiant (az-Zahra').
From Allah alone comes success.
1. That is, Abu Sa'd or Sa'id al-Kharkushi. at-Tabrisi (or his
editor) here calls him "al-Hafiz", but he seems rather
to be known as al-Wa'iz. Despite al-Kharkushi's statement as here
reported by at -Tabrisi, traditionists have generally agreed that
Fatimah ('a) was born early in the Prophet's career.