Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra
Excerpts from Rauza-tus-Safaa,
edited revised by
El-Sheikh Sayyid Mubarak Ali Shah Jilani al-Hasani wal-Husaini El-Hashimi
The princess of women, Sayyidatina Fatimah al-Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was, according to the statements of all the chief ‘Ulama, the most beloved of the children of the Holy Prophet of latter times (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), and was by her superior nobility of mind and excellent qualities distinguished above all her brothers and sisters. It is recorded in the Kashiful-Ghummah that Ibn Khisab has, in his chronicle of the births and deaths of the members of the family of the prince of existences, stated, with the proper authorities taken from Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Baqir, etc.—that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place five years after the announcement of prophecy and the descent of revelation, and that she departed from this world at the age of eighteen years and seventy-five days; but according to another tradition, ended was her noble life at the age of eighteen years, one month, and fifteen days. She lived with her father in Makkah for eight years, and she went to Madinah with the Rasul of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) and dwelt with him there ten years, and she was then eighteen years old. She lived with the Commander of the Faithful, Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (Karram Allah Wajhah) seventy five days after the death of her blessed father (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), but according to another tradition, forty days. In the Tanfyh of Ibn Jawzi it is stated that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place five years before the Mission, and in the Rawzat al-Ahbab two traditions are recorded on this subject, the first whereof agrees with that of the Tanfyh, but the second is to the effect that this luminary sphere of prophecy arose from the horizon of nativity in the forty-first year after the catastrophe of the elephant. In the just-mentioned work it is also narrated that the decease of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took place during the night of Tuesday, the third day of the month of Ramadhan, which happened six, and according to others three, months after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim). On account of the two traditions of Sayyidah Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) that noble lady must have reached the age of twenty-eight or of twenty-two years; but the true knowledge is with Allah.
In the Kashaful-Ghummah it is recorded, according to the precedent of those who walk in the paths of the A’immah, that the prince of the righteous (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) had said: "During the night of my ascension, I ate one fresh date of the fruits of the trees of eternity, which was softer than butter and sweeter than honey, and the essence of that date generated seed within my loins. When I [again] alighted on earth I approached Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) and she became pregnant with Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha)." The seal of Ambiya (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) also said: "‘O Khadijah, the faithful spirit of Allah has apprised me that this child will be a daughter. Call her Fatimah, because it is a pure and blessed name.’"
When the time of the delivery of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was near at hand, she sent for several of her relatives to aid her on that occasion; but as she incurred their displeasure by marrying the Holy Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), they would not comply with her request, so that she was much distressed. Nevertheless, four women, resembling those of the tribe of Bani Hashim, suddenly made their appearance, and Khadijah was afraid of them. One of them, however said: "Fear not, for Allah the Most High has sent us to you. We are your visitors. I am Sarah; this is Maryam, the daughter of Imran; the third is Kalthum, the sister of Musa; and the fourth is Asiyah, the wife of Pharaoh. They will be your companions in Paradise" Then one of these women sat down on the right and another on the left of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), the third in her front, and the fourth in her rear until Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was born. When this took place a light shone from that infant of laudable end, which encircled the houses of Makkah from the east and west, so that there was no spot in any house which was not illuminated by that light:
Distich: The light of prosperity shone, Making my heart to gladness prone.
In the above-named work, it is also recorded that the Lord and Bestower of all gifts sent ten Huris from the uppermost paradise into the apartment of the pure Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), each of whom brought a basin and a pitcher full of water from the Kawthar. Then the woman sitting in front of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) took hold of Fatimah and washed her with that water from paradise, and afterwards she brought forth white and extremely fragrant swaddling clothes in which she wrapped the infant; then she drew a similar cloth over the child’s head by the way of a coif, and said: "Take her, Khadijah. Give way to no apprehensions, for blessing is in her and in her progeny." Then the other women congratulated Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) and departed, whilst she embraced Fatimah with great joy and happiness. When the lord of prophecy (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) entered, he took the darling child into his arms, called her Fatimah, and surnamed her Umm Muhammad, but her sobriquets are numerous, such as, the blessed, the pure, the innocent, the pleasing, the pleased, the orthodox, the Vestal, and Zahra (flower).
It is related by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) that his holy and prophetic lordship (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) asked Sayyidah Fatimah one day whether she knew why she was called by that name, and Sayyidina Ali Amir ul-Mu’mineen (Karram Allah Wajhah) having thereon also asked for the reason, his lordship replied: "Because she delivered her soul from fire." It is related that Hayder Karar (one of the names of Sayyidina Ali, Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) said: "Verily the Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) was asked what Betul meant, and he replied: ‘It is a woman who never sees redness; namely, she never menstruates, because menstruation is hateful in the daughters of the Prophets.’" It is related that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) having been asked why the princess of women was surnamed Zahra, he replied: "Because Allah had magnified her, and when she arose she illuminated the heavens and the earth with her light, and the eyes of the angels were dazzled, so that they prostrated themselves, worshipping Allah Ta’ala, and saying: ‘O our God and Lord, what is this light?’ Whereon Allah vouchsafed to the the following revelation: ‘This is a light of My Light: I cause it to dwell in My Heaven: I created it from My Greatness; I produced it from my forehead, and from a Nabi more excellent than all the other Ambiya. From that light I shall produce A’immah who will promulgate My Commands, and propagate My Truth, and I shall cause them to be Khalifahs on My earth;’ and here the revelation ceased"
As has been narrated above, the lord of dominion [i.e., Hazrat Ali, Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu] married in the second year of Hijra [A.D. 623] the princess of women, who was on that occasion, according to the tradition of the Imams of the family [of Muhammad, Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim], nine, but according to another statement fourteen, years old. Some even assert that she was twenty years of age.
It is related in the Sohah-Akhbar that when Sayyidah Aisha (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was asked what person that Prophet of Jinn and Men loved most, she replied: "Fatimah." They said: "Of men?" She (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) replied: "Her husband." It is likewise related of Siddiqah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) that she said: "I never saw any person resembling Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) more than Fatimah in her countenance, in elegance of speech, in dignity, and in all her motions. Whenever Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) paid a visit to the best of men (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) he rose, kissed her, and made her sit down in his own place. Whenever his lordship the refuge of prophecy (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) came to her house, Sayyidatina Fatimah acted in the same manner. It is also an authentic fact that the Holy Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said: "Fatimah is a part of me; whoever injures her injures me, and whoever angers her angers me." According to some traditions, he also said: "Allah gets angry when Fatimah gets angry."
It is related of Thauban, the freed man of the prophet of the last times, that he said: "When the best of men started on a journey, the last person of whom he took leave was Fatimah az-Zahra, and when he returned the first person whom he met was Betul."
It is related in many respectable historical works that when Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was struck by the calamity of losing her father, the best of men, she wept and lamented so much from morning till evening that she distressed the inhabitants of Madinah, who sent her the following message: "O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, if you weep during the day, take rest in the night, that way we may also have peace; and if you weep in the night, be silent during the day, and we shall likewise obtain repose."
It is related of the Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) that he said: "There are five weepers in the world: Firstly Adam (Alayhis-Salaam), who cried so much after his expulsion from Paradise that two rivers [of tears] were flowing on his face. Secondly, Ya’qub (Alayhis-Salaam), who wept so much on account of his separation from Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) that he became blind. Thirdly, Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) who deplored in prison his separation from Ya’qub to such a degree that all the captives were distressed. Fourthly, Fatimah (alayhas-Sallam) who wept so much after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) that the inhabitants of Madinah sent her the following message: "O darling of the lord of existences, you have indeed distressed us by your fervent lamentations." Then Betul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) betook herself at least to the cemetery of the martyrs, and wept there. Fifthly, the fourth Emam, who was constantly shedding tears on account of the calamity of Karbala, so that his attendants could never place any food before him without its being moistened by the water of his eyes." It is related of Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir, the Imam of exalted memory, that he said: "After the decease of his holy and prophetic lordship, no one ever saw Fatimah laugh till her very dying day." It is related that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) called in her last malady for Salmi the freed woman of the lord Mustafa, and said: "Bring me some water for ablution." Salmi narrates: "After she had washed herself so beautifully as I had never seen anyone doing it so well, she asked for clean garments and donned them. Then she ordered me to spread out her couch, whereon she reclined, turned with her right side to the Qiblah, and, placing her right hand beneath her face, she said: "Salmi, I shall at this moment depart from the abode of perishableness to the mansions of eternity, and I have washed myself that no one may undress me." When she had uttered these words, her spirit took flight to the upper regions." Shortly afterwards, Sayyidina Ali Commander of the Faithful (Karram Allah Wajhah) entered, and, witnessing the scene, poured forth tears from the clouds of his eyes. This event is, according to the Rauzatul-Ahbab, described in the same manner by Muhammad bin Sa’d and the amanuensis in his Tabaqat; but if it be true, it must be considered as one of the peculiarities of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), because it is against the commandments of the doctors of the Law [to omit the ablution of a corpse]. NOTE: The reader should know that Hazrat Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) was not like ordinary Muslim ladies.
In the Kashaful-Ghummah, it is related that Batul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) when she was near her death, called Asma the daughter of Umees, and said: "Asma, one day Jibreel (Alayhis-Salaam) paid a visit to my father when he was sick, and brought him some camphor of paradise for Hanutt. My father divided it into three parts. Keeping one for himself and giving the other two to me, he said: ‘Preserve the one share for yourself, and the other for Ali Murtaza.’ Asma, that camphor, which weighs forty mithqals, I have laid by in a certain place. The twenty mithqals which belong to me you are to put near my head; but give the other twenty to the lord Ali Murtaza." When Asma had done this, Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) said: "Go out and leave me alone. Call out my name after a short time; if I answer, it is all well and good; but if I remain silent, be aware that I have departed to my noble father." Asma obeyed, and shortly afterwards, called out: "O daughter of Muhammad the Elect!" but received no answer. She therefore again entered the apartment, and removing the veil from the countenance of the princess of women, she perceived that her soul had departed from the abode of grief to the palace of joy. Then she prostrated herself, approached, and kissed her, saying: "O Betul, when you arrive in the paradise of your father, convey him my greeting and petition." On that occasion the lord and Imam Hasan entered with the Imam Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma) and asked: "Asma, is our mother asleep?" Asma replied: "Your mother is not asleep, but has departed to the proximity of the Mercy of the Lord of lords." Hereon both commenced to week and to lament, and proceeded to the Masjid of the Holy Nabi (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) for the purpose of informing Sayyidina Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah) of the event. When they had reached the proximity of that blessed locality their voices of lamentation became very loud, so that some of the Holy Companions (Radhi Allahu Anhum) who were sitting there with Sayyidina Ali (Karram Allah Wajhah) exclaimed: "What makes you cry, O [grand] sons of the Nabi of Allah? Allah forfend that you should weep!" Then they related what had taken place, and the Lion of Attack (Karram Allah Wajhah) was so overpowered by grief that he fell prostrate on his face and uttered the following words: "O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, after his lordship’s death, you were my consolation; but who will calm the pain of endless separation and of infinite exile when you are no more?" Then he pronounced the following distichs:
Each meeting of two friends has an end
Every grief is slight, except separation;
If I have lost Fatimah after Ahmad,
It is a sign that no friend remains.
Then the king and refuge of wilayat [i.e., Ali] hastened to the apartment of Tahirah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), and ordered Asma to wash and shroud the princess of the women of both worlds, and interred her body to the Baqi’ cemetery. The author of Kashaful-Ghummah says: "Ibn Babutah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) reports the matter as follows, and I consider him to be correct: She was buried in her own house, but when the [graves of the] Bani Umayya increased in the mosque her body was [likewise] interred in the same, and in what I have reported I have only stated what is know and generally believed by the people, by historians and biographers, that, as stated above, she had been interred in al-Baqi cemetery."
It is related in the Rauza-tul-Ahbab that according to one tradition Hazrat Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah), and according to another Sayyidina Abbas (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu), prayed over the corpse of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha). The next day, the two Sheikhs (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma) and all the companions of the best of men, reproached Haidar [The Lion, i.e., Ali] the Commander of the Faithful, saying: "Why have you not informed us, that, by being present at the honor of the prayers over Fatimah, we might ourselves have been honored?" But the king of the dominion answered: "I have acted thus by her own injunction."
In the Rauzat-ush-Shuhada [Mausoleum of Martyrs] it is recorded that according to the tradition of the Ahlul-Bayt [members of the family] the death of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha), the daughter of the prince of existences, took place on Tuesday, the third day of the blessed month of Ramadhan, in the eleventh year of the Hijra [A.D. 632], and that she was buried in the Rauzat-Maqadasat [sacred mausoleum].
The author of the present work states that some who wrote down the traditions concerning the members of the family assert that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) died seventy-five days after the prince of mortals; others, however, say forty days. The Kashaful-Ghumma has a tradition from the Dhariat-Taharat, the author of which is Dullaby, that al-Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) lived three months after the decease of the Mustafa (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) and the number of days given by the Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir is ninety-five. None of the traditions, however, imply that this great calamity had taken place on the third day of the blessed month Ramadhan, because in reality the death of the daughter of the prince of existences took place at the end of Safar, or in the beginning of Rabi anterior in the same year; the [true] knowledge, however, is with Allah, who is to be adored.
In the Tanfyh of Ibn Jawzi, it is recorded that Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) had four children, children, namely, the Imams Hasan and Husayn, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthum. Zaynab was married to Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Tayyar (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) and gave birth to two sons, Ubaydullah and Awun. Faruq the greater [i.e., the Khalif Umar] (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) espoused Umm Kulthum during his own reign, and begat with her a son, Zayd by name. After the demise of Umar the Commander of the Faithful (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) Awun bin Ja’far married her, and after he had also died Muhammad bin Ja’far married her, and had a daughter by her. When Muhammad had likewise departed to the eternal world, Abdullah bin Ja’far married Umm Kulthum and she died in his house.
According to a tradition of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq and Lyth bin Sa’d, Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anha) had two other children, namely Hasan and Raqayah, both of whom died in infancy. It is recorded in the Rauza-tul-Ahbab that neither Zaynab nor Umm Kulthum left any offspring at all, and therefore the descendants of the seal of the Prophets are all the progeny of the Imams Hasan and Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhuma), as well as to all the pure A’immah our guides, the Khalifahs and directors; abundant and consecutive salutations to them to the day of resurrection.