Women in Islam: Fatimah Az-Zahra
Fatimah Az-Zahra was the youngest daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon Him) and his wife, Khadijah binti Khuwaylid. She grew up as very sensitive child on her age. She was five years old when the Prophet Rasulullah (peace be upon him) declared himself as the messenger of Allah. Her mom, Khadijah binti Khuwaylid told her what the responsibilities of the Prophet are. Fatimah became more closely attached and felt a deep bonding of love to her father. She used to accompanied her father when visiting Ka’bah or attending secret meetings with the early people that has embraced Islam.
Once, when she accompanied her father to Masjid Al-Haraam, the Prophet began to pray in front of the Ka’bah. A group of Quraysh gathered around the Prophet (peace be upon Him) and brought the entrails of a slaughtered animal and threw it on shoulders of the Prophet. Fatimah was ten years old, removed the filth, then, in a firm and angry voice she lashed out against the Quraysh, and they said no single word.
Upon her mother’s death, she felt that she had to give greater support to her father. She looked after his needs, engrossed in her father’s service, and people started to called her “Umm Abiha”, the mother of her father. Fatimah was raised by his father, and received education directly from his father. Her gestures and manners resembled of her father so much. She learnt a gentle speech and manners from her father. She gave the needy foods, preferred herself remain hungry, and she was known as ‘the lady of the light’. The Prophet had special love to Fatimah. Narrated by Miswar bin Makhramah Radiallahu Anha, the Prophet said,
“My daughter is part of me. He who disturbs her in fact disturbs me and he who offends her, offends me.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 3767).
The Prophet was also said, “The best women in the entire world are four: The Virgin Mariyam Radi Allahu Ta’aala Anha daughter of Imran, and Aasiya Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha the wife of Pharaoh (Firaun), and Khadija Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha the mother of the believers, and Fatimah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha the daughter of Muhammad ShallAllahu Alaihi wa Salaam.”
Fatimah was married to Ali ibn Thalib, at the beginning of the second year after hijra. She was nineteen-years old and Ali was about twenty-one. Ali was had presented Fatimah binti Rasulullah with a wodden bed intertwined with palm leaves, a velvet coverlet, a leather cushion filled with the leaves of a plant, a sheepskin, a pot, a water-skin and a quern for grinding grain. They had two children, Hassan and Husein.
One day, before proceeding on to his Farewell Pilgrimage in Ramadhan, 10 A.H, the Prophet said to Fatimah,
“The Archangel Jibra’eel Alaihis Salam recited the Quran to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 3426).
On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, he was seriously ill. He went to the apartement of his favorite wife, Ayshah Radi Allahu Anha. When Fatimah visited her father, she left the father and daughter together. Ayshah reported:
“We, the wives of the Prophet were with him (during his last illness) and none was absent that Fatimah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha, who walked after the style of the Prophet, come there, and when he saw her he welcomed her saying: ‘You are welcome, my daughter.’. He then made her sit on his right side or on his left side. Then he said something secretly to her and so she swept bitterly and when he found her (plunged) in grief, he said to her something secretly for the second time and she laughed happily. I (Aysha radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) said to her ‘Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam has singled you amongst the women of the family for talking to you something secretly and you wept’. When Allah’s Messenger SalAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam recovered from illness, I said to her ‘What did he say to you?’ Thereupon, she said, ‘I am not going to disclose the secret of Allah’s Messenger SalAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam. When the Holy Prophet SalAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam passed away, I said to her, ‘I adore you by the right that I have upon you that you should narrate to me what Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam said to you.’ She said, ‘Yes, now I can do that. When he (Prophet SalAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam) talked to me secretly for the first time he informed me that Jibra’il Alaihi waSallam was in the habit of reciting the Qura’an with him once every year, but this year it had been twice and so he perceived his death quite near, so fear Allah SubHanahu wa Ta;ala and be patient (and he told me) that he would be a befitting forerunner for me and so I wept as you saw me. And when he saw me in grief he talked to me secretly for the second time and said, ‘Fatimah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha, are you not pleased that you should be at the head of the believing women or the head of this Ummah?’ I laughed and it was that laughter which you saw. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 6467)
In another narration, Ayshah Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha reported when she asked Fatimah why she was crying and laughing when her father talked to her secretly, she said, ‘He informed me secretly of his death and so I cried. He then informed me secretly that I would be the first amongst the members of his family to follow him, so I laughed.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 3427; Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2450).
Fatimah Az-Zahra binti Rasulullah. The Princess of Paradise.
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