ONE UNFORGETTABLE PORTRAIT OF THE PROPHET’S DAUGHTER
“Surely, my daughter Fatima is the Queen of all women from the beginning to the end. She is part of me, she is the light of my eyes, she is the flower of my heart, she is my soul. Whenever she stands to pray to her Lord, her light illuminates the skies for the Angels, like how the stars shine to the people on earth.”
-Prophet Muhammad (s.a.v.s.)
There are many stories, hidden under the oriental carpets, discovered and retold million times by million different people but the never ending tale about the Islamic Prophet’s daughter Fatima, brings always a new inspiration. Like she is awaken in the souls of Muslims and non-Muslims in each letter written about her, in each poem devoted to her, in each dream shaped on her glorious place in Islam. Fatima is one and only, the Zahra, Sayyidatun Nisa al Alamin. The leader of all women.
Fatimah bint Muhammad فاطمة was born, according to some kind of book evidence, in 604 AD in Mecca and she died when she was only 28 years old. She was the beloved child of Prophet Muhammad and his wife Khadijah.She was the beloved wife of Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was ruling over the Caliphate from 656 to 661 AD.She was respected mother of Al-Husayn ibn Ali, later known as the first Shi’ite imam and of Al-Hasan ibn Ali, famous as the second Shi’ite imam. That was the holy family and Fatimah had a central place from her early childhood, because she was at her 5, the youngest Muslim ever.
Even her name had a spiritual connotation because the word fitam in Arabic means the one that is kept away from evil and Fatimah was one who was away from any bad character and any bad emotions. Based on some historical notes, Fatimah was the Prophet’s strength, the most beautiful rose in his garden of peace but also his biggest support, especially in the times when Islam had a lot of struggles to overcome to become the dominant in community and to establish the rule of God within the godless tribes, that have cherished the primitive forces.
Since the young age, Fatimah was very responsible and loyal to her father. She tried to learn a lot from him so doesnt surprise that after her mother Khadija passed away, she took all responsibility and she took so great care of her father and his well being that he often named her as “Umme Abiha”, i.e. the mother her father. Later, Prophet Muhammad married Umme Salama that she could take care of his household and children, but she was so impressed with Fatimah’s intelligence and pure soul that she told to her husband that she is the one who should learn from Fatimah and not Fatimah from her. That was almost like a confession, Fatimah was pure and opened for light and she gave that light without any egoistic intentions. She witnessed so many problems for her family because the establishing of Islam in the first period was followed by resistance, violence and mockery:“It was then that she saw her revered father preaching Islam in the most hostile atmosphere. The hostility of the Quraish after the death of Abu Talib and Khadija was the strongest. Fatima saw and dressed the wounds sustained by her father due to the stones thrown on him by the non- believers who were ho to the preaching of Islam.She might have heard and seen that certain wretched women hurled rubbish on her noble father. She might have learnt of the plans made to put an end to her father’s life. But from all these things Fatima was neither frightened nor disheartened. She comforted her father, tended to his wounds even at that tender age.” She never gave up to offer the support to her beloved father because she instinctively sensed that her father is fighting for some new values, some new ethic standards and some new customs in the community which is closed for everything new.
It is interesting to mention that Fatimah was not like other girls of her age back in that time. She was burden with so many problems but she did not escape them but faced with them all. While other children were playing, Fatimah has followed her father on his meditations, removed the dirt from his clothes when unbelievers attacked him and cried so many tears over his pain. Prophet Muhammad could have not believed that he has his own melek on the earth, his daughter and his pearl. That is why he always said to his followers that daughter is one that opens the door of jannah to his father, illustrating the high importance of the daughters within Muslim society. He was never ashamed to show his respect to Fatimah, so he would have always stand up to welcome her and kiss her between her eyes. It was their ritual till his last day.
The Lady of Light was so brilliant and radiant that it was easy for people to love her and follow her. It was some kind of her silent mission, but without any doubts she was one of the greatest voices of early Islamic philosophy. Nowadays, she is still venerated by Muslim people and cherished as the diamond of Islamic religion but Fatimah bint Muhammad was the true star of her times not because of her modest soul and remarkable beauty, but because of her mature knowledge, heart’s peace and sweetness of the tongue. She was elixir of strength to all people around, to her father, Prophet Muhammad and later to her husband, Ali. He even once said that all sadness is gone just when he sees Fatimah. The love story between Ali and Fatimah was supported by Prophet of Allah in its early days. Ali was too much shy to ask for Fatimah’s hand but Prophet Muhammad knew that Ali is the best choice for his beloved daughter, in spite of the numerous men who wanted his Fatimah:“They all wanted to be related to the Prophet (s). Abu Bakr, then `Umar ibn al-Khattab, then `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf, may Allah be pleased with them, all came asking for Fatima’s hand in marriage, and the Prophet (s) in a gentles way turned them back. The Ansar then started saying to `Ali, ‘Why don’t you request the hand of Fatima?’ He said, ‘I don’t have much’. They said, ‘But the Prophet loves you’. So he went and sat in front of the Prophet (s) and did not say a word. The Prophet (s) said, ‘why are you silent O Ali?’ He did not say anything. The Prophet (s) said, ‘maybe you came to ask for Fatima’s hand in marriage?’ He said, ‘yes that’s it, that’s it’. The Prophet (s) said ‘do you have anything to marry her with?’ He said, ‘no O messenger of Allah’. The Prophet (s) said, ‘do you not have a dir` (shield) that I gave you once?’ He said ‘yes, but its not worth more than 250 dirhams.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘I will let you marry her with it’. He brought the dir` to the Prophet (s), and the Prophet (s) sold it for him and came with 250 dirhams, and so he gave a portion of it to Bilal and said, ‘O Bilal, buy with this some perfume for Fatima’ and he gave the rest of the money to Ummu Salamah and said, ‘buy for Fatima the clothes and necessities of a bride’.”
Her husband Ali was poor and Fatimah has never used a privilege to get anything from her father, even there was a time they both have fighting with hunger. The prophet taught Fatima to stay humble, to keep faith and to never give up on being moral, no matter what. They got 4 children and they were happy. The house of Ali was not rich but Fatimah laughed very often and that was enough for Prophet to know that his daughter found her own peace in chest of man she loves.
Our Fatimah bint Muhammad was all in one woman. The caring daughter, the loyal wife and the warm mother. Her hands would have took care of the wounded on the battlefield, her hands would have clean the house and would also rise up in the prayer.
She died silently as she lived, just 6 months after Prophet Muhammad’s death. She was so broken with the fact that he is gone forever that she wrote about her days turns into nights. The cry from her soul was so strong and loud that angels have heard it and invited her to be again with his beloved father. She wanted to be buried at night and that is how it was, on a Tuesday 20th Ramadan 11 years after the Hijra, in Jannat al-Baqee, leaving Ali to grieve over his Fatimah, who died young, beautiful and humble.The Jannat al-Baqee, the cemetery of Medina protects her tomb:“Here is the tomb of Fatima, the daughter of the apostle of God and the queen of the women of the world.” and gathers all of those who find inspiration in Fatimah’s life and her influence in Islam.
Muslim believers cherish Fatimah as their own daughters. She is the most beautiful diamond among the diamonds, the most charming flowers among the flowers, she is the Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet of Allah, the one with many names, the lady of light because she would have dragged people from darkness into the light, giving them hope. Her hands are symbol of Islamic hope and patience , for all times.