Fatima Zahra (a.s.) is an excellent role model particularly for the Muslim women, because the Prophethood of Muhammad would not have been everlasting without her. Prophet Muhammad is the perfect example for men but could not be so for women. For all Noble Quranic verses revealed for women, Fatima has been the perfect model, who translated every verse of Noble Quran into action. In her lifetime, she was a complete woman, being daughter, wife and mother par excellence.

Fatima bint Muhammad : Learning and Applying Knowledge
One day Prophet Muhammad came to the house of his daughter Fatima. She asked him a number of questions on religious rights. Among them was a question regarding a wife’s duty towards her husband?

One of the many things that Prophet Muhammad told her was, “O Fatima! A woman who demands things, which are outside the means of her husband, is removed from the pale of divine grace.”

After her marriage to Imam Ali, we will find that Fatima never asked or demanded anything from her husband – lest he cannot afford it or be embarrassed to say so!

The legend says: One day Imam Ali requested that his wife Fatima, ask him for something. After much insistence, she agreed and asked for a pomegranate. As Ali bought one from the market and was walking towards home, his eyes fell upon a poor man who was ill. He asked the poor man what he wanted and the poor man expressed his desire to eat a pomegranate. With no hesitation Ali gave away the pomegranate he had just bought for his wife.

Now, as Ali walked towards his home, he felt guilty and thought that for the first time ever Fatima had asked for a pomegranate and he could not fulfill her wish.

Although Ali was certain that Fatima would be happy to know that the pomegranate was given away in good cause, nevertheless, he still felt guilty. Meanwhile, Jibreel (Gabriel) came to Prophet Muhammad with a tray of pomegranates from Paradise and informed him as to what had happened at Ali’s house. The Prophet gave the tray to Salman Al-Farsi and asked him to deliver it to Fatima before Ali would arrive at home.

Fatima asked, “O’ Salman! Where has this tray come from?”

Salman Al-Farsi answered, “O’ Daughter of the Messenger of God! You requested a pomegranate from Ali, he bought it and then gave it to a poor man. For his sincerity, Allah has sent this tray from Paradise so that your wish is fulfilled and Ali is saved from embarrassment.”

Ali arrived home with head down due to guilt, and when entered the house he smelled pomegranate, so he asked, “Fatima! I smell pomegranates, how is that?”

Smilingly Fatima replied, “Ali! These pomegranates are what you sent. You gave away one to a poor man and in return Allah has sent these pomegranates to us from Paradise.”

This shows how Fatima had learned from her father, Prophet Muhammad, years back, and now she is applying that knowledge in real life.

Remember: One may say this is irrelevant today! Because both men and women work and earn, and as such there is no need for a working woman to ask for anything from her husband. As a matter of fact, in some cases working women may end up financially supporting their husbands – then what? It is a lesson to be applied in their lives.

Fatima: Teaching others
With regard to teaching others, Fatima had a role too in teaching the society. She used to find time, despite all her duties, to gather wives of the believers and teach them the principles of their religion, and she used to narrate the Hadiths and Traditions of her father. An example of these Hadiths are:

“A believer is not a believer if his neighbors do not feel assured that he will do no harm to them.”

“He who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment does not hurt his neighbor.”

“A believer is he who would either say what is good or remain silent.”

“Allah is good and loves those who are good, chaste and tolerant.”

“Allah despises the backbiter and those who say obscene words.”

al-Majlisi has narrated in Bihar Al-Anwar that: One day, a lady came to Fatima and said, “My mother is old and weak, she has problems related to her Salat (prayers). She sent me to ask you some questions.”

Fatima asked her to put the questions to her. The number of questions kept increasing, reaching ten, and Fatima kept answering them, one by one, tirelessly and patiently.

The lady became tired and said to Fatima, “O’ Daughter of the Prophet! I do not wish to trouble you any further or to put you into further inconvenience.”

Fatima answered back, “Come to me and ask about anything you do not know? Does a person ever feel tired if he is hired on wages of 1,000 Dinars to carry a simple load from the ground to the roof-top?” The woman said, “Of course No!”

Fatima then followed, “You see! Allah has hired me and He is paying me handsomely for answering each of your questions – so it is not befitting of me to be bothered by the questions or be inconvenienced.”

From this incident, we learn three things:

  1. Allah has charged Fatima (by virtue of being an extension of the Prophet) with the responsibility of guiding Muslim women and solving their problems.
  2. Muslim women have been encouraged to ask and learn what they do not know of the Shari’ah (Islamic Laws).
  3. Those women who have been blessed with knowledge must put efforts in imparting their knowledge to other women.

Fatima, the Manifestation of Kindness and Self-sacrifice

The incident mentioned below is said to be responsible for the revelation of the following Quranic verses:

….وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ ۚ وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

…but give them preference over themselves, despite the poverty of their own lot. And they who are saved from the covetousness of their souls,- they are the ones that achieve prosperity.Quran, 59:9)

It is related that: One day a poor, hungry man came to Prophet Muhammad and asked for some food. The Prophet asked him to go to the homes of his wives and get something to eat. None of them had food, and they could offer nothing. The man returned to the Prophet and the Prophet then asked his Sahaaba, “Who is going to invite this guest to his house?” Imam Ali offered to take the man right away as his guest and soon they proceeded towards his house.

On arriving, Ali told his wife Fatima about the guest and enquired as to what they had at home for food. Fatima said they had just enough food to feed the children, but they would rather give priority to the poor guest. Ali then turned off the lamp in the house, and asked Fatima to put the children to bed. Ali put out the light so that their guest won’t notice that his hosts had little food, thus be embarrassed. Ali accompanied the guest on the dinner mat but the guest did not notice that Ali had not eaten, since the house was dark. The guest ate well and the members of the family slept hungry.

Another incident is related by Jabir ibn Abdullah Al-Ansaari, a prominent companion (Sahaabi) of the Prophet; he said:

One day, we were with the Prophet after Asr prayer when an old stranger, wearing tattered clothes, was barely able to walk due to old age and weakness. The Prophet asked the man about his needs. The man said, “O Prophet of Allah! I am starving, so feed me; I am naked, so clothe me; and I am poor, so help me out!”

The Prophet said, “I have nothing to give you, yet, the person who guides to goodness is equal to one who performs it. So go to her house who loves Allah and His messenger, and Allah and His messenger love her. The one who prefers Allah over herself; I mean Fatima.”

Fatima’s house was near that of the Prophet’s. So the Prophet asked Bilal to lead the old man to her house. As soon as they reached her house, the old man cried out, “Peace be upon you O people of the Nubu’wah, where the angles frequent their visits; where Rooh al-Amin (Jibreel) descends bringing what the Lord Almighty reveals.” Fatima responded to his greetings and asked who he was, to which, the old man replied, “I am an old Arab. I have come from a distant land. O Daughter of the Prophet! I am hungry and in need of clothing – so help me out and may Allah bless you.”

Fatima looked around. The only thing she could see was a goatskin on which her two children, Hasan and Husain used to sleep. She picked up the goatskin and came to door. She extended that goatskin to the old man and said: “Please take this and fulfill your needs.” However, the old man said, “O Daughter of the Prophet! I complain to you of hunger and you give me a goatskin? How can I eat this?”

Fatima was wearing a necklace which was the wedding gift from the daughter of Hamza bin Abdul-Mut’talib. Fatima took the necklace off and gave it to the old man saying, “Sell this and Allah will grant you with a solution to your problem”. The old man took the necklace, and showed it to the Prophet. The Prophet looked at the necklace and his eyes filled up with tears, and he said, “Indeed Allah will grant you a solution, for Fatima, the Princes over all women, has given you this necklace.”

Ammar bin Yasir, one of the companions (Sahaaba) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will you allow me to buy this necklace?” The Prophet said, “Buy it Ammar, surely if all men and women participate in its purchase, Allah will reward them handsomely in the hereafter” Ammar bin Yasir asked the old man for the price of the necklace and he replied, “A meal of bread and meat, a Yemeni shirt to cover myself and a Dinar to return to my family.” Ammar bin Yasir gave him 20 Dinars and 200 dirham, a Yemeni shirt, wheat bread and meat, and a horse. The Prophet asked the old man if he was satisfied and he replied Yes, yes, affirmatively. “So reward Fatima for her kindness”, replied the Prophet. The old man prayed, “O Allah! Give Fatima that which beyond no eyes have ever seen and no ears have ever heard.”

Ammar bin Yasir took the necklace and perfumed it with musk and sent it to the Prophet with a slave named Sahm whom he had purchased with the booty he received from Khyber. He said to Sahm: “Give this necklace to the Messenger of Allah and tell him that I gift you my slave to him too.”

When the slave delivered the necklace and the message, Prophet Muhammad said to him, “Take this necklace to Fatima and I gift you my slave to her”. When the slave came to Fatima, she took her necklace back, then gave the slave his freedom. When the slave was set free, he laughed loudly.

People who had been watching asked Sahm the slave why laughing. Sahm replied: “I laughed when I thought of the abundance of goodness in this glorious necklace – it came out of the house, fed a hungry man, clothed a naked man, and provided for a lost wayfarer. It then freed a slave from his bondage and then returned to its rightful owner.”

The above incidents demonstrate the kindness and self-sacrifice of Fatima. The Prophet of Islam, as he taught the Muslims at large, to be grateful to him who provides any kind of help. The best expression of gratitude is doing a Du’aa for your benefactor. Fatima did not need any Du’aa from a stranger, but that was the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his Tradition.

Quiet Funeral of Fatima Zahra
A small procession of devoted ones, sobbing with grief, with their faces covered, is quietly moving towards an unknown location to bury someone special, someone they loved. It was a dark night of the third of Jamad al-Thani, 11th Hijrah in the city of Medina, the city of Prophet Muhammad, a short time after her father had passed away.

They were kids with their father and his close friends, walking quietly, somberly, but content with their Lord’s decree. They were sobbing, tears flowing, concealing their grief. They wanted no one in Medina to know about their whereabouts, in compliance with the wishes of Fatima who had just died.

Yes, Imam Ali 33 yr old; al-Hasan 8 yr old, al-Husain 7 yr old, Zainab 6 yr old and Umm Kulthoom 4 yr old were all walking quietly along with Abu Dhar, Ammar ibn Yasir, Muqdad ibn Aswad and Salman al-Farsi.

This heavenly procession left Imam Ali’s house while carrying Fatima Zahra to her final abode, while others in Medina were sound asleep. Yes Fatima had requested Imam Ali to not allow any of them to be at her funeral, she wished to be buried in the dark of the night and her grave be kept secret from everyone.

There was dead silence, a hush hush, but instead there were tears and sobs of grief. But wait a sobbing sigh was also heard, someone was weeping. Yes it was Imam Ali who was weeping, the hero of Badr, Ohod, Khaybar, Khandaq and several other battles. He was weeping for being separated from the princess over all women, his wife Fatima? Ali was saying, as he was weeping with tears flowing down his cheeks:

“O’ Messenger of Allah, extension of salutation from me and from your daughter, who has just come to you, having hastened to meet you.

O’ Messenger of Allah, my patience has been exhausted and the power of my endurance is too weak, except for the consolation in having endured the agony of your separation.

To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.

O’ Prophet! Now the trust (Fatima) has been returned; and what Allah has given He has taken back to Him.

As to my grief, it knows no bounds and as to my nights, they will remain sleepless till Allah chooses for me the house in which you are now residing.

O Prophet, your daughter will apprise you of the sickening treatment the Ummah dealt her after your departure. You ask her and she will give you the details.

Oh, Happenings were so shocking, and so soon after you had left us.

My Salaam be on you both,

the Salaam of a grief-stricken and not the one who is fed up;

for if I go away it is not because I am weary,

and if I stay it is not due to lack of belief in what Allah has promised the enduring person in sorrow.”

After burying Fatima the family and their friends rushed back to their homes so that no one in Medina would know where she was buried.

Back at home, the children were grief stricken for their mother, Ali was consoling them, but it was not an easy task, he would calm them and then himself move away to a corner so they don’t see him crying by himself.

They were going through the events that happened after the beloved Prophet had passed away, the Ghadeer was forgotten, Fadak was usurped, their house was attacked, threats to burn the house, and the door squeezing Fatima, leading to losing her unborn child, then leading to her being sick, isolated and at last pass away.

Though Fatima lived a short life, the fruits of her life were never ending. She was a great teacher who taught her children lessons of self-sacrifice, bravery, defense of Islam and upholding high human values. Fatima is an ideal personality for women to follow.

Fatima for whom Prophet Muhammad would stand out of respect, and say: “Fatima is a portion of me, whatever causes her hurt, hurts me.”

And he is quoted: “Whoever hurts Fatima, hurts me, and whoever hurts me, hurts Allah, exalted be His Majesty!”

He further said: “Allah becomes wrathful for Fatima’s anger, and is pleased at her pleasure.”

History records that this great lady is buried in Janna al-Baqi graveyard of Medina but her exact grave remains unknown.

ثم عطفت فاطمة الزهراء ( ع ) على قبر أبيها ( ص ) و قالت

قـد كان بعدك أنباء وهنبثــة لو كنت شاهدها لم تكثر الخطب
‏إنا فقدناك فقـد الأرض وابلهـا و اختل قومك فاشهدهم ولا تغب

وكل أهل له قـربى ومنزلـة عند الإله على الأدنين مقتـرب

‏أبدت رجال لنا نجوى صدورهم لما مضيت وحالت دونك الترب

‏تجهمتنا رجال واستخف بنا لما فقـدت وكل الأرض مغتصـب‏

و كنت بدرا ونورا يستضاء به عليك ينزل من ذي العزة الكتـب


And a poem has been published on behalf of Fatima:

ولأي الأمــور تدفــن ســرا بضعة المصطفى ويعفى ثراها

فمضت وهي أعظم الناس شجـوا في فم الدهر غصة من جـواها

وثوت لا يرى لها النـاس مثوى أي قــدس يضمـه مثـواهـا

لا تلمني يا سعـد في مقت قـوم ما وفـت حق أحمـد إذ وفاهـا

أوما قال عترتـي أهـل بيتـي فأحفظوني في بـرها وولاهـا

لـم يــرى الله للنبـوة أجـراً غيـر حفظ الـوداد في قرباهـا