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In the Name of God بسم الله

Umme Abiha, Fatima Zahra(s.a) - Part 1

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Author: Nahla Garavi-Na’ini,Professor of Tarbiyat Modares university, First published in Safinah, International quarterly journal of Islamic Studies,V.1 no.2 in June 2008.

Her Birth:

Fatima (s.a.) is the daughter of the Holy messenger of Allah, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (s.a.w.a.) and Khadija bint al-Khuwaylid (s.a.). She was born on the 20th of Jamadiul Akhar, 5 AH (the fifth year of hijrah).

Her names:

Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “In the presence of Allah, she is known by 9 names, which areFatima, Siddiqah, Mubaraka, Tahera ,Zakiya, Radiya, Mohaddatha and Zahra.”[ii]

Abu Jafar Qomi (Muhammad bin Husain, known as Abu Ja’far, writer and poet residing in Nishabor) has stated other names for her: “Batool, Hisna, Harah, Sayyidah, Azra, Haura, Maryam, Kubra, Sadiqah, Nuriya, Samiwiya wal Haniya.” Her epithets are as: “Umm al-Hasan (Hasan’s mother), Umma al-A’emma (mother of Imams) and Umme Abiha[iii] (father’s Mother).

Her Childhood:

It would take books to fully describe the life of the Holy Fatima(s.a.). Here, we will note some of the significant characteristics of her life. When she was 5 yrs old, her mother passed away. Fatima bint Asad(s.a.) (the wife of Prophet’s uncle and mother of Imam Ali(a.s.)) undertook to care for her. They migrated with Imam Ali(a.s.) and other Muslims from Mecca to Medina. After the death of Fatima bint Asad(s.a.), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) entrusted Umme Salamah (his second wife) with her care.

Her Marriage:

Many men, Abu Bakr and Umar among them, asked the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for Fatima’s hand in marriage. However, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) always declined, saying: “I am waiting for the order of God.” At last, an angel descended and told the Prophet(s.a.w.a.): “O Messenger of Allah, my God has ordered the marriage of light with light. The Prophet asked: “Who are they?”The angel answered:”Fatima and Ali.”<a href="http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=7152126183321118029#_edn4" name="_ednref4" style="mso-endnote-id: edn4;" title="">[iv]

Thus, after the battle of Badr, in 2 A.H the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave Fatima(s.a.) to Ali(a.s.) in marriage. The simple and modest dowry was provided through the sale of Ali’s shield.[v]

Regarding the wedding celebration, the Holy Prophet(s.a.w.a.) told Ali(a.s.) “prepare a good party for this wedding celebration.” He then added: “We have meat and bread, you provide the dates and oil.” The meal was prepared. Hazrat Ali(a.s.) invited everyone to take part for the wedding party. The guests were many but the food sufficed all of them. Everyone ate the food and it was sufficient for all.[vi]

Hasan, Husain, Umma Kulthum, and Zaynab (peace be upon them) were the offspring of that blessed marriage. Thus the descendants of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) came only from the line of Fatima (s.a.).

Events after the martyrdom of Holy Prophet(s.a.w.a.):

In the 2nd month of the year 11 A.H., the blessed soul of the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w.a.)ascended to heaven, and a world of sorrow engulfed Fatima (s.a.). Shia scholars and most knowledgeable Sunni authors have written about the injustice and oppression which Fatima (s.a.) experienced after the death of Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In these accounts, it is told that the Prophet, during his lifetime, gave Fadak (Fadak is a village near Medina which has many guards. Since the peace treaty of khaybar, half of the village belonged to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) to Fatima. Property remained in her hands for the 3 years before the death of the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w.a.).

Then Abu Bakr fabricated a tradition from of the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w.a.)saying:

“We, the Prophets, do not leave inheritance; all that we leave behind is for charity!”

No one of the Prophet’s companions had heard of, or transmitted this tradition previously; only Abu Bakr claimed it to be a tradition from the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w.a.). Thus, the authenticity of that Hadith has been refuted from several aspects.[vii]

Tabari has documented that Urwah narrated from Aaisha (the Prophet’s 3rd wife, and daughter of Abu Bakr) as below:

“Fatima(s.a.) and Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle) went to Abu Bakr and asked about their inheritance from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They asked for Fadak and the Prophet’s portion from Khaybar. Abu Bakr told them:”But I heard from the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), “We, the Prophets, do not leave inheritance; all that we leave is charity.” ….Urwah said: “Then Fatima went into isolation and did not speak to Abu Bakr again, until she died.[viii]

Shia scholars and some eminent Sunnis have recorded the story of the burning of the door of Fatima’s house. Ibn Abd Rabbah of the Maliki school (one of the sunni schools of thought), revealed in his book that Abu Bakr sent Umar ibn Khattab (later the 2nd caliph) to receive an oath of allegiance (to the caliphate of Abu Bakr) from Ali(a.s.) and others in Fatima’s house. There, Umar set fire to Fatima’s house.[ix]

Tabari, in his Tarikh writes: “Umar came to Ali’s house. Talha, Zubair and a group of muhajireen (early immigrants to Medina) were there. Umar said: “I swear to God that I will burn down the house if you do not come out.”[x] He also writes: “Ali, Zobair and those who were with them in Fatima’s house refused to swear allegiance.”[xi]

Ibn Qotaibah Dinvari (Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Moslem ibn Qutaybah was born in 213 A.H in Kufa. Abu Muhammad was a writer on the science of language, syntax and style of the Qur’an, a Qur’an commentator, poet and jurisprudent), has written:”Some of the resisters [to swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr] were gathered around Ali(a.s.) at Fatima’s house. Abu Bakr sent Umar to bring them. Umar went to the door of Fatima’s house and shouted: “Come out and swear allegiance to the caliph of the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w.a.). If you do not heed this, I swear God, in whose hand is my life, that I will burn this house and whoever is in it.”

They said to Umar:”Fatima, the daughter of Holy Prophet is in the house.” He said:”I will do that, even if the daughter of the Prophet is in the house.”[xii]

Ibn Abil Hadid (He was born in 586 A.H and died in 655 A.H. his most important work is Sharh Nahj al- Balaghah) has also reported:”Umar and some men from the Ansaar and Muhajireen went to Fatima’s house and said: I swear the One in whose hand is my life, if you don’t come out and swear allegiance, I will burn the house and all who are in it. Fatima died while she was angry with Umar”[xiii]

Shahrestani (Abdul Fath Muhammad ibn Abul Qasim Abd al-karim was a jurisprudent, expert in religion and Ashari scholar who was born in 479 A.H and died in 548 A.H. His books are usually anti-shia. He is the author of al-Milal wan -Nihal), in his book, he has quoted speeches of Nazzam (Ibrahim ibn Sayar Balkhi Basri, well known as Nazzym, who was one of the famous scholastic scholars, an orator, scientist and theologian; the author of more than 100 books. He died in 221 A.H. He was anti-Shia and a high-rank Mutazalite) Nazzam said: “Umar ibn Khattab injured Fatima so hard that she miscarried her child. Umar shouted:”Burn the house with everyone in it!”[xiv]

Umar e Kahhalah (Author of A’lqm an-nisa wa Mu’jam al Mu’alifin) has also mentioned the usurpation of Fadak and the burning of Fatima’s house in his book[xv]. Allamah Amini (Abd al-Husain al-Amini resided in Najaf and was a Shi’a scholar. He was born in 1320 AH in Tabriz, Iran, died in 1390 AH in Tehran and was buried in Najaf, Iraq. He wrote al-Ghadeer) quotes this narration from the book “Imam Ali(a.s.)” by Abdul Fatah Abdul-Maqsood (Al-Ghadeer, vol.3, p.102) and has included, at the end, the words of Fatima: “O father, Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), what great difficulties have we received from the son of Khattab (Umar) and the son of Quhafah (Abu Bakr).”

Al-Kafi, I, p.461, section on the birth of Zahra(s.a.)

[ii] Bihar ul-Anwar, vol .43, p.10; Elal ash-Sharaee, p.178.

[iii] Bihar ul-Anwaar, vol.43, p.16

[iv] Al-Kafi, vol.1, p. 461; Dala’il al Imamat, p.19

[v] Al- Kafi, vol.5, p.377, chapter of marriage, section regarding the marriage of the commander of the faithful with Fatima (s.a.w.a.)

[vi] Amali of Shaykh al-toosi, vol.2, p.26; Rayaheen al-sharia, vol.1 p.95; al-Tabaqat al-kubra, vol.8, p.20, accounts of the dowry of Zahra (s.a.w.a.)

[vii] Bihar al-Anwaar, vol 43, p.182; Riyaheen al-sharia, vol.2, p.2-16

[viii] Al-tabari, al-Tariku, vol 2, p.104, part 3

[ix] Al-Iqd al-Farid, vol.3, p.63 and vol.2, p.443

[x] Tarikh, Tabari, vol.2, p.101

[xi] Tarikh, Tabari, vol.2, p.103

[xii] Al-Imamat was-siyasat, p.13

[xiii] Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol.2, p.120

[xiv] Al-Milal wan-Nihal, p.57

[xv] A’lam an-nisa, vol.4, p.114-118

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