Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was known to be very modest, and humble. Because as man's desire of the Hereafter increases, his worldly lusts decrease; and when someone realizes the loftiness of the Day of Judgement, the worldly life becomes trivial to him. Besides, as man's reasoning and ability advances, his desire for lusts greatly decreases.
Have you not seen that children play, have fun, become sad and fight over worthless objects; but as they grow up and their senses mature, they refrain from such actions because they consider them to be degrading to their personalities, and contradicting to the rules of observing dignified conduct.
This is the case of righteous worshippers of Allah (SwT) who look down to the ephemeral things of this world, and their hearts cannot be attached to its vanities. They do not like this world for its worldly goods, rather they enjoy living to gain good deeds, and further worship Allah, the Exalted. They collect money to spend it in the way of Allah, feed the hungry, clothe and support the needy and deprived. These were also the fundamentals of modesty on which Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) depended. She deeply understood this worldly life, and realized the extent of the Hereafter. It is not amazing to learn that Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was satisfied with the minimum requirements of life; she chose for herself the noble trait of preferring others over herself, and aiding them, as we resent sumptuous and extravagant living. It is a small wonder, indeed, for Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was the daughter of the most modest whose religious and social life required him to live in modesty; and Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was the first person expected to follow the steps of her father, the modest Messenger (as).
Fatima’s (sa) marital life was also surrounded by modesty, and satisfaction. Her husband ‘Ali (as) was a devout follower of the Prophet (S) of Islam, and there was not a man known who was more modest than ‘Ali (as). Imam ‘Ali (as) was the man who used to speak to the silver, and gold in the treasury by saying:
"O you yellow and white, deceive someone else save me!!"
It has been reported that once a bedouin approached Imam ‘Ali (as) for help. The Imam then ordered his agent to give the bedouin a grant of one thousand dinars, the later exclaimed:
"Gold or silver dinars?"
Imam ‘Ali (as) replied: "They are both just stones to me, so give the beduin that which is more beneficial to him."
Here we relate several narrations, which speak of Fatima’s (sa) modesty and generosity:
1. The author of the book Bisharat A-Moustafa was quoted by Al-Bihar v.10 to have written:
Imam Sadiq (as) quoted Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari as saying:
"One day when we had finished the Asr prayer with the Messenger of Allah an old Arab immigrant man, who was wearing worn-out clothes and was barely able to walk because of his old age and weakness came by. The Prophet asked the old man about his affair; the old man answered:
`Prophet of Allah I am starving, so feed me, I am naked, so clothe me, and poor, so help me. The Prophet then said: `Surely I find nothing to give you. Yet, he who guides to goodness is equal to him who performs it. So go to the house of she 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 (sa) house was near the Prophet's (as) house. He asked Bilal to lead the man to her house. When the old man reached the house, he cried out:
`Peace be upon you, O household of prophethood, the (dwellers of the place where) angels frequently visit, where Gabriel-the holy spirit-descends to bring what the Lord of the Worlds reveals.'
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) said: `Peace be upon you; who are you?'
The old Beduin answered: `I am an old Arab man; I have immigrated to your father, The Master of mankind, from a distant place. Daughter of Muhammad, I am hungry and in need of clothing, so console me-may Allah bless you.'
When this occurred, the Prophet (S), ‘Ali (as), and Fatima az-Zahra (sa) had not eaten for three days. Yet, Fatima az-Zahra (sa) gave him a tanned ram skin, which was used as Al-Hasan (as), and Al-Husayn's (as) bed.
Then Fatima az-Zahra (sa) told the poor man: `Take this, may Allah substitute it for you by a better gift by selling it.'
The old man replied: Daughter of Muhammad, I complain to you of hunger and you give me a ram's skin? How can I eat with this?'
When Fatima heard what the old man had to say, she gave him the necklace, which was given to her by Fatima Bint Hamza Ibn Abd al-Muttalib.
The old man took the necklace and went to the Mosque to meet the Prophet who was sitting in the presence of his companions. He went to the Prophet and said: `Messenger of Allah, Fatima Bint Muhammad gave me this necklace and said: `Sell it, for Allah will grant you a solution to your problem.'
When the Prophet (S) heard what the man had to say, he cried and said: `Indeed, Allah will grant you a solution, for Fatima Bint Muhammad, the Mistress of all women gave you this necklace.'
Meanwhile, Ammar Ibn Yasir (may Allah bless his soul) said: `Messenger of Allah, do I have your permission to buy this necklace?'
The Prophet (S) answered: `Buy it Ammar, surely if all of mankind and Jinn participate in buying it Allah will not torture them in Hellfire.'
Ammar said: `How much do you want for it?'
The old Beduin said: A meal of bread and meat, a Yemeni shirt to cover my private parts and to perform my prayers in front of my Lord, and a dinar so I can return to my family.'
Ammar, who had just sold his share of booty from the battle of Khaibar, told the man: I will give you twenty (20) dinars, two hundred (200) dirhams, a Yemeni shirt, my horse to take you home, and your need of wheat bread and meat.'
The old then said: `What a generous man you are!!'
When Ammar had fulfilled his promise to the old man, the later came back to the Prophet (S) who said: Are you satisfied and clothed?'
The old man said: Yes, and I have become rich; may my father and mother be your sacrifice.'
The Prophet (S) then said: `So, reward Fatima for her kindness.'
The old man supplicated: `O Allah, surely You are our God whenever we ask You;
`We have no other God to worship besides you;
'You are the one who grants us beneficence in all conditions;'
`O Allah, grant Fatima that which no eye has ever seen, and ear has ever heard ....'
During that time, Ammar had perfumed the necklace with mush wrapped it in a Yemeni shirt, and gave it to one of his slaves by the name of Sahm, who he had bought with the money that he had received for selling his share of the Khaibarian booty. He told Sahm:
`Take this necklace and give it to the Messenger of Allah (S) and tell him that I give you to him also.'
When Sahm had delivered the message, the Prophet (S) said: `Take the necklace to Fatima and I give you to her also.' When the slave had told Fatima the message, she (sa) took the necklace and told the slave that he was free.
Upon hearing Fatima az-Zahra (sa), Sahm laughed, so Fatima az-Zahra (sa) asked him about the reason that made him laugh. He answered: `I smiled when I thought of the abundance of goodness put in this necklace; it fed a hungry man, clothed a naked man, satisfied a poor man, freed a slave and came back to its original owner."
2. Al-Majlisi, quoting Fural Ibn Ibrahim's interpretation of The Holy Qur’an in his book Al-Bihar, said:
'Abu Saeed al-Khudari said: One morning ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib woke up very hungry and said:
'Fatima, do you have anything to feed us?'
She answered: `No, by Him who honored father with Prophethood, and honored you with successorship, we have nothing edible this morning, and we haven't had any food for two days save that which I have preferred to give you and our two children, Hasan and Husayn.'
‘Ali (as) said: 'Fatima! Why didn't you tell me, so I could bring some food for you?'
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) answered: 'Abu Al-Hasan, I surely become ashamed before my God to ask you to do something you cannot do.'
At this, ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as) left Fatima az-Zahra (sa), with full trust that Allah would help him. He borrowed a dinar, and while he was holding the dinar and trying to buy some food for his family, he came upon Miqdad Ibn Al Aswad.
The sun had burnt Al-Miqdad's face and feet on that exceptionally hot day. When ‘Ali (as) saw him, he exclaimed surprisingly:
`Miqdad, what brings you out of your home at this hour?'
Miqdad answered: 'Abu Al-Hasan, ask me not about what I have left behind in the house.'
‘Ali (as) said: `My brother, I cannot leave you without knowing your problem.'
Miqdad then said: 'Abu Al-Hasan, for Allah's sake and your sake leave me alone, and do not ask about my condition!!'
Imam ‘Ali (as) said: `My brother, you should not hide your condition from me.'
Miqdad replied: 'Abu Al-Hasan, now that you insist, by Him who honored Muhammad with Prophethood and honored you with successorship, nothing forced me out of my house save poverty. I left my children starving; when I heard their cries, there remained no place for me on earth-I have come out of my house in depression; this is my story.'
Imam ‘Ali (as) cried when he heard the story; he cried until his beard was wet from tears and said:
`By Allah, that which forced you out of your house and also forced me out of my house; I borrowed a dinar, but I prefer you to have it.'
When Imam ‘Ali (as) had given the dinar to Miqdad, he went to the Mosque and performed his Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon) and Maghrib (evening) prayers. When the Messenger of Allah (S) had completed his prayers, he signaled ‘Ali (as), who was in the first line, to follow him. ‘Ali (as) obediently followed him out of the Mosque, and after the Prophet greeted him said:
'Abu Al-Hasan, do you have some food for dinner so that I can accompany you?'
Imam ‘Ali (as) was too shy to answer the Messenger (as); but the Prophet of Allah (S) had detailed knowledge about the dinar, and what had happened to it; for Allah, the Exalted, had revealed to His Prophet (S) to have dinner at ‘Ali's (as) house that night. When ‘Ali (as) did not answer, the Prophet (S) said:
'Abu Al-Hasan, why don't you say no, so I may leave you; or yes, so I may accompany you?'
Imam ‘Ali (as) said: 'Accompany me!!'
The Prophet (S) then took ‘Ali's (as) hand and proceeded toward Fatima’s (sa) house. When they arrived, Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was just finishing her prayers and there was a pan oil fire behind her. When she heard the Prophet (S) coming, who was the dearest person to her, she greeted him and he wiped his hand on her head and said:
`How is your evening, my daughter?'
She (Fatima az-Zahra (sa)) answered: `Fine!'
He (Prophet Muhammad (S)) then said: `Give us some dinner, may Allah bless you, and surely He has.'
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) placed the pan in front of the Prophet (S), and ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib...
At that moment, the Messenger of Allah (S) put his hand on ‘Ali's (as) shoulder, and said:
'‘Ali, this is a substitute for your dinar. This is a reward from Allah for the dinar; surely Allah grants whoever He wills without limit.'
The Prophet (S) cried and said:
"Praise be to Allah, Who insisted on rewarding you in this world, too, and made you ‘Ali-like Zakariya and Fatima like Maryam Bint Imran, for whenever Zakariya entered the Mehrab, he found Maryam with her subsistence."
3. It is quoted in v.10 of Bihar that Imam Husayn (as) quoted Imam Hasan (as) as saying:
"Once, on a Far-Ridha’y night, I watched my mother, Fatima, pray all night long. She kept making Ruku' and prostrating until dawn. I heard her supplicate for the believers by name; but she did not supplicate for herself, so I asked:
`Mother, why don't you supplicate for yourself as you supplicate for others?'
She answered: `Son! Prefer your neighbour over yourself. "'
4. Al-Hasan al-Basri said:
"There was not a woman in this Ummah more submitting (to Allah) than Fatima. She used to pray until her feet became swollen."
'The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
"As for my daughter Fatima, she is the mistress of all women; from the beginning of history until the end. She is part of me; she is the light of my eye and the fruit of my heart.'
'Fatima is my spirit, which I hold in me; she is a human huri. Whenever she keeps up prayer in her Mehrab before her Lord, her light illuminates to the angels in Heaven just as a star shines to mankind on Earth. So Allah, Exalted is His name, says to the angels:
'My angels, look at my servant, Fatima, who is the mistress of all my female servants, keeping up prayers before Me. Her limbs shake from fear of Me and she worships Me whole heartedly. Bear witness that I have safeguarded her Shiites (followers) from Hellfire..."'
6. Idat Ad-Da'i:
"Fatima (sa) used to breathe quickly while praying, for fear of Allah. Speaking about Fatima's worship is endless; especially her supplication to Allah, the Exalted, for she realized the deep meaning of worship and supplication to Allah, and came to enjoy keeping up prayer before the Almighty. Yet, this is no strange matter, because it is in regard to her father that the Qur’an says. We have not sent down the Qur’an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress.' Because the Prophet would pray for long hours, Allah, the Exalted, revealed this verse to him as relief, and comfort."