As far as we know, no Shiite or Sunni scholar has ever gotten their hands on Mushaf Fatimah. Rather, they've gained an understanding of its scribe and author from the relevant hadith on the subject. In this respect, there hasn't been a far-reaching or comprehensive research on the matter. Some have said, “Her Mushaf contains parables, edicts, sermons, historical accounts and miracles and amazing occurrences. Imam 'Ali(a.s) is its author, and he gifted it to her as a consolation after her father's death”1
Others are of the opinion that this Mushaf contains jurisprudence (shar'i), normative and ethical rulings, all future events, and that Lady Fatimah(a.s) wrote it from all the pronouncements that she heard from her father (the prophet Mohammad(s.a.w)) and her husband (Imam 'Ali(a.s)).2
Imam Khomeini in his last will and testament said, “Sahifah Fatimah was inspired to her from the very presense of the Lord most High to Zahra Mardhiyyah (i.e. Lady Fatimah).”3 Sayyid Muhsin Ameen is of the opinion that this noble Lady (a.s) has two books: one inspired by her Lord, the other the sayings of the prophet of Allah (s.a.w) to Lady Fatimah(a.s).4
There reason that there are so many divergent opinions on the content of this Mushaf, as the above quotes point out, is owing to the fact that the hadith are scattered in various chapters of various books. There are no analytical or theoretical analyses (of the hadith by the scholars who had collected the hadith). Because of this, the foundation of the argument and investigation are narrations that haven't been collected into one chapter (of a book of hadith), rather, they are in various books.
Indeed, none of the books that refer to Lady Fatimah (a.s) have hadith that mention the Mushaf's content mention the same content twice (i.e. every hadith says that the Mushaf contains something different). In this respect, some have thought that the Mushaf is the very one that the reports mention, this because of the divergent opinions that have arisen. However, these hadith speak of the books (kitab) of Lady Fatimah (a.s) and not per se of her Mushaf. In light of this, it is fitting to allude to these other books until we can separate them from and arrive to her Mushaf.
Neither the Shi'a or Sunni books of hadith have noted such a book, rather, its existence has been alluded to in the above mentioned books. Kharaa'aty (a Sunni) narrates from Mojaahid, “Ubayy bin Ka'b, went to visit Fatimah (May Allah's pleasure be upon her)—the daughter of Mohammad(s.a.w). Fatimah took out a a book hidden between the fronds of a date tree and showed it to him. In it was written, 'Whoever believes in God and the day of resurrection is kind to his neighbor.'”5
There is another narration which refers to this book. It is clear that the above hadith is actually a partial narration. Sheikh Kulayni quotes the full narration in Usul al-Kaafi from Imam al-Sadiq(a.s)6. Abu Ja'far Mohammad bin Jarir bin Rustam Tabari quotes from the scholars of the fourth (Islamic) century also quotes this hadith—with an even longer narration—in the book Dalaa'il al-Imamah.7
Apparently, the people who said that Mushaf Fatimah is about factual and ethical matters and etiquette had seen this hadith. As we will point out, Mushaf Fatimah does not contain ethical matters. Therefore, there is no basis for this belief.
Such a book has not been recorded in the books of hadith. However, in responding to the question the representative of Mansur—the 'Abbassid Caliph—in Medina, Imam al-Sadiq(a.s) made reference to this book.8 From this we can infer that Lady Fatimah(a.s) was in possession of a book on precepts and statutes.
'Allamah Sayyid Muhsin Amin considered this book to be Mushaf Fatimah,9 however it must be said that there are narrations—to be noted later—that say that the Mushaf of this noble Lady did not contain matters of the permissible and forbidden. If such jurisprudential rulings were noted, there are other hadith by Lady Fatimah(a.s) quoting her eminent father, the prophet of Islam(s.a.w) that say otherwise.10
Lawh (لُوْح) refers to wide pages of wood or bone, which in Farsi is called taablow (تابلو), or, takhteh (تخته). The existence of this tablet is noted in a great number of hadith. It contains the names of the Shi'ah Imams(a.s).
Abu al-Fath Karaajaki (d. 449 AH) firmly believes that all the Shi'ah (scholars) are unanimous regarding the content of this tablet.11 The content of this tablet have not been reported in one place. It has a number of various chains of authority. Kulayni, quoting from Jaabir bin 'Abdullah Ansaari says the following,
“I approached Fatimah and in her hands was a tablet. In it were the names of the executors (of the prophetic trust) (الأوصياء) from her children, and they numbered twelve.12 The last of them was Al-Qaa'im, three amongst them were (named) Mohammad, three amongst them 'Ali.”13
What [the narrator] meant by “three amongst them were (named) Mohammad” was Mohammad al-Baqir(a.s) (the 5th Imam), Mohammad al-Jawaad(a.s) (the 9th Imam) and Mohammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi(a.s) (the 12th Imam, referred to in the hadith as “Al-Qaa'im”). However, the statement that “three among them 'Ali” doesn't correspond to the number of Imams with the name of ”'Ali”. There were actually four of them: Imam 'Ali(a.s) (the 1st Imam), 'Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Sajaad(a.s) (the 4th Imam), 'Ali ibn al-Musa al-Ridha(a.s) (the 8th Imam) and 'Ali ibn al-Mohammad al-Haadi(a.s) (the 10th Imam). How do we rectify this?
The first answer: the pronoun “amongst them” (مِنهُم) refers to “her children” (وُلْدِها). In these respect, the meaning of “three amongst them 'Ali” is the children of Lady Fatimah(a.s) and that's why the narrator didn't mention the name of Imam 'Ali(a.s) (the husband of Lady Fatimah(a.s) and father of the Imams(a.s)).
The second answer: The scribe erred (in writing “three amongst them 'Ali”. It was meant to be written as “four amongst them 'Ali”. There is a hadith from Abi al-Jaarud quoting Imam al-Baqir(a.s) in which the Imam(a.s) says “four”.14
The third answer is that the pronoun of “amongst them” (مِنهُم) is referring to [they numbered] “twelve” (اثنى عشر). If the narrator hadn't said “four ['Ali's] amongst them” (مِنهُم أربع) it was because Imam 'Ali's(a.s) name was not written on the tablet. (Regardless), his title has been noted in the tablet as we will see in a narration by Abu Basir.15 The (complete) contents of this tablet are mentioned and verified in Kamaal al-Din wa Tamaam al-Ni'mah.16
The contents of this tablet—and in some people's opinions, the tablet itself—was a gift from Allah to the Prophet(s.a.w) which the Prophet(s.a.w) had gifted to Lady Fatimah(a.s).17
It has been narrated in numerous hadith with multiple chains of transmission that Lady Fatimah(a.s) left behind a book in which wrote down her will and testament.18 This will and testament was shar'i, regarding the seven orchards19 bequeathed to Lady Fatimah(a.s) by the Prophet(s.a.w); thus it actually contained a political and social advice.20 Among her last desires was that certain people not be present during her burial, that her place of burial not be revealed, etc. Her last will and testament contains a plethora of matters that are also contained in the Mushaf Fatimah. Some have said that Imam 'Ali(a.s) found it by her bedside after her demise.2155
5. Mushaf Fatimah]
The existence of this book has been noted, again, by several sources in numerous narrations. We have already enumerated a number of questions surrounding this book, to name a few: who dictated this book? Who is its author? What is it about? Has any alteration in the Qur'an been alluded to in it? Where is this book now and who possesses it? And…