Physical Discomfort

قالَ : إنّي أَجِدُ في بَدَني ضَعفاً ، فَقُلتُ لَهُ : أُعِيذُكَ باللهِ يا أَبَتاهُ مِنَ الضَّعفِ.

"I can feel some fatigue in my body," he said to me, and I answered, "I pray Allah to protect you O father against fatigue."

The Messenger of Allah (SWT) then expresses to his daughter his feeling of weakness which he experiences physically. It is not uncommon for parents to express physical or any other discomfort and seek help from their children. What is expected is for the children and family members to rush to the aid of their loved ones, especially the elderly. Furthermore, it is narrated that

من شكى إلى مؤمن فقد شكى إلى الله ومن شكى لغير مؤمن فقد شكى الله.

Whoever complains to a believer has complained to Allah and whoever complains to a nonbeliever has complained about Allah.” (Bihaar Al Anwaar)

Hence, we learn that there is no problem in sharing our complaints to a believer who will give us an open ear and may support and assist us in a positive manner.

However, when we speak about providing assistant to a father who is not like any father, a guardian who is not like any guardian, a family member who is not like any family member, and a human being who is by far the best of creations, then the status of he or she who is given the opportunity to provide that aid must be noted and appreciated. Certainly it is the honor of Lady Fatima (AS) to rush to the aid of her father. Lady Fatima (AS) who by the testimony of the Prophet (SA) is “the mother of her father” spontaneously assumes the role of motherhood with all the love, care, and nurture that a mother gives to her darling.

Actually, this reminds us of the same position which her own mother Lady Khadija (AS) encountered after the Be’that (official inauguration as messenger of God) of the Prophet (SA) when he came down from Cave Hiraa' after receiving the first Revelation of Surat Al ‘Alaq. When he came to the house of Lady Khadija (AS), he requested his wife to cover him with a blanket. This scene is displayed in the Qur’an at the commencement of Surat Al Muddather where the Prophet (SA) was referred to as the “cloaked one” and also in Surat Al Muzzammel where he was referred to as the “enshrouded one”. Lady Khadija rushed to tend to her husband and cover him up and from there he earned his nickname which Allah (SWT) referred him to in the abovementioned chapters of Qur’an which were named by these titles of the Prophet (SA).

It became Prophet Muhammad's custom each year to spend the holy month of Ramadan in seclusion and reflection in a cave on the mountain of Hiraa’ which is located on the outskirts of Makkah. Lady Khadija (AS) would always make sure that he was provided with food and drink during his retreat. Towards the end of one Ramadan when he was forty years old, Muhammad (SA) suddenly appeared at their house in the middle of the night saying, "Cover me up, cover me up!"

Lady Khadijah (AS) quickly she wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and she asked him to describe exactly what had happened. He told her how a being whom he had never seen before - angel Jibrael - had appeared to him while he was worshipping in Cave Hiraa’ and had instructed him to, "Read!" This state of physical discomfort would be experienced by the Prophet (SA) whenever he was about to receive a grand revelation from God through angel Jibrael (AS). This was the case in Cave Hiraa' when he received the word of God for the first time. The fact that the Prophet (SA) has just experienced physical comfort of the same nature which urged him to make the same request for covering him, may be an indicator that he is also about to receive divine revelation, and that is exactly what happened (as we will see)!

It is known in the historical accounts of the prophet’s autobiography that Lady Fatima (AS) was the source of comfort and consolation for her father. Whenever he didn’t feel well or suffered pain, he would rush to the house of Fatima (AS) where he found relief, comfort, and peace. Whenever her father felt distressed, he looked at her face and his worries and grief would disappear just like Imam Ali (AS) said about his wife, “Whenever I looked at her all depression and sadness was lifted from my heart.” Otherwise, why didn’t the Prophet (SA) go to any of his wives to seek comfort since a man usually feels tranquility with his wife, as the Qur’an says:

“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion.” (30:21)

And Allah (SWT) also defined the relationship between a husband and wife as:

“They are your garments (Libaas) and you are their garments.” (2:187)

But instead of going to any of his wives, the Prophet (SA) went to his daughter Fatima because she was “the mother of her father” (Umm Abeeha) and he would feel most peace and relief when he went to see Fatima. Hence, it is not surprising that Al Hakim narrates “Whenever The Prophet (SA) used to travel the last person he would see was Fatima (AS). When he returned from his travel the first person he would go to see would be Fatima.”

Lady Fatima (AS) seeks refuge from Allah (SWT) for his physical weakness, and there is no doubt that this feeling of weakness is only temporary and will disappear as the whole world is in need of this great energy of the Prophet (SA) that is crystalized in his mercy, goodness, and generosity, etc.