Islamic Dress, a Social Necessity
Among the Islamic teachings to which Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) gave special attention, was protecting women's honor and beauty through observing the Islamic way of dress. Fatima az-Zahra (sa) realized that crimes, social disasters, and humiliations were majorly due to unveiling, debasement, dissoluteness and mixture of the sexes. These social crimes are now called freedom and civilization by various publications that are scattered throughout Muslim, and non-Muslim countries.
It shouldn't be forgotten that less than one-tenth of such crimes and debasements, used to occur to Muslim women when they observed the Islamic covering, and exalted themselves from exhibiting their bodies to men. That day when they used to bestow themselves in the garments of honor, and modesty, as they truly believed in the forbidden and the permitted. But, as time passed, they exhibited their privacy to thousands of men from all walks of life, and with many different faiths; Muslim women lost their honor and dignity... and reached the point of disgrace where they stand today!!
The following are two reports, which explicitly present the Messenger's admiration of Fatima’s (sa) stands regarding women:
A. Abu Nu'aym reports in Hilyat al-Awliya v.2. p.40, that Anas Ibn Malik said:
"The Messenger of Allah (S) asked: `What is best for women?' We did not know how to answer the Prophet, so ‘Ali (as) asked Fatima about the Prophet's question.
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) answered: `It is best for them not to see men and not to let men see them.'
‘Ali (as) returned to Allah's Messenger and conveyed Fatima’s (sa) answer to him. When the Prophet (S) had heard the answer, he said:
`Surely she has spoken the truth, for she is part of me.'
B. Ibn al-Maghazili mentions in his book Manaqib that ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (as) said:
"Once a blind man asked for permission to enter Fatima's house, but she kept a veil between them. The Messenger of Allah noticed her actions and asked:
`Why did you keep a veil between you when he can not see you?'
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) answered: `Messenger of Allah, it is true that he cannot see me, but I can see him, and he can smell my fragrance.'
At this, the Prophet (S) said: 'I bear witness that you are part of me.'
In addition to these narrations, many prayers and supplications have been reported on Lady Fatima’s (sa) account; among them is the famous supplication for the relief of fever and headaches. This supplication is mentioned below as an example of Fatima’s (sa) prayers.
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) taught the following supplication to Salman al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) and said to him:
"If it pleases you not to be inflicted with fever as long as you live in this world, then read these words, which my father, Muhammad, taught me and I say every morning and evening:
'In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, Most Merciful
In the Name of Allah the light; In the Name of Allah the light of light
In the Name of Allah, light upon light
In the Name of Allah, the planner of affairs
In the Name of Allah, Who created light from light
Revealed light upon the Turr
By a decree inscribed
In a scroll unfolded
According to a decree fore-ordained
Unto a Learned Prophet
Praise be to Allah, Who is known with Might
Whose Glory is established
Who is praised during times of prosperity and infliction
And may Allah's grace be upon our Master, Muhammad
And his purified progeny'
Salman later said:
"By Allah, I have taught this supplication to more than a thousand souls in Mecca and Medina who were inflicted with fever, and they were all relieved by the will of Allah."
Ibn Tawoos (may Allah bless his soul) wrote in his book Muhaj Ad-Da'awat, that Allah's Messenger (as) taught Fatima az-Zahra (sa) the following supplication:
'O Allah, Our Lord and the Lord of Everything
(He) Who revealed Tawrayt, Injeel and Furqan (Qur’an)
(He) Who causes the seed-grain and the date-stone to split and sprout
I seek refuge in You from every beast that you shall seize by its forelock
Surely You are the First, where nothing has succeeded (You)
And the last, where nothing shall come after (You)
You are the Evident, there is nothing more Manifest than You
And the Eminent, there is nothing more Eminent than You
Send your grace upon Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayt
May Peace be upon them
And settle my debts for me
Make me free from poverty
And decree easy for me all my affairs
O You! Most Merciful of all'
In conclusion, we can easily state that had Fatima az-Zahra (sa) been given the chance to manifest her knowledge, and had she lived for fifty, or, sixty years, we would have been able to inherit a treasury of knowledge, and information pertaining to various subjects and sciences. Unfortunately, Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was neither given the chance to teach us, nor did she live more than twenty years, as you will come to know.