The sorrow for the loss of her father affected Fatimah (s.a.) terribly and paved the way for diseases to attack and make her weak and feeble until she kept to her bed. Death walked toward her quickly while she was in the prime of youth yet.
It was time for her to meet with her father who had left her and taken with him the warm love and kindness. She impatiently was waiting for that moment where she would join her lovely, kind father to complain to him about what she suffered from his people.
When the signs of departure appeared, Fatimah (s.a.) said her will to her cousin Imam Ali (a.s.). She asked him to bury her under the darkness of night and not to let anyone from those who had wronged her to attend her funeral because they were her and her father’s enemies as she said. She asked him to level her tomb and leave it unknown as a symbol of her anger against those people. She asked him to get married to her sister’s daughter Umama who would bring up her children al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Zaynab in the best way. Imam Ali (a.s.) assured her that he would fulfill her will.
Fatimah (s.a.) asked Asma’ bint Umays, who was preferred and loved by her and was her nurse, to make her a special coffin that would hide all her body. At that time, a dead one was carried on a board that his\her body appeared. Fatimah (s.a.) did not want her body to be distinguished before people; therefore, Asma’ made her a coffin like one she had seen in Abyssinia during her immigration. When Fatimah (s.a.) saw the coffin, she admired it and smiled. It was the first smile of Fatimah (s.a.) since her father had left to the better world.1
On the last day of her life, Fatimah (s.a.) restored some of her health and she was delighted. She knew that it was her last day in this world and soon she would join her father. She bathed her two sons and made them enough food for that day. She asked them to go to visit their grandfather’s tomb. She looked at them with a look of farewell while her heart was about to melt with sorrow and grief.
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn went out while feeling that there was something unusual. They worried too much about their mother.
Fatimah (s.a.) said to Asma’ bint Umays, ‘O mother!’
Asma’ replied, ‘O yes, darling of the messenger of Allah!’
Fatimah (s.a.) asked Asma’ to pour her some water for bathing and Asma’ did. After bathing, Fatimah (s.a.) asked Asma’ to bring her her new clothes and Asma’ did. Then Fatimah (s.a.) asked Asma’ to put her bed in the middle of the house (in the yard). Asma’ became worried and upset. She was frightened by that for she felt that Fatimah (s.a.) was going to die soon.
Fatimah (s.a.) lay in her bed with her face toward the Qibla. She said to Asma’, ‘O mother, I am going to die now. I have purified myself. Let no one uncover me!’ She began reciting some verses of the Qur'an until she breathed her last, and her great soul went up to its Creator surrounded by the angels to be received by the prophets at the head of whom would be the master of all the creation, her father Prophet Muhammad (S). She died in the period between the Maghrib (sunset) Prayer and the Isha’ (evening) Prayer.2
That great soul went high to the gardens and contentment of Allah where this world had never and will have never had anyone from Eve’s daughters like her in sacredness, honor and chastity.
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn went back home hurriedly to see what happened to their mother, but they did not find her. Asma’ told them that their mother died. She asked them to tell their father. They both ran towards their mother’s body. Al-Hasan threw himself on his mother saying, ‘Mother, talk to me before my soul leaves my body!’
Al-Husayn, too, threw himself on his mother crying and saying, ‘Mother, I am your son al-Husayn. Talk to me before my heart splits and then I die.’
Asma’ took al-Hasan and al-Husayn away and began kissing and comforting them. She asked them to get out of the house for fear of them and to go to tell their father about their mother’s death. They went to the mosque while crying bitterly. Muslims were terrified and they asked them what the matter was and they said that their mother Fatimah (s.a.) died.
Imam Ali (a.s.) was shocked and confused. He said, ‘O daughter of Muhammad, with whom shall I console myself? I often consoled myself with you. With what shall I console myself after you?’
He hurried back home, looked at the sacred corpse of his wife and recited this poetry,
“Every meeting between two friends is followed by separation, and everything other than separation is little.
My loss of Fatimah after Ahmed,3
Is a proof that no friend shall last for ever.”
Muslims from everywhere hurried to Imam Ali’s (a.s.) house weeping for their Prophet’s daughter whom they wronged and did not regard her rights. By her death, the last page of Prophethood was folded. By her death, Muslims recalled the glory and the honor that the Prophet (S) had established for them and the kindness and love he had towards them. Medina shook with crying and weeping by men and women. They waited for the holy corpse to have honor by escorting it. Imam Ali (a.s.) charged Salman al-Farisi to tell the crowded people that the funerals was put off until the next day. People left the house. Aa’isha came intending to see off the sacred corpse, but Asma’ prevented her saying, ‘She (Fatimah) asked me that no one should see her.’4
On the night, Imam Ali (a.s.), with al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Asma’, washed (ritually) the pure body of Fatimah (s.a.), and then enshrouded her. Imam Ali (a.s.) asked the children to see off their mother, and they threw themselves over her while crying bitterly. After the farewell look, Imam Ali (a.s.) tied the shroud.
In the last part of night, Imam Ali (a.s.) offered the Prayer of the Dead on the pure corpse, and then he instructed the Hashemites and the Prophet’s closest companions to carry the sacred corpse to its last abode. He did not tell anyone else about the funerals and the burial except his family and the choice of his companions. He put Fatimah (s.a.) in the tomb and poured earth over her. After the burial, he stood by the tomb and said, “O messenger of Allah, peace be upon you from me and from your daughter who has come to your neighborhood and who has hastened to meet you.
O messenger of Allah, my patience after your choice (daughter) has been exhausted and my endurance has weakened except that I have ground for consolation in having endured the great hardship and great calamity of your separation. I laid you down in your tomb after you had breathed your last (while your head was) between my neck and chest. We are Allah’s and unto Him shall we return.
Now the trust has been returned and what had been given has been taken back. My grief will last forever and my nights will remain sleepless till Allah chooses for me the house in which you are now residing. Certainly your daughter will apprise you of the gathering together of your nation for oppressing her. You ask her in detail and get all the news about the situation. This happened when no long time had elapsed and your remembrance had not disappeared yet. Peace be on you both as a greeting of a parting one not of a disgusted or a hateful person; for if I go away, it is not because of weariness, and if I stay, it is not because of lack of belief in what Allah has promised the patient ones.”5
The wronged Imam went back home very sadly and distressedly. He felt great pains and grief for the misfortunes and calamities that the daughter of the messenger of Allah (S) suffered. His children filled the house with weeping for their kind mother who lived with them no longer and left them while they were too young before being satiated with her love and kindness.
The historians have disagreed about Fatimah’s age. Some of them say she had lived for eighteen years,6 some say twenty-one years,7 some say twenty-five,8 others say twenty-seven years,9 and some say other than that.
Fatimah (s.a.) died while she was in the prime of youth after she had suffered different kinds of disasters and pains. Her father’s nation had gathered together for oppressing her. They even did not regard for her the sanctity and the high position of the Prophet (S) that Fatimah (s.a.) was the worthiest of that from among all the nation.
The Historians are also different on the date of Fatimah’s death. Some say that she had lived for thirty or thirty-five days after the death of her father.10 Some say she had lived for forty days,11 some say seventy-five days,12 and others say she had lived for ninety-five days after the death of her father.13
It is not so important to define the exact date of Fatimah’s death. What is important is the reviving of her virtues and achievements for this revives the creed of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that Fatimah (s.a.) had established its bases and methods.
The place of Fatimah’s tomb was and is still unknown for she had asked Imam Ali (a.s.) to hide it to be a proof on her anger against the people who spared no effort in oppressing her without regarding her position and nearness to the messenger of Allah.
Anyhow, it was said that she had been buried in al-Baqee’ Graveyard,14 and said that she had been buried in her house,15 and said between the Prophet’s tomb and his minbar. The Prophet (S) had said in one of his traditions, ‘Between my tomb and my minbar there is a garden from the gardens of the Paradise.’16
However it was, complaint spread everywhere and people began blaming each other. They said that the Prophet (S) had not left except one daughter that she died and was buried and no one of them attended her funerals and burial. The men of authority were angry at that and they tried to uncover the graves that they thought that Fatimah (s.a.) had been buried in one of them to take her out, offer the prayer on her, and escort her. When Imam Ali (a.s.) found out about that, he went and prevented them from doing that and they refrained.17
This is the end of my research on the life of the mistress of the women that was full of virtues and achievements and that was a continuity of the life of her father, the savior of mankind who had taken man out of the darkness of ignorance to the vastest horizons of light, knowledge and intellect; hoping that this study will be accepted by Pure, Truthful Fatimah (s.a.) and that I shall win her intercession on the day when I meet Allah the Almighty.
- 1. Al-Majalis as-Saniyya, vol. 2 p. 137.
- 2. Wafat as-Siddeeqa (the death of the truthful one) by Sayyid al-Muqarram, p.107.
- 3. The other name of Prophet Muhammad (S).
- 4. Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol. 3 p. 365.
- 5. Nahjol Balagha, vol. 2 p. 207-208.
- 6. Thakha’ir ul-Uqba, vol. 1 p. 52.
- 7. Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol. 3 p. 178, Taqreeb at-Tahtheeb, vol. 1 p. 751.
- 8. Tareekh al-Khulafa’, vol. 1 p. 75.
- 9. Majma’ az-Zawa’id, vol. 9 p. 210, al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, vol. 22 p. 329, Siyer A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 2 p. 128.
- 10. Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 115.
- 11. Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol. 2 p. 116.
- 12. Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol. 2 p. 116, Usool al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 458, al-Imamah wes-Siyasah, vol. 1 p. 20.
- 13. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43 p. 156.
- 14. Al-Bidayeh wen-Nihayeh, vol. 6 p. 334.
- 15. Tahtheeb al-Asma’ wel-Lughaat, vol. 2 p. 353.
- 16. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43 p.185.
- 17. Ibid., p.212.