This is a study on the highest lady in the history of Islam at all. She is Fatimah az-Zahra’ (peace be on her), the daughter of the Prophet (S), the part of him, and his trust to his nation. He was utmost loyal in his love to her. He fed her with his talents, geniuses and mentality.
The messenger of Allah (S) put Fatimah (s.a.) in the highest place and most honorable position in Islam to be the highest example for the women of his nation, not in chastity and abstinence only, but to play her role in the inclusive reformation if his umma (nation) sould go astray. And indeed, the principal of women (s.a.) undertook her positive role when the umma deviated from its spiritual and worldly leadership that the Prophet (S) had assigned to be in the people of his house who were the centers of knowledge and intellect in the world of Islam. She, peace be on her, set stably, bravely, and loftily against the rulers and invited them to straightness and to the very principles of Islam. She asked them to return the caliphate to the master of the pure progeny Ameerul Mo'minin, Imam Ali (a.s.) whom the messenger of Allah (S) had appointed as his successor, the caliph, and the leader over the umma.
The Prophet (S) did not leave any kind of honoring, reverence and glorification that he showed to his daughter. He announced that in the yard of his mosque, from on his minbar, and in all his meetings. This veneration was strange to that society that disregarded, despised, and disdained woman. A man was grieved when his wife gave birth to a female. The Holy Qur'an says,
“When one of them receives tidings of the birth of a female, his face remains darkened and he is wroth inwardly.” (16:58)
The people of that society buried their daughters alive and it was famous among them their saying that burying of girls is a virtue. Allah says in the Qur'an,
“And when the female infant that was buried alive is asked; for what sin she was killed.” (81:9)
The Prophet (S) wanted, out of honoring his daughter Fatimah (s.a.), to make Muslims know her high position to him, and know her educational, religious and scientific virtues. She was extremely perfect, and therefore, the Prophet (S) wanted to make her as a high example for his umma; men and women. Besides, he wanted to reinforce her situation in jihad that she would undertake after him.
The Prophet (S) established a new society that acknowledged the right and the high position of woman, and acknowledged her importance in the religion of Allah.
The certain thing that has no bit of doubt is that the Prophet (S) did not follow any emotional or material tendency, for the importance of prophethood was above that. He preferred the satisfaction of Allah to everything else. He was sincere in all his conducts, for he was the greatest propagandist of Allah who did not speak out of desire but a revelation that was revealed to him.
And the certain thing that has no bit of doubt is that the veneration and high respect the Prophet (S) showed to his daughter besides his preferring her to all the women of the worlds, as mentioned in the traditions that were transmitted from him in the books of Hadith and other books of history, were not out of the sentiment of fatherhood, but it came out of the real infallibility, abstinence, and the deep faith in Allah that Fatimah (s.a.) had, besides her full perceiving of her father’s heavenly mission. She was a treasure from the treasures of Islam, a high example from the spirituality of prophethood, and a light that guided the nation from ignorance to the truth.
The principal of the women of the worlds (s.a.), since the beginning of the Islamic mission, helped and assisted her father who met bitter cruelty and persecution from the tyrants of Quraysh1, at the head of whom was the Umayyad gang under the leadership of Abu Sufyan who spared no effort in trying to put out the light of Islam and to revive the characteristics of the pre-Islamic era with all its sins and vices.
Fatimah (s.a.) was a young girl then. She comforted her father, treated his wounds, and washed his clothes from the filths that the rude men of Quraysh threw on him. Her soul melted for him, and she cried bitterly for his sufferings in the way of the mission. She occupied the feelings and sentiments of her father, and therefore, he had special love in the deep of his heart towards her. He preferred her to the rest of his children.
Asceticism and turning away from the desires and pleasures of the worldly life was the prominent feature in the life of Fatimah (s.a.). She was satisfied with a very simple living. Historians say that her food was not more than water and bread, and the furniture in her house was a bed made of palm-tree branches, a sheep skin, some pillows stuffed with palm-tree fibers and some pottery. It had never been mentioned that she had ever asked or insisted on her husband to bring her any of the pleasures of life. She was satisfied with the simplest living that the poorest people lived. It was a lesson for Muslim woman not to burden her husband with heavy requests that he cannot carry out.
It is nonsense and confusion, and in fact, it is out of the enmity to Islam that which Lamans said in his book “Fatimah and the daughters of Muhammad”. He said that the Prophet (S) hated Fatimah (s.a.) because he had married her to Imam Ali (a.s.) who was poor, and that the furniture of her house was too simple. Lamans did forget that Islam had established the marital relation on the basis of love and kindness between spouses paying no attention to the means of luxury. The Prophet (S) said, ‘The best women of my nation are those whose dowries are the least.’ Do furniture and means of luxury have any value if the marital life is full of troubles, hatred and spite?
Allah the Almighty gave a prevailing victory to His slave and messenger, Muhammad (S). Islam prevailed and defeated all enemies. Mecca, which was the strong fort for the enemies of Islam, was conquered and people entered the religion of Allah a troop after another. This short period was the happiest period in the life of Fatimah (s.a.), for Islam triumphed and its enemies were defeated.
In this period, the principal of the women of the worlds undertook the leadership of the women of Muslims. She taught them the Holy Qur'an and gave lectures on the principles and values of Islam. She took the women towards the nobilities of character and high ideals, and taught them the rulings of Islam and woman’s duties towards her husband, children and family.
Fatimah (s.a.) lived during that period in veneration and glorification under the care and mercy of her father (S), besides the great respect and regard she got from the Muslim women and the Prophet’s companions.
When the Prophet (S) left to the better world, Fatimah (s.a.) suffered severe distresses and misfortunes. She received aversion and cruelty from some of her father’s companions. They denied her high position and importance to her father. She said in some poetry, or some poet said describing her,
“Disasters were poured on me that if they were poured on days, they would turn into nights.”
What were those disasters that changed the happy days of Fatimah (s.a.) into dark nights?! What were those pains that made her disgust life and wish eagerly to join her father?!
The beloved daughter of the messenger of Allah (S) lived a short period after the death of her father surrounded by waves of distresses and sufferings, and then she joined her father in the better world while she was in the prime of youth yet.
Disasters were not limited to Fatimah az-Zahra’ (s.a.) the daughter of the messenger of Allah alone, but they afflicted her children after her too. Her eldest son Imam al -Hasan (a.s.) met from Mo’awiya different calamities and pains until, finally, he was poisoned to death by him.
Her second son Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) was afflicted with disasters that mountain would shake before. The great army of criminals that Yazid bin Mo’awiya, the wicked Umayyad caliph, sent to fight Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) surrounded the imam, his family and companions in the desert of Kerbala, and prevented them from water until women and children were about to die of thirst. The spiteful army of Yazid killed the best choice of the progeny of the messenger of Allah, and the best of his companions.
Then swords came to Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) to tear him into pieces and maim his holy body. They buried the corpses of their killed ones, but left the pure corpses of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) and his family and followers on the desert. Later on, some men from Bani2 Asad buried these martyrs to change into lightstands for Muslims who circumambulated them and still do as they circumambulate the Kaaba, for they have become symbols of justice, dignity and all values that Muslims pride of.
As for Fatimah’s only daughter Zaynab (s.a), she also faced successive calamities. She saw the murders of her brothers and all the members of her family before her eyes. She saw the fierce attack of the wicked criminals towards her and the daughters of prophethood while holding flaming torches and crying out: “Burn the houses of the unjust!”
O my God!
The house of prophethood, the source of mercy, the center of wisdom and knowledge was “the house of injustice” due to those criminals, whereas the house of the (illegitimate) son of Marjanah, and the house of his master the drunkard Yazid were “the houses of justice”!!!
The criminals set fire to the tents of the Alawid women who ran away in the desert followed by fire. The enemies of Allah robbed the jewels of those women and all that they had, and then they were taken as captives to the terrorist, criminal son of Marjanah, and then to his master Yazid the grandson of Abu Sufyan who was the head of the polytheists. These women of the house of prophethood were carried from a country to another, and their faces were exposed to this and that.
These calamities that the Prophet’s progeny faced were, undoubtedly, a result of the saying that some people called for after the death of the Prophet (S) that “prophethood and caliphate should not gather in one house”.
From the direct results of this saying was that the Umayyads assumed the rule and exceeded in killing the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)3 and whoever believed and followed them.
The terrible events that took place in the first Islamic age tried Muslims severely and left for them seditions and great evils. The sad events that took place directly after the departure of the Prophet (S) were the source of the great sedition that afflicted Muslims and separated their unity throughout their history. These events must be studied as they were with no partiality or tendency.
From the most terrible events of that age was the attack against the house of Fatimah (s.a.) that caused her to miscarry her fetus. The attackers, who were eminent companions of the Prophet (S), threatened to set fire to her house. Some past and present historians and authors concealed, intentionally, these events to sanctify and exalt those companions.
I think that studying these events objectively and accurately will be fruitful for all Muslims. It shall unite Muslims, remove confusions and ambiguities, and show the truth, for the Islamic history had been mixed with fabrications, distortions and lies.
He who studies the history of the first age of Islam impartially and away from emotions, will be certain that there was a plot intendedly concluded against the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in order to keep them away from the political life, the rule and all affairs of the state. People tried their best to obtain the authority, the leadership of the nation and the wealth of the country. They gave deaf ears to what the Prophet (S) had said and they threw his traditions into the wastebasket. The nation suffered, because of that, terrible problems and lost too much.
From the direct results of extorting the caliphate from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) was that people’s revolts broke out where rivers of Muslims’ blood were shed. Sorrow spread everywhere and widows and orphans were in every house. Surely all that was because people deviated from the path that the Prophet (S) had established for his nation and guaranteed success for it, if it would keep to the Qur'an and the pure progeny.
Certainly authority and caliphate had no value near the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who had been created for virtue and perfection. They had no other tendency to the rule. The importance of the rule to them was just to establish the truth and spread justice among all people.
Once Ameerul Mo'minin (Imam Ali) (a.s.) saw his vizier delighted for the caliphate of Imam Ali (a.s.) who had a shoe made of palm-tree fibers in his hand. Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘O ibn Abbas, what is the value of this shoe?’
Ibn Abbas said, ‘O Ameerul Mo'minin, it has no value.’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘It is better to me than your caliphate except that I establish the truth and resist falseness’.
For these noble aims that Muslims would enjoy, the wish of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to the undertaking of the leadership of the nation was.
Imam Ali (a.s.) showed the motives behind his dispute with Abu Bakr saying, ‘O Allah, You know that, which was between us and Abu Bakr, was not a competition on authority or looking forward to something of the pleasures of this world, but it was to carry out the rulings of Your religion, and revive the annulled penalties of Yours, so that the oppressed of Your people would be safe’.
And really, when the Islamic caliphate, which was the shadow of Allah in the earth, was taken away from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), the Umayyads and after them the Abbasid jumped to it and it became as a play in their hands. They spent the wealth of the nation on amusements and pleasures. They ruled over the nation with injustice and oppression. At first sight on the history of those kings, it shall be clear that they poured terrible calamities and misfortunes on the nation.
The situation of Fatimah (s.a.) towards the rule of Abu Bakr and her resisting to him was just for the welfare of the nation and to protect it against injustice and oppression.
From the direct results and fruits of the resistance of Fatimah (s.a.) to the rule of Abu Bakr was the foundation of the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that represented the real Islam with its deep legislations and wonderful rulings that the infallible imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) spread.
The historic sermon that Fatimah (s.a.) had made in the yard of her father’s mosque put everything in its place. In that speech, she declared the great dangers and crises that the nation would face because of taking the caliphate away from the progeny of the Prophet (S) who were the house of revelation, the center of knowledge, and the pillars of honor in Islam. By her will to her husband Imam Ali (a.s.), she strengthened her situation that denied the rule of Abu Bakr.
She asked, in her will, Imam Ali (a.s.) to bury her after death, in the darkness of night, and not to let any one of those, who oppressed and deprived her of her rights, escort her pure corpse or attend her funerals.
A part of Muslims followed the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and the faith in them has been an essential part in their religious life. The followers of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) depend on the traditions transmitted from the imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in legislation, and not from other than them of the other sects of Muslims.
This study is not limited to the sufferings or the bad events that Fatimahh (s.a.) faced after the death of her father. It offers an inclusive review on the high qualities of her great personality such as chastity, purity, infallibility, deep faith in Allah and other qualities that were similar to her father’s. She was like her father, the messenger of Allah, in most of his qualities by which he was preferred to all of the other prophets.
Muslim women would better imitate Fatima (a.s.) and make her their example in everything. They might take the day of her birth as an occasion to hold festivals for honoring this great lady and taking lessons from her conducts, morals and teachings.
I do not think that any of the personalities of Islam had got veneration and glorification like that which the principal of the women of the worlds had got. Muslim and non-Muslim scholars got the honor of researching on her biography, conducts and all details of her life, sayings and deeds. About three hundred books have been written about her. Some of them are encyclopedias, like “Al-Kawthar fee Ahwal Fatimah bint an-Nabiy al-At~har” by Allama Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Musawi. Another encyclopedia is “Know that I am Fatimah” by Sheikh Abdul Hameed al-Muhajir who had spent twenty years in writing this encyclopedia.
Lamans, the orientalist, has written a book on Fatimah (a .s.), but he attacked Fatimah (s.a.) claiming that her father had married her to Ali (a.s.) who was poor and who took her to a simple house with poor furniture. Great researcher as-Sayooti had mentioned in his book “Musnad Fatimah” the traditions that Fatimah (s.a.) narrated from her father (a.s.).
Anyhow, this book, which I hope it shall be useful and interesting, is one of the books that have been written about Fatimah (s.a.), and the judgment on it is left to readers.
Before I end this foreword, I would like to offer my gratefulness to Sayyid Jawad al-Wada’iy for his continuous help in publishing what I have written about the lives of the infallible imams (peace be on them).
I offer my sincere gratefulness to Sayyid Abdullah Hashim al-Musawi for his help in publishing my books praying Allah to reward him with the best of His reward.
Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi
23rd Sha’ban, 1422 AH