The Marriage of Fatimah with Imam Ali
When Fatimah (s.a.) grew youth, the great companions hurried to the Prophet (S) one after the other so that he might honor them by marrying his pure daughter to them but the Prophet (S) responded to none of them. From those who had asked the Prophet (S) for his daughter’s hand was Abu Bakr whom the Prophet (S) refused his request and said to him, ‘I am waiting, regarding her, for the Fate (of Allah).’ After him came Umar and the Prophet (S) replied to him as he had replied to his former companion.1
The Prophet (S) announced that the marriage of Fatimah (s.a.) was in the hand of Allah and he himself had nothing to do concerning the matter. When Muslims knew that, they refrained from asking the Prophet (S) for his daughter’s hand any more.
Sometime later, some companions met Imam Ali (a.s.) and mentioned to him his close kinship to the Prophet (S), his great jihad for Islam, and his support to the Prophet (S) in all his battles and situations. They asked him to propose to Fatimah (s.a.) and win the honor of the Prophet’s affinity. Imam Ali (a.s.) went to the Prophet (S) hesitatingly because of shyness. He came to the Prophet (S) lowering his sight to the ground. The Prophet (S) asked him,
‘What do you want, my brother?’
Imam Ali (a.s.) was silent for a while out of shyness and then said, ‘O messenger of Allah, I remembered Fatimah.’
The Prophet (S) answered smilingly while delight appeared on his face, ‘Welcome! Allah has ordered to marry my daughter to you.’2
Imam Ali’s heart was filled with delight for the honor that Allah granted him. He was the Prophet’s cousin and then he was going to be his son-in-law. It has been mentioned in some tafsirs that this verse,
concerned Imam Ali (a.s.).3
The Prophet (S) told his companions that Allah had ordered him to marry his daughter to Imam Ali (a.s.). He said to them, ‘An angel came and said to me: O messenger of Allah, Allah sends you greeting and says to you: I have married Fatimah to Ali in the high Heaven, so you marry her to him in the earth.’4
Then, the Prophet (S) went to Fatimah (s.a.) and said to her, ‘I marry you to the best one of my umma. He is the most knowledgeable, the most prudent and the first Muslim.’5
On another occasion, he said to her, ‘O Fatimah, do you not know that Allah observed the people of the earth, and then He chose your father from among them and sent him a messenger, and once another He observed and then He chose your husband and revealed to me so that I married him (to my daughter) and took him my guardian?’6
On a third occasion he said to her, ‘He (Imam Ali) is the first of my companions in being Muslim, the most of them in knowledge, and the greatest of them in prudence.’7
All high qualities, ideals and values were available in Imam Ali (a.s.) and therefore, Allah had chosen him a husband for the daughter of the Prophet (S). In traditions it is mentioned that: “If Ali was not created, there would be no equal for Fatimah.’8
The dowry of Fatimah (s.a.) was very simple. The Prophet (S) had assigned it so to be an example for all the women of his nation so that no man and no woman might remain unmarried because of high dowries.
The Prophet (S) said to Imam Ali (a.s.), ‘O Ali, do you have something (to pay as dowry)?’
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘I have a sword, an armor, and a horse.’
The Prophet (S) said to him, ‘As for your horse, you need it, and as for your sword, you cannot do without it, but as for your armor, you can sell it.’9
Imam Ali (a.s.) went to the market and sold his armor for four hundred and eighty dirhams and came back with the amount knotted in the end of his shirt,10 and put it before the Prophet (S). It was a very simple dowry and it was less than what the poor might pay for their wives.
The Prophet (S) took a handful of dirhams and gave them to Bilal to buy with them some perfumes for Fatimah (s.a.), and other handfuls to Salman and Umm Salamah to buy some furniture. It was no long until all requirements of the wedding were prepared. The furniture of Fatimah (s.a.) and Ali (a.s.) was the following:
1. A sheepskin to sleep on
2. A pillow of leather stuffed with palm-tree fibers
3. A bed made of palm-tree branches
4. A quern
5. A water skin
6. Two jars
7. Some pottery vessels
This furniture was very simple and cheap in people’s consideration, but it was too valuable in Islam’s view. It was more precious than jewels and expensive things that kings and wealthy people give to their wives.
The furniture was put before the Prophet (S). He looked at the pottery and said, ‘Blessed are the people of a house whose most vessels are of pottery.’
Allama al-Fartoosi described this house of Imam Ali and Fatimah in the following poem by saying, “And your house that is too simple with what its four corners contained. In a corner a mat beside it a jar was put, and in another a bed of palm-tree branches there was, and clay vessels that were the cups which were made by their owners hands, and a quern was there that blistered the hand that milled barley, as if humbleness with what it contained was a sign that everything worshipped.”11
Lomnice concluded from the simplicity of Fatimah’s wedding that the Prophet (S) hated Fatimah because he married her to a poor man and that the furniture of her house was too simple. The ignorance of Lomnice regarding Islam led him to this conclusion. His mind was built by the Western life that did not understand Islam. Islam hates excessive dowries so that to make marriage easy for all. The Prophet (S) said, ‘The best women of my community are those of less dowries.’12
Once, the Prophet (S) married some man from his companions who possessed nothing to a woman for a dowry of that he should teach his wife one sura from the Qur’an.15 That dowry was called “the dowry of the sura”.
The Islamic Sharia encourages marriage with little dowries and cancels superiority between spouses. It makes a Muslim man equal to a Muslim woman, but these values were ignored by Lomnice who looked at things only from the material angle.
On concluding the agreement of marriage, the Prophet (S) made this speech before a crowd of his companions. He said,
“Praise be to Allah Who is praised for His blessing, worshipped by His power, obeyed by His sovereignty, Who it is feared from His torment and affliction, Whose command is executed in His heaven and in His earth, Who has created the creation (people) by His power, distinguished them with His commandments, glorified them by His religion, and honored them by His prophet Muhammad, Allah’s blessings be on him and on his progeny.
Allah, Whose name has been blessed and Whose greatness has been exalted, has made affinity (through marriage) as subsequent kinship and imposed matter that He interlaces relatives and binds people by it. Allah the Almighty says,
The command of Allah comes to His judgment and His judgment comes to His fate. Every judgment has a fate, and every fate has a term, and every term has a prescription.
Allah the Almighty has ordered me to marry Fatimah to Ali. Now, I make you witness that I marry Fatimah to Ali for four hundred weights of silver (as dowry), if he agrees, due to the authentic Sunna and the obligatory duty. May Allah gather them together, bless them, make their offspring good, and make their progeny the keys to mercy, the source of wisdom, and safety to the nation. I say this and ask Allah to forgive me and forgive you.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) was not present when the Prophet (S) was delivering the sermon of marriage for he was away to carry out something for the Prophet (S). After the end of the sermon, he came. When the Prophet (S) saw him, he smiled and said,
“O Ali, Allah has ordered me to marry Fatimah to you, and I have done for four hundred weights of silver.”16
Then, the Prophet (S) asked Imam Ali (a.s.) to speak, and Imam Ali (a.s.) said,
“Praise be to Allah Who has been near to His praisers, approached His askers, promised the Paradise for whoever fears Him, and warned with Fire whoever disobeys Him. We praise Him for His eternal favor, ask Him for assistance and to guide us, believe in Him, ask Him to suffice all our needs, and bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone with no partner with Him a witness that fits and pleases Him, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, may Allah send blessings on him a blessing that takes him closer to Allah, favors, exalt, and chooses him. Marriage is from that which Allah has ordered and from that which pleases Him. This is the messenger of Allah. He has married his daughter Fatimah to me for a dowry of five hundred dirhams, and I have agreed. Ask him and witness on that.”
Then the Prophet said, “I marry my daughter to you as the Beneficent One has willed for you. I have accepted what Allah has accepted for her. The best son-in-law, and the best companion you are, and Allah’s pleasure with you suffices you.”17
Then Imam Ali (a.s.) prostrated himself before Allah as gratefulness for this great blessing that Allah had endowed him with. After that, the Prophet (S) prayed to Allah for Imam Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) saying, “May Allah bless you, prosper you, unite between you and produce much good from you.”18
The conclusion of marriage was held in the mosque of the Prophet (S).19 The Prophet (S) ordered a vessel of unripe dates to be offered to the attendants to eat from it.
On the night of wedding, the Prophet said to Imam Ali (a.s.), ‘O Ali, there must be a banquet for the bride.’20
Imam Ali (a.s.) had nothing in order to prepare the banquet. Sa’d bin Ubadah offered a sheep and some men from the Ansar offered some corn. Food was prepared and Muslims were invited for dinner. The Prophet (S) gave some dirhams to Imam Ali (a.s.) and asked him to buy some oil, dates and cheese. When Imam Ali (a.s.) bought those things, the Prophet (S) uncovered his arms and began splitting the dates and mixing them with the oil and cheese and so he made “heiss”21 and offered it to the invitees.22 After having dinner, the invitees congratulated Imam Ali (a.s.) and prayed to Allah to bless his marriage.
The Prophet (S) said to his daughter Fatimah (s.a.), “Do you know Ali’s position to me? He supported me while he was twelve years old, stroke with the sword before me when he was sixteen, killed heroes when he was nineteen, relieved my grieves when he was twenty and plucked up the gate of Khaybar when he was twenty-two years old.”23
The house in which Imam Ali and Fatimah (peace be on them) had got married was one of Haritha bin an-Nu’man’s houses. First, the Prophet (S) was shy to take the house, but when Harithah understood that, he hurried to the Prophet (S) saying, ‘O messenger of Allah, I and my properties are for Allah and for His messenger. By Allah, nothing is more beloved to me than what you take from me, and what you take (from me) is more beloved to me than what you leave (to me).’ The Prophet (S) thanked and prayed Allah for him. Then Fatimah (s.a.) moved to live in this house.24
The Prophet asked his wife Umm Salamah to take his daughter Fatimah (s.a.) to the house of Imam Ali (a.s.) that was next to the mosque of the Prophet (S). So Umm Salamah and some women from the Muhajireen and the Ansar carried Fatimah (s.a.) home in a procession while chanting some songs and poetry. After having offered the Isha’ Prayer, the Prophet (S) went to Imam Ali’s house and Umm Ayman received him there. He asked her, ‘Is my brother here?’
She said, ‘O messenger of Allah, may my father and mother die for you! Who is your brother?’
He said, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib.’
How is he your brother whereas you have married your daughter to him?’
He said, ‘It is so, Umm Aymen.’
The Prophet (S) came in and the two spouses got up out of respect and reverence. The Prophet (S) asked Fatimah (s.a.) to bring him some water and she did. He drank a sip and then ejected it back into the cup. He asked Fatimah (s.a.) to get up and he sprinkled some of that water on her chest and head. Then, he raised his head towards the heaven saying, ‘O Allah, I ask You to protect her and her progeny from cursed Satan.’
Then the Prophet (S) asked Imam Ali (a.s.) to bring another cup of water and he did. The Prophet drank a sip and ejected it back into the cup. Then he poured some of the water of the cup on Imam Ali’s head and prayed Allah for him saying, ‘O Allah, I ask You to protect him and his progeny from cursed Satan.’ He asked him to turn back and when Imam Ali (a.s.) turned back, the Prophet poured the rest of the water, prayed for Imam Ali (a.s.) and asked him to go in to his wife.25
By getting married to Fatimah (s.a.), Imam Ali (a.s.) got further honor and importance before people. It has been mentioned in traditions that, “Ali had a high rank before people during the life of Fatimah (s.a.).”26
Once, the Prophet said to Fatimah (s.a.), “I have married you to a master in this life and a master in the afterlife. No one hates him except a polytheist.”27
On the night of her wedding, Fatimah (s.a.) took off her wedding dress and gave it to a poor young woman. The following day, the Prophet (S) visited her and found that she was not wearing her wedding dress. He asked why and she said, ‘O father, a poor young woman knocked the door asking for a dress. I wanted to give her my old dress but then I remembered this saying of Allah,
Therefore, I gave her my new dress that I loved.’28
This blessed house (of Imam Ali and Fatimah) was established in the second year of Hijra.29 And it was said other than this. It was said that Fatimah (s.a.) was ten years old when she got married30 while Imam Ali (a.s.) was twenty-one years and five months.31
The Prophet (S) built his daughter a house adjacent to the Great Mosque and made a door in it that was opened to the mosque. When the Prophet (S) ordered all the doors that were opened to the mosque to be closed, he excluded the door of Fatimah (and Ali)’s house as a kind of honoring and glorifying.32
Ibn Umar considered the Prophet’s (S) closing all the doors of the companions’ houses that were opened to the mosque except the door of Imam Ali (a.s.) as one of the merits that Imam Ali (a.s.) had got.33
Fatimah bint Asad, Imam Ali’s mother, lived with the Imam in the same house. So he divided the house affairs between his mother and his wife Fatimah bint Muhammad (S). The internal house affairs such as serving food and the like were his wife’s duty whereas the external affairs were his mother’s.34
Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughter, served food for her husband and children. She milled mostly barley in the quern and sometimes wheat. Then she kneaded and baked it. Fatimah (s.a.) lived as the prophets and their guardians lived. She was ascetic and very simple in all sides of her life.
She swept and cleaned the house with her bare hands. She wove clothes for her husband and children. The shirt that Imam Ali (a.s.) put on in wars had been woven by her.35
Imam Ali (a.s.) often helped Fatimah (s.a.) in the house affairs. He said, “Once, the messenger of Allah (S) visited us while Fatimah was near the cooking pot and I was picking out lentils. He said, ‘O Abul Hasan, listen to what I say, and I do not say except from my Lord. Every man, who helps his wife in her house, Allah will write for him as much as the hairs on his body (the reward of) worship of a year; fasting in the day and worshipping all the night, and Allah will give him like the reward of the patient and the righteous.’”36
In some sources, it has been mentioned that the Prophet (S) had determined for Fatimah (s.a.) the work inside the house and for Imam Ali (a.s.) the work outside the house.37
The life of Imam Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) was full of love and friendliness. About that Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘By Allah, I did never anger her or force her to do something (unwillingly) until Allah took her to the better world. She also did never anger me nor did she disobey me in anything at all. When I looked at her, my griefs and sorrows were relieved.’38
Besides the tire and hardship she faced in milling the food for her family, she milled food for her weak and old neighbors just for the sake of Allah.
Salman al-Farisi narrated, “One day, I passed by Fatimah’s house and heard al-Hasan and al-Husayn, who were young children, crying. I pitied them and said to Fatimah from behind the door, ‘I want to carry al-Hasan and al-Husayn.’
She said to me, ‘O Salman, I have no veil on my head.’
I threw my aba to her. She veiled herself with it and went to al-Hasan and al-Husayn. I sat near the quern that she was milling with it and I began running it. I found some blood on the shaft of the quern and became astonished. I asked Fatimah about it and she said that she milled barley and wheat for the poor people of Medina who had no querns. She received them kindly and milled their food for them.’39
One day, the Prophet came to her and found her milling while wearing a garment of camel hair. He cried and said to her, ‘Be patient with the bitterness of this life for the sake of the bliss of the afterlife tomorrow.’40
While she was milling she was reciting this saying of Allah, (and whatever is with Allah is better and more lasting. 28:60).
The Prophet (S) recommended Fatimah (s.a.) not to insist on Imam Ali (a.s.) to buy her anything from the pleasures of the worldly life. She said to Imam Ali (a.s.), “The messenger of Allah (S) had forbidden me from asking you for anything. He said to me, ‘Do not ask your cousin for anything. If he himself brings you something (accept it); otherwise, do not ask him for anything.’”
Fatimah (s.a.) often carried water for her weak neighbors. She filled the skin from wells and carried it to them until her back was affected.41
Many true traditions have been transmitted from the Prophet (S) showing that he had considered Fatimah’s children as his. All the Prophet’s children died in their early childhood, and so the polytheists rejoiced at that and said that the Prophet had no offspring; therefore, Allah revealed to the Prophet these verses,
Exegetes say that al-Kawthar was Fatimah (s.a.), the principal of all the women of the world and that the Prophet’s posterity was from her. The Prophet (S) loved his grandchildren from the deep of his heart and he saw that they would be the continuity of his life. Once in their early childhood, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (peace be on them) were walking and stumbled. The Prophet (S) descended from the minbar, carried them, and said, ‘Allah the Great is true when He says,
When he heard one of them crying, he said to his daughter Fatimah (s.a.), ‘Why are they crying? Do you not know that their crying distresses me?’
The Prophet (S) himself took care of them and managed their affairs. One night, he heard that al-Hasan (a.s.) wanted some water. He brought some water. Al-Husayn (a.s.) wanted to drink water but the Prophet (S) gave water to al-Hasan (a.s.) first. Fatimah (s.a.) said to her father, ‘As if al-Hasan is more beloved to you!.’
The Prophet said, ‘No! But al-Hasan asked for water first.’ Then he wrapped them with one wrap and said to them, ‘I and you will be in one place on the Day of Resurrection.’42
The following are some traditions declaring that Fatimah’s children were the Prophet’s offspring.
1. Fatimah bint Imam al-Husayn narrated from her grandmother Fatimah az-Zahra’ (a.s.) that the Prophet had said, ‘All the children of Adam belong to their agnation except Fatimah’s children that I am their father and I am their agnation.’43
2. The Prophet (S) said, ‘For all children of a father there is an agnation that they belong to except Fatimah’s children that I am their guardian and I am their agnation. They have been created from my clay. Woe unto whoever denies their preference. Whoever loves them Allah loves him, and whoever hates them Allah hates him.’44
3. The Prophet (S) said, ‘The agnation of every children belongs to their father except Fatimah’s children. I am their father and I am their agnation.’45
4. The Prophet (S) said, ‘Every children of a mother belong to an agnation, except Fatimah’s children that I am their guardian and I am their agnation.’46
Nevertheless, the Umayyads denied the Prophet’s fatherhood to Fatimah’s children and claimed that one’s daughter’s child was not considered as one’s child. Their poet said, “Our children are the children of our sons, but as for our daughters, their children are the children of strange men.”
Islam has refuted this notion of the pre-Islamic age and not differentiated between one’s daughter’s children and son’s children.
It is worth mentioning that we mention this story here. Aamir ash-Sha’bi narrated,
“One day, I was with al-Hajjaj.47 It was the day of Eid ul-Adha. He turned towards me and said, ‘O Aamir, by what do people approach Allah on this day?’
I said, ‘People approach Allah through sacrifices.’
Al-Hajjaj said, ‘How about you if I shall sacrifice a man from the adherents of al-Hasan and al-Husayn?’
Al-Hajjaj ordered his men to bring that man, and they did before no long. He was an old man tied with heavy ties. Al-Hajjaj shouted at this old man who was Yahya bin Ya’mur, ‘Are you still in your deviation from the truth?’
The old man asked why and al-Hajjaj said to him, ‘You claim that al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the children of the messenger of Allah (S).’
Yahya confirmed that al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, were the Prophet’s children and he gave proofs on that. He recited this verse,
and said that it was al-Hasan and al-Husayn who were meant by (our sons).
Al-Hajjaj cried out harshly, ‘Do you have other than this verse or otherwise I shall behead you?’
Yahya recited this other verse,
and said that the Holy Qur’an declared that Jesus (a.s.) was from the posterity of Prophet Abraham (a.s.) though Prophet Jesus (a.s.) had been born with no father.
Al-Hajjaj said, ‘Jesus was from Abraham’s children because of his mother Mary.’
Yahya asked how long it was between Mary and Abraham and al-Hajjaj said it was some generations.
Then Yahya said, ‘Between al-Hasan and al-Husayn and the messenger of Allah (S) there was no one save Fatimah. So are they not the Prophet’s children?’
Al-Hajjaj looked at the ground and pondered for a while after being refuted by Yahya. Then, he said to his men, ‘Untie his ties and chains and give him ten thousand dinars in spite of me.’
I (Aamir) followed after Yahya to see what he would do with the ten thousand dinars. I saw him standing in a square called Rahbat al-Kufa while distributing the money among the poor and saying, ‘This is from the blessings of al-Hasan and al-Husayn.’48
The Abbasids were not better than the Umayyads in this concern. In fact, they were much worse. They hated the Alawids bitterly, chased them everywhere, threw many of them into dark prisons, and killed too many others. The Abbasid kings donated great gifts to the poets who dispraised the Alawids in their presence. Anyhow, we do not want to mention their shameful conducts in this concern in order not to expatiate.
- 1. Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, vol.8 p.11, Tareekh al-Khamees, vol.1 p.407, Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.29.
- 2. Noor Al-Absar, p.42, Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.318, Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol.3
- 3. Majma’ al-Bayan, vol.9 p.175.
- 4. Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.32.
- 5. Jam’ al-Jawami’, vol.6 p.398.
- 6. Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.32.
- 7. Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.153.
- 8. Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.5 p.36, Majma’ az-Zawa’id, 6 p.101, Ar-Riyadh an-Nadhirah, vol.2 p.194.
- 9. Kifayat at-Talib, p.166, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.120.
- 10. Kanzol Ummal, vol.7 p.14.
- 11. Malhamat (epic of) Ahlul Bayt by al-Fartoosi, vol.1 p.35.
- 12. Man La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqeeh, vol.3 p.243.
- 13. To teach his wife a sura from the Qur’an as her dowry.
- 14. Tahthib al-Ahkam, vol.7 p.366.
- 15. Sahih Muslim, vol.1 p.545.
- 16. Kashful Ghummah, p.358-359, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.132.
- 17. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43 p.132.
- 18. Noor al-Absar, p.42, ar-Riyadh an-Nadhirah, vol.2 p.183, Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.29.
- 19. Khashf al-Ghummah, vol.358.
- 20. Kanzol Ummal, vol.7 p.14.
- 21. The name of such food.
- 22. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.132
- 23. Amali as-Saduq, p.483.
- 24. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.40 p.6.
- 25. The Life of Imam al-Hasan bin Ali, vol.1 p.52-53.
- 26. Ghareeb al-Hadith by ibn al-Jawzi, vol.2 p.455, an-Nihayah fee Ghareeb al-Hadith, 5 p.158.
- 27. Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.43.
- 28. Know that I am Fatimah, vol.2 p.665.
- 29. Murooj ath-Thahab, vol.2 p.187.
- 30. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.10 p.4.
- 31. Murooj ath-Thahab, vol.2 p.187.
- 32. Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.2 p.26, al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, vol.2 p.246.
- 33. An-Nafahaat al-Qudsiyyah fee al-Anwar al-Fatimiyyah, p.135 quoted from Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, vol.2 p.26, Usd al-Ghabah, vol.3 p.214, Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.319.
- 34. Al-Istee’ab (printed on the margins of al-Isabah), vol.4 p.363, Tahthib al-Kamal, vol.3 p.248.
- 35. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.39 p.54.
- 36. Ibid., vol.101 p.132.
- 37. Hilyat al-Awliya’, vol.6 p.104.
- 38. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.133 quoted from Amali at-Toosi.
- 39. Know that I am Fatimah, vol.4 p.547.
- 40. Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.295.
- 41. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.82.
- 42. Fatimah az-Zahra’ and the Fatimids, p.43.
- 43. Tareekh Baghdad, vol.11 p.285.
- 44. Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.216.
- 45. Thakha'ir al-Uqba, p.221.
- 46. Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.220.
- 47. Al-Hajjaj bin Yousuf ath-Thaqafi was the cruelest wali of the Umayyads.
- 48. Know that I am Fatimah, vol.3 p.193-195, and mentioned briefer in Tafsir al-Qurtubi, vol.7 p.31 and al-Mustadrak ala as-Sahihayn, vol.3 p.180.