Fatimah was a daughter of the Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
Khadījah bint Khuwaylid or Khadījah al-Kubra was the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She was the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad and Fatimah bint Za'idah and belonged to the clan of Banu Asad. She is important in Islam as Muhammad's first wife, and one of the "mothers of the believers"...

. She is regarded by Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. After migration
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

 to Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

, she married Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, and was mother to five of his children. She died a few months after her father, and was buried in Jannat Al-Baqi'
Maqbaratu l-Baqī is a cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, located to the southeast of the Masjid al-Nabawi. The mosque is built where the Islamic prophet Muhammad used to live, built a mosque and is currently buried. The cemetery therefore holds much significance. It contains many of Muhammad's ...

 in the city of Medina near by Imam Hasan's grave, the exact location of her grave is unknown to many. Most Shias believe that she was injured when defending Ali against the first Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

, and that this incident led to her early death.

According to Shia, she seems to have performed only three acts of political significance, each recorded in almost all sources of Shia, though in different versions. First, after the conquest of Mecca
Conquest of Mecca
Mecca was conquered by the Muslims in January 630 AD .-Background:In 628 the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina signed a 10 year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah....

 she refused her protection to Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Sakhr ibn Harb , more commonly known as Abu Sufyan was a leading man of the Quraish of Mecca. He was a staunch opponent of the Islamic prophet Muhammad before accepting Islam later in his life.-Opposition to Islam:...

; second, after the death of Muhammad she defended Ali's cause, opposed the election of Abu Bakr
Succession to Muhammad
The Succession to Muhammad concerns the various aspects of successorship of Muhammad after his death, comprising who might be considered as his successor to lead the Muslims, how that person should be elected, the conditions of legitimacy, and the role of successor...

, and had violent disputes with him and particularly with Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

; third, she laid claim to the property rights of her father and challenged Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

's categorical refusal to cede them, particularly Fadak
Fadak was a garden oasis in Khaybar, an tract of land in northern Arabia; it is now part of Saudi Arabia. Situated approximately thirty miles from Medina, Fadak was known for its water-wells, dates, and handicrafts. When the Muslims defeated the people of Khaybar at the Battle of Khaybar; the...

 and a share in the produce of Khaybar
Khaybar is the name of an oasis some 153 km to the north of Medina , Saudi Arabia. It was inhabited by Jews before the rise of Islam, and was conquered by Muhammad in 629 AD.-Pre-Islamic Khaybar:...



Fatimah (c. 605–632), the daughter of Muhammad, was born in Mecca to Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad. There are differences of opinion on the exact date of her birth, but the widely accepted view is that she was born five years before the first Qur'anic revelations
Wahi is the Arabic word for revelation. In Islamic context, it refers to the revelations of God to his prophets, for all humankind. In Islam, the Qur'an is considered a wahi given to Muhammad.-Awha:...

, during the time of the rebuilding of the Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 in 605, although this does imply she was over 18 at the time of her marriage which was unusual in Arabia
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. Shia sources, however, state that she was born either two or five years after the first Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic revelations, but this timeline would imply her mother was over fifty at the time of her birth.

Fatimah is the fourth of Muhammad's daughters after Zaynab
Zainab bint Muhammad
Zainab bint Muhammad was the eldest daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his first wife Khadijah. She was born in the fifth year of his marriage to Khadijah, when he was thirty. She died in 8 AH.-Marriage & children:...

, Ruqayya
Ruqayyah bint Muhammad
Ruqayyah bint Muhammad was the second daughter of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his first wife Khadija. She was amongst the earliest converts to Islam. She had married Utbah ibn Abu Lahab, but he divorced her after her conversion to Islam, after which she married Uthman bin Affan...

, and Umm Kulthum
Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad
Umm Kulthum was the third daughter of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.- Marriage and children :She was first married to Utaybah bin Abu Lahab...

. While according to Shi'a scholars, Fatimah was Muhammad's only biological daughter. , they further claimed, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum are actually, being the daughters of Hala, the sister of Khadijah, who were adopted by Muhammad and Khadijah at her death, however the well known fact and accepted is that [Mohammad] had four daughter's all from Khadijah


Fatimah is given many titles by Muslims to show their admiration of her moral and physical characteristics. The most used title is "az-Zahra" (meaning "the shining one") and she is commonly referred to as Fatimah Zahra. She was also known as Ummu Abeeha (Mother of her Father) and "al-Batul" (the chaste and pure one) as she spent much of her time in prayer, reciting the Qur'an and in other acts of worship
The Arabic word ibadah or ibada, usually translated "worship", is connected with related words literally meaning "slavery", and has connotations of obedience, submission, and humility. In terms of Islam, ibadah is the ultimate obedience, the ultimate submission, and the ultimate humility to Allah ...


Muslims regard Fatimah as a loving and devoted daughter, mother, wife, a sincere Muslim, and an exemplar for women. It is believed that she was very close to her father and her distinction from other women is mentioned in many hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. After Khadijah, Muslims regard Fatimah as the most significant historical figure, considered to be the leader (Arabic: Sayyid
Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

) of all women in this world and in Paradise
Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

. It is because of her moral purity that she occupies an analogous position in Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 to that Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 occupies in Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. She was the first wife of Ali, whom Sunnis consider the fourth Rashidun
The Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the Abbasid Dynasty...

The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 and Shias consider the first infallible Imamah
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

, the mother of the second and third Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

s, and the ancestor of all the succeeding Imams; indeed, the Fatimid Caliphate is named after her.

Early life

Following the birth of Fatimah, she was personally nursed contrary to local customs where the newborn were sent to "wet nurse
Wet nurse
A wet nurse is a woman who is used to breast feed and care for another's child. Wet nurses are used when the mother is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", and in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of...

s" in surrounding villages. She spent her early youth under the care of her parents in Mecca in the shadow of the tribulations suffered by her father at the hands of the Quraysh.

According to tradition, on one occasion while Muhammad was performing the salah (prayer) in the Kaaba, Amr ibn Hishām
Amr ibn Hisham
‘Amr ibn Hishām , better known as Abu al-Hakam, was one of the Meccan pagan Quraysh leaders, known for his hostility against and persecution of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims in Mecca....

 (Abu Jahl) and his men poured camel placenta
The placenta is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother's blood supply. "True" placentas are a defining characteristic of eutherian or "placental" mammals, but are also found in some snakes and...

 over him. Fatimah upon hearing the news rushed to her father and wiped away the filth while scolding the men.

Following the death of her mother, Fatimah was overcome by sorrow and found it very difficult to come to terms with her death. She was consoled by her father who informed her that he had received word from angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 that God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 had built for her a palace in paradise.


Many of Muhammad's companions asked for Fatimah's hand in marriage including Abu Bakr and Umar. Muhammad turned them all down saying that he was awaiting a sign of her destiny. Ali, Muhammad's cousin
Family tree of Muhammad
-Family tree:* Note that direct lineage is marked in bold.* * indicates that the marriage order is disputed-Genealogy:Wathilah ibn al-Asqa narrated the Prophet Muhammad said;-Muhammad to Adnan:...

, also had a desire to marry Fatimah but did not have the courage to approach Muhammad due to his (Ali's) poverty. Even when he mustered up the courage and went to see Muhammad, he could not vocalise his intention but remained silent. Muhammad understood the reason for his being there and prompted Ali to confirm that he had come to seek Fatimah in marriage. He suggested that Ali had a shield, which if sold, would provide sufficient money to pay the bridal gift (mahr
In Islam, mahr is an amount of money paid by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage which she can spend as she wishes. The English concept of "dower", the gift of funds to the wife in the event she becomes widowed, closely approximates mahr. The terms "dowry" and "bride price" are...

). Muhammad put forward the proposal from Ali to Fatimah who remained silent and did not protest which Muhammad took to be a sign of affirmation and consent.

The actual date of the marriage is unclear, but it most likely took place in 623, the second year of the hijra
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

, although some sources say it was in 622. Fatimah is reported to have been between the ages of 9 and 19 at the time of her marriage while Ali was between 21 and 25. Muhammad told Ali that he had been ordered by God to give his daughter Fatimah to Ali in marriage. Muhammad said to Fatimah: "I have married you to the dearest of my family to me." Ali sold his shield to raise the money needed for the wedding, as suggested by Muhammad. However, Uthman ibn Affan, to whom the shield was sold, gave it back to Ali saying it was his wedding gift to Ali and Fatimah. Muhammad himself performed the wedding ceremony and two of his wives, Aisha
Aisha bint Abu Bakr also transcribed as was Muhammad's favorite wife...

 and Umm Salama
Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya
Hind bint Abi Umayya was a wife of Muhammad, and therefore a Mother of the Believers.-Name:Hind bint Abi Umayya, Hind al Makhzumiyah, Hind bint Suhayl, also called as Umm Salama ....

, prepared the wedding feast with dates, figs, sheep and other food donated by various members of the Medinan community. According to Hossein Nasr, their marriage possesses a special spiritual significance for all Muslims because it is seen as the marriage between the greatest saintly figures surrounding Muhammad.

Their marriage lasted about ten years and ended when Fatimah died. Although polygyny
Polygyny is a form of marriage in which a man has two or more wives at the same time. In countries where the practice is illegal, the man is referred to as a bigamist or a polygamist...

 is permitted by Islam, Ali did not marry another woman while Fatimah was alive.


Fatimah was survived by two sons, Hasan
Hasan ibn Ali
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib ‎ is an important figure in Islam, the son of Fatimah the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and of the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hasan is a member of the Ahl al-Bayt and Ahl al-Kisa...

 and Husayn
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

, and two daughters, Zaynab
Zaynab bint Ali
Zaynab bint Ali was the daughter of the Rashid Caliph and first Shi'i Imam, Ali and granddaughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah....

 and Umm Kulthum. Controversy surrounds the fate of her third son, Muhsin
Muhsin ibn Ali
Al Muhsin or Mohsin, in Shi'a belief, was the unborn child of Fatima Al Zahra, the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and wife of Ali ibn Abu Talib. She miscarried after being crushed behind a door by Umar and his men who had come to threaten her husband...

. Shias say that she miscarried following an attack on her house
Umar at Fatimah's house
Umar at Fatimah's house refers to the controversial event where Umar came to the house of Fatimah, the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in order to get the allegiance of Ali and his followers or burn her house down...

 by Abu Bakr and Umar, while Sunnis insist that Muhsin died in his infancy of natural causes.

Modern descendants of Muhammad trace their lineage exclusively through Fatimah, as she was the only surviving child of Muhammad. Muhammad had no sons who reached adulthood.

Fatimah's descendants are given the honorific titles sharif
Sharīf or Chérif is a traditional Arab tribal title given to those who serve as the protector of the tribe and all tribal assets, such as property, wells, and land. In origin, the word is an adjective meaning "noble", "highborn". The feminine singular is sharifa...

(meaning noble), sayyid (meaning lord or sir) and respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'as place much more emphasis and value on the distinction.


After her marriage to Ali, the wedded couple led a life of abject poverty in contrast to her sisters who were all married to wealthy individuals. Ali had built a house not too far from Muhammad's residence where he lived with Fatimah. However, due to Fatimah's desire to be closer to her father, a Medinan (Haritha bin al-Numan) donated his own house to them.

At the beginning they were extremely poor. For several years after her marriage, she did all of the work by herself. The shoulder on which she carried pitchers of water from the well was swollen and the hand with which she worked the handmill to grind corn where often covered with blisters. Fatimah vouched to take care of the household work, make dough, bake bread, and clean the house; in return, Ali vouched to take care of the outside work such as gathering firewood, and bringing food. Ali worked to irrigate other peoples lands by drawing water from the wells which caused him to complain of chest pains. Their circumstances were akin to many of the Muslims at the time and only improved following the Battle of Khaybar
Battle of Khaybar
The Battle of Khaybar was fought in the year 629 between Muhammad and his followers against the Jews living in the oasis of Khaybar, located from Medina in the north-western part of the Arabian peninsula, in modern-day Saudi Arabia....

 when the produce of Khaybar was distributed among the poor. When the economic situations of the Muslims become better, Fatimah gained some maids but treated them like her family and performed the house duties with them.

Another reference to their simple life comes to us from the Tasbih
A misbaha , subha , Tasbih , or tespih is a string of prayer beads which is traditionally used by Muslims to keep track of counting in tasbih....

 of Fatimah
, a divine formula that was first given to Fatimah when she asked her father for a kaneez (servant girl) in order to help her with household chores. Her father asked her if she would like a gift instead that was better than a servant and worth more than everything in the world. Upon her ready agreement, he told her to recite at the end of every prayer the Great Exaltation, Allahu Akbar
The Takbīr or Tekbir is the Arabic term for the phrase ' . It is usually translated "God is [the] Greatest," or "God is Great". It is a common Islamic Arabic expression...

34 times, the Statement of Absolute Gratitude, Alhamdulillah
Alhamdulillah or is an Arabic phrase meaning "Praise to God" or "All praise is due to Allah," similar to the Hebrew phrase Halelu Yah...

33 times and the Invocation of Divine Glory, Subhan'Allah
Subhan'Allāh is an Arabic phrase often translated as "Glorious is God."Said Mohammed bin AbeeBakr Abdulqader al-Razee, in his book "Mukhtar al-Sihah" one of the classic Arabic-wordbooks:...

33 times, totalling 100. This collective prayer is called the Tasbih of Fatima.

Marriage Relationship

According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Fatimah had occasional disputes with her husband and often sought the intercedence of her father who showed signs of great satisfaction upon reconciling the couple's differences. On one occasion, a member of the house of Hisham ibn al-Mughirah
Hisham ibn al-Mughirah
Hisham ibn al-Mughirah was from the Banu Makhzum sub-clan of the Quraish tribe and was also one of Muhammad's contemporaries.He was the son of Mughirah ibn Abd-Allah, one of the Leaders of Quraish. His brother was Walid ibn al-Mughira, he was the uncle of the famous Muslim general Khalid ibn...

 proposed that Ali marry a woman from their clan. Ali did not immediately reject the proposal and when word reached Muhammad he is reported to have said, "Fatima is a part of me and whoever offends her offends me."

Muhammad re-iterated his affection for Fatimah when she was made aware that Ali had proposed to a daughter of Abu Jahl. From the pulpit
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

 Muhammad pronounced, "she is indeed a part of me" and that Ali would have to first divorce Fatimah before the marriage could go ahead. Ali was given the name of Abu Turab (the man of dust) by Muhammad. One of the explanations for this is linked to the disputes with Fatimah where, instead of arguing with Fatimah, Ali would go and put dust on his head.

Shia acknowledge the saying of Muhammad, "Fatimah is a part of me and whoever offends her offends me", however the context of the reporting in reference to Ali is disputed. "Among the many fabricated stories told against Imam Ali was that he had asked for Abu Jahl's (the chief of infidels) daughter's hand in marriage. When this news reached Fatimah (A), she rushed to her father who found out the falsity of the story."

Shia say this statement was used by Fatimah herself when she spoke to Abu Bakr and Umar, stating that they had both displeased her.

On the battlefield

Following the Battle of Uhud
Battle of Uhud
The Battle of Uhud was fought on March 19, 625 at the valley located in front of Mount Uhud, in what is now northwestern Arabia. It occurred between a force from the Muslim community of Medina led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a force led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from Mecca, the town from...

, Fatimah tended to the wounds of her father and husband, and took it upon herself to regularly visit the graves of all those who died in the battle and pray for them. Fatimah, along with her husband, was also called upon by Abu Sufyan to intercede on his behalf with Muhammad while attempting to make amends following the violation of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah is the treaty that took place between the state of Medina and the Quraishi tribe of Mecca in March 628CE .-Background:...

. Abu Sufyan also asked for Fatimah's protection when she went to Mecca while it was under occupation which she refused under instruction from her father.

In the Quran

Some verses in the Qur'an are associated to Fatimah and her household by classical exegetes
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

, although she is not mentioned by name. According to J. D. McAuliffe, two of the most important verses include the verse of purification
The verse of purification
The verse of purification is part of the 33rd verse of Surah al-Ahzab of Qur'an, which says,This verse has especial importance for Muslims due to giving information about Ahl al-Bayt of Muhammad...

, which is the 33rd ayah
Ayah or Aayah is the Arabic word for sign or proof:"These are the Ayat of Allah, which We recite to you with truth...

 in sura
A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

Surat Al-Ahzab is the 33rd sura of the Qur'an with 73 ayat.Verse 5: Adoption in Islam.Ayat 6 contains a reference to the term Mother of Believers.Ayat 25 contains a reference to Battle of the trench....

 and the 61st ayah in sura Al-i-Imran. In the first verse, the phrase "people of the house" (ahl al-bayt) is ordinarily understood to consist of Muhammad, Fatimah, her husband Ali and their two sons (al-Tabari
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was a prominent and influential Sunni scholar and exegete of the Qur'an from Persia...

 in his exegesis also mentions a tradition that interprets "people of the house" as Muhammad's wives; for Ibn al-Jawzi
Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi
Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi from Bagdad was an Islamic scholar whose family traces their lineage back to that of Abu Bakr, the famous companion of the prophet Muhammad and first caliph...

, the order of these options is reversed). The second verse refers to an episode in which Muhammad proposed an ordeal of mutual adjuration (mubahala
Mubahala literally meaning 'mutual prayer' or Li’an but in Islamic tradition it refers to a form of resolving religious disputes. When the argumentations from both sides fail to resolve a religious issue, the parties jointly pray Allah to cast His curse on whichever of the two parties is false...

) to a delegation of Christians. Fatimah, according to the "occasion for the revelation" of this verse, was among those offered by Muhammad as witnesses and guarantors.

Muslim exegesis of the Qur'anic verse , links the praise of Mary, the mother of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, with that of Fatimah based on a quote attributed to Muhammad that lists the outstanding women of all time as Mary, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

), Khadija and Fatimah (the all Muslim commentaries insists upon the absolute superiority of Fatimah).

Life after the death of Muhammad

Caliphate of Abu Bakr

For the few months that she survived following the death of her father, Fatimah found herself indirectly at the center of political disunity. Differing accounts of the events surrounding the commencement of the caliphate exist which were the cause of the Shia and Sunni split. According to the Sunnis the majority of Muslims at the time of Muhammed's death favoured Abu Bakr as the Caliph while a portion of the population supported Fatimah's husband, Ali. Shias believe that Ali was appointed by Muhammed to be the new caliph at Ghadir Al-Khumm. Some Sunnis dispute this claim while others accept the event of Ghadir Al-Khumm
Hadith of the pond of Khumm
The Hadith of the pond of Khumm refers to the saying about a historical event crucial to Islamic history. This event took place on 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah of 10 AH in the Islamic calendar at a place called Ghadir Khumm, which is located near the city of al-Juhfah, Saudi Arabia and was a place...

 but do not accept his caliphate.

Following his election to the caliphate after a meeting in Saqifah
The Saqīfah , also known as Saqīfah banī Sāˤidat , was a roofed building used by the tribe called the banū Sāˤidat of the faction of the banū Khazraj tribe of the city of Medina in the Hejaz, northwestern Arabia.- Significance of Saqifah :...

, Abu Bakr and Umar with a few other companions headed to Fatimah's house to obtain homage from Ali and his supporters who had gathered there. Then Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance with Abu Bakr. There isn't consensus among the sources about what happened next.

According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, some Shia sources say that upon seeing them, Ali came out with his sword drawn but was disarmed by Umar and their companions. Fatimah, in support of her husband, started a commotion and threatened to "uncover her hair", at which Abu Bakr relented and withdrew.

Shia historians hold that Umar called for Ali and his men to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. When they did not, Umar broke in, resulting in Fatimah's ribs being broken by being pressed between the door and the wall causing her to miscarry Muhsin which led to her eventual death. Another version of the events says that Umar sent a force led by his slave-boy Qunfud to Fatimah's house instructing them to bring Ali to the mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

. Arriving at the house, Qunfud requested permission to enter, which was refused by Ali causing Qunfud to return to Abu Bakr and Umar and relate the events, who instructed them to go back and enter the house by force if necessary. Qunfud and his men returned but were this time refused permission by Fatimah which caused Qunfud to send his men back to Abu Bakr and Umar for further instructions who told them to burn the house down if necessary in order to bring Ali to them..


After the death of her father, Fatimah approached Abu Bakr and asked him to relinquish her share of the inheritance from Muhammad's estate. Fatimah expected the land of Fadak (situated 30 mi (48.3 km) from Medina) and a share of Khaybar would be passed onto her as part of her inheritance. However, Abu Bakr rejected her request citing a narration where Muhammad stated that prophets do not leave behind inheritance
Hadith of Muhammad's inheritance
Muhammad's inheritance is a well-documented and controversial topic, both then and at the present.-Overview:Muhammad's inheritance did not occur as is prescribed in the Qur'an, since Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad's most prominent companions said that he heard Muhammad said so...

 and that all their possessions become sadaqah
or Saddka is an Islamic term that means "voluntary charity".This concept encompasses any act of giving out of compassion, love, friendship or generosity.-Hadith on Sadaqah/Saddka:...

to be used for charity. Fatimah was upset at this flat refusal by Abu Bakr and did not speak to him until her death (however some Sunni sources claim she had reconciled her differences with Abu Bakr before she died). Shias contend that Fadak had been gifted to Fatimah by Muhammad and Abu Bakr was wrong in not allowing her to take possession of it.

In the hadith collected by Muhammad al-Bukhari
Muhammad al-Bukhari
Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari , popularly known as Bukhari or Imam Bukhari, , was a Sunni Islamic scholar of Persia...

 Aisha stated the following;
According to the one of the famous scholars, "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Book of the Major Classes), Volume 2, by Ibn Sa’d, pages 391–394

Fatimah asked Abu Bakr, "When you die who will inherit you?" He replied, "My children and relatives." She said, "What is the justification of your becoming inheritor of the Prophet keeping us away?" He replied, "O daughter of the Apostle of Allah! I did not inherit your father’s land, gold, silver, slave, or property. She said, "The share of Allah (Khums i.e. one-fifth) which He has allotted to us and which is only our share is in your hands." Thereupon he replied, "I heard the Apostle of Allah saying, "It is the food that Allah makes me eat. When I die it will be distributed among the Muslims" (page 392).
Abu Bakr said, "Verily, the Apostle of Allah said, "We do not leave inheritance, what we leave goes into sadaqah. Verily, the members of Muhammad’s family will get provision from this money. By Allah! I shall not change the distribution of the sadaqah of the Apostle of Allah from what it was in the time of Apostle of Allah. I shall continue to spend them under the same heads as the Apostle of Allah was spending. So Abu Bakr refused to give anything to Fatimah. Consequently Fatimah became angry with Abu Bakr and left him. She did not talk with him till she died. She lived six months after the Apostle of Allah. (page 392)

Fatimah came to Abu Bakr and demanded her share in the inheritance. Al-Abbas came to him and demanded his share in the inheritance. Ali came with them. Thereupon Abu Bakr said, "The Apostle of Allah said, "We leave no inheritance, what we leave behind us is sadaqah." I shall make provisions for those for whom the Prophet had made." On this Ali said, "Sulayman (Solomon) inherited Dawud (David), and Zakariya said, ‘He may be my heir and the heir of the children of Yaqab (Zachariah and John the Baptist)’". Abu Bakr said, "This is as this is. By Allah! You know it as I know." Thereupon Ali said, "This is the Book of Allah that speaks." Then they became quiet and retired. (page 393).


Following the farewell pilgrimage
The Farewell Pilgrimage
The Farewell Pilgrimage was the last and only Hajj pilgrimage the Islamic prophet Muhammad participated in, in 632 CE .-Preparations:...

, Muhammad summoned Fatimah and informed her that he would be dying soon but also informed her that she would be the first of his household to join him. Some days after this discussion, Muhammad died, following which Fatimah was grief stricken and remained so for the remainder of her life until she died less than six months later, in the month of Ramadhan
Ramadan (calendar month)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed.Ramadan is the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, and fasting in this month is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to...

. Sunnis believe that Fatimah reconciled her differences with Abu Bakr prior to her death although the Shia Muslims believe in her anger with him until her death.

There are two distinct views on the manner of her death between the Shias and Sunnis.

The Sunnis state that on the morning of her death, she took a bath, put on new clothes and lay down in bed. She asked for Ali and informed him that her time to die was very close. Upon hearing this news, Ali began to cry but was consoled by Fatimah who asked him to look after her two sons and for him to bury her without ceremony. After her death, Ali followed her wishes and buried her without informing the Medinan people.

Shias, however, maintain that Fatimah died as a result of injuries sustained after her house was raided by Umar ibn al-Khattab
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

 who burnt the house and stomed her house by pushing the door to the farthest extent, cracking her rib-cage whilst she was pregnant.Note(this accident is also had been afirmed by the sufi(nagina mosque order) scholar Maulana shibli's famous book AL-farook but he has described the other reasons for this incident.) Omar not only murdered her in the process but, her fetus child Mohsen who was aborted shortly thereafter as a direct result of his attack. Muhammad appeared in a dream and informed Fatimah that she would be passing away the next day. Fatimah informed her husband Ali and asked him not to allow those who had done injustice to her, to be involved in her janazah (prayer performed in congregation after the death of a Muslim) or take part in the burial.

Some sources say, the next day when she died, her two sons were the first family members to learn of her death and immediately proceeded to the mosque to inform their father who, upon hearing the news, fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, Ali, according to Fatimah's wishes, performed the janazah and buried her during the night on 3rd Jumada al-Thani
Jumada al-thani
Jumada al-Thani is the sixth month in the Islamic Calendar.It is also known as Jumaada al-Akhir and Jumada al-Akhira.This is the sixth month of the Islamic calendar...

 11 AH (632) making out three other false graves to ensure her real grave could not be identified. With him were his family and a few of his close companions. Her grave is in Jannat Al-Baqi'
Maqbaratu l-Baqī is a cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, located to the southeast of the Masjid al-Nabawi. The mosque is built where the Islamic prophet Muhammad used to live, built a mosque and is currently buried. The cemetery therefore holds much significance. It contains many of Muhammad's ...

, Medina beside Imam Hasan and other Imams. The single separate grave in the group is of Fatimah as per Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra is a subsect of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa Islām. While the Dawoodi Bohra is based in India, their belief system originates in Yemen, where it evolved from the Fatimid Caliphate and where they were persecuted due to their differences from mainstream Sunni Islam...

 and other Shias.

Shia view

Fatimah, regarded as "the Mother of the Imams", plays a special role in Shia piety. She has a unique status as Muhammad's only surviving child, the wife of Ali, their first Imam, and the mother of Hasan and Husayn. Fatimid
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn was a Berber Shia Muslim caliphate first centered in Tunisia and later in Egypt that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the...

 Caliphate/ Imamate is based on her name. Fatimid faith continue further in Ismaili/Bohras (refer Tree on right). She is believed to have been immaculate, sinless and a pattern for Muslim women. Although leading a life of poverty, the Shia tradition emphasizes her compassion and sharing of whatever she had with others.

According to Mahmoud Ayoub, the two main images of Fatimah within the Shia tradition is that of "Eternal Weeper" and "the Judge in the hereafter". According to Shia tradition, the suffering and death of Fatimah was the first tragedy of Islam. She spent her last days mourning at the death of her father. Fatimah eternally weeps at the death of her two sons, who were murdered by the Umayyads. Shias believe they share in Fatimah's suffering by weeping for her sorrows. The tears of the faithful is also believed to console Fatimah. Shias hold that Fatimah will play a redemptive role as the mistress of the day of judgment in the hereafter as a reward for her suffering in this world.

See also

  • Book of Fatimah
    Book of Fatimah
    The Book of Fatimah, Mushaf of Fatimah or Fatimah's Mushaf is according to Shi'as tradition, a book written by Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad.-Shi'a view:...

  • Fatima the Gracious
  • Genealogy of Khadijah's daughters
    Genealogy of Khadijah's Daughters
    Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, had six children. Some Shia dispute whether all of the children were born in her marriage to Muhammad, or if three of the four daughters were born to a previous marriage.-Introduction:...

  • Sakinah(Fatema Kubra) bint Husayn

External links

  • Fatimah by Jean Calmard, article at Enyclopaedia Iranica

Shia sources

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