A Review of the History of the Marriage of Imam Ali (as) and Hazrat Zahra (sa)
When Hazrat Fatima (s.a.) attained the age of maturity and was ready to get married, the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) started receiving proposals from various people for her daughter. Hazrat Salman Farsi(r.a.) and Hazrat Umm-e-Salma (r.a.) narrate that "When Hazrat Fatima (s.a.) attained the marriageable age, the important people among the tribe of Quraish started sending proposals to the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.)but the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not accept any proposal saying that he was waiting for the order of Allah (swt) to decide this issue.
Imam Ali (a.s.) makes the proposal
Hazrat Umm-e-Salma narrates that : One day Imam Ali(a.s.) approached the Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.)at his house. Imam Ali(a.s.) entered and greeted the Prophet(S.A.W.)and the Prophet(S.A.W.)replied in the same kind manner. Imam Ali(a.s.) sat down and he was so much shy that he continued staring at the ground and could not utter a word. The Prophet(S.A.W.)smiled and mentioned to Imam Ali(a.s.) that he knew what Imam Ali(a.s.) had to say but he wanted to hear it from him. He told Imam Ali(a.s.) that he does not need to be shy and to say whatever he wanted to say.
With this encouragement and soft tone from the Prophet(pbuh&hf), Imam Ali(a.s.) said "My parents be ransom for you, you know that since my childhood, I have dedicated myself for your service. You have educated me from be beginning and brought me to this status. It is because of your encouragement that I feel this courage in myself to express my heartfelt wish that you give me the honor of becoming your son-in-law. I have concealed his wish in my heart for a long time thinking that this might not be according to your wishes as well. Is there a possibility that this could happen?".
Hazrat Umm-e-Salma(r.a.) mentions that "I was watching this affair from a distance and I saw that as soon as Imam Ali(a.s.) completed his request, the face of Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.)lit up and he asked Imam Ali(a.s.) - what have you got to realize this act". Imam Ali(a.s.) said "O Prophet of Allah(swt), you know my condition very well, I have only a sword, my war dress and one camel". Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.)said: "Ali, you definitely need your sword for fighting Jihad and camel for traveling, however, you war dress could work. O Abul Hassan(a.s.), I want to give you the good news that Allah(swt) has made the decision and already recited your Nikah with my daughter Fatima(s.a.) in the Arsh. Just before your arrival, Allah(swt) sent an angel to give me this good news."
This event has been narrated in "Maarij an-Nabuwwah" of Moeen Kashfi, "Sifwatul Safada" of ibn-e-Jozi, "Madarij an-Nabywwah" on 2:75 of Shah Abdul Haq Dehalvi.
"Maarij an-Nabuwwah" also states that Hazrat Jabreel(a.s.) narrated the story of the Nikah recited on the Arsh. He said "O Prophet of Allah(swt), Allah(swt) has chosen you and made you the most respected and high among his creatures and has selected Ali(a.s.) as your brother and has decided that the Nikah of your daughter and the servant of Allah(swt), Fatima(s.a.) would be with Ali(a.s.). Allah(swt) arranged for their Nikah in such a manner that he addressed the dwellers of Jannah to dress themselves with ornaments of Jannah and then ordered all the angels to assemble together on the 4th Sky. He then filled the 4th sky with Noor and then appointed Hazrat Adam(a.s.) to recite Khutba to begin the Nikah ceremony. After khutba of Hazrat Adam(a.s.), Allah(swt) ordered an angel named Raheel to recite Hamd. Raheel is the most beautiful of angels and possesses the most beautiful voice. After recitation of Hamd, Allah(swt) informed me (Jabreel(a.s.)) the He has performed the Nikah of His servant Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) with His chosen person Imam Ali(a.s.) and that I should spread this news among the angels. I acted accordingly and made all the angels testify the event. Allah(swt) then ordered me to write all this event of this silk cloth of Jannah and present it to you."
After mentioning this event, Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.)said "O Abul Hasan(a.s.), the order of Allah(swt) has been served and I invite you to come to the mosque so that this Aqd should be formalized on the earth as well among witnesses."
Such was the importance of this marriage that Allah(swt) arranged the ceremony on Arsh and then Himself decided and recited the Nikah of Imam al-Muttaqeen, Amir-ul-momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib(a.s.) with the leader of the women of this world and in paradise Hazrat Fatima(s.a.).
The above event has been mentioned in various other books as follows:
- Muaraj an-Nabuwwah
- Al Asaba fee Tameez as-Sahaba
- Sawaeq-e-Muharriqa bu Ibn-e-Hajr Makki
- Al Bayan wal Bateen by Allam Jaahiz
- Nuzhat-ul-Majalis by Allama Abdur Rehman Safori
- Riyaz un-Nazrah fee Manaqib-ul-Ashra by Allama Muhib Tabri
Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.)led Imam Ali(a.s.) into the mosque and asked him to sell off his war dress and present that money to the Prophet(pbuh&hf). The dress was sold in 400 dirhams, according to some traditions, and were presented to the Prophet Mohammmd(S.A.W.)who gave them to Hazrat Salman Farsi(a.r.) and Hazrat Bilal(a.r.) and asked them to buy some articles of use from the market. They went to the market and bought the following items as jahez of Hazrat Fatima (s.a.)
- Two mattresses made of Egyptian canvas. (One stuffed with fiber and the other with sheep wool).
- A leather mat.
- A pillow made of skin, filled with palm tree fiber.
- A Khaibarion cloak.
- An animal skin for water.
- Some jugs and jars also for water.
- A pitcher painted with tar.
- A thin curtain made of wool.
- A shirt costing seven (7) dirhams.
- A veil costing four (4) dirhams.
- Black plush cloak.
- A bed embellished with ,ribbon.
- Four cushions made of skin imported from Ta'ef stuffed with a good smelling plant.
- A mat from Hajar.
- A hand-mill.
- A special copper container used for dyestuff
- A pestle for grinding coffee.
- A (water) skin.
When the items of Jahez were received, Prophet Mohammad went to Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) and said "Your Nikah has been recited on the Arsh by Allah(swt) with my cousing Ali(a.s.) and He has ordered me to recite your Nikah on the earth as well. I have gather my companions to do so and now seek your agreement and permission to recite this Nikah." Hearing this, Hazrat Fatima Zahra(s.a.) bowed her head with shyness which indicated her agreement. The Prophet(S.A.W.)came out of her hujra and orderd Hazrat Bilal(a.r.) to gather all Ansaar and Muhajireen. One the companions were gathered, Prophet Mohammad(S.A.W.)recited Hamd of Allah(swt) and narrated to his companions that Jibreel(a.s.) had informed him that Allah(swt) has performed the Nikah of Hazrat Ali(a.s.) with his daughter on the Arsh and has ordered him to recite the same on the earth as well. He asked Imam Ali(a.s.) to formally request for the marriage in front of the witnesses and Imam Ali(a.s.), after reciting greatness of Allah(swt) and presenting his proof and gratitude to him and reciting darood for Prophet Muhammad(pbuh&hf), formally requested for the marriage. Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.)accepted the request and made all the companions witnesses. Upon hearing this all the companions greeted Imam Ali(a.s.) and the Prophet(pbuh&hf).
Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.)recited the Nikah himself and asked Imam Ali(a.s.) if he accepted the Nikah for a Mehr of 400 Misqaal of Silver. Imam Ali(a.s.) accepted and then the Nikah was formally concluded. Both offered Sajda-e-Shukr to Allah(swt) and all the companions present there congratulated and greeted both Imam Ali(a.s.) and the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh&hf).
A non-planned period of time elapsed between the engagement and the wedding ceremony, because Imam Ali (a.s.) was too shy to ask the Prophet to assign a day for the wedding, while he (S.A.W.) wanted to protect Fatima's pride by refraining from asking Ali to do so.
A month or more passed by before Imam Ali(a.s.) said anything regarding the wedding. Aqeel (Imam Ali(a.s.)'s brother) asked him about the reason for the delay in holding the wedding ceremony and encouraged him to prepare for the wedding and to ask the Prophet(S.A.W.)to assign a date for it. Despite Imam Ali(a.s.)'s shyness, he accompanied Aqeel to the Prophet's house to fulfill his wishes. On their way to the Prophet's house, they met Um Ayman(r.a.) who, when told the reason for their visit, asked them to leave the matter to her. She, in turn, informed Um Salama(r.a.) who brought the matter to the attention of the Prophet(S.A.W.)who called for Imam Ali(a.s.) and asked his opinion. Imam Ali(a.s.) expressed his desire to bring Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) to his home which was donated by one of his followers. The Prophet(S.A.W.)asked Imam Ali(a.s.) to hold a dinner (walima) because Allah(swt) is pleased with those who do so; for the social good it does-such as bringing people together and implementing love and harmony among them.
Imam Ali(a.s.) arranged for the dinner and invited the people to the feast. Men and women from all around Madinah gathered in the house. They ate, drank and even took food to their homes. The blessings of the Prophet(S.A.W.)were obvious on that day, for not only the food was enough to feed everyone, but also it did not decrease at all. The Prophet(S.A.W.)asked for food containers to be brought and filled them and sent them to his wives and left a special container for Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) and her husband.
By sunset, the wedding night had begun; it was time for Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) to depart to her new home. Everything went well, for the Prophet(S.A.W.)had made all the necessary preparation for the wedding. Despite the simplicity and modesty of her wedding, Hazrat Fatima(s.a.)'s marriage ceremony was surrounded by signs of greatness, excellence, and beauty.
The Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.)ordered his wives to embellish Hazrat Fatima(s.a.) before the wedding; they perfumed and dressed her with jewelry. They all helped her to get ready; some combed her hair while others embellished and dressed her in the dress brought by Gabriel from Paradise. Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi in Tareekh Baghdad V.5, P.7, Al-Hamvini in Durar Al-Simtain, Al-Dhahabi in Mizan Al-Etedal, Garani in Akhbar Al-Dowal, and Qandouzi in Yanabi' Al-Mawaddah have narrated that Ibn Abbas said:
'When Fatima was taken to Ali's house on her wedding night, the Prophet proceeded her, Gabriel was on her right, and Michael on her left, and seventy thousand angels followed her. These angels praised and glorified Allah until dawn!
The Hashemi men, Abdul Muttalib's daughters, and Muhajarin and Ansar's women all accompanied Fatima's caravan that night. The Prophet's wives joyfully led the caravan; they were also the first to enter the house.
Upon arriving, the Prophet(S.A.W.)placed Hazrat Fatima(s.a.)'s hand in Imam Ali(a.s.)'s hand and said:
"May Allah bless his Messenger's daughter;
Ali, this is Fatima, you are responsible for her (or I entrust her to you)
Ali, what an excellent wife Fatima is!
Fatima, what an excellent husband Ali is!
O Allah, bless them, bless their lives, and bless their children.
O Allah, surely they are the most beloved to me from among your creatures, so love them too, and assign for them a guardian.
I place them and their progeny under your protection from the curse devil."