“That before she was conceived the Arch-Angel Gabriel came down from the heavens with a plate containing a cluster of dates and a bunch of grapes ordering me to eat them. After I ate them I was ordered to go to Khadija and thus Fatima was conceived from the fruits of paradise.”
Khadija was now pregnant with Fatima and as she says, it was an easy pregnancy because the embryo would speak to her from inside her womb. Khadija did not inform the Prophet about this miraculous occurrence, but one-day when she was home alone, he found Khadija speaking to someone. He inquired as to whom she was speaking to, she replied, “That which is in my womb, surely it speaks to me”. The Prophet then cheerfully said, “Rejoice Khadija, for this is the girl whom Allah has made to be the mother of eleven of my successors who will come after me and after their father”.
So for the duration of the pregnancy, Fatima was comforting her mother who had been deserted by the women of Quraysh because she married the poor orphan, Mohammad.
When Fatima's delivery came near, Khadija sent for the qurayshi midwives, who still refused to help her. But by the grace of Allah, four of the most beautiful women came to help her in this time of need, as she says, “When Fatima’s delivery came near, I sent for the qurayshi midwives who refused to help me because of Mohammad. During childbirth four ladies whose beauty ad brilliance were indescribable entered the house, each one began to introduce herself. The first one said, “I am your mother Eve”. The second one said, “I am Asiya bint Muzahim, Firauns wife”. The third one said, “I am Kulthum Musa’s sister”, and the fourth one said, “I am Mariam bint Imran, Isa’s mother, we have come to deliver your child”.
So with the help of these heavenly ladies, Fatima was delivered.
She was born on the 20th Jamadi al-Akhir. She fell to the ground in the position of prostration and the brightness and brilliance of her face illuminated the skies from east to west, and for this reason she was named “Al-Zahra”, lady of light. Al-Zahra is known by nine names, such as Fatima. She was named Fatima because she and her followers are protected from hell. She is also Al-Siddiqa meaning she is a woman who has scrupulous honesty and sincerity, believing in the commands of Allah and his Prophet, never doubting for one moment. She is also Al-Mubaraka, which means the blessed one because abundant blessings originated from her, such as the necklace that fed a hungry man, satisfied a poor man and freed a slave.
Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari relates that an old man weak from hunger came to the Prophet and asked to be fed and clothed. The Prophet did not have anything to give him so he sent him to Fatima’s house. When he arrived he asked the same of her, so she gave him a necklace. He took the necklace and went to the mosque and showed the Prophet. The Prophet said, “sell it for Allah will grant you a solution to your problems because it was given to you by the Mistress of All Women. Meanwhile Ammar bin Yasir asked the Prophet if he had permission to buy it. The Prophet gave him permission so Ammar paid generously for it, then he gave the necklace to Sahim, his slave and said give it to the Prophet and tell him that I give you to him also. The Prophet said to the slave, take this necklace and give it to Fatima and tell her that I gave you to her. When the slave reached Fatima, she took the necklace and told the slave that he was free. Upon hearing this the slave laughed. Fatima asked him the reason that made him laugh. He answered: “I smiled when I thought of the abundance put in this necklace, it fed a hungry man, freed a slave and returned to its original owner.
We now understand why she was Mubaraka. Some other names she is known by, are Al-Tahera, meaning she was virtuous and pure, cleansed from all sin, and she was Al-Batool, meaning she was chaste and pure, safeguarded from menstruation and childbirth bleeding. She is also Al-Zakiya, meaning the chaste and Al-Radhiyah, the satisfied or gratified one, and of course Al-Mardhiya which means she who pleases Allah.
Father and Daughter
Prophet Mohammad and his daughter had an extremely powerful relationship. Even Ayisha, the Prophets wife has spoken about the strong relationship between Mohammad (SAW) and Fatima; “Never have I seen anyone like the Messenger of Allah, in his solemn way of standing and sitting, more than Fatima, may Allah grant her more honor. When she came to see him, he would rise to his feet, take her hand, kiss her, and seat her where he was seated. And when he came in to see her, she would stand up, kiss his feet, kiss him, and seat him where she was seated”.
Aiyisha has also said: “Never have I seen anyone resembling the Prophet of Allah, in his way of speaking and talking, better than Fatima”.
When people threw rocks at the Prophet of Allah, it was Fatima that came and cleaned and helped. And as much as Fatima loved the Prophet, he loved her back.
Importance of Fatima
This great lady who has been of the brightest stars of Islamic history had lived a most powerful and eventful life. Her name was Fatima, the daughter of Asad, son of Hashem. Fatima had been gifted with some most unique qualities that no other woman before her and no other woman after her had been granted by Allah. Every aspect of her outstanding life has invaluable lessons to teach to all mankind past, present and future.
Fatima's Service to the Prophet (SAW):
bint Asad could be said to have played a very crucial role in the growing years of the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). She was like a foster mother to him and contributed deeply in his physical as well as moral upbringing.
Allah's Supreme Wisdom willed that His beloved Muhammad (SAW) be brought up under the care of this great lady and her husband Abu Talib (AS), the protective uncle of the Prophet (SAW), after the death of his parents Abdullah and Amina and his grandfather Abdul Mutallib. Fatima supported her husband most selflessly in providing for the best care and comfort in the upbringing of Muhammad (SAW), delivering on this divine responsibility most diligently.
The Prophet (SAW) never hesitated to praise the loving motherly attention and kindness that this great lady paid to him in his childhood, and he spoke very highly about her. The very fact that the Prophet (SAW) considered her like a mother, speaks volumes about the greatness of Fatima. He said:
"After Abu Talib, Fatima bint Asad was the best of Allah's creatures, who looked after me. She was my mother, after the passing away of my own mother (Bibi Amina)."
If Halima, the noble wet-nurse of the Prophet (SAW) who had nursed him while he was a baby, is credited as having played a very important role in his life, Fatima bint Asad who had nurtured him for more than 20 years obviously played a much more crucial role. She never let him experience the lack of a mother's warmth and attention.
The Miraculous Birth
The life-story of Hazrat Maryam (SA), the noble mother of Isa (AS), leaves one amazed considering the relationship and the proximity she shared with Allah; but when we study the amazing life of Fatima bint Asad, it becomes very clear that this grand lady of Islamic history held a higher position in the eyes of Allah. The most fantastic event of the unusual birth of her son, Imam Ali (AS) cannot be considered to be any less than a miracle of miracles. One of the close companions of the Prophet (SAW), Yazid ibn Qana'b, narrates the incident of the amazing birth of Imam Ali (AS) in the following words:
"Abbas ibn Abdul Mutallib and I were sitting among a group of members from the Bani Abdul Azi tribe, facing the Ka'ba. We could observe Fatima bint Asad who was still carrying Imam Ali (AS) in her womb, walking towards the Ka'ba. It was evident that she was undergoing labor pains and we could hear her conversing in these words with her Lord: O my Nurturer, I have full faith in You and Your Prophet (SAW) as well as the books that You have sent. I testify the words of my forefather Abraham (AS), the one who had built the Ka'ba. For the sake of the one who built this House and for the sake of the child that I am bearing, make this delivery easy for me.'"
At that moment, I witnessed that the rear wall of the Ka'ba suddenly cracked open and Fatima entered into it and disappeared. Abbas ibn Mutallib and I approached the crack at once, thinking that we too would be able to pass through it, but found the wall closed. We immediately understood that this was a divine act. Fatima bint Asad walked out of the Ka'ba on the forth day with her baby, Imam Ali (AS), in her arms."
This incident has been confirmed by numerous reliable sources, making this event the first and the last of its kind.
Fatima bint Asad, in evaluating her own self, in comparison with the other great women personalities of Islamic history, has thus described her unique position by the Will of Allah. She says:
"Allah raised my status over that of all the other ladies before me. Asiyah (wife of Pharaoh) was forced to worship her Lord from a rather undesirable place, that is acceptable only on condition that one is left with no other choice. Maryam, the daughter of Imran (SA) had to shake the date-palm in order to feed herself - but I entered into the House of Allah and was fed on heavenly fruits. As I wanted to come out from the Ka'ba I heard the Command saying: `O Fatima, name this child Imam Ali, because he is exalted and his Lord is the Most exalted. I have named him after Me and have conferred on him the secrets of My Knowledge. He is the one who will clear My House from the filth of idols. He will call one and all to prayer, from atop of My House and will worship only Me. Blessed are the ones who will love him and will follow him; cursed are the ones who oppose him or are his enemies.'"
Although Maryam (SA) lived in Masjid al-Aqsa (the first Muslim Qiblah), Allah did not will that she delivered her son Isa (AS) within of the Sacred House. However, Allah wished that Imam Ali (AS) be given birth within His House.
Fatima's Allegiance to Islam
All Muslim historians unanimously claim that after Hazrat Khadija (SA), Fatima bint Asad was the first lady to accept Islam at the hands of the Prophet (SAW). Ibn Abi al-Hadeed has recorded that Fatima was the eleventh person to accept the religion of Islam.
It will not be out of place here to write a few lines regarding Abu Talib, the husband of Fatima bint Asad and the most loyal patron of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Many ill-meaning people have accused Abu Talib of dying an unbeliever, out of spite and ignorance. One wonders how someone who people declare to have been an unbeliever could have composed the following verse:
"Verily I have known that the Religion of Muhammad (SAW) is the best Religion that has ever come for mankind."
Besides, he had also composed the following verses in praise of the Prophet (SAW):
"The fair-faced one in whose name, one and all plead for rain;
O, indeed he is the refuge of the orphans
And the patron of the widows."
Moreover, it is most absurd and illogical to even think that Allah would leave His beloved Prophet (SAW) in the custody of an unbeliever and that Muhammad (SAW) would take the support of someone who worshipped other than the One Real God.
After the demise of Abu Talib, Fatima bint Asad participated even more actively in the various arenas of life, to support the Prophet (SAW) and the Cause of Islam. Three days after the migration of the Prophet (SAW) to Medina, Fatima bint Asad, accompanied by Fatima (SA), the daughter of the Prophet (SAW) and Fatima bint Zubair, left for Medina under the protection of Imam Ali (AS). In Medina, Fatima bint Asad was the first lady to confirm her allegiance to the Prophet (SAW) and the cause of Islam.
Fatima in the Eyes of the Prophet (SAW)
As mentioned earlier, Fatima bint Asad held a very special and respectable position in the eyes of the Prophet (SAW). It is narrated that she once heard the Prophet (SAW) mentioning that everyone rises up, exposed, on the Day of Resurrection. Fatima immediately reacted saying, "O how embarrassing!" Hearing this the Prophet (SAW) reassured her, saying, "I will request Allah to raise you, covered!"
At another time, she heard the Prophet (SAW) describing the torments of the grave. Fatima bint Asad responded saying, "O' what helplessness." The Prophet (SAW) once again promised her that he would pray to Allah to grant her ease in the grave.
The Prophet (SAW) had described to Ammar Yasser, the kindness that Fatima bint Asad had showered upon him, in the following words:
"Fatima had borne many sons for Abu Talib. Those sons could benefit her much more than I could. Yet, she would feed me well, even if it meant leaving her sons hungry. She would clothe me, even if her other children had to go bare. She would also pay greater attention to my grooming."
The Prophet (SAW) used to visit her home often and would even rest in her home, showing her great respect.
Fatima bint Asad is also considered to be one of the most reliable sources of Prophetic Traditions (Ahadith) and she is known to have narrated 46 Traditions in all.
The Demise of Fatima bint Asad:
Imam Ali (AS) has narrated that when his mother Fatima bint Asad departed from this world, the Prophet (SAW) had buried her, shrouded in his own shirt. He also prayed for her and repeated: "Allah is the Greatest" (Allah-u-Akbar), seventy times. He then entered into her grave and rubbed his hands all over the walls of the grave, as though expanding its size. He emerged from the grave, crying bitterly and instructed the grave not to be harsh on his mother. On the completion of the burial, Omar asked the Prophet (SAW): "O Prophet of Allah, your behavior with this noble lady is unprecedented!" The Prophet (SAW) replied: "O Omar, this lady was a mother to me, after my mother. Besides, Gabriel has brought me the news that Fatima bint Asad is a dweller of Paradise. Allah has commissioned 70,000 angels to prayer over her corpse."