Zahra (a.s)

The Prophet’s Young Daughter Who Is The Chief Of All The Women Of The World

The beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), Fatima Zahra (a.s) is the great lady whose virtuous character is a model for all the women of the world. The aim of Islamic teachings is that women should follow Fatima (a.s) in all affairs like housekeeping, child training, obedience to husband, respect to father and steadfastness on the right path at all costs, to propagate Islam, observing Islamic limitations on women and fighting courageously against falsehood. What Fatima (a.s) did on all these fronts of life has been indelibly recorded in the pages of history. Fatima ’s footprints on the sands of time will continue to guide the wise womenfolk forever.

Fatima Zahra (a.s) got her nourishment in the arms of the best man on earth (Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)) and in the lap of the best mother in the world (Khadijah). She was brought up in an atmosphere, which was the fountainhead of wisdom and knowledge, righteousness and gracefulness, respect and honor. She derived all the spiritual and physical virtues from her affectionate father. This sinless lady, who was away from her father for only a little period of three

months, had never been separated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). That is why there was striking similarity in the modes of Fatima ’s talking, walking and behaving to her father and people said that she was the mirror of her father’s virtues. No wonder that she was called the Empress of the Arabs.

Fatima ’s foresight, piety, sinlessness and capabilities etc. were all reflections of the divine revelations. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has introduced Fatima (a.s) as the chief of world’s women.

Today’s world is busy making all efforts to teach human values and virtues to its young generation, especially young womenfolk, so that their personality may be recognized. Just think about the Arab land of fourteen hundred years ago when ignorance had caused men to bury alive their newborn daughters considering their birth a sign of disgrace and insult. In the words of the holy Quran:

And when a daughter is announced to one of them his face becomes black and he is full of wrath. [1]

In that very atmosphere the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said about his daughter’s children: ‘These are the pieces of my liver.’ and the Holy Quran said:

Wealth and children are an adornment of the life of this world…[2]

In those dark days the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) brought up his daughter, Fatima in such a magnificent manner that she became an object of honor even for him. The Holy Prophet

[1] Surah Nahl16:58 [2] Surah Nahl18:46

(s.a.w.s.) also said that every deed of his daughter is worth following for the whole womenfolk of the world.

Just ponder over the gracefulness of this lady. When she went to her honorable father, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.), he used to get up in respect and kiss her forehead saying: I perceive heavenly odor in my dear daughter; my daughter is a Hourie in human form created out of effulgence.

While leaving home for any journey and while returning from any mission the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to visit Fatima (a.s) first and to inquire about her well being.

The Magnificent Marriage

When Fatima Zahra (a.s) reached marriageable age many proposals came from great Arab personalities. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) declined all of them but when Imam Ali (a.s) who was then only twenty-six, came and sat before the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) most respectfully, things were different. God’s Messenger did know what Ali (a.s) wanted. So he enquired, “O Ali! What material possessions do you have, whereby I may give you my daughter in marriage?” Ali (a.s), most respectfully replied, “May my parents be sacrificed for you. My condition is not hidden from your honor. All I have is a sword, armor and a camel for fetching water.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied, “O Ali! The sword is for your defense and for holy war. The camel is also necessary for journeys and for water carriage. Only the armor remains. You may sell it and make preparations therefrom for my dear daughter’s marriage with you.”

Ali (a.s) sold his armor for 400 Dirhams and submitted this amount to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), who, in turn, asked

some of his companions to purchase paraphernalia of the bride. Accordingly it was only this little amount with which the household materials were purchased for a lady who is the chief of all the women in the world. It included some perfume, a shirt, a towel, a small mattress, a grindstone, a cane, a water-skin, a jug and a mat made in Bahrain .

Here, it may be noted, that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had put more emphasis on perfume. When the wedding material was readied, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) performed the holy marriage and sent his dear daughter to Ali’s house. Fatima Zahra (a.s) was only nine at the time of marriage. It must be remembered here that Hijaz is one of the warm climatic zones where girls gain puberty rather early. But it is said that principally, Zahra’s development was rather extraordinary and she looked eighteen when she was nine.

In Islam, three things are required for a marriage: (1) Puberty: A Muslim girl must have attained puberty and must not be less than nine years of age. (2) She must be intelligent enough to understand what is good and what is bad and (3) She should be wise enough to fulfill the individual and collective social responsibilities and duties and must be able to perform household affairs.

Since, at the age of nine, all these qualities were present in Fatima , the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gave her hand to the most brave and courageous youth of Islam, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s). On the wedding night the Holy Prophet’s wives recited verses of joy. The one recited by Umar’s daughter reads:

“O Fatima ! You are the best among the women of the world; your face is shining moon-like. God has given you in marriage to the best youth named Ali.”

While departing after the wedding, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gave Fatima ’s hand into Ali’s saying: Dearest Fatima! Ali (a.s) is the best husband for you and O Ali! Fatima (a.s) is the world’s best woman. Do appreciate her. Then looking at the heavens, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: O God! Make the progeny of Zahra and Ali numerous.

Lady of Paradise : Example of Islam

The Holy Prophet’s dear daughter saw only eighteen years of her life. Crossing trouble sometimes and facing calamity after calamity she passed away from this world in her eighteenth year. During this short life she remained extremely kind to her husband. She never addressed him by name and could never see him gloomy.

Abu Saeed Khudri says: One day Ali (a.s) asked her, “What is there to eat for us today.” Fatima (a.s) replied, “There is nothing since last two days, neither for me nor for the two children (Hasnain).” Ali (a.s) asked, “Why did you not tell me. I would have done something.” Lady Fatima (a.s) replied, “I felt ashamed of troubling you for something beyond your ability.”

Imam Hasan (a.s) says: One Friday night I saw that my dear mother had remained busy in prayers till dawn. I heard her praying in favor of all believing men and women. When she concluded her supplications, I asked her, “My dear mother! How is it that you did not ask anything for yourself?” She replied, “Dear son! Neighbors first, then ourselves.”

Once the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked Zahra (a.s), “O my dear daughter! What, in your opinion is the greatest virtue

for a woman?” Zahra (a.s) replied, “No stranger man should see her and she must not see any stranger man.”

On another occasion, Fatima (a.s) along with her husband Ali (a.s) had been at the Prophet’s house when a visually impaired man arrived, saluted and sat down there. Zahra (a.s) went into another room and did not return until that person had gone away. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.), by way of testing, asked her, “Why did you leave? That man could not see you.” Fatima (a.s) replied, “Dear father! He could not see me but my eye could fall on him. Moreover he would have perceived my odor.”

Zahra (a.s) had distributed the household work between herself and her slave maid, Fizza. They did domestic jobs on alternate days. One day, Salman Farsi arrived in Ali’s house for some Islamic propagation work. He could see that Fatima (a.s) was grinding barley and blood was oozing from her swollen hands. Her younger son, Husain (a.s) was sitting hungry in a corner with tears in his eyes.

Salman exclaimed, “O daughter of Allah’s Messenger! Why are you working so hard with injured hands?” Zahra (a.s) replied, “Functions have been divided between Fizza and myself. Today is my turn.” Salman said, “O honorable princess of the Prophet’s house! I am at your service. Please order me and let me know whether I should grind barley or mind your baby prince?” Fatima said, “Okay, thank you. Just grind the barley and I am taking care of the child.” [1]

[1] Nawadir, Rawandi, A'laamul Waraa,Tabarsi, Manaqib, Shahr Ashob, Kashful Ghumma

The Prophet’s dear daughter, Fatima (a.s) passed only a short period of nine years with Ali. According to a well-known narration, she lived only for three months and five days after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The youthful flower withered away in her full bloom at the age of only eighteen. Thereafter she became a victim of oppression and was martyred by stonehearted people. Those were the oppressors who had hijacked Islam for their own material benefits coolly and had become the vicegerents of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Indeed they had reverted to their earlier ignorant nature.

The dearest daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) passed away from this world in the very youth of her life leaving behind two sons and two daughters. Her eldest son, Hasan (a.s) was then only eight. These are the personalities whose characters illuminated the path of Islam by lamps, which cannot be extinguished till the Day of Judgment so that following their footprints Muslims may always be safe from waywardness.

The Fateful event of Fadak

There was a large piece of arable land in the area of Khyber, called Fadak. On conclusion of the Battle of Khyber, in which Muslims came out victorious, the Jews signed an agreement of peace with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) according to which the most fertile part of that land was gifted to the Prophet who used to distribute its produce between Bani Hashim and other needy people of Medina. When the following verse was revealed:

And give to the near of kin his due…[1]

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gave Fadak to Fatima Zahra (a.s)[2] and lady Zahra (a.s) continued, as was being done by her beloved father, to spend its income on herself and on the poor and needy people of Bani Hashim and other deserving Muslims.

After the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), when in Saqifah Bani Saidah, the Emigrants and Helpers (who had only worldly benefit in their view) conspired to take the leadership of the Islamic state and ignored the Wilayat (guardianship and authority) of Maula Ali (a.s) the first to be adopted as caliph was the son of Abu Qahafah. Among the oppressions committed in his time was the confiscation of the farms of Fadak from Fatima .

Abu Bakr based his action on a fake tradition saying: The Prophet said: We messengers of God do not leave anything in inheritance; whatever we leave is charity, which is the right of Muslims. The government dismissed the men engaged by Fatima (a.s) for maintenance of Fadak and appointed their own men.

The Prophet’s daughter produced her husband, Ali (a.s) and her sons, Hasan and Husain (a.s) as witnesses and claimed that Fadak was her exclusive property allotted to her by the Prophet himself during his lifetime and therefore no one had any right to confiscate it.

But Abu Bakr who had grasped power in the same wrong manner, when he saw that the masses were silent, he took

[1] Surah Bani Israel 17:26 [2] See Tafsir Durre Manthur, Suyuti Vol. 4,Pg. 177

its undue benefit and dismissed the claim of Zahra (a.s) and the witnesses of Ali, Hasan and Husain (a.s) on the pretext of the aforesaid concocted tradition. Those world-worshippers whose morale was down and also knew very well that this tradition was false did not support Zahra’s claim. They had not yet forgotten what they had to face for opposing the Prophet in his days.

Thus Fadak, which was an established property of Fatima Zahra (a.s) was snatched away from her by the Caliphate. This misdeed will never be forgotten. The right of the daughter of the greatest benefactor of Islam was ruined by those in whose veins old blood of ignorance was yet flowing. The strategy behind the usurpation of Fadak, which was in the mind of Abu Bakr, was that Ali (a.s) who was also the son-in-law of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as well as the noblest son of Islam should not be able to get sympathies of the people of Medina and thereby raise his head against the usurped caliphate.

One could ask here as to why did Zahra (a.s) raise this issue when she knew that her right was intentionally usurped. Principally, such usurpation amounted to be a trespass of a Muslim’s right. What to talk about those who sacrificed everything for Islam and Muslims! No one can even fully thank the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on this account. What is all the more ugly is that within a very short time after his demise a concocted tradition was produced before Muslims and false allegations hurled against the holy family.

Since silence against falsehood and oppression is also a sin, the Prophet’s daughter raised her voice against this highhandedness and took the dispute to the court of

caliphate. In Islam, it is obligatory for everyone, man or woman, to defend one’s right. If the woman is married and it is possible for her husband to gain her rights she need not get up as she can get her dues without interfering herself. But if the things are otherwise than it is not compulsory for her husband to interfere in the dispute.

Zahra (a.s) defended her right herself

Zahra (a.s), at that time, did have a husband over her but they rejected the witness of Ali (a.s). The most reliable person was not accepted by the caliphate in the matter of Fadak because this garden was related to Bani Hashim. How could they, from the viewpoint of worldly politics strengthen the hands of Bani Hashim?

Lady Zahra (a.s) produced her two sons, Hasan and Husain (a.s) as witnesses but Abu Bakr with his diplomatic technique rejected the testimony of these two youths of Paradise also. Not only this, he even made some insulting remarks.

Thus Zahra (a.s) was constrained to come to the mosque to defend her right so that she might say her side of the case herself before the one who sat on the chair of caliphate in the midst of Emigrants and Helpers. She wanted to take objection to those who supported such caliphate so that the sold out historians might not be able to hide facts.

So the daughter of the great Prophet entered the Prophet’s mosque with a very heavy heart and observed that Abu Bakr was sitting on the seat of her late father and the masjid was full of the people of Medina . The white bearded people who had strengthened such a caliphate occupied the front row.

She sat taking support of a pillar with a very heavy heart, remembering the time of her dear father, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) of Islam. She took a deep sigh and said, “Dear father! O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)!” Hearing these words all in the mosque began to weep. It appeared as if even the walls and columns of the masjid were also complaining. At once a curtain was drawn in front of Zahra (a.s) so that she might be veiled behind it.

What is worth noting most is that Zahra was only eighteen, unwell and pain stricken without the shade of father. And what kind of a father! A father who was the best human being under the sun. Her husband Ali (a.s) was deprived of his God-given divine right. They had usurped the rights of both Ali (a.s) and Zahra (a.s) by concocting a tradition that messengers of God do not leave inheritance and whatever remains of their property is public property.

The fact was that Fadak was the personal property of Zahra (a.s). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had, in his lifetime, given it to his daughter and thus it could not be called inheritance. But the decree of Abu Bakr made it a public property and included it in the state treasury and no one said even a word against it.

The Prophet’s Daughter pleads for her right herself

When calm prevailed in the initially weeping gathering, Zahra (a.s) addressed Abu Bakr in a very effective and impressive eloquent speech. She invited the attention of the audience and asked them to remember the age of pre-Islamic ignorance. In what condition were they then and how much Islam had elevated them in every way and aspect?

She reminded them saying: You were known to none in the world. It was my late father who made you recognized all over the world. But you are today rewarding his messengership in this way by usurping the right of a lady who is the sole memorial of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and no one from you is saying anything against such a serious crime.

The strong and impressive speech of Fatima Zahra (a.s) is exemplary and how could it not be so? She was nourished in the lap of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). This is a historical event, which shall not be forgotten till the Day of Judgment. In her speech Zahra (a.s) first of all praised Almighty God describing His attributes and then sent salutations and greetings to her late father, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) of Islam, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). Thereafter she told the people that Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was sent by Allah for the guidance of mankind.

Then she continued, “O people! Know that I am the daughter of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). My word has been one and the same from first to last. It has never altered. I have never adopted any unfair attitude. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had come to show the true and the right path to you all and he had always been most kind to you all. All of you know very well that he was my father and not of anyone among you. Ali (a.s) is the son of my uncle and my husband. He is not a cousin of anyone from you. In what way can you claim to be nearer in relationship to the Prophet than us? My father fulfilled the duty of divine messengership and kept enemies awed. When the polytheists dared to confront the Muslims, my husband attacked them vehemently and

fearlessly and cut down the necks of many of the leading enemies of Islam and Muslims.”

By speaking thus Zahra (a.s) intended to break down the idols seated in their hearts and minds so that the egotists would come to senses and the dark night of ignorance may end and the dawn of light and intelligence might come up and the truthful slogan of “There is no god but Only One God” might reverberate throughout the sandy lands of Arabia.

She added, “O people! Just think of the days when you were on the brink of the well of moral degradation which could break and drown you all at any moment. Tribes living nearby had made you toys to play with and were kicking you around. You were drinking water from pits wherein a little rainwater was collected with camel droppings all around and there were stinking bodies of dead animals nearby. You were constantly living a life of terror and you almost always feared that a neighboring tribe would suddenly attack you. In such a humiliating condition, Almighty Allah relieved you from this degradation and disgrace and removed a constant risk from you, broke the pride of egotists and ended all the conspiracies of the People of the Book against you and drove away all Arab wolves. Whenever they forced a war upon you, my father cooled that fire. Whenever troublemakers created trouble the Prophet sent his cousin, Ali (a.s) to suppress the enemies and Ali (a.s) did not sheath his sword before killing the mischief-makers. Not only this, in times of Jihad, Ali (a.s) risked his life fully but never hesitated to fulfill the command of God and His Messenger. He left no stone unturned in fulfilling every wish of the Prophet. He is

closest to the Prophet and is the chief of all the friends of God. He is ever ready to serve His religion and Muslims in every possible way. He is the greatest well-wisher of the Muslim society and is always trying his best to invite men to the right path of Islam. But the fact is that you have slackened in your faith and have become accustomed to easy life and luxury. You are almost drowned in the wrong kind of worldly desires and lusts. It seems you were waiting to see us surrounded by difficulties and subjected to the worst kind of oppression. So when we came to this type of trouble you distanced from us. Now when Almighty God has called up His Messenger to Him you revealed the old enmity, which was boiling in your hearts against us. You clothed yourselves in your earlier garments of ignorance and began to talk in the earlier hostile language against us and started to malign us, singings hateful songs again and to dance like an intoxicated camel. Now Satan has taken control of your minds and hearts. The devil is constantly inviting you to him and is drawing you to himself so easily. Now selfishness has reached such a peak that you stamp other’s camel with your mark claiming to be yours. You are encroaching upon others’ land and claiming it to be yours falsely. Not much time has passed since the Holy Prophet’s sad demise and the wounds on our hearts are still fresh. But you forgot every fact. You snatched the right of Ali (a.s) in the matter of caliphate. You are in an illusion that this deed of yours has suppressed public unrest. It is certainly not so. Beware; you have fanned a fire of discontent as a result of which hellfire will very soon devour the mischief-makers.

Woe unto you, O people! Where you are going? What are you doing? Where are your thoughts wavering? Perhaps you do

not remember that God’s Book is in front of you and among you and its command is clear. Its commands and prohibitions are forever. You have shown your back to God’s Book. Do you want to disobey Allah’s orders? The consequences of such planning will be disastrous. Anyone who leaves aside the Quran and follows something else will be a misleader and he will not be obeyed by Muslims and his Hereafter will be with sinners and offenders in the other world.

You have created an impression that we cannot get the Holy Prophet’s inheritance. Have you reverted to the age of ignorance? If your faith were perfect you would have understood that no one’s order is above Allah’s order. Do you not know this truth? Verily, those who know the sun of midday do know that I am the Holy Prophet’s daughter. O Muslims? Despite being the daughter of the Prophet should I be deprived of my right and live a life of dependence under your government? O son of Abu Qahafa! You can own your father’s inheritance by the command of Quran and I should be deprived of my father’s inheritance? Strange planning indeed. Have you freed yourselves of the Command of the Holy Quran? Have you turned away from Allah’s commands?

The Holy Quran shows that Sulaiman inherited Dawood. The Quran, relating the story of Yahya and Zakaria says: Zakaria said: O God! Grant me a son so that he may be my inheritor and the inheritor of the progeny of Yaqub. Not only this, this very Quran also says that the right of inheritance should be given to the nearest blood relative. The Quran also mentions that in inheritance sons get double the daughters’ inheritance. These are solid arguments on the

basis of which you people distribute your inheritance. Has Almighty Allah granted some special rank in this matter and has He excluded my honorable father from this right? Or do you imagine that you know more than my father and my husband about the commands of Quran? This is an innovation, which I must oppose. Remember that this field of Fadak is, in fact, like a camel (loaded with materials), which you have taken in your possession. But, beware, this camel will lead you in the field of gathering on the Day of Judgment where the verdict will be of Almighty Allah and then you would know the seriousness of your crime.”

Thereafter the dear daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said to those who had seen the Prophet with their own eyes and who were proud of remembering him, “O youths of Islam! O protectors of Islam! O you who are proud of Islam! What kind of coolness is this that you are silent instead of assisting me? Did my dear father not say that respecting a man includes protecting his daughters? How soon did you get up to indulge in corruption in pursuance of worldly profits? You have the ability to help me. Why do you not rise? Are you of the opinion that Muhammad is gone and with him is gone whatever he brought? No. This is a great tragedy. Yes, with the passing away of my father you have given up respect for his family members. Darkness has spread on earth. Mountains have quacked. Hopes and aspirations have faded out. The household of the Holy Prophet has been rejected, dishonored and disrespected.”[1]

[1] Ihtijaj, Tabarsi, Najaf Edition