"Fatima bint Assad": The Mother of Imam Ali(A.S.)
One of the exemplary women in the history of Islam was Fatima bint Assad, who got many honors in her blessed life. Her father was Assad, son of Hashim. Her life is worthy of note from different aspects, because the virtues that Allah had bestowed on her were so great that no other woman, before or after her, could be her equal in that respect.
Allah willed for reasons He alone knew that the Prophet (SAW) should be away from his parents. After Abdul-Mutallib, the Prophet (s.a.w.) became his uncle, Abu Talib's charge and thenceforth he and his wife, Fatima, nurtured him. The Prophet (s.a.w.) always lauded the personality of this great lady and appreciated the value of her motherly care for himself. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “After Abu-Talib she was the best person to care for me. It was a great honor for Fatima bint Assad to be called mother by the Prophet (s.a.w.). Abutalib was the breadwinner and Fatima always left some food for the Prophet (s.a.w.) to be eaten later after the meal was over.
When we gave Halima, the hired wet-nurse of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the right to boast about having suckled him for sometime, we should naturally give Fatima such right to take pride in having served the Prophet (s.a.w.) for about 20 years as a mother.
Delivering her Child (Imam Ali) inside the Kaaba
Many people having read the story of Mary (a.s) marvel at her sublime position before Allah. But when Fatima bint Assad delivered her child inside the Ka'aba, we see that her status in the divine realm was far superior to that of Mary (a.s). Modem scientific discoveries do not negate conception of a virgin without a mortal having touched her and so the birth of Jesus (a.s) might be explained not as a miraculous phenomena. But the birth of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was nothing but a mere miracle. A companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) name Yazid ibn Qanab, said:
“Abbas ibn Abdulmutallib and I were sitting opposite the House of Allah. We saw Fatima bint Assad making for the Ka'aba. She was in labor. She was communing with her Lord, saying: "0 Lord! I believe in You, in all Your messengers and in the divine Scriptures. I confirm in
what Abraham, the one who built the Beit al-Atiq (the Ka'aba) had said. So make my labor easy, in the name of Abraham and in the name of the child I have in me."
We saw a crack appear in the wall of the Ka'aba. Fatima went through the opening and disappeared into the House. We also made for the crack in the wall, but saw no opening there. We knew it was the will of Allah. Four days later, Fatima came out of the Ka'aba carrying Ali (a.s.). There are enough evidence to support this narrative. In comparing herself with other chosen women, Fatima bint Assad said:
"Allah preferred me to all women before me. Assiah (wife of the Pharaoh) performed the acts of worship in seclusion where Allah did not like to be worshipped except in case of necessity. Mary (a.s), daughter of lmran shook the trunk of the palm-tree and ripe dates fell upon her. I entered the House of Allah and ate fruits of Paradise, when I was about to leave the place, I heard the divine call: '0 Fatima! Name your son Ali, because he is high and His Lord Most High. I gave him a name derived from my Own name. I cultured him the way I willed. I made known to him the intricacies of My Own Omniscience. He is the one to crush the idols in My House. He is the one to call people to prayer from the roof of My House. He worships Me. Blessed are those who love him and woe to those who are his enemies."'
We know that Mary (a.s) lived in the Masjidul-Aqsa (within the House of Allah), but was not delivered of her child. Fatima bin Assad delivered her child by Allah's leave.
Acceptance of Islam by Fatima bint Assad
All biographers of the life of Fatima bint Assad said that she was the first woman, after Khadija, that pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.) in Mecca. Here we have to mention her noble husband, Abu -Talib, an oppressed figure in history. May it be that his ignorant enemies remember how he who le-heartily and steadfastly stood by his nephew and did not charge him with polytheism. How on earth would a polytheist say:
"Verily the religion of Muhammad is the best of all revealed religions for man...." Or, in a poem of eulogy about his nephew: "A saintly figure, a savior of orphans and widows, a blessed saint in whose name people supplicate the Almighty for rain.
Apart from all such evidence, how could the Prophet (s.a.w.) ask for support from a polytheist? After the death of Abutalib, Fatima bint Assad, kept pace with the revolution of the Prophet and was present on the scene on different occasions. After three days from the flight of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to Medina, Fatima bint Assad, in company with Hazrat Fatima (a.s), daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.), and Fatima bint Zubeir, went to Medina, under the auspices of his son, Ali (a.s.). She was the first one who pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.) for the second time.
Fatima bint Assad in thc Eyes of the Holy Prophet (SAW)
As already said, Fatima bint Assad stood high in the Prophet's favor. One day the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that on the Last day, all the dead will rise naked. Fatima said: "What a disgrace!" The Prophet (s.a.w.) said he would pray to Allah to let her rise clothed.
Next day she heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) speak of the pain in the grave. She uttered: "My Lord!" The Prophet (s.a.w.) said he would pray to Allah to make the pain less severe for her.
One day the Prophet (s.a.w.) talked to Ammar Yasser about how Fatima bint Assad was kind to him. He said that she had borne Abutalib many sons from whom their parents benefited very much. She satisfied my hunger while her own sons were hungry. She clothed me while they were barely dressed; she kept me neatly dressed, but not her own sons. The Prophet (s.a.w.) respected Fatima bint Assad, and always called on her and took a rest in her house. She had narrated 46 traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) said: "When my mother died, the Prophet (s.a.w.) wrapped her body in a shirt of his and said prayer upon her and said: "Allah is the Greatest" - seventy times. The Prophet (s.a.w.) then went into the grave and touched the walls as if he wanted to widen the grave. When he came out of the grave, the Prophet (s.a.w.) wept bitterly and addressed the grave to be kind to her body.
When the burial was over, Umar ibn Khattab said to the Prophet (s.a.w.) that he had treated her in an unprecedented way. The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied that he held her in great esteem as one holds his mother. Gabriel told me she was a saintly woman and entered Paradise. Allah had ordered 70,000 angels to say prayers on her dead body.