Fatimah az- Zahra’s (S.A.) Birth and Upbringing
By: Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi
The Prophet (S) eagerly received the birth of Pure Fatimah (a.s.). He perceived from behind the unseen that his newborn daughter would have a very high position in the earth and in the heaven, that she would be unequaled in purity, chastity, faith and behavior from among all the women of the earth, and that his pure progeny would be from her. He was very delighted for the coming of this pure child, and was sincere in his love to her since her birth until his last breath.
When the Prophet (S) was informed that Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) gave birth to Fatimah (s.a.), he went home quickly. He took his newborn daughter, kissed her, recited the azan in her right ear, and recited the eqama in her left ear.
The first voice Fatimah (s.a.) heard was the voice of her father, the messenger of Allah, and the first words she heard were “Allah is greatest” and “there is no God but Allah”. Gabriel came down to the Prophet (S) bringing the greetings of Allah the Almighty to him and to his blessed newborn child.1
Historians say that Fatimah (s.a.) had been created from the fruits of the Paradise. On the night of the Prophet’s ascension to the Heavens, Allah had fed Prophet Muhammad (S) with the fruits of the Paradise and Fatimah (s.a.) was originated from those fruits.2
Date of her Birth
Historians were different about the date of Fatimah’s birth. Here are some of their sayings:
1. She was born five years after the prophethood of her father and three years after his ascension to the heaven on the twentieth of Jumada al-Aakhirah,3 and it was Friday.4
2. She was born one year after the prophethood of her father.5
3. She was born five years before the prophethood. This saying is odd and ignored.6
4. Some books of history mentioned that Fatimah (s.a.) had been born before the prophethood of her father but without mentioning the year and the month of her birth.7
There are other sayings about her birth, but the true saying is the first one mentioned above that determines her age to be eighteen years.
Place of her Birth
Fatimah (s.a.) was born in Mecca in the house of Khadijah (s.a.). The house was near the Lane of Perfumers, and now it is a mosque.
The Prophet (S) named his newborn daughter as Fatimah. It was like the name of Imam Ali’s mother. It is related to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that once Imam Ali (a.s.) asked the Prophet (S), ‘O messenger of Allah, why did you name Fatimah8 so?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Because she and her followers are weaned from Fire.’9
Fatimah the principal of the women of the worlds was attributed with many epithets expressing the high qualities she had. The following are some of those epithets:
It means the truthful woman. She was the most truthful woman in the world of Islam and other than Islam.
It means the blessed woman. Allah had blessed her and all her progeny in the earth.
It means the pure woman. She was the purest one among all the women of the world. Allah had endowed her with this favor by saying, “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” (33:33)
All commentators say this verse had been revealed about the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
It means the chaste, innocent woman.
It means the satisfied woman. She was satisfied with the simple life of asceticism Allah had willed for her in the worldly life.
It was narrated from Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) his saying, ‘Once, the messenger of Allah (S) came to Fatimah (s.a.) and found her wearing a garment of camel-hair while milling with her hands and suckling her child. The Prophet’s eyes shed tears when he saw her in that case. He said to her, ‘O my daughter, suffer the bitterness of this life for the sake of the sweetness of the afterlife; for Allah has revealed to me, “And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased.” (93:5)
She said, ‘O messenger of Allah, praise be to Allah for His gifts, and thanks be to Him for His blessings.’10
The talked to; because the angels talked with her as they talked with Virgin Mary. Allah says, “When the angels said: O Maryam, surely Allah gives you good news with a Word from Him.” (3:45)
She was called so, because she was devoted to Allah and because she had no equal in her virtues among all women. Once, Ahmed bin Yahya was asked about the reason why Fatimah (s.a.) was called al-Batool and he said, ‘because she was incomparable in her chastity, virtues, religiousness, and lineage. It was also said that she was called so because she had devoted herself to Allah the Almighty and turned her back to the worldly life.’11
Shining; she was called so because her great faith and high morals were shining. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked why she was called so and he said, ‘When she stood in her mihrab (for worshipping), her light shone for the inhabitants of the Heaven as stars shone for the inhabitants of the earth.’12
Al-Jami’ al-Azhar in Cairo was built by the Fatimids and called so by them after the name of Fatimah az-Zahra’ to be blessed and honored.
Fatimah (s.a.) had several surnames. Here are some of them:
The mother of her father: she was called so (by her father) because she was too kind and loving to her father the messenger of Allah (S).13
From the examples of her kindness and great love to her father was that once, he came back to Medina from one of the battles, and came to Fatimah’s house first before his wives as usual. Fatimah (s.a.) received him, and began kissing him on the face and the eyes, and crying. The Prophet (S) asked her, ‘Why are you crying?’
She said, ‘I see that you have turned pale.’
The Prophet (S) calmed her down and said, ‘O Fatimah, Allah the Almighty has delegated your father with a mission that no house on the face of the earth remains until it is entered into it with glory or with meanness. It will reach wherever night reaches.’14
“With glory” is for those who believe in him, and “with meanness” is for those who deny his mission and fight him.
She highly revered her father. She addressed him by say ing “O messenger of Allah” especially after the revelation of this verse.
“Make not the calling of the messenger among you as your calling one another.” (24:63)
That was difficult for the Prophet (S) who said to her, ‘O Fatimah, it (the verse) was not revealed about you, nor your family, nor your progeny. You are from me and I am from you. It was revealed about the harsh and rude people of Quraysh; the people of lavishness and haughtiness. You say: O father! It is more refreshing to the heart, and more satisfactory to the Lord.’15
Fatimah (s.a.) was the most beloved one to her father from among all his family, and she was the kindest to him. When he left to the better world, she was terribly affected and after a short time she joined him in the Paradise.
The mother of al-Hasan and al-Husayn (peace be upon them), the Prophet’s two grandsons and the masters of the youth of the Paradise.
Al-Hasan (a.s.) was her eldest son.
Al-Husayn (a.s.) was her second son, the reviver of Islam, the savior of Muslims, and the head of the free in the world.
Fatimah (s.a.) was brought up by her father, the master of all creation. He fed her with his talents and mentality. He taught her the Qur'an and all things about the verses of verdicts, the causes of the revelation of verses, and other things concerning the Qur'an. He educated her, the rulings of the Sharia, the nobilities of character, and high morals and principles. He upbrought her on the sincere faith in Allah, the Creator of the universe, and Giver of life.
From the Prophet’s educational programs to Fatimah
From the programs of the Islamic education that the Prophet (S) offered to his Fatimah (s.a.), the principal of the women of the worlds, was that he recommended her of the following: “He, whose neighbor is not safe from his harms, is not from the believers.
He, who believes in Allah and in the afterlife, should not harm his neighbor.
He, who believes in Allah and in the afterlife, should say good or otherwise, keep silent.
Allah loves a good, patient, abstinent one, and hates an indecent, stingy, importunate one.
Coyness is from faith, and faith is in the Paradise. Indecency is from obscenity, and obscenity is in the Fire…”16
In this way, the Prophet (S) fed his daughter Fatimah (s.a.) with the high ideals and values.
Asma’ bint Umays said, ‘Once, I was with Fatimah when the messenger of Allah (S) came to her and saw a gold necklace on her neck that Imam Ali (a.s.) had bought for her from his own money. The messenger of Allah (S) said to her, ‘Let people not deceive you by saying: the daughter of Muhammad, while you put on wears of tyrants!’
Fatimah (s.a.) took off the necklace soon. She sold it and bought with its price a slave, and then she freed the slave. The Prophet (S) was pleased with that and he thanked her daughter for her doing.’17
Prophet Muhammad (S) had educated his daughter to be ascetic in this life and not to care for its pleasures.
Once another, the Prophet (S) visited Fatimah (s.a.) and saw a necklace on her neck. He turned his face away from her. She soon took the necklace off and gave it to him. He said to her, ‘And you are from me Fatimah.’
A beggar knocked the door, and the Prophet (S) gave him the necklace and then said, ‘The wrath of Allah is great on whoever sheds my blood and harms me by harming my progeny.’18
Some Du’as from the Prophet (S) to Fatimah (s.a.)
In educating his dear daughter, the Prophet (S) taught Fatimah (s.a.) some du’as that would serve her in the worldly life and in the afterlife and take her closer to Allah. Here are some of those du’as:
“O Allah, the Most Glorious, Mentioned One, and the Most Olden in glory and might,
O Allah, the Merciful to everyone asking for mercy, and the Shelter of everyone resorting to You,
O Allah, the Merciful to every sad one complaining of his grief and sorrow to You,
O Allah, the best of those who are asked for favor, and the Most Secretive in giving,
O Allah, Whom the angels, who are flaming with light, are afraid of, I ask You by the attributes by which the carriers of Your Throne call upon You, and those around Your Throne by Your Light glorify You for fear of Your punishment, and by the attributes by which Gabriel, Michael, and Israfel call upon You to respond to me, relieve my grief, and cover my sins.
O You Who orders by the cry His creation and they soon will be resurrected on the Land of Resurrection, I ask You by that attribute by which You give life to the bones when they are rotten to give life to my heart, expand my bosom, and set aright my affairs.
O You Who have singled only Yourself for everlasting, and created for Your creation death and life, O You Whose doing is just by a saying, and Whose saying is a command, and Whose command is applied to whatever You will, I ask You by the attribute by which Your friend (Abraham) asked You when he was thrown into fire and You responded to him and said, “O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham!” 21:69
and by the attribute by which Moses prayed to You from the blessed side of the mountain and You responded to his prayer, and by the attribute by which You removed the distress from Ayyoob (Job), and accepted the repentance of Dawud (David), and subjugated for Solomon the wind blowing by his order and the devils, and taught him the language of birds, and by the attribute by which You granted to Zachariah, Yahya (John), and created Jesus from the Holy Spirit with no father, and by the attribute by which You created the Throne and Sovereignty, and by the attribute by which You created the angels, and by the attribute by which You created man and the jinn, and by the attribute by which You created all the creation and everything You willed, and by the attribute by which You had power over everything, I ask You by these attributes to fulfill my request and satisfy my needs.”19
From the other du’as that the Prophet (S) taught to Fatimah (s.a.) is this one: “O You, the Knower of the unseen and the hidden secrets, the Obeyed, the Knower, O Allah, O Allah, O Allah, the Defeater of the parties for Muhammad, the Planner against the Pharaoh for Moses, the Savior of Jesus from the hands of the unjust, the Rescuer of Noah’s people from drowning, the Merciful to Your servant Ya’qub (Jacob), the Reliever of Ayyoob’s distress, the Saver of Thinnoon (Jonah) from the darkness, the Doer of every good, the Guide to every good, the Leader to every good, the Enjoiner to every good, the Creator of good, the Qualified for good, You are Allah; I have come to You for what You have known and You are the Knower of the unseen, I ask You to have blessing on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.”20
Imam Ali (a.s.) said that one day Fatimah (s.a.) complained to the messenger of Allah (S) of insomnia and he asked her to pray to Allah by saying,“O You the Satisfier of hungry stomachs, the Clothing of naked bodies, the Calmer of beating veins, the putting to sleep the sleepless eyes, calm my beating veins and permit to my eye a soon sleep.”21
He also taught her a du’a that is recited when coming in a mosque: “O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your mercy!”
A du’a that is recited when coming out of a mosque: “O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your favor!”22
Her Similarity to the Prophet (S)
Fatimah (s.a.) was similar to her father in figure, morals, high personality and other qualities. Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansary said, ‘Whenever I saw Fatimah walk, I remembered the messenger of Allah (S). She inclined to the right one time and to the left another.’23
Aa'isha said, ‘I have not seen anyone more similar to the messenger of Allah (S) in straightness, guidance, and talking in his sitting and standing than Fatimah, his daughter. When she came to the messenger of Allah (S), he got up, kissed her, and seated her in his place. When the messenger of Allah (S) came to her, she got up, kissed him, and seated him in her place.’24
She was like her father not only in his figure and expressions but in all his features by which he was distinguished from all prophets. Some poet says about Fatimah (s.a.), ‘She is a second Ahmed and the Ahmed of her time ,she is the element of monotheism, she is the niche of the light of Allah the Almighty, she is an olive-tree whose blessings include all mankind.’25
Fatimah, the Principal of Women
Once, Fatimah (s.a.) was ill. The Prophet (S) and Imran bin Hussayn came to visit her. At the door, the Prophet (S) greeted her and said, ‘May I come in and the one who is with me?’
She said, ‘Yes, you and the one with you…O father, by Allah I have nothing on except an aba.’
The Prophet (S) asked her to cover herself with the aba and he gave her a wrap to veil her head. Then he came in and asked her, ‘How do you feel my daughter?’
She said, ‘I feel ill, and what increases my pain is that I have nothing to eat.’
The Prophet (S) said to her, ‘Are you not satisfied that you are the principal of the women of the worlds?’
She said, ‘O father, what about Mary?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘She is the principal of the women of her world, and you are the principal of the women of your world.’26
Once another, Fatimah (s.a.) was ill. The Prophet (S) and some of his companions came to visit her. At Fatimah’s door, the Prophet (S) ordered her to veil herself. She said, ‘I have nothing on but an aba.’
p.361, Sunan of Abu Dawud, vol.2 p.522, Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol.4 p.272, al-Adab al-Mufrad, p.136. (this is here randomly and is not linked with any footnote?)
The Prophet (S) threw his garment to her to cover herself with. Then the Prophet (S) and his companions came in, asked her about her condition, and she said she was going to be well. They left while being astonished at the simple life Fatimah (s.a.) lived and the simple furniture she had in her house. They said, ‘O God! The daughter of our prophet lives such a life!’
The Prophet (S) said to them, ‘She is the principal of women on the Day of Resurrection.’27
Fatimah (s.a.) was so ascetic in the worldly life. She had turned away from all pleasure of this life, and turned devotedly to Allah the Almighty. The Prophet (S) loved her too much to an extent that he said to her, ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you.’28
1. Mizan al-I’tidal, vol.4 p.72, Lisan al-Mizan, vol.3 p.367, where it is mentioned that ibn Abbas had said, ‘When Fatimahh was born, the Prophet (S) named her as al-Mansurah. Gabriel came to the Prophet (S) and said to him, ‘Allah sends you His greeting and sends your newborn daughter His greeting.’
2. Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol.1 p.156, Tareekh Baghdad, vol.5 p.87, Mizan al-I’tidal, vol.27 p.97.
3. A’lam al-Wara, p.148, Jami’ al-Usool, vol.12 p.9-10, Nisa’ an-Nabiy wa Awladuh (wives and children of the Prophet), p.89, Ma’sat (tragedy of) az-Zahra’ by Sayyid Ja’far Murtadha al-Aamily, vol.1 p.37, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.6, Usool al-Kafi, vol.1 p.458, Safwat as-Safwah, vol.1 p.148.
4. Al-Kawthar fee Ahwal Fatimahh, vol.1 p.309.
5. Nisa’ an-Nabiy wa Awladuh, p.90.
6. Ma’sat az-Zahra’, vol.1 p.36.
7. Al-Isabah, vol.8 p.54.
8. Fatimahh means “a weaned child”.
9. Nisa’ an-Nabiy wa Awladuh, p.91. In Thakha’ir al-Uqba,p.26, it is mentioned that Imam Ali Asked, ‘O messenger of Allah, why did you name Fatimahh so?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘Allah the Almighty will wean her and her progeny from Fire on the Day of Resurrection.’ The same has been mentioned in Kanzol Ummal, vol.6 p.219 and Faydh al-Qadeer, vol.1 p.168.
10. Az-Zahra’ Sayyidaton Nisa’, vol.1 p.30.
11. Lisan al-Arab, vol.16 p.43, an-Nihayah fee Gharib al-Hadith, vol. 1 p.94.
12. Nisa’ an-Nabiy wa Awladuh, p.92.
13. Al-Istee’ab, vol.2 p.752, Usd al-Ghabah, vol.5 p.520.
14. Hilyat al-Awliya’, vol.2 p.30, and somehow like it in Kanzol Ummal, vol.1 p.77, and Majma’ az-Zawa’id, vol.8 p.262.
15. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.33.
16. Dala’il al-Imamah, p.66
17. Know that I am Fatimah, vol 9 p.557.
18. Kashful Ghummah, vol.1 p.471.
19. Muhaj ad-Da’awaat, p. 207
20. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 88 p. 370.
21. Falah as-Sa’il, p. 384.
22. Know that I am Fatimah, vol.9 p.594.
23. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.43 p.7.
24. Thakha’ir al-Uqba, p.40, al-Istee’ab, vol.4 p.450, Sunan of at-Tarmithi, vol.5
25. Another name of Prophet Muhammad (S).
26. Hilyat al-Awliya’, vol.2 p.42, Mushkil al-Aathar, vol.1 p.50, Thakha’ir al-Uqba, p.43.
27. Hilyat al-Awliya’, vol.2 p.42.
28. Mustadrak as-Sahihayn, vol.3 p.156.