Status and Infallibility of Hazrat Fatima al-Zahra (S.A.)
By: Allama Jafar Murtuza Amili
We shall start our discourse in this Part by narrating the biography of al-Zahra’ (sa) since some people try to avoid, or even refuse to uphold or be bound by what the glorious Prophet (S) has stated, or by what the Purified Imams (as) have said, that is, that she (sa) was born out of the fruit of Paradise following the isra’ and mi’raj1, and that she (sa) married Ali (as) when she was quite young.
Such person senses a degree of embarrassment, so he avoids being convinced, preferring not to expose himself to such issues. It may neither be this possibility nor that. It may be something else which prompts him to make such a stand, and surely Allah knows the facts of all issues and knows what the hearts conceal.
Then we discuss issues closely connected to the infallibility of the purified one, peace of Allah with her and His blessings.
This discussion of infallibility is an acceptable introduction to the stations of eminence and the degrees of nearness to the Head of all Women of the World, peace and blessings with her, under the divine care and upbringing, without neglecting to point out to the subject of her connection with the unknown on account of the attributes, merits and divine boons which Allah, Glory and Exaltation are His, has bestowed on her, distinguishing her from all other women of mankind.
She was the woman on the occasion of whose marriage with Ali (as) the heavens celebrated before the earth, the woman who was pure and purified from all irreverence, uncleanness or shortcoming, so much so that Allah exempted her from whatever afflicts women of particular things relevant only to them without letting any of that have a negative effect on her personality in as far as pregnancy and childbirth are concerned.
Before exiting the circle of her eminent divine boons, supreme merits and attributes, we have quickly been acquainted with what Allah blessed her: knowledge relevant to the world of the unknown, with what Allah granted her, through a great angel who used to talk to her and to console her after the demise of her father S, the thing which resulted in a very serious book about which the purified Imams, peace with them, were very concerned and of which they were very proud. They used to read it and quote it, and it is known as “Mushaf Fatima,” the book of Fatima (sa), in addition to other books with which she, peace and blessings of Allah with her, was blessed.
We shall read glimpses of all of these matters in this Part, paying a special attention to making a good selection and to being as brief as possible. Success comes from Allah, and so does guidance.
When was al-Zahra’ (sa) Born?
The first that we come across, with regard to the biography of this truthful and purified one, is the date of her birth. Some people claim that she (sa) was born five years before the Prophetic mission. We say that this is incorrect. Accurate is what the followers of Ahl al-Bayt (as) know from their Imams2 (as); the people of the House know best what is therein. They are followed suit by many others. She (sa) was born five years after the inception of the Prophetic mission, i.e. in the year when the migration to Ethiopia took place (615 A.D.), and she died at the age of 19 (in roughly 13 A.H. or 634 A.D.). This is narrated by our Imams (as) according to authentic narrations3.
Let us add to the above that this date can be reached or supported by the following:
1. A number of historians have mentioned that the total number of the children of Khadija, may Allah shower her with His mercy and blessings, were born after the inception of the Prophetic mission, and that Fatima (sa) was their youngest.
2. There are many traditions narrated by a number of the Prophet’s companions, such as ‘A’isha, ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab, Sa’d ibn Malik, Ibn ‘Abbas, and others, proving that Fatima’s seed came as the result of the fruit of Paradise which the Prophet S had eaten during the isra’ and mi’raj4, the event which we proven as having taken place during the early period of such mission5.
If there is anyone who argues about the premises of some of these narrations in his own way, there is no argument about the others even if the same method is applied.
If anyone claims that this narration cannot be authentic because al-Zahra’ (sa) was born five years before the inception of the Prophetic mission, he actually circumvents the outcome because these traditions, which we are discussing, have been narrated by various narrators, and this is the strongest evidence testifying to the fallacy of such a claim.
3. Al-Nisa’i has narrated saying that when Abu Bakr and ‘’Umar sought the hand of Fatima (sa) in marriage, the Prophet S rejected them saying that she was too young to marry6. Had their claim been that she was born five years prior to the Prophetic mission, her age after the Migration, when both men sought her hand, according to the consensus of historians, she would have been about 18 or 19. Nobody can say that such a person is too young to marry.
4. It is narrated that the women of Quraish abandoned Khadija, may Allah have mercy on her, when she was pregnant with Fatima (sa), so Fatima (sa) used to talk to her and urge her to be patient7.
Some people may find it unlikely that Khadija could have been pregnant with Fatima (sa) five years after the inception of the Prophetic mission because Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was too old to get pregnant. But this supposition is inappropriate because I have proven in my book titled Al-Sahih min Sirat al-Nabiyy al-A’zam (S) that her age then was about 50 years or, according to the strongest arguments, even less than that, although there is a great deal of disagreement in this regard. It is also possible that her birth after her mother was past the child-bearing age was a blessing unto Khadija and unto the Messenger of Allah S, one similar to the woman who said, “Shall I bear a son while I am a very old woman and this husband of mine is a very old man?!” (Qur’an, 11:72). This is out of place because had it been so, it would have become widespread, but we find no references to it anywhere.
5. Another evidence is the Abundance of traditions explaining why she was named Fatima, among other names given her, which point out and prove that her name came from the heavens according to the orders of Allah, Exalted and Great is He. These are many in number, and they exist in many references, so refer to them8.
1. Refer to my book titled Al-Sihah min Sirat al-Nabiyy al-A`zam (a), Vol. 3, in the chapter discussing the isra’ and mi`raj.
2. Refer to Diya’ al-`Alamin, Vol. 2, p. 2 (manuscript). Ibn al-Athir, Jami` al-Usul, Vol. 12, pp. 9-10.
3. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 101, quoting Al-Kafi through an authentic tradition, and also Al-Misbah al-Kabir, Dala’il al-Imama, Misbah al-Kaf`ami, Al-Rawda, Ibn Shahr Ashub, Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, p. 75, and Ithbat al-Wasiyya. Refer also to Thakha’ir al-`Uqba, p. 52, Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, p. 278 quoting the book about the dates of the births of Ahl al-Bayt (as) by Imam Ahmed ibn Nasr ibn `Abdullah al-Darra`. Refer also to al-Mas`udi’s Muruj al-Dhahab, Vol. 2, p. 289, and to other books.
4. You can find such narrations in the books of the Shi`as such as: al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 4-6; al-Saduq’s Amali, as well as `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Ma`ani al-Akhbar, `Ilal al-Shara’i`, al-Qummi, Tafsir; al-Tibrisi, Al-Ihtijaj, and in others. Refer also to Al-Anwar al-Nu`maniyya, Vol. 1, p. 80 or any other book, modern or classic, which discusses al-Zahra’ (sa).
5. In non-Shi`a books, you can find them in works such as Al-Mustadrak `Alal Sahihihayn, Vol. 3, p. 156; al-Dhahbi, Talkhis al-Mustadrak (as referred to in a footnote in Al-Mustadrak); Nuzul al-Abrar, p. 88; Al-Durr al-Manthur, Vol. 4, p. 153; al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, Vol. 5, p. 87; Ibn al-Maghazli, Manaqib al-Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, p. 357; Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, p. 277; Thakha’ir al-`Uqba, p. 36; Lisan al-Mizan , Vol. 1, p. 134; Al-La’ali’ al-Masnu`a, Vol. 1, p. 392; and Al-Durra al-Yatima fi Ba`d Fada’il al-Sayyida al-`Azima, p. 31.
In the Appendices Section of Ihqaq al-Haqq, Vol. 10, pp. 1-10, they are quoted from some of the references cited above as well as from Mizan al-I`tidal, Al-Rawd al-Fa’iq, Nuzhat al-Majalis, Mujma` al-Zawa’id, Kanz al-`Ummal, Muhadarat al-Awa’il, al-Khawarizmi’s Maqtal al-Husayn; Miftah al-Najat, Al-Manaqib by `Abdullah al-Shafi`i, I`rab Thalathin Sura, and Akhbar al-Duwal.
The author of Diya’ al-`Alamin discusses it on pp. 4-5, Vol. 4, of his work and in his manuscript, citing a large number of references.
There are other references which we mentioned while discussing the isra’ and mi`raj, while discussing the biography of the Greatest Prophet (S) to which you may refer.
6. Refer to Khasa’is Amir al-Mu`minin Ali ibn Abu Talib, p. 228, critiqued by al-Mahmudi; p. 393, Vol. 3, of Al-Manaqib by Ibn Shahr Ashub (Dar al-Adwa’ edition); Tathkirat al-Khawass, pp. 306-307; and Diya’ al-`Alamin, Vol. 2, p. 36 (manuscript).
7. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 2.
8. Refer to Yanabi` al-Mawadda and to p. 219, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-`Ummal by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi; to pp. 221 & 229 of Al-Manaqib by Ibn al-Maghazli; to Diya’ al-`Alamin (manuscript), Vol. 4, pp. 6 & 9, where there is a plenty of researched material. Refer also to al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 13 and to its footnotes citing `Ilal al-Shara'i`, Vol. 1, p. 178. Refer also to Thakha’ir al-`Uqba, p. 26; to Vol. 2, p. 400 as well as Vol. 3, p. 439 of Mizan al-I`tidal; to Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 3, p. 267; to Tawali` al-Anwar, pp. 112-113 (Tabriz, 1395); to p. 51 (Dar al-I`tisam, Beirut, 1392) of Ma`rifat ma Yajib li Al al-Bayt al-Nabawi by Ahmed ibn Ali al-Maqrizi, and to Ahmed Fahmi’s book titled Al-Batul al-Tahira, pp. 11 & 15.