Hazrat Fatima al-Zahra (S.A.): A Short Biographical Sketch
By: Prof. Dr. M.R. Fakhr-Rohani
On Friday, 20th Jamadi II, five years past the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bestow His salaams on him and his progeny], Allah granted His last prophet with Hazrat Fatima al-Zahra, a unique and matchless daughter. She had a number of other titles, among them al-Siddiqa, al-Mubaraka, al-Tahira, al-Zakiyya, al-Muhadditha, al-Batul, and al-Hawra al-Insiyya. She lived in Makkah for eight years and then migrated to Madinah together with the Prophet. She lived only eighteen years. She got married with Imam Ali [May Allah bestow His salaams on him and his progeny] and had four children.
She accomplished her religio-moral mission to the extent that she lost her life in this way. She confirmed what Allah had revealed to other Divine prophets, as Islam was to complete all the previous religions. It was her mission to disseminate the teachings of the Divine prophets. She lost her life in a very tragic and heart-rending way in the way of achieving these aims and directing people to the virtuous morals and kindness amongst people. Regarding the time of her martyrdom at the age of eighteen, there are two reports, the first one takes it as seventy-five days, and the other one as ninety-five days, after the demise of the Holy Prophet, that is on 13th Jamadi I, or 3rd Jamadi II, respectively. Of these two dates, the second date is more reliable.
She was so highly praiseworthy by Allah that quite a number of Quranic verses were revealed in praise of her matchless station. Examples of the verses revealed in her respect are the single-type plural form of "nisaa'unaa (our ladies)" [3: 61], yas 'aa nuuruhum bayna aydiihim (their light spreading rapidly before them)" [57:12]. She was the unique glory and jewel of honor which Allah granted the Prophet upon his prophethood, viz. laqad mannallahu 'ala-mu'miniin (God bestowed a favor upon the believers) [3: 164], and the interpretation of the sura al-Kawthar finds expression only in her. Additionally, the sura al-Dahr was revealed in order to show the Divine profound respect toward her.
She was also alluded to in the Scriptures. Instances of such references are as the mother of "twelve princes" Genesis 17:20, and as "A great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." Revelation 12:1.
She was indeed the link between prophethood with imamate to follow the Infallible Imam Ali. So respectable was her to the extent that the Holy Prophet Muhammad [may Allah bestow His salaams on him and his progeny] repeatedly emphasized that "Fatima is part of my soul." [See, for example, Al-Bukhari, al-Sahih, vol. 4, p. 210]. Also emphasized is his mode of addressing her as "Indeed Allah gets angry owing to your anger and gets delighted due to your happiness." [ Al-Tusi, Al-Amaali, p. 427].
Several lessons can be gained from the life and deeds of Hazrat Fatima al-Zahra. To mention just a few, she made a role model for all the Infallible Imams following her, as expressed in a hadith related from the Inafflible Imam Hasan al-Askari. Hence, any devout Muslim should aim to sacrifice her or his life for the sake of the pure standards of Islam. Another one is defending the right, although a majority may follow the wrong front. Trying to keep the Muslim umma on the right mainstream is another lesson to be taken from her life and deeds. She sacrificed her life in support of the status of Imam Ali as the right imam, appointed by the Prophet at the Divine command revealed to him at Ghadir Khumm near Makkah, en route back from his last hajj to Madinah. To quote the appropriate verse in translation from the Quran: "O Apostle! Announce all that has been bestowed from on high upon thee by thy Sustainer; for unless thou doest it fully, thou wilt not have delivered His message [at all]." [5: 67].
We extend our most sincere condolences to her scion, the Infallible Imam al-Mahdi [May Allah hasten his graceful reappearance], on the anniversary of her martyrdom.