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A Brief Biographical Account of Fatimah (Radhiyallahu Anha) binte Muhammad al Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)

[By Maulana Najeeb Qasmi]

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) birth

Mother of Imam Hasan (radhiyallahu anhu) and Imam Husain (radhiyallahu anhu) and the youngest daughter of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Fatimah az Zahra (radhiyallahu anha) was born to Khadeejah (radhiyallahu anha) in Makkah Mukarramah, roughly about five years before Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) received the first revelation. At the time of Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) birth, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was approximately 35 years old and this was the time when Ka’aba was being rebuilt. On this very occasion of rebuilding of Ka’aba, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had devised an excellent strategy to place the black stone back in its place. His (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) strategy had put off the danger of a severe war between different tribes and because of this strategy he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was even more respected by all the tribes of Arabia.

All the sons of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) passed away during their childhood. As a matter of fact, out of three sons of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), none survived for more than 2-3 years of life. Out of his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) four daughters three passed away during his lifetime itself. Fatima (radhiyallahu anha) passed away six months after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). None of Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) four daughter lived for more than 30 years. During the last years of Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) life, Fatima (radhiyallahu anha) had become the centre of his love and affection. In general, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was quite fond of her. All four daughters of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) are buried at Madinah Munawwarah’s famous graveyard Al-Baqee’.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) Upbringing:

Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was raised by her gifted mother Khadeejah (radhiyallahu anha). Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was just 15 years old when she was deprived of her mother’s love and affection. After the death of Khadeejah (radhiyallahu anha) Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself looked after Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha). Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) maidservant Umme Aiman (radhiyallahu anha) and Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) mother Fatimah bint Asad (radhiyallahu anha) also played a very important role in Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) upbringing. Other than these two, Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) sisters too remained at her side as and when it was needed.

Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) resembled Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

Whenever Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) would walk her overall persona would be quite similar to Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) (Muslim). Similarly, A’aisha (radhiyallahu anha) narrates, “In terms of routine acts, habits, and behaviour I did not find anyone closer to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) than Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha)” (Tirmidhi). Suffice it to say that the overall persona of Hadhrat Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) and the way she used to converse, everything clearly offered a glimpse of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Serving Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

Right from the days of childhood Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) used to look after Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) says, “Once Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was offering prayer in The Grand Mosque (Ka’abah). Few goons of the Quraish tribe, as a matter of mischief, placed camel’s gut on him and started clapping with joy. Someone informed Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) so she came running and threw the gut away”.

Similarly, once Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was passing by one of the streets of Makkah. Some depraved fellow threw dirt on his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) head from his rooftop. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) reached his home in the same condition. When Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) saw this condition of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) she started crying and then she washed Prophet’s (sallallaahi alayhi wasallam) head and his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) clothes.

Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) used to serve Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) with remarkable courage and perseverance not only in everyday circumstances but in extremely challenging circumstances too. Therefore, in the Battle of Uhud, when the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) teeth were broken and he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) even suffered wounds on his forehead, Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) reached Uhud and cleaned her father’s face with water and removed all the blood. Suffice it to say that Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) served her father as perfectly as it was needed.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) migration to Madinah Munawwarah:

The childhood of Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was spent facing difficulties and troubles in the name of Islam till the time Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), in order to escape from the tortures meted out to him by the Quraish, migrated to Madinah Munawwarah with Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) as his fellow traveller. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had left behind his family in Makkah. After some time Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made arrangements to get his family members and Abu Bakr’s (radhiyallahu anhu) family to Madinah Munawwarah. In this way Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) migrated to Madinah Munawwarah and joined her father (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) Nikah:

In the second year of Hijrah, after the Battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) married his youngest daughter Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) to his paternal uncle’s son Ali bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu).

In Musnad Ahmad Hadhrat Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) narrative is recorded in his own words: “When I decided to express my wish before Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to marry his youngest daughter Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha), I told myself, I did not have anything and therefore how could this proposal possibly be accepted?? But right after that, deep in my heart I felt how open-hearted and generous Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is. So I went to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and proposed to marry Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) . Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) asked me, “Do you have anything (to give in Mehr). I said, “No.” Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Where did your shield go?” I said, “Yes, that is with me.” Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Give that in Mehr (sell it and give the amount in Mehr).

Explanation: Historians have written that as per Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) direction Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) had sold his shield. It was bought by Uthman Ghani (radhiyallahu anhu) and later he returned this shield to Ali (radhiyallahu anha) as a gift. This incident informs us how important it is to give Mehr as Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made Ali (radhiyallahu anha) sell his most cherished item so that he could give Mehr.

Mehr of Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha)

In relation to the amount of Mehr given to Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) there are several reports that can be summarised as, the Mehr given to Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was between 400 to 500 Dirham. Dirham was a silver coin that usually carried 2.975 grams of silver. In case we go by the report that says the Mehr was 480 Dirhams, Mehr of Fatimah (RA) would be 1428 grams (2.975 X 480). The entire Muslim nation knows this as Mehr-e-Fatimi. Allah knows best.

Explanation: Mehr is a woman’s right, it ought to be fixed at the time of Nikah and should be given before the girl leaves her house. With reference to Mehr the person should, as per his standing, fix an amount that is neither too high nor too low. In relation to the importance of this aspect of social life, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah has referred to Mehr on close to seven occasions. Therefore, we must give Mehr. In case we are not able to pay a huge amount in Mehr and the family members of the girl are hell bent upon a huge amount in Mehr (as we generally find in the countries we live in) then we must give a portion of it then and there (whatever we can afford) and with reference to the remaining amount it could be decided that it will be paid or given later (Mehr-e-Muajjal) as Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) give Mehr by asking him to sell his shield. Nowadays, we participate so enthusiastically in the expenditures related to dowry and marriage arrangements but we neglect our obligation vis-a-vis Mehr, something Allah has commanded us to do. May Allah forgive us all. Aameen.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) dowry:

After collecting all the reports it turns out that the dowry of the leader of all the women of paradise comprised of very few things: 1) A cot, 2) A bedspread, 3) A leather pillow stuffed with date bark, 4) A manual flour grinder (according to several reports she was given two) and 5) Two Mashkeeze (used to bring water from the well).

Explanation: Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) most beloved and dearest daughter. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has called her the leader of the women of paradise. How simple Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) married her off; Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) made the proposal to marry her, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned this before Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha), she remained silent, something that signifies acceptance, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) accepted Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) proposal to marry Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) and having finalised the Mehr he (sallallaahu alayho wasallam) performed the Nikah in the presence of those few companions present at that time. After few months, without any pomp and show, Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) left her native home. In the books of history and Hadith it is mentioned that the dowry Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had arranged for Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) was bought with the amount Ali (radhiyallahu anha) had given in Mehr. Moreover, the dowry given was hardly substantial, for which neither did the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) borrow money from anyone nor did he make a list of the items and showed it around nor did he indulge in publicizing the items given in dowry.

These days a lot of people indulge in dowry related arrangements with a lot of fervour no matter how much they borrow from others to get those arrangements in place. Even if one is not willing, some way or the other he is implicated in it. This needs an immediate reformist intervention because due to heavy dowry exchange countless girls and boys remain unmarried. Moreover, dowry is also the reason for the spread of different social evils in our society. Now a days, in general, the boy’s family makes a specific demand of several articles or a certain amount. And it has also been found that girls’ families compete with each other in terms of the dowry that is given, even if one earns money through unfair or impermissible means to spend on dowry related arrangements, something that is not permissible. May Allah save us all from this deadly disease. Aameen.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) departure from her house:

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) was simply sent to her groom’s house with Umme Aiman (radhiyallahu anha). This was the farewell of the daughter of the most supreme of all the humans of both the worlds. There was no music, no palanquin, no throwing of currencies in air. Neither did Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) climb on a horse, nor did he have any Baraat, and nor did he blow off his money in firing crackers. On both sides simplicity was adopted and no work was done by borrowing money from someone. Today all of us make big claims of our love for Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) but following him and obeying his commands is considered as a matter of disgrace for ourselves as well as our family.   


The next day Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) gave a small reception in which he offered whatever he could afford. In the reception there was Barley bread, dates, Hareerah (a sweet dish), cottage cheese, and meat [(Seerat Sarwar-e-Kaunain– Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilaahi Madani (rahimahullah)].      

Division of Work:

Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did not have any servant or maidservant which is why Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan) had divided work among him and Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) in such a way that Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) did all the household work such as grinding of flour, kneading dough, cooking food and cleaning of the house etc. and Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) used to look after outdoor works.


Once few slaves and slave girls came to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). So Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) asked Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) to ask Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for a slave girl who could be of help to her in her household work. So with the intention of asking for a slave girl Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) went to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). When Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) reached Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) place there were few people with him. Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) felt shy and returned. Later Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself paid a visit to Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) house. At that point Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was also at home. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Fatimah! What did you want to tell me when you came to meet me?” Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) remained silent out of shyness but Ali (radhiyallahu anhi) said, “O Apostle of Allah! Because of grinding of flour there are boils on the hands of Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) and because of lifting water filled Mashkeezah she has got marks on her body. As of now you have few slaves which is why I only advised her to ask you for a servant so that she could be relieved of this hardship.” After listening to this, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “O Fatimah! Should not I tell you something that is better for you than a servant; when you are about to sleep in the night recite Subhaanallah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times” (Abu Dawud, Volume 2, Page 64). So Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not give a servant or maidservant to his dearest daughter. Instead, in lieu of a servant, he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) provided her the best possible thing from Allah i.e. remembrance of Allah. These recitations are known to the Muslim nation as Tasbeeh-e-Fatimi.

Few virtues of Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha):

Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “ Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) is a piece of my body. One who displeased her displeased me ” According to another report Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha)  grief grieves me and her suffering makes me suffer” [Muslim].

Whenever Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to embark upon a journey he used to visit Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) house in the end and upon his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) return before anyone else’s house he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) visited Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) house [Mishkaat].

Huzaifah (radhiyallahu anhu)  says, “I met Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). At that point Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Doubtlessly this angel has never descended on earth before this night. Having sought permission from his Lord this angel has come to greet me and inform me that verily Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) is the leader of the women of paradise and Hasan and Husain (radhiyallahu ta’ala anhum) are the leaders of the youth of paradise” (Mishkaat).

Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

Fatimah Zahra (radhiyallahu anha) was deeply saddened by Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) death. Therefore, after Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was buried she said something to Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) slave Anas (radhiyallahu anha) which explains her inner turmoil and restlessness and reflects the condition of her grief-stricken heart. Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) asked, “O Anas! How could you people throw dust on the body of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)”? [Mishkaat, page no. 547].

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) mother Khadeejah (radhiyallahu anha), her three sisters and all her brothers passed away during her lifetime. And then in the end her beloved father left this world. Therefore, no amount of grief on her father’s death was enough. Although Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) demonstrated patience and endurance on the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wqsallam) still she remained exceedingly sad after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Consequently, after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) could only stay alive for six months.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) Children:

Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) gave birth to three sons Hasan (radhiyallahu anhu), Husain (radhiyallahu anhu) and Muhsin (radhiyallahu anhu) and two daughters Zainab (radhiyallahu anha) and Umme Kulthoom (radhiyallahu anha). Mohsin (radhiyallahu anhu) died during childhood. Through Hasan (radhiyallahu anhu) and Husain (radhiyallahu anhu) continued the chain of descendants of their grandfather Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). It is specifically with Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that the progeny of his daughter Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha) is considered as his own chain of descendants otherwise the rule is that the progeny of a person proceeds through his sons.

Fatimah’s (radhiyallahu anha) Death:

Almost six months after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), Fatimah (radhiyallahu anha), after remaining ill for a few days, passed away on 3rd of Ramadan, 11 AH, at the age of 29. She passed away after the Maghrib prayer and was buried after the ‘Isha (night) prayer.