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The most predominant view in the traditions transmitted by our traditionists is that Fătimah az-Zahră’ was born in Mecca, on the twentieth of Jumădă ‘l-Akhirah, in the fifth year of the Prophet’s apostolic career. It is also asserted that when the Prophet died, Fătimah was eighteen years and seven months old.
It is reported on the authority of Jäbir ibn Yazid that (the fifth Imam) al-Baqir was asked: “How long did Fätimah live after the Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “Four months; she died at the age of twenty-three.” This view is
close to that reported by the traditionists of the (Sunni)
This chapter deals with Fătimah az-Zahră’ (the Radiant), the daughter of the Messenger of Allah. It treats her birth, span of life and the time of her death, as well as some of her excellences and characteristics. It consists of three sections.

The most predominant view in the traditions transmitted by our traditionists is that Fătimah az-Zahrä’ was born in Mecca, on the twentieth of Jumădă ‘l-Akhirah, in the fifth year of the Prophet’s apostolic career. It is also asserted that when the Prophet died, Fătimah was eighteen years and seven months old.
It is reported on the authority of Jäbir ibn Yazid that (the fifth Imam) al-Baqir was asked: “How long did Fätimah live after the Messenger of Allah?” He answered: “Four months; she died at the age of twenty-three.” This view is
close to that reported by the traditionists of the (Sunni)

majority. They have asserted that she was born in the forty-first year of the Messenger of Allah’s life. This means that she was born one year after the Prophet was sent by Allah as a messenger. The scholar Abü Sa’id al-Ijăfiz relates in his book Sharafu ‘n-Nabiyy that all the children of the Messenger of Allah were born before Islam except Fătimah and Ibrăhim, who were born in Islam.75
It is reported that the sixth Imăm Ja’far as-Sădiq said:
“Fătimah has nine names with Allah. They are: Fătimah, as-Siddiqah (the Righteous), al-Mubărakah (the Blessed), at -Tahirah (the Pure), az-Zakiyyah (the Unblemished), ar-Rădiyah (the one content with Allah’s pleasure), al-Mar-diyyah (the one pleasing to Allah), a1-Mul~addathah (the one spoken to by angels) and az-Zahirah (the Luminous). In the Musnad (collection of transmitted hadiths) of the eighth Imăm ar-Ridă, it is reported that the Prophet de-clared: “I named my daughter Fătimah (the Weaned One) because Allah weaned her and those who love her from the Fire.” The Prophet also called her al-BatUl (pure virgin), and said to ‘A’ishah: “0 Humayră’ (a redish white, a well-known epithet of ‘A’ishah), Fătimah is not like the women of hu-man kind, nor does she suffer the illness you (women) suf-fer!” This is explained in another prophetic tradition which asserts that she never menstruated. It is likewise reported by Sunnj traditionists on the authority of Anas ibn Mălik, who heard Umm Salim, the wife of Abü Talilah al-~An~ări, say: “Fătimah never experienced the blood of menstruation or parturition, for she was created from the waters of Para-dise.” This is because when the Messenger of Allah was transported to heaven, he entered Paradise, where he ate of its fruits and drank its water.


One of the most incontrovertible proofs of Fătimah’s sin-lessness is Allah’s saying: Surely Allah wishes to remove all abomination from you, 0 People of the House, and purify you with a great purification IiQur. 33 :33]. The argument in favor of this, is that the Muslim community has unanimously agreed that the ‘People of the House’ (i.e., ahlu ‘l-bayt), intended in this verse are the People of the Household of the Messenger of Allah. Traditions (a~ădfth) of both the Shi’i and Sunni communities have asserted that this verse particu-larly refers to ‘All, Fătlmah, Hasan and Husayn. The Prophet, moreover, spread over them all one day a Khaybarite mantle and prayed: “0 Allah, these are the People of my House-hold, remove all abomination from them and purify them with a great purification!” Umm Salamah said: “I too, 0 Apostle of Allah, am of the People of your House!” He answered: “Your lot shall be good!”
The Divine Will expressed in this verse must by necessity be either an abstract will not implemented by an action, or a will accompanied by an action. The first option is unten-able because it implies no particular applicability to the People of the Prophet’s House; such a will is shared by all obligated (mukallaf in) human beings. Nor is abstract will by itself cause for praise. The entire community has c9ncurred on the view that this verse proclaims the excellence of the People of the Prophet’s House over all others, and that the verse refers to them alone. Thus the second option (that the Divine Will referred to in the verse is a will accompanied by action) is true, and in it is clear proof of the sinlessness of those who were intended in the verse. It implies further

that it is impossible for them to commit any evil action. Moreover, any others whom we have not named here are no doubt not held by general consensus as possessing ‘ismah (protection from error). Thus since the verse necessarily implies sinlessness it must apply to them (the People of the Prophet’s House), because it pertains to no other individuals.
Another proof of Fătimah’ s sinlessness ~s the Prophet’s saying concerning her: “Fătimah is part of me. Whatever causes her hurt, hurts me.” He also said: “Whoever hurts Fătimah, hurts me, and whoever hurts me, hurts Allah, exalted be His Majesty!” The Prophet said further: “Allah becomes wrathful for Fătimah’ s anger, and is pleased at her pleasure.” Had she been one who was guilty of committing sins, it would not be that anyone causing her hurt would by this cause the Prophet himself hurt in any way. On the contrary, if anyone were to disgrace and hurt her deservedly
- even if he were to inflict upon her the severest punish-ment permitted by the limits set by Allah - if her action necessitated such retaliation, it would be pleasing to him.
Among the signs indicating Fătimah’s exalted status with Allah is an incident related by both Shi’l and Sunni tradition-ists on the authority of Maymünah (the Prophet’s wife), who
reported that Fătiniah was found asleep one day, the hand-mill beside her turning of its own accord. She informed the Apostle of Allah of this, and he said: “Allah knew tweak condition of His handmaid; He thus inspired the handmil to turn by itself, and so it did.” Among the reports asserting her excellence and high distinction over all other women is the tradition reported on the authority of ‘A’ishah who said:
“I never saw a man more beloved of the Apostle of Allah than ‘All, or a woman more dear to him than Fătimah.”
Sunnl traditionists also reported on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful who said: “I asked the Messen-ger of Allah, ‘Who is more beloved to you, Fătimah or I?’


He answered, ‘Fătimah is more beloved to me, and you are dearer to me than she is.’” These traditionists also reported from Anas ibn Mălik that: “Fătimah is the most excellent of all the women of the world.” In another tradition it is reported that the Prophet said: “The most excellent among the women of the world are: Maryam daughter of ‘Imrän (that is, the virgin Mary), Asiyah daughter of Muzajiim (wife of Pharaoh), Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid and Fatimah daughter of Muhammad.” It is also related on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbăs who said: “The most excel-lent of the women of Paradise are: Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, Fătimah daughter of Muhammad, Maryam daughter of ‘Imrăn and Asiyah daughter of Muzăhim.” Traditionists report that ‘Abdu ‘r-Rahmăn ibn ‘Awf said:
“I heard the Apostle of Allah say, ‘I am a tree, Fätimah is its trunk and ‘All is its pollen. Hasan and Ilusayn are its fruits, and our followers (Shi’ah) are its leaves. The roots of the tree are in the Garden of Eden, and its trunk, fruits and leaves are in Paradise.’
Traditionists further report on the authory of ‘A’ishah that: “Whenever Fătimah came to the Messenger of Allah, he would rise from his seat, kiss her on the forehead, and make her sit with him.” Traditionists have also reported on the authority of ‘All ibn Ibrahim al- Qummi in his commentary of the Qur’ăn, as related on the authority of the sixth Imăm as-Sadiq, Ja’far ibn Muhammad, who said:
“We were told that our forefathers said that the Messenger of Allah often indulged in kissing the mouth of Fätimah the mistress of the women of the world, so that ‘A’ishah finally protested saying, ‘0 Messenger of Allah, I see you indulge so often in kissing the mouth of Fătimah and placing your tongue in her mouth.’ He answered, ‘Yes, 0 ‘A’ishah, when I was taken up to heaven, Gabriel took me into Paradise and brought me near the tree of Tuba (beatitude). He gave
me an apple of its fruits which I ate, and which became a sperm in my loins. Thus when I returned to earth, I laid with Khadijah, and she conceived Fatimah. Whenever, therefore, I yearn for Paradise, I kiss her and place my tongue in her mouth, for I find in her the fragrance of Paradise. I also sense
in her the fragrance of the tree of Tuba. Fătimah is thus a celestial human being.’”
The traditions which our Companions (that is, Shi’i hadith transmitters), may Allah be pleased with them, have reported in proof of Fătimah’s special place among the children of the Apostle - her honored status and distinction over all the women of h,umankind - are beyond number.
We shall, therefore, limit ourselves to the reports which we have already mentioned.
Among the things which Allah completed the great honor of the Commander of the Faithful in this world and the world to come was His special favor towards him in having him unite in marriage with the noble daughter of the Messenger of Allah, who was the most beloved of all creatures to him, the consolation of his eyes and mistress of the women of the world. Among the many ahddtth (tra-ditions) concerning this event is the sound hadith reported on the authority of Anas ibn Mălik, who said: “As the Apostle of Allah was sitting one day, ‘All came to see him. He addressed him saying, ‘0 ‘All, what brings you here?’ ‘I came only to greet you with the salutation of peace’, ‘All replied. The Prophet declared: ‘Here comes Gabriel to tell me that Allah has willed to unite you in marriage with Fatimah, peace be upon her. He has, moreover, called as witnesses to her marriage a thousand thousand angels. Allah has revealed to the tree of Tuba, “Scatter your pearls and rubies!” Black-eyed houris rushed to pick the precious stones up, which they shall exchange as presents among them till the Day of Resurrection.’”


It is related on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbăs, who said:
“On the night when Fă~imah was married to ‘All, the Mess-enger of Allah stood before her. Gabriel stood at her right hand and Michael at her left. Seventy thousand angels stood behind her, praising and sanctifying Allah. The Commander of the Faithful prided himself on his marriage to her on numerous occasions.” Abü Is~iaq ath-Thaqafi reported on the authority of Hakim ibn Jubayr, who reported from al-Hajarl who related from his uncle who said: “I heard ‘Mi say one day, ‘I shall utter words which no other man would utter but that he would be a liar. I am ‘Abdullăh (Allah’s servant), and the brother of the Apostle of Allah. I am the one whose guardian is the Prophet of mercy, for I have married the mistress of all the women of the community. I am the best of the Nicegerents.’” Numerous reports ex-pressing similar ideas have been transmitted.
ath-Thaqafi reported on the authority of Buraydah, who said: “On the nuptial night of ‘All and Fătimah, the Prophet said to ‘All, ‘Do not do anything until you see me.’ He then brought water - or the traditionist reported that he called for water - which he used to perform his ablutions for prayers, pouring the rest over ‘All. The Prophet then prayed, ‘0 Allah, bless them! Shower your blessings over them, and bless for them their two young lions (that is, their two sons Hasan and ~usayn).’” ath-Thaqafi also related on the authority of Shurăl.iil ibn Abi Sa’d, who said: “On the morning after Fătimah’s wedding, the Prophet brought a skinful of milk, and said to Fătimah, ‘Drink! May your father be a ransom for you.’ He like-wise said to ‘All, ‘Drink! May yoUr cousin be a ransom for you.’”


It is reported that Fătimah died on the third of Jumădă ‘l-Akhirah in the eleventh year of the hijrah. She survived the Prophet by only ninety-five days. It is also reported that she survived him by four months.
The Commander of the Faithful (‘All) himself took charge of her washing. It is reported that Asmă’ daughter of ‘Umays assisted him in washing her. Asmă’ related:
“Fătimah had stated in her will that no one should wash her corpse except ‘All and I. Thus we washed her together, and the Commander of the Faithful prayed over her along with J~Iasan and Ijusayn, ‘Ammär ibn Yasir, Miqdăd, ‘Aqil, az-Zubayr, Abü Dharr, Salman, Buraydah and a few men of Bană Hăshim. They prayed over her in the night, and in accordance with her own will ‘All the Commander of the Faithful buried her in secret.”
There is much disagreement among traditionists as to the exact spot of her grave. Our own traditionists have asserted that she was buried in the Baqi’. Others said that she was buried in her own chamber, and that when the Umayyad rulers enlarged the Mosque of Medina, her grave came to be in the sanctuary. Still others argued that she was buried between the grave and pulpit of the Prophet. It is to this that the Prophet alluded in his saying: “There is between my grave and pulpit a garden of the gardens of Paradise.” The ürst view is unlikely, while the two other views axe nearer to the truth. Thus, those who wish to apply the principle of caution (ihtiyät) when performing ziydrah, or pilgrimage, to her grave, should do so in all three places.
This is all that we wished to say concerning Muhammad, the Elect Prophet (al-Mustafä) and his daughter Fătimah, the Radiant (az-Zahră’). From Allah alone comes success.
* * * * *


1. ‘Sirdt’ means path or way. It is the way of islam (submission) to God, or i’mdn (faith) in God. This is clearly intended in the opening sürah of the Qur’ăn, verses 6 and 7. The sirdt is also said to be a bridge stretched over Hell, which all creatures traverse. The imdms, and especially the first Iăm ‘All ibn Abi Tálib, have often been identified in Ski’i tradition with the sirdt. See Ayoub, M., The Qur’dn and its Interpreters (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983), vol. I, p.48.
2. The phrase ‘middle cushion’ (an-numrlqatu ‘l-wustd) is here used metaphorically to signify that the imdms are the ‘cushion’, or source of justice, to whom all creatures must turn in all their affairs. (Editor’s Note.)
3. See Our. 2:58 and 7:161. See also Ayoub, M., The Qur’dn and its Interpreters, pp.106-107.
This is related on the authority of the fifth Imăm al-Biqir, who said: “We are the gate of your hittah.” See al-’Ayyăshi, Abu ‘n-Nadr Muhammad ibn Mas’üd as-Sulami as-Samarqandi, Tafs!ru ‘l-’Ayydshi, 2 vols. (Tehran: al-Maktabatu ‘1-

4. See Qur. 20:1 and 36:1. These are letters which appear at the head of 29 sürahs of the Qur’än. Muslim tradition has generally used Tahd and Ydsi’n as names of the Prophet.
5. al-Bukhări, Muhammad ibn Ismă’i1, as-Sahih, 8 vols. (Beirut: Diru ‘l-Fikr,n.d.), vol.4, p. 262.
6. me’od me’od is a Hebrew phrase meaning ‘exceedingly’. See Gen.17:2, 6 and 20.
7. al-Bayhaqi, Abü Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Husayn, DaZd’ilu ‘n-Nubuw-wah, ed. ‘Abdu ‘r-Rahmän Muhammad ‘Uthmän, 3 vols. (Cairo: Dăru ‘n-Nasr li ‘t-Tibä’ah, l389/1969),vol.l, p.133.
8. The words ma~zmud and muhammad are both derived from the root h-m-d meaning to praise; hence Muhammad is derived from God’s name Mahmăd, the All-Praised.
9. See al-Haldm, Abü ‘Abdilläh Mu~iammad ibn ‘Abdillăh an-Naysă-ban, al-Mustadrak ‘aid ‘s-Sahihayn, 4 vols. (Beirut: D~ru ‘l-Fikr, 1398/ 1978), vol.3, pp.219-20.
10. It is held in Shi’f tradition that neither the Propher nor his descend-ants can accept charity ( sadaqah) , but rather only the fifth (khums)
of a Muslim’s savings, in money or in property. They can also accept
a gift (hadiyyah). See below, pp.102.
11. Muslim, Abu ‘l-Husayn, Muslim ibn al-Hajjăj al-Qushayri an-Nay-săbUri, as-SahTh, with Nawawl’s Commentary, 18 vols. (Beirut:
Darn ‘l-Fikr, 1389/1978), vol. 7, p. 46.
12. That is, al-Kharküshi, AbU Sa’id (or Sa’d) ‘Abdu ‘l-Malik Muliam-mad ibn Ibrâhim an-Naysăbărl, a well -known mystic who died in Nishăpür in 406/1015-16, or in 407/1016. The reference is certain-ly taken ftom his book, Sharafu ‘n-Nabiyy (alternate titles of the work are: Sharafu ‘i-Mustafd, Daid’ilu ‘n-Nubuwwah and Sharafu ‘n-Nubuwwah). The work was apparently quite popular, and was also translated into Persian, probably in the late twelfth century. Both the Arabic and the Persian, however, remain unpublished. See C. A. Storey, Persian Literature, A Biobibiiographicai Survey (London:
Luzac and Co., 1927), vol.1, pp.l’75-6; and Sezgin, Fuat, Ges-chichte des Arabischen Scrifttums, Band I (Bnill: Leiden, 1976), pp. 670 - 1.
13. The author quotes quite accurately in Hebrew Gen. 17:20. The
Arabic rendering of this verse is, however, purposely modified to support Shi’ite prophetology.
14. See Qur.3:37.
15. See Our. 59:23. See also as-Sadüq, Aba Ja’far, Muhammad ibn ‘All ibn al-Husayn Ibn Băbawayh al-Qummi, Ikmälu ‘d-Din wa Itmdmu ‘n-Ni’mah .1’! Ithbdti ‘r-Raj’ah, ed. Muhammad Mahdi Hasan al-Măsawi al-Khirsan (Najaf: al-Matba’ah al-Haydariyyah, 1389/1970), pp.157-8.
16. See Qur.3:55.
17. The descent of Jesus to earth is alluded to in the Qur’än (43 :61 and 4:157-9), and figures prominently in the hadfth. See Muslim, vol.18, pp. 68ff. This tradition is quoted in Ibn Shu’bah, Aba Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn ‘All ibn Shu’bah a1-Harr~ni, Tuhafu ‘1-‘Uqül ‘an A~ ‘r-Rasül, ed. Muhammad al-Ilusayn al-A’lami (Beirut:
Mu’asassatu ‘l-A’laml, 1394/1974), pp. 368 -72.
18. See Qun. 33 :22. See also al-Buldiăni, vol. 5, pp.44 - 49.
19. See al-Kulayni, Aba Ja’fan Muhammad ibn Ya’qUb ibn Ishăq, al-Kdf 1, ed. ‘All Akbar al-Ghifăni7, 3rd ed., 8 vols. (Tehran: Darn ‘l-Kutub al-Islămiyyah, 1388), vol. 8: ar-Rawdah mina ‘i-Kdfi, p. 263.
20. See Ibn Hishăm, Aba Muhammad ‘Abdu ‘l-Malik, as-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, ed. Muhammad Mul~yi ‘d-DIn ‘Abdi ‘l-Hamid, 4 vols. (Beirut: Dăru ‘l-Fikr, n.d.), voL 2, pp.102-4. Ibn Hishăm reports that Suräqah’s horse tripped three times, and not that its legs sank into the ground. In English see Guillaume, A., The Life of Muhammad (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 225- 6.
21. See Qur.3:123-4.

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