By Syed H. Akhtar
[Dr Syed H. Akhtar is a Physician and his specialty is Cardiology. He lives in Austin, Texas]
When writing about the greatness of a personality, one needs a gold standard with which to compare the strengths and weaknesses of that individual. However, if that person is herself the gold standard, then it makes it impossible to adequately describe her greatness. Hazrat Fatima az-Zahra (A) was such a personality. Her merits are unmatched by any woman known in history and Allah (swt) Himself testifies in the Qur’an about her purity and piety.
It is related that Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (A) said: “Fatima has nine names near (to) Allah swt, they are: Fatima, As-Siddiqa (the honest), Al-Mubarakah (the blessed one), At-Tahirah (virtuous), Az-Zakiyah (the chaste), Ar-Radhiyatul-Mardhiah (who is gratified and shall be satisfied), Al-Muhaddathah (the one to whom angels speak), and Az-Zahra (the splendid.)
I will quote a few passages from the introduction of the Book titled “Fatima the gracious” by Abu Muhammad Ordoni, the Jordanian scholar:
“Fatima is a female created by Allah (swt) to be a sign of His marvelous and unprecedented Might. For, the Almighty Lord created Muhammad (S) as a sign of His among the Prophets; and created from him a daughter, Fatima Zahra, to be a Sign of His ability to create a female possessing all moral excellence and talents. In fact, Allah the Almighty bestowed Fatima with a vast share of greatness and high level of majesty, which no other woman can ever claim to have reached.
She is one of the prominent people close to Allah swt, whose greatness was acknowledged by the Heaven before the creation of mankind; and in whose regard verses from the Qur’an that are (being read) and will be read day and night until the day of resurrection, were revealed.”
Fatima’s (A) genius is considered an example of a Muslim woman’s adherence to noble traits. She is a perfect example of how a daughter, a wife, and a mother should act while keeping her decency and pure character. She also shows us the Muslim women’s role in social fields within the limits of religion and virtue. Her life confirms that Islam does not deprive women of acquiring scientific, cultural and literary knowledge;”
The merits of Hazrat Fatima (A) are many. Numerous verses in the Qur’an are revealed in her praise. Some of the well known verses in the Qur’an in praise of the Ahlul Bayt, including Fatima (A) are these:
- Verse of Mubahila. Chapter 3: v.61
- Verse of Purity. Chapter 33: v.33
- Verse of Muwaddat. Chapter 42: v. 23
- Verses of Surah Ad-Dahr. Chapter 76
Traditions referring to the merits of Hazrat Fatima (A)
In Tareekh Baghdadi it is related to Prophet (S) that he said: “The best of your men is Ali Ibn Abu Talib, and the best of your women is Fatima Binte Muhammad.”
Prophet (S) also reported to have said: “Fatima is part of me, that which annoys her annoys me, and that which harms her harms me.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Sahih Tirmidhi...)
Fatima (A), the daughter:
She loved and cared for her father and attended to him when he was ill or injured in one of the battles to defend Islam. After the death of her mother, Hazrat Khadija, she attended to the Prophet (S) even more often and consoled him during times of hardship, so much so that he called her "Ummi Abiha” which means "mother of her father."
The Prophet (S) used to stand up to receive her when she visited him. It was clearly against the Arab custom for a father to stand up for his daughter. This shows the high spiritual status accorded to Fatima by Allah swt.
It is related that Anas bin Malik’s mother said: “Fatima was like a moon on its full night, or the sun covered by no clouds. She was white (fair) with a touch of rose color on her face, her hair was black and she had the beautiful features of the Messenger of Allah (S).” (Mustadrak Al-Hakim)
Qandozi reported that Hazrat Aisha said: “Whenever the Prophet (S) returned from a trip, he would kiss Fatima’s throat and say: ‘From her, I do smell the fragrance of Paradise.’”
Fatima (A), the wife.
Her home environment was an example of harmony, peace, tranquility, and modesty. She helped her husband in his worldly and religious affairs, and cooperated with him in achieving his exalted mission.
It is written in Al-Bihar, on the authority of Manaqeb that Imam Ali (A) said: “By Allah, I never angered Fatima, or forced her to do something (she did not like, up to the day she died. nor did she ever anger or disobey me. In fact, when I looked at her, depression and sadness would be removed (from my heart.)
Al-Ayyashi in his Tafseer of the Qur’an reported that Imam Al-Baqir (A) said: Fatima vouched to take care of the household work, make dough, bake bread and clean the house; Ali in return vouched to take care of the outside work (such as) gathering firewood and bringing food stuff.”
Fatima (A), the mother:
It is sufficient to say that Fatima (A) raised two boys, Hasan and Husain, the leaders of the youth of paradise who were the Purified and Infallible Imams. She raised two daughters; Zainab and Umme Kulthum. The older one was Zainab (A) who carried on Imam Husain’s mission to the court of Yezid bin Mu’awiya and ensured its success.
Fatima (A), the teacher:
Being brought up by the Prophet (S) of Allah (the City of knowledge) and in company of her husband (the gate to the city of knowledge) it is easy to understand why she was highly enlightened in the knowledge of the Qur’an and the Islamic Law.
It is reported in Al-Bihar that a lady came to Hazrat Fatima with questions, and then repeatedly came with more questions. Then she felt embarrassed and said she did not want to inconvenience Fatima. At this Hazrat Fatima answered:
“Ask me regarding any thing which comes to your mind ….” “My reward for (answering) every inquiry is more than that which fills (the space) between the ground and the Throne (heaven) with pearls; thus, I should be more apt to answer your questions.”
Quotes from Fatima (A).
1. It is attributed to Imam Sadiq (A) that he heard from his forefathers that Hazrat Fatima (A) had said that: “The man who is observing a Fast would not gain any thing when his tongue, ears, and limbs are not safe from sin.”
2. “Allah fixed the reward for His obedience and torment for His disobedience so that He may restrain His servants from His Wrath and Fury and lead them to paradise.”
3. “You the servants of Allah are the ones to maintain His injunctions and prohibitions, and carry His religion and His revelations, and are the trustees of Allah upon your souls, and propagators of His religion among other nations.”
4. “The Book of Allah is the guide to its followers toward the pleasure of Allah. Listening to it (carefully) leads to the Salvation. The enlightened and conspicuous evidences and proofs of Allah can be obtained through it. … .”
5. “Allah rendered alms for the purity of your souls and for flourishing and expansion of your sustenance.”
6. “And (Allah made) kindness to the parents as a protection (shield) to His wrath and displeasure.”
7. “And Allah made the vow performing (fulfilling of vows) as a medium for forgiveness.”
The quotes 2-7 are from “Fascinating discourses of the 14 Infallibles” by the Islamic Propagation Organization, translated by Javed Iqbal Qazilbash; Ansariyan Publications.
Fatima (A) held a pivotal place in the family of the Prophet (S). She had the distinction of: being the daughter of the most beloved Prophet (S) of Allah swt; the wife of the First Imam who was the purified one, and the only one to bear the title of Amir-ul-Mu'mineen; the mother of two Imams who are the leaders of the youth of paradise. She is the one from whose progeny 11 Infallible Imams came. She herself was purified and infallible, granted divine knowledge, bestowed with wisdom, reasoning, intellect and Grace. The Tasbih formula that was a gift to her by Allah swt through His Prophet (S), the recitation of which is a source of forgiveness, mercy and reward for her followers. Allah has promised her the privilege of Intercession on the Day of Judgment, on behalf of those who love her, send salutations on her, and adhere to the teachings of the fourteen Infallibles. No woman comes close to her exalted status.
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