Fatima’s story has so many stories embedded in it, from the story of a daddy’s girl and how children should be raised in Islam, to a beautiful love story, to the story of a wonderful, strong and patient woman. Her life has some of the most touching moments that I have ever read in Islamic history and we get to really witness how loving the prophet ﷺ was to his family.
Fatima Al-Zahraa (RA) was the youngest child of Lady Khadeja (RA) and Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. She was born five years before the revelation during a great event in Mecca. The tribes of Quraysh had decided to rebuild the Kabaa after it had been damaged by weather conditions. All the tribes worked together to build it but then started to argue as to who was going to have the honor of putting in the Black Stone. The arguing reached the level of a potential war when they agreed that the first person to enter the Sacred Mosque would be the one to decide. To everyone’s delight, that person turned out to be Mohammed ﷺ, the Amin (trustworthy one). After patiently listening to the problem, he said that the rock should be placed on a garment and a different tribe leader should lift each corner so that everyone participates. Mohammed’s ﷺ decision pleased all the people and helped avoid the shedding of blood.
It was on this day, or the day after, that Fatima (RA) was born. She was named after Lady Khadeja’s (RA) mother and was welcomed with so much delight and love into the household of the Prophet Mohammed ﷺ. Her mother was so attached to her that she didn’t send her to be nursed in the outer villages as was custom at the time, but kept her at home and nursed her herself. Her father nicknamed her Al-Zahraa, the flower, and she looked strikingly like him. She was everyone’s baby and was greatly pampered and loved by her older sisters, Zaynab, Um Kulthoom, and Ruqayyah.
As she started to get a little bit older, she became conscious of her father leaving for periods of time to go to Cave Hiraa. Her mother would always take him food and provisions, many times hand in hand with little Fatima (RA) who loved going along to visit her father. As a young child, she also witnessed her two older sisters, Zaynab and Ruqayya, getting married. She started to cry after Ruqayya got married because she was going to be lonely without two of her older sisters. “Do not allow anyone to take me away from you and father. I could not bear to leave you,” she wept to her mother who laughed and replied, “You will never leave us until you want to.”
Fatima (RA) was her father’s tag along. She would go wherever he went and he was rarely seen without her. This is one of the reasons her personality and noble character was exactly like his.
When Fatima (RA) was five years old, her father received the revelation. She saw him coming home shivering and scared and asking her mother to cover him. She witnessed the historic change that came over the household as her father now had the responsibility of calling others to Islam. Fatima (RA) watched and learned from her mother’s strength when comforting her father and how proudly she stood by him. At five years old, she said her shahada and became the youngest person at the time to embrace Islam.
Unfortunately, at a tender young age, she also witnessed the harsh objection some people had toward her father and the religion he was preaching. She witnessed people throwing trash at him and overheard conversations of people plotting to hurt him. However, she dealt with these events with patience and determination, always trying to stand in front of him to shield him from horrible acts and coming to his defense when she could.
One time, Mohammed ﷺ was praying in Mecca and nearby the disbelievers had slaughtered a camel. When they saw Mohammed ﷺ praying, Abu Jahl got the idea to pile all the filth and bowels on the Prophet’s ﷺ back while he was prostrating. Oqbah bin Abi Mueet was the one who took the initiative and they all started laughing hysterically when he did it. As soon as seven-year-old Fatima (RA) heard what was happening, she rushed to her father and lifted the heavy camel filth off his back and started to clean him up, scolding the men and weeping for her beloved father. He told her not to weep, for Allah will protect his messenger ﷺ.
Another time, Fatima was walking in the market when Abu Jahl came up and slapped her across the face. She went to Abu Sufyan, the leader of Quraysh, and complained to him about the incident. He took her to Abu Jahl and told her to slap him in the same way he had slapped her.
Seven years after the revelation, Abu Jahl and his fellow disbelievers were running out of ideas of ways to torture the Muslims and decided to economically and socially boycott them. The Muslims were forced into a three-year siege in Abu Talib’s valley. This was the ultimate test for them, as they had to endure the screaming of hungry children, the crying of women, and the conditions of the aged and ill. However, nothing could change the hearts of the Muslims and not one person left. They were constantly encouraged by the presence of the Prophet Mohammed ﷺ and how strongly his wife and young girls stood by him.
After the horrible boycott ended, the Muslims were finally able to go home. However, there was no ease in the prophet’s ﷺ house because the beloved Khadeja (RA) had fallen ill, and when Fatima (RA) was at the raw age of 16, she witnessed the passing of her mother. Fatima (RA), along with Um Kulthoom, took on the task of comforting their father as a heavy cloud of grief fell onto their household. It was the beginning of many changes.
Fatima’s (RA) story has not even begun yet. He next part Inshallah will really go deeper into her story and take off where Khadeja’s (RA) story ended. Stay tuned for next week!
*Since we have barely gotten into her story, there aren’t that many lessons yet except for how loving the Prophet ﷺ was as a father, which we will be going into more detail about later on.
*There is great significance in that the Prophet ﷺ had four girls that lived to adult age. We know that his sons passed away early because he was the last prophet. But one of the reasons that he was a father to so many girls was that, at the time, women were treated so badly and many people buried their daughters alive. Taking care of and loving his daughters the way he did was Allah’s way of giving people an example of how important it was to treat women in a respectful, loving way. Subhannallah everything has a reason behind it.
What do you all think of Fatima’s (RA) story so far?
P.S. My favorite part was when Fatima (RA) got to slap Abu Jahl they way he slapped her. Get him girl!!!
P.S.S. I really hate Abu Jahl. Don’t you?
Read the rest of the series:
Part 2-Love and Marriage
Part 3-Fatima, the daughter
Part 4-Fatima, the mother
Part 5-The Legacy
Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.
“Amr Khalid- Assayida Fatima.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. 10 Jan. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuUTkOxsg8o>.
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