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Fatimah al-Zahra
Fatimah Arabic Calligraphy.svg
Fatimah's name in Islamic calligraphy
Born15 BH
(605 CE)[1][2][3][4][5][6]
Died3 Jumada al-Thani
11 AH
((632-08-18)18 August 632)[4][6]
Resting placeBurial place of Fatimah, Medina, Hejaz
  • al-?idd?qah[7] (The Truthful Woman)
  • al-Mub?rakah[7] (The Blessed Woman)
  • al-hirah[7] (The Pure Woman)
  • al-Zak?yah[7] (The Chaste/Innocent Woman)
  • al-Rayah[7] (The Content Woman)
  • al-Mu?addathah[7] (The One Spoken to by Angels)
  • al-Bat?l[7] (The Chaste/The Pure)
  • al-Zahr[7] (The Splendid One/The Lady of Light)
  • Sayyidah Nisa al-Alamin[8] (Master of the Women of the Worlds)

Fatimah bint Muhammad (Arabic: ‎, romanizedFimah bint Mu?ammad, IPA: ['fa:t?ima b.nat mu'?ammad]; 605 CE/15 BH - died 28 August 632[4][5][6] [disputed]), commonly known as Fatimah al-Zahra ( Fimah al-Zahr), was the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and Khadijah and therefore part of Muhammad's household.

According to Sunni Muslims, Fatimah was the youngest of their daughters; according to Shia Muslims, she was their only biological child who lived to adulthood.[10][11][12][13] Her husband was Ali, the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs and the first Shia Imam, and her children include Hasan and Husayn, the second and third Imams, respectively.[10][12][14] She is respected and venerated by Muslims, as she was the child closest to her father and supported him in his difficulties, was the supporter and caretaker of her own husband and children, and was the only child of Muhammad to have male children live beyond childhood, whose descendants are spread throughout the Islamic world and are known as Sayyids.[10]

Fatimah is a vital character in Islam[15] and her name is one of the most popular for girls throughout the Muslim world.[16] However, there is controversy between different sects regarding her political role.[17]


Fatimah is given many titles by Muslims to show their admiration of her moral and physical characteristics. The most used title is "al-Zahra", meaning "the shining one", and she is commonly referred to as Fatimah Zahra.[12][18] She was also known as "al-Bat?l" (the chaste and pure one) as she spent much of her time in prayer, reciting the Qur'an and in other acts of worship.[12] Besides, amongst 125 famous veneration titles, she has also been honored with the title of Umm-ul-Aaima (Mother of Imams).[19]


Moreover, there are many Shia narrations which have been stated from their Imams about the names and titles of Fatima. For instance, Imam al-Sadiq says: Fatima has nine names from God: 1-Fima (a woman who throws herself and her followers out of the hell), 2-al-?idd?qah (a woman who has never lied), 3-al-Mub?rakah (a woman who is full of blessings), 4-al-hirah (a woman who is pure, sinless and infallible), 5-al-Zakiyyah (a woman who is away from any contamination), 6-al-Ra?iyyah (a woman who suffers hardship and difficulty and is happy with the will of God), 7-al-Mar?iyyah (a woman with whom God is satisfied), 8-al-Mu?addithah (a woman who transmits some ad?th [Prophetic traditions]), 9-al-Zahrah (bright and shining).[23][24]


Fatimah was born in Mecca to Khadija, the first of Muhammad's wives. There are differences of opinion on the exact date of her birth, but the widely accepted view is that she was born five years before the first Quranic revelations,[14] during the time of the rebuilding of the Kaaba in 605,[1][2][3] although this does imply she was over 18 at the time of her marriage, which was unusual in Arabia.[10] Twelver Shia sources, however, state that she was born either two or five years after the first Qur'anic revelations,[11] but that timeline would imply her mother was over fifty at the time of her birth, according to Sunni sources.[10]

According to Sunni authors like Al-Tabari and Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, she was born when Muhammad was thirty-five years old.[25][26]

Fatimah had three sisters named Zaynab bint Muhammad, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad, and Ruqayyah bint Muhammad. She also had three brothers named Qasim ibn Muhammad, Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad, and Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, all of whom died in childhood. While Sunnis believe Zainab, Ruqayyah, and Umm Kulthum to be the other daughters of Muhammad, Shias believe that they were actually the daughters of Hala, the sister of Khadijah, who were adopted by Muhammad and Khadijah at her death. A reason given by the Shia scholars for this belief is the hadith on the event of Mubahalah (referenced to in the Quran (3:61)), in which there is no reference to the presence of any other female apart from Fatimah.[27]

Early life

Following the birth of Fatimah, she was nursed by her mother and brought up by her father;[28] contrary to local customs where the newborns were sent to "wet nurses" in the surrounding villages.[29] She spent her early youth under the care of her parents in Mecca in the shadow of the tribulations suffered by her father at the hands of the Quraysh.[10]

Evoking the caring nature of Fatima is the account of when Muhammad, as he was performing the salat (prayer) in the Kaaba, had camel placenta poured over him by Amr ibn Hish?m (Abu Jahl) and his men. Fatimah, upon hearing the news, rushed to her father and wiped away the filth while scolding the men.[10][30]

At the death of her mother, Fatimah was overcome by sorrow and found it very difficult to cope with it. To console her, her father informed her about having received word from the angel Jibril that God had built for her a palace in paradise.[10]


Many of Muhammad's companions asked for Fatimah's hand in marriage, including Abu Bakr and Umar. Muhammad turned them all down, saying that he was awaiting a sign of her destiny.[10] Ali, Muhammad's cousin, also had a desire to marry Fatimah. When he went to see Muhammad, he could not vocalise his intention but remained silent. Muhammad understood the reason for his being there and prompted Ali to confirm that he had come to seek Fatimah in marriage. He suggested that Ali had a shield, which if sold, would provide sufficient money to pay the bridal gift (mahr).[10][12] Muhammad put forward the proposal from Ali to Fatimah, who remained silent and did not reject the proposal. Muhammad took this to be a sign of affirmation and consent.[10][31]

The actual date of the marriage is unclear, but it most likely took place in 623, the second year of the hijra, although some sources say it was in 622. The age of Fatimah is reported to have been 9 or 19 (due to differences of opinion on the exact date of her birth i.e. 605 or 615) at the time of her marriage while Ali was between 21 and 25.[10][12][11] Muhammad told Ali that he had been ordered by God to give his daughter Fatimah to Ali in marriage.[32][33] Muhammad said to Fatimah: "I have married you to the dearest of my family to me."[12] Ali sold his shield to raise the money needed for the wedding, as suggested by Muhammad.[10] However, Uthman ibn Affan, to whom the shield was sold, gave it back to Ali saying it was his wedding gift to Ali and Fatimah.[12] Muhammad himself performed the wedding ceremony and two of his wives, Aisha and Umm Salama, prepared the wedding feast with dates, figs, sheep and other food donated by various members of the Madinan community.[10] According to Hossein Nasr, their marriage possesses a special spiritual significance for all Muslims because it is seen as the marriage between the greatest saintly figures surrounding Muhammad.[33] Their marriage lasted about ten years and ended when Fatimah died. Although polygamy is permitted by Islam, Ali did not marry any other woman while Fatimah was alive.[34][33]

Life before the death of Muhammad


After her marriage to Ali, the couple led a humble life in contrast to her sisters who were all married to wealthy individuals.[12] Ali had built a house not too far from Muhammad's residence where he lived with Fatimah. However, due to Fatimah's desire to be closer to her father, a Medinan (Haritha bin al-Numan) donated his own house to them.[10]

For several years after her marriage, she did all of the work by herself. The shoulder on which she carried pitchers of water from the well was swollen and the hand with which she worked the handmill to grind corn were often covered with blisters.[35] Fatimah vouched to take care of the household work, make dough, bake bread, and clean the house; in return, Ali vouched to take care of the outside work such as gathering firewood and bringing food.[36] Ali worked to irrigate other people's lands by drawing water from the wells.[12] Their circumstances were akin to many of the Muslims at the time and only improved following the Battle of Khaybar when the produce of Khaybar was distributed among the poor. When the economic situations of the Muslims become better, Fatimah gained some maids but treated them like her family and performed the house duties with them.[10]

Another reference to their simple life comes from the Tasbih of Fatimah, a divine formula that was first given to Fatimah when she asked her father for a kaneez (slave girl) in order to help her with household chores. Her father asked her if she would like a gift instead that was better than a servant and worth more than everything in the world. Upon her ready agreement, he told her to recite at the end of every prayer the Great Exaltation, Allahu Akbar 33 times, the Statement of Absolute Gratitude, Alhamdulillah 33 times and the Invocation of Divine Glory, Subhan'Allah 33 times, and l? ?il?ha ?ill? ll?h once, totalling 100. This collective prayer is called the Tasbih of Fatima.[37][38]

Married life

The location of Fatimah's house in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, present-day Saudi Arabia

Fatimah is believed to have had a happy marital life, which continued until her death in 11AH. Reflecting on his marriage with Fatimah, Ali is recorded to have said that "I never angered or upset Fatimah, and she never angered or opposed me either. Whenever I was overcome with sadness or grief, looking at Fatimah eased my pains."[39] There is also a consensus that the prophet, Fatimah's father, always held Ali in high esteem. For example, the prophet is recorded to have said to Ali that "you are unto me as Aaron was to Moses."[40] Both Ali and Fatimah are also addressed in the Verse of Purification in Islam's holy book, Quran, as cleansed by God and free from any wrongdoing.

Against this backdrop, Mosvar Bin Mokhrameh, who must have been six years old or younger at the time of the prophet's death,[41] later claimed that the prophet had been publicly furious with Ali over an alleged attempt to marry Abu Jahl's daughter as his second wife.[42] Mosvar, at the time a minor, is the sole narrator of that public feud. Both the alleged public feud and the alleged marriage proposal go against the strong records of exceedingly amicable relationship between Ali, on the one hand, and the prophet and his daughter, on the other hand.[43] Very likely, the narrator, whose hatred for Ali is well-documented,[44][45] might have had political motives for fabricating this story. Indeed, Abu Muhammad Ordoni quotes in his book: "Among the many fabricated stories told against Ali was that he had asked for Abu Jahl's (the chief of infidels) daughter's hand in marriage." In any case, Ali never married another woman in Fatimah's lifetime.

On the battlefield

Following the Battle of Uhud, Fatimah tended to the wounds of her father and husband and regularly visited the graves of all those who died in the battle and pray for them. Fatimah, along with her husband, was also called upon by Abu Sufyan to intercede on his behalf with Muhammad while attempting to make amends following the violation of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. Abu Sufyan also asked for Fatimah's protection when she went to Mecca while it was under occupation which she refused under instruction from her father.[10]

In the Qur'an

Some verses in the Qur'an are associated with Fatimah and her household by classical exegetes, although she is not mentioned by name. According to J. D. McAuliffe, two of the most important verses include the verse of purification, which is the 33rd ayah in Surah al-Ahzab,[46] and the 61st ayah in Surah Al-i-Imran.[47][48] In the first verse, the phrase "people of the house" (ahl al-bayt) is ordinarily understood to consist of Muhammad, Fatimah, her husband Ali and their two sons (al-Tabari in his exegesis also mentions a tradition that interprets "people of the house" as Muhammad's wives; for Ibn al-Jawzi, the order of these options is reversed).[48] The second verse refers to an episode in which Muhammad proposed an ordeal of mutual adjuration (Mubahala) to a delegation of Christians. Fatimah, according to the "occasion for the revelation" of this verse, was among those offered by Muhammad as witnesses and guarantors.[48]

Muslim exegesis of the Qur'anic verse 3:42, links the praise of Mary, the mother of Jesus, with that of Fatimah based on a quote attributed to Muhammad that lists the outstanding women of all time as Mary, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh), Khadija and Fatima.[48]

One of the significant chapters in the Quran related to Fatima is Surah Al-Kauthar.[49] This chapter was revealed when Fatima was born in Mecca. However, it had been expressed by Muhammad's enemies that he would be without posterity.[50] Another considerable verse which is regarded to Fatima is verse 23th of Surah Ash-Shura: ....I do not ask you any reward for it except love of [my] relatives.... [42/23] Ibn Abbas says: when this verse revealed, I asked the Holy Prophet: who are those persons that their kindness and love is obligatory? The Prophet said: They are Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn.[51]

It has been said by some Quranic commentators, following the first verse of Surah Al-Qadr, that the meaning [entire example] of Night ( ) is Fatima. Some traditions are also narrated from Shia Imams regarding to this matter.[52]

Life after the death of Muhammad


Fadak was a fertile tract of land in northern Arabia which is now part of Saudi Arabia. Situated approximately 140 km (87 mi) from Madinah, Fadak was known for its water wells, dates, and handicrafts.[53][54] After their belligerent allies in Khaybar were defeated by Muslims in 7AH, the inhabitants of Fadak pleaded for a peace treaty in exchange for giving away half of their annual revenue to Muslims.[55][56] Because the takeover of Fadak had been peaceful, this revenue belonged to the prophet, in line with the teachings of the Quran.[57][58] Aside from a small amount to support his meager lifestyle, the prophet used all of this considerable revenue to help the poor. He later gifted his share of Fadak to his daughter, Fatimah.[59][60][61][62] Nevertheless, nearly all of the revenue continued to be spent on charity until the prophet's death.[63][64][65]

Following the prophet's death, Abu Bakr seized Fadak from Fatimah immediately after assuming power.[66] When confronted by Fatimah, Abu Bakr claimed that he had heard from Muhammad that "prophets do not leave inheritance." This statement is highly contested, and Shia unanimously considers it to be fabricated, citing several contradictions of this statement with the Quran. Indeed, Quran gives every Muslim the right to inherit from his or her parents.[67][68] Quran also says that John inherited from Zechariah,[69] and that Solomon inherited his kingdom from David.[70] Both Solomon and David are venerated as prophets in Quran.[71] Responding to Fatimah's objection that Fadak was, in fact, a gift, Abu Bakr asked Fatimah to present her witnesses even though the burden of proof fell upon himself according to Islamic law.[72][73] Ali, too failed to convince Abu Bakr to return Fadak to Fatimah.[73] Lastly, Umar's claim that Fadak is a communal property of Muslims is at odds with the fact that Abu Bakr made a gift from his share to his daughter, Aisha.[74][75][76]

In protest, Fatimah gave an eloquent speech in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, now known as the Fadak sermon. Surprisingly, the speech is largely not about Fadak, but instead praise for Ali and support for his right to succeed the prophet. Fatimah also strongly criticized Muslims for their indifference to the unjust treatment of the prophet's family, Ahl al-Bayt. In response, Abu Bakr reiterated his claims and instead offered Fatimah his own fortune, which Fatimah rejected. Abu Bakr also claimed that he had been appointed as the prophet's successor upon the consensus of Muslims. This last claim is widely believed to be false. Indeed, only a handful of Muhajirun participated in Abu Bakr's election, the prophet's family were excluded,[77] and brute force and intimidation were both used to compel the crowds to pledge their allegiance to Abu Bakr. One instance says of a gang of thugs that patrolled the streets of Madinah and violently forced people to pledge their loyalty to Abu Bakr.[78][79][80]

After these events, Fatimah remained angry with Abu Bakr and Umar until her death, a few months after the Fadak sermon. According to Sunni sources, she never spoke to the two again, neither did she pledged her allegiance to the new Caliph, Abu Bakr.[66] Both Shia and Sunni agree on the prophet's words that "any Muslim who dies without a Caliph has died a pre-Islamic death."[81] It is difficult to reconcile these words with numerous narrations from the prophet that elevate Fatimah to be on par in the eyes of God with Mary, mother of Jesus.[82][83] It is also difficult to believe that Fatimah considered anyone other than Ali as the rightful successor and Caliph to the prophet. Shia cites this simple argument and many others to reject the legitimacy of Abu Bakr's rule, which Shia considers to be a power grab from Ali, who was appointed successor by the prophet in the event of Ghadir Khumm.

In the patriarchal society of her time, Fatimah's actions in standing up for what she believed to be right were exceptionally courageous:

Unlike the ascetic who has renounced the affairs of the world, both the historical and hagiographical sources about Fatima al-Zahra document her active participation in domestic and public life. One particular event is recounted in all of the histories both Shi?i and Sunni: the dispute over the land Fatima received from her father at Fadak...her knowledge of her legal rights and desire for justice indicate that she was a woman involved in the affairs of society".[84]

Attack on her house

In the immediate aftermath of Muhammad's death, a gathering of the Ansar (natives of Medina) took place at Saqifah.[85] The purpose of the meeting might have been for the Ansar to decide on a new leader of the Muslim community from among themselves, with the intentional exclusion of the Muhajirun (migrants from Mecca).[86] Nevertheless, Abu Bakr and Omar, both prominent companions of Muhammad, hastened there when they learned about the meeting. After a heated debate, Abu Bakr was elected by those gathered as the new head of the Muslim community.[87]

The Saqifah event excluded Muhammad's family, who were preparing to bury him,[88][89] and most of Muhajirun.[90][91][92] To protest this election, the prophet's extended family (Banu Hashim) and several of his close companions gathered at his daughter's house.[93] The protesters, including Fatimah, held that Muhammad had previously announced Ali as his successor in the Ghadir Khumm event. Key figures such as Abbas and Zubayr were among the protestors.[94]

Abu Bakr responded to this protest with a heavy hand: He sent Omar with orders to use force if necessary.[94] Omar was recorded threatening to set Fatimah's house on fire, even after being told that Muhammad's daughter was inside the house. Eventually, to avoid a violent escalation, the protesters dispersed at Fatimah's request.[94][95][96] However, Fatimah and his husband, Ali, continued to resist Abu Bakr's pressure to acknowledge his authority; this conflict did not end with Omar's first attempt.[97][98]

Omar's final attempt to subdue Ali and Fatimah, and the subsequent events that soon after led to Fatimah's death, form the backbone of Shia's identity but are considered the red line of Sunni Islam. Accordingly, Shia claims that centuries of censorship has distorted and erased any evidence for these events from mainstream Sunni sources. In one reference, for example, the author chastises another Sunni scholar for not saving face for Muhammad's companions in his writings.[99] In another, the author reminds Sunni scholars to suppress any reports of conflicts among Muhammad's companions.[100] In yet another reference, the author begins with high praise for a fellow author but ends with labelling him a "wobbly old and misguided man" because he had recounted the claims about the violent raid on Fatimah's house.[101] Or, after comparing two references, we can see that Omar's threat to set Fatimah's house on fire has been deliberately removed from the former.[102][103]

With a few marginalized exceptions,[104][105][106][107][108] most records about those events are found in Shia sources, the earliest of which possibly dates back to the first century AH. Shia collectively believes that Fatimah, pregnant at the time, suffered multiple injuries during Omar's raid on her house. These injuries directly caused her miscarriage and death shortly after.[109][110][111][112][113] The mainstream Sunni view is that Fatimah died from grief, following the death of his father, Muhammad.[114]

Among various slightly different versions in Shia records, here we summarize Fatimah's own account of what happened.[115] When Omar and his aides arrived to take Ali away by force, Fatimah firmly refused to open the door. Instead, from behind the door, she repeatedly implored Omar to leave them alone and reminded them of the sanctity of her home in the Quran.[116][117][118] Unfortunately, the confrontation escalated rapidly: An enraged Omar kicked the door open, pinning Fatimah behind the door, which was aflame by now. When Fatimah continued to resist the intruders, Omar physically assaulted her with his sheathed sword and (or) a whip. Some accounts have that, at this point, Ali managed to intercept Omar before being overpowered by Omar's aides.[119]


To see why Fatimah personally intervened, Shia points that Muslims deeply revered Prophet's daughter. In Muhammad's own words, "Fatimah is part of me, and whoever angers her has angered me."[120] In view of this, it is plausible that she saw her intervention as a last resort to both support his husband, Ali, and defuse their conflict with Abu Bakr. It is also likely that Fatimah did not expect Omar to enter the house without permission. In particular, two verses of Quran speak of the sanctity of houses associated with Muhammad's family.[121][122][123] Another verse clearly forbids all Muslims from entering a stranger's house without permission.[124]

It is worth noting that Sunni and Shia agree that Fatimah had a son named Mohsin.[125] Sunnis, however, believe that Mohsin died in childhood rather than in miscarriage.[126][127] We note that Mohsin's death in miscarriage also appears in a number of Sunni sources, but the narrators are labeled as Shia sympathisers and discredited.[101][128][129]

A related Sunni record is that Abu Bakr, on his deathbed, regretted ordering to break into Fatimah's house.[130] This appears to be a sensitive admission: When listing Abu Bakr's regrets in his own book, Abu Ubaid has removed any mention of Fatimah.[131] Shia argues that the allegations against Omar are also not out of character: Omar has a long history of violence against women in Sunni records, both before and after converting to Islam.[132][133][134][135] He was so feared that a woman miscarried merely by finding out that Omar had summoned her, in one instance during his time as caliph.[136]

According to credible Sunni sources, Fatimah never spoke again to Abu Bakr and Omar, and never pledged her allegiance to the new caliph, Abu Bakr.[97] Shia records are different here: When Abu Bakr and Omar finally visited Fatimah on her deathbed, she turned away and reminded them of Prophet's words "...whoever angers Fatimah has angered me".[120] Then Fatimah told Abu Bakr and Omar that they have angered her and that she would take this complaint to the prophet.[137] Similar accounts also exist in marginalized Sunni sources.[138] It is worth noting that Quran paints a terrifying prospect for those who anger God's prophet.[139]

As a side note, both Shia and Sunni agree on Muhammad's words that "any Muslim who dies without a caliph has died a pre-Islamic death."[140] It is difficult to reconcile these words with numerous narrations from Muhammad that elevate Fatimah to be on par with Mary, mother of Jesus.[141] It is also difficult to believe that Fatimah considered anyone other than Ali as the rightful successor and caliph to the prophet. Shia cites this argument to reject the legitimacy of Abu Bakr's rule, which Shia considers to be a power grab from Ali. According to Shia Islam, Ali was appointed successor by the prophet in the event of Ghadir Khumm.

The Sunni view is that Ali eventually reconciled with Abu Bakr.[97] About their relationship, Sahih Muslim has that Ali regarded Abu Bakr as a liar, a sinner, and a traitor.[142] Shia, on the other hand, believes that Ali never pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr, at least willingly.[143] Many years later, in his famous Shaqshaqiya sermon, Ali said about Abu Bakr and Omar that "I patiently waited [through their reign], while [the pain was like having a] thorn in my eyes and suffocating. I watched them plunder my inheritance..."[144] Shaqshaqiya sermon is part of Nahj al-Balagha, a book that collects Ali's sermons and is often considered a Shia source. One notable exception is the commentary written by the Sunni scholar Ibn Abi l-Hadid.[145]

Lastly, the Sunni view is that Fatimah died from grief, following the death of his father, Muhammad.[114][146] Sufi scholar Muzaffer Ozak writes:[147]

After our Master had honoured the world of the Hereafter, Fatima would neither eat nor drink and she forgot all laughter and joy. She had an apartment built for her in which she stayed by night and day, weeping her heart out for her beloved father.

Shia, however, holds that Fatimah died from the injuries she suffered during Omar's raid.[148] Sunni and Shia agree that Fatimah's dying wish was that Abu Bakr and Omar should not attend her funeral; Ali buried Fatemah secretly and under the cloak of darkness to fulfill her last wish.[149][150] Her exact burial place remains unknown to this day. To paraphrase Shia scholar Motahhari: Often villains rewrite the history to pose as saints, and Fatimah foresaw this threat when she asked to be buried in secret. As a result, this question has loomed large ever since: Fatimah was Prophet's daughter and extremely dear to him. Why was she buried secretly? Why do we not know where her grave is?[151]


Fatimah died in 11 AH, only a few months after Muhammad's death.[152] She was 18 at that time.[153][154] The exact date of her death is uncertain in Sunni sources but the prevailing Shia view is that Fatimah passed away on the third of Jumada II.[155] Sunni Islam holds that Fatimah died from grief, following Muhammad's death.[156][157] Sufi scholar Muzaffer Ozak writes:

After our Master had honoured the world of the Hereafter, Fatima would neither eat nor drink and she forgot all laughter and joy. She had an apartment built for her in which she stayed by night and day, weeping her heart out for her beloved father.[158]

Shia Islam, however, holds that Fatimah died from the injuries she suffered during Omar's raid on her home.[159] Shia collectively believes that Fatimah, pregnant at the time, suffered multiple injuries during Omar's raid. These injuries directly caused her miscarriage and death shortly after.[109][160][161][162][163]

Sunni and Shia agree that Fatimah's dying wish was that the caliph, Abu Bakr, and his aide, Omar, should not attend her funeral; Ali buried Fatimah in secret and under the cloak of darkness to fulfill her last wish.[164][165] With him were his family and a few of his close companions.[166] In Shia sources, there are glimpses of the heart-wrenching events that followed Fatimah's death, and the immense pain of Ali and their young children.[167] As a side note, Sunni and Shia agree on Muhammad's words that "Fatimah is part of me, whoever angers her has angered me."[168] Sunni and Shia also agree that Fatimah remained angry with Abu Bakr and Omar until her death.[169][170] Shia points out that the Quran paints a terrifying prospect for those who anger God's prophet.[171]

Lesley Hazleton describes Fatimah's death as follows:

But perhaps most painful of all in those months after the loss of her third son was the ostracism she suffered ordered by Abu Bakr to force Ali into line. [...] When she knew death was close she asked Ali for a clandestine burial [...] Abu Bakr was not to be informed of her death she said. He was to be given no chance to officiate at her funeral.[172]

Unlike most early Islamic figures, Fatimah's exact burial place is unknown. This is highly unusual, considering that Muhammad regarded Fatimah as the purest woman of all time, according to Sunni sources.[173]

Sunni Islam holds that the two most probable locations for Fatimah's grave are al-Baqi cemetery and her home, which was later annexed to al-Masjid an-Nabawi.[174][175][176][177][178] The former location is primarily supported by Hasan's wish "to be buried next to his mother." However, this interpretation might be incorrect: The Sunni scholar Samhoodi analyzes the different claims and concludes that Hasan is buried next to Fatimah bint Asad, his grandmother (and not his mother, Fatimah).[179] In Arabic, "mother" may also refer to grandmother. Shia sources are similarly inconclusive and suggest Fatimah's home or the proximity of Muhammad's tomb as the most likely resting places for Fatimah.[180][181] The secret nature of Fatimah's burial further strengthens the view that she was buried at her home.

The hostility of early Islamic rulers towards Prophet's family perhaps forced the latter to hide Fatimah's burial place. For instance, al-Mutawakkil demolished and disrespected the shrine of Husayn, Fatimah's son, in the third century AH.[182] According to Shia sources, when Omar learned about Fatimah's secret burial, he decided to locate and exhume Fatimah's body and then re-bury her publicly. Eventually, what prevented Omar was Ali's threat to kill him.[183]

Sunni and Shia both hold that Prophet elevated Fatimah to be on par with Mary, mother of Jesus.[184] According to Sunni records, whenever Fatimah entered the room, Muhammad would rise and sit her next to himself.[185] After Muhammad's death, what did his nation do to his daughter that she asked to be buried secretly? To paraphrase Shia scholar Motahhari, often villains rewrite the history to pose as saints, and Fatimah foresaw this threat when she asked to be buried in secret. As a result, this question has loomed large ever since: Fatimah was Prophet's daughter and extremely dear to him. Why was she buried secretly? Why do we not know where her grave is?[186]


Fatimah was survived by two sons, Hasan and Husayn, and two daughters, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum.[10] Controversy surrounds the fate of her third son, Muhsin. Shias[187] and some Sunni scholars such as ibn Abi l-Hadid[188] say that she miscarried following an attack on her house by Abu Bakr and Umar, while other Sunnis insist that Muhsin died in his infancy of natural causes.[29]

Modern descendants of Muhammad trace their lineage exclusively through Fatimah, as she was the only surviving child of Muhammad (according to Shias; Sunni and some Shia believe Muhammad had 4 daughters[189]). Muhammad had no sons who reached adulthood.[190]

Fatimah's descendants are given the honorific titles Sayyid (meaning lord or sir), Sharif (meaning noble), and respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'as place much more emphasis and value on the distinction.[191][192]


Muslims regard Fatimah as a loving and devoted daughter, mother, wife, a sincere Muslim, and an exemplar for women.[193][194] It is believed that she was very close to her father and her distinction from other women is mentioned in many hadith.[195] After Khadijah, Muslims regard Fatimah as the most significant historical figure, considered to be the leader (Arabic: Sayyidih) of all women in this world and in Paradise.[193][196][197] It is because of her moral purity that she occupies an analogous position in Islam to that Mary occupies in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. She was the first wife of Ali, whom Sunnis consider the fourth Rashidun caliph, and whom the Shi'as consider the first infallible Imam, the mother of the second and third Imams, and the ancestor of all the succeeding Imams. The Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate was named after her.[198]

Shia view

Fatimah, regarded as "the Mother of the Imams", plays a special role in the Shia sect. She is believed to have been immaculate, sinless, and a model for Muslim women. Although leading a life of poverty, the Shia tradition emphasises her compassion and sharing of whatever she had with others.[199]

According to Mahmoud Ayoub, the two main images of Fatimah within the Shia tradition are those of the "Eternal Weeper" and "the Judge in the hereafter".[200] The former is through her suffering and death, which is viewed as the first tragedy of Islam. She had spent her last days mourning the death of her father and she eternally weeps at the death of her two sons, who were murdered by the Umayyads. Twelver Shi'a, especially Iranians, hold ceremonies every year for 20 days in Jumada al-awwal to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Fatimah. Mourners march in procession through the streets to reaffirm their allegiance to the ideals of Fatima.[201] Shias believe they share in Fatimah's suffering by weeping for her sorrows and that the tears of the faithful console her.[202] They also hold that Fatimah will play a redemptive role as the mistress of the day of judgement in the hereafter, as a solace for her pain.[203]

Spiritual character

According to Louis Massignon there are many different attitudes among Shiites and Sunnis about the Mubahalah. One of those disagreements is in terms of the approving of the verse of Quran on Mubahalah whether the verse III, 54 was with the presence of the five persons such as Fatima. According to Shia sources not only Mubahala happened with the presence of Fatima but also Fatima considered as someone who is standing back of prophet. In other words, some mystical sects refer to the symbolic role during that event. They try to interpret her as an image. This image shows a lighting matter. Some sects such as Nusayrieh believes that the Christians of Najran acknowledge to the place of Fatima as Maryam.[204]

Mother's Day

Iranians celebrate Fatima Zahra's birth anniversary (20 Jumada al-Thani) as Mother's Day.[205] On this day, banners reading "Ya Fatemeah (O! Fatemeh)" are displayed on "government buildings, private buildings, public streets and car windows."[206] The Gregorian date for this changes every year:

Year Gregorian date
2018 9 March[207]
2019 26 February[208]
2020 15 February[209]
2021 3 February[210]
2022 24 January[211]
2023 14 January[212]

See also




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External links

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