Fatimah Bint Muhammad
(3 of 3)
by Abdul Wahid Hamid
Once the prophet (pbuh) returned from a journey outside Madinah. He went to the mosque first of all and prayed two rakats as was his custom. Then, as he often did, he went to Fatimahs house before going to his wives.
Fatimah welcomed him and kissed his face, his mouth and his eyes and cried. “Why do you cry?” the Prophet asked. “I see you, O Rasul Allah,” she said, “Your color is pale and sallow and your clothes have become worn and shabby.” .
“O Fatimah,” the Prophet replied tenderly, “dont cry for Allah has sent your father with a mission which He would cause to affect every house on the face of the earth whether it be in towns, villages or tents (in the desert) bringing either glory or humiliation until this mission is fulfilled just as night (inevitably) comes.”
With such comments Fatimah was often taken from the harsh realities of daily life to get a glimpse of the vast and far-reaching vistas opened up by the mission entrusted to her noble father.
Fatimah eventually returned to live in a house close to that of the Prophet. The place was donated by an Ansari who knew that the Prophet would rejoice in having his daughter as his neighbor. Together they shared in the joys and the triumphs, the sorrows and the hardships of the crowded and momentous Madinah days and years.
In the middle of the second year after the Hijrah, her sister Ruqayyah fell ill with fever and measles. This was shortly before the great campaign of Badr. Uthman, her husband, stayed by her bedside and missed the campaign.
Ruqayyah died just before her father returned. On his return to Madinah, one of the first acts of the Prophet was to visit her grave.
Fatimah went with him. This was the first bereavement they had suffered within their closest family since the death of Khadijah. Fatimah was greatly distressed by the loss of her sister. The tears poured from her eyes as she sat beside her father at the edge of the grave, and he comforted her and sought to dry her tears with the corner of his cloak.
The Prophet had previously spoken against lamentations for the dead, but this had lead to a misunderstanding, and when they returned from the cemetery the voice of Umar was heard raised in anger against the women who were weeping for the martyrs of Badr and for Ruqayyah.
“Umar, let them weep,” he said and then added:
“What comes from the heart and from the eye, that is from God and His mercy, but what comes from the hand and from the tongue, that is from Satan.”
By the hand he meant the beating of breasts and the smiting of cheeks, and by the tongue he meant the loud clamor in which women often joined as a mark of public sympathy.
The bereavement which the family suffered by the death of Ruqayyah was followed by happiness when to the great joy of all the believers Fatimah gave birth to a boy in Ramadan of the third year after the Hijrah. The Prophet spoke the words of the Adhan into the ear of the new-born babe and called him al-Hasan which means the Beautiful One.
One year later, she gave birth to another son who was called al-Husayn, which means “little Hasan” or the little beautiful one.
Fatimah would often bring her two sons to see their grandfather who was exceedingly fond of them. Later he would take them to the Mosque and they would climb onto his back when he prostrated. He did the same with his little granddaughter Umamah, the daughter of Zaynab.
In the eighth year after the Hijrah, Fatimah gave birth to a third child, a girl whom she named after her eldest sister Zaynab who had died shortly before her birth. This Zaynab was to grow up and become famous as the “Heroine of Karbala “.
Fatimahs fourth child was born in the year after the Hijrah. The child was also a girl and Fatimah named her Umm Kulthum after her sister who had died the year before after an illness.
It was only through Fatimah that the progeny of the Prophet was perpetuated. All the Prophets male children had died in their infancy and the two children of Zaynab named Ali and Umamah died young. Ruqayyahs child Abdullah also died when he was not yet two years old. This is an added reason for the reverence which is accorded to Fatimah.
Although Fatimah was so often busy with pregnancies and giving birth and rearing children, she took as much part as she could in the affairs of the growing Muslim community of Madinah.
Before her marriage, she acted as a sort of hostess to the poor and d estitute Ahl as-Suffah. As soon as the Battle of Uhud was over, she went with other women to the battlefield and wept over the dead martyrs and took time to dress her fathers wounds.
At the Battle of the Ditch, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. In her camp, she led the Muslim women in prayer and on that place there stands a mosque named Masjid Fatimah, one of seven mosques where the Muslims stood guard and performed their devotions.
Fatimah also accompanied the Prophet when he made Umrah in the sixth year after the Hijrah after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. In the following year, she and her sister Umm Kulthum, were among the mighty throng of Muslims who took part with the Prophet in the liberation of Makkah.
It is said that on this occasion, both Fatimah and Umm Kulthum visited the home of their mother Khadijah and recalled memories of their childhood and memories of jihad, of long struggles in the early years of the Prophets mission .
There is a miraculous incident related in Al-Bidayah way An-Nihayah, once a lady sent Fatimah some bread and roasted meat. She put this in a plate and covered it with cloth. Then she sent a message to her father to come and eat.
When he arrived she removed the cloth and to her astonishment she found the plate full of bread and plenty of meat. She understood that this abundance and plenty had come from Allah. She praised Almighty Allah and asked Allah to mention and bless His and started to serve the meal to him, beginning with Allah Almightys Name.
When the prophet (pbuh) saw such a huge amount he smiled and asked who had sent it all. She promptly said Allah gave it to her and He provides sustenance to whom He pleased without limits Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) smiled and ate the meal with his daughter and her family .
Yet there was so much food still left over that it was sent to the Mothers of the Believers.
They also ate their fill and then it was distributed among the neighbors.
In Ramadan of the tenth year just before he went on his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet confided to Fatimah, as a secret not yet to be told to others: “Jibril recited the Quran to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come.”
On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet did become seriously ill. His final days were spent in the apartment of his wife Aishah. When Fatimah came to visit him, Aishah would leave father and daughter together.
One day he summoned Fatimah. When she came, he kissed her and whispered some words in her ear. She wept. Then again he whispered in her ear and she smiled. Aishah saw and asked: “You cry and you laugh at the same time, Fatimah? What did the Messenger of God say to you?”
Fatimah replied: “He first told me that he would meet his Lord after a short while and so I cried. Then he said to me: ‘Dont cry for you will be the first of my household to join me.’ So I laughed.”
Not long afterwards the noble Prophet passed away. Fatimah was grief-striken and she would often be seen weeping profusely. One of the companions noted that he did not see Fatimah, may God be pleased with her, laugh after the death of her father.
One morning, early in the month of Ramadan, just less than five month after her noble father had passed away, Fatimah woke up looking unusually happy and full of mirth.
In the afternoon of that day, it is said that she called Salma bint Umays who was looking after her. She asked for some water and had a bath. She then put on new clothes and perfumed herself. She then asked Salma to put her bed in the courtyard of the house.
With her face looking to the heavens above, she asked for her husband Ali. He was taken aback when he saw her lying in the middle of the courtyard and asked her what was wrong.
She smiled and said: “I have an appointment today with the Messenger of God.”
Ali cried and she tried to console him. She told him to look after their sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn and advised that she should be buried without ceremony. She gazed upwards again, then closed her eyes and surrendered her soul to the Mighty Creator.
She, Fatimah the Resplendent One, was just twenty nine years old.