By: Sheikh Aref Chaker
Love is a wonderful feeling that blossoms in one’s heart and makes one’s life full of happiness and delight.
However what is more beautiful than love itself is for one to share it with the people that deserve it.
Moreover, what surpasses both is to love these people not the way that you love, but to love them in the manner that Allah loves and in the manner that the Prophet loves.
I have spoken previously about how I feel about Abu Bakr and I had intended to follow it up with more insight into the life of that great man. However, on Saturday night my intention was changed.
The change was caused by an incident that a close brother to me, a friend, experienced during his Jumu’ah prayer last week. He was asked “why don’t you, Sunnis, speak about the family of the Prophet?’
My friend narrated this incident to me and complained about the scarcity of authentic literature about the family of the Prophet that could be presented to the public without falling into extremism. Hence, this article and many articles to come insha Allah will be dedicated for this purpose.
I would like to begin with the pious lady whose name is very common but few people know about her greatness and many of her virtues. Many of the Sunnis love her for one reason, and a very worthwhile reason – she is the daughter of the Prophet.
However, Lady Fatimah wasn’t great because of her honorable blood lineage to our beloved Prophet Muhammah alone.
To the contrary, she combined the honor of her noble lineage with the honor of being a great servant of Allah, a great daughter, a great wife, a great mother and a great exemplar to the women of the world.
Our mother ‘‘A’ishah had a lot of respect for our great lady Fatimah because she saw in her an unmatchable character. She believed that Fatimah was the wisest of women as she stated in the narration that Imam Tirmidhi collected in his book. She only doubted that opinion once in her lifetime, when she couldn’t comprehend why Fatimah cried and laughed sequentially after the Prophet whispered something in her ears, which I will clarify later.
Moreover, our mother ‘A’ishah stated that whenever she used to see Fatimah she used to see in her a split copy of the Prophet. She narrates in the hadith that Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari record:
“We, all the wives of the Prophet, gathered around him, during his sickness, and none of us left. While we were there Fatimah came to visit him. Her walk was exactly the walk of the Prophet; nothing in it was different”.
Our mother ‘A’ishah did not have to add this small detail of the walk; she could have just said ‘While we gathered around him Fatimah came to visit’. However, she insisted on describing to us the way Fatimah walked because of her love to Fatimah and her admiration of the adherence of Fatimah to the actions and habits of the Prophet.
Fatimah wasn’t a split image of the Prophet in her movements only; rather she was a split image of him in her ethics as well. This is confirmed by the statement of our mother ‘A’ishah who says in the hadith recorded by Tirmidhi and Abu Dawūd, as well as others: “I have never seen a person similar to the Prophet in his character, in his piety, in his noble manners and personal habits more than Fatimah”.
In other words, our mother ‘A’ishah establishes beyond doubt that the only human that copied all the ethics, characteristics and manners of the Prophet fully was his daughter Fatimah.
Al Hassan Al Basri stated in his narration that Fatimah was similar to the Prophet in his speech style and choice of words.
Despite this excellent description that proves beyond doubt the great love and deep respect of ‘A’ishah to Fatimah, there are still people who dare to claim that they hated one another. In reality, the narrations of our mother ‘A’ishah testify for the love that existed between the members of the household of the prophet.
Fatimah was the youngest of the daughters of Our Beloved Prophet, yet he used to call her ‘the mother of her father’. Duly some of you may wonder, ‘why would the Prophet describe her as his mother?’ In our modern time, daughters are given lighter epithets and the Prophet was known for giving people such light hearted nicknames like when he gave Imam Ali the title “Abu Turāb” or like when he gave Abdul Rahman Ibn Sakhr the title “Abu Hirr” or “Abu Hurayra”.
The answer is simply because this wasn’t just general title or a random nickname. This was a description of the action of this noble lady. In fact, she used to look after him as if she was the mother of Muhammad and not just His daughter. Her love and care to the Prophet earned her that title – Ummu Abeeha .
‘A’ishah narrates that whenever the Prophet used to visit Fatimah, she would hasten to meeting him; she would get up from her place and grab him by the hand and kiss him and insist that he sits in her very spot.
Likewise, he Prophet used to treat Fatimah in the same manner; ‘A’ishah continues in the same hadith and says,
“… and whenever she used to visit him he would get up from his spot, grab her by the hand and kiss her, then sit her in his very spot”. The scholars explained that he used to kiss Fatimah on her forehead and some thought on her hand but the overwhelming opinion is that he used to kiss her on the forehead or on her head.
Such was their love to one another; this was not an isolated incident that happened before ‘A’ishah ; rather this was a permanent habit of Fatimah with the Prophet and of the Prophet with Fatimah; every time they met.
Until this century, and in all the societies that I have seen in the west and the east, I have not met anyone that treats his daughter in such a manner. He gets up to greet her, and he is best of humans; he kisses her on the forehead before everyone; he grabs her by the hand and sits her in his spot and he sits next to her. How could anyone be surprised then with how the companions fell in love with the Prophet who shows such a character; a character that is unmatched by the people of his time and the people that came after?
This action manifests the greatness of the character of the Prophet as a father and of Fatimah as a daughter as well.
The Prophet loved Fatimah from the depth of his heart. The scholar ibn Abdul Barr and Suyooti narrated that the first house that the Prophet would enter after a travel or an expedition, after the house of Allah, was the house of Fatimah. After checking on her He would head to his house and check on his wives.
Fatimah was born few years before our Prophet was blessed with the message of Islam. In other words, she opened up her eyes on the mistreatment of the heartless chiefs of Quraysh to our Prophet. Once ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’it, the lowest of the low, lifted up the filth and bowels of a recently slaughtered camel and dropped it on the Prophet’s back while he was prostrating in the court of the Ka’bah. The chiefs of Quraysh enjoyed the low action of ‘Uqbah and broke in devilish laughter.
Who do you think dared to approach the Prophet before all chiefs of Quraysh alone and help him?
Fatimah Bint Muhammad did!
Fatimah who was a young girl rushed to her father’s aid, removing with her little hands the impurities from his back and her tears were racing on her cheeks so he can continue his Salaah.
Fatimah witnessed the banishment of the Prophet and his family for three years and she shared with her father the pain of hunger and thirst, an experience that left its mark on her health. She witnessed the death of her mother when she was very young and then witnessed the death of all of her sisters, one by one, until she became the last remaining relative to the Prophet from his direct household.
She got along with all his wives and did not fight with any of them unlike the traditional habits of the daughters with their step mothers in the Arabian societies and western ones as well.
In the battle of Uhud when men fled from the battle, Fatimah rushed to the aid of her father along with Ali, Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida and other great companions. She washed the blood off his face and treated his wounds while crying for his suffering.
One of the traits that Fatimah took from her father besides endurance over calamities and patience in the face of hardship was being content with little from the Dunya.
Many people proposed to Fatimah, wealthy men, chiefs of tribes, and so on. However, she did not marry any of them; her husband was the great companion Ali, a poor young man that was brought up on the hands of the Prophet and disciplined by the best teacher.
The dowry of Fatimah was an armor that the Prophet gifted to Ali earlier. The value of Fatimah’s dowry was 400 silver coins.
A very modest dowry, even when we compare it to the standards of the Madinah society.
No diamond rings worth thousands of dollars. No gold sets. No fine clothes.
No honeymoon in Mexico or Malaysia and certainly no wedding that costs thousands of dollars.
Fatimah was like her father; uninterested in the glitter of life. She accepted from it as much as her father did because her eyes and heart aspired for the company of her father in Paradise.
That dowry was even given back to Ali to prepare a small feast and some furniture for the small house or I should say the small unit!!!
A floor bed, a pillow filled with the leaves of dried date palm, a plate, a glass, a water bag and a grinding stone and two crocks for water storage. This was the furniture of her house, May Allah be pleased with her.
Fatimah accepted and was content because she knew the poverty of her husband and she knew that the Prophet would be happy with her if she enjoyed little of the Dunya.
Fatimah never wore gold, my brothers and sisters, and never enjoyed them the way our women today do. Once she was gifted a golden necklace and the Prophet knew so he instructed her to get rid of it. She sold it and with its money she freed a slave, which pleased the Prophet immensely.
I am not saying this to make you feel bad of what you enjoy; rather just to highlight the condition of the life of this great lady of Islam.
She shared her small unit with her mother in law Fatimah bint Assad  and they got along very well. As Imam Al Dhahabi recorded, her mother in law would carry the home tasks outside the house and Fatima would carry out the tasks that are done inside the house of cleaning, baking etc.
She worked so much until her noble hands were corroded by the grinding stone, her neck was scarred from carrying the water pots and her clothes darkened from sweeping the floor. Her state saddened her husband Ali deeply. He was too poor to buy a maid to help her. When he heard that the Prophet received some war booty that included jewelry and slaves he suggested to her to go to the Prophet and ask him for a servant as she is exhausted from house work and becoming ill. The Prophet refused to fulfill her request because there were Muslims who were more in need than her and they had a greater right in this public wealth. Instead the Prophet visited Ali and Fatimah and their house and gave them a set of Dhikr to follow every night: Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhamdullilah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times. Fatimah did not object or whine; she did not become upset by the decline of her request. She accepted the judgment of her father pleasantly and carried on with her life. Ali narrated that the Prophet told them that this dhikr is better to them than a servant. Since that night, Ali and Fatimah never failed to perform it every single night as instructed by the messenger of Allah.
As much as the Prophet loved Fatimah and favored her, he would not favor her over the poor Muslims even when she was in need. This shows that the Prophet was more concerned with the matters of his nation and He would give them priority over His own life and His own family.
These qualities with which Fatimah adorned her character and her actions earned her a great reward, a great title, “the best lady of the women of faith”.
Bukhari and Muslim record this hadith and ‘A’ishah personally narrates that the Prophet said to Fatimah “wouldn’t it please you if you are ranked the best lady of the women of this nation”. Upon hearing these words Fatimah giggled shyly.
Fatimah was the only person that the Prophet informed of the time of his death.
Bukhari records the hadith of ‘A’ishah who narrates that when the Prophet was sick he called for Fatimah to visit him. When she came, he sat her next to him and he confided something to her and she wept. ‘A’ishah asked her “What made you weep?” Then he confided something to her and she politely laughed. ‘A’ishah said “I have never seen happiness so near to sorrow as today!” ‘A’ishah asked her about what he had said and she replied “I will not divulge the secret of the Messenger of Allah.” When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, ‘A’ishah asked her again and she said,
“He confided to me ‘Jibril used to present the Qur’an to me once a year. This year, he has presented it to me twice. I only think that my time is approaching, and you will be the first of the people of my house to join me.’ So I wept. Then he said ‘Are you not pleased that you will be the mistress of the women of the people of the Garden? – or the women of the believers?’ and I laughed at that.”
This is the reason why Fatimah wept and giggled at the same time.
Consequently, Fatimah did not live for long after the death of our great Prophet Muhammad. According to the most correct opinion she lived only for six months and after that her blessed soul was taken to join the company of her father in the paradise of Allah. Allah from his mercy would not keep her too long away from the man that she loved more than any person on the face of the earth.
The early death of the best lady of this Ummah deprived us from much lessons and experiences to acquire from and appreciate. However, the little we have of her legacy is sufficient to teach all the men of the world before the women, the true meaning of being a true servant of Allah.
My dear brothers and sisters; name your daughters after Fatimah and be proud of that, for your daughters carry the name of the best woman of this Ummah, and ask Him to make them as pious and honorable as she was.
I ask Allah to bestow his mercy, peace and salutation upon our Prophet and the family of our Prophet Muhammad, and his companions. I Ask him to honor us with the company of the Prophet and the company of his family and his companions the hereafter.
 Imam Dhahabee in his biography of Fatimah in Siyar A’lām Al Nubalā’ and Imam Manāwi in his biography of Fatimah relate this title.
 Fatimah and her mother in law had the same first name.