The Companions
The Prophet's Household



Fatima, who was raised and educated by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), acquired from him both such personal characteristics of his such as modesty and decency on the one hand, and his physical qualities such as the way he walked and spoke, on the other. She adopted her father's life style and lived a simple life just like him. One day when Fatima was tired of grinding flour by hand and her husband Ali got tired of drawing water out from the well by the bucket and carrying it, they decided to ask Prophet Muhammad for help. Fatima had heard that there was a prisoner of war in Medina, and she went to her father saying that she needed a domestic servant who could help her family with household chores. Prophet Muhammad said to her that he was planning to employ that particular servant for the needs of the poor Muslims who did not have a home and used to spend nights in the mosque, and so he could not give him to their service. He also said, however, that when she went to bed, she should say subhan-Allah, alhamdulillah, and Allah-akbar thirty-three times each, which would be better than having the servant that she had asked for.

Because of her good qualities, Prophet Muhammad would be very happy when he saw Fatima and would warmly welcome her, standing, then kissing her on the cheek, complimenting her and seating her either next to himself or in his own place. Accordingly, when her father visited her in her house, Fatima would treat him the same way he treated her -with kindness and great respect. Similarly, when Prophet Muhammad would leave the city for travel, she would be the last one among the family members to say goodbye, and the first one he would see when he returned to his family. Prophet Muhammad would also say that, among all women, Fatima was the most beloved one to him, and Ali was his favorite among all men. He was once reported to have said, "Fatima is a part of me; whoever makes her happy makes me happy, and whoever makes her sad, saddens me," and "An angel has come to me and promised that Fatima will be the prominent woman among the inhabitants of Paradise." In another instance, when he enumerated the highest ranking women among the people of Paradise, he first started with his wife Khadija and Fatima; then he mentioned Asiya (the Egyptian Pharaoh's wife) and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Another important example of how much Prophet Muhammad loved his daughter is the great reaction he showed against the relatives of Abu Jahl (or, by some accounts, Ali himself) when they asked him for his permission to marry Abu Jahl's daughter Juwairiyya to Ali. On this occasion, the Prophet said that Fatima was a part of himself, and he did not want her to be sad, and that the daughter of the messenger of Allah and the daughter of the enemy of Allah could not live under the same roof; that although he could not make this marriage unlawful (haram) because Allah made marriage lawful (halal), he would not allow this to happen, nor permit Ali to marry another woman unless he was divorced from Fatima. When reacting that way, one of the concerns of Prophet Muhammad was that he was afraid his daughter would not be able to keep her temperance. On the other hand, the Prophet also said that his other son-in-law, Abu al-‘As, had kept his promise, which implies that Abu al-‘As had promised that he would not marry someone else while he was married to the Prophet's daughter Zainab. Similarly, this also implies that Ali, too, had promised not to marry another woman, but that he had forgotten about his promise. After this incident, Ali never married another woman while Fatima was still alive, nor did he take any concubine. The fact that Prophet Muhammad would frequently visit them in their home and sit in between them indicates the degree of his love for both his daughter and her husband, which made them even more attached to each other. They even would sometimes argue that the Prophet liked one more than the other, which indicates that they both were sure about their privileged places in his heart.

Fatima, too, frequently visited her father and gladly helped him out with domestic needs. For example, one day in the year when Mecca was conquered, Prophet Muhammad was taking a bath in his house, and Fatima held the curtain around him, which shows the degree of their closeness to each other. Significantly, Prophet Muhammad once covered Fatima, Ali and their children, Hassan and Hussein, under his coat and prayed to Allah saying, "O Allah! These are my family (Ahl al-bayt), please keep them away from evil and make them pure." Another important point about Fatima is that the Prophet's lineage continued via her children and their descendants only.

On the other hand, there are 18 hadiths that were reported from Fatima, all of which are taken into al-Kutub al-Sitta (the Six Books); and two of them are in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The people who reported from her the hadiths she had heard from her father include Ali, Hassan and Hussein, Aisha, Umm Salama, Salma, the wife Umm Rafi' who was the servant of Prophet Muhammad, Anas ibn Malik and others. In addition, Hussein's daughter Fatima and some other scholars reported hadiths of the mursal kind from her.

Her Life – M.Yasar Kandemir, PhD

Fatima was born in Mecca, according to some historians, in 609 about 1 year before revelation to Muhammad (pbuh) began; according to Ibn Sa'd and some other historians, she was born in 605 during the reconstruction of the Ka'ba by the Quraysh tribe. Some sources say that she was five years older than Aisha; for this reason the first view mentioned above seems more credible. We know that Fatima was the youngest daughter of Prophet Muhammad. According to al-Dhahabi, her nickname was "Umm abeeha" which means "my mother" or "his father's mother." The reason why she was given this nickname must have been related to the fact that she was addressed this way by Prophet Muhammad who loved his daughter deeply with a mother's love. She also has two other nicknames including "al-Zahra," which means "a woman with a white, rosy and shining face," and "Batul" that means "modest and virtuous woman."

There is very little information about Fatima's childhood and youth. According to one piece of information, one day Prophet Muhammad was praying in the Ka'ba when the idol -worshippers came and threw the uterus of a camel on him while he was in the position of prostration. The young Fatima saw what was happening and rushed to her father to clean his body and clothes, and then angrily yelled at the pagans who had done it. Other than this incident, we also know that shortly after the Prophet had migrated to Medina with Abu Baqr, Fatima, too, followed them to Medina, together with Ali, his mother Fatima bint Asad, Sawda, her sister Umm Qulsum, and Abu Baqr's family.

When Fatima was 15 years old, first Abu Baqr and then Umar wanted to marry her, but Prophet Muhammad did not accept their proposals. Then Ali proposed to marry her, and the Prophet accepted it this time. Since Ali was a poor young men at that time, he could not pay the mahr (mandatory gift given by the groom to the bride -not to the father); so he had to sell the armor that he got as booty after the Battle of Badr, or according to some historians, he sold his camel and some of his personal belongings and paid about 450 dirham as the mahr. And Fatima's dowry consisted only of a velvet canopy, a leather pillow stuffed with date fiber, two small hand mills, and two water cups made up of leather. Their wedding took place in Medina in the second year of Hijrah, either in Dhul-qa'dah (May 624) or Dhul-hijjah (June 624), about four and a half months after the Prophet married Aisha. She gave birth to her first son, Hassan, in the Ramadan of the third year of Hijrah (February 625), and one year later to Hussein in the month of Sha'ban (January). In later years, three other children were born: Muhassin, who died very young, Umm Qulsum and Zainab. In the first years of their marriage, there emerged some minor problems between Fatima and Ali, but with the help of Prophet Muhammad, who suggested that she obey her husband, they overcame their problems permanently.

During the Battle of ‘Uhud, Fatima, together with ten other women, both delivered water to veterans and helped treat the injuries of the wounded. When the Prophet's tooth was broken in this war, she was the one who rushed for the first aid and cleaned the blood off her father's face off. When he kept bleeding, she found a piece of mat and burned its tip, then pressed it onto the Prophet's face, and thus stopped the blood.

When Prophet Muhammad was on his death bed during his last illness, he told Fatima that he and Gabriel the Angel used to recite the Quran to each other once a year, and that that year the Angel came to him twice for the same purpose, which was for him a sign that he would die soon. Upon hearing this, Fatima started crying; however, when the Prophet also told her that she would be the first one among his family to follow him and complimented her as the leader of all Muslim women, she became quite happy and smiled.

As a daughter who was very fond of her father, Fatima was seriously shaken when Prophet Muhammad died. She even said with reproach to Anas ibn Malik, whom she saw after the Prophet had been buried: "How could you people rush to bury the Prophet of Allah? How could you feel comfortable with that?" For days after that she was unable to hold back her tears.

Later, sometime after the death of the Prophet, Fatima and Abbas ibn Abdul-muttalib went to the Caliph, Abu Baqr, to ask for their share from the inheritance left by the Prophet, which consisted of the date fields in Fadaq and Khaibar, and a small yard in Medina. Prophet Muhammad used to spend the income generated out of these lands for public affairs, travelers and guests, as well as his own family. The Caliph reminded them of the hadith of the Prophet that says that prophets do not leave inheritance, and told them that he could not give the property to them, but the Prophet's family would continue getting income from it, and he himself as the Caliph would act as the regent to oversee its management and make sure that it was done just like the Prophet himself used to do. Fatima had not heard this hadith, but when Aisha and other companions confirmed it, they refrained from their claims for inheritance. However, Fatima still did not like the Caliph's attitude and never talked to him on this issue again until she died about six months later. It has also been reported that some time before she died, Abu Baqr visited her and the two made peace.

Fatima died on 3 Ramadan 11 (22 November 632), five and a half months after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). According to the report by Muhammad al-Baqir, it was her husband, Ali, who washed the body. It has also been reported that Ali washed it together with Asma bint Umays, Abu Baqr's wife. Earlier, Fatima had told Asma bint Umays that she felt uncomfortable when she saw some of the female corpses covered by shroud and kept in the presence of everybody just like men used to be before the burial, to which Asma had responded saying that she had seen in Abyssinia that corpses were carried in coffins; Fatima then included in her last will that her body be put in a coffin during the funeral. Accordingly, when she died, her body was carried in a coffin made according to instructions given by Asma bint Umays. Her funeral prayer was led either by Ali or Abbas. In accordance with her will, her body was buried at night by Ali, Abbas and his son Fadl in Jannat al-Baki'.

Fatima in Turkish Literature – Mustafa Uzun, PhD

Fatima has a very significant place in the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for several reasons, including the fact that she was his most beloved daughter, his descendants came only through her, and she was one of the five members of the Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet's family). For this reason, her name and different characteristics are often mentioned in many poems and other literary works in prose that talk about Prophet Muhammad and his Ahl al-Bayt. She was also directly the topic of some, though fewer, literary works. These literary works can be classified into several groups, including the classical texts of Turkish literature, literary pieces in the Sufi tradition and the folkloric literature, as well as different examples of Turkish folk beliefs. In these works Fatima is usually depicted as a woman who was loyal to and fond of her husband, children and her home, taking care of all of them; talented; patient; virtuous; modest; and a role model for all Muslim women. Also, in these works, her name is mentioned in different ways, including ‘Fatma' and ‘Fadime' (as modified in the Turkish folkloric dialects), and the Mother Fatma; Zahra (or Fatima al-Zahra) referring to her white skin color; Batul due to her modesty; the "woman of paradise," referring to a hadith that mentions her name among the four most virtuous women in Paradise; the "woman of the judgment day," due to expectations of her help on judgment day; and the "leader of women" (sayyida al-nisa).

In the literary sirah works (whether poems or prose) that talk about the life of the Prophet, Fatima is always depicted as the closest and most beloved daughter to her father. She symbolizes the value given by Islam to women by being an important figure near the Prophet in the Arab society of that time, which in general did not value daughters and women at all.

Many mawlid style works, including first and foremost Süleyman Çelebi's Wasila al-Najat, mention her name, especially in the chapter on ‘death.' In this section, the main theme includes the illness of the Prophet, and such subsequent events as when he declares that he will die. Then when Azrael (the Angel of death) comes to take his soul, Fatima welcomes him, and after the death of Prophet Muhammad, she expresses her sorrow and mourning in the form of a dirge. In addition to this, at the end of the chapter on death in the printed copies of mawlid texts, usually a separate section is added specifically on her, with such titles as "The Death of Fatima al-Zahra" or "Fatima's Features."

Another way in which Fatima is frequently mentioned in literary texts is through her husband, Ali. In many studies on religious and/or Sufi topics as well as in many poems by members of Alawi and Baktashi orders, Fatima is mentioned in this respect. Examples of this genre include poems by Kul Himmet and Edib Harabi.

In addition, Fatima is often mentioned as the mother of Hassan and Hussein in such literary genres as coronachs and maqtal's on the infamous Karbala incident as well as other literary works on the significance of the Ahl al-Bayt. These different types of literary products contain different sections, couplets, quatrains and masnavi's (a poetic form in Persian and Ottoman literature, which consists of an indefinite number of couplets, with the rhyme scheme aa/bb/cc, etc.). For example, the best well known maqtal of its own kind, Fuzuli's Hadiqat al-Saadah, has a full chapter on Fatima (Chapter Four) where her life story is briefly told with some poetic pieces as well as prose.

On the other hand, in coronachs and psalms recited in Dargahs (buildings designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood, or tariqa) during the month of Muharram, Fatima is mentioned in terms of her different features. Examples of it can be found in some psalms attributed to Yunus Emre. In the Baktashi dargahs there is a hearth to the right of the Sufi sheikh's pelt. The entreaties are presented first for the Sufi sheikh, then the twelve imams and Fatima, and then other ranks (maqams). Also, just like in all wedding ceremonies among Muslims, in the Baktashi orders, the wedding ceremony includes the wish that "may the wedding between these two young people be as happy as the marriage of Ali and our mother Fatima." Similarly, in the Baktashi - Alawi literature, within the framework of the belief that different colors and odors symbolize the members of the Ahl al-Bayt, the black color and the smell of the pomegranate apple symbolize Fatima.

In addition, in the Dede Korkut stories, a famous genre within the old Turkish literature, the best and most modest women are said to be descendants of Aisha and Fatima.

In the Turkish folklore, the cult of Fatima has a very important place. In Anatolia, women think of Fatima, whom they call "Mother Fatma (Fadime)" as the symbol of good luck, abundance and blessing. In many places in Anatolia, when women plaster or paint walls of hearths, they press one of their hands on it and call this hand mark the "Mother Fatma hand."

Also called the "Pence-i Al-i aba," different fingers of this hand represent a particular member of the Ahl al-Bayt: the thumb finger represents Prophet Muhammad, the fore finger Ali, the middle finger Fatima, the ring finger Hassan, and the pinky finger represents Hussein. For this reason, in many poems that talk about the "Âl-i abâ," Fatima's name is also usually mentioned.

Similarly, in Anatolia when women do many things using their hands, even mundane acts such as making yogurt, kneading dough, and caressing the back of a sick person, etc., they start and finish it by saying "this hand is not mine, it is Mother Fatma's hand!" In this motif, it is implied that healing is expected from the "Pence-i Al-i aba." According to another folk belief, since the Mother Fatma used to bake bread in the ash, especially older women do not throw ash on the ground or try not to step on it. The name of the Mother Fatma is also mentioned when congratulating and motivating the young women who have just started hand knitting and lace work. In addition, the Turkish people say in their good wish for their good neighbors that "may Allah make you neighbor to our Mother Fatma in Paradise."

Also, when caressing the back of the woman who is about to deliver a baby, the midwife says to her that "this hand is not mine, it is Mother Fatma's hand!" referring to her belief that the delivery will not be very hard. Likewise, during the delivery the juice of a plant by the name of the "Mother Fatma's hand" (anastatika hierochuntica) is offered to the woman to ease the burden of delivery. For this reason, this plant, which is not found in Anatolia since it grows in the desert, is brought from the Arabian Peninsula by pilgrims and offered to pregnant women as a valuable gift. Finally, in some places ‘Fatma' is frequently given as the middle name to newly born babies.

On the other hand, we see Fatima's name in calligraphic works as well. In many works containing the names of the members of the Ahl al-Bayt, and in some mosques, next to the names of the Khulafa al-Rashidun (the first Four Caliphs), Fatima's name together with Hassan and Hussein, is written on plates, usually in the jali sulus style.

For the entire text, please see “Fatima”, by M. Yaşar Kandemir and Mustafa Uzun, in DIA, İstanbul


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