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Fatimah az-Zahra
(Peace be upon her)


Name: Fatimah.
Title: az- Zahra'. 
Agnomen: Ummu 'l-A'immah. 
Father's name: Muhammad ibn `Abdillah. 
Mother's name: khadijah bint khuwaylid. 
Birth: Born in Mecca of Friday, 20th jumada ` th-thaaniyah in the fifth year after the declaration of the prophet - hood (615 AD). 
Death: Died at the age of 18 in Medina on 14th Jumada ' l-ula 11 AH ( 632 AD); buried in the graveyard called Jannatul-Baqi in Medina. 

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HADRAT FATIMAH, was the only daughter of the Holy Prophet and Hadrat khadijah. the circumstances of her birth are described by Hadrat khadijah as follows: At the time of the birth of Hadrat Fatimah, I sent for my neighboring qurayshite women to assist me. They flatly refused, saying that I had betrayed them by supporting Muhammad. I was perturbed for a while, when , to my great surprise, I sighted four strange tall women with halos around them , approaching me. Finding me dismayed, one of them addressed me thus, " O Khadijah! I am Sarah, the mother of Ishaq, and the other three are, Mary the mother of Christ, Asiyah the daughter of Muzahim, and Umm kulthum, the sister of Moses. We have all been commanded by God to put our nursing knowledge at your disposal." saying this, all of them sat around me and rendered the services of midwifery till my daughter Fatimah was born. The motherly blessings and affection received by Hadrat Fatimah were only for five years, after which Hadrat Khadijah left for her heavenly home . Hereafter the Holy Prophet brought her up. 

Marriage:

When Fatimah come of age, there come forward a number of aspirants to ask for her hand in marriage. The Holy prophet was awaiting the Divine order in this respect, till Imam ` Ali approached him and asked for her hand in marriage. The Holy Prophet come to Hadrat Fatimah and asked, " My daughter ! Do you consent to be wedded to ` Ali, as I am so commanded by Allah ? " Hadrat Fatimah thereupon bowed her head in modesty. Umm Salamah narrates: " The face of Fatimah bloomed with joy and her silence was so suggestive and conspicuous that the Holy Prophet stood up reciting ` Allahu Akbar' ( Allah is most great ) . 

Fatimah's silence is her acceptance." On Friday, l st. dhi'l - hijjah 2 A H , the marriage ceremony took place. All the Muhajirun ( Emigrants) and Ansar ( Helpers) of Medina assembled in the mosque while Imam ` Ali was seated before the Holy Prophet with all the ceremonious modesty of a bridegroom. they Holy Prophet first recited an eloquent sermon and them announced: I have been commanded by Allah to get Fatimah wedded to ` Ali, and so I do hereby solemnize the matrimony between ` Ali and Fatimah on a dower of four hundred mithqal of silver. Then he asked Imam ` Ali, " Do you consent to it, O `Ali ? " Yes, I do , O Holy Prophet of Allah! " replied Imam ` Ali. Then the Holy Prophet raised his hands to pray thus O my god ! bless both of them , sanctify their progeny and grant them the keys of The beneficence, Thy treasures of wisdom and Thy genius; and let them be a source of blessing and peace to my ummah. Her children; Imam Hasan, Imam husayn, zaynab and um kultun, are well - known for their piety , goodness and generosity. Their strength of character and action changed the course of history and fortified Islam which otherwise would have been lost to mankind. 

Her Ethical Attributes

Hardrat Fatimah inherited the genius and wisdom, the determination and will - power, the piety and sanctity, the generosity and benevolence, the devotion and worship of Allah, the self - sacrifice and hospitality, the forbearance and patience, and the knowledge and nobility of disposition of her illustrious father , both in words and deeds. " I often witnessed my mother, "says Imam Husayn, " absorbed in preayer from dusk to down. "Her generosity and compassion for the poor was such that no destitute or beggar ever returned from her door unattended. 

The Property of Fadak

The Holy Prophet during his lifetime gave Hadrat Fatimah a gift of very extensive from land , known as Fadak , which was documented in her name as her absolute property. The death of the Holy Prophet affected her very much and she was very sad and grief - stricken and wept her heart out crying all the time . she was confronted, after the demise of her father, with the deprivement of the rightful claim of leadership of her husband Imam ` Ali , and the usurpation of her inheritance, the Fadak. Throughout her life, she never spoke to those who had oppressed her and deprived her of her rightful claims. She requested that her oppressors should be kept away even from attending her funeral. Her ill - wishers even resorted to physical violence. Once the door of her house was pushed on her , and the child she was carrying was hurt and the baby - boy was still born. Her house was set on fire. Having been molested and strichen with grief, which crossed all limits of forbearance and endurance , she expressed her sorrows in and elegy composed by herself to mourn her father the Holy Prophet. A couplet of the elegy, with particular reference to her woeful plight, she expressed thus: O my father ! after your death I was subjected to such tortures and tyranny that if they had been inflicted on the `Day' , it would have turned into ` Night'. 

Death

Hadrat Fatimah did not survive more than seventy-five day after the demise of her father. she breathed her last on the 14th jumada'l - ula 11 AH. Before her demise she bequeathed the following as her will to Imam 'Ali: 1. O ` Ali, you will personally perform my funeral rites. 2. Those who have displeased my should not be allowed to attend my funeral. 3 .My corpse should be carried to the graveyard at right. Thus Imam ` compliance with her will , performed all the funeral rites and accompanied exclusively by her relatives and sons carried her at night to Jannatu l-Baqi, where she was laid to rest and her wishes fulfilled. 

The Holy Prophet said: 

"whoever injures (bodily or sentimentally ) Fatimah, injures me ; and whoever injures me injures Allah; and whoever injures Allah practices unbelief. O Fatimah ! If your wrath is incurred, it incurs the wrath of Allah; and if you are happy, it makes Allah happy too." 

M.H. shakir writers: 

Fatimah, the only daughter of the Holy prophet of Islam, was born I Mecca on 20 Th. Jumada ' th - thaniyah 18 BH. The good and noble lady Khadijah and the apostle of Allah bestowed all their natural love, care and devotion on their lovable and only child Fatimah, who in her turn was extremely fond of her parents. The princess of the House of the Prophet, was very intelligent, accomplished and cheerful. Her sermons, poems and sayings serve, as an index to her strength of character and nobility of mind. Her virtues gained her the title " Our Lady of light. she was tall, slender and endowed with great beauty, which caused her to be called " az - Zahra' " ( the Lady of Light). she was called az - Zahra' because her light used to shine among those in Heaven. After arriving in Medina, she was married to ` Ali , in the first year hijrah, and she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Her children, Hasan, Husayn, Zaynab and umm kul-thum. are well - known for their piety , goodness and generosity Their strength of chracter and actions changed the course of history. The Holy Prophet said, " Fatimah is a peace of my heart". He would go out to receive his doughtier whenever she come from her husband's house. 

Every morning on his way to the Mosque, he would pass by Fatimah's house and say: " as-salamu ` alaykum ya ahlul-Bayti`n-nubuwwah wa ma` dani ` r - risala " ( peace be on you O the Household of prophet hood and the source of Messengership) Fatimah is famous and acknowledged as the " sayyidatu 'n-nisa'i ' l-alamin " ( Leader of all the women of the world for all times ) because the Prophethood of Muhammad would not have been everlasting without her. The Prophet is the perfect example for men, but could not be so for women. For all the verses revealed in the Holy Qur'an for women, Fatimah is the perfect model, who translated every year into action. In her lifetime, she was a complete woman, being Daughter, wife and Mother at the some time. 

Muhammad during his lifetime, gave Fatimah a gift of very extensive farm lands, famous as Fadak, which were documented in her name, as her absolute personal property. An heiress to the remainder of her mother`s wealth, a princess who was the only daughter of the holy prophet who was also a ruler, a lady whose husband was the conqueror of Arab tribes and second only to her father in and position, Fatimah could have led a luxurious life. But in spite of her wealth and possessions, she worked, dressed, ate and lived very simply . she was very generous; and none who come to her door, when away empty handed. Many times she gave away her all and herself went without food. As a daughter, she loved her parents so much , that she won their love and regard to such and extent that the Holy prophet used to rise, whenever she come near him As a wife, she was very devoted.

She never asked ` Ali for anything in her whole life. As a mother , she cared for and brought up wonderful children; they have lift their marks on the face of the world , which time will not be able to eraze. The death of the Apostle, affected her very much and she was very sad and grief- striken and wept her heart out crying all the time. unfortunately, after the death of the prophet, the government confiscated her famous land of Fadak and gave it to the state. Fatimah was pushed behind her him door ( when they attacked the house of ` Ali and took him to force him accept the caliphate of Abu Baker), so that the child , she was carrying was hurt and the baby boy Muhsin was still born. 

Her house was set on fire by the Government. The tragedy of her father's death and the unkindness of her fathers`s followers, were too much for the good , gently and sensitive lady and she breathed her last on 14 Th. Jumada ` l - ula 11 AH, exactly seventy - five days after the death of her father, the Holy prophet of Islam. Fatimah died in the prime of her life at the age of eighteen, and was buried in jannatu 'l-Baqi ` Medina. 

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Succession to the Prophet (S.A.) 

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Eventually the inevitable occurred and the spirit of the Prophet (S.A.) flew to its eternal abode. For in the words of the poet Nizami, 'he who has not died and will not die is only God.' It was clear that with the death of this great man a storm would blow up over the peaceful ocean of Islam, and that turbulent waters would be churned up. The ambitious would try to benefit and to get as much as they could from this turbulence and commotion, to fish in these troubled waters. On the other hand, we know that the great mass of people believe anything they see; they have always been thus and have always been fuel for a fire that anyone may care to kindle. They need constant training and continual taking care of, and without an educator they cannot reach their own perfection. Now we must ask if such a society, in such conditions, needs a leader who can take the reins of command in the place of the Prophet or not, so that the result of all the pains the Messenger of Allah took should not be dissipated. Is there not a need for a knowledgeable, political authority who is thoroughly acquainted with the Divine laws and who can guide and lead the people on the right path in the right way? 

The Shi'a belief holds that the generous Grace and Love of God and His infinite wisdom demand that after the Prophet the people should not be without a leader. Such a leader must be sinless and wise, so that his correctness of speech and action may be a guarantee and a true sign of a superior man, selected by God. He must take the reins of the Muslim community in his hands and lead and guide them with extensive wisdom and foresight, without error, and this he must take from the Prophet of Islam. Because there is no reason for God, Who was considerate of the people in the time of the Prophet, to change His judgement and to withdraw His loving concern. How could it be possible that God, Who by His Grace created thousands of elaborate details for the protection and growth of our bodies, Who caused the eyebrows to grow so that the salty, bitter, tainted sweat of the forehead cannot hurt the eyes, and Who made the eyelashes also so that under their outspread canopy the eyes can be more beautiful and better protected, how can God, Who created these and many more known and unknown things, have neglected to appoint a goodly successor to the Prophet? Does not the bringing into existence of the best of communities, which is the aim of Islam, need the selection of the best of leaders? Is not the appointment of a sinless leader, educator and Imam the basis of the contentment of society? Can Islamic society attain contentment and happiness without divine supervision and leadership? 

So if there is a need for the divine, sinless leader, and Islamic society wants a divine educator, how can it be said that this matter has been ignored by Islam and that the people have been left to themselves? In short, the same philosophy which demands the appointment of the Prophet also precisely demands that God introduce and appoint a successor through the Prophet. The Prophet of Islam (S.A.) said in the latter part of his life: "O People, I swear before Allah that I have explained what will make you nearer to heaven (contentment) and what will make you far from the Fire (error)". (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p.74) With this explanation, how can it be said that the Prophet of Islam did not appoint his immediate successor? 

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Is the Qur'an Not Sufficient?

The great and mighty Qur'an is the fundamental basis for every kind of Islamic concept. Like a mighty rock, all the fruitful buildings of Islamic knowledge have been made steady on it. It is the clear spring from which all the streams of insight flow. The credibility and prestige of other religious foundations rest on it. But, on the basis of the proofs we shall give, one cannot be content with the Qur'an alone to solve the problems of leadership, the differences which crop up in Islamic society, or the satisfying of the needs of the Muslim people. 

1. Firstly because the Qur'an and its great and abundant contents need commentary and explanation. Since all the verses are not alike in clarity and openness, unacquainted and unknowing readers in the first moments of their journey may become lost and not take the path to their destination. So the Prophet himself or those appointed by him who have a spiritual link with what is beyond the external world, must be a guide in this valley also, so that they can interpret and explain the ayahs according to Allah's purpose. For if not, ordinary people will sometimes interpret incorrectly and will end up far from the truth.(14) It is recounted that a thief was brought into the presence of the Abassid Caliph Mu'tasim so that he might have the punishment proscribed in the Qur'an administered to him. The command of the Qur'an is: "Cut off the hand of a thief." But Mu'tasim did not know from where the hand should be cut. He asked the 'ulema. One of them said: "From the wrist." "From the elbow," another said. Mu'tasim was not satisfied. He was forced to ask Imam Muhammad at-Taqi the 9th Imam (A.S.) who was present, and he replied: "Four fingers must be cut off." "Why?" "Since Allah has decreed in the Qur'an: 'And that the places of Sajdah are for Allah.' (LXXII;18), that is the seven places of the body, of which one is the palm, which in Sajdah contact the ground belong to Allah, they should not be cut off." (Nur ath-Thaqalayn, vol.5, p.439.) All those present accepted and were satisfied with his proof. This kind of interpretation is in fact interpretation of the Qru'an by the Qur'an, and is peculiar to the descendents of the prophetic mission, and no one, to whatever degree he may be a master of interpretation, is able to succeed in perfectly understanding interpretation in this way unless he has taken the habit from the Household of the Prophet and has taken them as his model. 

2. Another proof is that what we have said concerning the need for correct interpretation of the Qur'an concerns only one side of the Qur'an, the exoteric meaning and the commands of the Qur'an. But in the shelter of these exoteric words and meanings, a deeper and wider aim, a spiritual profundity is concealed, especially in the sections on knowledge, beliefs and the virtues. The respected Prophet (S.A.) said: "The Qur'an has a beautiful outer meaning and a profound inner meaning." (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p.599). He also said: "The Qur'an has profundity, and the profundity of that is deep too, up to seven inner meanings." (Tafsir Safi, vol.1, p. 39). Truly, all the Qur'an has, according to the words of the great exegetes, a hermeneutics and an inner meaning, and to arrive at them by thought and research alone is not possible. It is not explicable to all through words, for the ability to perceive and practice this is not given to all men. Only those near to God, the pure, those free from corruption, can comprehend this, and use it for the solution of the differences and incidents between men, and learn it, and then, by virtue of the immunity from error and mistake that they have from God, teach it to others. These ones near to God, the slaves immune from error are the Prophet (S.A.) and his Household (A.S.) about whom the Qur'an said: 

"Household of the Prophet; Allah desires only to put away from you abomination and to cleanse you." (XXXIII:33) 

There is also a hadith that only the Prophet and his Household, who are the original ones to be addressed by the Qur'an, can perceive all the truths of the Book.(16) That is to say the Prophet who was addressed by Jibra'il and his Household, since they are the family of the Prophet, are more acquainted with the meaning of the Qur'an. It is because of this connection between the Qur'an and the Household that the Prophet said to the people in the last days of his life: "I leave two things in your trust, the Book of Allah and my descendents; if you attach yourselves to these two you will never go astray."(17) 

3. The Qur'an needs a sinless, enforcing guarantor. Since the Qur'an is a fundamental law, a kind of constitution, it needs an enforcing guarantor and a power to implement it. But only he who like the Prophet (S.A.) is free from error and who understands and knows the Qur'an with competence, can be the guarantor of its commands and laws. These special qualities are to be found in the beings of the Imams (A.S.), and the best witness to this is the few years of the leadership of 'Ali (A.S.), who, despite the difficulties which beset his holding of the rein of government, carried out to the end the great and resplendent laws of Islam each and every one. As a postscript, the summary and fundamental of this lesson can be found in a discussion which students following the sixth Imam, Ja'far as-Sadiq (A.S.), had with a man in the presence of the Imam. 

A man from Damascus was given a meeting with Imam Sadiq (A.S.) and said that he had come for a discussion with one of his students. The Imam said, "Introduce him to Hisham." Hisham was the youngest of his students. "O Boy," said the man from Damascus, "ask me concerning the Imamate of this man (Imam Sadiq (A.S.))." Hisham was angered by his lack of manners and shuddered. But he concealed his temper and began. "Is your Creator more kind and loving towards His slaves, or the slaves themselves.?" "The Creator." "What has the loving Creator done for his slaves?" "He has appointed a clear guidance and proof, to protect them from differences and disunity, and to establish friendship and unity among them. He has made clear to them their religious duties." "Who is that guide?" "The Prophet." "Who is it after the death of the Prophet?" "The Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allah." "Can the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet prevent us from differences today?" "Yes." "So why do you and I who are both Muslims have a dispute, or in other words, why have you come here from Damascus as a result of this difference?" The man from Damascus was silent and said no more. Imam Sadiq (A S.) said to him: "Why don't you speak up?" "What shall say?" he replied. "If I say we have no difference, then I lie. And just as I said the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet should take away the difference between us, so this also is untrue, because, in many instances, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah do not have a clear and obvious meaning that could dispel our differences." So the man from Damascus said that he wanted to ask the very same question from Hisham. 

The Imam agreed. "O Hisham, Who is the more loving towards people? God, or the people themselves?" "God." "Did he send them someone to protect the unity of Muslims and to take over their control, to explain to them truth and falsity?" "Are you talking about the time of the Prophet, or about now?" "In the time of the Prophet, it was him; no, tell me about now." "Today it is this man who is seated here and to whom people come from every corner of the land, and who gives us news of the heaven and the earth; and this knowledge was bequeathed to him from his father and so on back to the Prophet." "How can I verify and accept this statement for myself?" "Go now and ask him anything you like." "That's right, there is no other excuse; only I must ask." Then Imam Sadiq (A.S.) told him about his journey and of the things that had happened to him on his way which only the man could know of. When he had explained so that no doubt remained for him, the man declared his belief in the Imam.(Usul Kafi, vol. 1, p.171-73) 

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(Roots of religion. p170-177)