Nothing is harder for human being than to describe the character of lady Fatima (S.A), This is because she was a special creation of Allah and was perfect in every way. The Prophet used to say that Fatima is Houri of Paradise but in human form. She has been praised by Allah in the Holy Quran in the following verse:
“And Allah wished to keep you away from uncleanliness, you members of the family and to make you pure and spotless.”
How can any one then describe the character of such a great person? One of the ways of doing this is to turn to another pure person in her family and use his words to explain about her So we turn to Imam Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) who has described Hazrat Fatima’s character in terms of nine names by which she is known in presence of Allah.
These names and what they tell us about her charater are described in the following paragraphs.
SIDDIQA (The truthful one)
This title was given to her by the Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (S A.W.W) It is reported that the Prophet (S. A.W.W) said to Imam Ali (A.S), “Oh Ali, you have three things which none has, not even me.You have me as your father- in law, and my father – in law was not like me.
“You have, as your wife, SIDDIQA my daughter, none of my wives is like her “You have as your sons Hasan and Hussain; I have no sons who are like them.
“But you are from me and I am from you.”
Once Mufazzal B. Omar asked the sixth Imam, Hazrat Jaffer Sadiq (A.S) as to who gave “Ghusl Mayyit (the bath given to the dead) to Hazrat Fatima (S.A). The Imam replied, “Amir Al Momineen (AH A.S) the Imam added, “… for Fatima (S.A) was a SIDDIQA and no one could give her this bath except a ‘SIDDIQ, like Mariam (another SIDDIQA) was given her ‘Ghusl Mayyit’ by Issa (another SIDDIQ).”
Hazrat Fatima was so truthful that whatever she said became the TRUTH! Once, on a day before eid, her sons Hasan (A.S) and Husain (A.S) asked her if they could have new clothes for eid. She told them that their dress was with the dressmaker.
Allah sent the Archangel Gibrael to Hazrat Fatima’s house with two pairs of gowns from Paradise with the instructions that Gibrael introduce himself as a dressmaker.
MUBAREKAH (The Blessed One)
Indeed, she was the greatest blessing of Allah to the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and to Islam itself. Allah himself confirms this in “Sura-Kauthar” (chapter 108). Indeed the progeny of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) was brought through her.
According to the famous Sunni scholar Taban, the Prophet himself used to say, “Allah made the offspring of every Prophet (S.A.W.W) through that Prophet’s loins, and he made my offspring in the loins of Ali.” All sons are linked to their fathers except the sons of Fatima, for I am their father and their closest relative.”
TAHIRA (The Virtuous) AND ZAKEEAH (Pure)
These qualities have been given to her specially by Allah who confirms it in the following verse of the Quran: “And Allah only wishes to keep away uncleanliness from you, O member of the Family and make you pure and spotless.” (33:33).
Commenting on this verse, the famous Sunni scholar, Ibne Athir says, “The verse ‘and Allah only wishes… was revealed when the Prophet (S.A.W.W) had with him under his cloak Fatima (S.A), Hasan (A.S) and Hussain (A.S) and Ali (A.S) was behind him. The Prophet (S.A.W.W) then said, ‘This is my family, therefore removed all uncleanliness from them and make them pure and spotless'”.
Another Sunni scholar Sibt Bin Jawzi quotes an eyewitness saying “….I saw the Prophet (S.A.W.W) coming with Ali (A.S), Hasan (A.S) and Hussain (S.A) and they went in a room. He ordered Hasan to sit on his right lap and Hussain on his left lap and Fatima (S.A) and Ali (A.S) to sit near him.
He then covered himself and them all with a cloak and read, ‘And Allah only wishes…’ Then he prayed to Allah, ‘O Allah, truly these are (members of my family)’”.
RADHIA (One who is satisfied) and MARDHIA (The one who satisfies.
She was always satisfied with whatever Allah wished for her. Once she asked her father if he could give her a maid to help her in her housework.
The Prophet (S.A.W.W) replied, “Fatima, I will give you something that is better than a servant. After every prayer say ‘Allahu Akbar’ 34 times Alhamdulillah 33 times and subhanallah 33 times. Surely this is better for you than what you wanted…”
She replied, “I am pleased with Allah and his Messenger.” She started reading what her father had taught her for as long as she lived and it came to be known (and is still known) as Tasbih-E-Fatima.
Allah, too, was satisfied with her and honoured her specially in many ways. Allah made her Muhaddisa, Zahra and Batool.
MUHADDISA (One who speak with Angels)
Sheikh Sudduq, a famous Shia scholar, writes that Imam Jaffer Sadiq said, “Fatima was called “MUHADDISA’ because Angels came to her from heaven and addressed her, as they had addressed Mariam Bint Imran, saying Oh Fatima! Allah has chosen you (to be) above the women of all nations’.” In short, she was called MUHADDISA because she talked with Angels.
ZAHRA (The Lady of Light)
Allama Majlisi quotes Ibne Abbas who heard the Prophet (S.A. W. W) say: “Surely my daughter is the leader of all women from the beginning to the end. She is part of me and the light of my eyes. She is the flower of my head and is my soul.
She is a human Houri. Whenever she stands in prayers in the presence of her Lord (Allah) light comes from her and makes the sky bright. The earth shines to the Angels like star shines to the people of earth.”
Somebody asked Imam Sadiq (A.S) as to why Hazrat Fatima (S.A) was called Zahra. The Imam replied, ‘”Because when she stood up in prayers in the Mehrab, her light would shine to the in habitants of heaven as the lights of planets shine to the people of the earth.”
So as to give you exact meaning of this quality we shall give here several reports from various scholars of Islam:
1. Sheikh Suleiman Kundusi, the famous Sunni Qazi of Constamnopel says, “She (Fatima) was safe from menstruation and bleeding at the time of giving birth to a child”.
2. Al-Kashfi Al Hanafi says in his book Manaqib: “Fatima (S.A) was called Al-Batool because she was safe from that which women experience every month (menstruation).”
3. The author of Tarikh Al Kabir writes on the authority of Um Salma who says, “Fatima has never menstruated nor discharged childbed blood.”
4. The famous Sunni scholar, Suyuti, says, “Among Fatima’s extraordinary qualities is that she did not menstruate and when she gave birth to a child she would immediately become purified so as not to miss her prayers.”
5. The famous Sunni historian, Tabari, says that Asma Bint Umays said, “When Fatima (S.A) gave birth to Hasan she did not bleed; indeed, she does not experience menstrual bleeding at all.
When I informed the Prophet (S.A.W.W) about this he said, ‘Do you not know tf t my daughter is pure and chaste? She does not discharge blood from childbirth or menstruation'”.
Her Other Characteristics
Over and above these nine qualities, there are many more sides to Hazrat Fatima’s character some of which are described below.
1. HER PIETY
After the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and Imam Ali (A.S), no one else understood Allah more than she did. Her true knowledge (‘Maarifa’) of Allah had a great effect on her When she stood to pray, it is said that the fear of Allah would make her breathe fast.
According to the writer of Biharul Anwar the Prophet (S.A.W.W) said, “…whenever Fatima stands for prayers in Mehrab before her Allah, light comes out of her and shines to the Angels of Heaven just as a star shines to mankind on earth.
“Allah says to the Angels, ‘Look on my servant Fatima, who is the leader of all women, prays before me. Her limbs shake out of my fear…”
According to Hasan Al Basri, there was no other Muslim woman who prayed as much as did Hazrat Fatima (S.A). She would pray until her legs would swell.
Once on a Friday night, Imam Hasan (A.S) saw her pray all night. He heard her pray for believers by naming each of them, but did not ask from Allah for anything for herself. When he inquired why this was so she said, “My son, give your neighbours preference over yourself.”
2. HER MODESTY and SIMPLICITY
Hers was a life of simplicity and sacrifice She always put the wants and wishes of others before her own Everybody else in her house followed this principle.
One day Imam Hasan (A.S) and Imam Husain (A.S) were sick. Imam Ali (A.S), Hazrat Fatima (S.A) and their maid Fizza made a promise (“Nazr”) to Allah that they would fast for three days after the children had become well.
When the children became well, the whole family and Fizza started three days fast. On the first day, just when the family were to break their fast each with a loaf of bread, a needy person came asking for food. Hazrat Fatima (S. A), her two sons, Imam Ali (A.S) and Fizza all gave away their bread and went to sleep hungry.
On the second day at the time of breaking the fast, an orphan came and he was given all the five loaves. And on the third day a prisoner came and he was given all the loaves. Such was the high character of Hazrat Fatima (S. A) and her family.
Allah was so much pleased by this action that he revealed Sura Al Dahr (chapter 76) in honour of Hazrat Fatima (S. A) and her family.
Allah also sent food and drinks of heaven for Hazrat Fatirna (S A) and her children with which to break their fast. Another example of her piety is: On the night of : marriage. a beggar came to her house asking for help. She didn’t have anything to give so she gave her best dress that her father had given her as her marriage gift. She, instead, wore an old dress.
3. HER GENEROSITY
After settling in Medina, gradually the economic position of Muslims became good. From the ‘Male Ghanima’ (property and riches got from wars) many Muslims became rich. But not Hazrat Fatima (S.A) and her family.
All that they got, they spent in the way of Islam. Several times when the needy and the travellers came to the Prophet (S.A.W.W) for help, he would send them to Hazrat Fatima’s house and she would never send them emptyhanded.
On one occasion she gave away her necklace of great sentimental value (it being a gift from her cousin Fatima Bint Hamza) to a beggar as she didn’t have anything else to give.
In the last few years of her life, her father had given her the estate of Fadak. It is said that the annual income from this estate was not less that 20,000 dinars.
In those days this was a lot of money. This was hers to spend. However, she used only that amount of money from Fadak that was needed to feed her children. The remaining part was given away in charity to the needy.
4. HER KNOWLEDGE
She was a very knowledgeable person though went to no school. She had her knowledge direct from Allah, and then there was her father Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) who was another teacher for incidents are given below to show the ‘ knowledge.
Once the Prophet (S,A.W.W) asked all those who were present in the Mosque of Medina this question: What: the best thing for the women? Everybody gave his reply but none satisfied the Prophet (S.A.W.W). Imam Ali (A.S) went to Hazrat Fatima (S A) to get her reply. She said, “The best thing for women is not to see men, and not to let men see them.”
When the Prophet (S.A.W.W) heard her reply he was pleased and satisfied. He said, “Surely she has spoken the truth for she is part of me.”
She was the teacher for women who needed religious and other day to day guidance. Imam Hasan Askari (A.S) says that a woman came to Hazrat Fatima and asked questions that the woman’s mother wanted to know.
Hazrat Fatima (S.A) gave the answers. The mother asked more questions and Hazrat Fatima (S.A) replied them all. The mother asked still more questions. Her daughter apologized to Hazrat Fatima(S.A).
Hazrat Fatima (S.A) replied, “Ask any questions that come in your mind.” She added, “If a person was hired to carry a load to the top of a mountain for a reward of one thousand dinars, would he mind doing so? The woman replied “No.”
Hazrat Fatima continued, “My reward for answering each question is more (in value) than what it takes pearls to fill in the space between the earth and the sky.”
And then she went on narrating “Hadith” from her father, the Prophet (S.A.W.W), on the rewards that scholars of Islam would get from Allah on the Day of Judgement. Indeed, she is one of the most reliable sources of (“hadith”) of the Prophet (S.A.W.W).
He knowledge of every branch of Islam and every part of Qur’an can be seen in her sermon (Khutba) which she gave in the court of AbuBakr when she came to ask him to return to her the estate of Fadak (see fadak ).
To support her claim she quoted more than twenty verses of the Quran. In her closing words she challenged in these words, “So you do what you want and wait, and we too shall wait…”
Her knowledge was of such high quality that she could talk with Angels She would receive some special information which was collected in a book called ‘Mushaf according to Allama Majlisi who reports on the authority of Imam Sadiq (A.S).
This book had information on Islamic Law, e.g. legal punishments. The book also had names of all rulers of the world both of the past and the future. Lastly, it had description of all important events that would take place in future.
The size of this book was three times that of the Quran. Remember: this book was not part of the Quran.