Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) belongs to the noblest family ever existing throughout the whole history of mankind. Her distinguished father Prophet Muhammad (saw) was the very last messenger of Allah (SWT), a personality that the Noble Qur'an introduces him as the Best Paradigm. The mother of Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was a pure noble lady named Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (sa), a godly woman with unparalleled virtues and merits, who dedicated all her life and wealth for the sake of Islam. Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) is the wife of the Leader of all Believers, Ameerul Momineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), mother of the Masters of the youths of heaven (Syed-e-Shabab-e-Ahlul Jannah) and grandmother of the other nine Imams of Islam. Her name is as beautiful and as peaceful as the garden of heaven.
Her name is Fatimah and her other names are: Zahra, Seddiqah, Tahirah, Mubarakah, Batool, Radiah, Mardiah and Muhaddathah. The word Fatimah means separated. She is named Fatimah because her followers are separated from the Hell because of her. Zahra means luminous. Sixth Imam, Imam Sadiq (as) said: "When Fatimah prayed, she shined for the heavens as the stars shine for people on earth." Seddiqah means someone who says nothing except the truth. Tahirah means pure and clean, Mubarakah means full of favour and blessing, Batool means separated from uncleanness and Radiah means satisfied with Allah's (SWT) fate and destiny and Mardiah means laudable. Muhaddathah means the one spoken to by angels. The following are some of her titles: Ensiah (heavenly lady), Haniah (sympathetic), Shahidah (martyr), Afifah (chaste), Sabirah (patient), Alimah (learned), Madhloomah (oppressed), Ma'soomah (infallible), Umm al-Hassan (mother of Hassan), Umm al-Hussain (mother of Hussain), Umm al-A'immah (mother of Imams) and Umme Abiha. Umme Abiha means mother of her father. Prophet Muhammad (saw) has given her this title and this shows that Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) treated Prophet Muhammad (saw) as his mother. This fact was proved throughout the history as she cured her father during the wars and when she was at home and many other cases.
According to the Islamic Calendar, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was born in Makkah on the 20th day of the Islamic Lunar Calendar month, Jumada Al-Thani (615 AD), five years after the declaration of themessage of Islam by Prophet Muhammad (saw) and three years after Isra and Miraj (Night journey and ascension of Prophet Muhammad (saw) to heaven) and eight years before Hijrah (migration of Prophet Muhammad (saw) from Makkah to Medina). Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) lived eight years in Makkah with her father and then she immigrated to Medina. When Prophet Muhammad (saw) died in Madina, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was eighteen years and few months old.
Pure noble lady Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (sa) and Prophet Muhammad (saw) bestowed all their natural love, care and devotion on their lovable child Fatima Al-Zahra (sa), who in her turn was extremely fond of her parents. As a daughter, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) loved her parents so much that she won their love and regard. The behavior of Prophet Muhammad (saw) toward his daughter Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was special. Prophet Muhammad (saw) showed unique respect to his dear daughter; whenever Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) came to see him, he (saw) welcomed her, stood up to show respect and even kissed her hand and made her sit at his own place. On every occasion that Prophet Muhammad (saw) decided to go on a journey, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was the last one to whom he (saw) bade farewell, and as soon as he (saw) came back from his trip, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was the first one whom Prophet Muhammad (saw) visited.
Ayesha, the wife of Messenger of Allah (saw), spoke about this physical, spiritual and moral relationship: "Never have I seen anyone more like the Messenger of Allah (saw) in his solemn way of standing and sitting, more than Fatimah, may Allah (SWT) grant her more honor. When she (Fatimah) came in to see him, he (Messenger of Allah) would rise to his feet, take her hand, kiss her and seat her where he was seated. And when he came to see her, she would stand up, take his hand, kiss him and seat him where she was seated."
Ayesha, the wife of Messenger of Allah (saw), was also reported to have said: "Never have I seen anyone resembling Prophet of Allah, in his way of speaking and talking, better than Fatimah."
The highest degree of humanity is Infallibility, where the consent and anger is based solely upon the anger and consent of Allah (SWT). An infallible person shows content to whatever Allah (SWT) is content with, and shows anger to whatever angers Allah (SWT). Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) is one whom the Almighty Allah is content when she is satisfied, and is angry when she is angry. This position has astonished many people.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) demonstrated to the people the lofty status of women in Islam. One day when a person asked Prophet Muhammad (saw) as to why he showed such respect to his daughter, he (saw) was told: "You do not know Fatima. She has the fragrance of paradise. Do you know that Allah (SWT) is pleased when Fatima is pleased and Allah (SWT) is displeased if Fatima is displeased?"
Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was virtue personified. In fact, she is considered the greatest lady that ever graced Planet Earth. Whatever Prophet Muhammad (saw) said about her was to make people aware of her position and status that would serve as an example for women of all time.
Messenger of Allah (saw), who spoke only what was revealed to him, told her that she [Fatima Al-Zahra (sa)] was the chief and the best of women: "Won't you be pleased to the chief of believers' women and the chief of the women of this Ummah (Nation)?"
To acquaint the Muslims with Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) and her high rank, he (saw) said to them: "The best women of Paradise are Khadijah, daughter of Khuwailid, Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, Maryam, daughter of Imran, and Asiyah, daughter of Muzahim, the wife of Fir'on (Pharaoh)."
Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) the Little Supporter: Umme Abiha (mother of her father)
The tenth year after Besat-e-Rasool (The year Prophet Muhammad (saw) began his mission) was a very hard period for Muslims. The respected Hazrat Abu Talib (as) and Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (sa) had passed away within a short span of time. Prophet Muhammad (saw) had lost two of his best and kindest supporters both at home and in the society.
Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) had a very difficult time as well. She had lost a mother like Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (sa) while she was only six years old. However, this was not the only difficulty she had to face; as a matter of fact, every time she would come out of the house, she was faced unpleasant events. She would see the enemies cursing Prophet Muhammad (saw) or even hurting him physically. Nevertheless, she had understood the new situation and despite her young age she had realized that supporting her father, Prophet Muhammad (saw) was of her new responsibilities. Hence, she became a great contributor and supporter of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Once she saw a number of people had gathered around in Masjid al-Haram to plan the murder of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) returned home with tearful eyes, and told her father about the plan; as a result the enemies had failed to carry out their plan. At another time, one of the polytheists, who had apparently come to visit Prophet Muhammad (saw), threw dirt and garbage on Prophet Muhammad (saw). Prophet Muhammad (saw), owner of the greatest morality, acted as if nothing had happened, forgave him, and returned home. When Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) saw what had happened to her father, ran to him with some water and washed his father's head and face. She began to cry at the harsh act the enemies had done to her father, but Prophet Muhammad (saw) told her:
"O my daughter! Do not cry. Be sure that Allah (SWT) will protect your father from all evils and will make him successful in his mission."
At another incident, when some polytheist poured the waste of a slaughtered Camel and sheep on Prophet Muhammad (saw) during his prostration, again, it was Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) who went to help Prophet Muhammad (saw) with love. She helped her father clean the waste, and with her act caressed her father's soul.
These affectionate moralities of Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was so much that Prophet Muhammad (saw) called her "Umme Abiha (mother of her father)" implying the deepness of love and care little Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) showed her father, Prophet Muhammad (saw). As a wife, Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was deeply devoted to her husband, Imam Ali (as) and had never asked him for anything in her whole life. As a mother, she cared for and brought up the most wonderful children who have left their marks in history that time will not be able to erase.
Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) was very intelligent, accomplished and cheerful. She had inherited the genius and wisdom, determination and willpower, the piety and sanctity, the generosity and benevolence, the devotion and worship of Allah (SWT) as well as other great qualities like self-sacrifice and hospitality, forbearance and patience, and the knowledge and nobility of disposition from her illustrious father, Prophet Muhammad (saw), both in words and deeds. Her generosity and compassion for the poor was such that no destitute or beggar ever returned from her door unattended.
We, Muslims believe that Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) is the most superior woman through all the centuries and eras. This belief is inferred from Prophetic narratives. In one of these statements (on which both Shiites and Sunnites agree) the Great Prophet Muhammad (saw) says: "Sayyidati Nisa il Aalameen (Fatima is the master of all the women of the worlds.)" Although it is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an that Maryam [Mary, mother of Prophet Jesus (pbuh)] is the best woman in the worlds and has high position and is considered to be chaste and continence and is one of the four greatest women, she was the best woman of her life's period, but Fatima Al-Zahra's (sa) superiority is not restricted to her life's period and is history time. That is why Prophet Muhammad (saw) named her as the greatest women of all the women from the first to the last in another saying. Another point that can be inferred from these narratives is that because Fatima Al-Zahra (sa) is the greatest woman and no other has competence with her, knowing and recognizing all her life and every moment of her life is extremely valuable, as we can reach high spiritual states by deliberating it. Furthermore, by referring to the Noble Qur'an we find out that several verses are descended to state her position: (33:33, known as Ayat-e-Tatheer), (3:61, known as Ayat-e-Mubahila), (17:26), the beginning verses of chapter 76 (al-Insan) , the whole chapter 108 (al-Kawthar).