On The Prophet’s Family: Fatimah and Ali

28 October, 2020
Q Salam. Thank you very much for such a website. Jazaku Allah khaira. I want to know about the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and about the prophet's son-in-law. How was his daughter? What were her contributions? What was her status in Islam? How was her husband? Who was he? What were his contributions? Thank you.

Answer

Short Answer: 

  • Fatimah is regarded as a loving daughter, mother, wife, and exemplar for all women.
  • After Khadijah, Fatimah is seen as the leader of all women in Paradise. 
  • When she reached maturity, she was betrothed to the young Ali, the cousin of the Prophet. In so short an account, we can do little but mention the highlights of their lives. Ali was to become the fourth of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.
  • Fatima is known to us as one of the most outstanding women of all time. 
  • Perhaps the greatest thing that their lives teach us is that being close to the Prophet can bring hardship, yes; but also the greatest of honor. Better than any of the world’s honors, serving Islam and its Messenger is the greatest thing a person can achieve.

………….

Asalamu Alaikum Masooma,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Answering your question gives us the opportunity to talk about two of the greatest figures in our Islamic history. While today’s world looks for sensational stories and for stars who put themselves at the forefront of the day’s news by any means, these two great figures were marked by the simplicity of their lives.

On The Prophet’s Family: Fatimah and Ali

Ali and Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with them) were devoted to one another and to the message of Islam. They were truly ones who “submitted” to the will of Allah Almighty.

Because of the rift that occurred between Shiite and Sunni, there are different accounts of the stories of both Fatimah and Ali. So, we shall take the majority view.

Fatimah was the fourth daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH) and his wife Khadijah. This should be enough to tell us what kind of a girl she was. How could the daughter of such parents be anything but good?

She was born about five years before the first revelation of the Quran, so her whole childhood was lived in an atmosphere of the growth of Islam and the terrible sufferings and persecution which Muhammad (PBUH) had to face because of the message he brought.

Instead of the carefree life of a little girl, she saw the way her father was treated at the hands of the Quraish. When she was among the Muslim community deprived of food and sustenance for three years in the rough and desolate valley outside Makkah, Fatimah learned that to be a Muslim, one had to struggle daily for what is right.

On one occasion, when she was only ten years old, her father was praying at the Kabah when one of the leaders of Quraish, Abu Jahl, out of hatred for Islam and its Messenger (PBUH), caused the entrails of a camel to be poured over his head.

The little girl not only wiped the filth off of her father, but she openly scolded Abu Jahl and his companions for doing such a thing.

On another occasion, Abu Jahl slapped her in the face while she was passing him on the road. Her response was to go to Abu Sufyan, the head of the Quraish, for justice. Abu Sufyan then took her back to Abu Jahl, and she slapped him in return.

For Muslims, Fatimah is regarded as a loving daughter, mother, wife, and exemplar for all women. The Prophet (PBUH) once said:

The best women on earth are four: Mary, mother of Jesus; Asya, wife of Pharaoh; Khadijah, mother of the Believers; and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. (At-Tirmidhi – Sahih)

After Khadijah, Fatimah is seen as the leader of all women in Paradise.

Her Marriage to Ali

When she reached maturity, she was betrothed to the young Ali, the cousin of the Prophet. Ali had grown up in the Prophet’s house and, while only ten years old, had been one of the first to embrace Islam.

Ali was like a son to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). When Ali, who was twenty-one, was married to the Prophet’s daughter, who was nineteen, the Prophet told Fatimah: 

I have married you to the dearest of my family to me.

After her mother’s death, Fatimah is said to have been so grief stricken that it affected her own health. At this time, she cared even more for her father, becoming known as “Umm Abeeha” (the mother of her father) because she was so tender in caring for him.

Throughout her life, she was especially close to the Prophet (PBUH). After his death, though, she was also known to be fiercely loyal to her husband, taking his side when the succession was disputed.

Ali, too, was known for being fiercely loyal to the Prophet (PBUH).

After the Battle of Uhud, when the Muslims had come so close to being wiped out, Fatimah tended the wounds of her father and her husband, and afterwards she visited the graves of those who had fallen in battle.

Ali and Fatimah had five children, although one of them, Muhsin, died in infancy. They had two sons, Al-Hassan and Al-Husayn, and two daughters, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum.

Their two boys used to play with their grandfather, the Prophet (PBUH), even disturbing him while he was praying in the mosque. It is through the children of Ali and Fatimah that the descendants of Muhammad continued. In fact, the Fatimid dynasty is named after Fatimah.

In so short an account, we can do little but mention the highlights of their lives. Ali was to become the fourth of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Fatima is known to us as one of the most outstanding women of all time.

Perhaps the greatest thing that their lives teach us is that being close to the Prophet (PBUH) can bring hardship, yes; but also the greatest of honor. Better than any of the world’s honors, serving Islam and its Messenger is the greatest thing a person can achieve.

May their lives lead us all to be close to our beloved Prophet (PBUH), in good times and bad, and unhesitating in defending him and the message of Islam, which he brought to the world. May Allah be pleased with them both.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Prophet’s Family Life: It’s Peace and Harmony

The Prophet’s Wisdom in Leading His Companions

The Houses of the Prophet

Brief Sketch of Prophet Muhammad’s Family Life

The Children of the Prophet