Snapshot Stories: Fatima (ra) – Daughter of the Holy Prophet (sa)

Munavara Ghauri WOMEN’S SECTION

24th April 2021


Munavara Ghauri, UK

Fatima al Zahra (ra) was the youngest of the four daughters of the Holy Prophet (sa) and was much loved by all her family. She was pious, compassionate and generous. Her personal qualities reflected the beauty of her name ‘Zahra’, meaning a ‘blossoming flower’. Fatima (ra) lived an ascetic lifestyle, mirroring the spiritual household in which she was raised and was said to resemble the Holy Prophet (sa) in both her looks and conduct. [1] She was also reflective and retiring. The general consensus is that she was born five years prior to Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) claim to prophethood. 

A fascinating incident from her childhood illustrates the great love, empathy and respect the Holy Prophet (sa) demonstrated towards his daughters, even before Islamic teachings had universally established the rights of women. One day, as a young child, Fatima (ra) came crying to her father. She said that Abu Jahl (a prominent Quraish leader) had slapped her. The Holy Prophet (sa) did not dismiss his daughter’s distress but directed her to tell Abu Sufyan (ra) (another Quraish leader) about the incident. The young Fatima (ra) did so, and Abu Sufyan (ra) asked her to accompany him to find Abu Jahl. When they found him, Abu Sufyan (ra) instructed the young Fatima (ra), ‘Daughter, just as he slapped you on the face, you also slap him on the face.’ [2]   

When the Holy Prophet (sa) learnt what had transpired, he was pleased and prayed for Abu Sufyan (ra), ‘O Allah, do not forget this action of Abu Sufyan.’ [3]  Consequently, Abu Sufyan (ra) also accepted Islam some years later.

Fatima (ra) shared many of her honourable father’s qualities such as his love of simplicity. Once during her childhood, her mother, Khadija (ra), had new clothes and jewellery made for her daughter to wear at a relative’s wedding. However, Fatima’s (ra) extreme dislike of ostentation meant that she preferred to attend in her ordinary clothes. [4]

Fatima (ra) was an intelligent and inquisitive child and asked many questions from her mother. On one occasion, she asked her mother why they could not see Allah Almighty Who had created everything in the world? Khadija (ra) responded: ‘My child, if we worship Allah Almighty in this world and love His creation, then we will indeed see Him on the Day of Judgement.’ [5]

After the Muslims’ migration to Madina, Fatima (ra) married Ali (ra), the cousin of the Holy Prophet (sa). When his proposal came, the Holy Prophet (sa) first asked his daughter if she approved of the match before he gave his consent. [6] The union was to be an ideal match filled with mutual love and respect. The Holy Prophet (sa) liked to see the couple happy, sometimes even personally reconciling them when minor domestic issues caused any friction. [7] Ali (ra) was to witness the piety of his wife firsthand and said that he would often see Fatima (ra) remembering Allah the Almighty as she cooked. Fatima’s (ra) mother-in-law who also shared the same name, spoke highly of her and said that she doubted if other daughters-in-law cared for their mothers-in-law as much as Fatima (ra) cared for her. [8]

Fatima (ra) was exceptionally charitable and compassionate towards others and particularly cared for her neighbours. One of them was a Jewish man who had originally been a bitter opponent of Islam but then embraced Islam. Consequently, his family cut off all ties with him. So, when his wife passed away, alongside a female helper, Fatima (ra) went to his home and personally washed and prepared his wife’s body for burial. [9] 

It is also related that once, after a period of food shortages, Fatima’s (ra) family finally obtained some provisions. Her husband, Ali (ra), and her son, Hussain (ra), started eating. Fatima (ra) had not yet begun eating when there was a knock on the door from a beggar. Fatima (ra) selflessly handed over her food for the beggar, despite her own hunger. [10]

The Holy Prophet (sa) was to beautifully pay tribute to his youngest daughter when he said: ‘Fatima is a part of me. Whoever displeases her, displeases me.’ [11] Thus, Fatima (ra) embodied the sublime values of Islam that her father, the Holy Prophet (sa), had sought to instil in society throughout his life.  

About the Author: Munavara Ghauri BA (Hons) Eng Lit, is married with 3 children and works as a School Librarian. She is currently serving as the Branch Leader for the Bournemouth Women’s Auxiliary Organization of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and is an Editor for the Women’s Section of The Review of Religions.


Snapshot Stories: Fatima (ra) – Daughter of the Holy Prophet (sa) | The Review of Religions

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