Fatimah bint Mohammed
to Women of Vision
Fatimah was the youngest and most beloved daughter
of the Islamic prophet Mohammed and his first wife, Khadijah. She
married Ali ibn Abi Talib, her father’s cousin, who some believe
was the prophet’s chosen successor. Her life was one of abject poverty,
in which she worked from sunrise to sundown, her hands swollen and
covered with blisters. Yet she is known for her compassion toward
others, intelligence, and strength. When a woman was embarrassed
by the number of questions with which she had come to Fatimah, the
prophet’s daughter assured her, “ask me regarding anything which
comes to your mind…my reward for [answering] every inquiry is more
than that which fills [the space] between the ground and the Throne
[of heaven] with pearls. Thus, I should be more apt to answer your
She stood proudly against those who threatened her beliefs and her family. According
to some sources, in the face of men who confronted her husband she threatened
to take off her veil and shame them, ultimately succeeding in their withdrawal.
When Ali asked the prophet for a servant to help Fatimah, the prophet instead
gave her a prayer whose value was far greater, which today is widely recited
as the Tasbih Fatimah. Ali deeply respected Fatimah and did not marry another
woman while she was alive, despite the prevalence of polygamy during their lifetime.
For many Muslims, Fatimah is a prominent figure, recognized as the mother of
the prophet’s descendents, including Shiite leaders Hasan and Husayn. She is
az-Zahra, the shining one.