A short account of the life of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.)
Mrs. Karbassi. MAHJUBAH. Vol. 14 No.12(139), Dec.1995

1. Lot We have given thee abundance.
2. So pray unto thy Lord, and sacrifice.
3. Lo! it is thy insulter (and not thou) who is without posterity. (Chapter 108)

Her name was Hazrat Fatimah (s.a.), her nickname Umma Abiha, and her titles: Zahra and Batul. She was the daughter of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.) and Khadija, daughter of Khuylad. Her husband was Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and her two sons were Imam Hassan (a.s.) and Imam Hussein (a.s.). Hazrat Khadija (as.) was a noble birth and excelled many men of her day as far as human perfection was concerned.

When Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.) was chosen as Allah's messenger and the Prophet of Islam, she strove side by side with him for propagation of Islam. When pagans threw stones at the Prophet (s.a.w.), she shielded him with her body. Khadija knew the Prophet (a.s.) as an upright man whereas people called him a liar. (Safinatul-Bahar, vol.1, p.13)

Before the birth of Hazrat Zahra, God commanded the Prophet (s.a.w.) to seclude himself and so he went to the Mount Hira and Khadija stayed home to worship. Forty days later Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) came tc existence.

Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) said that Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) would protect her Shiites from going to blazes and evils. (Rawzatul Waizine, vol.1, p.148)

There were other epithets for Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) Zahra (having shining face) Saddiqa (saintly), Tahira (holy), Razia (content), Marzia (with admirable character), Mubaraka (blessed), Batul (devoted), and Muhaddatha (narrator of traditions).

Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) was born in an age that the pagan Arabs buried their daughters alive, because they believed that their sons were breadwinners and could defend their families and tribes if any danger threatened them. The Qur'an says pagan Arabs buried their daughters alive because of penury: "...and that you slay your children because of penury. We provide for you and for them..." (6:152). And "They are losers who besottedly have slain their children without knowledge, and have forbidden that which Allah bestowed upon them..." (6:141)

The Qur'an disapproves the discrimination made by pagan Arabs between men and women, and says: "... Lo! I suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost...." (3:195)

When Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) was born, God gave Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.) abundance (al-Kauthar). As to the word Kauthar, there are different explanations. Some say it is abundant of good; some know it as a stream in Paradise; and some say it refers to the large number of descendants of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.)

Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) was brought up under the auspices of his father, the Prophet (s.a.w.) who taught her how to worship her Lord and how to live an ascetic life.

It was time for the Prophet (s.a.w.) to call people to unitarianism. The Prophet (s.a.w.) had to tell them that no one excelled the other, save as regards conduct: "Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct..." (49:13). People were to treat slaves, prisoners and the poor kindly. They had no right to discriminate against their daughters in favor of their sons. These divine teachings gave rise to antagonism against Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.). He was the victim of vicious calumnies. People traduced that he was a magician, a lunatic. People wondered why God should not reveal his words to a dignitary from Mecca or Yathrib.

All this proved mentally tormenting Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) but these never-ending hardships were a crucible for her in her short life span. Despite the ever-increasing hostility of Quraysh, the Prophet (s.a.w.) kept on calling people to Islam with steely determination. Raged and defeated, the Quraysh decided to tighten the grip on Muslims to make them turn away from Muhammad (s.a.w.). They ordered an embargo on trade with Muslims. They exiled the Prophet and the folk of his household and companions to a place near Mecca. They were deprived of food and clothing. No one visited them and neither were they allowed to visit others. Such a dire situation lasted for two years and how Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) had endured such a terrible life, only God knew it. She was bereaved of her mother and Abu Talib died the same year. But she had learnt from the Qur'an: "... but give glad tidings to the steadfast who say, when a misfortune strikes them: Lo! We are Allah's and lo! unto Him we are returning." (2:155-156)

Now Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) had to look after her father who was bereaved of his wife. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said that Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) was the apple of his eye and he who displeased her will displease him and he who pleases her will please him. (A'ayanul Shiah, vol.2, p.273)

In the traditions ascribed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) was mentioned as a houri in human figure. (Rayahinul Shari'ah, vol.1, p.21)

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said that Hazrat Fatimah (a.s.) was the first person to enter Paradise and that she was a woman of transcendent personality above all the women of creation. (Baharul Anwar, vol.43, p.44)

This was just like what was said about Mary in the holy Qur'an: "And when the angel said: 'O Mary! Lo! Allah has chosen thee and made thee pure, and has preferred thee to be above all the women of creation." (3:42)

At her devotions, the angels greeted her and said God had chosen her and made her pure and had preferred her above all the women of creation. (Bukhari, vol.79, p.43; Baharul Anwar, vol.43, pp.25-26)

As far as human perfection and transcendent personality for women was concerned, Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) was, is and will be exemplary for all the women of creation.

As Islam views it, a perfect human should be moderate in his attitudes. For instance, he should not seclude himself and spend all his time in devotion, nor should he dispense with all acts of worship and believe that acts of worship are summed up in serving the people. The Qur'an says: "Thus We have appointed you a middle nation..." (2:143).

When the evil scheming of embargo on trade with Muslims was thwarted, the Quraysh decided to do away with the Prophet (s.a.w.). But again they were thwarted.

Owing to the dire situation in Mecca, people migrated to Yathrib (Medina). In the night that was plotted to kill the Prophet (s.a.w.), Hazrat All (a.s.) slept in his room and the Quraysh assassins were thwarted in their evil intention. This was the Hijrat of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.) flight from Mecca to Medina from which date the Muslim era is reckoned.

Hazrat All (a.s.) asked for Hazrat Fatima's (a.s.) hand and the Prophet (s.a.w.) gave his consent to the marriage. (Yanabil- Mavaddat, p.174; and Tabaqat, vol.8, p.12)

These two perfect humans married with a very modest ceremony, setting us a good example. As to the marriage, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said it was a tradition. The Qur'an says: "And of His signs is this. He created for you helpmates from yourselves that you might find rest in them. And He ordered between you love and mercy." (30:21)

Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) lived a very modest life. Her dowry was just enough to provide the essential needs of life. Her life was a true manifestation of devoutness.

Imam Khomeini (r.a.) always advised that all should follow the example of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.).

Hazrat Ali (a.s.) said that the jihad (holy war) of a woman is to afford the pleasant company to the husband. And Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) was an excellent example in this regard.

When Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) married, the Prophet (s.a.w.) gave her the best advise: "Take no notice of what people say that your husband is poor. Never think little of yourself and your life. Poverty is a credit to me and to the folk of my household. I could have possessed the treasures of the world if I wanted to, but just thought of God in being pleased with me." (Kashful Muhammad, vol.1, p.363)

In the holy month of Ramadhan of the third year after the Hijrah, Imam Hassan Mujtaba (a.s.) was born and his birth added more sweet to the memory of the victories in the Battle of Badr, the previous year. But soon after this auspicious birth, the bad news of outbreak of war between Mecca cast a shadow of grief on the city. The Qurayshis and Abu Sufiyan that could not stand their defeat in the battle gathered a large army and besieged Medina. This time the Meccan troops struck a telling blow, because in the Battle of Uhud, many Muslim combatants had forgotten God and fought for mammon. The Qur'an says: "Faint not nor grieve, for you will overcome them if you are (indeed) believers. If you have received a blow, the (disbelieving) people have received a blow the like thereof. These are (only) the vicissitudes which We cause to follow one another for mankind, to the end that Allah may know those who believe and may choose witness from among you; and Allah loves not wrong-doers." (3:139-140)

The Prophet's cousin, Hamza and seventy four others were killed. The Prophet (s.a.w.) was hit in the face by a stone. Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) hastens to the battlefield. She and other women gave water to the wounded and dressed their wounds. She also dressed her father's wounded face.

The bitter memory of the Battle of Uhud was soon forgotten and the reinforcements sent to the outskirts of Medina won the day.

In the month of Shaaban, 4th Hijrah year, the birth of Imam Hussein (a.s.) brought back joy to the home of All (a.s.). Hazrat Zainab (a.s.) and Ummu Kulthum were born next. The financial situation of indigent Muslims took a turn for the better, but Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) still lived in penury, devoutness, contentment and preference of others above themselves were the mottos of Hazrat All (a.s.) and Hazrat Fatima (a.s.)

The Qur'an says: "... but prefer (the fugitives) above themselves though poverty becomes their lot." (59:9). The Prophet (s.a.w.) did not love her daughter out of fatherly feelings only. He loved and respected her for her divine attributes.

The Battle of Ahzab was the last struggle of Mecca against Medina and the religion of God. But the power defeated followers of satan. The invaders were retreated to Mecca and the Jews of Bani Qureyza that had broken their promise with Muslims were punished duly.

The peace treaty was signed with the Meccan polytheists two years later at a place called Hudaybiyya. The Muslims army lay siege to the fort Khaybar. Near Khaybar was a village named Fadak. The villagers asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) to let them have half of the village, but the Prophet (s.a.w.) gave the village to the needy people of Bani Hashim and then gave it to his daughter. Hazrat Fatima (a.s.), as God commanded: "So to the kinsman his due, and to the needy and to the wayfarer."

A year after the conquest of Khaybar and when the Meccans broke the peace treaty, the Prophet (s.a.w.) led an army of 10,000 men and the Meccans chieftains surrendered after 20 years of hostility. They were on a razor's edge, terrified of how the Prophet (s.a.w.) would punish them, but the Prophet (s.a.w.), the very incarnation of goodness and mercy forgave all of them.

Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) inherited his father's divine attributes. She was the very incarnation of virtue, wifely and motherly love and devotion. The Prophet (s.a.w.) once told her that God loved her so much that if she interceded with Him for somebody, God accepted the intercession. (Baharul Anwar, vol.76, p.359)

The sweetest word that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to his daughter was that she would be the first member of his household to join him after his death. After the Prophet (s.a.w.) passed away, Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) gave a fiery sermon in the Mosque reproaching sharply those who were the enemy of God and his father, who worshipped mammon, who did not fear the Author of the universe and incurred His wrath. She advised people to go to the straight path, the path of Allah.