The Days Turned into Nights: The Passing of Syedah Fatimah Az Zahra
Bibi Fatimah Az Zahra is the youngest of the noble daughters of Sayyidinah Rasulullah (ﷺ). She was born from Bibi Khadijah before Sayyidinah Rasulullah (ﷺ) started teaching the message of Islam. Bibi Fatimah had gone through many difficulties in her life. Even though she grew up in the household of her mother al-Tahira (the Pure Khadijah) and her father the best of creation she witnessed many of her father’s hardships and trials. She had even witnessed the Quraysh pouring camel entrails on the sacred back of Rasulullah (ﷺ) and men stepping on his neck while he prayed in Makkah Mukarramah. At that time she was less then 10 years old; however, she was the only one out of the Muslims at that time who went up to her father and cleaned the entrails from his sacred back and silver-like neck and protected him.
Furthermore, she would walk around with Rasulullah (ﷺ) as a young girl and witness how the people would look down on her father even though he had the best of character, was from the best of lineages, and had the purest of hearts simply for speaking the truth.
In these times of hardship, before the Hijra to Madinah Munawwarah Shareef had occurred, Bibi Khadijah would comfort and support Rasulullah (ﷺ) with every ounce of her being. Bibi Fatimah saw how much Rasulullah (ﷺ) loved Bibi Khadijah and how much he would rely on her, but she also saw the pain Rasulullah (ﷺ) felt when Bibi Khadijah passed away.
Despite all of this, Bibi Fatimah Az Zahra remained patient and supported her father. Bibi Fatimah loved Rasulullah (ﷺ) with every ounce of her heart having learned this from the example of her pure mother who would always pour out love for Rasulullah (ﷺ). Her love was a beacon of strength for her as she would devote herself to pleasing her father. It is this strength that her children, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Hussain, later take from as they become leaders of the youth of paradise, and after them, all of her descendants to this very day.
She would take care of Rasulullah (ﷺ) and provide for him to such an extent where Bibi Fatimah received the nickname, Umm Abiha, the Mother of her Father. Such was the love and compassion Bibi Fatimah had for the Prophet (ﷺ)- her beloved father. Sayyidinah Rasulullah (ﷺ) and Bibi Fatimah had a very special bond. In an era where having a daughter was usually frowned upon, Rasulullah (ﷺ) changed that by showing the companions what his own daughter meant to him– further elevating the status of women and appreciating the virtues and mercy they hold.
In fact, Rasulullah (ﷺ) was reported that have said that among many narrations:
“Fatimah is a part of me. Therefore, whosoever angers her, angers me” (Sahih Bukhari).
“My daughter is part of me. He who disturbs her in fact disturbs me, and he who offends her offends me” (Sahih Bukhari).
Bibi Fatimah was very similar to the Beloved of Allah (HabibAllah) in manners, habits, and even walking. Bibi Aisha said that, “By Allah, her (Bibi Fatimah’s) walk does not differ from the walk of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” Bibi Fatimah was the closest to Rasulullah (ﷺ) in resembling him in all his characteristics, even in his manner, his speech, his noble character, and his beautiful radiance of light. Just as Rasulullah (ﷺ) was described as Azhar ul-Lown– brightness in color; as such, in her similar radiance of light Bibi Fatimah was called Az Zahra– the Blossoming Flower of Brightness! Bibi Aisha also narrated that, “I have not seen any one of Allah’s (Subhanahu wa ta’Ala’s) creation resemble the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) more in speech, conversation, and manner of sitting than Fatimah (RadiAllah ‘Anha).”
Rasulullah (ﷺ), the Master of all the worlds, would even stand up for Bibi Fatimah, kiss her, and then seat her in his own place of seating whenever she would come in his presence! Such was the bond of love, affection, and compassion between father and daughter– between the leader of the universes and the leader of the women of paradise!
No amount of words could do justice in properly portraying the infinite love Bibi Fatimah had for her father. As such, no amount of words could properly describe the heartbreak she went through when her foundational support her whole life, role model, and beloved father passed away.
When Rasulullah (ﷺ) had completed the revelation and his duty as messenger, he passed away from this world. Bibi Fatimah felt as if she had lost a part of herself, or even her whole self. Her pure heart was broken, and the father whom she loved so much was no longer present in this world. She lost her mother, she lost her sisters, and now she lost her most beloved father (ﷺ). All those she had grown up with in her household had passed away, and Bibi Fatimah’s heart was having much difficulty losing those bonds of love. Her heart was cut into pieces, and her tears were a testament to her sorrow.
After the companions (RadiAllah ‘Anhum) buried the body of Rasulullah (ﷺ), Bibi Fatimah walked to her father’s sacred grave side. She put her hand on the grave, picked up some soil, and then wiped it over her eyes as she said,
“What does it harm one who has smelt the dust of the tomb of Ahmad
To never for the rest of time smell perfumes?
Calamities have been poured upon me
Had they been poured upon the days, they would have turned into nights.”
She suffered a pain no one would be able to feel. Smiling no longer knew Bibi Fatimah. She used to smile a lot just like her father (ﷺ), but she was never seen smiling after that. Bibi Fatimah knew her time was also coming close as her strength slowly left her. As her beloved sons al-Hasan and al-Hussain would cry over the state of their mother, Bibi Fatimah said to her husband Imam Ali, “O Ali, when I die, wash me…If you bury me, bury me at night.” And she even requested that when her body would be wrapped, that a hard cover be placed around her so no one would be able to tell the shape of her body. Even in her final moments, Bibi Fatimah was concerned about her modesty.
Within only 6 months, she passed away of a broken heart, and joined her father (ﷺ). Even though she passed away in this world, the legacy she left behind lives on to this day and is a sign of the oneness of God: the family of Rasulullah (ﷺ). They are living breathing examples of Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is by their sacrifice, scholarship, and leadership that we have still have Islam. Her sons learned from their radiant mother strength, patience, courage, and leadership and they continue to pass those traits down to their descendants. This was the life of Bibi Fatimah, but as for the day of Judgment, the pain she went through will be compensated for as she will rise with her father, and enter into paradise to live with him (ﷺ), her blessed family, and those who love them- forever. And her heart will be at peace eternally, as would the heart of anyone who is with their beloved.
May Allah all grant us a place in the presence of Rasulullah (ﷺ), his family, and his companions so we may also experience that love, and the love of Allah. Ameen