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Early Muslim Woman: Piety and Courage: Fatimah Bint al Imam al Hussien ibn Ali

Early Muslim Woman: Piety and Courage


السيدة فاطمة النبوية

بنت الإمام الحسين بن على


Fatimah Bint al Imam al Hussien ibn Ali


Author Dr. Ilham M. Shahine, Professor of Aqeedah and Islamic philosophy, Alazhar University, Egypt


      Fatimah bint al Imam al Hussein ibn Ali فاطمة بنت الإمام الحسين بن على  was known as the “mother of the orphans, mother of the needy”. We have learned from the example of al Syadah Fatimah that the Muslim woman has to raise above her grief and pain, especially if she was in a leadership position.  The Muslim woman needs to be more interested and focused on the Muslim affairs rather than with her own affairs. She faces bravely those who present a challenge, supports those who need the support, rewards those who deserved to be rewarded, and also teaches others who surround her to help them to reach their good goals.


     Fatimah bint al Imam al Hussein had been a witness to the murder of her own father and all of her brothers except one, Ali ibn Zain el Abdean على زين العابدين. And she also witnessed the death of all those who were fighting with her father.  In spite of her pain and suffering during the battle of Karblaah كربلاء and witnessing the death of her father’s supporters, she still took good care of the orphan girls that lost their fathers during this battle.  This is why she was called the “mother of the orphans”. Fatimah also funded and was the first to establish the first Muslim social and welfare organization in the history of Islam for the accommodation and to take care of those orphans that lost their parent during the war. As an example she took care of seven orphaned daughters after the battle of Karblaah, whom she considered her family.  They accompanied her wherever she went and she took care of them for the remainder of her life.  Her home was considered the home of every orphan and needy person. This is how she came to be known as the “mother of the needy”


      Fatimah was the daughter of al Imam al Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib  فاطمة ابنة الإمام الحسين بن علي بن أبي طالب . Her mother was um Isihaq bint Talha ibn Obied Allah al Timyiah ‍ُأم سحق بنت طلحة بن عبيدالله التيمية , who was married to al Imam al Hassan ibn Ali. She was married to al Hassan ibn Ali, after his death she married al Hussein ibn Ali, upon his brother’s request.  Fatimah was born in the beginning of the 3rd decade after hijra, amongst three sister and six brothers.  Fatimah is considered from hadith narrating scholars. She has related many hadith which were narrated from her grandmother, Fatimah el Zahraa فاطمة الزهراء, the daughter of Muhammed (SAW). She also narrated many hadith from her father, her aunt, Sayadah Zainab السيدة زينب , and from her brother Ali Zain el Abdean على زين العابدين , Sayadah Aisha السيدة عائشة , the wife of Muhammad(SAW) and Abdullah ibn Abbas سيدنا عبد الله بن عباس and also from Bilal بلال(RA).


      Fatimah taught the Muslims that when somebody has calamity and he/she received it with patience and returned it to Alllah (SWT) then Alllah (SWT) will give him/her peace and prayer and a big reward.  . According to the hadith narrated by Imam Ahmed and ibn Majaa, أحمد وابن ماجة , that the prophet of Allah (SWT) said that, for any Muslim who has calamity a while back, then he/she will remember and return it to Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) will reward him/her the same way as if it happened today.


     Fatimah got married first to her cousin al Hassan ibn al Imam al Hassan ibn Ali Ibn Abu Talib. She had three sons with him, Abdullah عبد الله , Ibrahim ابراهيم , and al Hassan الحسن . It was mentioned that when al Hassan asked his uncle for her hand, he answered him that was exactly what I was expecting you to do, and when his uncle took him to choose between the two sisters, his uncle chose for him Fatimah, stating that she looked like his mother, Fatimah bint Muhammad (SAW).   After the death of al Hassan, she abstained from marriage, out of loyalty to her husband.  She continued to pray the entire night and fast during the day, but by the continuing talking of her mother to remarry, she agreed to remarry.  Fatimah married Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Uthman ibn Afan  عبد الله بن عمرو بن عثمان بن عفان and she has two sons, al Qasem and Muhammad القاسم ومحمد , and one daughter, Roqiah رقية , with him.   After his death she never married again.


      Al Sayadah Fatimah was there when her father was murdered, along with his family and children. She was taken by Yazeed ibn Mauwia. Upon her capture she yelled to him are you taken the daughters of the prophets as slaves. Then Yazeed يزيد remembers what she said and told her that it wasn’t meant for that. He took her and placed her with his family, but she never forgave him.  In spite of her close exposure to calamity, she proved to everyone that helping people during these times is the best reward.  On her way back to Madeena للمدينة from Karblaah, she was accompanied by a man from Syria, who was hired by Yazeed ibn Muawia to protect her.  Fatimah wished to reward him but he refused to accept.  In response he stated that he was doing this out of respect to the prophet (saw).  One of her great saying to her children was that no one can get anything from the bad people by sharing their bad discipline, only the people from their good actions, so cover yourself with the cover of Allah. She was a great example of justice when it came to the distribution of inheritance between her children.  She gave her children from her first husband what belonged to their father and the other children what belonged to their father (her second husband).  When she was asked why she did that she said that she would not like any of her children seeing that their fathers belonging went to a half-brother.


     Fatimah died on the year 116 after hijra, at the age of 90 years old.  It was said that she went to Egypt before her death and she lived there until she died and was buried there.  Near her burial sight there is a mosque of Fatimah al Nabwiah. And it was said that she had weekly classes with those people who were seeking knowledge. She was offering her students lentil and molasses which became a tradition of giving these food items to the people after her death.


       Fatimah bint Al Imam al Hussein ibn Ali was known for her bravery and dignity, great discipline, and righteous religion; containing straight-forward knowledge of the religion.  She was also known as a great wife, respecting her husbands and taking care of her responsibilities. She is considered one of the best examples for the Muslim woman on how to balance between a person’s rights and responsibilities.

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