Ramadan profiles: Fatima Az-Zahra, a life of strength, struggle and virtue

Shounaz Meky
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During the month of Ramadan, Al Arabiya English is publishing a series of profiles on prominent historical figures in Islamic history.

Muslims have high regard for Fatima, Prophet Mohammed’s youngest daughter, as she is known to be among the world’s best of women for her pure, strong and pious character.


Fatima is the prophet’s youngest daughter from Khadijah. It is said that she was both of their favorite child. She had various nicknames that described her appearance and personality, including “az- Zahra,” which means “The Resplendent One,” in reference to her radiant face. And “al-Batul,” referring to her pure character.

She was five years old when her father was granted Prophethood. Fatima, her mother and sisters Zaynab, Ruqayya, and Umm Kulthum accepted Islam. And as soon as Quryash began turning its back on Mohammed, ordering an economic and political boycott on the prophet and his followers, the situation became dire in Makkah.

Together with her mother, Fatima experienced the toughness of this period. She and her sisters stood by their father when their mother decided to give up her wealth to support Muslims during this hardship.

And as soon as the siege was lifted, Khadijah passed away, breaking Fatima’s heart. Despite being the youngest among her siblings, it is narrated that Fatima was her father’s greatest supporter and defender. Her older sisters were married at the time, and she was the one living with him until Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the prophet’s cousin, had proposed to her.

Marriage to Ali

Unlike her sisters’ husbands, Ali was poor, so they both had to give each other a helping hand. It is said that Ali sold his shield and gave its money as a dowry to ask Fatima’s hand in marriage.

They lived a very simple life. She would grind wheat, bring water from the well, cook meals for her husband and four children. It is said she was always patient and grateful, not complaining despite any circumstances.

On one occasion, Ali suggested that she should go to the prophet and ask him for a maid to help. The prophet was not at home when she went to see him, so she left a message with his wife Aishah.

At night, the prophet paid her a visit. He told her that he would give her something much better than a servant for assistance. And he taught her to recite phrases in the praise of Almighty Allah, after each prayer and before sleep.

Among the best women

The purity and humbleness of Fatima placed her among the world’s best of women, as per a saying for the prophet, which narrates as: “The best women in the entire world are four: the Virgin Mary, Asiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah daughter of Mohammed.”

Fatima died at the age of 29, a few months after the passing of her father.

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