Fatimah bint Asad, was the mother of ‘Ali bin Abu Talib, and the mother-in-law of the Prophet’s daughter, Fatimah bint Muhammad. Her grandsons, Hasan and Husain are to be the leaders of the youths of Paradise. Besides ‘Ali, she had two other sons, Ja’far Tayyir who was a famous General. He led the forces of Islam in the battle of Mu’tah and was martyred in the same battle.
When the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] grew up and proclaimed himself to be the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] and Last Messenger of Allah, she still stood by him. All the relentless persecution did not deter her in any way. She was exceptionally fond of her son Ja’far, but for the sake of Islam she bore the separation from him and his wife, Asma bint ‘Omais, when they migrated to Abyssiniah on the Prophet’s orders with the first group of migrant Muslims.
Fatimah bint Asad, being one of the first to swear allegiance to Islam and its concept of the Oneness of Allah, faced the economic and social boycott of the Shi’ab Abi Talib for those three terrible years. She was also a member of the privileged group who migrated to Madinah.
‘Abdul Muttalib, who was a very discriminating man, had assessed her nature, her intelligence and her capabilities from the very beginning and proposed for her for his son, Abu Talib. When the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] was told by Allah to spread the Message of Islam among his kith and kin, it was she who immediately accepted this invitation and swore allegiance and entered the fold of Islam. When the Prophet’s grandfather, ‘Abdul Muttalib, passed away, the guardianship of the orphan Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] passed on to Abu Talib . His wife, Fatimah bint Asad, looked after him, loving him as if he were her own. He remembered in his later life that she would go hungry to feed him. He respected her so highly that whenever she visited him he would stand up and receive her with great love, addressing her as ‘Mother’.
His uncle, too, loved him deeply. Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] in his childhood was so well mannered and so fastidious about his personal cleanliness that Abu Talib would hold him up as an example to his other children. Normally boys would be dirty and tousled from playing rough games with the other boys, but Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] was always dignified with a neat appearance. People were impressed when they saw him. Abu Talib liked all the children to eat together because he felt that whenever Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] ate with other children, food would be sufficient, and when the children ate alone, they would remain hungry. Abu Talib often told his nephew that he was specially blessed, as there was plenty when he was around.
Fatimah bint Asad did not spare any pains and looked after the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] in his infancy, boyhood and youth. Once in his childhood he accompanied his uncle on a business trip to Syria. Some very unusual and surprising incidents took place on the journey, and Abu Talib described these to his wife when they came back.
The Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] placed the invitation to a religion with a new and rational perspective before the Quraish of Makkah, the worshippers of all the false idols in the Ka’bah were infuriated. They could not dream that the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] would dismiss their gods as useless helpless creatures, and they became his bitter enemies for propagating a new faith that did away with their traditional and inherited practices. They adopted a very antagonistic attitude and swore to crush him and Islam. During this period they resorted to the most cruel and sadistic forms of torture to make the converts give up the new faith and return to their old barbaric practices and rituals. It was only the power and influence of Abu Talib that prevented them from doing any harm to Muhammad. He stood by him with all his love and carried out the responsibilities of a guardian faithfully by giving him his protection. No enemy could dare to do anything to him as long as he was under the mantle of his uncle’s protection.
Fatimah bint Asad cooperated with Abu Talib wholeheartedly and she was a mother, pure and simple, where the safety and well being of Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] was concerned. No wonder he loved and respected her so highly. Considering the dangerous conditions which developed for the Muslims in Makkah, he thought it was better that the Muslims migrate to Abyssiniah where the ruler was known to be tolerant and hospitable. The leader of this first group of migrants was Ja’far bin Abi Talib, the brother of ‘Ali, and the favorite son of Fatimah bint Asad. She loved him more than the others because he resembled Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] very much, and was extremely intelligent.
He seemed to have inherited the family’s mastery over language and was also an eloquent speaker who could win people over to his viewpoint. It was with this same skill that he had won over the king of Abyssiniah when the Quraish appealed to him to surrender the Muslims to them.
The Quraish now decided to restrict the Muslims to one small area, besiege them and boycott them. Social and economic sanctions were imposed, and these three years were perhaps the toughest that the followers of lslam faced. Economically, it was certainly the worst ever. Children could be heard on all sides sobbing with hunger, and the elders looked on helplessly with tears in their eyes. To satisfy their hunger they started eating the leaves of trees and grass; they even sucked on wet skins to slake their thirst. Fatimah bint Asad passed this terrible period with fortitude and patience, and did not waver in the smallest degree. Ten years after the first revelation to Muhammad [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] appointing him the Messenger of Allah, this harsh siege was finally lifted. It was in the same year that the Prophet’s wife and most faithful supporter, Khadijah, passed away. The pangs of separation from her were very strong for the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] . He had not yet recovered from her loss, when he was dealt another terrible blow – his best ally, Abu Talib, also passed away. This year is known as ‘The Year of Sorrows’ in Islamic history.
The torture and torment, atrocities and cruelties reached such proportions that Allah finally ordered the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] to migrate to Madinah. Fatimah bint Asad was among these migrants.
“So patience is most fitting. And it is Allah Whose help can be sought against that (lie) which you describe.” (12:18)
Anas bin Malik says that when the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] got news of the death of Fatimah bint Asad, he immediately went to her house, sat beside her and prayed for her.
“My dear mother, may Allah keep you under His Protection. Many times you went hungry in order to feed me well. You fed me and clothed me on delicacies that you denied yourself. Allah will surely be happy with these actions of yours. And your intentions were surely meant to win the goodwill and pleasure of Allah and success in the Hereafter.”
He gave his shirt to be used as part of her shroud, saying he prayed to Allah to forgive her and give her the dress of Paradise.
‘When the grave was prepared the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] himself examined it and with his own hands placed her into the grave.
Thus, she was one of the few blessed people whose graves the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] himself examined.
“Fatimah bint Asad is that great lady for whom he gave the glad tidings that she would be blessed with a place in Paradise. He said that he shrouded her with his shirt, praying that Allah would give her the dress of Paradise. Allah pleased with them and they pleased Allah.”
Taken from the book: Great Women of Islam (Who were given the good news of Paradise) By: Mahmoud Ahmad Ghadanfar Revised by: Sheikh Safur-Rahman Al Mubarak puri which may be purchased at:http://www.dar-us-salam.com/store/main.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=Dus&Product_Code=125&Category_Code=Eng_Womenas well as other places.