The Dowry of Fathimah az-Zahrah (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is said that when Fathimah az-Zahrah (r.a.) saw her father constantly saying, “My ummah.”  She wanted to do something herself for the benefit of the ummah.  When Allah (s.w.t.) Ordered the Prophet (s.a.w.) to find a husband for his daughter, Rasulullah (s.a.w.) called his swahabah (r.a.) and said to them that Allah had Ordered him to tell them that whoever was able to recite the entire Qur’an in that night tonight quickest had the permission to marry his daughter, Fathimah, with her consent.  That night, the swahabah stayed at the mosque to khatm the Qur’an.  All stayed at the mosque the entire night to finish except ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.), who went home and slept after less than an hour.

Everyone, including the Prophet (s.a.w.), assembled in the mosque when Bilal ibn Rabah (r.a.) called the adzan for fajr.  After performing fajr, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) asked, “Who finished the Qur’an last night?”  None were able to answer; it is very difficult to finish reciting thirty juz of the Qur’an in only seven or eight hours.

‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) said, “Ya Rasulullah, I finished reciting the Qur’an last night.”  The other swahabah wondered how it was that he was able to finish reciting the Qur’an?  He had slept much of the night.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked ‘Ali (k.w.), “Who is your witness?”

‘Ali (k.w.) said, “Allah is my witness, and you are my witness that I completed it.  O Messenger of Allah.  I recited the following: ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’ three times; ‘I seek the forgiveness of Allah’ seventy times; al-Fatihah once; al-Ikhlasw three times; al-Falaq once; an-Naas once; ‘There is no god but Allah’ ten times; and ‘Peace and the Blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad.’”

The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “As Allah Bears Witness, I also bear witness that ‘Ali has completed the Qur’an.  If you recite what he has recited, it is equivalent to having completed the Qur’an.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked Fathimah (r.a.), “Do you accept ‘Ali as your husband?”

She said, “On one condition.”

All the swahabah looked at ‘Ali (k.w.), at Fathimah (r.a.) and at the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) face changed.  They all wondered why Fathimah (r.a.) said this and they were curious about the condition.  The angel Jibril (a.s.) appeared and told Muhammad (s.a.w.), “O Prophet, do not make a quick decision concerning her.  Allah Tells you to ask her about her condition.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked, “O Fathimah, what is your condition?”

She said, “The condition does not concern ‘Ali but is related to me.  If that condition is accepted, I will marry ‘Ali.  If not, I will not marry him.”

Again, the angel Jibril (a.s.) came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said, “Allah Orders you to ask her what her condition is.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked, “O Fathimah, what is your condition?”

She said, “I hear you continuously, day and night, praying for your ummah.  You say, ‘O My Lord!  Give me Permission to lead my ummah to You!  Forgive them!  Purify them!  Take Away their sins and difficulties and burdens!’  I hear you and I know how much you suffer for your ummah.  I know from what you have said that when you pass away you will still be saying, ‘My ummah!’ before your Lord, in your grave and on the Day of Judgement.  My Father, I see you suffering so much for your ummah.  Since that love of your ummah is also in my heart, I want your ummah as my dowry.  If you accept, I will marry ‘Ali.”

She asked for all the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.) without discrimination.  But it was not in the hand of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to give such a dowry.  He waited for Jibril (a.s.) to come but Jibril (a.s.) took time to come.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was kept waiting for some time.  And then Jibril (a.s.) came and said, “Allah Sends you His Greetings and Accepts Fathimah’s (r.a.) request.  He Gives her what she has asked for as her dowry to marry ‘Ali.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) immediately got up and performed two raka’at of swalah shukr to Allah (s.w.t.).  Fathimah az-Zahrah (r.a.) was only concerned about the Salvation of the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.).  No one is outside her dowry because if Allah (s.w.t.) Removes one person from her dowry, it will invalidate her marriage to ‘Ali (k.w.).  She is going to take the entire ummah under her wing and they will enter Jannah with her.  This is the power of one Muslim woman.  She will take everyone to Jannah with her.  No man can claim that.

In this story, despite everything, Fathimah (r.a.) always had a choice.  Even in this, Islam gave women the right to choose their husbands.  There is a hadits that women have four times the nafs of man and seventy times the ego.  But the desire for Allah (s.w.t.) and His Pleasure is also a nufus.  And that is why the first person to accept the call of Islam was a woman, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (r.a.); the first shahid was a woman, Sumayyah bint Khayyat (r.a.); one of its greatest jurists and swahabi ‘Aishah bint Abi Bakr (r.a.); one of its greatest saints was Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya (q.s.).

As to the recitation of ‘Ali (k.w.), it has ever been part of the daily awrad of the Naqshbandi Haqqani and many Sufi orders as well as the format of tahlil.  And whoever does it has the Reward as if he recited the entire Qur’an.


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