The Biography of Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.)

Masuma Jaffer

154

Predictions about this Noble Lady

It is interesting to know that the Imams (a.s.) foretold the birth of this noble lady and her presence in Qum many years before her birth.

Qādī Nūrullāh Shūshtarī (d. 1109 A.H) reports from the 6th Imam, Imam Ja`far al-Sādiq (a.s.):

A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the Day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 60, p. 228; Majālis al-Mu’minīn, vol. 1, p. 83)

Allāmah Majlisī narrates from Imam al-Sādiq (a.s.): “A  lady  from  my  children,  by  the  name  of Fatima will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits her  [shrine],  will  certainly be admitted  to Heaven.” (Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 48, p. 317 & vol. 60, p. 216 & vol. 102, p. 266)

The writer of the above tradition says that Imam al-Sādiq (a.s.) gave these glad tidings even before the birth of his son, the 7th Imam, Imam Mūsā al-Kāzim (a.s.), the father of Lady Fatemah Masooma (a.s.).

Since Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) was born in 128 A.H and Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) in 173 A.H; this speech was made at least 45 years before her birth. Therefore, the good news of her birth was foretold more than 45 years before she was born!

The date of her birth

According to certain traditions, some of which are mentioned below, Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was born on the 1st of Zulqadah, 173 A.H in Madina.

  1. The narrator Ayatollah Shaykh Ali Namāzī (d. 1405 H) writes:“Fatemah Masooma was born at the beginning of the month of Zulqadah in the year 173 A.H”

(Shaykh Alī Namāzī, Mustadrak Safīnatul Behaar, vol. 8, p. 257)

  1. Mullā Mohsin Fayz narrates: “Lady Fatemah [Masooma], daughter of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) was born in Madina at the beginning of the month Zulqadah in the year 173 H and she passed away in Qum on the 10th of the month Rabī al-Sānī in the year 201 A.H.

(Abbās Faiz, Ganjīne-ye Asār-e Qum, vol. 1, p. 386)

Others who have also written that the birth of Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) is in the beginning of the month of Zulqadah are mentioned below:

  1. Allāmah Bahrānī in his book Awālim al-Ulūm, 21, p. 328.
  2. Shaykh Mahdi Mansūrī in his book Hayāt al- Sadāt, 10.
  3. Muhammad Hādī Amīnī in his book Fātimah Bint al-Imam Mūsā al-Kāzim, p. 21.
  4. Ahmad Zādeh in his book Zendegānī Hazrat Mūsā Ibn Ja`far, 2, p. 375.

Some of the authors above have recorded the year of the birth of Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) as 183 A.H instead of 173 A.H, but this is incorrect on account of two major points, which are:

  1. If we study the details of Imam Mūsā al-Kāzim’s (a.s.) life we see that on the 25th Rajab 183 H he died in prison in Baghdad. We also know the minimum amount of time that he spent in prison was four years and during this imprisonment, his family was in Madina. So it cannot be possible for Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) to be born in this same year of 183 A.H.
  2. Also, it is well documented that Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) had more than one daughter named Fatemah, and that Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was the eldest Fatemah (Fātimat al-Kubrā), therefore she could not have been born in the same year as the year of her father’s death.

From the foregoing, it can be seen that it is not possible that Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was born in the year 183 A.H, and the authors who have quoted this date have made a mistake, (either in counting or writing) and should have recorded 173 A.H.

The date of her death

There is no difference of opinion about the fact that Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) died in Qum in the year 201 A.H. The year of her death is further corroborated by the tiles in her shrine, dating back from centuries ago, which have the same date written on them.

However, there are various possibilities about the month and day of her death:

  1. 10th Rabī al-Sānī2
  2. 12th Rabī al-Sānī3
  3. 8th Shabān4

There is no evidence to say which of the three dates is correct, and so the scholars have decided that because the first and the second dates are so close together, the mourning for the death of this noble lady should be over a three day period (10th, 11th and 12th of Rabī al-Sānī).This   three   day   period   is   called:   ‘Ayyaam-e-Ma’soomiyyah’– “the days of Masoomah”.

Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was about 28 years old when she died, although some scholars have said that at the time of her death her age was 18 (from the mistake of the year of her birth – 183 A.H instead of 173 A.H) and others have said her age was 23, but this last narration is not very reliable, due to its weak chain of transmission.

Her father

The father of Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was the 7th Imam – Imam Mūsā al-Kāzim (a.s.). It has been recorded in history that Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) had numerous children.

Shaykh Mufīd (d. 413 A.H) writes that Imam al- Kāzim (a.s.) had 37 children (whom he has named), 19 sons and 18 daughters; and that two of these daughters were named Fatemah – Fatemah al-Kubrā and Fatemah al-Sughrā.

(Shaykh Mufīd, al-Irshād, Chapter on the life of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.))

Sibt ibn Jawzī, the famous 8th century scholar of the Ahl al-Sunnah, narrates that four daughters of Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) were named Fatemah: Fatemah al-Kubrā, Fatemah al-Wustā, Fatemah al-Sughrā and Fatemah al-Ukhrā.

(Sibt ibn Jawzī, Tazkerat al-Khawāss, p. 315)

Fatemah al-Kubrā is the very same Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) buried in Qum.

It is narrated that Fatemah al-Wustā is buried in Isfahān and her Haram is called Sittī Fatemah (near Chāhār Sūq Shīrāzī-hā).

Fatemah al-Sughrā is well known as “Bībī Heybat”. She is buried in Azerbaijan,5 where the beautiful dome and gardens at her shrine were destroyed during the era of Communist Russia.

Fatemah al-Ukhrā, who is also known as Fatemah

Also, it is well documented that Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) had more than one daughter named Fatemah, and that Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was the eldest Fatemah (Fātimat al-Kubrā), therefore she could not have been born in the same year as the year of her father’s

  • Behaarul Anwaar, 48, p. 317.Tāhira, is buried in Rasht, Iran.(Ibid.)al-Bayt (a.s.), she reached a high level of intellectual and spiritual excellence, with lessons and teachings .The  contemporary  researcher,  Allāmah  Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī writes: Amongst all the children of Imam al-Kazim (a.s.), other than Imam Ali al-Rezā (a.s.) there was no one equal in status to Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.).(Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī, Tawārīkh al-Nabī wa al-Āl, p. 65) from Lady Hamīdah.

    2. In 173 A.H, Hārūn al-Abbasi became the Caliph. Six(Imam  al-Rezā  (a.s.))  will  be  born  from  her.

    years later, on the 20th Shawwāl 179 A.H, he ordered Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) to be arrested in Madina. At the time of his arrest, Imam (a.s.) was in the state of prayers in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque. After his arrest, he was brought to Iraq, where he was imprisoned in the dungeons of Baghdad. This is where the Imam (a.s.) spent the rest of his life.

    Hārūn had the Imam (a.s.) poisoned, and he died in the prison of Baghdad on the 24th or the 25th of Rajab in the year 183 A.H. He is buried in the “Maqābir Quraysh” which is now known as Kāđimayn, because the 9th Imam – Imam Muhammad al-Taqī (a.s.) is also buried there.

    (Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 476; Al- Irshād, vol. 2, p. 215; Alī bin Husain

    Masūdī, Isbāt al-Wasīyah, pp. 161–169)

    From the dates above, we can conclude that the Imam (a.s.) was in prison for four years. However, some historians have quoted that his time in prison was seven years, and Ibn Jawzī has mentioned that it was eleven years.

    (Tazkerat al-Khawāss, p. 314)

    Her mother

    The mother of Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) was also the mother of the 8th Imam – Imam Ali al-Rezā (a.s.) and she had no children other than these two.

    She was known by several names, the most well known of them was Najmah Khātūn.1

    Lady Najmah was a slave from North Africa and was bought by Lady Hamīdah, the mother of Imam al- Kazim (a.s.). After she came into the house of the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.), she reached a high level of intellectual and spiritual excellence, with lessons and teachings from Lady Hamīdah.

    • Shaykh Sadūq, Uyūn Akhbār al-Rezā, 1, p. 14; Shaykh Tabarsī, Elām al-Warā, p. 302; Shaykh Hurr Āmilī, Isbāt al-Hodāt, vol. 3, p. 233.

    Lady Hamīdah narrates that one night she had a dream, where she saw the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and he said to her: ‘Make Najmah the wife of your son, Mūsā ibn Ja’far, so that soon the best of people in the world (Imam  al-Rezā  (a.s.))  will  be  born  from  her.Lady Hamīdah acted upon this order, and so Najmah became the wife of Imam al-Kazim (a.s.) and later, the mother of Imam al-Rezā (a.s.) and Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.).

    Some  of  the  other  names  mentioned  for  Lady Najmah are:

    Tuktam: This was a popular name amongst the Arabs, and it was the name of the mother of Imam al- Rezā and Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.) at the time when she was bought as a slave.

    The name Tuktam was also used to refer to the well of Zamzam (the well near the Ka’bah) in the dream of Abdul Muttalib, when he was told to dig up and find the hidden well, and in this way it seems a very appropriate name for Najmah Khātūn whose excellence was also hidden at the time of her slavery.

    (Uyūn Akhbār al-Rezā, vol. 1, p. 14; E’lām al-Warā, p. 302; Isbāt al-Hodāt, vol. 3, p. 233)

    Umm al-Banīn: This was the only title that was given to her; the meaning of this title is the “mother of boys” although Najmah Khātūn only had two children– Imam al-Rezā (a.s.) and Lady Fatemah Masooma (s.a.). Due to the nobleness of both of her children, she had this title “Umm al-Banīn” given to her.

    (Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 486; Uyūn Akhbār al-Rezā, vol. 1, p. 14; E’lām al-Warā, p. 302; Al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 247)

    Tāhira: It has been narrated that after giving birth to Imam Ali al-Rezā (a.s.) on 11th Zulqadah in the year 148 A.H in Madina, she was known as Tāhira, which has the meaning of purity.20

    Although Lady Fatemah Masooma (A) was born 25 years after Imam al-Ridā (A), the fact that they had the same mother and father, led to a special closeness between them.

    Uyūn Akhbār al-Rezā, vol. 1, p. 17