The Biography of Lady Fatima Masuma (s.a.)

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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 Fatemah, daughter of Moosā, will die in Qum. On the Day of Judgementthis lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”1

Allāmah Majlisī narrates from Imam al-Sādiq (a.s.): “A lady from my children, by the name of Fatemah will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits

her [shrine], will certainly be admitted to Heaven.”2

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 Moosā al-Kāzim (a.s.), the father of Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.).

Since Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) was born in 128 A.H and Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) 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!

 

 

  • Behār al-Anwār, 60, p. 228; Majālis al-Mu’minīn, vol. 1, p. 83.
  • Behār al-Anwār, 48, p. 317 & vol. 60, p. 216 & vol. 102, p. 266.

 

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

  1. The narrator Ayatollah Shaykh Ali Namāzī (d. 1405 H) writes: “Fatemah Masuma was born at the beginning of the month of Zilqad in the year 173 A.H”3
  2. Mullā Mohsin Fayz narrates: “Lady Fatemah [Masuma], daughter of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) was born in Madina at the beginning of the month Zilqad in the year 173 H and she passed away in Qum on the 10th of the month Rabius Saani in the year 201 A.H.4

Others who have also written that the birth of Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) is in the beginning of the month of Zilqad 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 Moosā al-Kāzim, p. 21.
  4. Ahmad Zādeh in his book Zendegānī Hazrat Moosā Ibn Jafar, 2, p. 375.

Some of the authors above have recorded the year of the birth of Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) as 183 A.H instead of 173 A.H, but this is incorrect on account of

  • Shaykh `Alī Namāzī, Mustadrak Safīnat al-Behār, 8,
  1. 257.

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

 

  • Two major points, which are:
  1. If we study the details of Imam Moosā 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 Masuma (a.s.) 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 Masuma (a.s.) was the eldest Fatemah (Fatemah al-Kubrā), therefore she could not have been born in the same year as the year of her father’s

From the foregoing, it can be seen that it is not possible that Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) 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 Masuma (a.s.) 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.1

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

  1. 10th Rabius Saani2
  2. 12th Rabius Saani3

 

  • Hasan ibn Muhammad Qummī, Tārikh-e Qadīm-e Qum,
  1. 213; Behār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 290; Sayyid Muhsin Jabal Āmilī, A’yān al-Shī`a, vol. 8, p. 391; Shaykh Abbās Qummī, Muntahā al-Āmāl, vol. 2, p. 242; Sayyid Hasan al-Amīn, Dā’irat al-Ma’ārif, vol. 3, p. 231.
  • Mīr Abū Tālib Tabrīzī, Wasīlat al-Mas’ūmīn, 65; Sayyid Mahdī Mansūrī, Zindagāni-ye Hazrat-e Ma’sūma, p. 37, Alī Akbar Mahdīpūr, Zindagāni-ye Karimah-ye Ahl al- Bayt, p. 105.
  • Mustadrak Safīnat al-Behār, 8, p. 257.

 

  1. 8th Sha’bān4

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 Rabius Saani).

This three day period is called: “Ayyaam-e- Ma’soomiyyah” – “the days of Masuma”.

Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) 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 Masuma (a.s.) was the 7th Imam – Imam Moosā 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.5

Sibt ibn Jawzī, the famous 8th century scholar of the Ahl al-Sunnah, narrates that four daughters of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) were named Fatemah: Fatemah al-Kubrā, Fatemah al-Wustā, Fatemah al-Sughrā and Fatemah al-Ukhrā.6

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

It is narrated that Fatemah al-Wustā is buried in Isfahān and her Haram is called Sittī Fatemah (near

  • Shaykh Hurr Āmilī, Risālat al-Arabīyah al-Alawīyah,

11.

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

6           Sibt ibn Jawzī, Tazkerat al-Khawāss, p. 315.

Chāhār Sūq Shīrāzī-hā).

Fatemah al-Sughrā is well known as “Bībī Heybat”. She is buried in Azerbaijan,1 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 Tāhira, is buried in Rasht, Iran.2

The contemporary researcher, Allāmah Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī writes: Amongst all the children of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.), other than Imam Ali al-Reza (a.s.) there was no one equal in status to Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.).3

In 173 A.H, Hārūn al-Abbasi became the Caliph. Six 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.a.w.a.)’s 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 Kāzimayn, because the 9th Imam – Imam Muhammad al-Taqī (a.s.) is also buried there.4

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.5

 

Her mother

The mother of Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) was

(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.6

Lady Najmah was a slave from North Africa and was bought by Lady Hamīdah, the mother of Imam al- Kāzim (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.

Lady Hamīdah narrates that one night she had a dream, where she saw the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and he said to her: ‘Make Najmah the wife of your son, Moosā ibn Ja`far, so that soon the best of people in the world (Imam al-Reza (a.s.)) will be born from her.7 Lady Hamīdah acted upon this order, and so Najmah became the wife of Imam al-Kāzim (a.s.) and later, the mother of Imam al-Reza (a.s.) and Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.).

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- Reza and Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.) 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 appropriatenamefor Najmah Khātūnwhoseexcellence was also hidden at the time of her slavery.8

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-Reza (a.s.) and Lady Fatemah Masuma (a.s.).

 

also the mother of the 8th Imam – Imam Ali al-Reza

 

  • Behār al-Anwār, 48, p. 317.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī, Tawārīkh al-Nabī wa al- Āl, p. 65.
  • Usūl al-Kāfī, 1, p. 476; Al- Irshād, vol. 2, p. 215; Alī bin Husain Masūdī, Isbāt al-Wasīyah, pp. 161–169.
  • Tazkirat al-Khawāss, 314.

6           Shaykh Sadūq, Oyoon Akhbār al-Reza, vol. 1, p. 14;

Shaykh Tabarsī, E’lām al-Warā, p. 302; Shaykh Hurr Āmelī, Isbāt al-Hodāt, vol. 3, p. 233.

  • Oyoon Akhbār al-Reza, 1, p. 17.
  • Oyoon Akhbār al-Reza, 1, p. 14; E’lām al-Warā, p. 302; Isbāt al-Hudāt, vol. 3, p. 233.

Due to the nobleness of both of her children, she had this title “Umm al-Banīn” given to her.1

Tāhira: It has been narrated that after giving birth to Imam Ali al-Reza (a.s.) on 11th Zilqad in the year 148

A.H in Madina, she was known as Tāhira, which has the meaning of purity.2

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

  • Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, 486; Oyoon Akhbār al-Reza, vol. 1,
  1. 14; Ea’lām al-Warā, p. 302; Al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 247.
  • Behār al-Anwār, 49, p. 4; Oyoon al-Akhbār al-Reza, vol.1, p. 14; Isbāt al-Hudāt, vol.3, p. 233; Muhammad