Stories of the Pious: Janabe Fatima binte Asad (sa)
Janabe Fatima binte Asad: Mother of Hazrat Ali (a.s.)
Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.) had four sons – Talib, Aqeel, Jafar and Ali (a.s.). The births of all these brothers were at an interval of 10 years, with Talib being the eldest and Ali (a.s.), the youngest. Their mother, Janabe Fatima binte Asad (s.a.), was a Hashimite.
Janabe Fatima binte Asad (s.a.) was the first woman from Bani Hashim who accepted Islam, migrated to Medina and expired over there. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Ali (a.s.) were present near her at the time of her death and they both participated in her shrouding and burial. Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) are called the sons of ‘Fawatim’ (plural of Fatima). This is because their respected mother’s name was Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.), their paternal grandmother’s name was Janabe Fatima binte Asad (s.a.), their maternal grandmother’s mother’s name (i.e. Janabe Khadija’s (s.a.) mother) was Fatima and their maternal grandfather’s grandmother, i.e. the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) grandmother (mother of Hazrat Abdullah (a.s)) name was also Fatima.
When Janabe Fatima binte Asad (s.a.) passed away she was laid in the grave after being shrouded in the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) clothing. Someone inquired, ‘O Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.)! You have performed this action for Janabe Fatima binte Asad (s.a.), while you have never performed it for anyone before?’
Holy Prophet replied,
‘When I was an orphan, she nurtured me with her love and attention. Along with my uncle Abu Talib (a.s.), she showered her benevolence upon me.’
It has been narrated from other traditions that on her death, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) came near her head and said,
‘Respectable mother! May Allah bestow His reward on you. After my mother you loved me as a mother loves her child. You often did without any food, but you took care to satiate my hunger. You would clothe me, you would refrain from eating delicious food and would feed me instead. Your intention behind all this was to attract Allah’s satisfaction and pleasure and a great reward in the hereafter.’
Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered that three ceremonial baths (Ghusl) be given to her. One of the baths was of camphor water. After this she was shrouded in the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) apparel and then on top of that her burial shroud was laid. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered some people to dig the grave. When it was dug, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) removed the dust from there and when the grave was ready he (s.a.w.s.) himself laid her in the grave. He (s.a.w.s.) supplicated to Allah,
‘O Allah! O the One in whose power is death and life, and for Whom there is no end, forgive my mother Fatima. O Allah! Make her house of the hereafter vast. I beseech You in the name of your Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) and all the past Prophets (a.s.), O the the most Merciful of the Merciful ones!
After this he called out, ‘Allaho Akbar!’ ‘Allah is the Greatest’ and then with the help of the companions he (s.a.w.s.) laid her in the grave.