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FATIMAH ZAHRA(R.A) ( A role model for modern women)

Sideeqi Naseer.

Women can play many roles in a society. The Muslim women that should stand as a role
model for all the Muslim women is the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – Fatimah
(RA). She is an epitome of virtue, piety, charity, humility and sacrifice in all her roles,
whether it is the role of the daughter of Prophet of Islam, the role of wife of Ali (RA) or the
role of mother of Hazrat Hassan and Hussain (RA). In all her roles, there is purity,
sincerity, dedication and commitment.
In addition to what she did in her roles, she received great respect and stature from others
in return. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would stand up from the bed and give her His
place whenever she came into the room. Moreover, He would also lay His shawl at the
place where she were to sit. Regarding her, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Fatimah is a part of me, and he who makes her angry makes me
Therefore, if a Muslim woman is looking for a role model who lived her life in modesty and
made the best of it whilst staying within her means, then the life of Hazrat Fatimah (RA)
is what she should be studying.
In an Islamic Society, women can fulfil several individual and collective responsibilities
indifferent spheres and under different conditions. However, many of these roles and
responsibilities are not set mandatory by the teachings of Islam and these often reflect
the personal effort, attributes and talent on the part of a woman. Setting this as a prelude,
one can investigate and analyse different roles played by Muslim women during various
periods of history after the advent of Islam. Today’s modern technology with all its
sophisticated tools available for the acquisition of knowledge, making life easier and
high speed communication cannot be compared with the life and times of Prophet of Islam
(a) and those who lived with him at that time with harsh physical and socio-political
environment in Arabia. One can easily appreciate that performing various intellectual
pursuits such as seeking knowledge, imparting education and training, communication,
even living a normal life was in no way comparable with today. Added to this was the time
of conflict prevalent in the Arabia due to the advent of Islam with wars and social upheaval
resulting from the opposition of the mushrikin, the Jews and the opponents of Islam. In
such a society, where women were considered lower than males or rather even not
considered as human and with the beginning of Islam as a new socio-religico-political
order or rather as a new overall system struggling to give back to women, their divinely
ordained status of womanhood and their rights, Muslim women in that time were
additionally overburdened and overwhelmed by the old pagan (jahiliyyah) thinking
prevalent among the minds. They were, at that time under enormous additional
confrontation and psychological pressure to perform their model Islamic role. The hostile
environment then, with all its aggressiveness is in no way comparable to any other time
in history after Sadr-e Islam. Thus, women who really stood for Islamic values and
performed their role and responsibilities in the time of the beginning of Islam or sadr-e-Islam,
can be considered as the role model for the women that came later, even today. This is
not an assumption; rather, it is based on observation of the historic phenomenon of Islam

in the society of Arabia with all the opposition, aggression, oppression, misery, migration
and battles that resulted in the time of Prophet of Islam (s). The Muslims, in particular
women, were under a lot of physical, mental and psychological pressure.
At this point, let us briefly overview the difference between male and female from various
aspects in the light of modern medical research. Females are physically weaker and more
vulnerable to physical, mental, psychological and emotional stress than males. Females
suffer additional pain, distress and long duration of physical hardship due to their role as
mother. Females are more emotionally bound to their offspring and their loved ones then
their male counterparts. All these facts and several other similar findings put females in a
special position with regards to the performance of their roles in society, both individually
and collectively.
With this introduction, I would like to now talk about the role played by Hazrat Fatima
Zahra (sa) during her life in the Arabian society and the harsh times of sadr-e Islam. One
can then compare her role with other Muslim women of her time and appreciate the
excellences of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa). Traditions from the Prophet of Islam (s) and
verses of the Holy Quran are sufficient as proof to the par excellence personality of Hazrat
Zahra (sa). However, I will not bring forth these as a support for my argument. Rather, let
us imagine for a while the real life of Hazrat Fatima (sa) with the conditions of the
personalities whom she was related to by family, conditions of the followers of Islam she
was religico-socially associated with and the condition of the hostile environment she was
in due to her being a Muslim, then analyze and envisage and appreciate, that how difficult
it is for us living under modern times, to even imagine different roles that she performed
during her relatively short life
Individual role and responsibilities.
Her role as a daughter can be seen in her fulfillment of duties towards her father in
different and very harsh times. The incidence of kuffar (infidels) throwing filth on Prophet
(s) in the house of God and her bravely coming and removing it in the midst of enemies
is an example. The respect Prophet (s) showed towards her by giving her his own seat is
another poof of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (sa) as a role model for daughters. Her role as a
wife can be seen in her excellent management of home and support for her husband,
Imam Ali (as), who more than any other companion of Prophet (s) was involved in the
defence of Islam and Muslims and was away from the house during battles and other
missions he was sent by the Prophet (s). She was a close and sincere friend to her
husband and a partner in performing her duties not only towards him but also towards
needy Muslims. Incidence of her and Imam Ali (a) sleeping hungry while feeding a Muslim
passenger is an example. Her role as a mother can be seen in the light of her
upbringing of her children, Imam Hassan and Hussain (as) and Hazrat Zainab (sa). These
children were brought up in such a manner by her that reflected high level moral,
intellectual and spiritual indoctrination. Lives of these personalities and their brilliant and
par excellence role in the most adverse moments of the history of Islam is a litmus proof

to the best upbringing, they received from their mother. Truly, Hazrat Fatima (sa) was a
great mentor of her children.
Her role as a teacher and mentor
Her role as a very talented teacher can be seen in her training of Imam Hassan and
Hussain (as) and Hazrat Zeinab (SA). Lives of these great personalities need no words of
introduction. The incidence of Imam Hassan and Hussain (as) teaching wudhu (minor
ablution) to an elderly companion of Prophet (s) in a manner that didn’t hurt his self-respect
highlights many aspects of her mastery of teaching not only Islamic fiqh and upbringing
but also as an expert of practical ethics. One can imagine a high level of depth, observation,
and behavioural indoctrination she imparted to her children in the area of ethical conduct.
Collective and communal responsibilities
Her role and responsibilities due to her affiliation towards the members of society she
lived in
One can easily appreciate from the historical records as to how she performed different
duties towards the members of the society she was living in at that time. She was seen
giving away her own marriage dress, jewellery, food and other material possessions to the
needy Muslims whenever required. Not only towards Muslims but she also performed her
similar role as a helper and supporter, whenever required towards the followers of other
religions. She fulfilled her social responsibilities to the utmost level of self-sacrifice, and
not seeking any thanks or returns only as a duty toward God and His religion. These
social duties and responsibilities were fulfilled by her in such a manner that her own life
and of her immediate family members were risked due to lack of food and other
necessities. Can we find in history a woman who would give away her and her children’s
food for three days to needy only for the sake of love of God? This highly unique style of
fulfilling social responsibilities was not limited to giving away in the way of God, even
when she would pray whole night to God the well-being of others, she would give
preference to the members of the Muslim society over her own family members. Such
high level of uniformity in thinking and action and sense of responsibility is unfounded in
Muslim history.
Her role as a voluntary social worker
Her role as a voluntary social worker in the way of Islam can seen her helping the Muslim
army, performing a role as a nurse, consoling the families that had lost their dear ones,
helping needy and orphans irrespective of her own needs and difficult situation. The door
of her house was always open towards anyone seeking the remedy of his or her needs.
Her role as a manager for the distribution of wealth obtained from Fadak and other
properties gifted to her by the Prophet of Islam
Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) performed the role of a distribution manager for the wealth obtained
from the land of Fadak and other properties gifted to her by the Prophet (s). This wealth
was distributed by her according to the principles taught to her by the Prophet (s) to needy
Muslims and families of the orphans and widows who were martyred in the battles. Her
role is yet another bright aspect of her personality as a manager of revenues and its
distribution to the needy according to the principles of Islam.

Her role in preservation of modesty and promotion of modest Islamic dress, Hijab
Hazrat Zahra (sa) on several occasions performed her role to emphasize women’s
modesty and her preservation of Islamic modest dress, the Hijab. History has recorded
instances of her peculiar behaviour and sayings emphasizing the necessity of modesty
and modest dress for Muslim women. The point worth pondering here is that women can
perform their social activities and play their role actively in society while behaving
modestly towards a mahrum (males towards which contact is forbidden) and keeping
Islamic dress code. The personality of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) is certainly a model in this
There several other roles performed by this noble personality that are
beyond the time and space allotted for this presentation.
A thought provoking question
Before I conclude my talk, let us ask a question to ourselves: How could Hazrat Fatima
Zahra (sa) has performed all these different multidimensional roles often at the same
the time during her life, that is recorded in history books? Moreover, certainly, these roles
and responsibilities are just a glimpse of her multidimensional life. Her whole life was
certainly not encaged in the history books. How a Muslim woman in that society under
harsh desert of Arabia could perform so many different tasks during her lifetime with
apparently the conditions of a lot of stress, psychological pressure, mental and physical
hardships? How was it all possible? How was it possible for her to endure all the
hostilities, may it be from enemies within and without, harsh environmental conditions,
lack of necessities of life, wars, social isolation, physical migration and other unforeseen
hardships? The only answer that I can think of is her strong relationship with God, and
his Prophet (s), Her total submission to, and merger in Islam and its divine values, her
an intimate and strong relationship with God and her nearness to Him. This particular
relationship of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) with God is partly reflected in her Dua al-Noor
and her elegant sayings on various Islamic topics recorded in history books and instances
and special circumstances of her ibadat recorded in history.
Her relationship with Her father, the Prophet of Islam was not merely a physical and
emotional relationship of father and daughter, rather it was a strong spiritual relationship.
Father was as a divinely ordained prophet and recognition of his being divine Prophet by
her was the strongest bond between her and her Father.
The praising personality of Hazrat Fatima (sa) is an illuminating example for today Muslim
women living in not only in an Islamic Society but also in modern society. A woman can
be at the same time a good mother, daughter, wife, teacher and mentor of her children,
a voluntary social worker, a distributor of wealth and property among destitute and needy
of the society, a compassionate housemaster, a model of self-sacrifice to give away any
possession in the way of God, a promoter of Islamic modest dress and modesty for
women, a mujahida in the time of war and supporter of Muslim army, an ‘abida
(worshipper) praying to God in the night and much more. Setting Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa)
as a role model, a woman can perform all these roles under different circumstances, whether the society is at peace or at war, whether there is economic or material hardship
or whether members of society are hostile or whether support from creatures is lost, and
when the only hope is with God the Almighty. Life of Hazrat Fatimah is the best example
for the modern woman, that how to deal with the hardships and the bad times, and how to
become a best guide for their family members.

Student:- botany.
Jiwaji University (Gwalior)