Mary Thurkill

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2009 | | DOI:


Fatima was the daughter of the prophet Muhammad and his first wife, Khadija. The date of her birth is disputed, with 604 ce being the most commonly cited. Fatima was also the wife of Ali ibn Abu Talib and the mother of Hasan and Husayn. Sunni tradition acknowledges Fatima as the prophet’s beloved daughter and characterizes her as often impatient and ungrateful. Sunnis contrast her with the more pious and favored ʿAʾisha, the prophet’s youngest wife. Shiʿite tradition, however, elevates Fatima to an exalted status because she is the nexus of the Imamate, which Shiʿites recognize as the infallible, authoritative lineage that proceeds from ʿAli and Fatima. Because she was the matriarch of the holy family (ahl al-bayt), Shiʿite tradition imbues Fatima with miraculous traits (such as eternal purity) and advances her as an exemplary model for all Shiʿites to imitate. After its consolidation in Iran, the Islamic Republic designated Fatima’s birthday as the official Women’s Day in Iran.

Article.  2313 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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