Fatimah bint Al-Khattab RA – The Unshakable Faith.
Fatimah bint al-Khattab was the sister of the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab along with Zayd ibn al-Khattab and one of the early women followers of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. She was the youngest daughter of Khattab ibn Nufail, who married her off with his nephew, Hanif. Sa’id ibn Zayd and Fatimah along with her husband both converted to Islam together at the same time.
She was Fatimah bint Al-Khattab RA Ibn Nufail Ibn Abd al-Uzza. Fatimah bint Al-Khattab RA was brought up in the house of Al-Khattab ibn Nufail al Makhzumi, one of the most noble and elite houses of Quraish. Fatimah bint Al-Khattab RA brother was Umar ibn al-Khattab RA, the second Caliph of Islam. She was married to Sa’id ibn Zayd RA.
Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufail, who was Said’s father, was the origin from which the blooming and fruitful branch, namely Fatimah, originated from. During the pre-Islamic era, he was not upon the way of Quraish, for he set out for himself a straight path that kept him away from all of Quraish’s reprehensible beliefs and conducts.
Asma bint Abi Bakr RA said that she saw Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Naufal reclining his back on the Kaabah saying, “O Quraish! By Him in whose hand is my soul! None from among you is upon the religion of Ibrahim except me.”
Al-Bukhari, an-Nasai and al-Baghawi also reported that Zayd would save the new born baby girls from being buried alive and would say to whoever wanted to kill his daughter, “Do not kill her, I will pay for the expenses for raising her.”
Ibn Ishaq added: And he would say, “O Allah if I had known the dearest face to you, I would have worshiped you through it. But I do not know. He would then prostrate upon his palm.”
Musa ibn Uqbah RA said in al-Maghazi: “I heard one of those I am pleased with saying that Zayd ibn Amr used to reproach the Quraish for slaughtering animals for others beside Allah.”
Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Salim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, who narrated from his father, that he said: “Zayd ibn ‘Amr went to Syria asking about the (true) religion. The Jewish and Christian scholars informed him that the true religion is the religion of Ibrahim and (at that time) Zayd was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He held up his hand and said, “O Allah! I make you my witness that I am upon the religion of Ibrahim.”
Zayd Ibn ‘Amr also narrated the hadith about his famous meeting with a Jew who told him: “Do not follow our religion lest you have a share of Allah’s wrath”, and his meeting with the Christian who told him, “Do not follow our religion lest you have a share of the curse of Allah”.
Al–Fakihi also reported on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Rabi’ah RA that he said: “I met Zayd ibn ‘Amr while he was outside Makkah heading towards Hira, and he said, “Amr I have parted ways with my people and followed the religion of Ibrahim AS and Isma’il AS. Ibrahim AS used to pray facing that house (meaning the Kaabah). And I am expecting a Prophet from the descendants of Isma’il and then from the descendants of ‘Abdul-Muttalib. I do not think that I will remain alive till his emergence so that I can believe in him and testify to his truthfulness and that he really is a Prophet.”
‘Amr ibn Rabi’ah RA added, “When I embraced Islam, I conveyed his salutation to Rasulullah SAW. Rasulullah SAW returned the salutation and invoked Allah to bless him. Rasulullah SAW then said, “I saw him in Paradise dragging his coat tails.”
Al–Baghawi reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar who said that Said ibn Zayd RA and Saidina Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA asked Rasulullah SAW as to whether it was permissible to invoke Allah’s forgiveness for Zayd ibn ‘Amr and he answered in the affirmative.
At–Tayalisi reported in his Musnad that Said ibn Zayd RA Rasulullah SAW: “My father is as you have already seen and been informed. Can I ask Allah to forgive him?” Rasulullah SAW said “Yes, and he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment as a nation in himself.”
Sa’id ibn Zayd RA embraced Islam at the hands of the honorable companion, Khabbab Ibn al-Arrat RA, and Said Ibn Zayd RA went back to his wife Fatimah and told her about the new faith. Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA was impressed and no sooner did him finish his speech than she embraced Islam as well.
Khabbab Ibn Al Arrat RA used to pay frequent visits to them in order to teach them the Glorious Qur’an and the tenets of Islam. They concealed their belief lest they might be put into torture at the hands of Umar, who meditated eradicating Islam and slaying the Prophet.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab embraced Islam.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab was sitting down in the company of some Quraish chiefs in deep discussion within the courtyard of Kaabah. They were troubled by the spread of Muhammad’s call, the increase of his followers and their steadfastness. They hated them for not believing in their idols, such as al-Laat, al-‘Uzza, al-Manaat and others. ‘Umar, then a non-Muslim, became extremely enraged. He stood up from the gathering and decided there and then to kill Muhammad and spare the Quraish from the embarrassment that his religion had caused them.
On his way to Rasulullah SAW a man from Bani Makhzum met him and saw the rage in his face. He asked ‘Umar where he was going.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab answered, “To Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah! I want to kill him and free the Arabs from his trial!”
The man then told him, “Do think that the clan of ‘Abd al-Manaf would leave you if you kill him?!… Put your own house in order first!”
Umar Ibn Al Khattab asked in utter amazement and extreme rage, “What do you mean and whom do you mean?”
The man answered,” Your sister Fatimah and your brother-in-law Said ibn Zayd. They have followed Muhammad.”
Umar Ibn Al Khattab then said, “Woe onto them from me!”
Umar Ibn Al Khattab then changed his direction and headed for the house of his sister Fatimah, holding his sword and raging like a furious bull and roaring like a lion. Until that momentthe call to Islam was done secretly, except for a few companions who used to pronounce their Islam openly, such as Abu Bakr RA, the young Ali Ibn Abu Talib RA, Saad ibn Abi Waqqas RA, and as-Zubair ibn al-Awwam RA. Rasulullah SAW, allowed this secrecy in order to protect the faith, safeguard the lives of the new Muslims and prevent anything that may impede the progress of Dakwah. This was because it was necessary for the success of the movement. One of these conveyers of the teachings of Rasulullah SAW was Khabbab ibn Al-Aratt RA. Khabbab Ibn Al Arrat RA would learn from Rasulullah SAW and would teach Said and Fatimah whatever he had learnt.
When Umar Ibn Al Khattab arrived at the house of his sister and brother-in–law, at the entrance he heard some murmuring but could not understand its wordings properly. Umar Ibn Al Khattab violently knocked on the door and shouted. Khabbab quickly ran towards a corner of the house and hid. Fatimah hid the script of the Qur’an that they were reading and her husband rushed to open the door for Umar. They had realized that it was Umar Ibn Al Khattab by his violent knocking and they recognized in his voice signs of imminent danger and confrontation.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab asked, “What was this murmuring I heard?”
They denied that there was any murmuring.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab then addressed them harshly and threatened them of terrible consequences if he found out that they were really following the religion of Rasulullah SAW.
It was then that Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA confronted him boldly and said in a loud and clear voice without fear that she and her husband had accepted Islam and testified that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Rasul of Allah.
All of a sudden Umar Ibn Al Khattab began beating Sa’id Ibn Zayd RA and threw him onto the floor. When Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA ran to defend her husband, Umar Ibn Al Khattab gave her a brutal slap on her face and she began bleeding. It was the sight of his sister’s blood that brought about an illuminated ray of light into Umar’s heart and removed the veil of disbelief from his heart. Umar Ibn Al Khattab went to Sa’id and lifted him off of the floor and then moved towards his sister and wiped the blood off her face.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab then began speaking to Sa’id and his sister in a friendly way until she brought out the script which contained the beginning of Surah Taha, Chapter 67. When ‘Umar wanted to hold this script, she prevented him and told him “You are impure. You have to do ablution first”. Umar Ibn Al Khattab quickly did as she requested. Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA brave and courageous stand, the purity of her soul and conscience revealed to us her strong personality, especially in the way she faced Umar ibn al-Khattab. He then read the script. It contained some portion of Surah Ta-ha having read up to Allah’s saying:
“For every soul to receive its reward by the measure of its endeavor.”
Umar Ibn Al Khattab commented, “What honorable words!” Upon hearing ‘Umar’s comment, Khabbab ibn al-Arrat RA appeared from his hiding place saying, “O ‘Umar, I hope that Rasulullah SAW’s supplication be answered as he invoked to Allah saying, “O Allah! May you support Islam with the closest one to you either Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham or Umar Ibn al-Khattab? The latter was the closest one.”
“Rejoice, O ‘Umar! You have been blessed with Rasulullah’s invocation. I heard him invoking Allah to strengthen Islam by you.”
Rasulullah SAW perceived the truth of the situation by the light of Prophethood, as he had just recently made a sincere invocation in favor of one of the two ‘Umars. Rasulullah SAW, then commanded that the door be opened for Umar Ibn Al Khattab. When the door was opened by the courageous Ibn ‘Abbās, Rasulullah SAW, walked towards Umar Ibn Al Khattab, while all those who were present moved back. Rasulullah SAW grabbed Umar Ibn Al Khattab by the collars of his garment, pulled at it strongly and said, “O, son of al-Khattab! What are you waiting for? It is time you embraced Islam!”Umar Ibn Al Khattab then left for the house of Arqam where Rasulullah SAW was. Umar Ibn Al Khattab reached the House of Arqam and knocked on the door. One of the Companions looked through a crack in the door and became terrified and worried. In utter confusion and worry he said, “Rasulullah, it is the son of al-Khattab!”
‘Umar Ibn Al Khattab, with humility and submission attested,” I testify that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except Allah and that you, Muhammad, are the Messenger of Allah.”
The Muslims who were present there were so happy that they raised their voices in Takbir which resonated throughout the house and the echo of which reached even those who were near the Kaabah at that time.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA Islam was a victory for the Muslims. Allah strengthened him with Islam, and Islam by him. With Umar’s acceptance of Islam the call of Islam came out from secrecy into public and Allah made a clear distinction between truth and falsehood. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then titled ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) with the title of “al-Faruq” (The Distinguisher) and gave him the nick name Abu Hafs.
Thus how honor are Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA were. May Allah be pleased with Fatimah bint al-Khattab RA and please her. For indeed Allah SWT chose her to be the conveyer of the light of Islam for her brother in accepting Islam. Her home became the starting point for this great man’s change of heart. The story of Fatimah binti Al Khattab RA truly shows the empowerment that Islam gives women. Being a strong-minded independent Muslim woman is not a modern concept but one that was present from the very beginning. Fatima was one of the first twelve people to embrace Islam and it was through her, that one of the greatest men in Islamic history came to the religion. Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA name will always be synonymous with her brother’s name and the reminder of the freedom and strength Islam gave her.
It was Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA bravery and unshakable faith that changed the course of life of her brother. It was her defiance in the face of his explosive temper that brought her brother to a standstill and made him reevaluate his life and discover a new faith.
However, every person’s story has a message behind it and the meaning behind Fatimah binti Al-Khattab RA story is to show us that one of the first things Islam did was strengthen and liberate women. There is great significance in the fact that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab came to Islam at the hands of a woman. There is great significance in the fact that as soon as Fatima became a Muslim, she became strong and fearless.
Selected Hadiths Narrated and Attributed by /to Sayyidah Fatimah Ibn Al Khattab RA.
Found In: Imam Malik’s Muwatta Chapter No: 30, Suckling
Hadith no: 8
Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Safiyya bint Abi Ubayd told him that Hafsa, umm al-muminin, sent Asim ibn Abdullah ibn Saad to her sister Fatima bint Umar ibn al-khattab for her to suckle him ten times so that he could come in to see her. She did it, so he used to come in to see her.