Booklet – Fatimah Masoomah(A)

Short biography of the Noble Lady Fatimah Masoomah(A)

1.1 – Predictions about this Noble Lady

It is interesting to know that the Imams (A) foretold the birth of this noble lady and her presence in Qum many years before her birth.

It is reported from the 6thImam, Imam Ja`far al-Sādiq (A):

تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدى، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتى الجنّة بَاجْمَعِهِمْ

“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the Day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”[4]

Since Imam al-Kāđim (A) was born in 128 A.H and Lady Fatima Masuma (A) 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!

1.2 – The date of her birth

According to certain traditions, some of which are mentioned below, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was born on the 1st of Dhul Qa`dah, 173 A.H in Madina.


1.3 – The date of her death

There is no difference of opinion about the fact that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) 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.[8]

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

1. 10th Rabī` al-Thānī[9]

2. 12th Rabī` al-Thānī[10]

3. 8th Sha`bān[11]

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 Rabī` al-Thānī).

This three day period is called: ايّام معصوميّة” – “the days of Masuma”.

Lady Fatima Masuma (A) 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.

1.4 – Her father

The father of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was the 7th Imam – Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim (A). It has been recorded in history that Imam al-Kāđim (A) had numerous children.

Shaykh Mufīd (d. 413 A.H) writes that Imam al-Kāđim (A) had 37 children (whom he has named), 19 sons and 18 daughters; and that two of these daughters were namedFatima – Fatima al-Kubrā and Fatima al-Sughrā.[12]

Sibt ibn Jawzī, the famous 8th century scholar of the Ahl al-Sunnah, narrates that four daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A) were named Fatima: Fatima al-Kubrā, Fatima al-Wustā,Fatima al-Sughrā and Fatima al-Ukhrā.[13]

Fatima al-Kubrā is the very same Lady Fatima Masuma (A) buried in Qum.

It is narrated that Fatima al-Wustā is buried in Isfahān and her Haram is called Sittī Fatima (near Chāhār Sūq Shīrāzī-hā).

Fatima al-Sughrā is well known as “Bībī Heybat”. She is buried in Azerbaijan,[14] where the beautiful dome and gardens at her shrine were destroyed during the era of Communist Russia.

Fatima al-Ukhrā, who is also known as Fatima Tāhira, is buried in Rasht, Iran.[15]

The contemporary researcher, `Allāmah Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī writes: Amongst all the children of Imam al-Kāđim (A), other than Imam Ali al-Ridā (A) there was no one equal in status to Lady Fatima Masuma (A).[16]

In 173 A.H, Hārūn al-Rashīd became the Caliph. Six years later, on the 20th Shawwāl 179 A.H, he ordered Imam al-Kađim (A) to be arrested in Madina. At the time of his arrest, Imam (A) was in the state of prayers in the Prophet’s (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) spent the rest of his life.

Hārūn had the Imam (A) 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 Kāđimayn, because the 9th Imam – Imam Muhammad al-Taqī (A) is also buried there.[17]

From the dates above, we can conclude that the Imam (A) 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.[18]

1.5 – Her mother

The mother of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was also the mother of the 8th Imam – Imam Ali al-Ridā (A) and she had no children other than these two.

She was known by several names, the most well known of them was Najmah Khātūn.[19]

Lady Najmah was a slave from North Africa and was bought by Lady Hamīdah, the mother of Imam al-Kāđim (A). After she came into the house of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), 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) and he said to her: ‘Make Najmah the wife of your son, Mūsā ibn Ja`far, so that soon the best of people in the world (Imam al-Ridā (A)) will be born from her.[20] Lady Hamīdah acted upon this order, and so Najmah became the wife of Imam al-Kāđim (A) and later, the mother of Imam al-Ridā (A) and Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

1.6 – The names and titles of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

It has been emphasised in many traditions that the choosing of a suitable name for a child is the responsibility of the father.[24] The recommendation is that, if the child is a boy, then the name of the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A), especially the names Muhammad and Ali should be chosen for him.[25]And for a daughter there is no name more suitable than Fatima.[26]

The Imams (A), due to their high esteem of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) would accord great respect and reverence to the name ‘Fatima’. So much so, that when one of his companions informed Imam al-Sādiq (A) that he had chosen the name Fatima for his daughter, the Imam (A) exclaimed: “Ah, Ah.” Then he said: “Now that you have kept her name Fatima, be careful not to ever curse or beat her.”[27]

And it was due to this respect that the Imams (A) would name their children by these holy names, and usually more than one child had the fortune to have such a noble name. Especially so in the case of Imam al-Kāđim (A), who named four of his daughters Fatima, as mentioned previously. We know that the name of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was Fatima (al-Kubrā).

Masuma: The title of Masuma was given to this noble lady by her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A). It is worth noting that this title was awarded to her after her death and she was not referred to by this name during her life-time. This also nullifies the erroneous view that she died after her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A), on hearing the news of his death.

Mirzā Muhammad Taqī (d. 1297 A.H) reports that the title “Masuma” was given to her by her brother – Imam al-Ridā (A). And according to this tradition Imam al-Ridā (A) said:

مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَني

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me.”[28]

The question arises, was this title “Masuma” given to her to indicate her sinless status? In other words, was she infallible in the same sense as the 14 Ma`sūmīn (The Prophet, Lady Fatima Zahra and the 12 Imams – peace be upon them all), who are considered sinless and Divinely protected according to the verse of Purity:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

“Verily, Allah intends to keep all uncleanliness away from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and to purify you thoroughly.”[29]

Several scholars believe that some of the noble personalities from the household of the Prophet (S), such as Lady Zaynab (A), Hadrat `Abbās (A) and Lady Fatima Masuma (A), due to their proximity to the Ma`sūmīn (A) have acquired a high state of purity.

Infallibility (al-`ismah) has two meanings: Infallible from 1) error and 2) infallible from sin. When speaking of the infallibility of the Ma`sūmīn (A), both these meanings apply, but when speaking about special and noble people, such as Lady Zaynab (A), Hadrat `Abbās (A) or Lady Fatima Masuma (A), the latter meaning of infallible from sin is meant.

Here we do not have the space to discuss this issue, but we can mention that the Imams (A) never falsely praised anyone, and the fact that the Imam al-Ridā (A) gave the title of Masuma to his sister is proof that she deserved such a title.

Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt: This title, meaning “the Noble one of the family of the Prophet (S)” was given to her by either Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-Sādiq (A) in a dream seen by Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmūd Mar`ashī Najafī, the author of Mashjirat al-`Ālawīyīn.

This noble man was very interested in finding the exact location of the burial place of Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and for this purpose he spent 40 days supplicating, so that he could be privileged with this information.

On the 40th night, after the completion of his prayers, he went to sleep and in his dream he saw himself present at the grave of either Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-Sādiq (A) (both of whom are buried in Jannat al-Baqī` in Madina). Imam (A) said to him:

عَلَيْكَ بِكَريمَـةِ اَهْـلِ الْبَيْتِ

“I advise you to go to the Karīmat (Noble one)

of the Ahl al-Bayt”

He thought that by Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt, Imam (A) was referring to Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and so he answered, “Yes, I have been supplicating for this very purpose, so that I may know the exact place of the holy grave of this noble personality, enabling me to perform her pilgrimage.”

The Imam (A) said, “I meant the holy grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in Qum.” Then the Imam (A) added, “It is Allah’s desire that the location of the holy grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) be hidden from everyone.”

Therefore, the Imam (A) has placed the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in place of the grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and so all the honour and grandeur that would have been accorded to the grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) should be given to the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

On waking from his dream, the late Mar`ashī made an intention to travel to Qum with his family, in order to perform the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and he carried out this intention without any delay.[30] He died in Najaf, in the year 1338 A.H.

1.7 – The high status of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

In the salutation (Ziyārat) of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) which has been narrated from Imam al-Ridā (A) (the salutation is quoted in the final chapter of this book), one reads:

وَاَنْ لا يَسْلُبَنا مَعْرِفَتَكُمْ اِنَّهُ وَلىُّ قَديرٌ

“(We ask from Allah) not to deprive us from understanding your status. Indeed, He is the Protector and has Power over everything.”

And so in this chapter we will attempt to understand something of the great status of this noble lady. Some traditions that are indicative of her status are mentioned below:


1. The authentic tradition from Imam al-Ridā (A):

مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَنى

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me.”[31]

This tradition implies that the rewards and benefits awarded to a pilgrim are the same whether he does the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) or Imam al-Ridā (A). Also, from this tradition, as discussed previously, we get the title of Masuma (infallible) that was given to this noble lady by Imam (A) himself.

2. The authentic tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A):

وَسَتُدْفَنُ فيها امْرَأةٌ مِنْ اَوْلادى تُسَمّى فاطِمَةَ، فَمَنْ زارَها وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الجنّة

“A lady from my children, by the name of Fatima will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits her [shrine], will certainly be admitted to Heaven.”[32]

This narration also illustrates the high status of this noble lady, because her pilgrim is ensured entry into Heaven.

3. Another authentic tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A):

تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدي، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتي الجنّة بَأجْمَعِهِمْ

“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”[33]

This narration indicates the honour and position of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), who will be the means of intercession of the Shi`a of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) on the Day of Judgement.

Although there have been other traditions by the Imams (A) stating that, through the intercession of the scholars and the martyrs, people will enter Heaven, never has a non-Ma`sum been specifically named for this intercession, as in the case of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

4. The Ziyārat to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) that we have in our hand today has been narrated from Imam al-Ridā (A). Interestingly, no other non-Ma`sum has had an Imam dictate the text and manner of their Ziyārat other than Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

Also, because we know that this Ziyārat has been narrated by the Imam (A) through a reliable tradition, the virtues of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) within it must be considered true.

1.8 – Why did Lady Fatima Masuma (A) not marry?

It is almost certain that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not marry. The question arises “Why?”

We know that marriage is a highly desirable and recommended act in Islam and in regards to marriage, traditions of the Prophet (S) are quoted below:


النِّكاحُ سُنَّتِي، فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي

Marriage is part of my Sunnah (practice) and whoever disregards my Sunnah is not from me.[41]

It has been narrated that in the time of the 5th Imam, Imam al-Bāqir (A), a certain woman did not marry for the sake of honour, self discipline and gaining nearness to Allah. The Imam (A) told her: “If the abandonment of marriage gave a person more honour, then Lady Fatima Zahra (A) would not marry, for there is no woman purer and more honourable than her.[42]

Therefore, we can be sure that there must have been a good reason for Lady Fatima Masuma (A) not marrying. Two possible reasons are cited below:

The first reason may be due to the fact that, the daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A), especially Lady Fatima Masuma (A), were women of great distinction and to find husbands who would be compatible to them was not easy. Imam al-Kāđim (A) had therefore recommended them to take the advice and opinion of Imam al-Ridā (A) in matters such as marriage, due to his own inaccessibility while he was imprisoned by Hārūn.[43]

The fact that there were no suitable spouses present for the daughters of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), does not seem so far-fetched when we consider the tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A) in reference to Lady Fatima Zahra (A):

لولا أنّ الله تبارك وتعالى خلق أمير المؤمنين لفاطمة 
ما كان لها كفو على ظهر الارض من آدم ومن دونه.

“If God had not created the Commander of the Faithful [Ali] for Fatima, then there would not have been a suitable husband for her in the whole world from the time of Adam to the end of mankind.”[44]

The second reason is that the fear and anxiety caused by Hārūn’s government at that time was such that no-one dared to get close to the family of the Ahl al-Bayt (A).

To marry one of the daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A), and become his son in-law was considered too dangerous.

This was one of the many sad difficulties that Imam’s (A) family faced, due to the tyranny of the rulers of their time.[45]

We cannot determine with certainty why Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not marry, however, we can be sure it was not due to the abandonment of marriage as a personal choice.

1.9 – The knowledge of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

One of the qualities of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was her considerable knowledge of the various Islamic sciences and the teachings and merits of the family of the Prophet (S). She is counted amongst the highest rank of reliable narrators of traditions.

Unfortunately, due to the oppressive rulers at her time, there was great restriction in narrating anything from the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and so a lot of material has been lost.

Some of the traditions (ahādīth) which have been narrated by this noble lady, that have reached us, are given below, with their chain of transmission (sanad).

It is narrated that:

عن فاطمة بنت موسى بن جعفر، عن فاطمة بنت الصادق جعفر بن محمد،عن فاطمة بنت الباقر محمد بن علي، عن فاطمة بنت السجاد علي بن الحسين زين العابدين، عن فاطمة بنت ابي عبدالله الحسين، عن زينب بنت أمير المؤمنين، عن فاطمة بنت رسول الله (ص)، قالت قال رسول الله (ص):

اَلا مَنْ ماتَ عَلى حُبِّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ماتَ شَهِيداً


Fatima (Masuma) daughter of Imam al-Kāđim, narrates from Fatima  daughter of Imam al-Sādiq, who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam al-Bāqir, who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam al-Sajjād, who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam Husain, who narrates from Zaynab  daughter of Imam Ali, who narrates from Lady Fatima Zahra daughter of the Prophet of God, who has narrated that the Prophet (S) has said:

“Know that whoever dies having the love of the family of Muhammad, dies a martyr (shahīd).”[49]

From the above traditions, narrated by Lady Fatima Masuma (A) with a reliable chain of narrators, we see that not only the men folk of the family of the Prophet (S) narrated traditions from the Prophet (S), but also the women of this family had a role in narrating his traditions.


Even as a child her level of knowledge and spiritual awareness was very high, as seen from a report by the late Ayatollah Sayyid Nasrullāh Mustanbit,[51] who reported that there were some manuscripts found in the Shūshtarī libraries in the Holy city of Najaf, that had the following tradition written on them:


“One Friday, a number of Shi`a went to Madina to meet Imam al-Kāđim (A) to get some questions answered. But when they reached the house of the Imam (A), they were informed that he was away on a journey.

They decided to write their questions on a piece of paper and entrust this to the family of the Imam (A), so that when he returned from his journey he could answer the questions.

After a few days in Madina, the Shi`a decided to return home. Before their homeward journey, they passed by Imam’s (A) house to say their farewells and here they were given their paper back with all their questions answered. The replies to their queries had been provided by Lady Fatima Masuma (A), who at the time was only six years old.

They left Madina satisfied with the answers. On their journey home, they happened to meet Imam al-Kāđim (A), who was returning to Madina. They related to the Imam (A) the events that had occurred.

The Imam (A) asked to see the paper with the questions answered by Lady Fatima Masuma (A). After studying her replies and finding all the questions answered so correctly and eloquently by his young daughter, the Imam (A) remarked:

فِدَاهَا اَبُوهَا

May her father be sacrificed for her.

Imam (A) repeated this phrase three times.[52]

This same phrase had also been used by the Prophet (S) for Lady Fatima Zahra (A). [53]

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