He رضي الله عنه was an intelligent, eloquent warrior, with rock-solid faith.
She رضي الله عنها was fearlessly compassionate, as pure and beautiful as a budding blossom.
This already sounds like a dreamy couple from a fantasy story, but the plot twist is, they both lived extremely difficult lives.
From the start till the end of their marriage, it was riddled with everything from extreme poverty and loss of loved ones to chronic illness and ultimately their separation while still young lovers.
Does this make your heart swoop painfully?
This is because the fairytale we grew up on never showed us what happens after the ‘Happily Ever After.’
Yes, marriage is beautiful, and it enhances the best parts of ourselves and our Deen (Islamic way of life). But it’s also a journey, like everything in this temporary world, that yields glorious views and picturesque passes along with a fair share of pot-holes and wrong turns!
However, this does not make their love story any less beautiful or desirable; it makes this amazing couple so real and relatable that we can strive to embody them in our pursuit of lasting and meaningful love without any delusions.
Here are 3 wonderous themes we can ponder over from the timeless romance of the beloved daughter of Allah’s final Messenger ﷺ and the courageous young man who sacrificed unflinchingly in Allah’s Cause.
The Best Company
When Ali رضي الله عنه worked up the courage to finally ask Rasulullah ﷺ for Fatimah’s hand in marriage, the Messenger to Mankind told him:
“She is yours if you treat her with the best company.”
[al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 3490]
Sound Deen and good character are non-negotiables, but compatibility does matter. Ali and Fatimah رضي الله عن grew up in the noble, loving, and giving household of the Prophet ﷺ and Khadija رضي الله عن, they were exposed to the best influences and endowed with the most upstanding values.
But they were also compatible personalities from the get-go. For instance, we know that Ali and Fatimah رضي الله عنه had a similar sense of humor as their humble house often echoed with laughter.
He would write her poignant, romantic, and funny poems just to see her radiant smile, for she was known as Az-Zahra (The Splendid One), inheriting her father’s luminous beauty.
One such poem was jealously addressed to her siwak (twig used as a toothbrush in those days), and it starts with the verse, “O stick of the arak tree, how dare you?!”
But Fatimah’s رضي الله عنها beauty was not her most remarkable attribute; she was a woman who perfected her faith, chosen by her Lord as the Sayyidina (leader, queen) of Paradise. She gave up a carefree, ‘normal’ childhood and girlhood to endure with her father ﷺ, defending and taking care of him, especially during his brokenness when her mother died رضي الله عنها.
She was known as ‘Umm Abiha’ – the ‘Mother of her Father’, and this glowing report from Aisha رضي الله عنها indicates that she was also very much her father’s ﷺ daughter:
“I have not seen anyone who resembled the Holy Prophet ﷺ more in manners, habits, character and in the method of sitting and standing than Fatimah.”
And Ali رضي الله عنه also possessed spectacular qualities that made him noble and respected despite his youth and poverty. For instance, he was very wise and capable for his years. Despite their age gap, Rasulullah ﷺ used to confide in him and seek his advice on important matters, even entrusting him with the welfare of Medina when he was away on an expedition.
At Khaybar, Ali رضي الله عنه was given the standard of the Muslims, and victory was promised by Allah at his hands, this incident also confirmed that he was someone beloved to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.
Rasulullah ﷺ, with his exceptional emotional intelligence, favoured Ali for his most precious daughter because he recognized that they would suit each other on a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual level.
And even then, while knowing they were perfect for each other, the Messenger ﷺ still asked her what she thought about it, without pressuring her in the least to accept the proposal.
As with everything in the Sunnah, this approach to marriage is beautiful in its moderation and straightforwardness, looking out for the best interests of everyone involved.
A heart bonded to Allah
While feeling those sparks of connection and companionable conversations is beautiful, when the riptides of external circumstances rock the boat, a spouse’s relationship with Allah is what will keep you both afloat.
We learn from an authentic hadith [Bukhari 3113] that Fatimah and Ali رضي الله عنه wanted to approach Rasulullah ﷺ in hopes of alleviating their backbreaking workload with a servant. The Prophet ﷺ lovingly sat between them in their home and gave them a beautiful dhikr to recite before going to sleep that would strengthen them and alleviate their burdens.
He was the most generous of men ﷺ, but it was not something he could spare even for his daughter when so many were suffering in the community. The righteous couple didn’t complain or feel down about this; instead, they implemented the Divine advice and found it to be better for them.
Another time, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ found Fatimah رضي الله عنها alone and upset in her house, she and Ali had argued and he رضي الله عنه had walked out in a bad mood.
Where do you think the young man went? Not to drown his sorrows with worldly distractions. He went to the House of Allah and fell asleep on the dirt floor. We can reasonably assume that he prayed two rak’at and confided to His Lord about what troubled him.
When someone’s heart is filled with love for Allah, with the deep need to please Him and draw near to Him, then you trust them to hold your heart with the care and respect it deserves. Even when you both are not on the best of terms for a while.
The Prophet ﷺ found him there, dusted him off with the smiling words of “Get up, O Father of Dust”, and took him back to Fatimah [Bukhari 441].
This also teaches us the quality of iman and practice of the Deen in a spouse’s family can make or break the marriage. In the first instance, Rasulullah ﷺ gently guided them to make the best of their difficult situation by turning to Allah and expecting the best from Him. And in the second example, even as a protective and tender father, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ did not get involved in their argument or rush to the defense of his beloved daughter رضي الله عنها. Instead, he solved the situation by sending Ali رضي الله عنه back to his wife with renewed cheerfulness.
Death is not The End
“You will be with those whom you love.”
Many of you who have heard the touching story of Fatimah رضي الله عنها sitting by her father’s ﷺ deathbed, might have been confused at why she laughed through her tears when she heard that she would pass away soon. After all, she was only twenty-eight, with a loving husband and adorable children growing up in righteousness رضي الله عنه.
However, being her father’s daughter, no part of her was attached to the Dunya (worldly life). She craved the Highest Company of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, she trusted wholeheartedly in the Promise of her Rabb (Lord), in His Paradise for those who strived faithfully towards Him.
And what’s more, the parting with her Ali ﷺ and the children she lovingly mothered was but a temporary and fleeting one, she would meet them soon in the Realm of the (righteous) Souls, and further on in the Eternal Gardens where no poverty, fear, or grief would ever touch them.
Because in Islam, we do believe in a ‘Happily Ever After’ – just not in this temporary world fraught with trials, temptations, and enchantments that fade away all too soon.
The people we choose to be our people, who we invest our emotions, energy, and time in the most, not only impact our happiness and wellbeing in this world, but also the next.
Therefore, we need to constantly assess which path our relationships are taking us, whether that’s our close friends, social media influencers we follow, or suitors/ spouses, and make sure that, bi’idhnillah, we will be joined with those beloved to Allah and brought close to Him in the Hereafter.
In simple terms: Are the main people in your life bringing you nearness to Allah or pulling you away from Him?
May Allah bless us in our relationships, and make them all pure, sincere, and barakah-filled, so that they will be a source of endless joy for us in this world and the next. And may the Most Merciful unite us and our loved ones with His Chosen Ones in Jannah Al-Firdaws in magnificent abodes close to Him.
The Firsts, a lecture series by Yaqeen Institute, titled: ‘Ali رضي الله عنه and Fatima رضي الله عنها: From Love Till The Pain of Death (Dr. Omar Suleiman)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSa4kKwo_cs
The Firsts, a lecture series by Yaqeen Institute, titled: The First Family: ‘Ali رضي الله عنه and Fatima رضي الله عنها (Dr. Omar Suleiman) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwnRZ30TVE