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Once upon a time . . .

Once upon a time …. there existed a society that possessed true values. Among them lived the Queen of Jannah, the most beloved daughter of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Sayyidah Fatima (radiyallahu anha). Like the rest of the society of that era, she too possessed all the great qualities of taqwa, humility, generosity, forgiveness, sabr, tolerance and all the jewels and adornments of the heart. Among these spectacular qualities was the priceless pearl of hayaa (modesty/shame). Sayiddah Fatima (radiyallahu anha) was an embodiment of hayaa. The following incident highlights the level of hayaa that she possessed.


Once Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) asked the sahaaba (radiyallahu anhum): “What is the best quality of a woman?” Since the question pertained to women, the Sahaaba (radiyallahu anhum) remained silent and did not give any answer. Later Hazrath Ali (radiyallahu anhu) came home and posed the same question that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had asked them to his wife Sayyidah Fatima (radiyallahu anha). She spontaneously replied: “Why did you not reply (that the best quality of a woman) is that she does not see any (non-mahram) men and no (non-mahram) male gets to see her” (non-mahram refers to one with them whom marriage is not forbidden. This includes cousins, brother-in-laws, etc). Hazrath Ali (radiyallahu anhu) relayed her reply to Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), upon which he replied in great joy: “Fatima is a part of me (hence she gave such a wonderful and perfect reply!!!)”

Sayyidah Fatimah (radiyallahu anha) regarded hayaa (modesty/shame) as among the most valuable and precious possession of a woman. She could not tolerate anything that will compromise hayaa. Hence she could not imagine anything better for a woman than to ensure that no non-mahram ever sets his eyes on her, nor should she ever see a non-mahram, as both these aspects will tarnish and affect the hayaa of a woman. If this is the effect of merely being seen by a non-mahram, one can easily understand the extent to which hayaa will deteriorate or even be destroyed in freely associating and inter mingling with non-mahrams!!!

Sayyidah Fatima (radiyallahu anha) lived with this priceless jewel of hayaa and passed away with it. During her last illness she was suddenly gripped by a great worry. It worried her that after a deceased person is washed and then fully wrapped in the kafn (shroud), some aspects of the body can still be perceived despite the shroud, such as one’s height, how healthy or thin a person is, etc. It tormented her that these aspects of her physical self may be perceived by those who will perform her janazah salaah and bury her. She expressed this fear to Hazrath Asma bint Umais (radiyallahu anha), the wife of Hazrath Abu Bakr (radiyallahu anhu). Hazrath Asma bint Umais (radiyallahu anha) suggested that a little wooden “frame” be placed over her janazah and a cloth be draped over it so that the mayyit under the “frame” will be completely concealed. Hazrath Asma (radiyallahu anha) then asked for some sticks and made a sample of the structure. Sayyidah Fatima (radiyallahu anha) became very pleased upon this. In the six months that she lived since the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), this was the only occasion she smiled. She was overjoyed that her very high level of hayaa will not be compromised even after death.


Those women who wish to stand alongside Sayyidah Fatima (radiyallahu anha.) on the day of Qiyaamah and hope to receive her intercession should reflect on their dressing and consciousness of the laws of hijaab. They should endeavour to walk in the footsteps of the Queen of Jannah. Insha Allah they too will then enter Jannah with her.

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