The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said, “Contentment is a treasure that is never exhausted.” (Bayhaqi)
Sayyidatuna Fatima (Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of the Prophet ﷺ, represents an incredible depiction of a Muslim wife who possessed astounding contentment with Allah’s will. She was someone who was tested with many trials, but her decision to respond with patience and perseverance illustrates her rightful submission to Allah’s decree.
In the second year of the hijra, at the age of 18, Sayyidatuna Fatima was married to Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him). However, because Sayyiduna Ali was young and poor, he did not have any money for her mahr. The Prophet ﷺ instructed him to sell a shield that he ﷺ had previously gifted him. Sayyiduna Ali soon sold it, and Sayyidatuna Fatima was rewarded with bridal necessities and a wedding feast.
Sayyiduna Ali’s occupation was that of a fierce warrior. Due to dedicating his life to fighting battles for the sake of Islam, he had limited worldly means; consequently, he never assumed the position of a wealthy trader. This in return caused Sayyidatuna Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) to live a life of extreme poverty and hardship. It is related that when she married, she began her new life with only a bed, a pillow, a blanket, a leather pitcher, a water skin, and a hand-grinding mill. Their blanket would not even cover their bodies completely. Yet, she did not complain or criticize her husband for being poor; rather, she endured what Allah Most High granted her and contented herself with a humble, modest lifestyle. Even though Sayyidatuna Fatima and Sayyiduna Ali were poor they still had a happy marriage. When the Prophet ﷺ would visit them, he could hear the sounds of their laughter from outside their house.
The couple’s house was far from the residence of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. As such, Sayyidatuna Fatima’s marriage not only caused her to move out of her father’s ﷺ household but to another location in Madina that was a distance away from her original life. The closest house to the Prophet ﷺ was that of Haritha ibn al-Nu’man (Allah be pleased with him). Upon knowing that the Prophet ﷺ hoped for his daughter to be within proximity to him, Haritha sacrificed his house. Allah Most High rewarded Sayyidatuna Fatima for her fortitude regarding her circumstances and blessed her with the ability to be close to her father ﷺ once again.
Sayyidatuna Fatima was a mother of two children. The Prophet ﷺ instructed her to remain at home in an effort to care for the house and children, while Sayyiduna Ali was ordered to earn a living and tend to matters outside of their home. It was through their marriage that the gender distinction between marital roles in Islam was clearly conveyed to us. Sayyidatuna Fatima completed her housework, even in times when her bare hands were blistered from milling the grain. At one point the house labor exhausted her so much that the two requested for the Prophet ﷺ to give them a servant from the booty of slaves, but the Prophet ﷺ refused because others were more in need. Sayyidatuna Fatima and Ali dutifully accepted the Prophet’s ﷺ decision. The Prophet ﷺ later came to them and said that he would give them something better than what they were asking for – words taught to him by Jibril (Allah bless him). The Prophet ﷺ said, “Before you sleep, say SubhanAllah 33 times, AlhamduliLlah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times; this is better for you than a servant.” Ali is reported to have never left this dhikr for the rest of his life, and now all of us have the blessing of this dhikr, just because Sayyidatuna Fatima did not contest for a servant.
Despite her living conditions, Sayyidatuna Fatima chose to busy herself in worship. Within her lifetime, she witnessed her mother Khadija die (Allah be pleased with her), her three sisters die (Allah be pleased with them), and her own beloved father ﷺ die. She spent her life turning to Allah Most High, accepting His decree for her, until she breathed her final breath in this world. During his illness, the Prophet ﷺ informed Sayyidatuna Fatima that she would soon follow him in death and that she will be the leader of women in Paradise. Imagine that she will be the leader of all of us in the Hereafter inshaAllah.
Sometimes life turns out in a way that we didn’t expect it and the feelings of disappointment and despair begin to arise, but so much of these feelings are egged on by the ‘IF ONLY’ song ranting in our heads. ‘If only I had married someone else, I would have a happy marriage.’ ‘If only I had told my mother-in-law how I really felt, I wouldn’t have to deal with her nonsense.’ ‘If only I had two children instead of four, my life would be easier.’
‘IF ONLY’ makes us search for answers outside of ourselves, compelling us to try to change how others behave in order for us to feel better about our own lives. We believe that our relationships would be better, if only this person acted a certain way, or if only things were the way that we envision it. However, even if we got everything we wanted, there would still be something else that would eat away at our contentment.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us that: “If something befalls you, do not say ‘If only I had done otherwise,’ but rather say, ‘Allah’s will be done’ for ‘if only’ opens the door to Satan’s mischief.” (Bukhari)
Undoubtedly, ‘IF ONLY’ are dangerous words because they actually distract us from the real cause of our unhappiness. ‘IF ONLY’ emotionally and mentally occupies us from the one thing that we CAN change, which is looking within ourselves and making the decision to be grateful for what Allah has destined for us inshaAllah. In order to feel at peace and fully content with our lives, we must first and foremost remind each other to love Allah for who He is and to trust Him for what He has willed from beginningless eternity.
Sayyidatuna Fatima (Allah be pleased with her) made her marriage work in spite of the difficulties that she faced and she contented herself with seeking the good pleasure of her Lord. You have the choice to do the same – a choice to be contented with what Allah has given you in your life and to make your marriage better through the power of gratitude and contentment. Don’t wait another moment. Discover your never-ending treasure trove by making that choice todayinshaAllah.
© Muslima Coaching, 2016.