Names and titles of Fatima

Fatima (505/15-532 CE) was daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and wife to his cousin Ali, the fourth of the Rashidun caliphs and the first Shia Imam.[1] Fatima has been compared to Mary, mother of Jesus, especially in Shia Islam.[2][3] Muhammad is said to have regarded her as the best of women[4][5] and the dearest person to him.[6] She is often viewed as an ultimate archetype for Muslim women and an example of compassion, generosity, and enduring suffering.[2] It is through Fatima that Muhammad's family line has survived to this date.[7][5] Her name and her epithets remain popular choices for Muslim girls.[8][9]

Fatimah Calligraphy.png

Names and titlesEdit

Her most common epithet is al-Zahra (lit.'the one that shines, the radiant'),[4] which encodes her piety and regularity in prayer.[10] This epithet is believed by the Shia to be a reference to her primordial creation from light that continues to radiate throughout the creation.[4] The Shia Ibn Babawahy (d. 991) writes that, whenever Fatima prayed, her light shone for the inhabitants of the heavens as starlight shines for the inhabitants of the earth.[11] Other titles of her in Shia are al-Ṣiddiqa (lit.'the righteous'),[9] al-Tahira (lit.'the pure'),[12] al-Mubaraka (lit.'the blessed'),[12] and al-Mansura (lit.'helped by God').[4] Another Shia title is al-Muḥadditha, in view of the reports that angels spoke to Fatima on multiple occasions,[13][14][15] similar to Mary, mother of Jesus.[16]

Fatima is also recognized as Sayyidat Nisa' al-Janna (lit.'mistress of the women of paradise') and Sayyidat Nisa' al-Alamin (lit.'mistress of the women of the worlds') in Shia and Sunni collections of hadith, including the canonical Sunni Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.[5]


The name Fatima is from the Arabic root f-t-m (lit.'to wean') and signifies the Shia belief that she, her progeny, and her adherents (shi'a) have been spared from hellfire.[4][17][18] Alternatively, the word Fatima is associated in Shia sources with Fatir (lit.'creator', a name of God) as the earthly symbol of the divine creative power.[19]


A kunya or honorific title of Fatima in Islam is Umm Abiha (lit.'the mother of her father'), suggesting that Fatima was exceptionally nurturing towards her father.[20][21][6] Umm al-Aima (lit.'the mother of Imams') is a kunya of Fatima in Twelver sources,[2] as all the Twelve Imams descended from her.[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fedele 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Fedele 2018, p. 56.
  3. ^ Ernst 2003, p. 171.
  4. ^ a b c d e Buehler 2014, p. 185.
  5. ^ a b c Qutbuddin 2006, p. 249.
  6. ^ a b Abbas 2021, p. 55.
  7. ^ Abbas 2021, p. 57.
  8. ^ Amir-Moezzi & Calmard 1999.
  9. ^ a b Rogerson 2006, p. 42.
  10. ^ Ruffle 2011, p. 16.
  11. ^ Soufi 1997, p. 160.
  12. ^ a b Campo 2009.
  13. ^ Aslan 2011, pp. 185–6.
  14. ^ Ayoub 2011, pp. 63, 72.
  15. ^ Pierce 2016, p. 117.
  16. ^ Ayoub 2011, p. 72.
  17. ^ Ayoub 2011, p. 213.
  18. ^ Thurlkill 2008, p. 6.
  19. ^ Ayoub 2011, pp. 212–3.
  20. ^ Ruffle 2011, p. 14.
  21. ^ Nashat 1983, p. 92.
  22. ^ Glassé 2001a.


External linksEdit