Fatimah, also called Hazrat Fatima and al-Zahra, was one of Muhammad and Khadija’s children. Fatimah was the only child of Muhammad to have children that survived to adulthood. As such, she is the mother of the Sayyids, the descendants of Muhammad who are spread throughout the Muslim world.
Fatimah accepted Islam at the age of five and was one of the first Muslims. She was extremely protective of her father and defended him from non-Muslims who persecuted him. After Khadija died, Fatimah also tended to her father’s wounds when he was injured by those persecuting the early Muslims. Fatimah’s faith is admired, and she is said to have been a personification of high virtue and purity. Her worship resembled how Mary, the mother of Jesus, was believed to have worshipped. Mary, called Maryam in the Quran, is an important figure in Islam and is often regarded as a prophet in her own right.
While all Muslims respect and love Fatimah, she is especially important to Shiites. Shia Muslims believe that Fatimah was the only child of Muhammad and Khadijah to live to adulthood, not just the only one to have children who lived to adulthood. Fatimah was also the wife of ‘Ali, the man Shiites regard as Muhammad’s true successor and the first Imam. Fatimah and ‘Ali’s children, Hasan and Husayn, became the second and third Imams respectively. Imams are the spiritual leaders of Shiites and regarded as the rightful successors of Muhammad.