The one who turned the foe into a friend – Fatima bint al-Khattab

She was Fatima bint al-Khattab ibn Nufail ibn Abd al-Uzza, brought up in one of the noble and elite houses of the Quraish in Makkah. She is more popular as the one who faced the harshest enemy of Islam and turned him into a role model.

She was married to Sa’eed Ibn Zayd, one of the ten companions who were given the glad tidings of Paradise. Zayd ibn Nufail, father of Sa’eed, was the man who used to save the new-born girls from being buried alive and he would tell whoever wanted to kill his daughter, ”Do not kill her. I would pay the expenses of raising her.”

He being an honorable young man, belonging to an honorable house, whose father was distant from the religion of the polytheists, a lone man who was upon the religion of Ibraheem, as he himself used to say was the perfect match for Fattima bint al-Khattab who had a pure heart that was free from the filth and deviations of the age of ignorance.

Sa’eed accepted Islam at the hands of an honorable companion, Khabbab Ibn al-Arat. After his declaration of faith to the Prophet (pbuh) he went back to his wife Fatima and told her about the new faith. This young woman of nobility was quick to understand the truth and responded by accepting the new faith as well.

Both of them concealed their faith in fear of persecution, especially at the hands of her brother Umar, who at the time was hell bent upon eradicating Islam from Makkah and slaying the Prophet (pbuh). Meanwhile Khabbab used to frequent their home to teach them about Quran and Islam.

It so happened once, Umar enraged by the spread of Islam, decided to put an end to all of it, for once and for all. He took his sword and walked towards the house of al-Arqam, which was known to be the place where the Prophet (pbuh) preached the new faith to the believers. He set out determined to kill the Prophet (pbuh). On his way he was met by one of he men of Bani Makhzum who seeing the flaming rage on his face asked him, ”Where are you going?” Umar answered, ”To Muhammad ibn Abdullah! I want to kill him and free the Arabs from his trial!”

The man then told him, ”Do you think that the clan of Abd Manaf would leave you alone if you will kill him? Put your house in order first.”

Umar asked in utter amazement and extreme rage, ”What do you mean? Whom do you mean?”

The man answered, ”Your sister and your brother-in-law both have accepted Islam and follow Muhammad (pbuh).”

Hearing this Umar changed his direction and headed towards his sister’s house. Once he arrived at her house, he heard some verses of the Quran being recited which he did not understand. He knocked violently and shouted at Fatima to open the door.

Hearing him, Khabbab quickly went into hiding in one of the corners of the house, Fatima put away the parchment they were learning the Quran from. It is said they were reciting the verses of Surah Ta Ha. She then opened the door for him. He asked her about the murmur he had heard, to which she replied it was nothing.

He then questioned them threateningly about having accepted the new faith and of the consequences that would follow if they had. It was there and then, that the bold Fatima came forward and confronted her brother. She said it to him, loud and clear, that they had, both she and her husband, accepted Islam. That they had testified to the truth of there being no God except Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) being His Messenger.

Hearing this from his sister, Umar’s rage was peaked to the boiling point and in a fit he punched Sa’eed flooring him to the ground. Fatima, seeing this, sprang in front of Umar to defend her husband but Umar brutally slapped her and she had a broken and bleeding lip.

It was the sight of this wrongfully shed blood that turned his heart. In the next moment his anger was gone and the humane part of him was awakened. It is as Allah willed and next he asked his sister about what they were reading. She asked him to make himself pure, perform ablution before she could let him touch the parchment that contained the verses of the Glorious Quran.

Seeing his heart soften, Khabbab joins them and ells him that the Prophet (pbuh) had made an invocation for either his or Abu Jahal’s acceptance of Islam, which made him happier. Encouraged, he left his sister’s house, went straight to the Prophet (pbuh) and declared his faith.

It was therefore in the house of Fatima and Sa’eed that Umar turned a new leaf. Allah swt has honored them both, having chosen them as a source of Umar’s guidance to Islam. It was Fatima who confronted Umar and changed the course of his life.



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