Fatima al-Ma'suma

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Descendant of Imam
Fatima al-Ma'suma
Lady Masumah.jpg
Name Fatima bt. Musa b. Ja'far (a)
Epithet Al-Ma'suma, al-Tahira, al-Hamida
Father Imam al-Kazim (a)
Mother Najma Khatun
Birth Dhu l-Qa'da 1, 173/790
Place of Birth Medina
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Demise Rabi' II 10, 201
Place of Burial Qom
Age 28

Faṭima bt. Mūsā b. Jaʿfar (Arabic: فاطمة بنت موسی بن جعفر), well known as Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) is the daughter of Imam al-Kazim (a). She is a highly esteemed and virtuous lady of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and is one of the Imam's-descendants who is buried in Qom. She has a great and special position in the Shi'a tradition. It is narrated that the reward of the Ziyarah of her shrine is Paradise.

Birth and Lineage

There is no specific mention of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma's birth date in early sources; however, later history books state that she was born on the first day of Dhu l-Qa'da, 173 / March 26, 790, in Medina. Her father is Musa b. Ja'far al-Kazim (a), the seventh Shi'a Imam. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, when recounting the daughters of Imam al-Kazim (a), mentions two Fatimas –the older Fatima and the younger Fatima. Also, Ibn al-Jawzi records two other daughters of the Imam, known as the middle Fatima and the last Fatima. The mother of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma and Imam al-Rida (a) is Najma Khatun.

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Lady Fatima
Imam Ali
Umm al-Banin
Imam al-Husayn
Imam al-Hasan
Lady Zaynab
Umm Kulthum
Abd Allah
Umm Kulthum
'Abd Allah
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Sajjad
'Ali al-Akbar
'Ali al-Asghar
Imam al-Baqir
Imam al-Sadiq
'Abd Allah
'Ubayd Allah
Imam al-Kazim
Umm Farwa
'Abd Allah
Imam al-Rida
Imam al-Jawad
Imam al-Hadi
Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari
Imam al-Mahdi

Name and Titles

Her most famous title is al-Ma'suma. This title is taken from a narration of Imam al-Rida (a) which states, "Whoever visits (the Shrine of) al-Ma'suma in Qom, it is as if he has visited me" [1]. According to another narration, she has also referred to herself as al-Ma'suma, the sister of Imam al-Rida(a). Her other titles include, Tahira (the pure one), Hamida (the praised one), Birra (the righteous one), Rashida (the mature one), Taqiyya (the pious one), Naqiyya (the pure one), Radiyya (the contented one), Mardiyyah (the one with whom God is pleased), Sayyida, Siddiqa (the truthful one), and Ukht al-Rida (the sister of al-Rida). She is also widely known as Karimat Ahl al-Bayt (a).

Personal Merits

In traditional texts, it has been narrated that except for Imam al-Rida (a) of course, none of Imam al-Kazim's children were at the level of Lady al-Ma'suma (a). Shaykh 'Abbas al-Qummi writes: among the daughters of Musa b. Ja'far (a), the most virtuous is the great and respected Lady known as al-Ma'suma (a). Imam Khomeini has paralleled the position of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) with that of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) in a forty-four line poem.


It has been reported that a group of Shi'a once went to Medina to have their questions answered by Imam al-Kazim (a). At the time, the Imam was on a trip outside of Medina; therefore, Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) wrote the answers to their questions on a piece of paper and handed it to them. On their way back, they encountered the Imam (a) outside of the town. When the Imam saw their questions and the replies given by Fatima al-Ma'suma (a), he said: "May her father be her sacrifice" repeating it three times.


According to a report from al-Ya'qubi, it was in the will of Imam al-Kazim (a) that none of his daughters should marry[2]; however, other historians have rejected the authenticity of this report. In Imam al-Kazim's will, the full obedience of all children to Imam al-Rida (a) is stressed, and it is explicitly stated: "None of my daughters shall marry by the leave of their half-brothers, uncles or rulers, except with a consultation and accordance to the opinion of al-Rida (a). If they do otherwise, it is as if they have opposed God and his Prophet (s) and disputed with God in his divine kingdom; for he (Imam al-Rida) is more aware of the interests of his tribe in the matter of marriage. Therefore, whomever he wants, will get married, and whomever he does not want, shall refrain from it"[3].

A more likely opinion about the reason why she remained single is that during the reign of Harun al-Rashid and al-Ma'mun, Shi'as, 'Alawis and their leader, Imam al-Kazim (a), were under harsh persecution. Consequently, their social connections were severely limited and nobody dared to have relations with them.


As a narrator, Fatima al-Ma'suma has quoted several Hadith from previous Infallible Imams (a), most notably of which are: The Hadith al-Ghadir, the Hadith al-Manzila, and hadith concerning the love for Prophet Muhammad's Progeny (a), and the position of Imam 'Ali (a) and his followers.

Immigration to Iran and Arrival in Qom

The author of the book The History of Qom, writes: in the year 200/815 the Abbasid caliph, Ma'mun, summoned Imam al-Rida (a) from Medina to Marv, for he wanted to appoint the Imam as his successor. Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) left Medina in 201/816 in order to join her brother. It has been reported that she prepared herself for the long journey after she received a letter from her brother in that regard. Al-Ma'suma (a) headed for Iran in a caravan of her relatives. Upon their arrival to Sawih, a city near Qom, they had a bloody confrontation with the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (a) which resulted in the martyrdom of all her brothers and nephews and caused her illness. Thereafter, she ordered her servant to take her to the city of Qom.

Another historical account states that when the news of her illness reached Banu Sa'd, they decided to go to her and request her to come to Qom. Musa b. Khazraj, a companion to Imam al-Rida (a), was the first to do so. He went to the caravan and invited her to his house. In some later history books, the date of her arrival to Qom is recorded as Rabi' I 23/October 23, 816. Fatima al-Ma'suma settled in this house for 17 days, spending her time in worshiping and praying. Today, the sanctuary where she prayed in the house of Musa b. Khazraj in Qom is a famous site known as Sittiyyah or Bayt al-Nur (the house of light).


There is no explicit mention of the exact date of her demise in early sources; however, later historical accounts state that she passed away in the tenth of Rabi' II, 201/9 November, 816 when she was 28 years old. Some also have recorded the 12th of the same month. The Shi'as held an honorable funeral for her in which they took her body to a garden owned by Musa b. Khazraj known as: Babilan. It is reported that when the grave had been prepared, they were puzzled as to who would go and place the body in the grave, since none of al-Ma'suma's close relatives remained alive. They had just decided to send for a pious old man named Qadir to do it, when suddenly two masked horsemen appeared from the desert and started the preparations for the burial. After the burial was completed, they mounted their horses and left without talking to anybody. Musa b. Khazraj made a straw awning over the grave which was there until 256/870 when Zaynab, the daughter of Imam al-Jawad (a), came to visit the shrine of her aunt and built the first dome over it.

Merits of Visiting The Shrine of Lady al-Ma'suma (a)

The pilgrims of the Shrine of Lady Ma'suma, Qom

There are narrations from the infallible Imams (a) indicating the merits of visiting the Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a). Imam al-Sadiq (a) is reported to have said: Allah has a holy site which is Mecca and the Prophet Muhammad (s) has a holy site which is Medina, Imam 'Ali (a) has a holy site which is Kufa(Najaf) and we, Ahl al-Bayt (a), have a holy site which is Qom[4].

In another narration Imam al-Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying: "There will pass away in Qom a lady of my descendants known as Fatima bt. Musa, by whose intercession all Shi'as will enter the heaven[5].

According to another narration, entering Paradise has been promised as the reward for visiting the Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).

Imam al-Rida (a) is reported to have said, "Whoever visits her, it is as if he has visited me"[6] or in another account: "Whoever visits her will enter Paradise."[7] Imam al-Jawad (a) said: whoever visits the Shrine of my aunt, Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a), in Qom, with the love and knowledge of her true position, will be among the inhabitants of the Paradise[8].

See also


  1. Riyahayn al-shari'a, Vol.5, P. 35
  2. Tarikh Ya'qubi, Vol.3, P.151
  3. al-Kafi, Vol.1, P.317
  4. Bihar al-anwar, Vol.48, P.317
  5. Mustadrak safinat al-bihar, p.596
  6. Riyahayn al-shari'a, Vol.5, P.35
  7. 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, Vol.2, P.271, Majalis al-mu'minin, Vol.1, P.83
  8. Bihar al-anwar, Vol.102, P.266


Further Reading