On one occasion, Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) were experiencing hunger. In this condition, Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) suggested to Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), “Why do you not go to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and ask him (for some assistance)?”

Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) agreed and proceeded to her father who was with Ummu Ayman (radhiyallahu ‘anha) at that time. When she knocked on the door of the home, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) remarked to Ummu Ayman (radhiyallahu ‘anha), “This is the knock of Faatimah. She has come to us at a time of the day when she does not normally come to us (hence, it would appear that she has some need). Stand and open the door for her.” Ummu Ayman (radhiyallahu ‘anha) thus opened the door for Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).

(When she entered,) Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked her, “O Faatimah! You have come to us at a time of the day when you do not normally come to us (so what is it that you require?)” Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) responded, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! The food and sustenance of the angels is the recitation of tasbeeh (subhaanallah), tahmeed (alhamdulillah) and tamjeed (glorifying Allah Ta‘ala), so what is our food and sustenance? (i.e. we are starving and in need of food)”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded, “By Allah! A fire (for cooking) has not been lit in the house of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for the last thirty days (i.e. we are also undergoing hunger)! Nevertheless, a few goats have arrived. If you wish, I will instruct for you to be given five goats. Alternatively, I will teach you five phrases which Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) taught to me a few moments ago.”

Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) responded, “Rather teach me the five phrases that Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) taught to you!” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Recite the following:

يَا أَوَّلَ الْأَوَّلِيْنَ يَا آخِرَ الْآخِرِيْنَ يَا ذَا الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِيْنِ وَيَا رَاحِمَ الْمَسَاكِيْنَ وَيَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ

O the One who was in existence before all others existed, and will remain in existence after all others have perished, the Possessor of mighty strength! O the One who shows mercy to the destitute and the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!

Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) then returned home where she said to Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “I went from you hoping to acquire something of the dunya, but I returned having acquired something of the Hereafter.” Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “Goodness will come to you! Goodness will come to you!”

(Kitaabud-Du‘aa lit-Tabraani #1047 and Kanzul ‘Ummaal #16681)


1. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had firm conviction that the life of this world is short and temporary, while the life of the Hereafter is eternal and everlasting. Hence, Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) chose to sacrifice the dunya in exchange of the immense rewards of the Hereafter.

2. If a person sets out to acquire R10, but returns with R100 000, he will be ecstatic and overjoyed as he received far better than he expected. In the same way, when Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) returned home with something of the Hereafter, instead of food to eat, then Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) congratulated her, as what she brought home was far superior and more beneficial than any food. In this manner, the husband and wife, through ease and difficulty, should continue to support and encourage one another in their efforts for Deen.

3. When Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) approached Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) with her difficulty, he immediately turned her attention to Allah Ta‘ala and the Hereafter. Likewise, as parents, we should try to always turn the hearts of our children towards Allah Ta‘ala and the Hereafter so that their hearts become imbued with imaan and they develop the true mindset of a believer.