(Faatimah bintu ‘Abdil Malik [rahimahallah] – Part Three)

A woman once travelled from Iraq to lay a request before ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah). When she arrived at his home, she called out, “Is there a doorkeeper guarding Ameerul Mu-mineen?” After a few moments, she heard someone reply from within the home, “There is no doorkeeper, enter if you so wish.”

The woman therefore entered and found Faatimah bintu ‘Abdil Malik (rahimahallah) seated in the home, holding cotton which she was spinning. The woman greeted Faatimah (rahimahallah) with salaam to which she replied and again invited her into the home. The woman accepted the invitation and ventured further into the home until she took a seat. She then looked around the home and was surprised to find that her sight did not fall on any item of value.

She thereafter said, “I only came to this ruined home so that I can build my own home (i.e. I have come for financial assistance).” Hearing the woman’s statement, Faatimah (rahimahallah) replied, “It is the building of homes of people such as yourself that has caused this home to be dilapidated.”

Just then, ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) entered the yard and went to a well in the corner where he drew a few buckets of water which he poured on the clay that was near the home, all the while frequently glancing at Faatimah (rahimahallah). Noticing this, the woman admonished Faatimah (rahimahallah) saying, “Veil and conceal yourself from this worker for I see him constantly glancing at you!” To this, Faatimah (rahimahallah) answered, “He is not a worker! He is Ameerul Mu-mineen!”

‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) then proceeded to the door of the home and entered after making salaam. On entering, he immediately proceeded to his musalla to perform salaah. When he was done, he asked Faatimah (rahimahallah) who the woman was and served her with some grapes.

When she had eaten, ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) asked her what need had brought her to his door. The woman replied, “I am a woman from Iraq and I have five daughters who are all unproductive and unmarried. I have come to ask you to please show your kindness to them.” Hearing this, ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) began to cry out of sympathy.

He then seized his inkpot and some paper and began to write instructions to the Governor of Iraq. Addressing the woman, he said, “What is the name of your eldest daughter?” The woman provided him with the name which he wrote on the paper, together with a stipulated allowance which the Governor was to provide her. Seeing this, the woman was delighted and exclaimed, “Alhamdulillah!”

‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) thereafter enquired regarding the names of the second, third and fourth daughters and similarly wrote instructions to the Governor to provide them with allowances. Through this all, the woman continued to exclaim “Alhamdulillah!” in delight. When the stipulation was made for the fourth daughter, the woman’s delight reached its peak and she began to thank and praise ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) profusely.

The instant the woman thanked and praised him, ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) held up his hand and said, “So long as you praised Allah Ta‘ala, Who is worthy of all praise, I continued to stipulate allowances for your daughters. Now that you have praised me, I will not stipulate anything for your fifth daughter. Instead, instruct your four daughters to spend on her from their own allowance.”

The woman departed for Iraq with the letter to the Governor in her possession. When she reached Iraq and handed the letter to the Governor, he cried bitterly and exclaimed, “May Allah Ta‘ala shower His mercy on the one who wrote this letter!”

The woman immediately realized that something had happened to ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah) and asked, “Has he passed away?” When the Governor replied in the affirmative, she began to wail and cry (as she was convinced that due to the death of ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez [rahimahullah], her daughters would not receive the allowance that he had promised). Noticing her distress, the Governor consoled her saying, “Do not worry. Under no circumstances will I reject his instructions.” Saying this, he made the necessary arrangements for their allowance.

(Seerat ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez – Ibnu ‘Abdil Hakam pg. 149)


1. Faatimah bintu ‘Abdil Malik (rahimahallah), despite being the wife of the ruler and being raised in luxury, did not consider it below her dignity to fulfill the household chores with her own hands. Hence the woman from Iraq found her spinning cotton.

2. Faatimah (rahimahallah) had once lived the ‘ultimate’ life. To please Allah Ta‘ala and her husband, however, she forwent her luxuries and adopted a life of simplicity. If she could make the change from extravagance to simplicity, we can, at the very least, live with moderation and stop being wasteful and extravagant.

3. Such was the generosity of Faatimah (rahimahallah) that she allowed her own home to be emptied so that the homes of others could be filled.