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Last Updated: 2011/04/20
Summary of question
What is the Mus’haf of Fatimah? Did the prophet and his household know about this book?
Koleini says in his book (Kafi, vol. 1, p 239): "A group of our followers have narrated from Ahmad Bin Muhammad, from Abdullah Bin Hajal, from Ahmad Bin Umar Halabi from Abu Basir that he said: "I went to Imam Sadiq and said: "May I be your ransom, I want to ask you a question, is there anyone here that will hear my voice?" He continues that the Imam then pushed the curtain aside, took a look and said: Ask whatever you like. He says: "I said: May I be your ransom… " He was silent for a moment and then said: The book of Fatimah is with us and what do people know (they know nothing) about the book of Fatimah?! Abu Basir says that I asked: What is the book of Fatimah? He replied: It is a book three times the Quran you possess today in length, by Allah it does not consist of one letter of the Quran you possess today! Abu Basir says that I commented: By Allah, this is complete knowledge. The Imam replied: This is also knowledge, but not complete knowledge."
Did the prophet and his companions know about the Quran of Fatimah and its content? If the prophet did not know about it and its content, then how come his household did? He was a prophet of Allah and if he knew about it, why didn't he inform the Ummah? while Allah says in the Quran: "O Apostle! Communicate that which has been sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you will not have communicated His message, and Allah shall protect you from the people. Indeed Allah does not guide the faithless lot."
Concise answer

The Mus’haf of Fatimah is the name of a book that was written by Imam Ali during Lady Fatimah's lifetime. The content of this book was communicated to Lady Fatimah through the special angel Gabriel. This book consists of future prophecies, the secrets of the Prophet's household and is considered a sign of Imamate. It has been passed on from one Imam to the next and is currently possessed by Imam Mahdi. Because this book was written after the time of the prophet according to most of the ahadith, no hadith has been narrated from the prophet in regard to it, but this does not mean the prophet did not know about this Mus’haf; because we believe that by the will of Allah he is even able to see the future. Since this Mus’haf is a sign of Imamate and exclusively for the Imams, its content has not yet been revealed and unconcealed to normal people.

Detailed Answer

The Mus’haf of Fatimah

Any written content that is compiled between two covers is called a Mus’haf. Therefore every book can be called a Mus’haf. During the advent of Islam, the Quran was also called ‘The Mus’haf’.[1]

There are certain books mentioned in Islamic sources that are exclusively for the infallibles and that only they were informed of their content, like the Book of Ali and the Mus’haf of Fatimah.

In these sources, the last book has been mentioned as, the Mus’haf of Fatimah, the Sahifah of Fatimah and the book of Fatimah.[2] There are many ahadith related to this Mus’haf. Some of these ahadith are weak, but there is a group that are authentic and reliable, consequently one can be sure that such a book exists, even though there are discrepancies in regard to the details.

The Writing of the Mus’haf of Fatimah

After the demise of the prophet, his daughter, Lady Fatimah was in extreme grief and enduring the absence of her father was very difficult for her.

It is mentioned in authentic ahadith that during the period after the prophet's demise until the martyrdom of Lady Fatimah, an angel would descend upon the prophet's daughter and express his condolences so that she would be calmed. This angel, that has been known to be Gabriel in some ahadith,[3] informed Lady Fatimah of her father's status in Barzakh and of the following incidents that would take place. In a hadith by Imam Sadiq, he says:

"When the prophet of Allah passed away, Fatimah was in such grief and sorrow that no one but Allah could understand how sad and heart-broken she was. Therefore Allah sent an angel to console her and relieve her from her grief. Fatimah informed Imam Ali about this matter and the Imam wrote all of what the angel had told Lady Fatimah resulting in the collection of the Mus’haf of Fatimah."[4]

It is understood from this hadith and other ahadith that this Mus’haf was collected by Imam Ali and after the demise of the prophet, and that it is comprised of the words communicated to Lady Fatimah by the holy angel. However, other ahadith that are of a smaller quantity indicate that the book was written during the prophet's lifetime. Seyyed Ja'far Murtada, a contemporary Muslim scholar in the field of history, reconciles between these ahadith saying that: "The collection of the Mus’haf was initiated during the time of the prophet and was partially collected during his lifetime, and the rest was collected after his demise."[5]

The fact that angels would speak to Lady Fatimah is not unlikely; because angels have spoken to Maryam as it is mentioned in the Quran: "And when the angels said: O Mary, Allah has chosen you and purified you, and He has chosen you above the world's women."[6] Not to mention that Maryam was the greatest women of her era, while Lady Fatimah was the greatest women of all times.


The content of the Mus’haf

When examining the ahadith, we find that the following issues are mentioned in this holy book:

1- Future prophecies[7]

2- The will of Lady Fatimah[8]

3- The name of all individuals that will rule until the Day of Judgment[9]

4- Future events regarding her offspring[10]

5- An outline of the prophet's life and his status after his demise that was communicated to Lady Fatimah.[11]

As an example we will mention one hadith:

In a hadith Imam Sadiq said: "Surely Fatimah lived for 75 days after Allah's prophet and during this time she was in great grief due to her father’s loss. In these days Gabriel would descend upon her, would express his condolences for her father's demise and would calm her.  He would also inform her of the destiny of her progeny. Imam Ali would write these messages and this resulted in the collection of the Mus’haf of Fatimah."[12]


The Imams’ emphasis on the otherness between this Mus’haf and the Quran

It is understood from some ahadith that Sunnis were aware of this Mus’haf and assumed that, according to the teachings of the Ahlul-Bayt, Shias believe the Quran has been distorted and the missing verses are mentioned in this Mus’haf. Therefore the Imams have sharply negated the existence of any Quranic verses in this Mus’haf.[13] The Late Allameh Askari says: "Some Sunni writers accuse those who defend the Shia school of thought and say that they (Shias) have a different Quran named the Mus’haf of Fatimah; because the book of Fatimah is called a Mus’haf, and during the emerge of Islam some Muslims would also call the Quran the Mus’haf."[14] In a hadith by Imam Sadiq he insists: "By Allah, the Mus’haf of Fatimah is with us and not one verse of the Quran is mentioned in it."[15]


The sign of an Imam

In a long hadith Imam Reza mentions the signs of an Imam and says: "One of the signs of an Imam is that he possesses the Mus’haf of Fatimah."[16] Also Imam Sadiq says: "Before being martyred, Imam Baqir gave me the Mus’haf of Fatimah.[17]"

This Mus’haf has been with the Imams since it was collected and has been passed on from one Imam to the next and it is currently in the hands of Imam Mahdi.


The Prophet's knowledge of the Mus’haf

Because according to most ahadith, this book was written after the time of the prophet, he has not mentioned anything regarding it, but this does not mean he was not aware of it. We believe that he was able to see the future by Allah's will. Even now, according to Quranic verses, he is watching and witnessing our deeds and what takes place. This book is exclusively for the Imams.

If we believe that a part of the Mus’haf was written by the prophet during his lifetime, as some ahadith have mentioned, then the prophet was definitely aware of it.

Moreover, the Mus’haf of Fatimah is not part of the Quran; therefore the prophet does not bear the responsibility of informing the Ummah of its content.  At the same time there are several issues that the prophet did not explain that his household was responsible of explaining instead.[18]

Therefore not informing others of an issue does not always mean not being aware of it.

[1] Lisan al-Arab, vol. 9, pg. 186.

[2] Ibn Babwayh Qummi, Al-Imamah wal-Tabsirah, pg. 12.

[3] Kafi, vol. 1 p. 241.

[4] Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 238.

[5] Seyyed Jafar Murtada, Khalfiyyat Kitab Ma’sat Al-Zahra’, vol. 6, pp. 57-58.

[6] Ale-Imran:42.

[7] Al-Ihtijaj, vol. 2, pg. 134.

[8] Ibid, vol. 1, pg. 241.

[9] Ibid, vol. 2, pg. 134.

[10] Kafi, vol.1, pg. 241.

[11] Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 241.

[12] Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 241.

[13] Mughniyah, Muhammad Jawad, Al-Shia fi al-Mizan, pg. 61.

[14] Ma’alem al-Madrasatayn, vol. 2, pg. 32.

[15] Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 238.

[16] Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 4, pg. 419.

[17] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 26, pg. 47.

[18] As it is mentioned in the hadith of Thagalain: " إِنِّی تَارِکٌ فِیکُمُ الثَّقَلَیْنِ مَا إِنْ تَمَسَّکْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا کِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَ عِتْرَتِی أَهْلَ بَیْتِی وَ إِنَّهُمَا لَنْ یَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى یَرِدَا عَلَیَّ الْحَوْضَ "

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