It goes without saying that the marriage of Imam Ali (as) and Sayyida Fatima (as) was a perfect union from the time of its inception until their fateful deaths. The beauty of their marriage lies not only on the pious status of the elevated and immaculate individuals but in the success they achieved regardless of the circumstances around their nuptials. The metrics of success are not rooted in the monetary or temporal benefits a husband and wife can provide to each other, but the decisions made in life through the lens of Islam. There is no better example of a successful marriage by those standards than that of the Imam (as) and his beloved wife, Sayyida Fatima (as), who made the fundamental values of their marriage only to love each other for the sake of Allah (swt).
On the 17th of Ramadan, just two years after hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (s) led his army to victory in a pivotal battle against the enemies of Islam. The battle of Badr was a key turning point in the growth and spread of Islam in the region, and a short two months after that victory, despite the circumstances, Sayyida Fatima (as) and the son of Abu Talib, Imam Ali (as), were married. They maintained an easy companionship that, to this day, is the epitome of a perfect union, but the perfection of their marriage was only so because their intentions and actions were only that to please Allah (swt) and serve Him throughout their lives.
The exemplary companionship between Imam Ali (as) and Sayyida Fatima (as) was existent because of shared ethics, goals and interests. Both were raised in a community that emphasized life Islamic standards; both put serving Allah (swt) before anything else; and both only allowed the expectations of Islam to dictate their life. Imam Ali (as) was the first male to accept Islam when the Prophet (s) presented it and Sayyida Fatima (as) grew up in the home of revelation. There was no room in their union for disagreements or resentment because since young ages, only the words of Allah (swt) rang in their ears. They allowed only the laws and ethics of Islam to provide direction in their marriage. Because of their proper approach to marriage and their life together, the two shared a life together, albeit a short one, that was full of beauty and love. There was no one wife who supported, defended and cared for her husband more than how Sayyida Fatima (as) did–she truly followed in the footsteps of her mother, Sayyida Khadija (as). Along the same lines, there has been no husband who protected and elevated the status of his wife more than Imam Ali (as)–he as well, following in the footsteps of his cousin-in-law and dearest friend, Prophet Muhammad (s). We see the reverence that Imam Ali (as) had for his beloved wife when we read his parting words to her, and we see the support of Sayyida Fatima (as) for Imam Ali (as) when she went from door to door to advocate for his usurped rights of the caliphate. These few examples are the metrics that made their marriage a success by both worldly and spiritual standards, reaching the height of perfection.
The marriage of Imam Ali (as) and Sayyida Fatima (as) contradict the misconceptions shared regarding the “readiness of marriage” in young adults. Men and women both who are at an age to get married are constantly advised to postpone this step until other accomplishments have been met. Men are told to make sure they have a well-paying and established career, and women are guided along a path of worldly standards for a spouse and ambitions that can often delay one of the most important steps as a Muslim: completing the other half of deen (religion) through marriage. In the midst of establishing a proper Islamic society and constantly battling against opponents of Islam, Imam Ali (as) approached the Prophet (s) for the hand of Sayyida Fatima (as) regardless of his wealth, her social and spiritual status, and of the difficult circumstances facing the Muslims at that time. The example of taking into account personal responsibility to one’s soul and spiritual state is an example worth noting, especially in the present state of affairs.
It is narrated that Imam Ali (as) came to the Prophet (s) at the end of the Islamic month of Zilqa’ad to make his intentions of marriage known and by the start of the next holy month of Zilhajj, Sayyida Zahra (as) prepared to begin this new journey in her life. The Prophet (s) was ready to give his most glorious trust to another in just a few days, whereas at times in today’s social standards advises couples to spend months or even years together before marrying. It is narrated that intertwined ribbons of “Allahu-Akbar” and verses from the Holy Qu’ran were recited as Sayyida Zahra (as) was presented to Imam Ali (as), and the beauty of their wedding ceremonies was in the simplicity in enjoying the blessings of Allah (swt).
Despite their trials and tribulations, the beginning and end of their divine lives were just as worthy of discussion and emulation, and their lives jointly as a perfect match, more so. Their bond set the course for a blessed family lineage that maintained its roots in Islam through all adversity they faced. Their example of both spiritual and worldly piety on both their wedding day and the marriage after is one to note and emulate amongst the youth and elders alike in our ummah (community) today.