What Is the Meaning of the Phrase ‘Peace Be upon You, O Relater (Al-Muhaddathah) And Knower (Al-Alimah)?

Question :

What Is the Meaning of the Phrase ‘Peace Be upon You, O Relater (Al-Muhaddathah) And Knower (Al-Alimah)?

Answer :

Lady Fatimah was a divinely inspired relater; that is, the angels would converse with her. There are numerous narrations through our paths to corroborate this purport, such that they lead to knowledge of its issuance in general. Moreover, some of these narrations are of high divine-law consideration with regard to their chain of transmission.

One of these narrations is that which has been transmitted by al-Tabari in his Dala’il al-Imamah (The Arguments for Imamate) on the authority of ‘Isa ibn Zayd ibn ‘Ali, who said, I heard Abu ‘Abu ‘Abd Allah (upon whom be peace) say, “Fatimah was called a ‘divinely inspired relater’ because the angels would come down from the heaven and call her as they used to call Mary, daughter of Imran, saying, O Fatimah! Surely God has chosen you and purified you, and He has preferred you above all the women of creation. O Fatimah! Be obedient to your Lord…. She would converse with them, just as they would converse with her.”

Another narration is that which has been brought in al-Kafi by al-Kulayni with an authentic chain of transmission on the authority of Abu ‘Ubaydah, wherein Abu ‘Abd Allah (upon whom be peace) is reported to have said, “Fatimah lived for seventy-five days after the messenger of God, broken-hearted and grief-stricken about his departure. Gabriel would thus come to her, express sympathy with her on her father’s loss, console her, tell her about her father and his station, and tell her about that which would happen to her descendents after her departure. ‘Ali (upon whom be peace) used to write that, so this was the Codex of Fatimah.”

The angels’ conversation with Fatimah is not unprecedented in the history of divine messages. There were a number of women with whom the angels used to converse, even though they were not prophets. The Holy Qur’an has signified it clearly.

For example, God said, “(And remember) when the angels said, O Mary! Lo! God gives you glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary”[1]. He also said, “And when the angels said, O Mary! Surely God has chosen you and purified you, and He has preferred you … .”[2]

So is the case with the wife of Abraham, the Friend, with whom according to a number of Qur’an verses, the angels would converse, God said, “And our messengers came unto Abraham with good news. They said: Peace! … And his wife, standing by, laughed when We gave her good tidings (of the birth) of Isaac, and, after Isaac, of Jacob. She said, Oh, woe is me! Shall I bear a child when I am an old women, and this my husband is an old man? Lo! This is a strange thing. They said, Do you wonder at the commandment of God? The mercy of God and His blessing be upon you, O folk of the house! Lo! He is Praiseworthy, Glorious”.[3]

The blessed verse signifies clearly that the angels conversed with Abraham’s wife and gave her good tidings of the birth of Isaac and, after Isaac, of Jacob. That is, they told her about a hidden affair and an unseen truth. When she stood in awe thereat, considering her senility and the old age of her husband Abraham (upon whom be peace), they replied to her that that is part of the commandment of God in which there is no failing and that is part of His grace and His mercy with which He singled out the folk of this house. For He is the praiseworthy who effuses His blessings, especially upon those who worship Him sincerely and call for Him faithfully. In light of this, the blessed verse clearly expresses that she spoke with them, just as they spoke to her.

If this is the level of Abraham’s wife, why do we regard as too much the high station of Lady Fatimah after the Messenger of God has described her on many occasions – as clearly stated by the Sunnis and the Shiites - as the Supreme Lady of the Worlds and said that God becomes wrathful when she becomes wrathful and is pleased when she is pleased? Moreover, God has considered affection for her the reward for His Prophet’s divine message. She was one of those whom the Prophet called for the contest of prayer with the Christians of Najran and one of those whom God lauded high in the Surah of Man in His words, “They fulfill their vows and fear a day whereof the evil is wide-spreading. They give food, for love of Him, to theneedy, the orphan and the prisoner, (saying,) We feed you for the sake of God only. We wish for no reward nor thanks from you. Lo! we fear from our Lord a day of frowning and of fate. Therefore God has warded off from them the evil of that day, and has made them find brightness and joy. And (He) has awarded them for all that they endured a Garden and silk attire …. (And it will be said unto them,) Lo! this is a reward for you, and your endeavour has been well-appreciated.”[4] In addition, she was unanimously among those concerning whom the verse of purification was revealed; to wit, “Surely God desires to repel all impurity from you, O Folk of the House, and purify you with a thorough purification”.[5]

1.The Holy Qur’an 3:45

2. The Holy Qur’an 3:42

3. The Holy Qur’an 11:69-72

4. The Holy Qur’an 76:7-22

5. The Holy Qur’an 33:33

resource : HadithNet