The story that Faatimah (radiallah anha) herself took the funeral bath and died
It has been narrated:
عَنْ أُمِّ سَلْمَى ، قَالَتْ: اشْتَكَتْ فَاطِمَةُ شَكْوَاهَا الَّتِي قُبِضَتْ فِيهَا، فَكُنْتُ أُمَرِّضُهَا، فَأَصْبَحَتْ يَوْمًا كَأَمْثَلِ مَا رَأَيْتُهَا فِي شَكْوَاهَا تِلْكَ، قَالَتْ: وَخَرَجَ عَلِيٌّ لِبَعْضِ حَاجَتِهِ، فَقَالَتْ: ” يَا أُمَّهْ اسْكُبِي لِي غُسْلًا “، فَاغْتَسَلَتْ كَأَحْسَنِ مَا رَأَيْتُهَا تَغْتَسِلُ، ثُمَّ قَالَتْ: ” يَا أُمَّهْ أَعْطِينِي ثِيَابِيَ الْجُدُدَ “، فَأَعْطَيْتُهَا فَلَبِسَتْهَا، ثُمَّ قَالَتْ: ” يَا أُمَّهْ قَدِّمِي لِي فِرَاشِي وَسَطَ الْبَيْتِ ” فَفَعَلْتُ، وَاضْطَجَعَتْ، وَاسْتَقْبَلَتِ الْقِبْلَةَ، وَجَعَلَتْ يَدَهَا تَحْتَ خَدِّهَا ثُمَّ قَالَتْ: ” يَا أُمَّهْ إِنِّي مَقْبُوضَةٌ الْآنَ، وَقَدْ تَطَهَّرْتُ الْآَنَ ، فَلَا يَكْشِفُنِي أَحَدٌ ” فَقُبِضَتْ مَكَانَهَا قَالَتْ: فَجَاءَ عَلِيٌّ فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ
From Umm Salma, she said: When Fatimah (radiallah anha) had the illness which took her life, I nursed her. During this time, on one occasion her condition was slightly better one morning. Ali (radiallah anhu) had gone out for some job. Fatimah (radiallah anha) said, ‘O mother! Bring some water for me to bath.’ I brought some water and as far as I saw she bathed perfectly. Then she said, ‘O mother, bring me new clothes’ so I gave her clothes to her and she put them on. Then she said, ‘O mother! Make my bed for me in the middle of the house,’ so I did accordingly. Then she laid down, faced towards the Ka’bah, placed her hand under her cheek and said, ‘O mother! It is time for my death and I have purified myself. Do not let anybody undress me.’ Fatimah passed away in that very position.” Umm Salma continues, “Then Ali (radiallah anhu) came back and I informed him of Fatimah’s death.
The other version adds at the end: “Thus she was buried with the same Ghusl (bath)”
[Al-Abaateel wal Manaakeer by Al-Jurqaani (2/79), Chain Hasan up to Ibn Ishaaq]
This hadeeth is Da’eef, Munkar. It is narrated by Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal (rahimahullah) in his Musnad (45/587-588 H. 27615) with the following chain of transmission:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النَّضْرِ، حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللهِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي رَافِعٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ أُمِّ سَلْمَى
Abu al-Nadr narrated to us, he said: Ibraaheem bin Sa’d narrated to us, from Muhammad bin Ishaaq, from Ubaydullah bin Ali bin Raafi’, from his Father (Ali bin Abi Raafi’), from Umm Salma…
Moreover, this narration is also narrated through Imaam Ahmed with the same chain in Asad ul-Ghaabah fi Ma’rifat-is-Sahaabah (5/590) & Ma’rifat-is-Sahaabah by Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahaani (6/3507 H. 7944).
And it is narrated through the route of Ibraaheem bin Sa’d by Ibn Sa’d in Tabaqaat al-Kubra (8/22), Umar bin Shabbah in Taareekh al-Madeenah (1/108, 109), Ibn Shaaheen in Naasikh al-Hadeeth (1/482), Abu Abdullah al-Jurqaani in Al-Abaateel wal Manaakeer (2/78), and Ibn al-Jawzee in Al-Ilal al-Mutanaahiyah (419) and Al-Mawdoo’aat (3/277).
This chain is Da’eef and Munkar, due to the following reasons:
1 – It contains Muhammad bin Ishaaq bin Yasaar who is a Mudallis and is narrating with AN.
Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal said: “Ibn Ishaaq commits Tadlees”
[Taareekh Baghdaad: 2/22, Chain Saheeh]
Imaam Ibn Hibbaan said: “He commits tadlees from weak narrators, thus there occurred Munkar narrations in his reports due to those (Mudallas narrations)…”
[Kitaab ath-Thiqaat: 7/383-384]
Haafidh Ibn Hajar mentioned him among the fourth level of Mudalliseen and said: “He is Sadooq, famous with Tadlees from weak and Majhool narrators and from the evil of those (men), and he is attributed with this by Ahmed, Ad-Daaraqutni and others.”
[Tabaqaat al-Mudalliseen: P. 73 with Tahqeeq of Shaykh Zubayr Ali Za’ee]
2 – Moreover, this chain also contains the Father of Ubaydullah, Ali bin Abi Raafi’ who is unknown i.e. Majhool ul-Haal.
After mentioning this hadeeth, Haafidh Noor ud-Deen al-Haythami said:
“رَوَاهُ أَحْمَدُ، وَفِيهِ مَنْ لَمْ أَعْرِفْهُ”
“It is narrated by Ahmed and it contains someone whom I don’t know”
[Majma az-Zawaaid (9/211)]
Shaykh al-Muhaddith, Zubayr Alee Za’ee (rahimahullah) said: “I do not know of the Tawtheeq of Ali bin Abi Raafi”
[Fataawa Ilmiyah (1/518)]
Haafidh Ibn al-Jawzee said:
“هَذَا حَدِيث لَا يَصح”
“This hadeeth is not authentic”
[Al-Mawdoo’aat & Al-Ilal al-Mutanaahiyah]
Imaam Dhahabi said:
“This is Munkar”
[Siyar A’laam al-Nabula (3/423)]
Imaam Jurqaani said:
“هَذَا حَدِيثٌ لَا يَرْجِعُ مِنْهُ إِلَى الصِّحَّةِ، وَلَيْسَ لِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَصْلٌ”
“This hadeeth is not authentic, and this hadeeth does not have any basis”
[Al-Abaateel wal Manaakeer (2/81)]
Ibn al-Hammaam al-Hanafi said about this narration:
“It is Da’eef”
[Sharh Fath ul-Qadeer (2/105)]
This narration has another Shaahid in Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq (3/411 H. 6126), other version (6152), Al-Ahaad wal Mathaani by Ibn Abi Aasim (5/356 H. 2940), Al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer by At-Tabaraani (22/399 H. 996), and Hilyat al-Awliya by Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahaani (2/43) from the narration of Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel.
However, this narration is weak because Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel did not see the era of Faatimah (radiallah anha), hence it is Munqati (disconnected).
Haafidh Noor ud-Deen al-Haythami said about this chain:
“عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ لَمْ يُدْرِكِ الْقِصَّةَ فَالْإِسْنَادُ مُنْقَطِعٌ”
“Abdullah bin Muhammad did not witness the story, therefore, the chain is disconnected”
[Majma az-Zawaaid (9/211)]
Zayla’ee al-Hanafi said:
“سَنَدٍ ضَعِيفٍ وَمُنْقَطِعٍ”
“Its chain is weak and disconnected”
[Nasb ur-Raayah (2/251)]
The text of this hadeeth is as well Munkar because how is it possible for us to imagine that, Faatimah (radiallah anha) the Aalimah and the Faqeehah did not know that her bath before her death would not suffice the bath that becomes obligatory only after the death.
Thus, Imaam Jurqaani said:
“وَكَيْفَ اغْتَسَلَتْ فَاطِمَةُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَبْلَ الْمَوْتِ، وَهِيَ عَالِمَةٌ فَقِيهَةٌ، قَدْ عَلِمَتْ أَنْ غُسْلَهَا قَبْلَ الْمَوْتِ لَا يُجْزِيهَا مِنْ غُسْلِ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي يَجِبُ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ”
“And how can Faatimah radiallah anha take bath before the death, when she (herself) is a Scholar and a Faqeehah, indeed she knew that her ghusl before the death would not suffice her from the funeral ghusl which becomes obligatory after the death”
Similarly, Haafidh Ibn al-Jawzee said:
“وَكَيْفَ يَكُونُ صَحِيحًا وَالْغُسْلُ إِنَّمَا شُرِّعَ بَحَدَثِ الْمَوْتِ فَكَيْفَ يَقَعُ قَبْلَهُ وَلَوْ قَدَرْنَا خَفِيَ هَذَا عَنْ فَاطِمَةَ وَحَوْسَبٍ فكَانَ يُخْفَى عَلَى عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ ثُمَّ إِنَّ أَحْمَدَ وَالشَّافِعِيَّ يَحْتَجَّانِ فِي جَوَازِ غَسْلِ الرَّجُلُ زَوْجَتَهُ أَنَّ عَلِيًّا غَسَّلَ فَاطِمَةَ عَلَيْهَا السَّلامُ”
“And how can it be Saheeh when (it is known that) Ghusl only becomes legislated with the occurrence of Death, so how can it happen before it? And even if we suppose that Faatimah did not know about this (ruling), so (does it mean) that it remained hidden from Ali alayhi as-salaam as well? Moreover, indeed Ahmed and Shaafi’ee have taken evidence for the permissibility of a man giving ghusl to his wife based on the very fact that Ali (himself) had given ghusl to Faatimah alayha as-salaam”
[Al-Ilal by Ibn al-Jawzee (1/260)]
What makes this narration severely weak and Munkar is the fact that Faatimah (radiallah anha) was actually washed by Ali (radiallah anhu) after her death as it is narrated in Al-Mustadrak Ala as-Saheehayn (3/179), Hilyat al-Awliyaa (2/43), Sunan al-Kubra lil Bayhaqi (3/556), Taareekh al-Madeenah (1/109), Al-Abaateel wal Manaakeer (2/81-82), Naasikh al-Hadeeth of Ibn Shaaheen (1/483), and Al-Talkhees al-Habeer (2/326) etc. It is authenticated by Imaam al-Jurqaani and Haafidh Ibn Hajar.
And it is supported by what’s narrated from Muhammad bin Moosa bin Abi Abdullah al-Fitri (Thiqah Taba Taabi’ee and a Shi’aa) that he said:
“أَنَّ عَلِيَّ بْنَ أَبِي طَالِبٍ غَسَّلَ فَاطِمَةَ”
“Ali bin Abi Taalib gave ghusl to Faatimah”
[Tabaqaat al-Kubra (8/23), Chain Saheeh]
Therefore, this leaves no doubt that this story is made-up and Munkar!
Finally, Haafidh Ibn Katheer said about this story:
“وَمَا رُوِيَ مِنْ أنَّها اغتسلت قبل وفاتها وأوصت أن لَا تغسَّل بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَضَعِيفٌ لَا يعوَّل عَلَيْهِ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ”
“And whatever is narrated that she gave herself a ghusl before her death and willed that she should not be washed after that, then this is Da’eef, it is not to be relied upon, wallahu a’lam”
[Al-Bidaayah wal Nihaayah (6/337)]