Fatimah bint Abdul Malik
Fatimah bint Abdul Malik was a highly placed woman of first century Hijrah. She was wife of the great Banu Umayyad Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz and daughter of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan. She was raised in palatial atmosphere like princesses and she was familiar with the royal culture.
Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, himself a man of great beauty was regarded one of the few who greatly were mindful of their get-up. His diet and dress were equally worthy of royalty. But after he had to take over the charge of the Caliphate, he gave up all princely practices. He turned his mouth away from the superb and delicious cuisine. The pulses were started to be cooked daily and all the people of his household were sick with the pulses.
One day a servant complained his matron that he was fed up with the pulses. She silenced him to tell that his master, the Commander of the Faithful, too ate the same and they themselves, as well.
Once the Caliph praised the taste of Lebanon-honey before her. She sent word to ruler of Lebanon, Ibn Ma’di Karb. He immediately sent the honey. When it was served before the Caliph, he questioned his wife if she had ordered for that. She answered in affirmative and the Caliph sold out the honey and deposited the price in Baytal Mal (state exchequer).
Once a woman came from Iraq to get approved the allowance for her orphan daughters. She saw the first lady baking bread herself and sat near her. She was looking at the house and then said regretfully that she had come to find some favours from that house but it, itself is in the worst. The Caliph’s wife said, “your homes are cared for, at the cost of ours.” Then she inquired about her problems and put her case before the Caliph who approved the allowance forthwith.
When ‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz fell ill with mortal disease, his brother in law Muslima ibn Abdul Malik came to inquire about his health. He saw the Commander of the Faithful wearing a worn Kameez (long shirt). He took aside his sister and asked her to change the Kameez of the Commander of the Faithful. She told her astonished brother that the ruler of the greatest empire of the time had only that shirt.
Fatimah was a woman who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and was bred with royal manners. But she withdrew from that sort of life to the will and wish of her husband and lived her life poorly. She lived long after her husband but she persisted to live simply. The noted Turk writer Dhehni Afindi writes, “Fatimah bint Abdul Malik ibn Marwan was known Dhatid Khimar (the woman of shawl).
She was a lady of great piety and reverence. Her tomb is in Busra (Syria) where her devotees pay visits frequently.
(Serah ‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, Taha’in Tarikh Islam).