THE WINNER GETS THE GIRL!
Nine centuries ago, a great fiqh (Islamic law) scholar named Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Samarqandi lived in Samarkand, the Central Asian city located in modern Uzbekistan. He was surrounded by people who wanted to obtain knowledge and ask for fatwas from him.
The only child of the scholar was a girl named Fatima. This girl was extraordinary. Her intelligence and industriousness caught her father's attention. He also raised his daughter as a fiqh scholar. Fatima Hanım became one of the great fiqh scholars of the time. So much so that she memorized her father's famous work called “Tuhfa al-Fuqaha.”
Her father wanted his daughter's signature to be included in the written answers (fatwas) he gave to the questions asked. Fatima Hanım's handwriting was also outstanding. Most of the time, she wrote the fatwas issued by her father. She was also supremely beautiful. She was virtuous and had good morals. She used to give lessons and fatwas to the ladies.
Annotated his Tuhfa, married his daughter!
However, Fatima Hanım had no desire for status, beauty, gold or silk. She set a very interesting criterion for the man she would marry. She said that she would marry whoever best commented on her father's book.
On this occasion, the scholars of the time set to work preparing commentaries on "Tuhfa al-Fuqaha." As a result, very valuable works were written in this regard, meaning Fatima Hanım greatly contributed to the science of fiqh.
One of these commentators was Ala al-Din al-Kasani, a poor scholar from Turkistan. Al-Kasani was also a student of al-Samarqandi. Al-Kasani won the test by creating the best annotation of his teacher's book. He succeeded in marrying Fatima Hanım. She accepted this book as bridewealth.
For al-Kasani, the phrase "Sharaha Tuhfatahu zawwajahu bintahu" ("Annotated his 'Tuhfa,' married his daughter") is famous. This book is known as “Bada'i al-Sana'i.” It is one of the most valuable books written in the Hanafi school. It was written in an unusual style and arrangement. Shreds of evidence of fiqh rules are given through seven volumes.
Al-Kasani gained a reputation after this work. He began to be known as “Melik al-Ulama” (Sultan of Scholars). He provided answers to questions posed by the bid'ah (heresy innovation) sects, especially the Mu’tazile school, with his brilliant mind. Kosonsoy (the ancient Kathan) is in Uzbekistan. The city of Kashan in Iran is different.
The three signatures
After Fatima Hanım married al-Kasani, the couple and the great scholar began to live in the same house. Fatima Hanım assisted her husband in his scientific studies after they got married. Al-Kasani would not issue a fatwa without his wife's opinion on difficult matters. Fatima Hanım wrote the fatwas with her beautiful writing; They would give the fatwa to the one who asked, by signing all three names, two of them as witnesses.
Al-Samarkandi died in 1144. Al-Kasani went to Konya in today’s central Turkey with his wife. He was respected by the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Mesud I. But some scholars there envied him. Thereupon, the sultan sent him as an ambassador to Nur ad-Din Zangi, who was also his son-in-law.
Nur ad-Din, who ruled independently in Aleppo as the sultan of Syria, Egypt and Iraq, respected al-Kasani. He appointed him a mudarris (teacher) to al-Halawiyah Madrassa. Thus, the husband and wife moved to Aleppo.
Nur ad-Din greatly respected the Kasani family. He often had both of them taken to the palace and consulted them on important affairs. The ladies of the palace also competed with each other to listen to Fatima Hanım's conversation.
As my teacher's daughter wants
No matter how respected they were in Aleppo, the Kasani family missed their homeland. They asked Nur ad-Din to leave Aleppo. Although Nur ad-Din insisted they stay, he later apologized, saying, "My teacher's daughter wants to return."
Al-Kasani, for his teacher's sake, did not refuse his wife's wishes. Thereupon, Nur ad-Din sent a female courtier to Fatima Hanım to convince her to stay. Fatima Hanım was persuaded by the request and agreed to remain in Aleppo.
Fatima Hanım started the custom of giving iftar (evening meal ending the daily fasting) every Ramadan night in the soup kitchen of al-Halawiyah Madrassa by selling the bracelets on her arm.
Fatima Hanım also produced works in the field of fiqh and hadith. They had a son named Mahmoud. Together with her husband, they raised him as a scholar.
Fatima Hanım died in Aleppo. Her husband also left this temporary world too soon in 1191. The two of them lie side by side at Qubur al-Saaleheen (Cemetery of the Righteous) in Aleppo. Among the people, these two graves are known as "Qabr al-Mar'ah wa Zawjiha" (the Grave of the Lady and the Husband) and are visited frequently.
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