The name Fatima means “the shining one” and is indeed the name of Mohammed’s favorite daughter, Fatima Zahra. In some Muslim circles, Fatima Zahra is in some ways considered a Muslim counterpart to Mary, Mother of Jesus, as the ideal model for all women. She is revered for her purity and for her motherhood of a Muslim martyr.
How appropriate then that the Blessed Virgin Mary chose to appear in 1917 in Fatima, a town in Portugal dubbed such for a namesake of Fatima Zahra who converted from Islam to Christianity, and that the miracle given to confirm Mary’s appearances there was a miracle involving the sun. In his book on the Blessed Virgin entitled The World’s First Love, Fulton Sheen speculated that just as Judith, Esther, and other heroic women of the Old Testament were pre-Christian types of Mary, Fatima Zahra may well have been a post-Christian type of Mary.