The children of Fatima al-Zahra

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SHAFAQNA – Before I begin I will ask readers to remember that my words are mine and mine alone – I do not claim to speak on anyone ‘s behalf, nor am I privy to certain truths. My words are mine, and mine alone …

I have seen one too many so-called debate to be under any illusion as to some people’s intention when it comes to criticism. While anyone is entitled to their opinions, free speech should not be used as a license for slander, or bullying. Pluralism we would do well to remember sits at the core of Islamic values and that implies the right to disagree.

But back to the subject at hand – the martyrdom of Lady Fatima al-Zahra.

If her name requires no introduction … how would you go about defining she, who was her father’s mother and the mother of all martyrs? How could anyone hope to reduce down to a few adjectives the magnificence of our Lady, when her soul was born to be purified under the mantle of prophethood? This is not to say that we owe to sit silent …

And yes many across the Islamic world will argue that mourning ceremonies are pointless since they offer little by way of reparation, I would argue that our very duty is to her memory. Did she not after all sacrificed beyond the bearable? Wasn’t her life and death acts of worship in their own rights? When every steps are made in submission and every words spoken are faithful prayers what else is there to do but remember the light tyrants sought to extinguish?

There can never a case raised against the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. Who will deny our lady when the last Prophet of God warned that whoever would ever anger her, would in fact anger him?

Who now will argue the commemoration of her martyrdom? Who will call for her murder to be forgotten so that tyrants would be released of their crimes? The Heavens remember that much is certain.

She, who was buried in secret amid thick darkness remains the strongest light yet –

As our world, our society and our community continue to be infected by violence, vindictiveness, pettiness and all manners of divisions, I believe the martyrdom of Fatimah al-Zahra speaks of selfless mercy. Maybe if we were to quiet our demons we would hear her call … Maybe justice would be to honour her sacrifice by rising above our imperfections to stand worthy of her! If only …

I believe that enough ink has flown from writers’ pen to last an eternity … all is left to do is to let our tears flow until such a time when her son is returned and Justice restored for those who await.

Irrational you say? Absolutely … our love is irrational to those whose chest is unburdened by the pain she was put through. Our loyalty is often misconstrued too, for few can understand the bond that unites us to the Household of the prophet.

Is it heresy to revere those personalities whose footsteps echo of the divine? Is it innovation to cry injustice and demand reparation?

And so every year, come what may … in struggle or in peace we will remember the mother of all martyrs … what are we if not her sons and daughters?

Let me leave you with this account of Fatima al-Zahra’s burial … tell me then you can contain the fire in your chest!

Imam Ali AS, buried his beloved 18 year old wife Fatima Zahra SA at night in secrecy and concealed the place of her burial according to her last will. When he dusted off the earth of the grave (from hands), he was so overwhelmed with grief that tears rolled on his cheeks. And then he turned his face towards the grave of the Prophet pbuh, and said:
“Peace be upon you from me, O messenger of Allah! And peace be upon you from your beloved daughter, the delight of your eye, your visitor, resting in the earth in your locality, for whom Allah so destined that she should join you so soon.
O messenger of Allah, it is indeed difficult to forbear the parting of your beloved daughter and my strength has waned with the demise of the lady who was above the women of the world. My main source of solace has been from your tradition (of submission to the will of Allah) and from your own departure which caused to me greater sorrow. For I laid you in the niche of your grave after you breathed your last on my chest, and I interred you with my own hands. And I attended to your rites myself. Yes, and the Book of Allah has the best guide to submission (in the verse):
‘To Him we belong and unto Him shall we return.’ (2:156).
The trust has been (thus) returned (to you) and the deposit (with me) has been redeemed; and al-Zahra has been snatched away (from me). How ugly has the green and the dusty (i.e. the surrounding) become. O messenger of Allah! As for my sorrow, it is everlasting, my nights sleepless. The grief cannot leave my heart, till Allah destines for me the same abode as yours where you live. It is the heartache like a festering wound, and the irritating distress. How soon have we been parted from each other? And I raise my complain to Allah!
Your daughter will inform you how your Ummah rallied against me and worked together to usurp her right. So you seek information from her. How much of ill feeling wrestles within her chest for revenge! for which she found no expression. She would say: ‘Allah will judge, and He is the Most Just of the Judges.’

With Allah as Witness, your daughter is buried in secrecy, her rights usurped forcefully, and her inheritance denied openly. And the time has not been long, nor had you been forgotten. So, the complain is raised to Allah, O messenger of Allah! And to you I offer the most sincere condolence; and the blessing of Allah be upon you and her, and His Mercy and His Grace.”
Source: Al-Amali, The Dictations of Shaykh al-Mufid, Thirty Third Assembly, Hadith 7 (Lamentation by Ali at Fatimah’s graveside)

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna

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