Virtues of Fatimah al-Zahra (as)

  • Date 22 October 2021
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News Summary :
Who is Fatimah (as)? And what is her reality? If we limit her to being just the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH), the result would be different from when we pay more attention and reflect on her status before God and before the Prophet (PBUH). If we do so, many historical and theological problems will be solved.
These days coincide the biggest tragedy in Islamic history; the martyrdom anniversary of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (as). Praise be to God, it has been several years now that in our country, among people as well as the clerics, special attention is being paid to mourning for Fatimah al-Zahra (as) during these days. It has to be mentioned that since long many great figures used to hold mourning ceremonies and they used to mourn for Fatimah al-Zahra (as) during such days. In our office, mourning ceremonies have been held on these days for more than 60 years and such great personalities as Ayatollah Borujerdi, Imam Khomeini, Allamah Tabatabayi, and other jurists were persistent in attending mourning ceremonies for Lady Fatimah (as).
The first point to be noted, and to which if any Shia or Sunni Muslim pays attention, their doubts will be cleared and their questions will be answered is: Who is Fatimah (as)? And what is her reality? If we limit her to being just the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH), the result would be different from when we pay more attention and reflect on her status before God and before the Prophet (PBUH). If we do so, many historical and theological problems will be solved.
There is a narration from Jabir who asked Imam Sadiq (as): “Why was Fatimah al-Zahra named al-Zahra?” It has to be noted that according to narrations, Fatimah (as) has nine names before God which itself is an important point. But here the question is: Why is one of her names al-Zahra (as)?
The Imam (as) said: “Because God created her from His light of grandeur.” There are similar narrations about the Prophet (PBUH) and Imam Ali (as) that their creation was from God’s light. This indicates that her creation was different from ordinary people’s creation from the very beginning. All humans are God’s creation, but they were not created from God’s light. Had they been created from God’s light, no human would commit sins. Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was created from God’s light, to be exact, from God’s light of grandeur which refers to God’s own grandeur. This indicates that, since she was created from God’s light of grandeur, she was a grand creation. “When the heavens and the earth are illuminated by her light” the hadith continues, God says to the angels, “This light is from my light and I placed it in my heavens. And I created it from my grandeur.”
“عن جابر عن ابی عبدالله علیه السلام قال: قلت له لم سمیت فاطمه؟ فقال لان الله خلقها من نور عظمته فلما اشرقت اضائت السماوات و الارض بنورها و غشیت ابصار الملایکه و خرت الملایکه لله ساجدبن و قالو الهنا و سیدنا ما هذا النور؟ فاوحی الله الیهم هذا نور من نوری اسکنته فی سمائی و خلقته من عظمتی اخرجه من صلب نبی من انبیایی افضله علی جمیع الانبیا و اخرج من ذلک النور ائمه یقومون بامری و یهدون الی حقی و اجعلهم خلفایی فی ارضی بعد انقضاء وحیی. ”
This reveals that she was completely different from others. None of the wives of the Prophet’s had been created from God’s light of grandeur. Aside from Fatimah al-Zahra, no one else has been created from God’s light of grandeur. Among women there have been great personalities such as Mary daughter of Joachim and Asiya. Though they were women of high spiritual status, nevertheless they did not possess this feature, i.e. being created from God’s light of grandeur.

Respect paid to Fatimah by the Prophet (PBUH)
According to a hadith in Safinah al-Bihar (narrated by Abu Bakr), one day Fatimah (as) came to the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) rose to his feet and went to welcome her. He kissed her hands. Then, when she wanted to leave, the Prophet (PBUH) accompanied her some steps and kissed her hands again. Abu Bakr objected, “O Messenger of God! I have not seen such attitude toward other women.” Either he meant that he had not seen the Prophet (PBUH) acting like this toward other women in his family or maybe he meant that no one acts like this toward his daughter. “This is not becoming of you,” he continued. In his opinion, he wanted to advise the Prophet (PBUH). The point which is very important here is what the Prophet (PBUH) said. He said, “I did not do that but because God had ordered me to do so.”
This reverence expressed toward Fatimah (as) by the Prophet (PBUH) was not just because he loved her. It was not the common affection between parents and children. Likewise, it was not only because Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was a pure and untainted Muslim woman. It was way beyond that. Showing this much respect to Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was God's ordinance. The Prophet (saw), the best of creation, had to treat her this way in front of others and show respect and reverence to a person who had been created from the light of God's grandeur.
This makes us think more deeply as to who Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was. We should really try in our studies to learn about Fatimah (as). There are many narrations about Fatimah al-Zahra (as) each of which requires extensive discussion. During these days on the pulpits we must speak more about her status and about God’s special attention to her.

Usurpation of Fadak
Regarding Fatimah al-Zahra (as), there are two other points one of which is the usurpation of Fadak after the demise of the Prophet (PBUH). Fadak had been under the ownership of Fatimah (as) in the last three years of the life of the Prophet (PBUH). She had appointed people to work there. A fabricated hadith, which had not been heard by anyone before, claimed that the Prophet (PBUH) had said, “We prophets do not leave inheritance behind,” and, “what we leave is to be given to charity.” This narration is faced with many problems both historically and also from the viewpoint of science of hadith. It is also in blatant contradiction with the Quran, which I’m not going to touch on here. What I want to say is that, the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH), who was very much respected by the Prophet (PBUH), a fact to which Abu Bakr himself testified since he had seen the Prophet (PBUH) kissing Fatimah’s hands when she visited him and also when she wanted to leave. The Prophet (PBUH) said he did that because God had ordered him to do so. The question is, When Fatimah (as) said Fadak was hers and she had inherited it from the Prophet (PBUH), why did Abu Bakr obliged her to present witnesses? There are many questions here. Fatimah al-Zahra (as), who had been created from God’s light of grandeur and was revered so much by the Prophet (PBUH), was a truthful person. No one was as truthful as her amongst women. Why shouldn’t she be believed? Why should she be asked to present witnesses? Why were not the wives of the Prophet (PBUH), who remained in his house until they died claiming that the house was theirs, were not obliged to leave the Prophet’s house based on the aforementioned fabricated hadith that prophets do not leave inheritance behind?
I should mention this point that in Shia and Sunni jurisprudence, in case of a financial dispute, one witness and an oath are sufficient to prove one’s claim. When a person claims ownership of a property and presents a witness and takes an oath his claim is accepted. Imam Ali (as) testified that Fadak was Fatimah’s, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (as) had testified as well. But their testimonies were rejected. This is while they had heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying about Imam Ali (as), “No one is better in passing judgment among you than Ali.” Imam Ali (as) told Abu Bakr, “If a Muslim has an asset and I claim it, do you require me to present a witness or him?” He said, “I’d want you to present a witness.” The Imam said, “Fatimah has ownership over Fadak and it has been her property for three years. People have been working there for her. Whoever claims Fadak is not hers, has to present a witness.” Abu Bakr had nothing to say! Eventually it was proved that Fadak belonged to Fatimah (as) and Abu Bakr issued a verdict that it was hers but someone else came and tore the verdict.

Martyrdom of Fatimah (as)
We must try to know Fatimah al-Zahra (as). At the time of the Prophet (saw), his companions failed to know her and this led to a lot of tragedies and sorrowful events. The root cause was not knowing Fatimah al-Zahra (as). Had they known her, they would have acted differently.
Her martyrdom is also a fact and there is no doubt about it. If you refer to the books of Sunni historians, you will see that they have narrated how she was martyred in details. No one would deny it unless he who is obstinate and does not want to embrace the truth. It has been narrated from the Imams that they said, "Verily Fatimah al-Zahra (as) was truthful and a martyr." They insisted that she was "truthful" and a "martyr".
Aishah says, "When Fatimah (as) came to the Prophet (saw), he used to rise to his feet for her and kiss her forehead and sit her in his place." They saw how much the Prophet (saw) loved Fatimah (as). In some other hadiths it has been narrated that one day the Prophet (saw) came out while he was taking Fatimah's hand. He said, "Whoever knows her knows her and whoever does not know her should know that she is Fatimah (as) daughter of Muhammad (saw). She is a part of me and my heart and the soul within my body. Whoever bothers her has bothered me and whoever bothers me has bothered God." Why did the Prophet (saw) insist on saying this?
According to some narrations, sometimes when he saw Fatimah (saw) he used to cry. "Why do you cry when you see her?" some people asked. He said, "Because of the way she is treated after me; because of her right that will be violated and because of attacking her home." The Prophet (saw) had said all these. That is why on several occasions he said, "Whoever bothers her has bothered me."
But what happened that people forgot all this? When we refer to Sunni sources, they narrate the follwoing story. According to al-Imamah Wa al-Siyasah, “Abu Bakr sent Umar, Qunfudh, and a group of people to Ali and Fatimah’s house.” The house whose residents were saluted by the Prophet (as). The Prophet’s salutation was indeed God’s salutation. They attacked a house whose residents had been saluted by God. The very people who usurped the Prophet’s position had heard him saying, “Whoever salutes Fatimah, God will place him in heaven beside me.” They wanted to compensate the hardship Fatimah (as) had gone through, therefore they went to salute Fatimah (as). When a person reaches this part of history, he must weep for hours. The Prophet’s house, Fatimah’s house, the Ahl al-Bayt’s house. What memories people had about this house! But Abu Bakr sends Umar, Qunfudh and a group of people to attack Ali’s house. “And Umar places wood on Fatimah’s house.” When the door of the house caught fire Fatimah (as) came behind the door. Umar realized Fatimah (as) was behind the door, nevertheless he pushed it open. Fatimah (as) suffered a miscarriage, and the door nail penetrated her chest due to which she fell ill and died. It was only a few days after the Prophet’s demise that this incident happened and caused her martyrdom.
"And the wrongdoers will soon know at what goal they will end up."

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