- 1 The Greatest Lady of the World
- 2 Fatimid Glory
- 3 The Scholarly Eminence of Fatimah Zahra, Peace Be Upon Her
- 4 The Reflection of Kauthar in the Teachings of the Infallibles, Peace Be Upon Them
- 5 The Fatimid Way of Life
- 6 The Noblewoman of Statecraft
- 7 The Time of Parting
- 8 The Solemn Mystery of the Fatimid Sun
- 9 Through the Verses of Poets
The Greatest Lady of the World
Human worth is undeniably diverse. Some rank higher than the most cherished angels of the Divine, while others fall below the most savage of beasts. As the Quran and Islam elucidate, it is ‘knowledge, faith, piety, and esteemed human virtues’ that bestow true value upon a person.
In this light, Fatimah Zahra (Peace Be Upon Her), esteemed as the lady of Islam, is proclaimed the most exalted of all women in the world, as articulated by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
A multitude of narrations, revered in the principal texts of the Sunni tradition, asserts unequivocally that Fatimah Zahra (PBUH) was the paramount woman of her time, a distinction repeatedly voiced in varied expressions by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
He once remarked:
“Truly, the most noble women of the dwellers of Paradise are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad (PBUH), Maryam bint Imran, and Asiyah bint Muzahim”
In another profound tradition, it is narrated that during the Prophet’s final illness, upon witnessing the anguish of Fatimah, he consoled her with these words:
“O Fatimah, does it not gratify you to be the most illustrious lady of the women of the world, the noblewoman of the women of this community, and the sovereign of the faithful women?”
In the accounts of supreme grandeur and nobility, Hazrat Zahra, peace be upon her, occupies the apex, celebrated for both her illustrious lineage and her exemplary personal virtues and conduct.
Her familial greatness is acclaimed globally, for she is the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, the paragon of perfection and virtue in the cosmos; the daughter of Khadijah al-Kubra, peace be upon her, one of the most sublime women of existence and the second to embrace Islam, known for her unparalleled sacrifices in the name of Islam; the wife of Amir al-Mu’minin Ali, peace be upon him, akin to the Prophet’s soul, and the most exalted human after the Prophet; and the mother of Hassanain and Zainabain, peace be upon them.
Even if the sole testament to Zahra’s nurturing were Zainab, peace be upon her, it would suffice to extol Zahra’s eminence and glory. Indeed, one might wonder where else could one find a family paralleling Zahra’s, peace be upon her, with an infallible father, husband, sons, and herself an infallible figure, and what other household could possibly unite such magnificent souls if not in Fatimah’s abode of clay.
In the realm of virtues, she resides at the very zenith, her essence so profound that only a select few can truly comprehend her.
Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, once proclaimed:
“وهی الصدیقة الکبری وعلی معرفتها دارت القرون الاولی”
“And she is the great truthful one, her profound truthfulness being the axis around which the ancient generations have revolved”
To fathom her essence is a divine quest, especially when the Almighty God has spoken to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny: ‘O Ahmad, if not for you, I would not have created the heavens; if not for Ali, peace be upon him, I would not have brought you into being; and if not for Fatimah, I would not have brought you both into existence.’
The Scholarly Eminence of Fatimah Zahra, Peace Be Upon Her
In the realm of divine wisdom, Fatimah Zahra, peace be upon her, held a distinguished stature. From the onset of her life, she was not only endowed with ‘Ilm al-Ladunni’—knowledge granted directly by God—but throughout her lifetime, angels engaged in discourse with her, enlightening her about forthcoming events.
Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, elucidates her celestial communion:
‘Fatimah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, was one who was spoken to by angels, though she was not a prophet. She was named ‘the one spoken to’ ‘المحدثه ‘because angels descended from the heavens to converse with her, akin to their communication with Maryam, daughter of Imran…’
Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, further narrates a significant dialogue:
“Once, the truthful Fatimah questioned her angelic interlocutors, “Is not Maryam, daughter of Imran, the one esteemed above all women of the world?” They replied, “No; for Maryam was the leader of the women in her era. But the Almighty God has exalted you, Fatimah, as the leader of the women of your era, the era of Maryam, and of all eras—both the earliest and the latest (signifying your status as the supreme lady of the ladies of the world).”
He also mentioned that after the passing of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, Fatimah’s life was steeped in profound sorrow, enduring only 75 more days. Her heart was filled with the deep anguish of her father’s departure. Consequently, Gabriel visited her frequently, consoling her in her bereavement. Imam Sadiq added:
“Gabriel imparted to her insights about her father and his heavenly abode, as well as foretold the tribulations that would befall her descendants. Ali, peace be upon him, meticulously recorded Gabriel’s revelations. This compilation thus became the renowned ‘Mushaf’ of Fatimah Zahra, peace be upon her.”
The Reflection of Kauthar in the Teachings of the Infallibles, Peace Be Upon Them
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, profoundly declared:
“Whoever cherishes my daughter Fatimah, peace be upon her, shall dwell in Paradise alongside me, and whoever harbors enmity towards her shall find themselves in the inferno.”
The Mandate of Obedience to Fatimah, Peace Be Upon Her
Imam Baqir, peace be upon him, illuminated this truth:
‘…Verily, obedience to Fatimah, peace be upon her, was a divine command for all of God’s creations, encompassing jinn, humans, birds, beasts, prophets, and angels…’
The Fatimid Way of Life
Exemplifying respect for her husband, upholding marital rights, profound affection for her spouse and children, meticulousness in domestic duties, transforming her abode into a beacon of learning and a segment into a sanctuary for worship, strategic household management, honoring the dignity of servants, imparting Quranic wisdom and moral teachings to them were among the virtues of Hazrat Zahra, peace be upon her. She saw the transformation of her home into a stronghold for jihad and resistance against tyrants, and the defense of Wilayah, as her sacred duty.
Furthermore, her commitment to praying for her neighbors, contentment with modest beginnings, fostering a household culture of worship and collective charity, harmonizing with her spouse, embracing personal accountability in nurturing her children, equitable division of household responsibilities, engaging in consultative decision-making, enduring familial poverty and trials with grace, and compliance with her husband, all were part of the distinct moral fabric of Hazrat Zahra, peace be upon her.
The Noblewoman of Statecraft
In the initial phase of the Prophethood, safeguarding the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, and providing staunch support and protection for him were paramount missions for the early Islamic society. This grave duty fell upon those who, amidst prevailing adversities, faithfully believed in the Prophet’s righteousness and his divine message. A select few, leveraging their societal and political stature, dedicated themselves to this cause, prominently among them was Hazrat Zahra, peace be upon her. After the Prophet’s passing, peace be upon him and his progeny, as calamities unfolded, this mission evolved, notably encompassing the support and defense of the true Imamate and the Prophet’s succession. A handful of devout Muslims, most significantly the esteemed lady of the Islamic world, exerted their utmost in this sacred endeavor.
The Time of Parting
In her twilight days, Fatimah, peace be upon her, summoned ‘Asma bint Umays’ and expressed:
“I wish not for a shroud to be cast over a woman’s body, delineating her figure beneath it.”
Asma responded, ‘I shall show you something I observed in Ethiopia.’ She then gathered several branches, bent them, and draped a cloth over them, creating a semblance of a coffin. Fatimah, peace be upon her, remarked:
“How befitting it is that the bodies of men and women remain indistinguishable. O Asma! Upon my passing, you shall perform my ablutions and ensure privacy around my remains.”
This was the inaugural coffin in Islam. When Fatimah, peace be upon her, beheld it, she bestowed a smile, her solitary smile since the departure of her father, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny.
The Solemn Mystery of the Fatimid Sun
The veiled sanctity of Hazrat Zahra’s (PBUH) tomb is deeply rooted in the tumultuous events and transgressions she endured at the hands of the then-caliphs and their cohorts. It is recounted that as Hazrat Zahra (PBUH) approached her final moments in this earthly realm, lying on her deathbed, Hazrat Ali (PBUH) approached her side. After a heartfelt exchange, Hazrat Fatimah (PBUH) sought permission to impart her last will to her beloved, Ali (PBUH).
One of the poignant instructions she left for Ali (PBUH) was:
“My dear cousin, should my soul depart this world in a few hours, I implore you to escort my remains under the veil of night. Let my final journey, encompassing the rituals of washing, shrouding, praying, and entombment, be shrouded in secrecy. Admit only those to my final passage who have not inflicted injustice or cruelty upon me.’
Through the Verses of Poets
In the realm of tender Zahra’s grace, guide me forth,
To the earth her laughter once warmed, now lies in mirth.
If you know the path to Medina’s heart so dear,
Lead my heart’s dove, whispering memories, drawing near.
Where is that door, embraced by night’s quiet might,
To take me, for tears’ silent shedding, into the night?
Should I vanish, a shadow in your steadfast sight,
Lift me in your arms, through this endless, starless night.
Where is that heart, once whole, now shattered and profound,
Lead me, stumbling, to her whispers in the wind’s sound.
In my heart, the love of Baqi’, a persistent, aching light,
Take me to those stars, now dimmed, once shining bright.
No desire for flowers, nor for spring’s deceitful turn,
Take me to where her laughter in autumn’s breeze I yearn.
On earth, my cries, like fallen leaves, in silence they drown,
Angels, hear my plea, to the heavens, with her, crown.