By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"He originated things, but not from anything that existed before them, and created them without examples to follow. Rather, He created them with His might and dispersed them according to His will; not for a need did He create them; nor for a benefit (for Him) did He shape them. But to establish His wisdom, Bring attention to His obedience, manifest His might, lead His creatures to humbly venerate Him, and to exalt His decrees.”
This brilliant description of Almighty Allah, the One and Only Creator of the universe, is not by a prophet, an Imam, a saint, or a right-minded philosopher.
In fact, these are the words of a lady, whom God calls "Kowthar” or Spring of Perpetually Abundant Munificence (Holy Qur’an Surah 108), and His Last and Greatest Messenger refers to as Seyyedat-an-Nisa al-alamin min al-awwalin wa’l-akherin (Noblest-ever Lady of all times from the beginning till the end).
Today, the 20th of the month of Jamadi al-Akher, her blessed birthday in Mecca over a millennium and four centuries ago, affords us the opportunity to dwell on glimpses of her exemplary life.
She was none other than Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (SA), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), the Loyal Wife of the Leader of the Pious and the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the Virtuous Mother of the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS) and of the Impeccable Daughters Hazrat Zainab (SA) and Hazrat Omm Kolthoum (SA), and the Infallible Ancestress of the Promised Saviour of mankind, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance to rid the world of all traces of corruption and oppression by establishing the global government of peace, prosperity and justice,
How can mortals pen the merits of a person whose praises the celestial angels chant, and who surpasses all Daughters of Eve in excellence, including Mary (SA) the mother of Prophet Jesus (AS).
Her mother was the Impeccable Hazrat Khadija (SA), the richest lady of Arabia, who for over a quarter century as the "Omm al-Momineen” (Mother of all True Believers) was the only wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), and for the perpetuity of whose universal mission, Islam, she spent all her wealth to feed, clothe, and shelter the neo-Muslim Arab community of Mecca, thereby leaving no inheritance for her orphaned daughter.
Yet little Fatema (SA), whose spiritual glories kept her above material matters, so dedicatedly took care of her widowed father that she earned the epithet of "Omm-e Abiha” or Mother of her Father. This concept and this demonstration of fatherly and daughterly love, was to revolutionize society.
When she grew up, and on migration from Mecca to Medina, the Prophet, on Divine Commandment, married her to his virtuous cousin, the young and energetic Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). The two made an excellent pair, and showed to the world how a husband-and-wife should lead an exemplary life and raise worthy children.
It is said, if intellect lights the path of guidance, affection is the engine that provides energy to believers to act and move. Thus, the finest example of the harmonious blending of these two important factors is the life of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA).
Despite her lofty merits, she used to personally do all household chores. As the supreme symbol of feminine virtues, she displayed the highest ethical traits in marital life in view of the hadith: "A woman’s jihad [or striving in the way of Allah] is to behave excellently with her husband).”
Thus, Imam Ali (AS) was responsible for all outside work, while she took care of household affairs. She also enjoyed very cordial relations with her mother-in-law Fatema bint Asad (SA), the lady who had brought up her father the orphaned Prophet as her own son and to whose care the Prophet had entrusted Hazrat Fatema (SA) after she was orphaned on the death of her mother Hazrat Khadija (SA). She never allowed her mother-in-law to trouble herself with household chores and left to her the social relations for keeping the necessary contact with family members and friends.
In 7 AH when the Prophet provided his daughter with the virtuous Abyssinian maid, Fizza, she divided the work equally, by giving rest to her maid a whole day after a day’s work and discharging the duties that day herself.
It was the habit of the Prophet to salute his daughter every morning at the time of the Fajr Prayer. The Prophet showed the lofty position of women in Islam. He used to stand to his feet whenever his Immaculate Daughter entered his presence, and in order to show her prime position, he would make her sit on his own place. She was the last person, whom the Prophet would bid farewell when leaving Medina and the first person he would greet on arrival from his journey.
When she used to supplicate to God Almighty, she would pray for all the community, and then in the last for herself and her family, saying neighbours take precedence. What a selfless attitude indeed in the Divine Court for which God Almighty rewarded her with manifold merits, which include Ayah 33 of Surah al-Ahzaab, which is a testimony to her pristine purity and that of her family:
"Indeed, Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt, and preserve you thoroughly purified.”
On revelation of this Ayah, the Prophet assembled under his cloak his daughter, his son-in-law, and his two grandsons as the epitome of purity. The subsequent entry of this group of Five Fabulous persons on the field of the historic Mubahela with the Christians of Najran, confirm the fact that no other woman except the Prophet’s daughter is mentioned in this particular Ayah – 61 of Surah Aal-e Imran.
Fatema (SA) is thus the Prime Source of the pure and pristine progeny of the Prophet, whose existence ensures the survival of the world. In other words, the message of the Almighty to all people till eternity is crystal clear. It means that while the ignorant take pride in the birth of sons and frown upon daughters, the Prophet’s progeny is ensured eternal glory through his only surviving child, that is, the Impeccable Daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA).
This peerless lady through her marriage to Imam Ali (AS) is the firm link between Prophethood and Imamate, as the mother and ancestress of 11 of the 12 Infallible Imams, the Last of whom is the Lord of our Age, who will reappear in the end times as Mahdi al-Qa’em (AS) to establish the global government of peace, prosperity and justice by ridding Planet Earth of all vestiges of oppression and corruption. Amen
No wonder, her blessed birthday is celebrated as "Mother’s Day” and "Women’s Week” in Iran and countries and societies influenced by the Islamic Republic.