By Buhari Jega
Among the role model of Islam, Fatimah Zahrah (as) the daughter of the Prophet (s) has been a significant focus of attention for historians, scholars and believers.
This is consequence of the unique traits which characterise her, the influence that she had on the socio-political development of her time, and the popularity that she enjoyed among the Muslims. Fatimah Az-Zahra (as) was nurtured in the heart of the Islamic campaign, in the centre of revelation and ardent struggle against ignorance and oppression. She (as) witness as a child, how the prophet (s), tirelessly sought to awaken and enlighten the people; observed how early Muslim convert were harassed and tortured for their beliefs.
The birth of Fatimah Zahrah (as), into the purest household of the Holy Prophet (S) and righteous wife Khadija (as) sealed the destiny and practices of the ignorant Arab people against women. No doubt; in the life of Arabs before, the coming of the Holy Prophet (S), a woman was not regarded as human being to be proud of. Women were often buried alive, because, it is a source of shame for one to give birth to a lady. Islam through the practical teachings and spiritual mentorship and guardianship of the Holy Prophet (s) restored sanity and gave women their rights to survive as human and also as key players in decision making especially in nurturing and management of the house, family and spiritual perfections. To cap it all, Allah gave the Holy Prophet (S), a daughter not like any other daughter, but, a daughter from the sanctuary, splendours and the beautiful fragrance of Paradise; a human Houris on earth, as narrated by the Holy Prophet (s), Fatimah Zahra (a).
This was the first universally acknowledged emancipation of women from shackles of oppression, humiliation, and death, thereby, given them right to life, dignity, prestige, freedom to be educated, and right to make certain decision and role model to their children and family. This is why; i often find it amazing when ignorant people complain of Islam oppressing women. One wonder in history and even in present reality we found ourselves, which religion protects women from abuses, exploitation and humiliation like Islam. The nakedness and promiscuity one see in Western world and even in Nigeria cannot be equated to giving those rights, but, rather as object of oppression and exploitation, if the reality of exploitation of the beauty and bodies of women as an object of advertisement for profit maximization is anything goes by.
No doubt; Fatimah Zahrah (as) received a holistic spiritual and material education and training according to the best standards. She experienced the most difficult circumstance only to become one of the most learned, knowledgeable and elevated personalities of her era. Upon acceptance and subsequent marriage to Imam Ali (as), Fatimah Zahrah (as) home became the core of the Islamic revolution in term of patience, love, perseverance and sacrifice. The two great infallible (Imam Ali (as) and Fatimah Zahrah (as)) character coming together to be partners in life was magnificent unity. We can only imagine the great marital happiness Imam Ali and Fatimah Zahrah (as) enjoyed and as well as suffered during the period they were together especially after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s). It is interesting to say, that, with the calibre and status, they could have live a life of ostentation and pride, as we see in the children or wives of leaders in our contemporary world, but, the two (as) live humble and modest life never anticipated in the history of world civilization and leadership spectrum.
As a wife, Fatimah Zahrah (as), displayed the perfect role model, to the extend Imam Ali (as) was quoted to have said “By Allah, i never angered Fatimah, or forced her to do something (she did not like) up to the day she died, nor did she ever anger or disobey me. In fact, when i looked at her, depression and sadness would be removed from my heart”. This is really a testimony of the perfection and piousness of the lady of the light (as). As a mother, Fatima Zahra (as) gave birth to the great Imams Hassan and Hussein (as); she also gave birth to lady Zainab (as) and Lady Umm Kulthum. All of whom were victims of historical oppression and sorrowful inflictions. As a mother she raised the chiefs of martyrs, and ladies of such strong will and faith that withstood pains (in particular Karbala) which strong men can barely put up with. She was a mother; a source of knowledge and support to her husband, beautiful and pious leaders and women of Paradise and the society in general. Her social responsibility of educating other women and assisting in the financial support to her family and attending to the disadvantage members of the society through the income of an orchard known as “FADAK” engraved her in the mind and souls of the community and us her admirers.
The death of the Holy Prophet (S) was a major turning point in the life of Fatima Zahrah (as). Not only did the death left her sad, because of the great lost to her and the vacuum he (s) created, but, also, the right of imamate and leadership that Allah and His Holy Prophet (s) entrusted to Imam Ali (as) was usurped by people who felt they are more deserving of such leadership than the anointed one, who they all sworn allegiance to at Khadir Khum. The demise of her father (s) and the subsequent events that follow, agitate the mind and soul of Fatima (as) on the future of Islam and the society. Fatima Zahrah (as) become seriously concerned about the future of the society, and the direction of the Islamic movement. She began a campaign of political activism and advocacy. The question of leadership and the future of Islam were at stake on one hand and the unity of the Islamic society on the other. While her husband Imam Ali (as) had chosen to refrain from any power struggle and believed that during the course of time the people would realise the truth, Fatima Zahrah (as) continue to promote awareness and inform the people of her concern, as the daughter of the font of revelation. History bear witness that Fatima Zahrah (as) begins by visiting the prominent followers of the Prophet and discussing the matter face to face. She (as) reminded them of their political rights and responsibilities.
History recorded that, Fatima Zahrah (as), displays her political insight and concern, thus showing her role in the highest level of decision making in the society of her time. Her position is also independent from that of her husband, who is himself an unquestionable authority in Islam. As her husband, Ali does not impose his view upon her but he openly honours her attitude and assists her in her campaign when necessary. The above historical account clearly indicates the independent status of a woman relatively to her husband and also marks the political role and rights of women in Islam. No doubt, the wit and courage of Fatima Zahrah (as) was exemplified during the event of FADAK against Khalifa Abubakar, who concocted a hadith that was never had of by anybody, that “That the prophets properties are not inherited because anything they left is for charity” as a justification for confiscating FADAK from Fatima Zahrah (as).
FADAK was given to Fatima Zahrah (as) through her father (s) as a gift. Fatima Zahrah (as) had several employees who worked for her and she regularly allocated the income to the vulnerable and disadvantage families of Medina. Through the proper management of the orchard and innovative plans of Fatima Zahrah (as), FADAK had become a major economic resource. Due to political pressure and uncertainty from the camp of the usurpers of leadership and guardianship of community from the households of the Holy Prophet (s), confiscation of FADAK became a political game of deception and injustice in order to starved the households of the Holy Prophet (as) from having economic resource, to better their wellbeing and continue assistance to the people. This was deliberate decision by the usurpers, for the fear of FADAK and the resource it generates and the manners in which the lady of the light (s) often distributes the profit to the vulnerable and disadvantage families so, that it couldn’t create or generates sympathy for the Households of the family. Because, starving the households of the prophet (s) from what is legally theirs including Khums, was seen as an important strategy to limits their outreach and relevance within the community. However, Fatima Zahrah (as) sees FADAK as the symbol of her economic right and economic right of women in Islam; therefore, she head straight to the Mosques of her Father (s) to argue her case. She presented an articulate speech, full of knowledge, wisdom, emotion and presented evidence to proof her case that FADAK belong to her and the Holy Prophet (S) gave it to her.
I think, for the benefit of us all, there need for people to read and analyse Fatima’s (as) speech and intellectual prowess in arguing her case against the usurpers of her right. Due to the challenges of space, i cannot bring such beautiful and soul searching speech by the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s). However, for the benefit of emphasis, i think, it is important to present few lines, that, will give us room for sober reflection and understand, the prediction of the lady of the light (a) against the injustice done to the households of the holy Prophet (s) which is part of the problem we are facing today as Muslims. In her speech after praising Allah and showing His position and blessing; she equally eulogises the soul of the Holy Prophet (s) and how Allah illuminated the darkness of the world through Him (s) and clean the heart from all distress, brightened the eyes and removed the veils from their eyes. And on how He (s) rose mankind and guide them and relieve them from ignorance and blindness and led them to the sovereign religion and to the straight path. Then she called upon the audience initially to recognise their human dignity and position and their religion and social responsibilities. In addition, she mentioned the logical and philosophical reasoning behind religions laws and practices. Within her speech she forwarded the firm reasons why she believed that a serious drift had risen among the people, taking them away from the original teachings of Islam. She provided evidence of their mistakes and continued: “Where are the people heading? While God’s book is among you, with clear and explicit principles and teachings, its brilliant banners are eye catching and its edits and principles are manifest, yet, you people have thrown it (Holy Qur’an) behind you….. And now do you rule that i may not inherit? Do you return to the principles of the pagans (Jahiliya)? What principle surpasses the principle of God?…. She then quoted the verse of the Holy Qur’an Sura Nahl, Verse 17 “And Solomon inherited from David…..”
The sermon is evidently more than a discourse in defence of her personal rights to inheritance, but, a direct reflection of what will happen to Muslims, if they, allow this injustice and callousness to stand. It provides a strong philosophical and logical background on the foundations of Islamic religion and thought. Fatima Zahrah (as) evidently seeks to revive the ideals and objectives of Islam, which she feels are overshadowed by tradition, personal greed and egoistic ambitions. In addition, in her discourse she defines the position of Islam across a vast spectrum of social issues including the morals, political, cultural and economic aspects of Muslim society. Her speech possesses the extraordinary quality of transcending existing circumstances of time and place, while at the same time; she is quite specific about the concerns of her times and the future of humanity. On the other hand, the sermon can be envisaged as an expression of the woman’s human right in term of political freedom, including a woman’s right to freedom of expression in the direction of the well being of her society, as well as herself and also the economic rights of women, in term of their access to inheritance and resources.
The most shocking revelation, which i feel all Muslims should reflect upon, is the narration of Fatima Zahrah (as) to the wives of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s), when they came to visit her, when they had about her decision to isolate herself against the events and the general hypocrisy and deceit going on against them the Households of the Holy Prophet (s). This speech was made before the event of FADAK. Fatima Zahrah (as) reasserts her firm religious and political stance and she informs the women of the dark prospects that she foresees for the Muslims. In fact she actually sketches a very clear picture of the plight of Muslims and other people of the world: “I can foresee the prospects of the attack of the oppressors and aggression of the persecutors, the general disarrays and confusion in societies. Tyranny and dictatorship will prevail, your right will be undermined, and your unity demolished. Where are you heading? The truth has been covered and kept away from you and how can i advocate a path which you despise”
No doubt; this is just the reflection of what Muslims and humanity are suffering today, envisaged and sketched over one thousand three hundred and twenty four (1324Ah) ago. Searching through history from that moment when the lady of the light (a) gave that warning to Muslims against this injustice and the community silence, Muslims had walloped and galloped from one confusion, crisis, tyranny, and injustice. Muslims during the period witnesses and experienced transitions of one form of injustice, tyranny, dictatorship and debasement of Islamic ethics, practices and blood of Muslims was no longer sacred. The level of destructions and hopelessness experienced in the last epochs is beyond imagination. Even the onlookers, the cowards, and their silence did not save them from the humiliation and death by the usurpers, tyrants and hopeless set of characters that lead the Muslims ummah. Fast forward to contemporary reality of our time, reflect, the continuation of our disobedience to follow the path Allah and His Messenger (S) has commanded us to follow and hold unto. From Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Burma, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Libya, and Egypt and also across non Muslims countries, blood of humanity is daily shed for no reason. The selfish interest of few against commandment and instructions of Allah and his apostle (s) for the households of the Holy Prophet (s) to guide the community and the world, has created a dysfunctional world of inequality, injustice, crisis, war, genocides, poverty and disunity among the Muslims and humanity in general.
The predictions of the lady of the light Fatima Zahrah (as), has not only come to past, but, the world, is in continue crisis with itself. The blood of dog is far better than that of a Muslim. Everyday Muslims are killed left, right and centre without any just course, just because, they were Muslims who refuses to accepts the Households of the Holy Prophet (s) as their leaders and guardian in this world and the hereafter. While the followers of the households of the Holy Prophet (s) continue to exhumes confidence, bravery, hope and patience in enlightening and organising themselves into a community of faithful. The emergence of this community, is a direct threat to the oppressive global system from Islamic Republic of Iran to Nigeria, the story of this physical and psychological fears and admiration of the followers of the householders of the Holy Prophet (s), present the world of Muslims the unique realities of their future co-existence in a world that is fastly ganging up against Islam and Muslims. For us, the followers of Households of Prophet (s), we can confidence say, we are protected against the carnage our brothers and sisters have found themselves, due to clarity of leadership from the son of Fatima Maulana Sayyed Ibrahim Alzakzaky (H).
The question Fatima Zahrah (as) asked i think is germane to us today “Where are you (we) heading”. I think we need to take a pause and ask ourselves this question, for us to understand the crisis and confusion that have befallen us all in this land of lost opportunity. No doubt, the treatment and the usurping of the rights and privilege of humanity to be guided by the households of the Holy Prophet (s) and the various injustices and humiliation and death they have suffered is at the heart of the disunity and confusion Muslims have found themselves. No doubt; if a Muslim cannot offers the world justice and best example them, there is no future for a world in need of guidance and felicity.
Unfortunately, Fatima Zahrah (as) died in pains after, she suffered a miscarriage and broke ribs from the weight of a door which felt on her. The door felt on her because the enemies of Allah, His Prophet (s) and humanity forceful open the door to seek allegiance of her husband Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talin (as). Fatima Zahrah (as) died in pains and never forgive her enemies who inflict pains and suffering on her and members of her households. It pertinent to say, that, Muslims need to understand their history from the point of view of knowledge, wisdom and logic. Because, i believe, that we should be agitated in our minds and in our curiosity, if we are truly the loves of our Prophet (s), to ask some pertinent questions, which is: Why is Fatimah Zahrah (a) angry with most of the so called senior companions of the Holy Prophet (S) like Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and co? Why were they begging her for forgiveness? What did they do to her that they are seeking forgiveness? Why did Khalifa Abubakar cried seriously because of what Fatimah (a) told them? Why Fatima Zahrah (as) is buried secretly? And why is her grave still remain a mystery to even her ardent followers and admirers? Answers to these questions will give us an in-road into history of Islam, the life of the lady of the light (a) and the present Islam given to us. For me, understanding and appreciating these historical moments will unravel the mystery around this tokubo Islam they gave to us. The real Islam is in the hands of the households of the Holy Prophet (S). The battle in our contemporary world, is the battle between the purify Households and children of Fatima (a) and the children of the enemies of her households. It is an unending world, until the arrival of her grandson, Imam Mahdi (Aj).
Fatima Zahrah (as) is like a withering flower that never really blossomed. She had left this world with the happy knowledge of meeting her father and left behind model for nowadays women and humanity to follow. She (as) had been a model for our daily lives in fighting injustice and oppression and standing on the side of the truth. Her life serves as an example for each one of us. She is Fatima, Siddiqua (The Honest); Ar-Mubarakah (The Blessed one); At Tahira (Virtuous); Az-Zakeeh (The Chaste); Ar-Rathiatul Marthia (She who is gratified and who shall be satisfied); Al-Muhadathan (A person other than the prophet that the angel speak to); Al-Batoul (The Pure one); Al-Adra (the Virgin); Al-Hania (The affectionate one to her children); Umm Abeeha (Her father’s mother) and Az-Zahra (the splendid). Her name “Fatima” was chosen by Allah (SWT) and was revealed to Mohammad (s)
The Holy Prophet (s) was quoted to have said: “Surely my daughter Fatima is: the mistress of all women from the beginning to the end, she is part of me, and the light of my eyes, she is the flower of my heart, and is my soul, (Fatima) is a human huri, who whenever she stands in prayers in the presence of the lord (Exalted in His name), her light illuminates the skies for the angels, like stars shine to people on earth”. Thesame flower and beauty was maltreated and injured by people who claimed to love the prophet (s). Anyway, this is why we are celebrating the birth of al-khauthar, the light of Allah, the leader of women of paradise and wife and mother to leaders of Islam after the Holy Prophet (s).
In conclusion, i wish to join millions of lovers and followers of the Holy Prophet and members of his householders to wish Maulana Sayyeed Ibraheem Alzakzaky (H) and the rest of Muslims community beautiful celebration on the occasion of the birth of purest, modest and leader of women of paradise Fatima Az-Zahra (as). We can only pray to Allah, for us, to be among those who will enjoy her intercession and assistance in this temporary world and in the hereafter. No doubt in the love of Az-Zahra (as) and members of her households does the heart finds felicity, serenity, peace, progress, human brotherhood, solidarity, collaboration, unity, love, beauty and happiness in this world and in the hereafter. No doubt, the love of Fatimah (a) and her households (a) are our bridge and ship to salvation, whoever enters and accepted it is safe, whoever despises them will be perished in this world and the hereafter. Oh Allah enables our hearts and souls to hold unto this rope and destination no matter the difficulties and challenges in life Illahi ya Allah. Happy Birthday, the Lady of the light, may my soul and that of my family be sacrifice for your honour and felicity.
Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega
Wuse Zone 4, Abuja