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Marking The International Women’s Day: Sayyidah Fatima Al – Zahrah: The Greatest Model For Womenfolk!

By Sheikh Muhammad Turi
In the name of Allah who states “To thee have We granted the abundance. Therefore to thy Lord turn in prayer and sacrifice. For he who hateth thee, he will be cut off (from hope). Kauthar 1-3

May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servant, our master Muhammad (s) and his blessed progeny.

Jimadah – al – thaniya is the sixth month of Islamic calendar which as usual reminds the world of significant historic events. These include the sad demise of Sayyidah Fatima the daughter of the noble prophet (s) on the 3rd in the 11th year after hijra according to an authentic narration. She is therefore remembered and visited from far and near in great sympathy over the circumstances surrounding her martyrdom!

Sayyidah was equally born on the 20th of the month five years after revelation. The day is therefore commemorated as the international women’s day. It is a golden opportunity to study the life of the leading lady and most illustrious model for all women. At the same time, the event gives room for re – examination of the significant position accorded woman from the Islamic perspective.

On similar day, we also commemorate the birth of her great son, the reformer of last century and founder of Islamic republic of Iran – Imam Khomeini (may Allah have mercy on him) – which stands firm like mount Everest protecting the interest of Islam and Muslims all over the world.

Imam Al – Sadiq (as) said “Fatima has nine names near Allah (exalted be his name), they are Fatima, Siddiqah (the honest), Al – mubarakah (the blessed one), Al – Tahirah (virtuous), Al – Zakiyyah (the chaste), Al Radhi’ah, Mardhiyyah (she who is gratified and who shall be satisfied), Al – Muhaddatha (a person other than a prophet, that the Angels speak to) and Al – Zahra (the splendid)”

Fatima was the daughter of the noble prophet (s), the seal of the messengers. She was the wife of Imam Ali (as) about whom Imam al – Shafi’i said “I am surprised about a man whose virtues were kept secret by his enemies out of envy, and by his followers out of fear, but nevertheless, an enormous amount of them spread”

“Ali is the best of my nation, he is also most knowledgeable and most patient from among them” Tabari, as mentioned in Kanzul ummal, Volume: 6 page 153 I gave you in marriage to the first one to adhere to Islam from my nation, he is also the most knowledgeable and most patient among them.

Hakim reported in Al- Mustadrak Volume 2 page 153 that Imam Ali has said “I heard the prophet said “on the day of rising, a caller shall announce from beyond the veil O gathered people, lower your eyes so that Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad may pass”

Mother of believers A’isha said “I have not seen a person more similar to the prophet’s appearance, conduct, guidance and speech whether sitting or standing than Fatima. When she enters, the messenger of Allah stands up, kisses and welcomes her, then takes her hand and asks her to sit in his place”. In another hadeeth by Baihaqi in Sunan, volume 7, page 101 she narrated, “I have not seen anyone more similar to the messenger of Allah’s habit of speech and dialogue than Fatima”

Therefore, her sincerity, worship, good neighborliness, patience, perseverance, hospitality, family life and children up – bringing were exemplary lessons for all!

Generally speaking Fatima is one of the four greatly placed women in human history; Fatima – daughter of Muhammad, Khadija her mother daughter of Khuwailid, Maryam daughter of Imran and Asiya daughter of Muzahim, wife of the pharaoh according to a prominent hadeeth.

Looking at her great position and the little that is known from her, it is imperative to raise some questions here; where are sayyidah’s Fatima’s narrations? Didn’t she narrate? How and why did others narrate including her children’s peers born later in Medina? And what was her crime that she was persecuted to the extent of martyrdom?

In her lat minutes, she was reported to have told her cousin and husband “May Allah rewards you with the best of goodness. Cousin, firstly I ask you to marry after my death, my niece Umamah; surely she will be to my children as I was. Besides men cannot do without women” She finally asked him not allow anyone that did injustice to her to witness her funeral, or pray for her or their followers, burry her at night as the eyes rest and sight put to sleep!

Therefore, we strongly urge the respected readers and all justice – seeking people to extensively revisit history to know the hidden truth and differentiate the actual lovers of the noble prophet from his oppressors.

Similarly, we use the august occasion to review, compare and contrast the exalted position Islam granted woman contrary to western propaganda that points accusing finger on the religion vise a vise its position on certain issues.

Islam considers woman as a creation of Allah equally like man. “O men! We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another; verily, the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is deeply conscious of Him. Behold, He is all knowing, all aware. Qur’an: 49:13

All aspects of women’s life that Islam addressed like the dress code – hijab, inheritable ratio and polygamous life are not but inevitable social issues tackled in favor of women in particular and the society in general contrary to the West which is bent on seeing woman devoid of her honorable feminine virtuous thereby encouraging her to nudity and indulgence in all forms of evils in the name of freedom and human right.

Historically, it was Islam saved woman from slavery and other forms of humiliation, and can readily provide scientific and satisfactory explanation on all issues regarding the woman. We may have a little glance on that:

Wearing hijab has nothing to do with barbarism but rather a sign of liberty and freedom in Islam and Judao – Christian civilizations. Hijab literally means a cover, a veil a barrier or a protection for an obligatory duty for women to observe in Islam Q24: 31. In addition to the physical cover however the ethical dimension is highly emphasized. So the philosophy behind hijab in Islam is to protect the society from immoral tendencies that may come up due to immodest dressing. The Jilbab referred in the hijab verse is the outer garment that women were asked to wear to protect them from molestation. So it means that a woman should cover herself completely with exception of face and palm. And Hijab in this context is not peculiar to Islam alone but apparent in Judeo – Christian cultures to date.

The wives of the prophet – mothers of believers – were first commanded to observe the hijab and avoid what Allah referred as “dazzling display like that of the former times of ignorance” Ahzab: 33. In the same way, Allah warned the companions of the messenger emphasizing the need for communications between the messengers’ wives from behind a veil where necessary.  Ahzab: 53

Although the world does not seem to succumb to this teaching but most institutions and larger organizations now emphasize the need for modest dressing to protect women from molestation and ensure moral excellence of our society.

In marriage, Islam has given a lot of attention regarding the women’s rights. Rules and regulations governing its conduct were clearly in favor of a woman based on her weakness. She is entitled to a significant dowry as a necessary marriage gift given out by men. In addition to that marriage must be contracted based on natural love between two. As such forced marriage has no place in Islam.

In a situation where the wife is maltreated by the husband elders must come in to reconcile the two on the principle of justice. And in the event of unavoidable divorce rules are clearly set, so also if a woman decides to separate on a given reason from her husband as divorce is not in her hand there is a provision for – Khul’i where she presents to the husband a gift as alternative for him to marry another.

Polygamy has been an ancient practice found in many human societies. Legality of this marriage is frequently attested in the Old Testament and Rabbinic writings. According to Samuel 2, 5: 13, King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Also King David is said to have had many wives and concubines. However there are rules and regulations governing polygamy. Polygamy is optional and conditional in I slam allowed in favor of women and for the protection of the society’s morality. Statistically, women population size is relatively greater than male. This is apparently the only scientific solution to this sectoral inequality.

The issue of inheritance is another milestone for which the West makes fun of Islam. This is because of the ratio differential – 2:1 in favor of male which is due to apparent burden of responsibility vested on male in our socio – economic life than female.

Women should strive high to reach perfection as human beings have no limit in spirituality an can serve her society as a scientist, philosopher politician, teacher and public figure. Imam Khomeini said “the Iranian sisters made a significant contribution to the Islamic revolution and compared to men were in forefront and gave strength to them” However, the Imam was totally against corrupting women as in the western and eastern cultures in the name of liberation stressing the role of sayyidah Fatima al – Zahra as the ultimate pattern for them.

Significantly, we use this occasion to honor women generally. This comprises of our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters alike. Based on the teaching of Sheikh Zakzaky (H) men are encouraged to present special gifts to their mothers, wives and daughters alike in blessed memory of this important day. This significantly helps in strengthening both biological and conjugal relations in our society.

Most significantly, the sheikh always emphasizes the need for parents to ensure that their children especially female are properly brought up strictly in line with Islamic discipline. They grow to become mothers, the first teachers who play most significant role in training of children. As such they need stronger support and cooperation from men.

At this juncture as we observe this important day, we strongly condemn all atrocities and violence against the innocent across the world especially as they affect women.

We finally encourage women in particular and the Ummah in general to emulate the lifestyle of the leading lady sayyidah Zahrah (as) who lived embodiment of all commendable qualities for the betterment of our society.

Wassalamu alaikum warahamatul lahi wabarakatu‎.