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Martyrdom of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (PBUH)

Martyrdom of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (PBUH) is a very tragic event in the history. It is the day on which exactly 1,425 years ago, a noble and virtuous lady in the prime of her youth, left the world in the pathetic condition of using a staff to lean upon in order to walk, since her ribs were broken, as a result of being flung to the wall when the burning door of her house was deliberately smashed upon her.

Moreover, her patrimony had been seized, her loyal husband was deprived of his political rights by persons not even worthy to hold a candle to him, and the dynamic legacy of her father was being distorted. Who was this lady and what made her suffer such a tragic fate that finally resulted in her martyrdom? Let us find answers to these questions in our special feature on Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny), who on the 3rd of the month of Jamadi as-Sani, joined her father in afterlife, in a mere 95 days after his departure from the transient world.

 “What Allah gave to His Prophet from them (and), you did not spur any horse for its sake (acquisition), nor any riding camel; but Allah makes His prophets prevail over whomever He wishes, and Allah has power over all things.”

“What Allah gave to His Prophet from the people of the townships, are for Allah and the Prophet, the relatives [that is, the Ahl al-Bayt] and the orphans, the needy and the traveller, so that they (these properties) do not circulate among the rich among you. Take whatever the Prophet gives you, and relinquish whatever he forbids you, and be wary of Allah. Indeed Allah is severe in retribution.”

What you read were ayahs 6 and 7 of Surah Hashr of the Holy Qur’an, which is God’s final scripture for all humanity. These ayahs clearly indicate what God has exclusively bestowed of worldly property on His Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), saying in unambiguous words that since Muslims did not toil with their limbs or with their animals for the acquisition of this particular tract of land, they cannot claim any jurisdiction over this divine gift as public or state property. According to exegetes of the holy Qur’an, these ayahs refer to the vast tract of Fadak, its orchards, and its springs – about a hundred kilometers north of Medina – which its owners had gifted to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – and not to the general Muslims. They point out that the Almighty has explicitly forbidden the rich, the influential, and the politically powerful elements of the ummah from taking control of these exclusive possessions of the Prophet. He has also made it clear that those entitled to exercise authority over these divine gifts after the Prophet, are his Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt – who scrupulously adhered to the practice of their ancestor by spending the yield of these lands for the benefit of the orphans, the needy, and the travellers. 

Perhaps, some naïve Muslims, misled by a spurious hadith, which alleges that prophets do not leave any inheritance and whatever worldly possession they leave behind becomes the property of the nation, might ask whether or not Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) took any concrete steps regarding such exclusive God-given gifts, so as to prevent them from falling into the hands of the regimes that continue to rise and fall in the Arabian Peninsula. The holy Qur’an falsifies such a hadith when it speaks of Prophet Solomon inheriting from Prophet David and Prophet Yahya (or John) inheriting his father Prophet Zacharias.

For those who have still not properly understood the laws of inheritance, ayah 26 of Surah al-Isra comes to our rescue, with its clear wordings, “Give to the relatives their (due) right…”

The Prophet’s 8th Infallible Successor, Imam Reza (AS), during one of his debates with the Abbasid caliph, Mamoun, while explaining the meaning and purport of this ayah has narrated that on revelation of this ayah, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) called his daughter Fatema (peace upon her) and said to her:

“Fadak is one of the territories for which we did not exhaust our horses and camels to acquire it; it is mine exclusively. Now, I gift it to you and your offspring, according to God’s instructions.”

It is interesting to note that books of hadith and history written by both Sunnis and Shi’a Muslims over a millennium and a century ago, have referred to this fact about Fadak; how it was given by the Prophet to his daughter; how it was seized from her; by whom; for what reason; and how some of the rulers gave it back the descendants of Hazrat Fatema (peace upon her). Islamic texts, including Abu Ja’far Tabari’s monumental Book of History, state that Mamoun returned Fadak to the Prophet’s progeny – only to be seized again by the next caliph.

The irony of Islamic history is that Fadak – as found in all authoritative books of our Sunni brethren – was seized from the bereaved Fatema (peace upon her) and the caretakers appointed by her to supervise the distribution of its yield for the orphans, the needy and travelers, were rudely expelled, no sooner did her noble father breathe his last. The usurpers of her patrimony were those same persons who had usurped her husband Imam Ali’s political right of caliphate of the Ummah, even though the Prophet had proclaimed him his heir at the memorable gathering of Ghadir-Khom on 18th Zilhijja, as per the express revelation of ayah 67 of Surah al-Ma’edah, while returning from the Farewell Hajj Pilgrimage. This is the real cause of discord we see among Muslims today. Alas, the neo Muslims of those days had become such ungrateful that they forgot the fact that it was the wealth of Fatema’s mother Khadija (peace on her) which for years had saved them from hunger and possible death during that period of persecution in Mecca. Those who wrongfully demanded pledge of allegiance to their illegal rule from Imam Ali (AS) and in the process stormed the threshold of the Prophet’s daughter with fire and crowbars, had forgotten that this was the very door at which the Prophet used to salute his daughter every morning.

Nonetheless, despite her broken ribs and the miscarriage she had suffered on being pinned to the wall by the blazing door, Fatema (peace upon her), continued her mission to defend the tenets of Islam, especially the fundamental principle of “Wilaya” or divinely-designated imamate in order to save Muslims of not just her times, but for all generations to dome, from the pitfalls of hell. Her memorable sermons, which are apparently on Fadak, but actually on the right of Imam Ali (PBUH) to the caliphate, continue to jolt the conscience of the seekers of seekers of truth till this day. No need to name the perpetrators of this grave tragedy in this brief radio programme, since all early Islamic texts refer to each and every one of them by their names. These books also state that when the two chief culprits of this heartrending event, feigned remorse and approached the Prophet’s daughter on her deathbed, and she reluctantly allowed them to enter her house on the insistence of her magnanimous husband, she refused to see theirfaces, and willed to Imam Ali (AS) to bury her in the dead of night at a secret spot, so that her killers will not be able to participate in her funeral. In other words, Fatema (AS), whose eloquent sermon regarding the rights of her husband stands out as open testimony of divine wrath on the system of caliphate that did irreparable harm to Islam and Muslim unity, left the world displeased with them, true to the Prophet’s famous hadith:

“Fatema is a part of me; whoever hurts her has hurt me, and whoever hurts me, has indeed displeased God.”  

Let us read a piece of poetry on the Prophet’s daughter by Iran’s English language poetess Zia os-Saadaat Khakpour:

How soon winter destroyed the spring?

As soon as her blossoms stand

The earth and skies foundations’ will stay

“We die and go we know not where

Lay on God promises who will keep”

She has taught Man the secret path into the just

She planted the true oath in the earth that will last

The leaves whisper her thoughts and words

To the near and far lands over the universe

Zahra has such a vision of the world

As the world hardly understands and knows

In the withered field of life, where no farmer hopes for rain

Wisdom is sold in the market, where her progeny is the Ahl al-Bait

“Death seems that ends us, but is our true cure

To be no more sad, with no more pain or loss

When the slow moon climbs the night sky

When lights begin to twinkle from the rocks

Hide the rose in the dust for a newer world

To sail beyond the borders for His high purpose

Move earth and heaven and her heroic hearts

Let her sleep, she is the bright arch rainbow clouds”

The ever-silent unknown tomb is her immortal shrine

Her calm existence manifests the wisdom of God

She opens the peaceful clouds for faith and knowing Him

She fuels the flames upon the dark nights of human beings

Every eye is fixed on her door for salvation