Birthday of the Blessed of Kowthar
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
The 20th of Jamadi al-Akher is the day when God Almighty Granted Kowsar, or the Blessed Fountain of Perpetual Abundance, to His Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), with the birth of the Immaculate Daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her).
No wonder, this auspicious day, that is, the 20th of Jamadi al-Akher is marked every year in the Islamic Republic of Iran as Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in honour of the Most Noble Lady of all times, who is the Supreme Ideal for all virtuous daughters of Eve, and the Model Mother for all those women aspiring to bring up virtuous children. No we have a special feature on this occasion as follows: “When one of them is brought the news of a female [newborn], his face becomes darkened and he chokes with suppressed agony. "He hides from the people out of distress at the news he has been brought: shall he retain it in humiliation, or bury it in the ground! Look! Evil is the judgement that they make."
What we recited to you were ayahs 58 and 59 of Surah an-Naml that depict the state of anguish and horror of a non-Muslim society at the birth of a daughter. The question is: why should the father be shocked? Isn't the daughter a human being? Of course she is, but for a variety of reasons, he shudders at what awaits her when she grows up. Irrespective of the burden of dowry he may have to procure, he is more worried about the dishonour she may bring – whether or not he had treated the daughters of other people with respect. Because of the un-Islamic nature of the society, where often the rights of the females are denied, the prime cause of anguish is the commercialization of women and their treatment as mere objects of carnal desires – and all these in the name of freedom and liberties. The other reasons of distress of fathers and parents whose hearts are devoid of true Islamic belief (even if they pay lip service to Islam), is the prospect of parting with part of the family wealth as inheritance to her that would reduce the share of the sons. Still, in the case of those who have no proper cognizance of the Infinite Wisdom of God the Almighty Creator, let alone acquaintance with the letter and spirit of the dynamism of Islam, the main reason of sadness at the birth of a daughter (especially when there is no son), is the horrifying thought of the end of lineage – for it is males who are considered the means of continuation of posterity.
Thanks to Islam, all such notions regarding daughters were changed for good. For the first time in history, women found themselves placed on the pedestal of dignity and honour, since the laws of God neither allow the abuse and commercialization of women as objects of carnal desire, nor do they impose excessive burden on the parents regarding dowry. At the same time, women have the right to education, own property, and choose the spouse. The Hijab grants women freedom and liberty in the real sense of these terms, and with it dignity and respect in society that gives meaning to life. As the other half of the mankind, it is the woman who, in addition to providing peace and solace to the husband, plays the fundamental role in building a sound and healthy society by bringing up children in the proper manner, on the basis of faith and moral values – factors that rule out immorality and with it any agonizing thoughts for parents. That is the reason Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) told one of the neo Muslim Arabs who frowned on receiving news of the birth of a daughter to him: “The earth bears her, the heavens shade her and the Almighty gives her food. For you, she is like a flower, smell her fragrance”.
On another occasion, in order to remove misconceptions from the society, the Prophet said: "Twelve graces descend over the person’s house where there are daughters. Heavenly blessings are showered on that house and angels visit that house for a glimpse”.
The Almighty's Last Messenger was not a mere preacher but a practical demonstrator of whatever the All-Wise Creator revealed to him for the good of mankind. He set the personal example and it is for this reason the holy Qur'an calls him the "Excellent Exemplar". Thus on the 20th of Jamadi al-Akher, Divine Providence decided to reward Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) with the greatest of perpetual gift, after he and his beloved wife, Omm al-Momineen (Mother of all True Believers), Hazrat Khadija (peace upon her), lost two sons, Qassim and Taher, in infancy. The pagan Arabs, such as Aas bin Wa'el, tried to mock the Prophet as "Abtar", which literally means "tailless" and refers to the one without progeny. The arrogantly ignorant disbelievers thought the name of the person in whose mission they had no belief, would soon disappear and die out, while their ill-begotten brats would guarantee the continuation of their lineage. How wrong were they! To the bewilderment of these retarded minds, God not only granted the Prophet a radiant daughter (conceived of the fruit of paradise he ate during his Me'raj or physical ascension to the heavens and back to Planet Earth in a fraction of a night), but as the following Surah bears testimony, the perpetuity of his blessed offspring, similar to the perennially inexhaustible Fountain of Kowthar.
“In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate; “Indeed, We have given you Kowthar;
“So, pray to your Lord, and offer sacrifice;
“Indeed it is your enemy who is without posterity."
Perhaps, the hypocrites amongst the Muslims, might deny that "Kowthar" refers to the Prophet's Impeccable Daughter, the Noblest-ever Lady of all times (Seyyedat-an-Nisa al-alamin min al-awwalin wa'l-akherin), but as is obvious by the last part of this Surah which says "Indeed your enemy is without posterity", Kowthar is undoubtedly Hazrat Fatemat- az-Zahra (peace upon her).
Today, as we celebrate "Mother's Day" in the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic societies abroad, in honour of the Infallible Mother who gave to the world such all-time perfect sons and daughters like Imam Hasan, Imam Husain, Hazrat Zainab and Hazrat Omm Kolsoum (peace upon them), let us refer to a hadith from the Prophet mentioned in the books of our Sunni brethren (such as Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ibn Hanbal, etc) regarding "Kowthar" and its connection to the person without whom the Prophet's only daughter would have remained a spinster like the Virgin Mary: "Kowthar is a stream of super excellence exclusively belonging to me. Only the righteous believers (among my followers) will be allowed to drink from it. Ali (AS) will distribute water from it to them. On the Day of Judgement, I will see some of my companions driven like cattle away from Kowthar. It will be announced that they are those, who after my departure from the world, deviated from the true religion and introduced innovations to corrupt the faith”.
It is recorded that from that day onwards, one of the epithets of Imam Ali (AS) became “Saqi al-Kowthar”meaning the one who quenches the thirst of believers at the heavenly stream of Kowthar – and the one who as the husband of "Kowthar" ensured eternity for the Prophet's progeny, while the lineage of the arrogantly ignorant enemies who had prided on male issue, vanished forever into the shifting sands of Arabia. No wonder, the Prophet used to rise to his feet whenever his beloved daughter entered his presence. This way he was teaching the society of his times, as well as posterity of the status of not just daughters, but all virtuous women in society. It is rightly said that if the Virgin Mary is deemed exalted because of an impeccable son like Prophet Jesus (PBUH), Hazrat Zahra (SA) is thrice exalted in stature than Mary. She is not only the Infallible Daughter of the Almighty’s Greatest Prophet, and the Immaculate Wife of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), but also the Impeccable Mother of the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them).
Now we present you a piece of poetry from Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi:
The beauteous union appeared at length
Of Muhammad’s grandeur and Ali’s strength,
Ali, of courageous mold, her husband became
The Prophet’s Vicegerent and the next in fame,
A glaring glory Zahra’s name does adorn
Two Imams, Hasan and Husain, to her fame born,
Her every strain the smiles and graces own
And displayed her piety when stood for God alone,
Her we obey whom heaven itself obeys;
Grave cradles us because your veneration is our grace
It is not so you are no more; or lived in a distant age,
You alive today, seen in Qur’an’s every page,
Zahra, a dividing line, essential to mankind;
Heaven - if bound to her; hell - if one is blind of mind,
Still scatter with a free and generous hand
Light golden showers of plenty over the land.
From your House martyrdom takes entity
In all conditions preserves society with clarity.
She so pure and pellucid like a translucent stream
The Kowsar of the Qur’an, reflects Islam’s splendid dream,
Unraveled the hidden glories of the Book’s breast
Blesses she while herself beyond Elysium blest,
Her two sons, Hasan and Husain, with native grace
Unite to stamp the glories of her race.
God veiled you behind the verses of the Qur’an
To understand you is to understand the Qur’an.
The Greatest Prophet of God why so humble to you
Far beyond the rain goes the worth of the dew,
Your entity like a coin reflects its sides
Imamate on one, on the other prophethood resides.
I reject four scores of life without your love
And in your devotion, at once welcome a hasty grave.