Worthiness of Fatima al-Zahra (S.A.)
By: Allama Jafar Murtuza Amili
Some people may wonder saying, “The participation of al-Zahra’ (sa) in the Mubahala issue does not indicate the greatness of her value and distinction because her father, the Prophet (S), had raised all his family members since they were the dearest to him, the ones he loved the most, in order to prove that he was ready to sacrifice them for the sake of the religion, and it does not have any other implication.”
In answer, we would like to say that Allah, Glory to Him, involved al-Zahra’ (sa) in an issue that had something to do with the permanence of the religion and with its being the truth. She affects the essence of believing in it till the Day of Judgment because the Mubahala was to prove that Jesus (as) was only a human being, not a god.
The Holy Qur’an has immortalized her participation in the Mubahala in order to demonstrate that she (sa) had reached the pinnacle in her perfection, eminence and distinction, so much so that Allah, the most Glorified One, made her, in addition to the Prophet (S), the wasi and both grandsons (as) of the Prophet (S)the evident proof that the Prophet (S)was truthful in everything he said. Allah, Glory to Him, was the One Who ordered His Prophet (S) to use these individuals to invoke His curse on the liars; he (S) did not do it on his own.
Therefore, it was not done because they were his family members, his Ahl al-Bayt (as). Rather, it was done because Fatima, peace of Allah and His blessings with her, the Prophet (S), Ali and both grandsons of the Prophet, peace with them all, were, as such, the most precious of everyone in existence and the most distinguished among all of Allah’s creation.
It became quite clear that the most Exalted One wanted all people to realize that sacrificing those chosen elite ones meant sacrificing everything, that there was no value for existence without them, and the sacred hadith carries the same meaning.(Refer to pp. 179 and 198 of Al-Kafi; and to pp. 138-139 of al-Nu`mani’s Ghayba; to pp. 488-489 of Basa’ir al-Darajat. Refer also to p. 359, Vol. 8, of Al-Sihah min Sirat al-Nabiyy al-A`zam (S) where they are quoted).
The exclusion of more than one man, and the restriction of the female gender to only al-Zahra’ (sa) in this issue, points out to the fact that no other woman came close to the status of eminence and nearness to Allah, Glory to Him, than did al-Zahra’ (sa). So, there is no room to attribute any merit to anyone else besides her (sa) by way of distinction over all other women. Some people attribute status and distinction to some wives of the Prophet (S), such as ‘A’isha, regarding her as superior to the nation’s women.
This cannot be right especially when we see how ‘A’isha behaved after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (S), how she declared mutiny against the Imam, the Commander of the Faithful (as), how she set out to fight the wasi of the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds, causing the death of a very large number of innocent people from among those who stood tall in their conviction and service to Islam. Satan did, indeed, show its horns from where the Prophet (S) had pointed; Allah, the Great, said the truth, and so did His glorious Prophet (S).
What ‘A’isha did, then, how she disobeyed Allah, can never be used as a justification for women’s political activity, as some people may claim, nor does it prove that Islam sanctions it or that it does not.
As regarding the conduct of al-Zahra’ (sa), it is but the criterion and the scales because such conduct was in obedience of Allah, for she was the purified and the infallible woman whose statements and actions are relied on when a verdict is to be derived from the Shari’a , be it relevant to a political or an apolitical issue.
Head of the Women of Mankind
What is evident is that discerning, providing an ideological restriction, or issuing verdicts does not grant the verdict, the ideology or the restriction strength or firmness in the hearts as much as when it is personified and formed into a living and moving reality. This is so because the rational or instinctive evidence, for example, may not convince someone or take hold of him. But the personification of an ideology makes one pleased and overwhelmed thereby, feeling contended and satisfied with it, following in the principle of the Qur’anic verse saying, “He said: What! And do you not believe?! He said: Yes, but so that my heart may be at ease” (Qur’an, 2:260).
Mental, rational and practical satisfaction is based on clear and sufficient evidence free from any shortcoming or defect. But the soul’s tranquility may need a personification of the idea in the outside world so that the psychological tranquility may be in sync with the firm mental, rational and intellectual conviction; perhaps they may both form the rich fountainhead of feelings and emotions.
Al-Zahra’ (sa) was the very first woman in whom the role model and the most exemplary conduct for all women of the world were personified. This happened after humanity marched a great deal. During such march, many women achieved perfection till Fatima (sa) became the pinnacle of such perfection. Just as perfect man was first personified in Adam (as) so that it would be a living reality, a man living his well-balanced humanity wherein nothing happens arbitrarily, a humanity that he lived in all its characteristics and attributes, sincerity, purity and energy in reason, intellect, conduct, wisdom, and management, so much so that he became the role model for all human beings. He was Adam the prophet and the man, not Adam the dust. Rather, the dust that became a perfect human being in the true sense of the word.
The march for humanity’s perfection went on; therefore, many prophets (as) were perfect human beings, and many women achieved perfection, too, such as Asiya daughter of Muzahim, Maryam (Mary) and Khadija (as). Then perfection reached the highest pinnacle in the person of the Messenger of Allah S the man, and in al-Zahra’ (sa) the woman. Whims and desires, ambitions and instincts, as well as challenges, etc. could not prohibit man from personifying his humanity, live a life of conviction, the life of complete perfection and peace, not the one of environmental or social pressures.
Humans’ role models are those who stand and are able to convince man that he has to defy, to face, and to tread his path forcefully, that he can achieve victory so long as his highest examples are the Prophet S and the walis, starting from Adam and ending with the Messenger of Allah S and his purified progeny (as). He does not only receive from them an ideology, he sees the movement and the stand in the Messenger, the wasi and the wali. He, therefore, was not satisfied with just bidding or forbidding, as in the verse saying, “... Whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back” (Qur’an, 59:7).
Rather, He went beyond it to say, “Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him who sets his hopes on Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much” (Qur’an, 33:21).
He (God) shows him the movement, the stand and the purity personified before him in the person of the Prophet and the wasi, and in women who faced the greatest trials and tribulations, such as Pharaoh’s wife and al-Zahra’, Fatima (sa), who had to face people’s deviation from the right course. She faced hardship and oppression. And so is the case of Maryam daughter of ‘Imran who had to face pressures around her in matters that were most sensitive to woman’s gender in general.