Whither the Unmarked Grave
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt, and keep you thoroughly purified.” (Holy Qur’an 33:33)
Without a doubt the above words of God Almighty in the Holy Qur’an is firm testimony of the spotless purity of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) immediate family – his daughter Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), son-in-law Imam Ali (AS), and grandsons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS). Reputed scholars of the Sunni school, such as Fakhreddin Razi and Zamakhshari, have said the term Ahl al-Bayt refers exclusively to this select group and does not include the Prophet’s wives as claimed by certain seditious minded persons who had little knowledge about Islam and knew nothing about the Prophet’s practice and behaviour.
Razi and the other scholars say that after revelation of this verse, every day for six successive months the Prophet used to stand at the doorstep of his daughter, Hazrat Fatema (SA), and recite this verse.
The Prophet, regarding whom the first few verses of Surah Najm (53) vouch that he says nothing but it is revelation revealed, meant to highlight the significance of the threshold and house of his daughter. This was not the doting of any ordinary father. The Prophet in fact was pointing to the blessings that emanate from this immaculate abode and the blasphemy of ever trying to violate the sanctity of this household.
As per God’s commandment the Almighty’s Last Messenger, who was in the habit of standing to his feet whenever his daughter Hazrat Fatema (SA) entered his presence, also explained to his companions the meaning of verse 42 of Surah Shurah that says the token of the Muslims’ gratitude towards the untiring mission of the Prophet to enlighten them, is not any material reward but love and affection for the Ahl al-Bayt.
Before departing from the mortal world the Prophet specified everything in minute detail. He made sure the ummah will not be left groping in the dark. His often-emphasized Hadith known as Thaqalayn (Two Priceless Things) confirms this undeniable reality. He said: “I am leaving behind among you the Book of God (the Holy Qur’an) and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray for the two will never separate from each other even when they return to me at the Fountain (of Kowsar in Paradise).”
With such a clear and unambiguous exposition of the Law of God and the prime position of the Ahl al-Bayt in guiding mankind towards prosperity in life and salvation in afterlife, the ummah was not expected to err. However, no sooner did the Prophet leave for his heavenly abode greed for the perishable pleasures of mortal life took hold of some of his companions. They convened a hasty gathering to grab the political power of the state while the Ahl al-Bayt were in a state of mourning and busy performing the funeral rites. They violated divine rights by selecting one of them as the ruler despite the fact that this important issue had been sealed two months and ten days ago on the 18th of Zilhijja on the plain of Ghadeer-Khom on the express commandments of God Almighty (Holy Qur’an 5:67) in the favour of the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali (AS) while returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage.
Could the Ahl al-Bayt keep silence towards this gross injustice? How would Imam Ali (AS) and Hazrat Fatema (SA) react, when not only the succession to the Prophethood was being usurped but the inheritance of the Prophet was being denied to his daughter on the basis of a spurious hadith that ‘Prophets do not leave inheritance’ even though the Holy Qur’an explicitly says Prophet Solomon inherited Prophet David, and Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was the heir of Prophet Zachariah?
Husband and wife both protested in the most polite and convincing manner that made the plotters speechless. The Prophet’s daughter and son-in-law presented their irrefutable arguments that till this day are preserved in the books of history and hadith and provide the finest presentation of the dynamism of the tenets of Islam. As the appointees of God Almighty their spiritual position and rights were beyond the ken and power of their opponents and for this reason they desisted from resorting to force against the usurpers. All they desired was the true guidance of the ummah and its salvation so that the divisive elements would repent.
Alas, the seditionists bent upon creating perpetual discord in the ranks of Muslims were unrepentant. In order to extract forced allegiance to their rule from the Prophet’s divinely designated heir Imam Ali (AS) they dared to violate the sanctity of the threshold of the Prophet’s daughter. The miscreants assembled with fire and iron bars at the door where the Prophet used to salute his Ahl al-Bayt every morning.
Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) came to the door and cautioned against sacrilege by reminding them of the sanctity of the Ahl al-Bayt and telling them that the Prophet’s little grandchildren were in the house.
The chief conspirator was adamant and threatened to burn down the blessed house with all its residents inside. He then smashed down the door on the Prophet’s daughter causing miscarriage to her and when she clung to the waist of her husband who was being dragged from the house, he mercilessly whipped her hand. May God curse him till eternity!
As a result of her injuries and the injustice wrought against humanity, the condition of Hazrat Fatema (SA) worsened and the noble lady, with ribs shattered and heart broken, attained martyrdom a mere 95 days after the Prophet. She willed that she be buried in the dead of night so that none of the conspirators could attend her funeral. This is the reason that no one knows where the unmarked grave of the noblest lady that ever lived, lies in Medina.