Hazrat Fatima az-Zahra (S.A.), Supreme Model of Feminine Virtues
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"Hom Fatema, wa Abuha, wa Ba'luha, wa Banuha (It is Fatema, her father, her husband and her sons.)"
The above is an immortal phrase regularly recited by followers of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt, especially while reading the famous Hadith al-Kisa or the Tradition of the Cloak.
According to this renowned narration, this phrase is the Almighty's reply to the query of the celestial angels, dazzled by the bright beams of light emanating from Planet Earth when Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) assembled his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons under a cloak to pray for Divine confirmation of their spotless purity, so as to serve as an eternal barometer differentiating truth from falsehood.
But why did God chose to identity this immaculate group through Fatema (AS), when her father was the most perfect of all human beings and the Last and Greatest of all Messengers to mankind?
The answer is obvious. Although the angels are addressed here, the reply is to all humanity and creation, till the Day of Judgement. It is to make anyone with a grain of commonsense understand the prime position of the greatest ever role model for women, loftier than the Virgin Mary.
It is also to remove any misconception concerning the following verse of the Holy Qur'an that was revealed in the immediate aftermath of this memorable event (on the eve of the historic Mubahela with the Christians of Najran), since in the distant future some faithless elements might try to deceive simple-minded Muslims by claiming that certain fallible women, connected by the not-so-firm bond of marriage with the Prophet, are included in it: "Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt and preserve you pure as purity can be." (33:33)
Moreover, Fatema (SA), the only women in the Infallible Group called the Ahl al-Bayt by the All-Wise Creator, is the link cementing all the four males assembled under the cloak - Father: the Prophet. Husband: Imam Ali (AS). Sons: Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS).
No wonder, the following morning when the Prophet, calmly and confidently, entered the field of malediction to the amazement of both the Muslims and the Christians, none of his companions or his wives were with him for the crucial encounter, except for his daughter, son-in-law, and two small grandsons, the Ahl al-Bayt, whom God has decreed as Barometers of Truth. (Holy Qur'an 3:61)
The Christians of Najran, dazzled by the radiance of this select group, especially by the presence of the Pride of the Virgin Mary, Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (the Radiant), whose veiled figure they saw for the first time of their several-day stay in Medina, acknowledged the truth of Islam and withdrew their challenge to invoke Divine Curse on the liars.
Could there be any other doubt of the pivotal position in Islam of Hazrat Fatema (SA), the Kowthar or the Spring of Perennially Abundant Munificence, mentioned by God in the surah of the same name in the Holy Qur'an?
Certainly not, especially since the last verse of the Surat al-Kowthar after indirectly referring to the perpetuality of the Prophet's progeny through his daughter Fatema (SA), says in explicit words: "Your enemy is without lineal descent."
Today, on the 20th of Jamadi ath-Thani, while celebrating the birth of this blessed personality, whom the Prophet often called Tuffahat al-Firdows (Apple of Paradise), since she was conceived immediately after his Me'raj or Ascension to the highest point in the heavens and back to earth in a small part of the night, and his eating of the fruit of Paradise, we have to admit that mortals cannot enumerate the merits of Seyyedat-nisa al-'alamin min al-awwalin wa'l-akherin (Chief of women of the worlds of all time).
The peerless position of the Baz'at ar-Rasoul (Part of the Prophet), is also clear from her title of Umm Abiha (Mother of her own Father) which she acquired for her care and concern for her widower father after the passing away of her mother, Omm al-Momenin (Mother of all True Believers), Hazrat Khadija (SA).
Yet, despite her lofty merits, Hazrat Fatema (SA) used to personally do all household chores. After marriage and a very simple dowry given by her father consisting of basic amenities, the couple shared the blessings of a blissful life, whose fruits were four immaculate children -two sons and two daughters, all of whom continue to serve as models par excellence for the virtuous till this day.
Imam Ali (AS) was responsible for all outside work while she took care of household affairs. They made an excellent husband and wife pair. As the supreme symbol of feminine virtues, she displayed the highest ethical traits in marital life in view of the hadith: "jihad al-mar'a husn at-tab'al (a woman's jihad [striving in the way of Allah] is to behave excellently with her husband)."
She also enjoyed very cordial relations with her mother-in-law Fatema bint Asad (SA), the lady who had brought up her father, the future Prophet, as a son and to whose care the Prophet had entrusted Hazrat Fatema (SA) after she was orphaned at Hazrat Khadija's (SA) death. She never allowed her mother-in-law to trouble herself with household chores and left to her the social relations for keeping the necessary contact with family members and friends.
In 7 AH when the Prophet granted his daughter with the virtuous Abyssinian maid, Fizza, she divided the work equally, by giving rest to the maid a whole day after a day's work, and discharging the duties that day herself.
These are some of the immortal lessons taught to humanity by Hazrat Fatema (SA), whose birthday is celebrated as Mothers' Day and Women's Week in the Islamic Republic of Iran and by followers of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt all over the world.