Blessings of Kowthar
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"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." (Holy Qur'an 16:58-59)
The above ayahs depict the state of anguish and horror of a non-Muslim society at the birth of a daughter.
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”.
In order to remove misconceptions from the society, on another occasion, he 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 Muhammad (SAWA) with the greatest of perpetual gifts, after he and his beloved wife, Omm al-Momineen (Mother of all True Believers), Hazrat Khadija (SA), lost two sons, Qassim and Taher, in infancy.
The pagan Arabs, such as Aas bin Wa'el, tried to mock him as "Abtar", which literally means "tailless" and refers to the one without progeny. They 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."
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 (SA).
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 (AS), Imam Husain (AS), Hazrat Zainab (SA) and Hazrat Kolsoum (SA), let us refer to a hadith from the Prophet mentioned in the books of our Sunni brethren (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.