|Chapter 51: The House of Grief|
When political opposition fails, silent protest starts. This kind of protest can be more effective than the first, because in addition to having the benefits of offending and disapproving of the opponent's acts, it also gives the person the chance of keeping calm and tranquil.
Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) acted in such a manner when she realized that with the weaknesses, which afflicted her, she could not prevail. So she took refuge in a house in Baqi' near the tombs of martyrs, to cry for her father and complain to him about that which grieved her. Fatima (A.S.) used to visit the great tomb of her father and take handful of the dirt from his grave and smell it then begin weeping. Fatima (A.S.)would then return to her home and cry day and night. The elderly men of Medina came to Imam Ali (A.S.) complaining and said:
'Abu Al-Hassan! Fatima cries day and night so none of us can sleep comfortably. Hence, we demand you to ask her to either cry during the day or the night."
Imam Ali (A.S.) replied: "Most gladly"
He then proceeded towards Fatima who was crying; when she saw him approaching, she stopped and Imam Ali (A.S.) said: "Daughter of Allah's Messenger, the elderly men of Medina have asked me to ask you to either cry during the day or the night." Fatima answered:
"Abu Al-Hassan, how short will my stay among them be? And soon I will depart from them. Therefore, by Allah, I join my father-Allah 's Messenger (P.B.U.H.)." When Imam Ali (A.S.) saw her insistence, he built a house for her behind Baqi' which later became known as "The house of griefs." Thereafter, with every sunrise, Fatima (A.S.) would take Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain to that house and cry until sunset, when Imam Ali (A.S.) would come and bring them back home.
Once, Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) longed for the sound of Adhan-the call for prayer-which was performed by Bilal. But Bilal had taken an oath to never perform it again after the Prophet's death; nevertheless, in respect to Fatima's request, he decided to do so. Yet, as soon as Bilal said: 'Allahu Akbar," Fatima (A.S.) remembered the era of her great father (P.B.U.H.) and started weeping, so that when Bilal said: "I bear witness that Muhammad is His worshipper and Messenger," Fatima took a deep breath and fell unconscious. When Fatima (A.S.) fell, the people requested Bilal to stop Adhan, because they believed that Fatima had died.
Now that the voice of rejection seized to reveal that which was in Fatima's heart, the language of tears spoke out for her; and as it is correctly said: "The language of tears, is more painful to the heart and sadder to the eyes"!!
Chapter 52: Fatima-The Withering Rose
It was a short life... As short as the lives of fragrant roses... A life that Lady Fatima (A.S.) endured and now it is coming to an end... even before it was given the chance to completely blossom!! Surely the successive calamities and severe hardships which befell Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.), while she was still young, left her with a broken rib and confined to bed, suffering from her broken rib and remembering what had come to pass and her devoted husband who was her safe refuge in whom she took refuge whenever abused...
She remembered her usurped rights...
She remembered her oppressed husband and his stolen position...
She remembered him being led by his turban to the Mosque while she followed him...
She remembered all this and a gloomy picture appeared before her tired eyes... then a sigh becomes imprisoned deep in her heart...
That heart which longs for the great Messenger who gave her the good news of her speedy departure after him...
Oh! How forsaken she was?!
But. she was the Prophet's daughter!
She was his favorite child!
She whom the Prophet repeatedly expressed the importance of observing her rights!! And as he said: "Man is observed by respecting his children". Yet, this did not stop the arrogant ones from encroaching on her rights, nor did it stop the sinful hands from reaching out to strangle the beautiful rose before it completely blossomed!!
Thus, the branch, which the Prophet left among his nation, withered away, its flowers became scattered, its branches wilted. Fatima (A.S.) appeared pale and faint!!
Allah is with you Umm al-Hassan.
You shall depart towards a generous Lord and a great Father... then you shall complain to him about what you have encountered... Yes! Umm Al-Hassan... only ninety (90) days are left...
But you, Muhammad's Ummah, remember her... Write this in the pages of history... and tell the generations about Fatima's sad story!!
On the Death Bed
The moment when eternal separation starts is anguishing. This is a fact known to everyone who has experienced it, for it is the last opportunity for the beloved to be with his dear ones... then the inevitable, the predestined, happens. At such a moment, one is in earnest need of calmness and tranquility. Yet, many are the ones who mourn and break apart instead.
Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) was calm and patient when the women of the Muhajireen and Ansar came to visit her. Suwaid Ibn Ghafleh said:"When Fatima was inflicted with her illness, the women of the Muhajireen and Ansar gathered around her
'How are you doing, daughter of Allah's Messenger?' Fatima praised Allah, prayed for her father and said:
"I have become, by Allah, to have feelings of resentment for your world, detesting your men; I have casted them after testing them, hated them after examining them. Thus, shameful is the defiling of honor, playing after being serious, striking the soft rocks, the slackening of spears, the foolishness of judgments and the misguidance of wants".
"Evil indeed are (the works) which their souls have sent forward before them (with the result) that Allah's wrath is on them, and in torment will they abide".
Certainly it (Allah's wrath) has control of their affairs, held them responsible (for deserving it), and launched its disagreement on them". "So, may the unjust ones be done away with, cursed, and damned. Woe unto them!
How they have snatched it away from the foundations of the Message, the fundamentals of prophethood and guidance, the place of descent for the Devoted Spirit, and he who is clever in the affairs of this world and the hereafter? (She means that they usurped Ali's right)
Surely; (their action) is clear loss. Why were they hostile to Abu Al-Hassan?
They took vengeance, by Allah, from him for his unbiased sword, his carelessness about his death (i.e., his unprecedented courage), his deadly assaults his severe encounters, and his anger for the sole sake of Allah, Exalted is His Name. "By Allah,
had they prevented each other from assuming the reigns of
power, which Allah's Messenger entrusted to him, he would have held it and led them smoothly,
He would not have harmed them the size of a thread,
Nor would his followers stammer, (meaning they would have lived in harmony under his rule).
He surely would have delivered them to a spring pure, lush, abundant, flowing over its banks yet its sides are not muddy.
He certainly would have brought them back satisfied and advised them secretly and publicly without providing himself with any availing thing.
Nor would he favor himself with the worldly things with any gain, save that which would quench the thirst of the thirsty, and feed the hungry.
Surely the abstinent would have been distinguished from the desirous, and the truthful from the liar.
Had the people of the town believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from Heaven and Earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds.
And the wrongdoers of this generation; the results of their deeds will soon overtake them (too), and they will never be able to frustrate (Our Plan)!"
"Indeed.. "Come to see!
"As long as you live, time shall show you amazing events!
"I wish I knew what proof they have for that which they have done?
"On what foundation have they stood?
"On what reliable grip have they held?
"Upon whose progeny have they encroached and spoke against? "Evil, indeed, is the patron and evil the companion!
"They have exchanged, by Allah, the daring for the tales and the capable for the impotent.
"Thus, away with a people who (mistakenly) believe they are doing well (to themselves); "For surely, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize (it) not.
"Woe unto them!
"Is he who guides towards truth more worthy to be followed, or the who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided?
"What then is the matter with you?
"How do you judge?
"But-upon my life! it has already conceived (meaning that it is too late to do anything).
"So wait until its fruit comes about.
"Then shall ye fillyour buckets with pure blood and fatal venom?
"That day the dealers in falsehood will perish!
"And the ones who come to follow shall know the evil which their successors have established!
"Then awaken the aversion in yourselves to your world!
"Prepare your hearts for calamities,
"Adapt yourselves to a sharp sword;
an assault of a tyrant enemy,
an overwhelming commotion, and atrocity from oppressors who shall leave your booty worthless, and your crops unharvested; "Alas!
"What a pity! How will ye be treated? But indeed it hath been obscured from your sight. Shall we then compel you to accept it when ye are averse to it?"
Swaid Ibn Ghaflah added:
"The women informed their men what Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) had said, then a group of men went to her and said:
'O you Mistress of all women! Had Abu Al-Hassan mentioned this to us before we made the oath, and gave the promise (to Abu Bakr), then surely we would not have exchanged him (Imam Ali (A.S.)) for anyone else!!!' Fatima (A.S.) said:
Leave me alone! Surely there is not an excuse for you after (I have already) spoken to you; and there shall be no command after (I have seen) your shortcomings. "
When we review Lady Fatima's (A.S.) speech, it becomes clear to us that she blamed the people for accepting Abu Bakr's and Umar's leadership over Imam Ali (A.S.). She also foretold of many calamities, which would take place as a result of this misdeed. Fatima's predictions were true; Umar seized power after Abu Bakr appointed him as his successor to Caliphate. After Umar, Uthman was appointed leader; this started the era of explicit oppression against the Muslims. Imam Ali (A.S.) in his sermon of Shiqshiqiyyah pointed out the course of Caliphate and how it was transferred from one person to another until finally he was appointed leader-virtually by force. He (A.S.) then explained how the same ones who paid allegiance to him turned against his rule, which triggered unrest between the Muslims that had everlasting adverse effects. Imam Ali (A.S.) also added his view on Caliphate and this world, in several eloquent words in this sermon. He (A.S.) said:
"By Allah, the son of Abu Quhafa (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the handmill. The floodwater flows down from me and the bird cannot fly unto me. I put a curtain against the Caliphate and kept myself detached from it. Then I began to think whether I should assault or
endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the elders are feeled and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So I adopted patience although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn Khattab after himself" Then he quoted Aisha's verse:
"My days now are passed on the camel's back (in difficulty), while there were days (of ease) -when I enjoyed the company of Jabir's brother Hayyan.' "It is strange that during his lifetime he wished to get rid of the Caliphate but he straightened its way for the other after his death. No doubt these two shared its udders strictly among themselves. This one put the Caliphate in a tough enclosure where the utterance was
haughty and the tough was rough. Mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore. One in contact with it, was like the rider of an unruly camel If he pulled up its rein the very nostril would be slit, but if he let it loose he would be thrown. Consequently, by Allah, people got involved in recklessness, wickedness, unsteadfastness, and deviation. Nevertheless, I remained patient despite the length of period and stiffness of trial, till when he went his way (by death), he put the matter (of Caliphate) in a group and regarded me to be one of them. But good Heavens! What had I to do with this 'consultation'? Where was any doubt about me with regard to the first of them that I was not considered akin to these ones. But I remained low when they were low and flew high. One of them turned against me because of his hatred and the other got inclined the other way due to his in-law relationship and this thing and that thing, till the third man of these people stood up with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder. With him, his cousins also stood up swallowing up Allah's wealth like a camel devouring the foliage of spring, till his rope broke down, his actions
finished him and his gluttony brought him down prostrate. At that moment, the crowd of people frightened me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hassan and Hussain were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats. When 1 took up the reins of government, one party broke away and another turned disobedient while the rest began acting wrongfully as if they had not heard the word of Allah saying:
'That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exalt themselves in the earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones.'
Yes, by Allah, they had heard it and understood it, but the world appeared glittering in their eyes and its embellishments seduced them. Behold, by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings, if people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders and would have given the last one the same treatment as the first. Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat."
(It is said that when Amir Al-Mo'mineen reached here in his sermon, a man of Iraq stood up and handed him writing. Amir Al-Mo'mineen (A.S.) began looking at it, when Ibn Abbas (Allah may be pleased with both of them) said, "O Amir Al-Mo'mineen, I wish you resumed your Sermon from where you broke it."
Thereupon he (A.S.) replied, "O Ibn Abbas, it was like the foam of a camel which gushed out but subsided." Ibn Abbas says that he never grieved over any utterance as he did over this one; because Amir Al-Mo'mineen (A.S.) could not finish it as he wished
to. Commenting on this sermon, Allama Razi says:
"The words in this sermon 'Like the rider of a camel,' mean to convey that when a camel rider is stiff in drawing up the rein, then in this scuffle the nostril gets bruised; but if he lets it loose in spite of the camel's unruliness, it would throw him somewhere and would get out of control. Ashnaq-an-Naqah' is used when the rider holds up the rein and raises the camel's head upwards. In the same sense the word 'Shannaq-an-Naqah' is used. Ibn Sekait has mentioned this in 'Islah-il-Mantiq' this is because he has used this word in harmony with 'Aslasa-laha' and harmony could be retained only by using both in the same form. Thus, Amir Al-Mo'mineen (A.S.) has used Ashnaqa laha'as though in place of 'In Rafaa laha Raasaha,' (i.e., 'if he stops it by holding up the reins.)"
An Apology too Late!
After Fatima's visit with women and then the men, which resulted in an emotional revolution in the hearts of the Muslims, Abu Bakr and Umar decided to visit the Mistress of women and try to achieve her contentment with them. The story was reported in 'I'lal Al-Sharaye' as follows:
When Fatima (A.S.) was suffering from her fatal illness, Abu Bakr and Umar came to visit her. They asked for permission to enter, but she refused to see them. Upon this, Abu Bakr vowed not to enter any house until he saw Fatima and asked her to forgive him. Abu Bakr, because of his oath, was forced to spend that night in the cold with no cover. Umar then went to Ali (A.S.) and addressed him by saying:
"More than once we have come to see Fatima so as to ask for requital, but she refuses to grant us permission to enter. If you see to it, you can get us permission from her to talk to her."
He (Imam Ali (A.S.)) said:
"I surely will." Imam Ali then entered the house and said to Fatima (A.S.):
"Daughter of Allah's Messenger, you have seen what these two men have done. They have repeatedly come to see you, but you have not given them permission to enter, now they have asked me to ask you to give them that permission."
She said: "By Allah, I shall not give them permission, nor will I speak a word to them until I meet my father and complain to him about that which they have done and committed against me."
Ali then said; "But I have assured them that I will (acquire your permission)." Now Fatima replied: "Now that you have assured them of something, the house is yours, and women follow men (in their commands); I shall not disagree with you in anything, so allow whoever you wish (to enter the house)."
When Ali heard Fatima's reply, he (A.S.) left the house and gave permission to enter. The two men entered the house; when they saw Fatima (A.S.) they submitted their greetings to her, but she did not reply, only turned her face away from them; in turn, they followed her face and she constantly turned away from them. The two parties repeated this action several times until Fatima (A.S.) said:
'Ali cover me with your garment;" she then said to some women who were present: "Turnme towards them!!" When this was done, Abu Bakr said: "Daughter of Allah's Messenger, we have only come to you in an attempt to achieve your satisfaction and avoid your wrath; we ask you to requite and forgive us for the misdeed which we have committed against you." Fatima said:
"I shall not speak a word to either of you until I meet my Lord and complain to Him about you. I shall then complain about your actions and everything which you have committed against me."
Fatima then turned towards Ali and said: "I shall not speak to them until I ask them about something which they heard from Allah's Messenger. If they tell the truth regarding it, then I will decide to speak to them or not." They said: "By Allah, she has the right to do so. Besides, we only speak that which is right and testify to that which is true." She said: "I ask you by Allah, do you remember when the Messenger of Allah called you out in the middle of the night regarding a matter which came up with Ali?"
They answered: "Yes, By Allah."
Fatima then said: "I ask you by Allah, did you hear him say: 'Fatima is part of me and I am from her; he who offends me offends Allah. He who offends her after my death is the same as he who offends her during my life; and he who offends her during my life is the same as he who offends her after my death'?'
They both answered: "Yes, by Allah, we remember."
She (A.S.) said: "Praise be to Allah. O Allah, I hold you witness, so you who are present testify to this; surely they have offended me when I am living and after my death. By Allah, I shall not speak a word to you until I meet my Lord and complain to Him about you and that which you have inflicted me with." When Abu Bakr heard this, he wailed and burst in loud laments and said:
"I wish that my mother had not bore me" Umar said: "It is strange how people appointed you as guardian of their affairs while you are not but a foolish old man!! You become anxious at a woman's anger and you rejoice at her satisfaction. What is wrong with he who angers a woman?"
They then left the house. Commenting on this story Sayid Qazwini writes:
"There was no need for Abu Bakr to wail and apologize when he had the opportunity to amend his mistakes, nor was there a reason for him to burst into loud laments when he had the chance to return her estate to her. But surely the Caliph wished to achieve Lady Fatima's satisfaction at the same time he was keeping her property and rights usurped."
Chapter 53: Abu Bakr's Family Versus Fatima's Progeny Throughout History
The early injustices done by Abu Bakr against Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.), paved the way for his offspring to do the same against the Prophet's progeny. Sayyid Safdar Hussain, in his valuable book The Early History of Islam p.242, summarized the wrongdoings committed by the Bakrs (the descendants of Abu Bakr) against Fatima (A.S.) and her descendants in several points. He wrote:
"History shows that Abu Bakr himself and his whole family (excepting Asma and her son Muhammad) were hostile to the Prophet's family, in utter disregard to what the Quran ordained or what the Prophet had said relating to the respect and love for his family. The following is the list of those whose hostility was distinctively marked:
1. Abu Bakr, on his accession to the Caliphate, sent Umar to Fatima's house to compel Ali, by force, to come in and do fealty to him. Umar threatened to burn the house down upon Fatima, and brought Ali under escort to Abu Bakr where he was so humiliated and insulted that he cried bitterly at the tomb of the Prophet complaining against the treatment he had received. Subsequently, Fatima was so much grieved by Abu Bakr that as long as she survived her father, she never spoke a word to Abu Bakr and on her deathbed she forbade his joining her funeral.
2. Abu Bakr's daughter, Aisha, revolted against Ali, the Caliph, and at the head of thirty thousand soldiers, she fought the battle of Jamal; but she was discomfited with heavy loss.
3. Abu Bakr's son-in-law, Zubair Ibn Al Awwam, the husband of Asma, the eldest daughter of Abu Bakr, was the Commander of Aisha's armies; during the heat of the battle, he withdrew and took the road towards Mecca, but was slain only at a short distance from the field of battle.
4. Abu Bakr's grandson, Abdullah, the son of Zubair by Asma, was the commander of Aisha's infantry. He was the adopted son of Aisha. After the battle, he was pulled out from under a heap of the slain lying in the battlefield.
5. Abu Bakr's cousin, Talha, and the husband of Abu Bakr's daughter Umme Kulthum, was a Commander of Aisha's Troops. In the heat of the battle, Marwan (the Secretary and the evil genius of Caliph Othman), an officer in the same forces, seeing Talha busily engaged, said to his slave: 'It was but the other day that Talha was busily instigating the murderers of Othman and now he busily seeks to revenge his blood. What a hypocrisy to gain worldly grandeur!' So saying, he shot an arrow, which pierced through Talha's leg and struck his horse, which flew wildly off the ranks and Talha fell to the ground. He was instantly taken to Basra where he died after awhile.
6. Abu Bakr's cousin, Abu Al-Rahman, a brother of Talha, also fell fighting in the same battle.
7. Muhammad, the son of Talha, also fell in the same battle.
8. Abu Bakr's sister, Umme Farwa's daughter, Jo'da Bint Ash'ath poisoned Al-Hassan, the son of Ali, to death. She was suborned to commit the wickedness by Yazid the son of Mu'awiya or by Mu'awiya himself.
9. Abu Bakr's sister's (Umme Farwa's) son Ishaq,
both brothers, the sons of Ash'sth, appeared among the armies of Yazid, fighting against Hussain, the son of Ali, at the Karbala tragedy. Later on, the former
was killed fighting against Mukhtar, who was avenging the murder of Hussain; while the latter, who had taken off the dead body of Hussain some of his clothes, was torn to death by dogs. 10. Mos'ab, a son of Zubair, the son-in-law of Abu Bakr, fought against Mukhtar, who was killed avenging the murder of Hussain."