A New History Begins
After the death of Abu Talib, enmity and hatred reaches its peak. A group of the Companions and followers of the Prophet go to Ethiopia while another group suffer loneliness and poverty under the increasing torture of the Quraish. Muhammad, who had reached fifty years of age, whose life had been spent in difficulties without any security, is living alone with Fatima, his young daughter.
But ...no. The hand of fate brings a son to this house and no one knew what role he would play.
Yes. Ali does not stay in his father's house and grow up there. From childhood he lives beside Fatima. He is raised in the home of Fatima's father. The fate of this young boy is strangely connected to the fate of this father and this girl.
History is taking its course. In the mysterious quiet which is full of ambiguity, the stormy design of thought is nourished so that tomorrow, the stone idols are broken, that create barriers for the seekers of monopoly and that create discrimination. The first of the deceitful priests of the royal court die in the fire temples of the Persians. The great, frightening palaces of Madaen are pulled down. The lustful, blood‑thirsty Emperor of Rome is pushed into the sea.
But the greatest of all to fall, to be erased in the hearts and minds, is the rusted traditions and the chains of habit, the pus of superstitions and rotted myths, prejudices, feelings and discriminatory beliefs that are against humanity.
They are disconnected and washed. The previous values and honors are turned upside down and changed. In an environment polluted with bruised fairy tales of racism and pride, aristocracy and power, epics of judgment and plunder, the worship of the earth, blood and idols always cause the earth to revolt against the gods because all these things, large or small, prevent freedom, equality, justice, spiritual struggle and self-awareness for the unknown masses who lack glory and tribe. Instead of seeking history in rotted bones and fallen gravestones and rulers of the sword who hold the gold, seek history in the blood, life and motions of the people!
Seek the line which begins with the heirs of the last Chosen Prophet! Each one is to have a finer cloak of martyrdom than the' previous one. Each one either spent their life in the battlefield or teaching people or in the prison of the oppressors. This important mandate in history begins with Fatima and in carrying out this work, history needs an Ali.
This is why the kind hand of poverty causes the child of Abu Talib, even though he had a father, to go to the house of his uncle's son so that his spirit does not become polluted by his own family's ignorance when the revelation arrives. He is present from the time of the first revelation. He is there from the moment that the mission begins. He lives through the fire of difficulties, problems and thoughts so that he can play the difficult role he has to play in the migration, so that he can participate in the battles of Badr, Ohud, Khaybar, Fath and Hunayn and thereby guarantee the victory of the Islamic Revolution, so that he can grow up close to Fatima and finally, so that with Fatima, he can establish the `exemplary family' and in the continuation of the work of Abraham, begin a new history.
Thirteen years of difficulty, resistance, confinement and, torture in Mecca end. Fatima, from early childhood, patiently stood alongside her father, in the‑ city, in their home and in their imprisonment. With her weak constitution, she withstood the angry blows of envy and the difficulties of resistance in the savage environment of ignorance. With her little hands, she caressed her hero father like a mother.
The migration begins. Moslems go to Medina. The Prophet and Abu Bakr secretly leave Mecca. Fatima and her sister, Umm Khulthum also leave Mecca. Suddenly, one of the evil men of the Quraish who had a history of having caused the Prophet difficulties catches up with them and violently throws them down.
Fatima who essentially had a weak constitution and who had suffered from the effects of three years in prison is greatly affected by this event. She suffers pain the entire way to Medina. This uncalled for act of Huirath ibn Naqiz had such an effect upon Moslems and, in particular, the Prophet and Ali that even eight years later when conquering Mecca, they had not forgotten what he had done. His name is mentioned among those who should not be spared. They said that even if he is hanging on the cloth of the Kaaba, he should be killed. It was no accident that Ali carried out this order.
Now they are in Medina. The Prophet has built his mosque and next to it, the house which he built from mud and the leaves of palm trees. Then he announces the ceremony of `the covenant of brotherhood'. `Every two should become brothers in the way of God.' Jaffar ibn Abu Talib became the brother of Ma'az ibn Jabal, Abu Bakr, the brother of Khareje bin Zahir, Omar ibn Khattab, the brother of Ottabai ibn Malek and Osman, the brother of Uss bin Sabet and ...`I am his brother.'
Muhammad is the brother of Ali.
Once again, from among all the figures, Ali is placed beside Muhammad. Ali takes another step closer to Muhammad. Fatima bint Assad, the mother of Ali, nursed Muhammad. Abu Talib, the father of Ali, protected Muhammad. Muhammad grew up in the house of Ali. A4i grew up in the house of Muhammad beside Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad. Ali was nourished in the lap of Khadijah, the mother of Fatima. The son of the uncle of Muhammad, child of Muhammad has now become the brother of Muhammad.
There remains one more step until Ali can reach the final stage which is foreseen for him in the fate of Muhammad and the honor of Islam.
Fatima has kept her promise. In the home of her father, she lives quietly and alone. She rejects Omar and Abu Bakr's offers of marriage. All of the Companions know that Fatima has a very special fate and they know that the Prophet will never give her hand in marriage without consulting her.
Fatima grows up with Ali. She sees him as a dear, older brother and as a beloved butterfly around her father. Fate throws these two together for very special reasons. Neither one of them are tied to the age of ignorance. They both grow up from the beginning with the mission. They develop under the light of the revelation.
What feelings does Fatima have towards Ali? What appears from the great, brave, courageous feelings of Ali towards Fatima? It is possible that we could conceive of them but the words to express it are missing. How can we draw the complicated feelings which arise from faith, love, spiritual strength, worship and the kindness of a brother and a sister who share the same belief and the familiarity of two spirits. They share the difficulties and troubles of fate together. Being fellow travelers, step by step, moment by moment for their whole lifetime, they encounter kindness and inspiration mixed with faith.
Why is Ali silent? He is twenty-five years old. Fatima has reached puberty. She is either nine years old or nineteen.
In my opinion, the obstacles before Ali are clear. Fatima has endowed herself to her father. She knows herself to be the mother of her father and the person who runs his house. How could Ali take her from this house where the daughter is so attached to her father, to the extent that they cannot be separated? Ask Muhammad for her hand in marriage? Ali shares the same feelings as Fatima does.
Suddenly the picture changes. Aiesha comes into the house of the Prophet. The Prophet, for the first and last time in his life, takes a young, alive, desiring girl as his wife.
Fatima, little by little, senses that her father's young bride will replace Khadijah and hers; if not in his heart but undoubtedly in his house. Ali also senses that the moment which destiny has prepared for them has arrived.
But he has nothing.
A boy who has grown up in Muhammad's house, who has spent his youth and struggling in the way of his beliefs. He did not have an opportunity to gather or save things. The only capital he has in the world is the sacrifices he has made upon the way of Muhammad, through his faith in Muhammad. Capital? Not even a house or a piece of furniture. Nothing.
At the same time we see that he approaches the Prophet. He is seated next to him. He has put his head down and speaks with his beautiful shyness.
'What do you want son of Abu Talib?'
With an answer full of shame and inner peace, 'I want to take the name of Fatima, daughter of the Prophet.'
The Prophet answers, 'Wonderful! Congratulations!'
The next day in the mosque the Prophet asks him, 'Do you have anything?'
'Nothing, oh Prophet.'
'Where is the shield I gave you in the battle of Badr?'
'It is with me.'
Ali quickly went, got the shield and returned and handed it to the Prophet.
The Prophet ordered that it be sold in the bazaar and with its small price, he should begin his life. Osman bought the shield for forty-seven dirhams. The Prophet called his Companions together and he himself performed the wedding ceremony.
'Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, according to the ruling traditions, is given to Ali.'
They prayed for their sound progeny and then they brought out the dish of dates. And this was the wedding ceremony. The list of Fatima's .property? A hand mill, a wooden bowl and a cotton rug.
At the beginning of the second year of the migration, Ali found a house beside the Mosque of Ghoba and he took Fatima there to his home. Hamzeh, one of the first martyrs, the great hero of the religious crusades and uncle of the Prophet and Ali, sacrificed two camels and invited the people of Medina to his home for the wedding celebration.
The Prophet instructed Umm Salameh to accompany the bride to Ali's house. Then Balal called the people to the evening prayer. After the prayer, the Prophet went to Ali's house. He asked for a bowlful of water and while he recited some verses from the Qur’an, he asked the bride and groom to drink from that water. He then made his ablution with it and sprinkled it upon both of their heads. He wished to leave when Fatima began crying. It was the first time that she was to be separated from her father.
The Prophet comforted her with these words, 'I am leaving you with a person of the strongest faith, a man who is the most knowledgeable among those with knowledge, the most ethical among those with ethics and the highest of spirits among the spiritual.'
This departure from Muhammad begins the second part of her life. Destiny brings new difficulties and sorrows to this most beloved and precious beings of humanity. Fatima, who has grown up in poverty and with the hardships of the home of her father, now has come to the home of Ali, a home where its only decoration and furniture is love and poverty.
The difficulties of life in Ali's house begin. But the greatest difficulty of all is that Fatima had the same responsibilities she previously had, but they are now in connection with Ali. A youth whom she had, until yesterday, looked upon as a brother and today; as a husband. Fatima knows that the life of Ali will remain as this. She knows that he only thinks about jihad, God and people. He will return home with only empty hands. Fatima finds herself more responsible here than when she was in her father's home. She has the responsibility of being the wife of a man who is more serious than lucky and who is greater than life.
Fatima grinds the wheat herself. She bakes the bread. She works in the house and is seen hundreds of times bringing water from outside her home. Ali, who knows the generosity and majesty of Fatima, and more than loves her for multiple reasons, knows the difficulties that she has grown up with which have made her weak and is thereby sorrowed by all of the work and labor which she must perform.
One day in a tone of sympathy, he says, 'Fatima Zahra, you have placed yourself in so many difficulties that my heart breaks for you. God has made many workers of Moslems. Ask the Prophet to give one of them to you.'
Fatima seeks out her father.
'What is it my daughter?'
'I came to see how you are.'
She returns home and tells Ali she is too ashamed to ask anything of her father. Ali, who is struck with wonder, calls Fatima and they return together to the Prophet and he himself asks the question.
The Prophet answers without hesitation, 'No! By God I will not give you even a prisoner of war. The stomachs of the Companions are hungry and if I find nothing to give them, I have to exchange them and then feed the hungry Companions.'
Ali and Fatima thank him and, with empty hands, return home. It is recorded. The husband and wife return home to an empty house. Both remain silent thinking about what they had asked of the Prophet. The Prophet thought all day about the answer he had given his beloveds. Suddenly the door opens and the Prophet appears. It is not only the darkness of the night but also its coldness which causes Ali and Fatima to shiver. He sees that they had placed a thin cloth upon themselves. It is so short that when they pull it up over their heads, their feet are exposed and when they cover their feet, their heads are exposed.
Softly he commands them, 'Do not move from your places.'
Then he adds, 'Don't you want to know about something which is better than what you had asked of me?'
'Of course, oh Prophet of God.'
'It is something which Gabriel has brought for me which I now share with you. After every ritual prayer, say Allaho Akbar (God is Greatest) ten times. Say Alhamdulillah (Praise belongs to God) ten times and subhana'llah ten times. When you have quietly crawled into bed, say allahu Akbar thirty-five times, Alhamdulillah thirty-three times and subhana‑'l‑Ilah thirty three times.'
Once again, Fatima takes this as a lesson. Once again, with a gentle blow, she learns something which reaches the depths of her being: She is Fatima.
This is a lesson which she knows. Although she has learned it from childhood, such lessons should follow continuously. They require successive teachings and learning. This is not a lesson of knowledge but rather a lesson in becoming. 'Becoming Fatima' is not easy. She is a holy trust. It requires that she ascend many steps and fly many flights into higher worlds while being step by step and wing to wing with Ali. She must share with Ali in his sorrows and in his difficulties. She has the greatest responsibility in the history of freedom, jihad and humanity. She is the link in a chain which extends from Abraham to Muhammad, from Husayn to the 12th Imam, survivors to the end of history.
Fatima has the responsibility of being the link between prophecy and imamate. These are the values of Fatima herself. For her to 'be Fatima' obliges the Prophet to be strict with this special and exceptional companion. She should not have a single moment of peace in life for that might keep her from constant 'becoming'. Sorrow and loneliness are the water and earth of this girl who must grow under the light of revelation and bear the burdens of freedom and justice. She is the beginning of the `pure roots', where each branch which grows is appointed to take the 'fire of God' like Prometheus from heaven and give it to the people on earth. They must, like Atlas; carry the heavy globe of the earth upon their shoulders and 'bear it'.
This is why Fatima must always be learning, a learning which, like light and air and food; never ends for a tree, but rather, is lasting.
A Word instead of a servant! Only this wonderful bride and groom can understand that one can live by a word. They were happy, drank it and ate it and were filled by it.
These words, like the rain, must continue to fall and only these two thirsty creatures who have grown from among the highest form of humanity, are obliged to drink it and grow with it. The sudden sound of Muhammad in that dark night and the meaningful silence held the call of this rain water.
It is not without reason that Ali, a man engaged in religious struggle, full of effort and work, the man who prays not out of habit, and who is not just busy with moving his tongue and chin, twenty five years after this night, says, `May God be my witness that from the night. that I received this lesson from the Prophet, I have not forgotten it for a single night.'
In amazement, they ask, 'Even the night of Siffin?'
And Ali says again, emphasizing even more, 'Even the night of Siffin.'
Fatima also lives with this lesson until she dies. These prayers are registered in her name. It is these heavenly words which come to help her in her home instead of a servant. They are the wedding present he himself gives his daughter.
The Prophet is very strict with his beloved daughter, Fatima. He has learned this method from God. There is no Prophet in the whole of the Qur’an who is so punished and so criticized as Muhammad. Why? Because none of the other Prophets were so beloved in the eyes of God and none of them were so responsible to the people.
One day like any other day, the Prophet enters Fatima's home. His eye falls upon a patterned curtain. He frowns, says nothing and leaves. Fatima senses it. She knows what her sin is. She also knows what repentance is.
She immediately takes the curtain from the wall and sends it to her father so that he can sell it and give the money to the needy of Medina. Why so rough and strict?
Why so rough and strict? Zaynab, her sister, lives in luxury and splendor in Abul Aas's house. Her other sisters, Roqiyyeh and Umm Khulthum live in a wealthy and comfortable house. Fatima never heard that her sisters were reproached for their wealth and splendor. From the way of expression and the type of discipline of the Prophet upon her, it is clear that Fatima is something else, another kind of daughter, so the Prophet addresses her:
`Fatima, work now, because tomorrow 1 can do nothing for you.' You can see the distance between this Islam and the Islam which says, 'One tear for Husayn will put out the fires of hell,' or `Even if one's sins are greater than the foam of the oceans, the grains of sand and the stars in the sky, they will be forgiven, ' or `Friendship with Ali will turn all of one's sins into benefits on the Day of judgment.'
This means essentially that anyone who does not sin in this world or who sins little, is a fool, because they will have nothing which cannot be changed into benefits in the next world. More terrifying than this are the words which God is supposed to have said, `The friends of Ali are in heaven even if they disobey me. The enemies of Ali are in hell, even if they obey me!'
Two institutions do not exist ‑ that of God and that of Ali, two record books and two beliefs. The system is very strict. The Prophet cannot even support Fatima when she stands for God's judgment in the other world, in the presence of the Creator. He cannot protect her from deviation. Fatima must become Fatima herself. Being the daughter of the Prophet does not mean anything there. It may be useful here in order for her to become Fatima and if she does not become Fatima, she has lost.
Intercession means this, not cheating at an exam or owing the right people or being at the mercy of one's family or walking a tightrope or relating to family relationships in accounting for the truth and justice of God or changing the numbers in the record book according to human nature in this world and bringing in relatives from over the wall or through hidden doors to paradise. According to the Qur’an, the Prophet and Imams can only intercede with God's permission which is only given to those who are capable.
Fatima knows this. The Prophet has taught her. He has also taught others. It is this intercession which takes the books and responsibilities which religion brings into account. It is quite different from the intercession referred to in the Age of Ignorance, where they appealed to their idols to intercede for them. They committed murder and thousands of dirty deeds, then offered a cow or a camel to Laat, Eeza or their other large and small idols and through cries of regret or pleas of sympathy, sought intercession from it.
I not only accept the intercession of the Prophet but also that of the Imams, Fatima and even the intercession of the Companions and great martyrs. What are we saying? I also believe that visiting the grave of Imam Husayn removes sins and it is such that it influences the spirit and thoughts of a human being who thinks about these great examples of human beings and their faith brings about a revolutionary change in them.
It transforms people. It kills weaknesses, fears, tremors, idol worshipping, worshipping of one's character and the worshipping of one's own character. From this spring comes the inspiration for human wisdom, beliefs and virtues. It inspires institutions to the spirit of jihad, permanence, sincerity and the blossoming of spiritual meanings. It brings about a new set of values. It strengthens human values. It does away with sicknesses of the will and habits and kills sinful and bad attitudes which are in the depths of one's conscience. It builds a great person and it is natural and logical that the past errors belong to the past and no longer exist and will never again be.
Horr, the great hero or Karbala, through the intercession of Husayn, came out of the hell of slavery and was saved from being a sinner and murderer and with just a few steps he reached the highest peak of liberty, truth and humanity.
And Fatima, through the intercession of Muhammad became Fatima. In Islam, intercession is the means of reaching 'the most worthy of salvations' not a means of 'saving the unworthy'. It is the individual who must receive the intercession of an intercessor and through this means change his or her fate, in other words, change their character and behavior so that they become worthy of changing their destiny. Yes, an individual takes that from an intercessor. But an intercessor does not give that to an individual. No polluted and valueless man can pass the exam of the Day of Judgment unless he has learned in this world how to pass through to that world by using the techniques of life, struggle, work and service.
An intercessor is one of these teachers, not a supporter of the illegal. Imam Husayn acts as an intercessor for people who love him, have faith in him and who remember him and his story, recall his having been a martyred warrior and nourish him through the recollection. He guides those who are wandering in the ways of ignorance.
'Fatima, work today because tomorrow I can do nothing for you.' Fatima was like Muhammad. No exceptions are made for her in God's system of justice and‑ the laws of Islam. She is also responsible in her position. She must answer for every step that she takes. One day a Quraishi woman, who had become a Moslem, stole something. The Prophet hears of this. `Her fingers must be cut‑off,' he said. Many people's hearts bled for her. The large families of the Quraish, who were the wealthiest of the Arab tribes, counted this as an insult, the stain of which would remain with their tribe. They went forward to seek intercession.
They asked Fatima to intercede with God for this woman. She did not accept. They went to Usamah ibn Zeid. Usamah was the son of Zeid who was the step‑son of the Prophet. The Prophet loved Zeid and his son, Usamah, very much. His special kindness towards the young Usamah is famous in history. Usamah, with all of his personal capital, kindness, and special closeness which he had to the Prophet, his reputation for loyalty and sacrifice and that of his father who had been Khadijah's servant and the dear one of the Prophet, had come from, the Quraish to ask that the sin of this poor woman be over‑looked. He asked the Prophet to forgive her.
The Prophet answered in no uncertain terms, `Do not speak to me, Usamah. Whenever the law is in my hands, there is no way of escape. Even if she were the daughter of the Prophet, Fatima, her fingers would be cut‑off.'
Why did he choose the closest among all of his beloveds, the daughter of Muhammad? And why the name Fatima? The answer to this question is clear. When he spoke of his calling, he chose his youngest daughter, Fatima from among all of his close family. It was only to her that he spoke of Islam.
With his clear announcement, Fatima was to become one of the four highest images of women in the history of humanity: Mary, Assiyeh, Khadijah and finally, Fatima. Why the last? Because she is the last complete link in the chain of evolution, among all of the creatures, for the whole duration of time and for all of the cycles of history, the last, and among the saints, the last, Fatima, an ideal image of the Day of Judgment.
The value of Mary ties with Jesus Christ whom she delivered and nourished. The value of Assiyeh, the wife of Pharaoh, lies with Moses, whom she nourished and befriended. The value of Khadijah lies with Muhammad whom she befriended and with Fatima whom she gave birth to and nourished.
And the value of Fatima? What can I say? To whom does her value belong? To Khadijah? To Muhammad? To Ali? To Husayn? To Zaynab?