Migration of Lady Fatima Al-Ma’sumah to Qum

Farzaneh Nikoo-Boreshrad1
Originally Published in The Shi’a Women Quarterly.


After the demise of the Prophet, the Imams and their followers, the Shi‘as were continuously oppressed by the usurpers of the government. In this political climate, the Shi’as—under the Imams’ overt and covert guidance—objected to the usurping regimes through either a) uprising and martyrdom or b) migration. In these migrations, women along with men were remarkably present in the political and social arenas, as they played a crucial role in conveying the Shi’a message and transferring their money to the Imams.

Lady Ma’sumah was among the women who—following the forced migration of Imam al-Ridha in the time of al-Ma’mun’s rule– migrated from Medina to Iran on the pretext of visiting Imam al-Ridha. In this article, after reference to general reasons for her migration, fourteen reasons for her migration to Qum— the centre of Shi’ism—are mentioned. Qum is currently the largest centre for dissemination and propagation of Shi’ism in the world owing to this blessed migration.


Lady Fatima al-Ma‘sumah was at the peak of existential perfection and at the height of the manifestation of God’s beauty. Her spiritual and divine character was a perfect example for those who hope in the mercy of God on the Day of Judgement, and a clear role model for those who seek to reach spiritual excellence, and conscious growth. She struggled tirelessly in the way of God and knew her time requirements, migrating in the way of God to support wilayah and raising people’s awareness of the Ahlul Bayt’s teachings. She began her historic migration from Medina to disseminate the hadiths of her revered grandfathers and disclose the Abbasid oppression until she, not having seen her brother, passed away in Qum, making her holy shrine a shelter for all Shi’as and an active centre for the dissemination of Shi’a culture.2

This article addresses the political and social conditions of the time of Imam al-Ridha and the reasons for Lady Ma’sumah’s migration from Medina to Qum-Iran. It examines the Shi’as’ conditions and migration as a method of protest to the status quo (the usurping Abbasid rule) and to investigate the role of Lady Ma’sumah as a migrant and its underlying causes.


One way the Shi’a protested to the unjust governments was through migration. Due to the increased persecution of the Shi’as, especially the Ahlul Bayt and their offspring, negative publicity against the Ahlul Bayt, as well as arrest, torture, exile and imprisonment of lovers of the Ahlul Bayt,3 and the plunder of wealthy Shi’as’ property, they decided to migrate from their homeland.

In the Arabic language and literature, hijrah and muhajirah, both mean migration or leaving one’s homeland. According to Majma’ al-Bahrayn, “Whoever leaves his hometown to seek knowledge, perform hajj, or to live in a city where he obeys God but is separated from worldly issues, has migrated to God and His Messenger.”4 Thus, as for the migrant, it was reported, “The migrant is somebody who abandons whatever God has made haram for him, abandons falsehood, and becomes truth-seeking. Whoever eagerly embraces Islam is called the migrant.”5

In Islam, migration is traced back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad and Muslims’ migration to Abyssinia.6 It continued in the time of the Imams as an effective strategy to save the Shi’as’ lives and spread Shi’ism. Also, the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina paved the way for the establishment of an Islamic government and the spread of Islam.

During the Imamate of twelve Shi’a Imams, considering the rule of usurpers and their crackdown on Shi’ites and Imams’ offspring, the Shi’a resorted to migration as an effective means of performing their duties. They usually migrated to secure places or remote impassable mountainous areas to be immune from the government, to teach Islam, and to highlight the unjust practices of the government through migration to the intended areas, thus fulfilling their socio-political duty.7

The Imams approved of migration, especially under the Abbasid rule, which aimed to put the Shi‘as under pressure and persecute them, and which spread suppression and hypocrisy in society.8 According to Imam al-Ridha, “The one who migrates to another land for the sake of his religion, although as short a distance as one foot, will enter Heaven and accompany Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Abraham.”9

The Alawid migration to Iran

The government continuously persecuted the Alawids and Sadat; if they protested to maltreatment, they were prosecuted on the slightest pretext and suspicion. To escape from the adverse political and social situations, to secure their lives, property and honour, and to fulfil their duties, the Shi‘as migrated. Iran was always a safe land to Sadat.

Since the first century A.H., the Shi‘as migrated to Iran,10 and their migration accelerated in its second half. After migration to Iran, a large number of Alawids dwelled in different cities and areas such as Qum, Rey, Isfahan, Gorgan,11 Aweh, Kashan and Sabzewar12 and settled there next to other Arab tribes. The Shi’as propagated the true Shi’ism13 there, and this has always been welcomed by Iranians.

The impact of migration

The Alawids’ migration to Iran had crucial politico-social effects, even in terms of urban development and unity of people in that region. Due to their good conduct, positive effects on public opinions, and Alawid character, the Alawids very soon won the people’s support. Winning the people’s trust, they gradually became their leaders.14 They also played a key role in regional development through taking part in socio-political events, thus exercising their influence. For example, Yahya ibn Abdullah, a companion of Husayn ibn Ali (a martyr in the Fakh event) migrated to Iran and settled in Deilam after the defeat of the Fakh uprising and martyrdom of his companions.15 With his presence there, “they were convinced that he was entitled to leadership, so they paid allegiance to him. People from different cities gathered around him and gradually became reputable.”16

The migration of other Alawids to various parts of Iran, including Rey, Kashan, Qum, Gorgan and Tabarestan indicated their strong and influential presence in the regions, active in the politico-social and urban development.

The migration of the Ash’arites to Qum in 94 A.H. and their endeavor to develop it until the time Lady Ma’sumah entered it revealed their positive impact.17

Migration of women

With the advent of Islam, there appeared a new attitude towards humiliated women that was unprecedented. Through such a change of attitude towards women, they indeed became active in such arenas, having a sense of identity and independence. In the time of Prophet Muhammad, women were active, passionate and serious participants in all fields. Women’s migration to Abyssinia and Medina, allegiance to the Prophet, and war indicate events documented in the history of the early Islam. They also reflect Islam’s profound attitude towards women and her abilities.

In the Qur’an, like men, women are required, if possible, to migrate from the land of disbelief to the land of justice to preserve their faith and safeguard their beliefs.18 In migration to Abyssinia19 and Medina,20 women accompanied men and knowingly chose to migrate due to their sincere love for Islam and the Prophet. Despite the domination of Jahili thoughts in society, these migrations were approved of and emphasised in the Qur’an as well as the Prophet’s sayings and actions.21

Under the rule of the Umayyads and the Abbasids, the Sadats and companions of the Ahlul Bayt accused of defending wilayah and Imamate and being a Shi’a—were always persecuted by government agents.22 According to historians, 30,000 women were imprisoned during the rule of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who was the most bloodthirsty ruler.23

However, although the government put them under pressure and persecuted them, women not only were not intimidated but also encouraged their husbands to defend Ahlul Bayt, performing their duties best when necessary.

Political pressure on – and economic sanctions against – the Shi‘as included both women and men. At times the government inflicted such severe poverty and deprivation that under the rule of Mutawakkil, the “Alawid women sometimes did not have enough veils to recite their prayers and so shared a cover, performing their prayers in turn.”24 Under such circumstances, along with men, the women helped the Alawids in their own way. They played an important role in conveying the message of Shi‘ism. This especially increased in the era of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, who through some organisations25 welcomed women’s participation and assigned important roles to women in these secret organisations26 because women easily kept close contacts without raising the governmental suspicion. They pretended to visit their relatives, and these relations contributed to transmitting Shi‘ism messages, information, and properties.

Perhaps that is why Ma’mun attempted to penetrate into the Imams’ houses and spied on them through giving his daughters’ hands in marriage to Imam al-Ridha27 and Imam al-Jawad.28 His daughters informed him of who entered the Imams’ houses.

Political activities of Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s daughters

According to the historical accounts, Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s daughters were mostly modest, virtuous and pious jurists, Islamic scholars and hadith narrators.29 They disseminated Islamic sciences and the Prophet’s hadiths among women of Medina. A wife of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, Umm-e Ahmad, was fully trusted by him. When travelling to Iraq, Imam al-Kadhim entrusted all the trusts, informed her of his martyrdom, introduced the next Imam to him, and advised her to give all the trusts to Imam al-Ridha after his martyrdom. After the martyrdom of the 7th Imam, Umm-e Ahmad gave all deposits to the rightful Imam and introduced him to the reliable people, playing a crucial role well.30

Under the harsh and oppressive Abbasid rule, Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s daughters—each according to her abilities and duties— played important roles, delineating imamate and wilayah, and raising women’s awareness. It is noteworthy that all of them were religious scholars who endeavored to narrate reliable and documented hadiths on the virtues of Imam Ali and Ashura to perpetuate Wilayah, and to introduce the Imam of their time.31

Among Imam Kadhim’s daughters, Lady Fatimah al-Ma’sumah,32 like her pure forefathers and following in Lady Zainab’s footsteps, stood against threats from the tyrannical government and its pressures on the Ahlul Bayt. In addition to her narrations33 on Ghadir Khumm34 and wilayah and Imamate,35 she took a socio-political measure, accompanying her brothers in struggle against the government and choosing to migrate in protest to it and the status quo.

Her migration

One year after Imam al-Ridha had painfully36 said goodbye to his household and was forced to leave Medina to Marw,37 Lady Ma’sumah also left Medina along with some of her brothers on the pretext of visiting her brother, Imam al-Ridha. According to authentic hadiths (mutawatir), she became ill on her way to Marw and passed away after reaching Qum.38

Reasons for her migration

As for the reasons for Lady Ma’sumah’s migration to Iran, it can be said the critical socio-political conditions in the Abbasid era lay behind her migration. Under such circumstances, Lady Ma’sumah decided to migrate from Medina to Iran. The following possibilities can be taken into account:

1. According to historical accounts, Lady Ma’sumah was the sister of Imam al-Ridha, both born to the same mother.39 Her love for Imam al-Ridha was so profound that—in addition to other aspects—from an emotional perspective, she could never bear being parted from her brother. For this reason, she set out for Marw to visit him.

2. Known as ‘Fatimah al-Kubra’, she was virtuous and highly regarded in the Prophet’s household, and this indicates that she was so influential a spiritual leader in her family that according to historical accounts, Lady Ma’sumah was the most virtuous40 in terms of knowledge, piety and modesty.41 Due to her influence on her family members, she chose to migrate to show her protest to the government’s measures and to disclose illegitimacy of the rulers. When the Shi‘ites in Medina and other cities heard the news of her journey, they wondered why she had left her hometown and family members.

3. Because of her wisdom and intelligence, she did not lose sight of Imam al-Ridha’s political measures and the way he had said farewell to his family. His departure from Medina indicated a journey with no return, ending in his martyrdom. This triggered a negative attitude to the government and prepared Ahlul Bayt to hear news of his martyrdom. Understanding the situation, Lady Ma’sumah discovered that she would never visit Imam al-Ridha. Therefore, eager to see her Imam and brother, she set out for Khurasan so that she would follow in his footstep.42

4. When Lady Ma’sumah realised that her step brothers intended to visit Imam al-Ridha, she decided to accompany them to Khurasan. These five men were born either to Imam al-Ridha’s mother or to other wives of Imam Musa al-Kadhim.43

5. According to some historians, one year after Imam al-Ridha’s migration, she decided to visit him, leaving Medina for Marw. “Her five brothers, Fadl, Ja’far, Hadi, Qasim, and Zaid as well as some of her nephews and some handmaidens44 accompanied her. According to this hypothesis, the mass migration of family members and the Imams’ offspring could reveal the significance of this migration to the people of Medina, that is, they wondered why the Ahlul Bayt migrated collectively.

6. It is said that when in Marw, Imam al-Ridha wrote a letter to Lady Ma’sumah and handed it to a reliable servant of his to be delivered to her in Medina. After receiving that letter, she prepared to migrate from Medina.4645 The reason why Imam al-Ridha wrote that letter to Lady Ma’sumah, and its content that led her to migrate along with her brothers, are not clear-cut issues in historical accounts. They are cited in one book without any reference. However, this hypothesis can be considered a possible reason.

7. Understanding the political situation and learning from the past measures of the government in the time of her holy father, Lady Ma’sumah predicted that she would have a hard time in Medina after Imam al-Ridha’s martyrdom. She could remember the government’s violating the Ahlul Bayt’s sanctity46 and did not forget its plundering their properties and its officials’ brutality. She could guess that after martyrdom of Imam al-Ridha—her supporter—the Ahlul Bayt would be persecuted by the regime. Hence, before receiving the news of her brother’s martyrdom, she had a plausible excuse to leave Medina. In order to perform her duty, she took the opportunity to save the Ahlul Bayt’s lives, taking great pains to migrate.

8. In line with the usual practice of the Alawids, Lady Ma’sumah chose to migrate in order to escape the tyranny of government, to disseminate and propagate Islam, to disclose the Abbasid’s hypocrisy in religious issues, to reveal the oppression towards the Ahlul Bayt, and to raise public awareness of Imamate and Wilayah. Like Imam al-Ridha, who raised the public awareness of the Ahlul Bayt and their position, as well as the role of Imam in the Islamic society through his awakening speech in his journey from Medina to Marw, Lady Ma’sumah along with her brothers took the opportunity to gain freedom and delineate religious issues.

Despite the difficult journey and separation from her homeland and friends, she started her migration. According to historical accounts, both during her migration and after Imam al-Ridha’s martyrdom, her brothers and nephews were present in the different parts of the vast Muslim world including Fars, Egypt, Rey, Qum, and Khurasan. Protesting to the usurping regime, they attracted people to themselves and embarked on uprisings until each was martyred somewhere by the Abbasid government.

9. The absence of Imam al-Ridha in Medina was quite tangible because he—as the Imam—had supported the followers of Ahlul Bayt and given them hope, but then in another country he was waiting for his martyrdom alone in the court of the Abbasid usurpers. In his absence, Medina had a petrifying, gloomy, and silent atmosphere. Without any guardian in Medina, the Ahlul Bayt were waiting for news of his martyrdom in Khurasan. Lady Ma’sumah could not tolerate this painful waiting. This atmosphere paved the way for migration of Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s offspring so that under a reasonable and justifiable pretext of visiting their brother, they could set out for a safe land and live among the lovers of Ahlul Bayt—despite the difficult journey and separation from their family. They aimed to spread the dynamic concept of Imamate in a Muslim land through the congenial atmosphere created by the lovers of Ahlul Bayt there.

10. When sure about Imam al-Ridha’s martyrdom in the future in Khurasan and the possibility of a crackdown by the government and even its attempt to kill Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s offspring, the Ahlul Bayt began their migration. Before any conflict and prevention of their leaving Medina, Lady Ma’sumah and her brothers—in timely anticipation of the future—left Medina for Iran to raise public awareness. They intended to live among people who would help them to rise against the Abbasid government and who were known for their love for Ahlul Bayt.

The fact that graves of many Imams’ offspring are located in Iran proves this hypothesis, especially given the fact that most of them were Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s offspring. His sons, namely Imam al-Ridha’s brothers, migrated to Iran to raise ignorant people’s awareness and to pave the way for Shi’a uprisings in Iran. On their way to Iran, this mass migration raised the question as to why the Prophet’s household and descendants chose to leave their ancestral land. In the course of time, it was proved that this migration occurred on time because later many brothers of Imam al-Ridha and the Prophet’s descendants who stayed in Arabia were martyred by the Abbasid regime.47

11. The Abbasid government always feared the Ahlul Bayt and the Alawids in the Muslim lands. With increased revolts and uprisings, they became sensitive to the Ahlul Bayt, always employing spies and informants to watch their actions and behaviour. The Abbasid regime took every opportunity to persecute the Shi‘ites on false pretexts. Lady Ma’sumah predicted that after the martyrdom of Imam al-Ridha, the government would not permit them to leave Medina and keep in touch with the Shi‘ites. Approaching the time of Imam al-Ridha’s martyrdom, she prepared the Ahlul Bayt to migrate to Iran. To the Abbasid government, this was a convincing reason, and government agents could not prevent them from leaving Medina. However, the government was still suspicious about their departure. According to some reports, on their way to Iran, government agents attacked the caravan of the Ahlul Bayt and left their journey unfinished through poisoning or killing them in battles. According to a historian:

Haroon ibn Musa, along with 22 Alawids, was heading for Khurasan. The head of this caravan was Imam al-Ridha’s sister, Lady Ma’sumah. Ma’mun ordered his security forces to attack the caravan and injure and disperse them. Haroon was also wounded and then killed by government. They even poisoned Lady Ma’sumah in Saweh, and she was martyred some days later in Qum.48

Also, some historians acknowledged that the Saweh governor, who was an implacable enemy of the Ahlul Bayt, had his men attack and martyr all her companions. Deeply sorrowful, Lady Ma’sumah became ill and passed some days later in Qum.”49

12. Due to her mission and duty, and her knowledge of the future, Lady Ma’sumah started her migration. Hakimi said, “That great lady was inspired by God and far-sighted. She came to Qum because of the future of Qum and its prospective centrality—due to her grave located in it.”50 In numerous hadiths and narrations before her birth, the Imams had given the news of a pure land as “the sanctuary for Prophet’s Muhammad’s household”, where a lady from among the Ahlul Bayt [with her name mentioned] would pass away,51 and her burial place would be the land where lovers of the Ahlul Bayt and the Shi‘as would gather and from where Islamic teachings would be disseminated. Knowing and prepared for this Divine providence, Lady Ma’sumah started her migration.52

In authentic (mutawatir) hadiths, it is reported that when Lady Ma’sumah got seriously sick in Saweh, she asked about Qum. Seventeen days after she had reached Qum, she passed away.53

13. Since the time of Imam al-Sadiq, integrated Alawid centres have been formed in Qum, Rey, Khurasan and Mazandaran. The presence of the Imams’ offspring and Sadats among the Shi’as increasingly strengthened and integrated these centres, and they were considered a potential source for uprising and a threat to the rule of Abbasids. Hence, the Abbasid rulers diligently monitored them and attempted to prevent anything that would lead to their solidarity and unity. On the other hand, the Alawids and the Ahlul Bayt knew about such centres, and when migrating, they regarded them as the most secure bases where people truly loved the Ahlul Bayt. Accordingly, informed of such places, Lady Ma’sumah migrated to Iran to be delivered from the Abbasid rule and to propagate and reinforce Shi‘ism.

Among the factors in her migration, the following can be taken into account: joining Imam al-Ridha and visiting her beloved brother, reinforcing Shi‘ite bases, and establishing a strong Shi’a organisation. Due to its zero-tolerance policy for Alawids, thus dispersing them, the Abbasid government was always ready to attack and eradicate the Shi‘as. After Lady Ma’sumah and her brothers had left Medina for Iran, government agents secretly kept the Ahlul Bayt’s caravan under surveillance to prevent their solidarity and thus any threat to the government.

14. The fact that Lady Ma’sumah did not get married is also worthy of note. It has been suggested: “Under the rule of Haroon al-Rashid (the Abbasid caliph) when there was suppression of dissenters, her father was imprisoned for a long time, and Alawids and Imams’ offspring were limited overwhelmingly and lived in difficult social conditions, Lady Ma’sumah could not marry.”54 However, it is very likely that the main reason for not marrying was that there was no one who could match her in her high understanding, piety and devotion to God. If Imam Ali were not there, Lady Fatimah also did not have any match (kufw) to marry. In his will, Imam Musa al-Kadhim gave Imam al-Ridha the authority to decide about his properties, manage the Ahlul Bayt, and give permission for marriage of his sisters and nieces.55 In his eloquent and exact will, Imam Musa al-Kadhim gave careful attention to the issue of Imamate and Wilayah since the Imams can be the best guide by virtue of their profound insight and knowledge of their time as well as their awareness of the Abbasid’s plots and deceits.

In the time of Umayyads and Abbasids sometimes there were political and forced marriages between Ahlul Bayt and government, and this could be dangerous, affecting Prophet’s household negatively. For this reason, Imam Musa al-Kadhim gave the authority to Imam al-Ridha to manage this issue after him so he—through his ijtihad, awareness and superior religious and political knowledge—could make sure that the Ahlul Bayt would not become a puppet for the government.

The prediction by – and discernment of – Imam Musa al-Kadhim were very effective, as later the Abbasid government used marriage as means of penetrating into Imam al-Ridha’s family and forced the him and Imam Jawad to marry their daughters.

According to the historical accounts, Lady Ma’sumah did not marry perhaps because there was nobody matching her in terms of virtues. “As is reported, after Lady Zahra and Lady Zainab, it was Lady Ma’sumah who was the most virtuous lady in the Prophet’s Ahlul Bayt.”56

The second possible reason is that considering her future and probable dangers in her journey and her possible love for – and attachment to – her prospective family [as a result of marriage] which was an obstacle to the fulfilment of her duties, she did not marry so that she could start the migration and leave her homeland with peace of mind, establish a safe and secure base for the lovers of the Ahlul Bayt and migrants oppressed by the government, and create a centre for dissemination of Islamic sciences and teachings through her demise in a place far from her homeland.


Throughout history, the Ahlul Bayt have always been exposed to aggression and harassment by the usurpers of Caliphate. Since the inception of Caliphate, these usurpers formed a dishonest foundation to eradicate Imamate through deception, hypocrisy and religious pretension. However, the true Shi‘as gathered around Imams to show that in the opposition between the truth and falsehood, they could resort to Imamate and the Imams’ guidance to save the society from disbelief and hypocrisy, and establish the rule of justice under the leadership of the true heirs of Imamate and caliphate.

The wealthy, tyrannical, and pretentious rulers who could not tolerate the Ahlul Bayt and the Shi’as persecuted believers with the aim of eradicating them. Through economic sanctions, political pressures, cultural invasions and psychological propaganda, they attempted to deceive people and preserve their ephemeral worldly government. However, they were not aware of the fact that God had promised that truth would triumph over the falsehood, and had also willed that the deprived would be inheritors of the earth:

“And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors,” (Qasas, 28:4).

In the economic and political life of Imam al-Ridha and his beloved sister, Lady Ma’sumah, some events caused Imam al-Ridha to be confined to the corrupt Abbasid court on the pretext of his becoming successor to Caliphate by Ma’mun, and—like his pure ancestors—he was finally poisoned and martyred due to his old enemy’s grudge. After the migration of her Imam, Lady Ma’sumah had also left her homeland and had migrated from Medina to Iran until she got sick, and passed away and was buried in Qum.

Various reasons which can be examined from different perspectives have been given for Lady Ma’sumah’s migration. However, on the whole, it can be concluded from the above discussion that Lady Ma’sumah’s love for Imam al-Ridha went beyond the blood relations. This love can be traced back to the seeking and following the truth by the Ahlul Bayt, who always looked for the Divine path, followed their Imams, and treaded the path of truth through resorting to Imamate, the Qur’an and the Prophet’s progeny.

In this path, they never feared hardships, adversity and government persecution and never succumbed to their enemy despite being oppressed. Rather, they stood strongly and firmly against the oppressors and fulfilled their duties, welcoming martyrdom, migration, imprisonment, and struggle with open arms.

In the struggle against the ruling oppression and disbelief, gender does not make any difference; both females and males act in accordance with their missions. Considering the political and social situations existing in her society, Lady Ma’sumah chose to migrate along with her brothers. She had innocently welcomed the hardships in this path until she passed away and was buried by her Imam.57

Hence, due to her efforts to fulfil her duties and by virtue of her excellent personality and manners, she is known as “Ma’sumah”,58 (meaning the Infallible Woman),59 “the female intercessor with God on the Day of Judgement,”60 and “Ale Taha Hadith narrator”.61

Lady Ma’sumah’s migration to Qum had various impacts. Her presence in Qum led the Alawids and Sadat migrants and lovers of the Ahlul Bayt to flock to this city from all over the world. This gradually resulted in the concentration of resources in it and its development. Among the other fruits of her migration to Qum are the establishment of a base of Shi’a teachings and Islamic seminaries there and dissemination of Ja’fari Jurisprudence from Qum.

Qum, with its long history, played a significant role in propagating Shi’sim in the Islamic world, training Shi’a political, jurisprudential and scientific elites, brave Shi’a scholars who struggled in the way of God, and the lovers of Ahlul Bayt. Thanks to the blessed presence of the 8th Imam, Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha, in Mashhad and Lady Ma’sumah in Qum, and due to their proximity to God and their great souls, Iranians have always been showered with divine blessings and mercy.

Let us finish this paper with a hadith from Imam al-Ridha: “Whoever visits her holy shrine while knowing her right [her high spiritual rank] will enter Heaven.”62

  • 1. In charge of education and research in Tehran Islamic Propagation Organisation.
  • 2. From “Migration of Karimah” by the author of this article, Qum, Wilayah Fajr, 1381 solar.
  • 3. Muhammad ibn Babe-Wayh (Sheikh Saduq), 'Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, translated by H.R. Mustafiz and Ali Akbar Ghaffari, Tehran, Saduq, 1373 solar, vol. 2, pp. 233-234.
  • 4. Ali Akbar Mahdipour, Karimah of Ahlul-Bayt, Qum, Haziq publications, 1374 solar, p. 91.
  • 5. Ibid., P. 92.
  • 6. Abd-ul-Hamid Hiba-tul-llah ibn Abi al-Hadid, Commentary on Nahj-ul-Balaghah, researched
    by Muhammad A. Ibrahim, Qum, Ismailian Publications, vol. 4, p. 74; Muhammad ibn Sa’ad,
    Tabaghat Al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 207.
  • 7. M.K. Khajawiyan, ibid, p 110.
  • 8. Abul-Faraj Isfahani, Maqatil-al-Talibin, translated by Sayyid Hashim Rasuli Mahallati, Tehran,
    1349 solar, p. 477.
  • 9. Fadl ibn Hassan Tabarsi, Majma’ul-Bayan, vol. 3, Tehran, Islamiyyah Publications, 1374 solar, p. 100.
  • 10. Rasul Ja’farian, From the Rise of Tahiriyan to the Decline of Kharazmshahian, Tehran, the
    Cultural Institute of Contemporary Knowledge and Thought, 1378 solar, p. 97.
  • 11. ibid.
  • 12. M.K. Khajawiyan, ibid, p. 11; Abul-Fida, Taqwim Al-Bildan, translated by A. Ayati, Tehran,
    1349 solar, p. 487.
  • 13. See also Baha’u-Din Muhammad ibn Hassan ibn Esfandiar, Tabaristan History, corrected by
    Abbas Iqbal, Tehran, Iqbal Publications, 1366 solar, vol. 2, quoted from Rasul Ja’farian, ibid, p.
  • 14. Rasul Ja’farian, ibid, pp.98-99.
  • 15. Abul-Faraj Isfahani, ibid, p 430.
  • 16. Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Tabataba (Ibn-ul-Taqtaqy), Fakhri History, translated by Muhammad
    Wahid Gulpaygani, Tehran, the Centre for Translation and Publication of Books, 1350 solar, p.
  • 17. Ali Akbar Mahdipour, ibid., p. 17; Ahmad Banpour, Life and Extraordinary Acts of Lady
    Ma’sumeh, Alef Publications, 1374 solar, p. 23.
  • 18. al-Ahzab: 20; al-Anfal: 72; Nisa: 97 & 98, al-Mumtahina: 8; Az-Zumar: 10; Ale-Imran: 195; al-Ankabout: 56.
  • 19. Abd-ul-Hamid Hiba-tul-llah ibn Abi al-Hadid, Commentary on Nahj-ul-Balaghah, vol. 4, p. 74 (Eighty-three men and eighteen women migrated to Abyssinia).
  • 20. Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, corrected by Ali Akbar Ghaffari, vol. 1, Tehran, Maktabah AlSaduq, 1381 A.H., p. 377; Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 19, Tehran, Darul-Kutub al-Islamiyah, 1366 solar, p. 350.
  • 21. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, ibid., vol. 40, p. 160.
  • 22. The issue of women’s presence and their defence of Wilayah and Imamate dates back to the time of Prophet Muhammad. After his demise, this defence soared through Lady Zahra’s measures and continued in the Imams’ time. However, this article mostly deals with the era of Imam Ridha and the reasons’ for Lady Ma’sumah’s migration. Accordingly, Shi’a women’s measures are also addressed (See Zabihullah Mahallati, Rayahin a-Shari’ah, the 5th ed., Tehran, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Islamiyah, 1368 solar, vol. 4, p. 389; Abul-Faraj Isfahani, ibid., p 599; Sheikh Abbas Qummi, Safinah al-Bihar, Tehran, Sinayi Publications, 1344 solar, vol. 2, p. 446).
  • 23. Ali ibn Hussain al-Mas’oudi, Murawij-a-Dhahab, Beirut, Dar-ul-Andalusia, 1965 A.D., vol. 3,
    p. 166.
  • 24. Abul-Faraj Isfahani, ibid., p. 599.
  • 25. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, ibid., volume 48, p. 232, p. 252, and p. 253.
  • 26. Zabihullah Mahallati, ibid., vol. 3, p. 358; S. J. Ale Bahr-ul-Olum, Toḥfat-ul-Amm Fi Sharh
    Khutbat-ul-Ma’alam, Najaf, 1324 A.H., vol. 2, p. 78.
  • 27. Ali ibn Hussain al-Masoudi, ibid., vol. 4, p. 52; Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Dala’il-ul-
    A’immah, Beirut, a-Dirasat al-Islamiyyah , 1413 A.H., p. 208 & 209.
  • 28. ibid.
  • 29. Hassan Jalali Azizian, The Fourteen Infallibles’ Offspring, Tehran, Mihraban Publications,
    1378 solar, p. 162.
  • 30. Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Ya’qubi Kulayni, ibid., vol. 1, pp. 316-317; Zabihullah Mahallati, ibid, vol. 3, p. 358.
  • 31. Z. Ayatollahi, Woman, Religion, & Politics, Tehran, Social and Cultural Council of Women,
    1380 solar, p. 140.
  • 32. Fatimah al-Ma’sumah is Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s daughter, who was born in Medina in Dhul-
    Qa’dah 1st 173 A.H. Her mother’s name was Najmah. She entered Qum on Rabi’-ul-Awwal 23rd 201 A.H. when she was 28 years old. Seventeen days later, she passed away there from disease (Mirza Hussain Noori, Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 1407 A.H., vol. 8, p. 257; Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, ibid., p. 309; Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Ya’qubi Kolaini, ibid., vol. 1, p. 476).
  • 33. Muhammad Sharif Radi, Athar al-Hujjah, Qum, Dar al-Kitab, 1332, p. 8 and 9.
  • 34. Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Jazari, Asna al-Matalib, vol. 8, Tehran, 1402
    A.H., p. 196; Muhammad Hadi Amini, Fatima daughter of Imam Musa al-Kadim, Qum, 1363
    solar, p. 62.
  • 35. Muhammed ibn Babewayh (Sheikh Saduq), Amali, introduction and translation by M.B.
    Kamare’i, Tehran, Islamiyyah Publications, 1362 solar, p. 82.
  • 36. Muhammad ibn Nu’man Mufid (Sheikh Mufid), al-Irshad, p. 310; Ali bin Isa al-Arbely, Kashf-ul-Ghummah fi Ma’rifah al-A’immah, Tabriz, Maktabah Bani Hashemi, 1381 A.H., vol. 3, p. 65, 66 and 87; Sheikh Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, the 2nd ed., p. 140; Abul-Faraj Isfahani, ibid., p 562 and 563.
  • 37. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, ibid., vol. 49, p. 117; M Pishwa’i, The Conduct of the Religious
    Leaders, the 10th ed., Qum, Imam Sadiq Institute, 1379 solar, p. 477.
  • 38. Mohammadreza Hakimi, Lady Ma’sumah and the city of Qom, the 2nd ed., Qum, Islamic Propagation Office, 1369 solar, p. 40; Abul-Faraj Isfahani, ibid., p 501; Ahmad ibn Ya’qub (Ibn Wadih), ibid., vol. 2, p. 332; Sheikh Abbas Qummi, ibid., vol. 2, p. 376.
  • 39. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, ibid., p. 309; Hassan Jalali Azizian, ibid., p 161.
  • 40. Sheikh Abbas Qummi, Muntahal-Amal, corrected by Ali Muhadithzadeh, Qum, Dawari Publications, 1370 solar, vol. 2, p. 273.
  • 41. Among the daughters of Imam Musa Kadhim, only Fatimah al-Kubra was known as "Ma’sumah" which means infallible (i.e., away from the lesser and greater sins). After her demise, Imam Ridha gave her this epithet (Zabihullah Mahallati, ibid., vol. 5, p. 35).
  • 42. Ahmad Banpour, ibid., p. 34.
  • 43. Mirza Muhammad Malik-ul-Kuttab Shirazi, Riyadh-ul-Ansab, p. 160.
  • 44. Ali Akbar Mahdipour, ibid., p 172.
  • 45. Ali Akbar Mahdipour, ibid., p. 493, quoted from Dakhil al-Sayyid Hassan, Man la Yahduhul-
    Khatib, Beirut, 1412 A.H., p. 461.
  • 46. When the cursed and wretched Jalludi went to Imam Ridha’s house to plunder their jewelry and property, Ahl-ul-Bayt were not immune from transgression and violation of their sanctity and privacy even though the 8th Imam was present in Medina, so something worse could have happened in his absence (Sheikh Saduq, 'Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, vol. 2, p. 161).
  • 47. The uprising of Imam Musa Kadhim’s son, Ibrahim, who accused Ma’mun of killing his brother and who was finally poisoned by Ma’mun (Ibn al-Khaldoon, Introduction, corrected by M. Parwin Gonabadi, vol. 3, Tarhan, 1345 solar, p. 115). The uprising of Zayd ibn Musa against the Egyptian government; he was poisoned by Ma'mun (Mushakilah a-Nas li Zamanihim, p. 29). Ahmad ibn Musa’s uprising along with three thousand soldiers and according to some narrations, twelve thousand ones in Baghdad. He finally came to Shiraz, where he, along with his brother, Muhammad ‘Abid, and his companions was martyred by Qaltagh Khan (a government agent) after some battles (A.A. Takhshid, Alawid Sadats’ Uprisings, p. 169). Haroun and Fadl ibn Musa, who accompanied Lady Ma’sumah and were martyred in Saweh (Muhammad Ali Rowdati, Jami’ al-Ansab, Isfahan, Mehr-A’in Publications, 1355 solar, p. 56).
  • 48. Muhammad Ali Rowdati, ibid., p. 56.
  • 49. Mirza Muhammad Malik-ul-Kuttab Shirazi, ibid., p 160.
  • 50. Muhammad-Ridha Hakimi, ibid., p. 40.
  • 51. Most traditions were reported from Imam al-Sadiq, who said, “Know that there is a Haram for God, and it is Mecca; there is a Haram for the Prophet, and it is Medina; and there is a Haram for Imam Ali, and it is Kufa. Know that the Haram of I and my offspring is Qum. Know that Qum is our small Kufa. Know that Heaven has eight doors, three of which opens from Qum. A lady from among my offspring, called Fatima the daughter of Musa al-Kadim, will pass away there. Through her intercession, all our Shi’as will enter Haeven” (Qadi Nurullah Shushtari, Majalis al-Mu’minin, Tehran, Islamiyah Publications, 1354 solar, vol. 1, p. 83; M.B. Majlisi, ibid., vol. 60, p. 216; Abdul-Jalil Qazwini Razi, al-Naqs, Tehran, 1358 solar, p. 196).
  • 52. Perhaps Imam Musa al-Kadim named all his daughters Fatimah so that the chosen lady, “Fatimah al-Kubra” who would pass away in Qum could remain anonymous, but at the time of her migration to Qum, she became known to everybody.
  • 53. Sayyid Ja’far Ale-Bahr-ul-‘Olum, ibid., p. 36; M.B. Majlisi, ibid., p. 50, p. 312.
  • 54. Muhammad Ridha Hakimi, ibid., p. 40.
  • 55. A part of his will reads as follows, “None of my daughters should be married off by their maternal brothers, kings, or their paternal uncles but after consulting with Imam Ridha. If they do so, they have opposed God, His Prophet and have quarreled with God because he knows better about his family’s interests and benefits in terms of marriage. Thus, whoever is or is not married by him should obey him” (Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Kulayni, ibid., vol. 1, p 317.)
  • 56. Hassan Jalali Azizian, ibid., p 162.
  • 57. At the burial service of Lady Ma’sumah, two disguised men riding horses (i.e., Imam Ridha and Imam Jawad) appeared from the sandy area (the present-day river). They came quickly and prepared her for burial. One of them entered the grave and the other picked up her pure body and gave it to the former to be buried. After the burial service, they went away, riding their horses and speaking to nobody (M.B. Majlisi, ibid., vol. 48, p. 290 and vol. 60, p. 219; Muhammad Qummi, The History of Qum, p. 213; Sheikh Abbas Qummi, ibid., vol. 2, p. 376).
  • 58. After the death of Fatima al-Kubra, Imam Ridha first gave her the epithet of “Ma’sumah” (the Infallible Lady) and said, “Whoever visits Lady Ma’sumah’s holy shrine in Qum, it is as if he visited me [my holy shrine]” (Mirza Muhammad Taqi Khan Sepehr, Nasikh a-Tawarikh, Tehran, Islamiyah Publications, 1363 solar, vol. 3, p. 68; Zabihullah Mahallati, ibid., vol. 5, p. 35).
  • 59. It is said that Ayatullah Mar’ashi had made a lot of efforts to find the grave of Lady Zahra until in his dream, he was told to resort to Lady Ma’sumah’s holy shrine (the Generous Lady from among Ahl-ul-Bayt) because God willed Lady Zahra’s grave to remain hidden. The same glory and magnificent were given to the grave of Lady Ma’sumah’s grave (A.A. Mahdipour, ibid., p. 44).
  • 60. Shi’a belief in intercession of Ahl-ul-Bayt is an important tenet of Shi’ism. Among the Infallibles, two female intercessors on the Day of Judgement are referred to: Lady Zahra and Lady Ma’sumah. Hence, a sentence in her Ziyarah given by Imam Ridha reads as follow, “O’ Fatimah! Intercede for us in Heaven” (M.B. Majlisi, ibid., vol. 102, p 266; Muhammad Qummi, ibid., p. 74).
  • 61. Some authentic and well-known hadiths were reported from Lady Ma’sumah with its chain of narrators. Generally, they refer to salvation of Shi’a, attention to and love for Ahl-ul-Bayt, and the Prophet’s words on the day of Ghadir Khumm. According to these Hadiths, the neglect of prophethood, Imamate and Wilayah was the main factor in the social corruption after the Propeht’s demise (Muhammad Sharif Razi, Athar al-Hujjah, p. 84; Ahmad Banpour, ibid., p. 63, 67; M.B. Majlisi, ibid., vol. 68, p. 77).
  • 62. Husayn (Tabatabai) Boroujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith a-Shi'a, vol. 12, Qum, 1399 A.H., p. 617; Abdullah Bahrani, ‘Awalim, Qum, 1409 A.H., p. 230; M.B. Majlisi, ibid., vol. 102, p. 265 & 247 and vol. 48, p. 316.