Lawhu Fatimah (the tablet of Fatimah) or Hadith al-Lawh (the tradition of the tablet) as it is known in some scholarly circles, is one of the masterpiece documents narrated by great Shi’a authorities of tradition, which explicitly mentions the names of the divinely chosen trustees of religion and successors of the Holy Prophet (S). Unlike the well-known Mushaf Fatimah (the Scroll of Fatimah) which was communicated to her after the demise of the Apostle of Allah (S) and written by Amir al-Mu’minin (‘a)1, the tradition of the Tablet was sent down directly in the form of an emerald-like tablet2 to the Holy Prophet (S) and thereafter gifted to Fatimah (‘a). Later, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, on request, was allowed to make a copy of the same.
The gist of what this divine tablet contains is explicit information about the infallible leaders who would succeed the Holy Prophet (S) in his divine mission and their role, characteristics and some events that would transpire during their times. It testifies the reality that religious authority and leadership is not something that the masses can decide for themselves through popular vote or a legacy that any fallible being can leave behind for whomever he deems fit to rule. Nor is it a matter that one can entrust to an incompetent committee, most of whose members are always overcome by personal whims and inclinations. Unfortunately, the evil forces of history overruled this imperative law of reality, and brought about a chaos whose onslaughts the Muslims will continuously have to face until the reappearance of the emancipator of mankind.
Divine leadership is a responsibility whose gravity one cannot evaluate. Only the Creator of the human being can select one who deserves this station and entrust him with this grave mission.
Conjecturing that the Holy Prophet (S) left the entire Muslim ummah without a successor as some of the Muslims have been made to believe, is also extremely absurd. Every intelligent leader would always leave someone competent behind in his short excursions, let alone when he knows that he is to die and be no longer among the community.
In this first edition of The Tablet of Fatimah, we have limited ourselves with a presentation of the English translation of the tablet and short glosses on some of its contents. We pray to Allah that in the near future, He enables us to unravel deeper secrets from the apparent import of this divine direction.
The credit of this humble attempt goes to the well-known missionary and luminary Murabbiyah Tahirah Ahmad A.M. Ja‘far who undoubtedly has devoted her life to guide the women of our communities. Whenever I had the honour of meeting her, I always observed a zeal for knowledge emanating from her noble being. It was after her request for the translation of this divine tablet that I resolved to embark on this project.
We pray that Allah protects for us such pioneers of our Muslim communities and enable us to benefit from them as we voyage to the Absolute Perfect Being, in whose proximity one experiences utter joy and ecstasy.
Al-Safar al-Muzaffar 1430 AH
Holy Proximity of Hadrat Ma‘sumah (‘a)
- 1. It is imperative for every Muslim to know that both the Mushaf Fatimah and Lawh Fatimah are in no ways a different version of the Qur’an in the hands of the Shi’a. The Wahhabi media mechanism, as has been its usual trend, tries to find every pretext to question the intact version of Islam as depicted by the Shi’as. Therefore, before being deceived by their contentions, the true muhaqqiq (researcher) and seeker of the truth must search for the reality himself from the original texts of the Shi’a scholars and then make a judgement.
- 2. This can be understood by observing the beginning of the tradition where Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari says that he saw an emerald-like tablet with Fatimah (‘a) bearing lines of luminous writing.