The Historic Sermon of the Lady of Islam, Fatimah Zahra (s.a.)

After the death of the Prophet of Islam, a strange storm covered the entire Islamic world.

The eye of this storm was the center of the Caliphate, and from there it spread and encompassed anything that was connected with the Caliphate. One aspect of this storm included the requisition of the land called Fadak by the governing system of that time. This land had been given to Fatimah (s.a.) by the Prophet of Islam (a.s) based on important interests.1

Fatimah (s.a.) saw that this apparent transgression, together with a disregard for most of the Islamic laws on this subject, was involving the Islamic community in a severe deviation from Islamic teachings and the Sunnah of the Prophet, creating an inclination towards the customs of paganism. She also on the other hand saw it as being a preliminary step for the retirement of Ali and economic sanctions against Ali’s companions, and thus went to the defense of her rights against the usurpers of Fadak and with all of her being demanded the return of this usurped right.

But the ruling government, by excuse of a false tradition:

نَحْنُ مَعاشِرَ الْأَنْبِیاءِ لا نُوَرِّثُ

meaning; “We Prophets leave no inheritance”! refrained from granting her this right.

The lady of Islam (a.s) being the “Lady of the worlds’ women,” accompanied by a group of the Women of Bani Hashem, came to the mosque to speak her words before the groups of Muslims and the leaders of the “Mohajers” and “Ansars”; to deliver her ultimatum and in order to take away all excuses for the continuance of this strange usurpation and cruel requisition from the governing organization of the time. And thus in doing so, revealing the true ranks of those loyal to Islam from the supporter of the policies of transgression.

She, without regard for the special “atmosphere building” that had been seen to in this respect, and the possible backlashes of this great divulgence, went ahead with her plan. She delivered a brilliant Sermon in the Prophet’s Mosque under the pretext of “the usurpation of Fadak”, in which many realities were brought to light.

This sermon was a ‘pounding warning’ for those who endeavored to divert the Prophet’s Caliphate and Islamic government from its original route undoing his twenty-three years of toil.

It was a ‘wake-up alarm’ for those whose hearts beat with the love of Islam, and who were fearful for the future of this pure religion.

It was ‘An Effective Notification’ for those who were oblivious to the expansion of the group of hypocrites, and their influence in the political organization after the Messenger of God (S), and who ignored their secret activities.

It was a ‘Painful Cry’ in support of the “Commander of the Faithful” Imam Ali (a.s), the successor and administrator of the Holy Prophet, of which a group of the political Players ignored the Quranic verses and the emphatic recommendations of the Prophet of Allah in his regard.

It was an ‘Innocent Administration of Justice’ for the awakening of those whose rights were usurped but preferred a peaceful silence to the pounding, awakening exclamation.

It was a ‘Frightening Thunder’, whose vibrations spread everywhere and of which traces were left in all ages and eras.

It was a ‘Severe Storm’, of which its breaking waves awoke sleeping souls – however briefly showing them the way of God.

At last it was a ‘Deadly Thunderbolt’ that came down upon the heads of Islam’s enemies, attacking them unaware.

The ‘Lady of Islam’s’ deep analyses in this sermon speaks of her precise insight into the most complicated matters pertaining to ‘Tawhid’, the creator ‘Mabda’ and resurrection ‘Maad’.

The interpretation given in this sermon by the honorable daughter of the Prophet, of important ideological, political and social matters, is evidence that Fatimah daughter of the Prophet of Islam didn’t belong to any particular era.

The emotional courage that flows from the well-spoken words of Fatimah in this sermon shows that she is a devoted lady, fighter in God’s way, hero, and worthy leader for the defenders of God’s way and fighters in His right.

The effective tone of the Lady of Islam in this sermon, which penetrates to the depths of man’s heart and soul, speaks of the fact that she was an eloquent speaker and undefeatable orator the equal of her husband, “The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali.” In such a way that this brilliant sermon challenges the sermons of Ali in the ‘Nahjul Balagha’, moving forward with them head to head. It also shows that her daughter Zainab received this inheritance (eloquent speech) from both father and mother, in that with her fiery sermons in the Kufa market, and Yazid’s Assembly she threw tremors into the limbs of the criminals of Bani Umayah, weakening the foundation of their usurping government’s palace planting the seeds of revolution in the hearts of the people of Kufa and Sham against this tyrannical, oppressive government.

Fatimah’s meticulousness in this sermon in the background of the philosophy and mysteries of Religious law, and her analysis of the political history of Islam and comparison of the pagan age of the Arabs with their life after the rise of Islam gives great lessons to the wayfarer in the way of God, giving them education and training in their struggles.

Most important of all is that Fatimah with this sermon, clarified the position of the Prophets’ descendants with regard to the ruling regime; revealing the exemption of the holy area of Islam from the cruelties that were performed in its name. Really, if the only benefit of this great sermon, which contains so much were just this, it would have been enough!

Documents and Records of the Sermon

This sermon is one of the well-known sermons narrated with a series of supporting documents by both Shia and Sunni. Contrary to what some may believe, a report is never from a single source. Among the sources in which this sermon may be found are the following:

1) Ibn Abi Alhadid Motazaly, the famous Sunni Scholar in ‘Explanation of the Nahjul Balagha’ in the first chapter of the account of Othman Ibn Honai’s letter, he has narrated various documents for the sermon of the Lady of Islam, Fatimah (s.a.) He explains that; the documents I have presented here for this sermon have not been taken from any of the books of the Shia.

He then mentions the famous book ‘Saqifa’ by Abubakr Ahmad ibn Abdul Aziz Jowhari. One of the famous Sunni narrators of traditions, who has narrated this sermon in numerous ways in this book Ibn Abi Alhadid has explained all these ways in his book, but for brevity we will refrain from mentioning them here.

He then adds that when the ruling government of the time decided to usurp ‘Fadak’, Fatimah came to the Mosque accompanied by a group of the women of Qureysh, in such a way that her gait was exactly like the Prophet’s (S), and delivered a lengthy sermon.

The above mentioned then narrated that very celebrated, famous sermon – even though the contents of this sermon, in various narration, has slight differences.

2) Ali ibn Isa Arbali also in the book ‘Kashful Ghamma’ has narrated this sermon as taken from the book ‘Saqifa’ by Abubakr Ahmad ibn Abdul Aziz Jowhari.

3) Masoudy, in ‘Muravvaj ul-Dhahab’ briefly mentions the aforesaid sermon.

4) Sayyed Murtedha the great Shia scholar and Mujahid in the book ‘Shafi’ has narrated this sermon from ‘Aisha’ the wife of the Prophet.

5) The famous narrator of traditions, the late Sadduq has mentioned some of its high points in the book ‘Elal ul-Shar’ea’.

6) The famous jurisconsult and narrator of traditions by the name of the late Shaikh Mofid has also narrated a part of this sermon.

7) Sayyad ibn Tavoos in the book ‘Tara’ef’ has quoted a part of it from the book ‘Al-Manaqib’ of Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Marduya Isfahani who being one of the famous Sunni personalities, quotes it from ‘Aisha’.

8) The late Tabrassi author of ‘Ihtijaj’ relates it in his book as an ‘apostle’.2 At any rate, this historical sermon is one of the famous sermons of Ahl-al-bait (a.s) (the Prophet’s descendants). From what they have quoted, the Shia always recommended their children to memorize this sermon so that with the passing of time it would not be forgotten, or be questioned by spiteful enemies.

It is even now worthwhile that the fruitful young should memorize these celebrated epic verses and relay it to future generations.

The Seven Focal Points of Fatimah Zahra’s Sermon

This brilliant, unparalleled sermon is in reality made up of seven parts and revolves around seven focal points of which each pursues a clear objective, and each must be studied separately.

The Sermon:

Part One: A deep condensed analysis around the questions of ‘Tawhid’ and the qualities of God, the most beautiful of God’s attributes and the aim of creation.

Part Two: The exalted position, duties, special distinctions and aims of the Prophet (S) are discussed.

Part Three: She speaks of the importance of the Holy Quran, the depth of Islamic teachings, the philosophy and secrets of religious commandments, and advice and counsels in this respect.

Part Four: After introducing herself, the Lady of Islam describes her father’s service to this people. And it was here that the Lady of Islam took their hand and led them back to their not too distant pagan past, for an admonitory look, and Comparison to their situation after the rise of Islam to receive a lesson from this metamorphosis.

Part Five: She discusses the incidents and events that occurred after the death of the Prophet, and the movements and strivings of the Hypocrites for the annihilation of Islam.

Part Six: She speaks of the usurpation of ‘Fadak’, their vain excuses in this respect, and her reply to these excuses.

Part Seven: And finally in this part as deliverance of her ultimatum, she requests aid from the true helpers and friends of the Prophet, and bringing her speech to an end she threatens them with God’s Punishment.

  • 1. “Fadak” was one of the flourishing villages on the outskirts of Medina populated by Jews, who like the Jews of Medina and “Khaybar”, constantly plotted against Islam.
    In the seventh year of the Hejrat when the fortresses of Khaybar fell one after another to the Islamic combatants, and the center of Jewish power was crushed, the inhabitants of Fadak came to the Prophet of Islam in peace and surrender. They gave half of their land and gardens to the Holy Prophet, and kept the other half for themselves.
    The Prophet of Islam (S) according to numerous transmissions by both Shi’a and Sunni commentators and historians – presented Fadak as a gift to his daughter Fatimah during his own lifetime. However, after the death of Prophet of Islam, the usurpers of Islamic rule, seeing this economic power in the hands of Ali’s wife as a threat to their own political power, and deciding to exclude the companions of Ali from every aspect, by vain excuses requisitioned these lands for the public treasury, and in reality to their own benefit.
    The story of Fadak and the various incidents that occurred in relation to it in the first part of Islam and in the following eras, are of the most painful, sorrowful and warning high points in the first period of Islam’s history which with God’s will must be studied separately in greater depth.
  • 2. Bihar ul-Anwar, Allama Majlisi, Volume viii, Pg. 108; Old Print.