Brandishing their torches
They stood outside her home
“Come out; plead thy allegiance!”
We want power for our own.
The assailants pounded even harder
And against the door they thrust
Between the wall and entrance
Our flower, she was crushed.
The assault, it wasn’t over,
Of that lady, mild and meek
The enemies of her husband
Struck her hard across the cheek.
She cried out loud, “O Father!
They’ve snapped the stem of your bud!”
She miscarried her unborn infant
And fainted in her blood.
Her health rapidly diminished
Our lady grew quiet, pale.
She knew her time was coming
She ached and she was frail.
She later called upon her husband,
“Ali, stay by my side.
I have some things to tell you.
My words you must abide.”
“One request that I have for you
Is that once again you wed.
My niece, who loves my children,
I have chosen in my stead.”
“Heed these words of mine, O husband!
Please don’t let them attend
My funeral – those who’ve done this –
When my life comes to its end.”
“O Ali! When you entomb me,
Don’t dig a lonely grave.
Dig several all around me
So they don’t know where I’m laid.”
“And, husband dear, you wash me
And wrap me in my shroud.
With your two strong arms embrace me
And lay me in the ground.”
“Once I’m there do not forsake me.
Sit by my lonely tomb.
As my soul, like any mortal’s,
Is fearful of its doom.”
“God’s will, you cannot alter.
I entrust my children unto thee.
This, maybe, will console you;
Of this world, I will be free.
She asked for her new garments
And camphor her father had given;
The scent of Paradise that Gabriel brought
As a gift to him from heaven.
As her strength subsided,
And she knew her time was nigh,
She made her ablution
And towards the Qiblah lay, to die.
She addressed her companion, Asma
On her lips, a secret smile
“I am fatigued and want to rest.
Call me in a while.”
After an hour, when Asma called her,
Silence was the reply.
She knew her desert flower
Had wilted and had died.
As the news spread through the city,
Wailing women gathered near.
And men, impatient to carry the body,
Of Ali’s Zahra dear.
Abu Dharr called to the people,
“Please, in vain don’t you wait!
Today her body won’t be buried,
As it is very late.”
Then quietly, in the moonlight,
With the chosen by his side,
Silently, they bore the coffin
Of Ali’s holy bride.
And as Ali lowered her body
To its final place of rest
Two arms just like the Prophet’s
Gathered her to its breast.
Ali’s courageous heart then broke.
And he gathered his motherless children,
All tearful, beneath his cloak.
At the break of dawn, his house grew silent.
As promised, he didn’t disclose
Nor answer any questions
Of where he buried his Arabian rose.