When one pays close attention to the words of Lady Zahra in this legendary speech, it becomes clear that she emphasizes on the voice of reason and the clear words of Allah in the Holy Qur’an.Many a time, lovers of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) rush with a fervor to commemorate the martyrdoms and celebrate the births of the great personalities of Islam.
Unfortunately, it is also true that sometimes the focus of some misguided zealots rarely transcends the actual events of history – to gain insight into the underlying principles which the great Ahlul Bayt manifest.
This is not to say that the act of commemorating or celebrating the historic events is unnecessary. To the contrary, the celebrations and commemorations are the constant reminders which call upon the heart and the mind to live and relive the mention of Allah the Exalted.
In commemoration of the martyrdom of Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her), there may sometimes be a difficulty in expressing the principles and lessons learned from such a magnanimous personality.
The matter of Lady Zahra is of such a caliber that it would be foolish to attempt to limit it to the typed words of an admiring follower. For this reason, in describing the lessons to be learned, it may be more fitting to use the words of Lady Zahra herself – the words from one of the most legendary speeches in Islamic history.
Sermon of Lady Fatima [as]
Khutbatal Zahra (Sermon of Zahra), as it is known, was the speech given by Lady Zahaa after the demise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) in the presence of her oppressors and those who were silent over the oppression. Among the multitude of topics presented by Lady Fatima was a discussion of the various injustices which befell her and Imam Ali (peace be upon him).
Lady Zahra begins in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, with thanks and praise. She then puts forth a discussion of the Oneness of Allah:
“…and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah – no partner has He… it is a statement which He made to mean sincerity… He enlightened, with reflection, the understanding of it… He is the One who eyes cannot see, tongues cannot describe, and imaginations cannot encompass…
“He invented all – without an example which was before Him such that He may copy it –with His Ability… and He brought it forth with His Will, neither because He needed to bring it into existence nor for a benefit that He should receive for shaping it… Only to confirm His Wisdom, warning for obedience to Him, and showing His Ability…”
Lady Zahra continues on to speak of Prophethood, linking the Oneness of Allah to the purpose of Prophethood. She then speaks of the times of ignorance and how Allah sent Prophet Muhammad as a beacon of light, mentioning his many accomplishments.
Lady Fatima turns to the audience explaining to them the clarity of Holy Qur’an. She discusses many rulings of Islam and points out the wisdom behind each ruling.
After she formally identifies herself to the people, Lady Zahra gets into the topics of injustice that were committed, directly challenging her oppressors which are present in the audience.
“Oh people! Know that I am Fatima and my father is Muhammad. So when Allah chose His prophet to return to the place of His prophets and the abode of the chosen ones, the sign of hypocrisy has appeared in you! …You drank from a place which is not yours to drink from… and as the Messenger was still not even buried! You claimed that you rushed to do so that there would be no mischief, but ‘Surely they have fallen into mischief, and Hell is surely surrounding the disbelievers.’
“…But you have left the Book of Allah behind… and then, you barely settled on that act before you enflamed the situation further, following the calls of Satan… putting out the lights of the clear religion, ignoring the ways of the Chosen Prophet….”
Lady Fatimah Zahra then goes on to challenge her oppressors further, this time defending her rights against the latest of their unjust acts – the seizure of Fadak. She provides proof from the Qur’an to prove the illegitimate claims of the oppressors.
At this point, one of the oppressors responds to Lady Zahra, attempting to address her powerful words. This oppressor tries to come off as the “compassionate companion” of the prophet who only wants “the best” for the nation. Lady Zahra sees through the façade of the doers of injustice and says, “Oh you who are known as the Muslims! You who are so hasty to proclaim falsehood! ‘Do you not ponder on the Qur’an?’ Nay, rather your hearts have been rusted from the evil of your deeds, such that it has taken your hearing and your sight. Woe to that which you have falsely interpreted. Woe to you, when the veil is revealed and the harm becomes apparent to you. ‘But, when the Commandment of Allah comes, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost.'”
When one pays close attention to the words of Lady Zahra in this legendary speech, it becomes clear that she emphasizes on the voice of reason and the clear words of Allah in the Holy Qur’an.
While she does not even need to prove the rights she discusses, she goes along with the “reasoning” of the oppressors and she dispels the very basis of their whimsical arguments.
The use of the tongue to trick people is seen when the oppressors respond to Lady Fatima. But Lady Fatima firmly stands her ground and rises above the trickeries of the rejecters of truth.
Lady Zahra teaches us, from beginning to end, that the focus is and always should be Allah – His Attributes, His Praise, His Words. It is as if her calls to the Muslims penetrate the fabric of time and force us to take a stand. Either we stand with the Truth…or we do not.
Lady Fatimah Zahra, the Chief of the Women of the Worlds, can be a lesson to us only to the extent that we strive to learn from her. But when we sincerely strive to do so, we will realize that there is truly no limit to the light which descends through her.