By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
The signs of her power of meaningful eloquence are recorded in reliable works of Muslims. A perfect example is her speech, which she made at the peak of her illness on her deathbed before a number of Muhajir and Ansar women. We seldom find people in this world who think of anything at the last moment of their life but their own trouble.
But when the Muhajirs and Ansar women came to visit her on her deathbed, they asked her, “KAIFA ASBAHTEE YA BINTA RASOOLILLAH?” (O daughter of the Holy Prophet (saw)! How are you?) In response, first, very carefully, she asks those ladies to raise her weakened physique and make her sit.
Thereafter, though they had asked about her health, she utters nothing about herself. Rather, she utilises all of her residual strength, for commenting on words and deeds of the earlier people and their effects in the future and explains all of it in the best style and most effective manner. We give below, in brief, the notes made by the learned Ustaad Aqa-e-Sabri in the matter of the said speech of Lady Fatima (s.a):
This great address deserves to be explained in four parts for being presented to Muslim leaders and reformers. We pray to the Lord Almighty so that He may enable us to publish this address
Under the title ‘Yadgar-e-Muhammad (saw)’ as it, in itself, is a ray of the divine revelation and a plan of world administration pronounced by the lady of the family of the Holy Prophet (saw):
First part: It comprises of her complaint and nostalgia in respect of the men of the earlier days of Islam for the following reasons: my rights, as a woman, and the rights of every weak person must remain protected under men. I badly dislike your being in the shelter of such men, as unpalatable food is detested by healthy nature. The more deeply I investigate the affairs; I find that the wound goes deeper.
Apparently a blow has been administered to me but when you explore the aim, usurpation of rights has been very wide from every angle and the source of this unclean wound is the uncleanness of men of our basin, who are your husbands. Disrespect was shown to the daughter of their Prophet (saw) and they kept mum. Injustice was done to me and they did not raise their voice.
This part conveys to us that neither the misfortune of a nation does not depend on the size of its territory nor on the accumulation of the treasures of their savings but misfortune is brought by the deficiency of its men (personages). Yes, personages must be the shelter of the people and protectors of their wealth and guardians of their honour and the supporters of their poor and the weak.
The biggest deficiency of the men (yes men) is that they have been disloyal, having weak hands and feeble determination. Having sharp swords they play like children due to capriciousness and inconstancy. They do something in the morning and another in the evening, displaying a different desire every time.
They allow their eyes to sleep while the enemy hits hard at the foundation of their palaces. They remain quarrelling among themselves in distress and embarrassment with unprincipled and passionate mood. In short, they did not posses firmness and stability, and thus remained unarmed. The power of their bayonet has split due to double-dealing and the enemy knocks at their foundation stone with a stick so as to know whether they are awake and can recognise a foe from friend.
They do not wake up by any alarm. Thus the enemy doubles his lust and finds out that the sanctuary is sans any shelter. Today they have aimed at my house and my family, which is the foundation stone and the strong base of your Islamic Ummah, and shown disrespect to it. Tomorrow they will use bulldozers to pull down the mansion of the entire Ummah. Today the demolition instrument has struck the foundation of my mansion, tomorrow it will strike at the residences of all.” Now as soon as I looked into the depth of this I found that these six things have been collectively taunted: 1. Does not have sharpness.
2. In the beginning they give a serious appearance like that of their ancestor and then indulge in play and pastime.
3. Make an incision to the bayonet of the enemy by their double-dealing.
4. The enemy hits at the foundation of their house with a pick and yet they do not become careful.
5. Are perplexed in their opinions.
6. Lust and greed makes them indulge in a land-grabbing hunt continuously and they fall in all sorts of errors. Every one of these six is worse than the other and all of them have entered in the behaviour of your men. So with what hope should other weak beings and I look at life. Hence helplessly I lifted the chain and threw it with its bridle and hook on their necks so that they may begin to graze and disgrace may overtake them and simply be annihilated... Let the criminal community taste what it deserves.
This is the reward of oppression whereby they allow transgression of others’ rights, who do not rise up for reinstatement of usurped rights and who leave truth helpless to fend for itself.
Second Part: In this part, Lady Fatima (a s) has made a mention of the common interest of the great Ummah and pointed out that it is the establishment of a true Islamic caliphate. She has enumerated the characteristics of caliphate and makes it known that, keeping aside the personal viewpoint and the aspect of relation with the Holy Prophet (saw), all the qualifications required for this responsible position were found in the personality of Abul Hasan (Ali Ibn Abi Talib), and yet they disregarded him.
The outstanding distinctions and lofty virtues required for directing a community have, always, been these four things:
1. The pillars must have been firmly founded in the holy family of the Holy Prophet (saw), like a pot placed solidly on its legs. The foundations of the house of the Holy Prophet (saw) were more sound and steadfast than mountains. It was stronger than an anchor for holding a ship carrying people.
2. The pillars and posts should belong to the transmission of revelations.
3. The lofty divine assembly is faultless due to the transmission of revelation.
4. They were identified as the best after practical experience, for both this world and for the hereafter. You overlooked all these and jolted caliphate, displaced it and shifted it.
A) After all what had displeased you except the sword of Abul Hasan which did not discriminate and did its terrifying job?
B) Except the blows which he gave to the enemy; that wherever he went he re-established justice and destroyed the sources of untruth.
C) His fury against the evil-minded people in battlefields that left permanent marks in the world.
D) His fearless and furious fight in the path of truth even against the most powerful persons and his holy anger which did not discriminate between close relatives and distant aliens.
What does all this show except his moral strength and his steadfastness in the battle against evil and his self-sacrifice? But it, instead of earning appreciation and giving you inspiration, made you sad and annoyed! Why?
You can see that, in this part, she mentions that, in the beginning, it is essential to have loyalty in thought and strength to fight and courage to go forward with a preparation for extreme sacrifice. Secondly, it is absolutely necessary to have all this in the first chief of Islam.
This description shows a clear path for finding out the qualified leaders for the people in the Islamic State forever.
3) Third Part: She mentions the sweet fruits for the Ummah through such competent persons’ leadership and also states the losses incurring as a result of selecting the unqualified in place of the qualified ones because the leaders of the holy family lead people toward the love for people and they take care to lead people toward improvement and to the fountains of well being as they only are able to do so. Hence the community will always be happy and prosperous under their leadership.
The powerful leader from the holy family first drives the caravan with politeness and affection. Thereby the state does not have to face opposition nor does it become weak while facing an uprising when the people also do not find it difficult to bear the authority. Thus both the ruler and the ruled go forward with extraordinary conformity.
This caravan continues to be satisfied and gratified. At every stage they get good springs of fresh and sweet water. Thus, everybody feels happy and joyous. Yes, the fragrance is that which spreads all around itself.
The abilities of the right leader show up automatically. He is quite capable of bringing both the ruler and the ruled in one line and provides everything needed easily. Such a rightful leader and ruler always remains God-fearing and righteous. He never prefers any worldly wealth or decoration for himself. He never takes valuable things for his use. He always takes only that which is absolutely necessary to keep him alive.
Thus, truth is distinguished from falsehood. By God! It is here and only here that the true becomes separated from the one who says false things. It is here where the brave and the truthful are distinguished clearly from the coward and the liar. Now, who is more and appropriate to lead the people?
4) The Fourth Part: Strongly criticises the policy which is quite opposite to the said one and in order to awaken them says: Biggest fools are those who leave the best thing and cling to valueless and useless things. Instead of loading a strong animal, they burden the weak ones. The consequence is clear for all to imagine. Beware! O fallen community! Come and ponder over your beginning and end. Do you think that you are doing good? Yes, you do so imagine. But, then remember that only the mischief makers begin like this.
Hark! O listener! Come and be attentive as the tale is wonderful and worth hearing. If you feel astonished then the story is indeed astonishing. If you live more, you will find more future shocks. Startling stories do guide you. Well, tell me now, on what deeds and documents have you relied whereby you selected the weak instead of the powerful. You yourself have begun this unworthy work.
Do you think that this ship will reach the shore? Yes, by your God! The evil result of the corrupt insemination will come up. Till that time, go on drawing milk which is bad and poisonous from the udders which are full of blood. In this dangerous place the wrongdoers will bear loss and the future generations will know of the wrongdoing of their predecessors. Here only, will you consider your reassurance insufficient and will realise that you have killed yourself.
This tragedy fell on the people of Madinah in the year 62 A.H. and prior to that when Busr bin Abi Artaat raided Madinah.
Though they did not consider this calamity a consequence of deviating caliphate from its natural course. However the trouble was indeed very awesome and frightening even if the primary reason may appear far. To this point, she continued her address but it made her already weak condition worse. She stopped speaking. Only one phrase had remained, which she later uttered, “Perhaps you will ask, ‘When the people of the holy house had foreseen this danger, why did they refrain from warning? We did not refrain. But we did not find it advisable to put pressure on you and blame you. How could we blame when you yourselves show dislike openly?
Truly, no one else can ever specify the illness and its remedy, neither an engineer, nor any warrior, nor an advocate of rights, nor a political leader. It is possible only through one who is spiritually integrated with the Holy Prophet (saw).
Very likely, the meaning of the Holy Prophet’s words “Fatima is a part of mine” is that in the height and loftiness of thought and in the moulding of reform and foresight she is a part of mine; not only an extraordinary scholar, but also possessing almost half of Prophethood. I do not find that any emperor or worldly monarch who would have uttered such a perfect phrase which ensures the overall good of the community. The world never tolerates any insult to other great ladies.
To whomsoever it may appear insulting be it an old man or a youth, a caliph of that time, Abu Bakr, or today’s Ceaser. This address begins thus: QULNA: KAIF ASBAHTI AN LAILATIKI YAA BINTI RASOOLILLAAH?
QAALAT: ASBAHTU WALLAAH….. And it ends: ANULZIMUKUOOHAA….
We get the meaning of Imamat and the difference between it and Caliphate from the Quranic verses and the Holy Prophet’s (saw) sayings. We understand that its basis is the holy Quran and Islam, not the sense, which has been formed after Islam as is being said by selfish people who are ignorant of religion.
In dictionary of the language the word ‘Imam’ which is from ‘Umm’ means intention. Mother is called ‘Umm’ because the intention is children who turn to her and remain in her perimeter. And a group, which has been brought together by a common intention or aim, is called Ummah. A man who is perfect in wisdom and foresight and morals and behaviour is Imam because he is the centre of the attention of others who always look at him with undivided attention. The holy Quran says about Ibrahim:
And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. HE said: Surely I will make you Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? MY covenant does not include the unjust, said He. (Surah Baqura: 2:124)
If we pay attention to this verse we find that Imam is a man who has reached all human perfection, including the divine words. His perfection is the result of God’s training, not self earned, and that Imamat too is only from God and His decision, not of people. And that the black dots found in other than Prophethood, which means getting commands and duties from God and conveying the same to people though every Prophet, is Imam.
Thus it is clear that Imamat is a spiritual affair, which in itself is, due to spiritual and moral perfection, criteria of humanity. Thus it must be the centre of all and also the indicator of the aim and object. I quote this portion from Aqeedah wa Imamat from the book of Ansar Shujaat: “Since the captain is the centre of attention of the passengers of the ship, and the compass is the centre of the attention of the captain, and the direction is the centre of attention of both, Imam (a s) has the same position based both on the virtues and the aim of creation. So, in my opinion, the meaning of the word ‘Imam’ is nothing but the one who knows the aim and who is always attentive to the aim.” And this protection of aim is sometimes, by rising up and at other times, by simply sitting. The Holy Prophet (saw) said about Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a s), “These two are Imams, whether they are standing or sitting.” It is here that we understand the meaning of this tradition by paying attention to the conditions prevailing at that time and the then situation of the Muslims. The aim of Imam Hasan behind sitting and of Imam Husain through rising up was to protect the religion and to free Muslims from the danger of doubts and confusion. In respect of the treaty of Imam Hasan (a s) and its effects, we give here a brief premise and leave the judgement to the readers. 13 (Surah Baqarah 2:124)
The entire attention of Mu’awiyah, during his rule in Syria was cantered on the people of that territory. He had kept people away from religious training. So they saw the identity of religion in Mu’awiyah. His disinformation about the assassination of Usman and his instigations for revenge had divided Muslims in some groups.
One group, under the influence of his propaganda, believed that Usman was killed under oppression and that Mu’awiyah demands revenge or blood money and so they were enthusiastic in support of this demand. Another group had either fallen in doubt or erred or had remained cautious and secluded. Again, there were two groups of people who had known the selfish deeds of Mu’awiyah clearly: one had no belief and was only following self-interest and the other was steadfast and self-sacrificing.
Of course, such people were very few after Amirul Mu’minin (a s). In these circumstances it was obvious that a war with Mu’awiyah would surely end in defeat and annihilation of the truthful. On the other hand, the misinformation and the effects of the propaganda of Mu’awiyah would continue among people, thereby keeping them in darkness for a long time. Evil effects of this all would have harmed Islam and Muslims for a long period. But there was a hope in peace treaties that if the people following truth remained alive they would, whenever possible, work for their truthful aim.
Since the only aim of Mu’awiyah behind all this bloodshed and instigation was to get the throne, he attained it as a result of this treaty and completely forgot or ignored the demand of Usman’s blood money. Thus further bloodshed was avoided. Then the horizons got cleared and people could think and found truth.
Everyone understood that Mu’awiyah was nothing but a selfish man who had made the blood money issue only a means to fulfil his aim of becoming the ruler; that he shed the blood of thousands of Muslim to achieve this unholy aim. Had all chiefs and leaders pondered, these were the results expected through the treaty of Imam Hasan with Mu’awiyah.
Of course it was also clear that Mu’awiyah would not keep the promise and would not act according to the treaty and the such a breach of trust would damage his false foundation causing his defeat and finally his efforts would go in vain. The time of these two respected Imams was when the rule of Bani Umayyah was ending and that of the Bani Abbas was beginning and Muslims had breathed a little sigh of relief from the oppression of Bani Umayyah.
External conquests of Islam had taken place. People had begun to think. Learning and teaching had advanced. Books were translated. Civil laws began to be codified. The Imam, who has to look after and pay attention to such excessiveness and maintain equilibrium, had to engage himself forcefully to serve the nascent community and save it from fresh dangers. At the end of its conquests, Islam is in more need of administrative affairs and civil organisation so that society may get relief and peace and people may also get their rights.
On the other hand lots of wealth had come to Muslims due to the said conquests, increasing their lusts and passions. So there also was a great need of moral stability. The said spread of territory had also brought in the effects of old ideologies of foreign lands and societies and to some extent influenced the rules and regulations and habits. Thus there was a great danger to the achievement of the aims of the teaching of holy Quran. It was more from Iran and Byzantine.
Entrance of unsuitable food in stomach makes man restless because, on the one hand it is necessary that a helping force should digest the hard food and remove the barriers from the passages and this does not happen without the helping heat. But another difficulty is that when the heat around the body attends to the internal situation the outer cold catches hold of the outer skin making it a target of the attacks of other ailments. The ideologies of old nations and their philosophies were like unsuitable food for the Islamic society of those days as it had created dangerous barriers.
So it was necessary that all the internal forces along with added warmth of thought should engage in digesting it. But, on the other hand, within Islam, a lust for global domination had become a heritage, which kept them ever ready for fighting while morals were on a constant decline. Hence there was an urgent need of strong and effective civil regulations, which could cater to the details of all affairs. Also, it was essential that invitation to truth and love for spiritualism be propagated on a larger scale so that the Quraish may give up the Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbasi lust for power, as it had weakened both the young and the old and exhausted the nerves of the youngsters.
Blood was being shed every now and then aimlessly because everyone who had any relation with Quraish wanted to be the caliph or the ruler and every head was full of ambitions. In short, this devastating trend was more dangerous than the waves of any storm for the ship of Islam. It was necessary for the Imam to protect this ship…because the aim of Islam had gone in darkness and Islamic morals were in danger of being wiped out. The said two Imams were, in those hard days of Islam, two morally strongest personalities and two spiritual treasures. As strong and expert captains, they got up to take the ship of Islam to shore.
They surrendered all worldly comforts and, along with their trained helpers, worked tirelessly for the aforementioned aim. They have, for the Islamic Ummah, left behind four hundred authentic original roots in civil, moral and jurisprudent affairs – Ussole Arba Me’ah (Four Hundred Principles). So the said Islamic rules and regulations are like diamonds studded in the crown of an emperor, despite all the progress in worldly laws. As the subject of Mahdaviyat is in our mind, a separate treatise will be written on it. Here I only advise the readers to read the book Al Mahdi. This book makes us understand that Mahdaviyat is rooted in Islam and one and all too testify to it. Peace be on those who follow the guidance.
10th Jamadi al-Oola 1363
Syed Mehmood Taaliqaani
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi