Fatema al-Ma'asumah (S.A.), the daughter of Imam Musa al-Kazem (A.S.)
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
" Ya Fatema ishfa'i li fi'l-jannah fa inna laki ind-Allah shaanan min ash-shaan (O Fatema! Intercede for me for (the reward of) paradise, for indeed you have with Allah a lofty status)."
The above phrase is part of the ziyarah, or the standard form of salutation by pilgrims to a lady carrying the blessed name Fatema (SA). It is an intercession for the eternal bliss of paradise, since, as is clear from the wordings, the lady is a spotlessly pure person whose supplications in the Divine Court never go unanswered.
Is the Fatema (SA) mentioned here, the immaculate daughter of the Last and Greatest Messenger to mankind, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA)?
The answer is in the negative. For the Noblest Lady of all time, whom the Almighty refers to in the holy Qur'an as Kowthar (Fountain of Perpetual Blessings); vouches her, her husband's and her sons' purity in ayah 33 of Surah al-Ahzaab; and commands her to accompany her father the Prophet along with her immediate family to the historically decisive mubahela with the Christians of Najran (3:61) in order to make Islam triumphant forever; does not have a shrine, let alone pilgrims.
It is an irony of Islamic history that the daughter at whose doorstep the Prophet used to salute, almost daily in the morning, rests in peace in Medina in an unmarked grave in an undisclosed spot.
Obviously it was God's Will that the tomb of Fatema az-Zahra (SA), the sanctity of whose threshold was desecrated by fire and crowbars by a roguish group of her father's companions immediately after his departure from the mortal world, should be safe from the sacrilege of all other blasphemers in the future, such as the Wahhabi heretics, who in 1925 after seizing the Hejaz in a bloody massacre, sacrilegiously destroyed the mausoleum of four Imams of her household – Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS), Imam Zain al-Abedin, Imam Muhammad al-Baqer (AS) and Imam Ja'far as-Sadeq (AS).
Is it Fatema (SA), the daughter of Imam Hasan (AS), the wife of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the mother of Imam Baqer (AS), and the grandmother of Imam Sadeq (AS)?
Is it Fatema (SA), the daughter of Imam Husain (AS), the wife of Hasan al-Muthanna (AS), and the ancestress of the Tabatabaie branch of Hasani Sadaat?
The answers are again a sad no. These two noble ladies, who witnessed the heartrending tragedy of Karbala and were laid to rest in Medina's sacred Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery when they died years later, have no longer any canopy or tombstone. May God damn the Wahhabis for their crimes against the Prophet's family and followers!
Then who's this Fatema (SA), whose intercession with God, pilgrims to her shrine seek?
Today, the 10th of Rabi al-Akher should provide us the answer. For on this day, the hearts of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt all over the globe, especially in Iran, are turned towards the holy city of Qom, where reposes in eternal peace, Fatema al-Ma'asumah (SA), the daughter of Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) and the sister of Imam Ali ar-Reza (AS).
Today was the sad day, when in the year 202 AH (816 AD) after a brief 17-day sojourn in this city on the edge of the Iranian desert, following an attack near Savah by agents of the Abbasid caliph, on her caravan which was on its way to Khorasan, this namesake and noble descendant of the Immaculate Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (SA), left for the ethereal heavens.
Unlike the people of Medina who in pursuit of the perishing power of the transient world had deserted the Prophet's daughter and the Ahl al-Bayt, the people of Qom clad themselves in black to mourn the daughter of the 7th Imam, and gave her a fitting burial in the garden outside the city that belonged to Musa al-Kharaj.
When her brother Imam Reza (AS), who was in the Khorasani city of Merv (in the present Republic of Turkmenistan), learned about the fate of his spinster sister at the young age of 29 years, he was overcome with grief, and said: "Whoever visits her grave, cognizant of her status, paradise is the reward."
Later, her nephew Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (AS) also said a similar statement, thereby promising believers the rewards of pilgrimage to the shrine of his learned aunt, whose city, the haram or sanctuary of the Ahl al-Bayt – as prophesied decades earlier by her grandfather Imam Sadeq (AS) – is not just one of the 8 gateways to heaven, but it is also said that whoever of the true believers is buried in Qom, will go directly to paradise without witnessing or experiencing the calamities of the Day of Resurrection.
No wonder, Imam Jawad's (AS) daughter, Hazrat Zainab (SA), who is also buried near her grandaunt Hazrat Fatema al-Ma'sumah (SA), built the first dome over her shrine, which today is indeed a sprawling sanctuary for the faithful from around the globe – whether pilgrims or scholars and theology students from all over Iran and different parts of the world, seeking her intercession with God for the eternal bliss of Paradise.