Home Archive Lectures Az-Zahra' (a.s.): A Role Model for Believers

Az-Zahra' (a.s.): A Role Model for Believers

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Jumada El-Thani, 19th 1430 H. - June, 12th 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon


Muhammad would not have wanted any child other than Az-Zahra', and he who Az-Zahra' is his child would surely be satisfied

A short life and a big responsibility

In these days, we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Sayyeda Az-Zahra' (a.s.); the pure, pious, and struggling lady whom Allah has granted infallibility. The date of her birth is not precisely known. There are stories saying that she was born five years before Allah revealed to Muhammad that he was a prophet and ordained him to commence his Mission, while others date it to one year after that; however, the most common view among the Shiite scholars is that she was born five years after Allah has ordained Muhammad to start his mission, and that she had a short life for, according to this story, she passed away at the age of eighteen.

However, her short life was full of what brings man closer to Allah and directs him to the path of shouldering the responsibility and makes him reach the highest human values. Sayyeda Az-Zahra' (a.s.) was a person who enjoyed an absolutely pure personality, and whose mind was open to every truth and heart was full of good and love. In one of the stories, we read that, during her childhood in Mecca when she knew that the polytheists were throwing the guts of animals on the back of her father, the Messenger of Allah (p.), while bowing down in prayer, and although she was only five, she came and removed them and stood before the perpetrators and cursed the leaders of Quraish.

The mother of her father

When Az-Zahra's mother, Khadijah, the mother of believers, died in year ten after the start of the mission, Az-Zahra' was five years old. She became more like a mother to her father, so she used to fill his heart with love and joy, embrace his soul, and share his pains and emotions, especially that the Messenger of Allah (p.) had lost his mother after his birth, and his father before he was even born. Therefore, Az-Zahra' (a.s.) tried to fill her father's emptiness and compensate his losses, so she was as compassionate as a mother and looked after him like a mother does. This made the Prophet (p.) say: "She is the mother of her father." This can only reveal that her heart was filled with motherhood feelings and emotions that overwhelmed her father.

Therefore, we notice that the relation between Allah's Messenger (p.) and his daughter was a very profound one, and that they lived the same life; her mind was his mind, her soul was his soul, and her heart was his heart, and he regarded her as the spiritual symbol of his Message.

While celebrating the birth anniversary of Az-Zahra' (a.s.), we have to recognize that she led a life full of purity, piety, and virtue. However, the problem is that many people ignore her supreme traits and only remember the tragic aspect of Az-Zahra's life; i.e. when her rib was broken; the thing which does not seem logical to us. Why? Az-Zahra' (a.s.) is Imam Ali (a.s.)'s wife, whom the Messenger (p.) has entrusted him with, and the entire nation loves her because of the way the Messenger (p.) used to praise her, as we will mention later. When Imam Ali (a.s.) refused to pledge allegiance, they came and threatened to burn the house down, but the Muslims renounced such an act and said that Fatima was inside it, so some of them answered, "so what!", and in another story someone said, "have you seen me doing it?" Supposing that this did happen, what did prevent Imam Ali (a.s.) from defending Az-Zahra', keeping in mind that even an ordinary man would not have accepted that his wife or mother would be attacked and not do anything? In addition, Bani Hashim were in the house and Az-Zubair came out raising his sword … However, some people say that the reason why Ali (a.s.) did not defend her is that the Prophet has ordered him not to?! Can anyone imagine that the Prophet (p.) would order Imam Ali not to defend Az-Zahra'; the beloved daughter of the Messenger of Allah!

Az-Zahra' in the Sunni traditions

I would like the people who care only about crying, even if what they are listening to is irrational, to refer to the sayings of Allah's Messenger (p.) and the traditions that talk about her traits: Aisha, the mother of the believers, was reported to have said: "I have never seen anyone who enjoyed the habits, character, and the manner of speech that were similar to those of the Prophet more than Fatima, nor have I seen anyone closer to the Prophet than her. When she used to come to him, he used to stand up, kiss her, and welcome her, just like she used to do when he comes to her… In a story by Abi Daoud, a Sunni narrator, he said: "When the Prophet (p.) used to come to Fatima, she used to stand up, kiss his hand, and seat him where she was sitting." In a tradition of Um-Salama, the mother of believers, she said: "Fatima was the person who looked like the Messenger of Allah (p.) the most." This trait was inherited by Imam Al-Hassan who most resembled his grandfather, and Ali Al-Akbar Bin Imam Al-Hussein (a.s.).

In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (p.) was reported to have said: "Fatima is a part of me and anyone who angers her would be angering me and what hurts her hurts me." Whenever the Prophet (p.) returned from a war or other trips, he used to visit the mosque to pray, then he would pass by Fatima first, before going to his wives… Abdullah Bin Omar said that whenever the Prophet (p.) traveled, the last one he used to see was Fatima and she was the first one to meet him when he came back… Aisha was reported to have said that when the Prophet came and sat between Fatima and Imam Ali who were lying down, Ali (a.s.) asked him, "Who is more beloved to you, me or her?" The Prophet answered, "Fatima is more beloved to me than you, and you are dearer to me than her", meaning that Fatima is more beloved, because he holds feelings of love, mercy, and compassion towards her, while Ali is dearer, due to his position and prestige.     

In "Isti'ab", a book by one of the Sunni religious scholars, it is reported that Aisha, the mother of the believers, was asked: "Who is the one loved most by the Messenger?" She answered, "Fatima." Then she was asked, "What about men?" she answered, "Her husband. He was a pious worshipper… Aisha also said, "I have never seen anybody who was more truthful than Fatima except her father."

The infallible Zahra'

As for the verse that indicates the infallibility of the People of the House, including Az-Zahra', it is reported that Um Salama said that the verse "Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying." (33:33) was revealed in her house, and that the Messenger (p.) called for Fatima, Ali, Al-Hassan, and Al-Hussein, and said: "These are the people of my house." In another story, she is reported to have said that they were in the house and the Prophet covered them with a cloak – hence, the name "the tradition of the cloak" (Hadith Al-Kisaa) – and said, "O Allah, these are the people of my house and my closest family members, please remove uncleanness from them and clean them with a thorough cleaning", and he repeated it three times. Um Salama then asked, "Am I with you, O Messenger of Allah!" And he answered, "You will gain good! You will gain good!" This proves that the verse was not talking about the Prophet's wives, but rather these infallible five. The Messenger (p.) wanted to emphasize this fact even further. Thus, whenever he went out for prayers, he used to pass by Fatima's house and say: "Peace be upon you Members of the House", and then he would recite the Holy verse.

Ali as a match for Az-Zahra'

Sayyeda Az-Zahra' was the link between prophethood and Imamate, since she was the Prophet's daughter, the wife of the first Imam and the mother and grandmother of all the other Imams. Thus, there was a part of the secret of prophethood and Imamate in her. Many proposed to Fatima, but the Prophet (p.) used to say: "I am waiting for Allah's command". He has also said: "Had it not been for Ali there would have been no match for Fatima", since they both lived in the house of the Prophet (p.) and both learned and educated their minds and hearts and acquired their infallibility in that house. Thus, nobody was equal to Fatima in her spirituality, knowledge and all her impeccable qualities that make man close to Allah, except Ali.

Az-Zahra' and Mariam (Mary)

The Prophet (p.) described Fatima as the "Head of the Women of Paradise", and in another story the "Head of the Women of the Worlds." As for Mary (a.s), she is the "Head of the Women of Her World", whom Allah has chosen to be the mother of Prophet Issa (p.). Thus, when we compare between Virgin Mary and Az-Zahra', we find that they were both role models in their worship of Allah. Nevertheless, there was no significant activity in serving the Message that was attributed to Mary, while Az-Zahra' used to teach Islam to the women of Al-Muhajireen (immigrants) and Al-Ansar (supporters). She was also the Mujahid (struggler for the cause) who used to deliver speeches as to defend the Imamate and confront others when it came to defending the right. That is why Fatima Az-Zahra' (p.) is privileged by the fact that, although Mary and she were both close to Allah, she was the one who struggled for the right, while Mary only took care of her child and confronted her people to defend her chastity.

Worshipping and strength

As for Az-Zahra's worship, Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.) says: "I saw my mother, praying from dusk until dawn, calling the Muslims by name and asking Allah to bless them. But she asked for nothing for herself. I asked her, "Why do you not pray to yourself too? And she said: "the neighbors come before the household members".

Moreover, Az-Zahra', who is being portrayed by some as a weak and poor woman, was actually of a strong and defying personality. She acquired this trait from her father, whom Imam Ali (a.s.) describes his courage by saying that when things got tough, they used to take refuge in the Prophet (p.). Fatima Az-Zahra' (a.s.) was so strong that when Imam Ali(a.s.) was denied his rights, she stood in the mosque and said: "Know that I am Fatima and my father is Allah's Messenger." Then she went on with her speech that scolded the Caliph over her inheritance of Fadak; a speech that was one of the greatest Islamic speeches, since it explained all the basis of Islamic jurisprudence and the circumstances which led to denying Imam Ali his rights.

Then, when the women of Muhajireen and Ansar came to visit her when she was sick, she was very harsh in her address to them. And when the two old men (Abu Baker and Omar) asked Ali to see Az-Zahra' to apologize to her, she refused at first, then she accepted out of consideration for Ali's request. Then, when they came, she said to them, "Have not you heard my father say that Fatima is a part of me. Whatever angers her angers me and whatever hurts her hurts me." When they answered that they did, she said, "May Allah be my witness that I am angry at you." Then came the most challenging stance when she asked to be buried at night, and that her funeral should not be attended by anyone who usurped her right and denied Ali his. This shows how strong she was in expressing her rejection and anger even after her death.

Az-Zahra' is our purified, worshipping, and infallible master and teacher, whom men and women ought to take as a role model of spiritual and humanistic values. She has produced for the nation her daughter, Lady Zainab (a.s.), who too was strong before the tyrants in Kufa and in Ash-Sham, and was the heroic and persistent fighter for the cause, when she assumed the responsibility after the death of Imam Al-Hussein (a.s.).

Peace be upon Lady Az-Zahra' the day she was born, the day she passed away and the day she will be brought back to life. We pray to Allah to accept her intercession for us, as well as that of her father, her husband and sons. He is the Most Merciful.

The Second Sermon

War on Muslims

Many countries of the Islamic world are floating on rivers of blood spilt daily, as a result of the vicious wars waged by the international arrogant powers. This is evident in Somalia that has become a prey for internal war, which is nurtured by the arrogant states, and where the brothers in arms are fighting one another and where the Muslims are paying a huge price from their own flesh and blood, as well as from their political and strategic position.

In Pakistan, the suicide attacks and the war taking place in Swat Valley embody a catastrophic scene, resulting in the displacement of millions of people who were the victims of an international plot that wanted this Islamic location to turn into an arena of chaos and tumult under the pretext of war on terrorism. This same war is extending to the neighboring Afghanistan, where hundreds of unarmed innocent civilians are killed by the American warplanes, under the pretext of committing a mistake at one time, and haunting the terrorists at other times.

In Iraq, we are witnessing an increase in the number of attacks carried out by the Takfiri parties, targeting civilians and killing believers in the mosques and other worshipping sites, as well as legitimizing Muslim bloodshed, at a time when the death tolls in the ranks of the American occupiers are decreasing. It seems that the objective is to inflict turmoil in the Iraqi internal arena via political groups related to the perished regime and the Takfiri groups. Both groups do not want the country to recuperate or accomplish its goals represented by expelling the occupiers, reuniting the internal arena and putting an end to any political disturbance or security turmoil that has burnt everything down and almost ripped off the Iraqis of any hope of accomplishing independence, preserving unity and protecting stability.

The Islamic world is being pressured by the arrogant international powers that want its strategic sites to fall under the mercy of the occupation or being destroyed by the fires of extremism and internal fighting. By doing so, they are keeping the nation preoccupied with its internal concerns and unable to deal with its problems, thus yielding to the international butcher that has never abandoned its dividing and fragmenting projects, and that wants the Arabs to choose between a full-scale chaos in the entire region and complete normalization with the enemy, which will eventually lead them to submit to the enemy's conditions and dictations.

Palestine: placing the stakes on strife

Perhaps, Palestine is the most obvious place where the enemy and the arrogant states are placing their stakes on fomenting internal sedition, whose circle expands and does not stop at targeting the factions of the resistance. They aim at preparing the environment for receiving the incoming projects and proposals, under the pretense that the internal situation that is not favorable for going forth with the confrontation policy. In addition, the Arabs, surrounding the Palestinians, have commissioned Washington and its new Administration to go forth in setting the settlement, the features of which would be drawn by the American envoy and which would be based on a Jewish Israeli state (sic) and a Palestinian one that would have no color, taste or smell to the Palestinians. Moreover, what they are talking about is the freezing of the colonization activities and not the disintegration of the settlements. Furthermore, the US has expressed its unshakable commitment to the Israeli security, and a permanent occupation whose discontinuation is not being demanded by anyone, and a road map that might turn into an entirely Israeli one.

Unity against strife

We want the Islamic world, especially its elite, as well as its religious authorities, its wise, its educated groups and its freedom-fighting and resistance factions to get involved in the project of the internal and Islamic unity. Moreover, we call on them to face the pressuring international campaigns and the continued Takfiri attacks, draw a clear line in confronting the occupiers and those who strive to sabotage the Islamic countries in the internal arenas, and to raise a unified voice against all the violent movements that legitimize shedding the blood of the Muslims and the innocent people, as well as against all those who are striving to plunge the Islamic world in sectarian strife that prevents it from achieving its goals represented by expelling the occupiers from its countries and establishing the foundations of internal unity on the right national and legitimate bases.

We call on the Muslim and Arab world to launch its own project of internal dialogue between its parties and groups and its political and sectarian components. This should be done before responding to the calls of others to start a dialogue, since the international sides do not ask for dialogue, unless it is in their interests, and because the internal dialogue between all the parties of the nation, namely between the Shiites and Sunnis is much more important than any other dialogue and represents a religious, political, and an indisputable and indispensable intellectual priority.

We call on the Islamic parties and movements to elevate their performance, rhetoric, and movement to the level of the higher Islamic interest, and the bright Islamic future. In this sense, Islam would play an effective role, not only at the level of the Muslim and Arab region, but also at the level of the entire world. Stepping out of the trap of the local details and of being sunk in the internal margins would become a means of raising the nation's major issues towards the wide horizon and the promising future.

Iranian elections: the power of Islam

On another scene, when we take a look at what is taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran upon the launch of the elections campaign, especially in the media and political debates through which the candidates appear in their true images before the people, and through which this candidate or the other is subjected to accountability and questioning in one way or another, we can witness the strength and openness of this state, and the openness of Islam in its view to the ruler and the others, via the experience which we want to be authenticated in the Islamic line, in spite of the negativities that have no effect on the general strategic line of the movement of the revolution and the progress of the state. 

Lebanese elections and sectarian mobilization

On the Lebanese scene, Lebanon went peacefully through the parliamentary elections, but is in dire need for renovation that overcomes the tense political rhetoric and for an internal reform that alleviates sectarianism, confessionalism, and partisanship.

The parliamentary elections have demonstrated that there exists an utmost readiness for inciting sectarian mobilization on more than one aspect. They have also exposed a fanatic aspect here faced by another one there. And what made things worse were the tense political rhetoric and the impulsive sectarian behavior, which placed the sects and confessions in front of new choices that have left their traces everywhere, even if things did not go as far as inflicting a security turmoil; however, they have incited sensitivities, tension, and complications.

Perhaps what relieves us is that the political rhetoric settled down, thus leaving positive effects as a result of certain stands that call for participation, agreement, and inclusiveness… However, we believe that there is a need for much more than that, especially in the Islamic circle, namely between the Muslim Sunnis and Shiites. This is because the Islamic and national situation necessitates a focused intensive movement at the level of the effective religious authorities and figures to bridge the gap by conducting meetings with the people and in different areas. Those meetings would re-unite this front that represents the vital guarantee to Lebanon's stability and prosperity, and seeks to change the state of destabilization that has left behind psychological and political tensions which everyone ought to change. We will work, from our religious capacity, to unite the Muslims and unify their ranks with what helps in protecting national unity and interacting with the major issues related to the homeland and the nation.

We say to the Lebanese: the enemy has set its mind and decided that the results of the parliamentary elections will not put it at ease when it comes to the Lebanese arena. Moreover, it has decided to pursue its military experiments and preparations that simulate a full-scale attack on Lebanon and the region. So, now it is up to the Lebanese to set their minds and get ready to prevent the enemy, which holds the decision of peace and war and enjoys an international cover to carry out new criminal adventures, from achieving what it has always sought or conducting a new aggression against Lebanon.

Embracing the Resistance and the Army

While we laud the last stands that have highlighted the necessity for cooperation, participation, and the protection civil peace, we call for embracing the Resistance and the Lebanese Army, to block the road before the enemy that should be aware that it has no chance of penetrating the unity of the Lebanese after the elections, just as it was the case before the elections.

We confirm that the political officials ought to determine the steps that will enable the country to step out of the several deadlocks it has been trapped in, and abandon the terms and themes that the politicians consume from time to time. Actually the people are wondering about how to rid the country of its indebtedness. How to build the just and strong state that is capable of facing any Israeli aggression. How to establish a state of citizenship to the detriment of the state of sects that the political practices and intimidating speeches consecrate…

Actually, we want actions to speak louder than sounds.