Oppression and being a victim of oppression by a person or a group of oppressors is a topic that dates back to the origins of man. As evident in the story of the children of Adam, when Abel said to his brother Cain, “If you will stretch forth your hands towards me to slay me, I am not one to stretch forth my hand towards you to slay you …,”(1) Abel points to the cruelty that is facing him and his innocence in the matter. Why? Because, within each evil and oppression there exists traces in knowing the oppressor.
Now turning the page of history to the demise of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), we will see that Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH), as the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his remembrance, faced great oppression after the demise of her father.(2) This oppression can be examined from various viewpoints.
The first issue is that when the party being oppressed is a woman as opposed to a man, the matter holds a greater importance. A man, because of his presence in society and his personal and social responsibilities is faced with cruelty and hardships, just as the prophets and divine leaders faced oppression during their lifetime. But when cruelty faces a woman who was not responsible for an active presence in society, and her main focus surrounded matters pertaining to her house, the matter becomes ever more sensitive.
Secondly, what makes this case of oppression worse is the fact that Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH) was the closest person to the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP); she was a part of his flesh (3), his soul and heart (4), and his remembrance amongst the Islamic Ummah. Hasn’t Allah (SWT) made note to this fact that: “(O Prophet!) Say to people: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives” (5). And there is no character closer to the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) than Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH).
Third, the specifics of Fatimah’s (PBUH) character, her excellence in manners, spirituality, piety, virtues, and purity, make the pain of her oppression even greater. The mind demands that the holder of these characteristics must be respected and adored, not hurt and oppressed! She was the vivid example of what all Islamic sects consider her to be part of the “Tat-hir Verse” (Purification verse) in the Holy Quran. The verse in which Allah (SWT) clearly points out the character’s virtue and purity: “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying”(6).
And last, but not least the gruesome attack on Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH) is noteworthy. She was attacked and hurt at the age of 18, while pregnant, and already the mother of children at tender years, while also mourning the recent loss of her father – the greatest of beings. It was under these circumstances that the attack took place so violently. They attacked her house; beat her and hurt her physically, and led to her martyrdom and that of her six month old fetus, Muhsin (PBUH) (7).
Now the question remains, who was behind such grand cruelty? Can we ignore such oppression? Are the people responsible for such grave oppressions, and for depriving the Islamic Ummah from the divine blessings of such a lady, deserve the succession of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and the leadership of the Islamic Ummah?
(Selection taken from the book, “Al-Zahra (Peace be Upon Her)”, written by Shahid Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Baqir Hakim, with minor changes)
On behalf of Roshd Islamic Shia Website, we send our condolences to you dear friend and to all Muslims around the world upon the third of Jamadi al-Thani, martyrdom of the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP), the wife of Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH), and the mother of the righteous Imams (PBUT), Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH).
1. The Holy Quran, (5:28)
2. For further information on the life of Lady Fatimah (PBUH) you can refer to the article entitled The Life of Lady Fatimah (PBUH) located on the Beliefs section of the Roshd Website. Furthermore the occasion letters of the Roshd website with the subject of martyrdom of the calamities and oppressions towards Lady Fatimah (PBUH).
3. Sahih Muslim, vol. 7, p. 140; Sahih Tirmidhi, vol. 2, p. 319; Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 3, p. 153.
4. Amaali Saduq, p. 393; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 54; Al-Fosoul al-Muhimma, p. 146
5. The Holy Quran, (42:23)
6. The Holy Quran, (33:33)
7. Please refer to footnote #2.