Ali and Fatima are now in their home outside of the city. They live away from the daily bustle of the city, near the village of Ghoba, eight kilometers to the south of Medina, next to the Ghoba Mosque. It is here that the Prophet upon his migration, before entering the city, spent one week and Ali, who left Mecca three days after him, caught up with the Prophet at Ghoba. It was after that that the Prophet went for the first time to Medina and established Islam freely in this city. He put in the foundation for his new mosque and history began.
They later move from here back to Medina next door to the house of the Prophet and the mosque of the Prophet. The similarities between these two beginnings at the Ghoba mosque and the Medina mosque and the comparison between these two realities is most exciting to whomever is acquainted with Shiite Islam and who knows the story of the Prophet's mosque and `the house of the Prophet'. If they do not know it logically, they will emotionally sense it.
The Spirit of Muhammad
While Fatima and Ali are far from the Prophet in Ghoba, it is most difficult for the Prophet. These two, the spirit of Muhammad's house are living far from him, outside the city, in a home full of difficulties and poverty but with a great deal of love and faith.
Ali, from the beginning of his childhood, has lived with poverty, loneliness, difficulties, hatred, religious struggle and asceticism. He has borne his hard and bitter life in Mecca patiently. His youth and early childhood had been nothing other than being immersed in beliefs and religious struggle. He is a very serious spirit, having no thoughts about a house, life, pleasure, wealth and comfort. He has a thirst which is only satisfied by bitterness. He is built from worship, asceticism, thought and work.
Fatima is also an extract of sorrow, piety and poverty. She bears the tortures that her father, her mother, her sisters and her brother, Ali have borne for years in Mecca. They leave a deep impression upon her body and upon her spirit. A weak body with deep feelings, she has a most sensitive heart. Now in the house of Ali, she pressures herself once again to live with difficulties, work, poverty and asceticism. Neither is Ali a person who brings happiness and entertainment to their house, nor is Fatima a person who can bring routine desires and excitement to their new home so as to pull Ali from heaven to earth and tap his internal strength, depth and seriousness.
It is only the Prophet and the Prophet alone who can cause a wave to fall and bring about the happiness of his beloveds through kindness, good feelings and words, each one of which contains an ocean of meaning, sweetness and power for the spirit, hope and love.
The Prophet is himself aware of this. He knows the needs of his beloveds who live because they love. He knows, `Whosoever loves Hirii has no life and to whosoever loves Him, this is life itself.' He brings his Fatima and his Ali close to him. Their house is made next door to his. It is made just like his of branches and palm leaves. Its door opens to the mosque, wall to wall two windows facing each other, one from the house of Ali and the other from Muhammad's house.
These two windows which face each other, actually speak of two hearts which open onto each other: the heart of a father and the heart of a daughter. Each morning they open onto each other greetings. `How are you?' and laughter. Each evening, a promise to meet his daughter the next day. It is this window about which it is said, `The Prophet, everyday, without exception, unless he was on a journey, sought out Fatima and greeted her.'
Why from among all of the Companions, from among all of his close family, from among all of his daughters, should only Fatima be in the mosque and wall to wall with his home? The house of Muhammad is the house of Fatima. The family in which Ali is the father, Fatima, the mother, Hassan and Husayn, the sons and finally, Zaynab and Umm Khulthum, the daughters, is the family of the Prophet. The family of the Prophet is this unique family, this unique home that is so emphasized in the Qur’an and the Traditions, and which has been cleansed of all impurities and is chaste, guards them, for all generations and ages to come.
Whosoever knows this family does not need reasoning and lengthy discussions, because even if there were no words expressed, intelligence itself will admit its uniqueness.
Now in Medina, wall to wall with the house of Aiesha, this house built in the mosque, the fruit of this great and incomparable seedling grows. Hassan, Husayn, Zaynab, Umm Khulthum. A new history has begun. With the dawn of these stars, new horizons have been found: for Muhammad, the meaning of life, for Islam, the proof of belief and for humanity, the witness of all things!
The Continuation of Muhammad
The third year of the migration, one year and a few months after the marriage, Hassan is horn. Medina celebrates the end of its waiting for its messenger. The Prophet, who for the first time during these sixteen long and drawn out years of difficulties, full of torture, hatred, ugliness, treachery, where news of the torture of his friends and death of his beloveds reach him, now tastes the new and sweet news of the birth of Hassan which soothes his tired spirit.
Full of happiness, he enters Fatima's house; he holds the first fruit of the union of Ali and Fatima in his arms. He recites the 'call to prayer' into the baby's ear and finally distributes silver to the poor people of Mecca to the amount of hair on the baby's head.
A year passes. Husayn is born.
Now the Prophet has two sons.
Fate desired that his two sons, Qasem and Abdullah should not remain because the sons of the Prophet should be through Fatima. As the Prophet said, 'The generation of each Prophet was from his own body but mine is from Ali.'
And Ali as well. He should not remain apart from the generations which begin with Muhammad. Isn't it true in meaning that Ali is the continuation of Muhammad in spirit, his inheritor? It is Muhammad's progeny who should have continued. These two spirits join to produce the successive generations. In the mission of Muhammad, Ali is present and in the succession of Ali, Muhammad is present. Now the presence of both of them can be seen in the pure faces of these two children and Muhammad sees three faces in these two: Ali, Fatima and his own.
Fate decrees that these two should take the pace of his sons. These two are the fruits of the union of Ali and Fatima. Fatima, the mother of her father, all of the Companions know and repeat 'his smallest and most beloved daughter'. And Ali? His guardian, his brother and from Fatima, his most beloved sons.
The roots which join Ali and Muhammad to each other are incapable of being counted. Both stemmed from Abdul Muttalib. The mother of Ali looked after Muhammad from the time he was eight years old. And his father, Abu Talib, was as Muhammad's father. Muhammad grew up in Ali's house from the age of eight to twenty five and Ali grew up in Muhammad's house from early childhood until the age of twenty five. Khadijah was as Ali's mother and the Prophet was as his father!
What similar and closer union could there have been! Their relationships are all comparable. Two human beings are symmetrical to each other. Two “one another’s”.
Ali is the first person who accepts Islam from the Prophet. He extends the first hand to the Prophet when he is hidden and alone. They join together and from then on stand alongside all of the dangers and in the midst of all of the difficulties, until his death.
Before the mission, Ali is a small boy of six or seven years old. He takes him alone to Mt. Hira. He participates in the depth of asceticism and wonderful prayers and accompanies him day and night.
A man can be seen standing alone in the moonlight, in the silence of the whisperings and words of the night of Ramadan, close to the time of the mission, upon the top of Mt. Hira. He is either sitting down or slowly pacing back and forth. Sometimes, underneath the rain of inspiration, his head falls under the weight of the whispered feelings. Sometimes he raises his head to the heavens and in the depths of the ignorance of that, he cries until he finds the way. He is waiting. He sees something which is still unknown to him. During all of these times, a small child; like his shadow, is with him, sometimes on his shoulder and sometimes beside him.
Ali is a child of nine or ten years old. One night, in the home of the Prophet, he enters his mother and father's room: Khadijah and Muhammad! He sees them kneeling on the ground, sitting for awhile and then rising and saying something under their lips. Both together; neither one notices him. He remains in wonder. Finally he asks, `What are you doing?'
The Prophet answers, `We are performing our prayers. I have been sent as the messenger to spread the word of submission (Islam) and to call people to the worship of the One God and my own mission. Ali, I call you as well to it.'
And Ali, still a child, of no more than a few years of age, living in the house of Muhammad, drowned in his kindness and his greatness, he is Ali! He does not say yes without thinking. Faith must filter through his wisdom and then find its way to his heart. At the same time, his tongue has the tone of his age and years, as he says, `Allow me to talk to my father, Abu Talib, and then make my decision.'
Immediately afterwards, he runs up the stairs to his room to sleep. But this invitation is not an ordinary invitation which Ali, even though only eight or ten years old, could take quietly. He stays awake thinking until dawn.
No one knows what effect the words that night had on the thoughts of this boy but in the morning, they hear his footsteps, light, but decisive and quiet. They stop behind the door of the Prophet and in a sweet voice but with the beauty and perseverance of Ali, he says, `Last night, I thought to myself, `God, in creating me, had not consulted Abu Talib, first. So why should I now ask his opinion about worshipping Him? 'Tell me about Islam.'
The Prophet speaks to him and he says, 'I accept.' From then on he finds himself upon this way and in the midst of this union. He spends every second .of his life towards this end. He becomes. a wonderful symbol of one who worships God, is loyal to Muhammad and a friend to humanity and devoted to the spirit. He joins with the heart and thoughts of Muhammad in a thousand ways, both hidden and manifest. Everyone knows this. Muhammad knows it more than others. He senses the thousands of rays of light which fall from his spirit upon Ali. This is why one day, when his spirit is filled with the light which shone upon him from the Prophet, he becomes excited, his heart deeply desires to hear the Prophet's feelings, towards him, so he asks, Among these two, which is the most beloved of the Prophet, his daughter, Fatima Zahra, or her husband, Ali?'
The Prophet was at the other end of a difficult question. At the same time that he was required to answer `an impossible question', while smiling kindly and softly, he found the answer which he felt would be right for that which all concerned had in their hearts. With atone full of the victory of pleasure, he answered, and ‘Fatima is more beloved to me than you and you are dearer to me than she.'
He never tries to show himself to differ from others. Rather, it was the opposite. He would say, `I am a human being like you. The only difference is the revelation which I receive.' He always declared that he did not know the hidden world and other than that which is told him, he knows nothing. He was always trying not to stand out or seem peculiar and as far as possible, not to call attention to himself.
One day an old woman approached him to ask him something. All the things that she had heard about him and the greatness she knew he had, had so affected her that when she found herself in his presence, she trembled and stuttered. The Prophet, who sensed that she had been struck by his person and his presence, moves simply and quietly forward. With kindness, he places his hand upon her shoulder and in a kind and intimate tone, he says, `Mother. What is it? I am the son of that Quraish woman who milked sheep.'
The depth of his sensitivity, sympathy and the softness of his heart were most amazing. Sometimes, inside the house, he would so humble himself that the hands of little Aiesha easily reached him. He kissed the hands of Fatima. His analogies which came from kindness were something special: 'Ammar is as the space between my two eyes,' 'Ali is from me and I am from Ali,' 'Fatima is a part of my body.'
And now Hassan and Husayn are born. What things did the Prophet not do with these two beloved children! He loved them, the mirror and vital fruit of the `most beloved of his dearest ones' and `the dearest of his beloveds'. He had always showed special kindness towards Fatima and gave her spiritual strength to an extent which cannot even be found among men today. And now, from his only remaining daughter, two sons have been found whom he must have loved very dearly. He was so fond of them that everyone expressed amazement.
One day, he enters Fatima's house as he did everyday and from the time the children were born, every moment, every hour. He enters. He sees that both Ali and Fatima are asleep and Hassan is hungry and crying. He can find nothing to eat. The Prophet cannot bring himself to wake his dearest and his most beloved. Quietly and barefooted, he takes himself to the sheep in the house, milks it and gives the milk to the child until he becomes quiet.
One day, when he is hurriedly passing Fatima's house, suddenly the cries of Husayn reach his ears. He returns and enters the house and with his whole body shaking, he yells at Fatima, `Don't you understand that his crying causes me pain!'
Usamah ibn Zeid, whom we have mentioned before says, 'I had business with the Prophet. I knocked at his door. He came out. As I was talking to him, I realized he had something hidden under his clothes and he was holding onto it with difficulty, but I did not know what it was. When I had finished saying what I had come to say, I asked, `What is that which you are holding, Prophet of God?'
`The Prophet, while his face filled with delight and pleasure, pulled apart his cloak and I saw Hassan and Husayn. At the same time that he wanted to explain his unusual behavior to me, he could not take his eyes off of them; in a tone full of joy and happiness, as if speaking to himself, he said, `these are my two sons and the sons of my daughter'.'
Then as his voice - full of wonder in a melody which cannot be expressed- continued, `Oh, God, I love these two. Love these two and love those who love them.'
In the words of a contemporary Arab, `If they were to have asked Muhammad which of his daughters should continue his line and which son in law, he would have chosen the same two which God chose.'
The children of Zahra and Ali sense, in the form of Muhammad, a grandfather, a father, a friend, a relative of the family, a guardian, a companion and a playmate. They were closer to him, more intimate and freer than with their own mother and father. One day, during one of the congregational prayers, the Prophet went down in prostration. The prostration continued for such a long time that the people who were praying behind him began to wonder what had happened.[In the congregational prayer, the congregation performs the prayer behind an Imam or leader and they all move and perform the prayer in unison.] The Prophet had always been swift in his ritual prayer. According to his command, he always took the weakest people into consideration.
They thought something had happened or else that a revelation had reached him. After the ritual prayer, they asked him. He said, 'Husayn had climbed on my back when I had gone down in prostration. As he had the habit of doing this in my home, I could not bring myself to rush him, so I waited until he himself came down. This is why the prostration took so long.'
At the same time, the Prophet insists that all people, especially the Companions, know that and see with their own eyes, how he loves these two children, Hassan and Husayn and their mother and their father with more love than anyone's heart can hold.
If not, why does he treat Fatima with so much respect among all this gathering? Why does he kiss her hand and her face in the mosque so much and with such insistence? When he speaks from the pulpit, he constantly tries to show his spirit and feelings to this family, to everyone. After his prayers, he adds the words, 'God love them as well,' referring to Hassan, Husayn, Fatima and Ali. 'Their satisfaction is my satisfaction and my satisfaction is God's satisfaction. God, whoever bothers them, has bothered me and whoever bothers me, bothers Thee.'
These words? Why all these expressions of feelings and showing of love and showing of affection, especially to this family? The near future will answer all of these 'whys'. The fate of this family, the fate of each and every member of this family, gives the answers to these 'whys'. They all begin with the Prophet. The first sacrifice is Fatima, then Ali, then Hassan, then Husayn, and, finally, Zaynab.
In the 5th year of Ali and Fatima's marriage, one year after Husayn, a girl is born to this family. She had to be born and she had to closely follow Husayn: Zaynab. And in the following year, another girl, Umm Khulthum. Zaynab and Umm Khulthum. They have the same names as the daughters of the Prophet.
Yes. Fatima is becoming 'everyone' to the Prophet and his 'only one'. His Zaynab dies, Roqiyyeh and Umm Khulthum also die. In the 8th year of the migration, God 'gave him a son, Abraham, but he also died. Now there is Muhammad and his only, remaining child, Fatima; Fatima, and her children. This is the family of the Prophet. The love of the Prophet for Hassan and Husayn increases. These two children have become his whole life and he spends all of his free time with them.
The Compassion of Muhammad
The Prophet is a man who showed great strength of decision and speech, whose sword was feared by all the Caesars, Kings and powerful rulers of that time. His enemies trembled from his anger. At the same time, he is a most sensitive person with a heart which beats with the smallest wave of kindness and a spirit which is excited by the slightest touch of truth, sincerity and kindness.
At the terrible battle of Hunayn, where the enemies had united in order to put him under their swords and destroy him and drag him to defeat and death, 6000 people were taken prisoners and 40,000 camels and sheep and other plunder was seized. A man came out from among the defeated enemy and said, 'Oh, Muhammad, among these prisoners are your wet nurse and your aunts and uncles. He then added, 'If we were in the presence of your nurse, we would expect kindness from her and you are greater than any of us.'
They brought a woman forward, 'I am the sister of your Prophet.' The Prophet said, 'What sign do you have?'
She showed her shoulder and said, `these are the marks of your teeth which you made when I carried you on my back and you became very angry and it me.'
The memories so flooded his mind as he remembered the kindnesses of his nurse and. her daughters and the time of his childhood in the desert amidst this tribe, he was so affected and put into a state of wonder that tears gathered in his eyes and he said, `I give away my share and the shares of all of the children of Abdul Muttalib. Be present in the mosque tomorrow. After the ritual prayer, announce your request to the gathering. I will give my family's answer to you and perhaps other tribes will follow me. The next day he did as he said he would and he freed all of them. A few, who objected to giving back everything, were satisfied when they were promised something later.
In the home and among the family, he is like this. To the outside world, he is a warrior, a politician, a commander, full of strength and power. And inside the home, a kind father, a humble husband, simple and intimate. Even though his wives were sometimes rude to him, he never once struck them. They caused him to suffer because they could not bear living with poverty in his home.
He would leave them and go out and sleep in a storage room. He would put up a ladder and sleep on the second floor of the room or he would sweep the floor and sleep on the earth. He lived like this for one month.
Finally, his wives, who both loved him and had faith in him, would surrender and would become still from the shame of their behavior. He announced they should either choose divorce and this world or he and poverty. All except one preferred the second proposal and remained with him.
Whenever he leaves his home and wherever he goes, whether walking in the streets or bazaar of Medina, he takes one of these two children upon his shoulder.
In the mosque, he goes to the pulpit to speak to the people who are standing listening to him. Below, his grandchildren are in the house next to the mosque. They leave the house wearing red shirts, begin walking and fall down. Suddenly the Prophet's eyes fall upon them. He cannot take his eyes off of them. He sees that they walk with difficulty. They fall and get up again. He can no longer bear it. He stops in the middle of his words, anxiously comes down from the pulpit, picks them up and as he had done when they were babies, holds them in his arms, and again returns to the pulpit. He sees the people are amazed. They are surprised by the extent of the spiritual excitement of this powerful man. They sense that he wishes to ask their pardon. Because of his children, he has interrupted his words.
While he kindly held the children, he returned to the pulpit and said, `God spoke rightly when He said, `your children and your wealth are your trials and tribulations.' My eyes fell upon these two children and I saw that each step they took, they fell down. I could not bear it so I broke off my words and went and got them.'
They say his compassion towards Husayn was different. The power and depth of his sensitivities exceeded all limits. He took hold of his shoulders. He played with him and sang for him. He stretched himself out. He put his feet upon his chest and took his hand. Full of love and tenderness, he kissed him and from the bottom of his heart, he said, `God love him. I love him.'
One day he had 'an invitation to go some place. He left the house with a few of his Companions. In the bazaar his eyes suddenly fell upon Husayn who was playing with his playmates. The Prophet stood before the children. He extended his hands to take his grandchild. The child ran from one corner to the other. The Prophet, trying to catch him and laughing, caught hold of him. He put one hand on the back of the child and with his other, he took hold of his chin, kissed him and said, `Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. God love whoever loves Husayn.' His Companions wondrously looked on. One turned to another and said, `The Prophet treats his grandchild in such a manner. By God, I have a son and I have never kissed him.
The Prophet, for all of his coldness and anger, turned to him and said: `Whosoever shows no kindness, receives no kindness.'
Days and nights came and went and Fatima tasted the sweet moments of happiness and the bitter memories past. The poverty she had suffered faded.
The Battle of Khaybar came and the Jews gave the grazing area of Fadak to the Prophet. He gave it to Fatima. Fatima, who now had four children, finds life less difficult to cope with.
The Conquest of Mecca
Mecca is conquered. Fatima accompanies her victorious father and her husband who had held the flag in his hand. They enter Mecca. She witnesses the greatest victory of Islam. She revisits the city where she had been born. She remembers the good and bad times she had had in Mecca. The Mosque of the Kaaba and what had happened, the house of her father, her life with her sisters who were no longer alive, `birthplace of Fatima,' the valley of Abu Talib, the grave of her mother, Khadijah ....
She returns full of the happiness of victory and satisfaction, drowned in honors and goodness. Her father is little by little being freed from the enmity of his enemies. His shadow falls upon the whole of the peninsula. Her husband is a blow to reckon with at the battles of Badr, Ohud, Khandaq, Khaybar and the conquest of Mecca. One blow of his at these battles or even at Hunayn and Yemen are worth more than the prayers of men and jinn and their intimacy until the Day of Judgment.
And her children; the only fruits of a life of sorrow and difficulties, a union with love and faith and the only continuation of the seed of her father and she herself, the heart of the family, center of the home and pure family of the Prophet. Yes. It is as if Fatima is compensating for all of the sorrow, bitterness and virtues. That which fills her more than anything else, is that her children so fill the heart and soul of her father and she can then compensate for the sufferings of her beloved father, for whom no son remains and all of whose daughters, except her, die in their youth; who have no further children from his marriages, more than thirteen years after the death of Khadijah, other than Abraham from an Egyptian slave who dies while still a nursing infant.
Now, with her beloved children, Hassan and Husayn, Zaynab and Umm Khulthum, she is compensated. The sweet taste of seeing them, the rawness which all of his life had been nothing but bitterness, had a chance to become familiar with the happiness and pleasure which life can offer, particularly since his age had reached over sixty and his feelings and needs for these children were more than ever.
Life has been kind. A sweet smile appears upon Fatima's face. A halo of goodness, honor and generosity fall around her house. Fatima, enjoying the unexplainable kindness of her father, the greatness of her honorable husband and the pleasure which her children bring her, lives in a throne full of good fortune which is close to all of her desires and aspirations.
But all of this peacefulness is just the quiet before the storm. The
storm comes. It is black, frightening and like a wind, takes all of her
peace and destroys her home.
The Prophet is bed ridden.
The Death of the Prophet
He can no longer rise.
All images suddenly change in her eyes. The pure and good Medina now flows with hatred and fear. Politics pushed faith and piety from the city of Muhammad. The promises of brothers are broken apart and tribal oaths are again being renewed. The Prophet is no .longer a leader. Ali is sent for. Aiesha and Hafseh call their fathers.
Yesterday the voice of Omar was heard saying the ritual prayer and today she hears the voice of Abu Bakr. The army stands without words. Against the words and even insults of her father, they will not move. From all corners come objections about the choice of Usamah as the leader of the army, although her father had himself chosen him and had given him the banner of leadership.
Today is Thursday and what a Thursday.. 'A rain of teats fall from the eyes of my father, He orders, 'Bring a tablet and a pen so that I can write something so that when 1 am gone, you will not be led astray.' They cause uproar. They do not allow it. They say he is just mumbling. They say the book of. God exists; there is no need of writing anything.'
'And now, the father no longer speaks. Now the house of Aiesha, which is wall to wall with my house, is silent. His head is in Ali's lap. His eyes are beginning to close. He is speaking to me more with his eyes.'
'I can no longer bear all of these difficulties. He is my father: I am his mother. If he leaves me in this city with all the uproar of these people...!
'He does not take his eyes off of me. He is more worried about me. He read in my face that I am suffering. His heart bleeds for me. Fatima, his daughter, his youngest daughter, his most beloved daughter.
'He indicates things to me with his eyes. I lean my face over and place it on his. He whispers to me that his sickness is death. 'I will die'.
'I pick up my head. Misery and terror so overcome me that I lose all my strength. The misery of remaining alive after my father almost tears my heart apart.
'Why does he just give me this message? I who am the weakest among all the rest?
'But his look is fixed upon me. His heart burns for his youngest daughter who, like a baby, is addicted to him. He again indicates that I should draw near. It is as if he wants to, continue what he had been saying: 'But, you; my daughter will be the first person from among my family who will come after me and who will join me.' Then he adds, 'Are you not satisfied, Fatima, that you will be the leading woman of these people?'
'What a significant condolence. What good news could lessen the pain of this misery except this? The news of the death of my father! God bless you, father. How well you know how to give condolences to Fatima. I understand why among all these people, I alone must hear of the news of his death. Now I have found the strength of crying and mourning: 'The man is dying. Clouds gather humidity from his white face, the protector of orphans and the refuge of widows.'
Suddenly the Prophet opens his eyes and says, 'Fatima, this poem is in praise of Abu Talib. Don't recite a poem in my praise. Recite the Qur’an. Recite!'
'Muhammad is no more than a Prophet. Other prophets have been sent before him. If he dies or is killed, you will go backwards and you will return to the reactionary, despotism of ancient time.'
Then he says, 'God curse those who set up the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.' While whispering to himself, he says, 'is there a place in hell for oppressive dictators?' He continues, 'We have given that home in the next world to those who do not oppress and .create corruption. Whosoever does not want these, should not seek them, should not do them.'
'The politicians do not allow him to write anything, but ask him to just say what it is he wants to write. 'What do you want to write?' Annoyed, he looks at them and says, 'what I intend to do is better than what you call me for.' In answer to those who are asking him what he wants to write, he says, 'I counsel you to three things: first, push the polytheists out of the Arabian peninsula; second, accept the agents of the tribes in the way that I accepted them; third,...!
'Suddenly they all look at Ali. He is silenced by his sorrow. The father is silent. The duration of his silence continues. Looking into a corner, tears well in his eyes and he continues thinking. They leave.
'I screamed in pain. My grief is from your grief, father. In a tone of peace, in answer to me, he says, 'There will never be any sorrow for your father again.'
'My father's lips were sealed, the lips which recited the revelation, lips which had kissed his daughter and her children. He regarded us for awhile and then his eyes closed. Blood flowed from his throat. His head was upon Ali's chest. Ali held a frightening and heavy silence. As you say, he died before my father. Aiesha lamented upon my father's head as did his other wives.
The moments passed in the silence of death. Suddenly his hands, which were in a position of prayer upon Usamah's head, fell to his sides and his lips moved, to my highest Friend.' All things ended.
'Father, oh father! You accepted God's invitation. You went to Gabriel.'
'Outside there was uproar. The city was crying with hesitation and fear. I heard the cries of Omar, who said, 'The Prophet has not died. He rose to heaven like Jesus Christ. He will return. Whosoever says the Prophet has died is a hypocrite. I will cut off his head.'
'Several hours passed. It became quiet. I saw that Abu Bakr and Omar entered the room. Abu Bakr pulled. back the covering over my father's face. He cried and left. Omar also left.
'Ali began the work of ablution and putting on the white cloth of the dead. My husband, Ali, Abul Hassan (father of Hassan, one of Ali's titles), washed the pure body of my father while he continued crying. He poured water upon him and fire upon my soul. People had lost their Prophet. People remained without refuge, the Companions without a leader but Ali and I lost everybody and everything. Suddenly, I sensed that in this city, in the world, we were exposed.
'All at once everything turned around. Faces changed. Terror fell from the door and wall. Politics replaced truth. The hands which had shaken in binding brothers together to their oaths moved distances apart and relatives moved closer. The Elders and aristocracy took on a new life beside the cold body of my father, the Prophet of God and Messenger to the people.
'For Ali and me the event is so terrible that we could think of nothing but the death of the Prophet. The city was full of plans, plots and conflicts and for us, existence all at one time, emptied itself. While there was the shadow of fear upon the face of Abbas, our oldest uncle, he came and in a tone full of meaning and frightened, addressed Ali. 'Put your hands forward so that I can give my allegiance so that they can say the uncle of the Prophet of God gave his allegiance to the son of the uncle of the Prophet of God. The members of your family will also give their allegiance to you. When this is finished, no one will be able to oppose it.
'What? Is there someone who wants this position?'
'Tomorrow you shall know:'
'Ali sensed the danger. But this sense of danger passed through him like lightening and left. He was inwardly overflowing with sorrow. Muhammad was his relative, his father, his guardian, his teacher, his brother, his friend. The Prophet was his total capital, faith, feelings and the existence of Ali. He could not bring himself to think about the events taking place outside of this home. He sensed his spirit under his cold hands. He sensed a trembling. He did the ablution. He was busy with the Prophet and, 1, with his children, my children.'
Hassan was 7, Husayn 6, Zaynab 5 and Umm Khulthum was 3. Destiny had planned a life of enmity for the young children after his death. Outside the city at Saqifah, the Emigrants (ansar) of the Prophet gathered together to choose the representative for the Prophet from among themselves. They felt that the Quraish of Mecca had their own plans. Abu Bakr, Omar and Abu Obedeh have arrived and they convince them that the Prophet had said, `Leaders are from among the Quraish.' They reasoned that the replacement for the Prophet must be from among his family. As a result, Abu Bakr was chosen at Saqifah.
And Fatima tasted life in the skirts of her mother and beside her father at a time when there were no longer any effects of the wealth of her mother, the peacefulness of the life of her father, and the happiness of her youth with her sisters. Her mother became old and broken. Her mother's age had passed beyond 65 years. Happiness, wealth and the good fortune of life were replaced by weakness, poverty, difficulties, an environment of hatred, the treachery of her family and strangers.
And her mother, Khadijah, before being the mother of Fatima and wife of Muhammad, was the first associate and the greatest companion of a man who had to bear the heavy load and the troubles of the mission, the one upon whom the mission of heaven had fallen, the mission of removing the blackness of ignorance, the mission of returning the fire of God to mankind, freeing people from the chains of bondage; changing the economic system of slavery from the prison of the thought of idol worship, is now the mother of Fatima, but completely occupied with Muhammad who inwardly has received a wonderful storm of thoughts and feelings about that which is above life and happiness. Around her, a fire full of hatred and the troubles of the worship of materiality and enmity spread. The mother of Fatima is busy with the difficulties and the Revolution of Muhammad. Muhammad lives amidst his troubles and his Revolution the message of God and his people.
There is no heart which would sense what Fatima was now feeling. The love of Fatima for the Prophet was much more than the love of a daughter for her father, the daughter who was also the mother of her father, a sympathizer with him in his exile and loneliness, acceptance of his troubles and his sorrow, companion in the religious struggle, a link in the chain of his confines, his last daughter and during the last years of his life, his only child. After his death, she was his only survivor, the light of his home, the only pillar of his family and, finally, the only mother of his children, his inheritors, and the wife of his Ali.
Just when Fatima needed the love of her mother and the kindness of her father, she senses that her mother and father, who had both only lived with pain, loneliness and misery, needed her child like kindness and caresses. Her sympathies and her life with him were only 40 years of death. The house which had made them house mates was the result of their being homeless. The attraction which they had between their family had made them strangers with others and had made them exiled in life. It was their loneliness which brought them together.
There is a saying that 'a heart which finds a friend through trouble and sorrow develops a friendship which, in comparison to a love based on happiness and pleasure, is much deeper and more certain.' The feeling with which one views how one has lived one's life and how one's friend has answered one's needs is not the same as the feeling of familiarity one senses with the friend in one's own being. For when one sees that one has sacrificed one's life and that the needs of the friend have been met, the spirit in the heights of its subtleness and the depths of its feelings where friendship and faith form another spirit within the self; senses a relatedness with the spirit of friendship. Perhaps both feelings are the same, but they have opposite orientations. No. They are not the same because to give friendship and to give love is not one and the same thing.
And Fatima gave such friendship to the Prophet that there is no comparison to one who gives love to one's father. The intimacy and purity of feelings which she had towards him created a continuous link and a situation incapable of being described. With the spirit of her father within, she was able to bear the years of difficulties, hatred, fear and torture. She bore the fact that her hero father was sacrificed for he was among those who remained a stranger in his own country, an unknown in his own city, alone among his family, those who spoke his language. He remained without someone to talk to. He had to confront all sides. He had to stand face to face with ignorance and idol worship, in wild conflicts with untamed elders, petty aristocrats and hated slave dealers.
His shoulders were bent under the heavy weight of the divine mission of the One God, alone in this long walk from slavery to freedom, from the dark valleys of Mecca to the heights of the peaks of the mountain of Light, alone and without a companion while his soul was suffering from the hatred, plots and unawareness of the people and his body was wounded from the troubles and blows of the enemy. He tried harder than anyone else to bring happiness and salvation to the tribe he was appointed to and yet he and his family suffered because of the trouble his tribe caused him. They treated him as a stranger.
On the one hand, he was alone, a suffering spirit, bearer of the Revelation and on the other, he was a storm of love and fiery faith. Tribal enmity, the unconsciousness of the people, the loneliness of not having anyone and the heavy weight of the load of the `trust' he had brought caused him anguish. God had offered the burden of bearing the weight of the heavens and the earth to the mountains but it was rejected. Only mankind was willing to accept the responsibility. In following this, the Prophet, everyday, from morning until night, would cry out a warning to whoever passed by the Safa Hill of the danger the people who were asleep and passive faced. He did this under the rain of problems that sought him out each day.
He announces the message in the sacred precinct of the Masjid al Haram, beside the dar al‑madweh, the meeting place of the wealthy Quraish aristocrats and before the eyes of 330 dumb, senseless, spiritless idols who are the gods of the people. He calls the people to awaken. He cries for freedom. At the end of the day, tired and exhausted, wounded internally, his heart overflowing with pain, he returns to a silent home empty handed, followed by mockery. Within his home there is a woman broken under the sufferings of life, her body any! Her whole existence was full of love; her two eyes waiting in anticipation, watching the door.
Fatima, a young girl, weak, moves step by step with her father through the streets full of hatred, within the Masjid al Haram under the taunts of curses, mockery, contempt and difficulties. Whenever he falls he becomes like a bird that has fallen out of the nest. When a bird falls from its nest, the possibility arises that it will fall into the claws and beaks of wild animals or birds. Fatima throws herself upon her father. With all of her strength, she protects him. With her small, fine hands, she takes her hero into her arms. With the edge of her small, fine fingers, alive with kindness, she cleans the blood from her father's head and hands. She heals his wounds with her soft words. She encourages the man who carries the Word of God. She returns him to their home.
She is a link of kindness, attraction and love between a suffering mother, and a suffering father. When her bloodied father returns from Taif, she alone comes forward to greet him and with her child like, endearing efforts, attracts him to herself, in spite of all of his worries and troubles. She attracts his heart towards her warm reception.
In the valley of the confine she lives three years beside her sad, bed ridden, elderly mother and a suffering father with all of his difficulties. She bears hunger, sorrow, loneliness. After the death of her mother and the uncle of the great Prophet, she fills the sudden emptiness of the life of her father with her feelings, kindness and endless understanding for he is now alone both within the home and outside of it.
She acts as a mother to her father who is now very much alone. She devotes love, faith and all the moments of her life to her father. Through her kindness, the feelings of her father are fulfilled. Through her devotion and faith in the mission of her father, she gives him energy and honor.
By going to Ali's house and by accepting his noble poverty, she gives him hope. Through Hassan, Husayn and Zaynab she offers her father the sweetest and dearest fruits of her life, full of sorrows in return for the fact that her father did not have a son and had seen the death of his three infant sons and three grown daughters. These are the roots. They are deeper than those of the feelings of a child which extend for her whole life of 18 or 28 years. Stronger than life, purer than will and faith, richer than liking someone and at the same time woven together from all of the golden webs of the beyond are all created in the soul, depth and conscience of Fatima. They join her with the spirit of her father.
And now all of these roots suddenly become disconnected through the thorn of the death of her father. Fatima must now 'remain' without him and 'live'. How terrifying and heavy is this blow to the thin heart and weak body of Fatima, this girl who is alive only through love of her father, through faith in the faith of her father and because of her father.
It is no accident that the Prophet, upon his deathbed, consoles her and gives her the strength, the strength of bearing her father's death. This strength is the only gift from the death of her dear one. This special news is that she will join him sooner than any of the others.
Because Fatima is afflicted with the heaviest blow which nature in its power can give, she suddenly falls into the most painful and most broken state. The death of her father is enough for her but another blow comes to her as well, a blow which even though it did not have the strength of the first, it was at least as deep and perhaps deeper. The hand of fate gives her no respite, the second blow follows close upon the first with only a few hours separation.
'Someone else is elected to take the place of the Prophet.' What difference does it make if this person was Abu Bakr or anyone else for that matter? It is not Ali.