In Memory of a Great Lady

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In Memory of a Great Lady

 In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate__ Salaam and condolences to you on a very sad occasion, since today the 13th of Jamadi as-Saani is the passing away anniversary of one of the great ladies in the history of Islam. She was the daughter of Hazam and was named Fatema, in honour of the Noblest Lady of all times, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). She considered herself as a slave of the Ahl al-Bayt, although God honoured her with marriage in this blessed household. She gave to the world four courageous sons, including the valiant standard-bearer of the immortal epic of Karbala, Hazrat Abbas (AS), and earned for herself the epithet of Omm al-Banin, which means the Mother of Sons.

“O women of Medina! Do not call me Omm al-Banin,

Do not address me as the mother of valiant lions anymore.

I had some sons, because of whom I was called Omm al-Banin.

But now there is no son left for me and I have lost all of them.”

What you heard was an elegy by Fatema al-Kelabiya, the wife of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), following the heroic martyrdom courted by all her four sons on the day of Ashura in Karbala, in defence of their brother, the Prophet’s younger grandson and 3rd Infallible Heir, Imam Husain (AS).

In another of her elegies, this lady recited the following verses:

“O the one who saw Abbas attacking like his father the cowardly enemies!

“I was informed that my son Abbas was hit with a mace on his head while his arms had been already cut off.

“O my son, Abbas! If [your arms were not cut off] and you had a sword in your hand, no one would dare to approach you.

According to Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), the 5th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), after the tragedy of Karbala, it was the habit of Omm al-Banin to go to the Sacred Cemetery of Baqie to lament for Imam Husain (AS), and her sons. The people of Medina would join her in this hour of grief, and the scene was so touching that even Marwan ibn Hakam – an enemy of the Prophet’s Household – was moved to tears by Omm al-Banin’s elegies. A main feature of her elegies was her awareness of the political events and relevant affairs. This way she was able to convey the message of the immortal epic of Ashura to the future generations. She passed away on the 13th of Jamadi as-Sani in the year 69 AH, and was laid to rest in the Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery, besides the graves of the Prophet’s aunts, Ateka and Safiyya (peace upon them),

Several years after the martyrdom of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), Imam Ali (AS) expressed his desire to his brother Aqeel ibn Abi Taleb (AS) to marry a woman from a clan noted for its bravery and loyalty. Aqeel was very knowledgeable in the genealogy of Arab tribes and he immediately proposed a girl from the al-Kelabiyya tribe, and they agreed to give their daughter to the Imam. Much earlier in 8 AH, Imam Ali (AS) had been foretold by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) of the birth of a brave son to him through a noble woman, saying: This son of yours will be martyred while defending my grandson, Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala on the Day of Ashura.

Since then, Imam Ali (AS) had been waiting for the birth of that son which came in the person of Hazrat Abbas (AS). Hazrat Omm al-Banin came to the house of Imam Ali (AS) knowing very well that this was the house of the Leader of the Ladies of Paradise, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA). She served Imam Ali (AS) in the same manner as Hazrat Omm-e-Salama had served Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) after the passing away of the Mother of all True Believers, Omm al-Momenin, Hazrat Khadija (SA). On stepping into the house, Omm al-Banin vowed to act as a slave of the children of Hazrat Fatema (SA). Her sincerity was much respected by the Prophet’s grandchildren – Imam Hasan, Imam Husain, Hazrat Zainab and Omm Kolsoum (peace upon her) – and they always gave her a high status and respect. She was an accomplished and cultured lady, and bore Imam Ali (AS) four sons, that is, Hazrat Abbas Abdullah, Ja’far and Usman. All of her sons were martyred in the defence of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala. After their martyrdom, she requested people not to call her Omm al-Banin ever again.

On 10th Muharram 61 AH, the day of martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) and his 72 faithful companions on the battlefield of Karbala when the Prophet’s wife, Hazrat Omm-e Salama (SA), who was in far away Medina, witnessed that the soil in a vial given to her by the Prophet had turned into blood, she raised the cry of "Ya Husain, Ya Husain" and declared that Imam Husain (AS) has been martyred, as per the prophecy of the Prophet. On hearing this, Omm al-Banin gathered the women of Medina in her house and all lamented and wailed on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS).This was the first ever Majlis-e Aza conducted after the tragedy of Karbala. Omm al-Banin had such sincerity toward the progeny of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) that she loved Imam Husain (AS) more than her own children, a feeling which was from the depth of her heart. It was to the extent that when she received the news of the martyrdom of her four children, she said: "Tell me about Husain (AS)," and when she was informed of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A.S.), she said: "All of the arteries of my heart are torn. May all of your children and whatever that exists under this azure heaven be sacrificed for the sake of Imam Husain (AS).

Hazrat Omm al-Banin, whose grave was criminally destroyed by the Wahhabi heretics, along with the graves of the Prophet’s progeny, family members, and companions, continues to be the source of inspiration for the believers. The scholar Seyyed Jawad Musawi Zanjani, has written about a miracle in this regard. He writes that his daughter got back from school one day suffering from a terrible pain in her head and we took her to doctor immediately. But he could not diagnose her illness, and then he gave her medicines and painkillers and said: if her health situation got worse then take her to hospital and I will be there. At midnight her health deteriorated and when she entered the hospital she fainted and we worried more about her life. Later the medical committee held a meeting and called specialists from outside the hospital to study the situation. Then they found out that she suffers from a severe brain infection. The doctors were despaired after they knew her dangerous illness. Their despair led to the family to rise up the crying and wailing voices. Both the young once and the old lamented. Despite all the efforts my daughter still stayed in coma and the hope to survive is weak but rather no hope medically.

Seyyed Jawad Musawi Zanjani says, that this situation remained for a week until the weekend chanced to be the night of Tasua or 9th Moharram, and the family while preparing for the annual mourning ceremonies for the martyrs of Karbala, couldn’t stop crying and wailing. At that moment I raised up to pray with broken heart. I performed a 2-rak'a ritual prayer, after which I recited 100 times the salawat or blessings upon the Prophet and his Infallible Progeny, and I sent its rewards as a gift to the holy spirit of Lady Omm al-Banin, the mother of Hazrat Abbas (AS), and I invoked God Almighty to grant recovery to my daughter for the sake of this revere lady. In the morning the phone rang. One of the officials in the hospital said you: daughter is out of coma and she is in very good health condition as if she wasn’t ill at all. We hurried to hospital and we saw her in perfect health while the doctors confirmed even if she was healed she will lose her sight and hearing or becomes paralyzed. But because of God’s acceptance of my prayer for the sake of the lofty position of Omm al-Banin in His Sight, my daughter is safe and perfect health. And now she is married and has become the mother of two healthy children.

Peace upon Lady Omm al-Banin.

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