Salaam, and heartiest congratulations to you all on the auspicious 1st of Zil-Qa’dah, the birth anniversary of our Blessed Lady of Qom – Hazrat Fatema (SA), the daughter of Imam Musa Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Known popularly as “Ma’soumah” or the Innocent, her holy shrine in the city of Qom – the centre of diffusion of Islamic teachings worldwide – is the second most blessed spot on the soil of Iran, after Mashhad in Khorasan where her brother, Imam Reza (AS) reposes in eternal peace; and hence a site of pilgrimage for not just Iranians but for the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt from all over the world.
"Peace upon you, O the carefully examined, tried and measured by Him who created you, and found you in your test, cool and compact, steady and stable. I tell the truth about you; calm and quiet, with self control and composure (you) put up with all that which your father and his "wasi" (successor) came across, blessings of Allah be on them.
The passage which we recited to you is part of the famous ziyarah or standard form of salutation for the Noblest Lady of all time, Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (peace upon her), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Indeed, Fatema al-Ma’soumah (peace upon her), whose birthday we are celebrating today, was a worthy descendent of the Mother of the Leaders of the Youth of Paradise, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them). Born in Medina in the year 173 AH, she often missed her father, because of the frequent bouts of imprisonment to which Imam Kazem (AS) was subjected by the Abbasid regime. During these periods of absence, she was groomed by her virtuous mother, Hazrat Najma (peace upon her), who was also the mother of her eldest brother, Imam Reza (AS).
This means divine providence had chosen for her mother the mother of an Infallible Imam, which is indeed a highest honour, since the mothers of the Infallibles are ladies of impeccable faith and piety, with no infidel or wayward person among their ancestors. No wonder, this grooming by her mother, as well as by her brother Imam Reza (AS), made the God-given talents of Ma’soumah (SA) flower to such an extent that she would answer complicated jurisprudential questions at the tender age of hardly seven years. An example of her knowledge and outstanding merits is the famous incident when her father remarked: Fidaha Abuha, which means "may her father be her sacrifice." It happened that a group of pilgrims from Iran had called at the threshold of the Ahl al-Bayt in Medina for answers to their queries, unaware that Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) was away on a journey. They were, however, not sent away empty-handed, for an attendant asked for their papers, saying the 7th Imam's little daughter could provide the answers. To their surprise the replies which they received from the little girl were not just satisfactory but beyond whatever they could comprehend. During their return journey to Iran they happened to meet the 7th Imam and when they showed him the answers given by his little daughter, he confirmed them.
Fatema Ma’soumah (SA) is also the source of several narrations from the Imams and her ancestor the Prophet, and is often called Alemah (or Most Learned Lady). For this reason, she was respected in her lifetime, and continues to be revered to this day, with pilgrims to her holy shrine, reciting: "Ya Fatema ishfa'i li fi'l-jannah fa inna laki ind-Allah shaanan min ash-shaan." It means: O Fatema! Intercede for me for (the reward of) paradise, for indeed you have with Allah a lofty status."
She was ten years when her father, Imam Kazem (AS) was martyred in Baghdad in the prison of the tyrant Haroun Rashid through a dose of fatal poison. Thereafter, she grew under the shadows of her dear brother, Imam Reza (AS), and years later when he was forced to leave Medina and taken to distant Khorasan to the court of the crafty Mamoun in the city of Merv, in what is now Khorasan, the faithful sister decided to visit him. On the way, near Saveh, her caravan was attacked by miscreants affiliated to the regime. She turned towards Qom, where the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt warmly received her. Here, following a brief sojourn of 17 days, her soul flew to the ethereal heaven, making Qom the stairway to Paradise.
Ma’smoumah (SA) who had remained a spinster throughout her 28-year life, since no man of her age was worthy of her immaculate hand – similar to the case of the Virgin Mary – has thus left a lasting legacy. She is known as Karimat-al-Ahl-al-Bayt, or the Most Munificent Lady of the Prophet’s Household. Her nephew, Imam Jawad (AS), has said: “Whoever visits her (tomb) aware of her status, paradise is the reward.” Indeed throughout the past millennium and two centuries, people have flocked to her shrine including ulema, jurisprudents, and philosophers, such as the famous Mullah Sadra, who has said that whenever he came across a complicated question, visit to the shrine of Ma’soumah would unravel the mysteries and enlighten his mind. No doubt, Qom is today the world centre for the genuine teachings of Islam, and students from all over the globe come to this Iranian city, to the learn Islamic sciences in the shadows of the sprawling mausoleum of Hazrat Ma’soumah. We end this brief radio programme with a phrase from her ziyarah, which is self-explanatory:
"Peace upon you O Daughter of Musa, son of Ja'far, the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you; Peace upon you, and may God ensure cognition between us and you in Paradise; raise us (on the Day of Resurrection) in your company; bring us to your Prophet's Fountain (of Kowthar); and quench (our thirst) through the goblet of your ancestor, by the hand of (Imam) Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS)."