In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. Heartiest congratulations to you all on a very auspicious occasion. Today is the blessed 20th of the month of Jamadi as-Saani, celebrated as Mother's Day, to mark the birth anniversary of the noblest ever lady who continues to serve as the most Excellent Exemplar for the Daughters of Eve.
She is none other than Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (peace upon her) the daughter of the Almighty's last and greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
A famous hadith from the Prophet of Islam reads: "Paradise lies at the feet of the mother."
This saying is an undeniable proof of the lofty status of women and motherhood in Islam. No religion or school of philosophical thought holds women in such high esteem as does Islam – the most perfect code of behaviour revealed by God to humanity. It is also worth noting that unlike the texts of the various creeds and the manifestos conjured up by thinkers or self-styled lawmakers, the verses of the Holy Qur'an and the sayings of the Almighty's Last Messenger to mankind, are not mere theory. They are in fact practicality at its brilliant best in order to mold the behaviour of people all over the world in every age. An example in this regard is the depiction of the Virgin Mary (peace upon her). The Qur'an says the Mother of Jesus (PBUH) was a lady unsullied by any form of impurity. This is proof of the fact that virtue is the yardstick for measuring the honour and dignity of women in Islam. It is virtuous mothers who give birth to virtuous children, who in turn provide practical examples of building virtuous societies. In other words, paradise does not lie at the feet of any of those morally loose and scantily clad women whom the modern West likes to call free, liberal, and emancipated. No wonder, problems plaguing societies today is the increase in the number of unprincipled elements, whose source is definitely other than virtue.
To be more precise, sound and healthy societies can never take shape without having the perfect model of femininity or motherhood as their firm base. The Virgin Mary, although a base of virtue in view of her excellent role as the mother of one of the Five Greatest-Ever Prophets, and as one of the most honoured ladies of paradise, cannot serve as the supreme model of virtue for all women, especially wives. The reason is that she had to remain a spinster since no man of her days was worthy of her hand. It is thus obvious that the Most Excellent Exemplar for the daughters of Eve ought to be a lady, who besides being a dedicated daughter and a model mother, has to be the perfectly devoted wife. Again the Holy Qur'an comes to our rescue. It provides us the Verse of Purity concerning an immaculately unsullied group of persons whose central character is a spotless lady more dignified than Mary. Verse 33 of Surah Ahzaab reads:
"Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt and keep you thoroughly purified.”
As is clear from the wording of the verse that we recited to you, she is the pivot around which the term Ahl al-Bayt or Members of the Prophet's Blessed House revolves and which in every age and era gave to the world models par excellence to mould societies on the practical base of faith and virtue.
It is for this reason that God Almighty has called this lady the Kowsar or "The Spring of Abundantly Perpetual Munificence" in the Surah of the same name, which reads:
“In The Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
“Indeed, We have granted you Kowsar,
“Therefore pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice,
“Surely your enemy is the one who shall be without posterity.”
All agree that the person mentioned by the holy Qur'an is Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (peace upon her), whose birth anniversary we celebrate every year this day as Mother's Day and Women's Week in view of the fact that the az-Zahra or the All-Radiant is the lady of manifold excellences. The Prophet's dedicated daughter, who lived in the full limelight of history and historical developments that continue to govern our life, would have remained a spinster like the Virgin Mary if God had not created her perfectly immaculate match in Imam Ali (PBUH).
The result of this blessed union were not just the two infallible sons, that is, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them), but also such impeccably virtuous daughters as Hazrat Zainab and Hazrat Omm Kulsoum (peace upon them), both of whom played exemplary roles for posterity to base their lives upon.
The perpetual munificence of this Noblest-Ever Lady, who exalted the position of virtuous motherhood by placing paradise at their feet for their equally virtuous children, continues to radiate every day despite the passing of a millennium and four centuries since her auspicious birth. Among her Infallible Descendants is the Lord of the Age, Imam Mahdi (PBUH), whose reappearance, along with his deputy Prophet Jesus, will eventually fill the earth with peace, justice and equity after ridding it of all vestiges of corruption and oppression.
Over the past fourteen centuries, dynasties have appeared in different places, from Morocco to Indonesia claiming descent from her. The famous University of al-Azhar in Cairo which was founded one thousand years ago by the Fatemids – who also claimed descent from her – is named after her epithet, az-Zahra.
In our own days, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini, who incidentally was born today on the auspicious birth anniversary of Hazrat Fatema (peace upon her), was a direct descendant of that blessed lady, and so is Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the present Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
Could there be any doubt that the person, who all denominations of Islam hail as the “Lady of Paradise”, was the Kowsar or the Perpetually Blessed Fountain of Abundance, whose munificence never runs dry and continues to spread around the world as her progeny, the Saadaat (plural of Seyyed), multiplies?