The infallible Imams (a.s.) were consumed with grief over the untold difficulties and afflictions heaped on Fatima Zahra (s.a.), the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) beloved daughter, by the pseudo-caliphs.
Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) says: The sufferings of Fatima Zahra (s.a.) were more painful to her infallible sons (a.s.), the Imams (a.s.), than the wounds of swords and knives; and her pain was more scorching to them (a.s.) than fire. It was decreed for them (by Allah the High) to observe dissimulation (taqiyyah) and thus, they could not reveal the sufferings of Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Thus, when the name of Fatima (s.a.) was taken in their presence, their hearts would turn sorrowful and anyone with intellect could observe its effect on their noble visages. (Bait Al-Ahzaan, p. 136)
This grief was a defining feature of their Imamat and made itself evident in two ways – weeping over her (tawalla) and cursing her tormentors (tabarra).
The following incidents illustrate this point to some extent.
Back to Top1. Imam Muhammad b. Ali al-Jawad’s (a.s.) grief
Zakariyya Ibn Adam narrates:
One day, I was in the presence of Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) when his son, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (a.s.), who was less than four years old, was brought to him. As he came in, he (a.s.) struck his palms on the ground, raised his head towards the heavens and remained engrossed in deep thought for a long time.
Seeing this, Imam Reza (a.s.) (asked him) – May I be your ransom! What are you thinking about?
Imam Jawad (a.s.) replied: I am engrossed in thought regarding the sufferings that befell my mother, Fatima (s.a.). By Allah! I will bring out those two men (Shaikhain) from their graves and burn them and then scatter their ashes into the seas.
Hearing this, Imam Reza (a.s.) asked his son to be brought closer to him, kissed him (a.s.) on his forehead and remarked, ‘May my parents be your ransom! You are worthy for this affair (Imamat).’
- Mustadrak Wasaail al-Shia vol. 1 p. 123
- Dalaail al-Imaamah p. 212
- Ithbaat al-Wasiyyah p. 218
- Madinah al-Ma’ajiz, vol. 7 p. 325
- Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 50 p. 59
Back to Top2. Imam Muhammad b. Ali al-Baqir’s (a.s.) grief
It is related that whenever Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) was afflicted with fever, he (a.s.) would treat the fever by keeping cloth pieces immersed in cold water on his body and call out loudly O Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad! that his voice could be heard from the entrance of the house.
- Rauzah al-Kafi, p. 87
- Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 62 p. 102
- Bait al-Ahzaan fi Masaaeb Sayyidah al-Niswaan (s.a.), p. 135
In explanation of this tradition, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) says that Imam Baqir (a.s.) desired that by invoking the sacred name of Fatima (s.a.), he would ward off fever.
Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) says: I strongly believe that fever could afflict the sacred body of the Imam (a.s.) due to the sufferings of his mother Fatima (s.a.) which were lying concealed in his (a.s.) sacred heart. He (a.s.) would cleanse the heat of the fever with water through the remembrance of his mother Fatima (s.a.) and her sufferings. This is similar to an afflicted person who tries to lessen his sorrows through sighs and deep breaths.
- Bait al-Ahzaan, p. 136
Back to Top3. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq’s (a.s.) grief
It is related that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) asked al-Sakuni whom Allah the High had blessed with a daughter: ‘What name have you chosen for her?’
He replied: ‘Fatima.’
On hearing (just the mention of Fatima), Imam Sadiq (a.s.) exclaimed sorrowfully: ‘Alas! Alas!’ Saying this, he (a.s.) placed his hand upon his forehead and sat down, grieving….Thereafter, Imam (a.s.) advised, “Now that you have named her Fatima, never abuse her, curse her or beat her. (i.e. out of reverence for Fatima (s.a.) and possibly also because she had to face all this at the hands of her enemies.).”
- Al-Kafi, vol. 6 p. 48-49
- Tahzeeb al-Ahkaam, vol. 8 p. 112
- Bait al-Ahzaan, p. 136
No wonder that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) unfailingly cursed, naming four men and four women after every obligatory prayer, for how they had treated Fatima Zahra (s.a.).
- Al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 342
- Tahzeeb al-Ahkaam, vol. 2 p. 321
The list of the infallible guides (a.s.) moved by Fatima’s (s.a.) plight is merely illustrative. The incidents are numerous and involve the highest personalities like the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.).