The Lady of light
After the death of Fatima, she began a new life in history. Fatima appears as a halo in the visages of all of the oppressed who later become the multitudes of Islam. All of the usurped, extorted, oppressed, sufferers, all of those whose rights have been destroyed and sacrificed by pressure and have been deceived, had the name of Fatima as their slogan.
The memory of Fatima grew with the love, emotions and wonderful faith of the men and women, who throughout the history of Islam, fought for freedom and justice. Throughout the centuries they were nourished under the merciless and bloody lashes of the Caliphates. Their cries and anger grew and overflowed from their wounded hearts.
This is why in the history of all Moslem nations and among the deprived masses of the Islamic community, Fatima is the source of the inspiration for freedom, the desire of that which is a right, the seekers of justice, the resisters of oppression, cruelty, crime and discrimination.
It is most difficult to speak about the personality of Fatima. Fatima is the woman that Islam wants a woman to be. The concept of her visage is painted by the Prophet himself. He melted her and made her pure in the fire of difficulties, poverty, resistance, deep understanding and the wonder of humanity.
She is a symbol in all the various dimensions of being a woman.
The symbol of a daughter when facing her father.
The symbol of a wife when facing her husband.
The symbol of a mother when facing her children.
The symbol of a responsible, fighting woman when facing her time and the fate of her society.
She herself is an Imam, a guide, that is, an outstanding example of someone to follow, an ideal type of woman and one who bears witness to any woman who wishes to 'become herself' through her own choice.
She answers the question of how to be a woman with her wonderful childhood, her constant struggling and resisting on two fronts, inside and out, in the home of her father, in the home of her husband, in her society, in her thoughts and behavior and in her life.
In the expression of all of the amazing aspects of the great spirit of Fatima, that which causes the most wonder in me, is this that Fatima is the traveling companion, steps in the same steps, flies together with the great spirit of Ali, through the ascension of humanity towards completeness and the stages of the descent of the spirit and the psyche.
She was not just a wife to Ali. Ali looked upon her as a friend, a friend who was familiar with his pains and his great wishes. She was his endless refuge, the one who listened to his secrets. She was the only companion of his loneliness. This is why Ali looked at her with another look and also at her children.
After Fatima, Ali took other wives and he had children from them. But from the beginning, he separates the children who were from Fatima from his other children. The latter are called 'Banff Ali',[that is, sons of Ali] and the former, 'Banff Fatima' [the children of Fatima].
Isn't it strange! When face to face with their father, and he, Ali, the children are related to Fatima. And we saw that the Prophet also saw her with different eyes. From among all of his daughters he would only discipline Fatima. He only relies upon her. From an early age, she accepted the great invitation.
I do not know what to say about her. How to say it? I wanted to imitate the French writer who was speaking one day in a conference about the Virgin Mary. He said, 'For 1700 years all of the speakers have spoken of Mary. For 1700 years, ail philosophers and thinkers of various nations of the East and West have spoken of the values of Mary. For 1700 years, the poets of the world have expressed all of their creative efforts and power in their praise of Mary. For 1700 years, all of the painters and artists have created wonderful works of art showing the visage and states of Mary. But the totality of all that has been said, thought and the efforts of all the artist throughout all of these many centuries were not able to sufficiently describe the greatness of Mary as these words, 'Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ'.'
And I wanted to begin in this manner with Fatima. I got stuck. I wished to say, 'Fatima is the daughter of the great Khadijeh.' I sensed it is not Fatima. I wished to say, 'Fatima is the daughter of Mohammad (‘s).' I sensed it is not Fatima. I wished to say, 'Fatima is the wife of Ali (‘a).' I sensed it is not Fatima. I wished to say, 'Fatima is the mother of Hasan and Hosein.' I sensed it is not Fatima. I wished to say, 'Fatima is the mother of Zainab.' I still sensed it is not Fatima.
FATIMA IS FATIMA
By Dr. Ali Shariati