Foundation, NJ U. S. A
the Message Continues ... 2/93
Newsletter for May 2009
Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6 - Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 - Article 11 - Article 12
Fatima is Fatima
...... Shariati takes us to the heart of Shi'ism - Fatima, the beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He describes the woman we could not see, the one we thought we knew but only after his guidance do we become aware of the fact that although we related each day directly to her spirit, she had been lost as a model for our daily lives. That is, we had an emotional attachment to her inner essence but we had removed her form. Shariati takes us to Fatima. He begins with the social customs of the Arabian Peninsula before her birth where according to custom, female children were buried alive at birth in order to save the family from the disgrace of having an unsuitable son-in-law. It was the revolutionary message of Islam which did away with this custom. God reveals through the Quran that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had been given the abundant river of Paradise and through that river, he shall have abundant progeny although according to Arab beliefs at that time, a man without a son is called 'cut-off'. How could it be? The father of a daughter will have abundant progeny?
His wife, over 50 years old, gives
birth to a daughter, Fatima. God has kept the promise to
the Prophet for through her, the progeny of the Prophet
multiplies. Shariati then goes on to further enumerate
the honors that Islam has bestowed upon women. There is
only one person buried in the Ka'ba, the 'House of God'
and that is a woman, a slave, Lady Hajara, the second
wife of Prophet Abraham and mother of Prophet Ismail.
I detest your men. After I tried to show them who their real enemy was and they did not listen, I put them aside.""How ugly are the sharp edges of swords when they are broken and then play with people's efforts and struggles which so many have undertaken, destroying the fortifications, breaking spears, making devious decisions and standing on the precipice of material and personal self-desires. What a terrible future they are preparing for by causing the warth of God and thereby brining about permanent torment for themselves." ... "God says, ' If citizens are faithful and avoid wrong deeds, We will give blessings from heaven and earth to them. But they deny the truths so we captivated them for their deeds. From those who oppressed, the results of their actions will be returned to themselves. They cannot change the traditions of history.' ... "It is then that the destroyer of rights will lose and those who will come in the future will find and realize the terrible results of what the ancestors have done. So you should be satisfied with your daily affairs and live in peace prior to the storm and terrible revolts." For then, the sharp swords of the dominations of the oppressors, anarchy and the rule of tyrants will overcome you. The oppressors will enslave you. No public assets except a small quantity will remain.. They will cultivate with force what you have planted with love. At that time you will only sigh for there will be nothing that you can do because you were blind and could not see the truth. They will oblige you because you have turned your faces from the right way and you did not accept it." Why have many Muslim women been lost to either outdated forms or new imports? Why has she been exploited? Shariati tells us in the words of Hazrat Ali, "two parties are required in order to bring about oppression. One is the oppressor and the other is the one who accepts oppression.
Oppression cannot be one sided.
An oppressor cannot perform oppression in the air.
Oppression is like a piece of iron which is formed by
the striking of the hammer of the oppressor upon the
anvil of the oppressed." Thus, women themselves
participated in the attack upon their values by allowing
themselves to be oppressed and by not searching out
their roots. With the awareness which Shariati brings to
us, our coming to know Fatima brings about a
responsibility and a commitment to those who first ask,
"Who am I" and then search out the answer in the anthem
city and genuineness of their own culture. The
responsibility and commitment grows through love and
faith ... With Fatima as our model, we learn to fight
injustice and oppression. We turn from our self to the
others. We become actively involved in society's ills
because she as she really was, is our symbol, our model,
our heroine. This is not to deny the spiritual presence
and essence of Fatima who has inspired thousands of
artists, poets, writers and artisans. At one point we
learn that the Prophet gave her a prayer instead of the
domestic help that she had asked for. She grew from this
for this nourished her spirit and strengthened her
commitment to God and the people. But it is rather to
complement it for as Rumi tells us, "The physical form
is of great importance; nothing can be done without the
consociation of the form and the essence. However often
you may sow a seed stripped of its pod, it will not
grow; sow it with the pod, it will become a great tree."
And as every artisan knows, it is the clay itself which
determines the forms that can be created. Having awoken
and become aware to the real Fatima presented by Sharati,
the Iranian women were able to arise and play a major
role in the Islamic Revolution of Iran. They fought
against oppression a nd injustice side by side with the
men. Clothed in the modest dress of what Fatima might
have worn, they found no impediments to their freedom to
act, to fight, to resist.
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