The days commemorating the martyrdom of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) – the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – are known as ‘Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah’.
The Ayyam are observed from 13th/14th Jamadi al-Awwal to 3rd Jamadi al-Aakhar.
We observe the Ayyam to mourn the distressing circumstances surrounding the martyrdom of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and her son Mohsin Ibn Ali (a.s.) during the attack on her house after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) martyrdom.
We consider mourning Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) in her Ayyam as our duty, bigger than even mourning Imam Husain (a.s) in Muharram.
The attack on the house of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) is more painful for Aal Muhammad (a.s.) than Karbala.
As Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informed – There is no greater difficulty for us than the Day of Karbala even though it was like the Day of Saqifah and the burning down the door on Ali – Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and Fatima (s.a.) and Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) and Zainab (s.a.) and Umm Kulsum (s.a.) and Fizza and the killing of Muhassin (Mohsin) (a.s.) with a kick is greater and more bitter because it laid the foundation for the Day (of Ashoora).
- Hidayah al-Kubra p 417
Then the heat in the hearts of the believer for Imam Husain (a.s.) that will never cool must burn even more intensely for Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.).
Condolence to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
Among the biggest reasons to mourn the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (s.a.) over an extended period is because she was the beloved daughter of the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.).
Our success and deliverance in this world and the hereafter rests solely on our belief in Islam for which we must frequently thank Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for his efforts.
Basic bounties like food and clothing should be recompensed by thanking the benefactor, often our own parents. Then what should be our compensation for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who has granted us all worldly and other-worldly bounties.
It is narrated that for the one who recites the following daily, Allah will raise 70 scribes to write good deeds for the reciter till Judgment Day:
جَزَى اللَّهُ مُحَمَّداً ص عَنَّا مَا هُوَ أَهْلُه
May Allah reward Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) from our side to the extent he deserves.
- Behar al-Anwar v 87 p 7
The Noble Quran informs us on another way to thank Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
قُلْ لا أَسْئَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْراً إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبى
Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…
- Surah Shura (42): 23
It is not our objective to delve into the definition of ‘near relatives’ over here, suffice to say that according to interpretation of various Muslim scholars it refers to Ali (a.s.), Lady Fatima (s.a.) and their infallible sons ending in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
One of the ways to thank the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) regarding his ‘near relatives’ is by partaking in their grief and sorrow and in this way helping them in these difficult moments.
Regarding mourning Imam Husain (a.s.), Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) informs:
There is none who cries (over Imam Husain (a.s.)) but that his crying reaches Lady Fatima (s.a.) and he supports her in her lamentation, and his crying also reaches the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and in this way he fulfils our rights.
- Kamil al-Ziyarat p 81
- Behar al-Anwar v 45 p 207
- Mustadrak al-Wasail v 10 p 314
The reward of mourning the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (s.a.) carries similar rewards, if not even more, given that she is the most proximate person to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) along with Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). So, their martyrdom is a bigger setback for Islam and Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and hence mourning Lady Fatima (s.a.) and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) carries maximum reward and is a means to offer condolence to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Safeguarding the rights of Aal-e-Muhammad (a.s.)
Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah is about mourning the lady who was in the forefront of safeguarding Prophethood and Imamate and it is about imbibing this stand in our own lives against the attacks on Prophethood and Imamate.
Regarding the exegesis of the Quranic verse:
وَأَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلَامَيْنِ يَتِيمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنزٌ لَّهُمَا وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا
‘And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father was a righteous man…’ (Surah Kahf (18): 82)
Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) declared: My father (a.s.) narrated from his ancestors (a.s.) – the two orphan boys were ten generations after their righteous father.
While we are the progeny of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Safeguard us (our rights) for the sake of Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
The narrator says – I saw people in all directions weeping on this narration.
- Kashf al-Ghummah vol 1 pg 51
Then it is for the Shias of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) in all eras to do their utmost to safeguard the rights of Aal-e-Muhammad (a.s.). And one of the ways to achieve this is to commemorate Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah with the zest and vigour it deserves.
In this mourning period we must answer the pleas of Lady Fatima (s.a.) that went unanswered during the attack on the house and in the Sermon of Fadak in the mosque of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), as Ibn Abbas reports:
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed:
…it is as if I see grief and anxiety entering my daughter’s house, her respect being violated, her rights being usurped, her inheritance being denied to her, her unborn being miscarried and (in this moment of distress) she will call out – O Muhammad, but no one replies to her pleas.
- Faraid al-Simtain v 2 p 35
Responsibilities during Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah
We must evoke memories of the difficulties of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and pray for earliest reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
All related events like her martyrdom, violent attack on her house that saw her being bodily harmed, resulting in martyrdom of the unborn Mohsin Ibn Ali (a.s.), usurping of Fadak, Sermon of Fadak, and its arguments, etc must be propagated widely.
We must be in a state of mourning (azadari) over the period like we mourn Imam Husain (a.s.) in Muharram. Black clothing, mourning assemblies, processions should mark the period of mourning.
Dedicated effort must be made to publicize the Sermon of Fadak and memorize it.
The great Shiite scholar and jurist – Ayatullah Sayyed Shihab al-Deen Marashi Najafi (r.a.) in his will to his son:
O son, there is a memorable speech by Sayyidah Tahirah – Fatima (s.a.) which she delivered in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) mosque in front of the Muslims. Even the scholars and proficient linguists have failed to understand it fully. Reflect on her words and try to understand them.
- Shihab al-Shariah p 366
In Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah the Muslim community must be guided towards the correct belief of Imamate and Fadak with proper arguments because this is the reason the Lady of Light (s.a.) underwent so many difficulties. Else, it was the easiest thing for her to annihilate the enemies with a simple curse.
Ayyam-e-Fatimiyyah serves as a wake-up call delivered by Lady Fatima (s.a.) to the Muslims every year, to revive her struggle against the Satanic forces that irreparably damaged Islam, which will be reformed only with the advent of her last son, the Promised Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).