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In the Name of God بسم الله
1 pointImam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] said: "Surely, we have revealed it on the Night of Power." (97:1) The night is Fatima al-Zahra, and the Power is Allah. Whoever recognizes Fatima in her rightful manner will have comprehended the Night of Power. She was named Fatima because the Creation has been prevented (fatamu) from recognizing her [fully]." (Tafsir Furat al-Kufi) The Night of Power, which is described in chapter 97 of the Noble Qur'an, is a night that takes place on the 19th, 21st, or 23rd of the month of Ramadan. The first Night of Power took place when the Prophet Muhammad (s) received the first revelation of the Qur'an. On that night, the Qur'an was brought down to the lower heaven. Every year, on the Night of Power, the Holy Spirit and the angels descend to the Imam of the Age, and the reward for each deed is multiplied. It is the holiest night of the Islamic calendar. But a special relationship between Lady Fatima (as) and the Night of Power is illustrated in this tradition. How could a night in the month of Ramadan relate to her majesty, especially if she had not been born when the Messenger first received revelation? In our sources, Fatima is presented as the secret of Ahl al-Bayt. Fatima is clouded is mystery. Her hijab cloaks any hint of her identity, as she would wrap her scarf around her head, encompass herself in her shroud, walk silently on the ends of her dress, surround herself with her family members, and speak behind a curtain. Fatima only revealed herself to those who had a vested sincerity to her: the People of the Cloak knew her on an intimate level, and her closest companions were blessed to see her face - but she kept a distance from outsiders. Her death raised many questions, and even her funeral and grave site was kept a secret. Furthermore, Fatima is the recipient of the mysterious Mus`haf Fatima, the Tablet of the 12 Imams, and the Heavenly Baskets. Fatima was not just a practitioner of hijab, she was the very embodiment of the concept. She is called Layla in the hadith above, because the darkness of night is a cover for her true and magnificent reality. So, just as the Night of Power falls on a secret night, Fatima is a secret to be sought. Only the righteous will recognize her and this night. "The Night of Power is better than a thousand months" (97:3). In the esoteric language of our traditions, a day often represents a person or a group of people. Moreover, the word "thousand" (alf) was the largest number in the Arabic language, and it is a literary device for a very large number. This verse may be saying that Fatima (as) is better than a thousand months, meaning, the plethora of believers in the Islamic nation. Her rank is superior to [at the very least] everyone outside of the Ahl al-Kisa', and by her virtue, Allah caused the Imams to come out of her progeny. "Surely we sent it (the Qur'an) down in the Night of Power ... the angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter" (97:1, 4) While these verses illustrate the metaphysical descent of the Qur'an to the lower level, the verses have layers of other meanings. As we know, the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt are referred to as Speaking Qurans (qur'an natiq), because their role in Islam is to represent, interpret and apply the principles of the Qur'an in their lives. So, in a sense, Allah has sent the Qur'an down through Lady Fatima, as her descendants would be the Qur'an, united with the Book of Allah and never separating with it until the Hereafter (see hadith al-thaqalayn). Likewise, the angels and the Spirit descend to the Imam of the Age, whose origin (after Ali's Imamate) is the womb of Fatima. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. Besides enigma, the other major theme associated with Fatima (as) in our literature is her motherhood. Indeed, motherhood is special in Islam: it is one of the objects of marriage, and the womb (rahm) is derived from Allah’s attribute of Mercy (ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem). A woman who dies in labour is considered a martyr, and good childrearing can bring a person to Paradise. A woman who becomes a mother takes on many biological and spiritual qualities of selflessness, clemency, and beauty. Our Prophet recommended for everyone to marry early and even have many children. Soon after Lady Fatima came of age, she married Imam `Ali (as), and fulfilled the cosmic union between two lights and two perfect Muslims. The marriage of Fatima (as) demonstrates that celibacy is not an Islamic trait, and that Muslims should instead pursue chastity in marriage. A celibate woman, who was seeking virtue in her celibacy, came to Imam Ja`far (as), and the Imam told her that if celibacy had any virtue, Fatima (as) would have more right to it (انصرفي فلو كان ذلك فضلا لكانت فاطمة ( عليها السلام ) أحق به منك انه ليس أحد يسبقها إلى الفضل). Yet, she chose to marry young and have children in her short life, and became the Mistress of the Women of the Worlds. Furthermore, since the Ahl al-Kisa’ had existed prior to the creation of the universe, the concept of family and relationship would be primordial, cosmic, and not just limited to animalistic nature. Islam has always elevated good families, and has rooted prophethood and Imamate in a system of familiar succession (Aal Ibrahim, Aal `Imran, Aal Muhammad). The four mistresses of the world – Asiya, Maryam, Khadija, and Fatima – all performed motherly roles in their lives. The word “Fatima” means “the Weaned One”. “Weaning” is a term used to refer to the remove a child’s dependency on its mother’s milk. In our literature, Fatima actually weans her Shi`a from Hellfire (إنّي سمّيتك فاطمة وفطمت بك من أحبّك وتولّاك وأحبَّ ذريّتك وتولّاهم من النار), and most of creation is weaned from recognizing her in her majesty (إنّما سمّيت فاطمة لأنّ الخلق فطموا عن معرفتها). Her very name is associated with nurturing. Fatima was called “the Mother of Her Father”, because despite her age, she comforted and supported the Prophet Muhammad (s) in all of his struggles, till the day of his passing. She was the very foundation of her father and his retreat. In one instance, when Lady Fatima was nursing her young son, the Prophet (s) told her, “O my daughter! You replace the bitterness of this world with the sweetness of the next.” (يا بنتاه تعجلي مرارة الدنيا بحلاوة الآخرة). Fatima’s love for her children and her followers would even transcend the fear of the Judgment. On a day where everyone will flee from their own children (80:34-36) and women will be abandoning their nursing children and miscarry their fetuses (22:2), Lady Fatima (as) will seek justice for the murder of her son Husayn (as) (ثم تنزل عن نجيبها فتأخذ قميص الحسين بن علي ع بيدها مضمخا بدمه و تقول يا رب هذا قميص ولدي و قد علمت ما صنع به). She will also identify those who loved her family on the Day of Judgment (لفاطمة عليهاالسلام وقفة على باب جهنم ، فإذا كان يوم القيامة كُتب بين عينَي كل رجل : مؤمنٌ أو كافر ، فيؤمر بمحبّ قد كثرت ذنوبه إلى النار ، فتقرأ فاطمة بين عينيه محبّا). Fatima’s current role in Paradise is to look after the children of her followers who passed away before reaching the age of maturity (ان اطفال شيعتنا من المؤمنين تربيهم فاطمة). The Imams of Ahl al-Bayt even rear their children upon the recitation of Fatima’s tasbeeh (إنّا نأمر صبياننا بتسبيح فاطمة (عليها السلام) كما نأمرهم بالصلاة). The Prophet (s) said to Imam `Ali (as), “You and I are the two fathers of this nation” (أنا وأنت أبوا هذه الأمة). The righteous wives of these two, particularly Khadija and Fatima, would thereby be our mothers. Their examples provide both strength and tranquility. May Allah grant us the intercession of Lady Fatima (as) on the Day of Resurrection.