When there was such a hospital, with such a staff in a remote village near
Sabzevar in the 7th and 8th Islamic centuries, there must certainly have been
more important and well-equipped hospitals in larger cities like Rey, Tus,
Balkh, Bukhara and Baghdad. But we see that our ethnically-oriented
intellectuals announce that a European or American woman serving in the first
world war established nursing in the world. They negate and oppose the nurses
who worked in the early stage of Islam, because it is a religious tradition.
Therefore, you see how problems are confused, how rights are abolished, how
great talents are sacrificed in the name of religious traditions and how many
great religious values and Islamic virtues are forgotten in the name of
intellectualism and opposition to traditional, religious beliefs!
Thus the responsibility of those who understand both the present society and
Islam (and who live in the present century) is very heavy. They must bear the
burden of many centuries of emotions, ideas and faith. It is not an easy task to
travel such a long distance and discover the truth which exists beyond it.
As mentioned, one of the most important factors that enables Islamic communities
to stand against and resist the insidious invitation of pseudo-scientific
Freudianism and its dreadful use of sexuality is the presence of an exemplary
religious models in a humane culture. In the same way that Western worldwide
colonialization stupefies the minds of its own youth through narcotics, Western
colonialism designs and promotes Freudianism and sexual liberty for Eastern
countries Western colonialism exports sexual liberty into the Eastern countries
in exchange for their raw materials. In place of the oil, diamonds, gold,
rubber, etc. which the West takes from the East, it gives sexual liberty to
When a young man or woman is introduced to sexual liberty, he or she will become
occupied by it and will not think about other things, such as problems of
freedoms. And when such young people have matured, they will be so involved with
installment payments, sexual obsessions, etc. that they will never come to look
and think about other problems!
The most important weapon of Islamic youth against this insidious invitation of
the West is the possession of symbols leading the mind to genuine spiritual
experiences. The spiritual symbols made available to the present
generation which is unwilling to be captured either by hollow, conservative,
anti-human, anti-Islamic ethnic traditions or by the stupefying culture of
indecent Western modernism are the best weapons against the West's attack.
The woman of the Third World must be one who selects, who makes a choice. She is
the woman who neither accepts the inherited mould nor the imported novelty. She
recognizes both of them. She knows and is aware of both of them. The one which
is imposed upon her in the name of tradition which she inherits, is not related
to Islam at all but is related to ethnic customs of the period of paternalism
and even slavery. And the one which is imported from the West is not science,
not humanity, not freedom and not liberty. It is not based on sanctity and
respect for women at all. Rather it is based on the low tricks of the
bourgeoisie stupefying consumerism and mindless self indulgence.
She wants to select, to choose, but what model? She wants neither the model of
the traditional, strict woman, nor the model of the modern degraded woman. She
wants the face of a Muslim woman. Fortunately both material and history are
available to build this third figure. And even more authentic than history, more
logical than scientific arguments are the objective exemplary personalities who
are symbols in our Islamic history.
All of them were gathered in a family. All lived in a small
room a family, each
of whose members is a symbol, a model. Being Hasan-like means having patience
and peace. Being Husayn-like means participating in spiritual and religious
struggle in the way of God (Jihad ) and martyrdom. Being Zaynab-like means
bearing the heavy social mission of justice and truth. Being Fatima-like means
being a real woman. Being Ali-like means being virtuous.
I do not intend to once again repeat the life of Fatima as a model. All I knew
in this respect I have already said and written. But I would like to mention
once again that it is not sufficient only to understand and repeat the
historical biographies. We must realize how to describe, how to understand, how
to learn lessons from Fatima's life.
When the Prophet of Islam said that Fatima was one of the four greatest women of
the world, when he consoled all the pains, miseries and disturbances of her life
and implied she would be selected as the woman among women of the world, he was
not intending to superficially greet her or to give her false consolation. He
was quite serious in this respect. He recommended she be patient and bear the
heavy burden and responsibility of being Fatima. Fatima's sisters did not have
such a responsibility and were living with their husbands as ordinary Muslim
women. But Fatima was exceptional. Thus the Prophet by calling her 'the woman
among women of the world' was intending neither to make an idol for his
followers to worship nor to praise her as a victim in order to mourn for her. He
intended to introduce her as a model and a symbol, to learn lessons from the
manner of her life and to act in accordance with it. This is the meaning of
being the "woman among women of the world."
How can we learn from Fatima's life? You all know the various dimensions of her
life and, thus, there is no necessity to repeat it here. The only point that I
would like to make is that we should try to learn from this great personality .
For example, when we consider Fadak in Fatima's life, we must see what lesson we
can learn from it. Fatima's insistence upon getting back Fadak was not for the
sake of possessing a small farm. Her struggle must not be reduced to that level.
Her struggles and efforts were to take what she thought was her right, even
though the companions of the Prophet tried to show that their opposition was
according to Islamic standards Therefore, the real value of Fadak is as a
symbol, an example; a reason and a manifestation not as a farm.
Today Fadak does not exist. Some may say that such historical subjects must not
be considered and discussed so much But, quite the contrary, I believe these are
living subjects which must be repeated and discussed not as historical events
which are taught in schools, but rather as subjects from which one can gain
What lessons? A lesson to be learned about the highest manifestation of
motherhood in Islamic history, about Fatima, about the edifying symbol of woman
in the house, in marriage, in relationships, in motherhood, in training and
nourishing children like Hasan, Husayn and Zaynab and in companionship with her
husband Ali. She was a woman who throughout the whole of her life, from her
childhood to her marriage, from her marriage to the end of her life, felt
herself to be a responsible, committed person, a part of the destiny of the
community, defending what was right, supporting justice in thought, idea and
deed and confronting the usurpation, oppression and deviation, which existed in
her society. She was ever present in all social problems and confrontations. She
did not remain silent until her death even though she knew that she would not
succeed in this fight. This is the meaning of social commitment and
responsibility. This is the lesson that can be learned from Fatima's life.
When she was yet a small girl of around ten years, she went everywhere in Makkah
with the Prophet of Islam, her father. No one expected a small girl to go hand
in hand in such a social political and ideological situation, together with her
father. But Fatima felt herself responsible for the destination of the Islamic
Revolution although according to her age, she was not responsible. So she was
present at any confrontation. She was present wherever the Prophet of Islam was
alone against the enemy. She stood beside him. Numerous cases have been
recorded. For example, once when the Prophet's enemies poured dust onto his head
from a balcony, it was Fatima who cleaned the dust from the face of the Prophet
with her small hands. It was she who gave consolation to him.
The Prophet and his family were exiled in the desolate valley for three years.
Heroes such as Sad ibn Waqqas (the famous officer and commander) even after the
passing of many years, when recalling those days, would tremble with terror.
Throughout that time, when the whole responsibility for the blockade,
imprisonment, humiliation, loneliness, hunger, and difficulties rested upon the
shoulders of the Prophet, Fatima was present. She caressed her old mother, her
hero father and even gave consolation to her older sisters! She was the only
source of love, kindness and enthusiasm in this horrible valley and through
those hard and difficult years.
When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, she bore the difficulties of the period of
migration. Even in marrying Ali, she showed social commitment because everyone
knew that Ali was not a man of the house but rather a man of battle. Thus he was
not a desirable husband from the point of view which seeks only home, pleasures
and comfort. Everyone knew that Ali possessed nothing except a sword and love.
They knew he would not possess anything else up to the end of his life. Fatima
knew that Ali would never return home with full hands. She knew that the hand of
destiny had made Ali like an anvil which must bear all strokes, tortures and
hardships. Thus by selecting a warrior like Ali as a husband, Fatima shouldered
a great intellectual, human and social responsibility.
Thus Fatima consciously made her selection. She gloriously bore the heavy burden
of this mission up to her death. She made a home which is unique in history,
beyond human scale and standards. For everyone, whether Muslim or not, admits
that her home was a paradigm of the human situation a home in which Ali was the
father, Fatima was the mother, Hasan and Husayn the sons and Zaynab the
daughter. All of them were elevated symbols. All of them were gathered in one
family not dispersed throughout history in order to be collected and introduced
separately. They were one generation inside one house. It is really painful for
Muslims who had such models, such a religion and such a culture to have such a
destiny. A great personality like Fatima was among the members of this family.
She was such a distinct woman that Ayisha, the Prophet's wife, praised her
saying, "I never saw anyone higher than Fatima, except her father, the Prophet."
Thus it is sufficient for any intellectual woman to read a book about Fatima (or
about other distinguished Islamic women, like Khadija or Zaynab) to know these
figures and compare them with figures who are introduced in the name of
When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, Fatima bore the difficulties of the period
of migration. Even in marrying Ali, she showed social commitment. Any women
comparing Fatima with women who are introduced through modern magazines will
recognize significant differences and reach the proper and inevitable
Therefore the most important duty of the aware, responsible writers and
preachers is to introduce these figures clearly, brightly, consciously and
accurately to the present generation thus holding up the most efficient,
conscious, humane models to defend and resist the West's attack.
A real figure of a Muslim woman can be seen in the Battle of
Siffin the battle
that took place between Ali and Muawiyah. In this battle, the women (who were in
Ali's army) by singing epic poems, verses and by encouragement and enthusiastic
lectures and speeches, inspired Ali's army against Muawiyah. After the Battle of
Siffin and the death of Ali, Muawiyah ordered these women to be pursued in order
to take revenge against the families. One of these women was captured and sent
to Muawiyah's court in Damascus. Muawiyah told her that she had a very sinful
past. She, in order to avoid Muawiyah's revenge, said, "God bless you. Overlook
the past." But Muawiyah said, "Do you know that you shed the blood of our army
when we fought by Ali's army in the Battle of Sifffin?" She courageously
answered, "God bless you that you gave me this blessed news [that I participated
in that war against you and your army]."
This is the face of a Muslim woman! If we study the books which have been
written about Muslim women, we will notice that wherever Islam ruled throughout
history, Muslim women have shown the greatest talents in science, literature and
social issues. But wherever Islamic societies have declined, women also
declined. Our intellectuals have never found the opportunity to study the life
and personality of Zaynab properly and to take note of her real figure and role.
When Zaynab saw that the revolution had begun, she left her family, her husband
and her children, and joined the revolution. It was not for the sake of her
brother Husayn, who was the leader of this revolution, that she joined it. She
did so because of her own responsibility and commitment to her society, her
religion and her God. When she saw that a struggle and revolution had begun
against an oppressive system, she joined the revolution and was beside her
brother Husayn in all stages in those difficult days. Even after the martyrdom
of Husayn and his companions, she carried the flag of the continuation of
Karbala's revolution. She performed her mission thoroughly, perfectly and
fairly. She performed her mission with strength and courage. She expressed with
words the truth that Husayn expressed with blood. She shouted out against
tyranny in any land. She distributed the seeds of revolution in any land that
she entered, either free or as a captive. It is no accident that Muslims,
wherever they are, show a great and deep sympathy towards the Prophet's family
and love them.
It was Zaynab, the Prophet's grand daughter, who stood against and confronted
the ruling oppressive power and who destroyed all resistance. She accomplished
all this against a tyrannical caliphate which had conquered Iran and Byzantium.
She spread the thoughts and ideas of Husayn's school of revolution and martyrdom
everywhere and in every land. She took the drops of the blood of Karbala as a
symbol of courage and justice to all places and all times.
Yes! All of these miracles belonged to a woman! Thus when a
woman a conscious
and responsible, committed woman sees such heroics from a woman who belonged to
Fatima's family, she understands where she must look, how she must be. She
realizes that a woman of any age and any century can emulate this model.
These are the values that will not change or grow old nor do they depend upon
the customs of the social, cultural or economic systems. These are stable and
permanent values which will be destroyed only when there is no longer any
humanity in existence. Thus, the present day woman must know Fatima was a woman
who was a warrior during her childhood, a woman who showed patience and
tolerance in the hard days of the economic blockade, a woman who endured three
years of imprisonment in the desolate valley in Makkah, a woman who cooperated
and showed great sympathy to the Prophet of Islam after the death of her mother.
She was the woman who acted 'as his mother' and, therefore, was entitled to be
addressed by the Prophet as 'her father's mother'. She was the woman who, in
Madinah, was the wife of Ali, the great warrior, the man whom she herself had
selected. When she married Ali, she entered a home which lacked everything
except poverty and love. Then as Ali's wife, she showed the highest example of
companionship, fellowship, and the most ascending spirit. She was always beside
Ali as a wife, a friend, a companion and a confidant who kept his secrets and
bore his hardships.
And finally, she was the nourisher and trainer of Hasan, Husayn and Zaynab. Her
part in training Zaynab was even more important than Husayn, the symbol of
humanity, because Husayn had grown up inside the Prophet's mosque and among the
companions of the Prophet. He had grown up in Madinah at the center and peak of
the confrontations and great social events. But Fatima had trained Zaynab inside
her home and in her lap. The role of Zaynab in the revolution of Karbala and its
continuation and progress, resulted from Fatima's teaching and from the high
spirit of Zaynab.
From every corner of Fatima's house, a symbol and a manifestation of humanity
appears. The Prophet's family was considered to be the benchmark of Islamic
understanding in all ages and at all times. Even after the victory of the
Prophet in Madinah, Fatima still was the emblem of the bearer of poverty,
harshness and difficulties outside the home and was the highest caliber mother
At the peak of victory and the glory of Islam, when her father was the leader of
Islam, Fatima was still the example of a woman who lived as your sister and my
sister. She bore hunger as a slave. She bore hardships and tolerated deprivation
for the glory of her husband and the leadership of her father. And after the
death of her father, when those difficult days were renewed, she once again
started the struggle. Throughout the crises (when all the companions of the
Prophet and all warriors from the battles of Badr, Hunayn and Uhud were silent
in Madinah) this solitary mother did not cease her resistance. She actively
continued her struggle.
Even at nights she visited the companions of the Prophet and influential
political personalities. She spoke with the great friends of the Prophet and
important personalities. She brought awareness to all. She criticized all of
them. She analyzed and foresaw the calamity. This was her social role at that
stage until she died. But even with her death, she created a political event!
She asked to be buried at night. After her death, her memories, actions, and
struggles created a revival in Islamic history. She became the manifestation of
the search for justice and truth in all the revolutionary uprisings of the 2nd
through the 8th centuries in all countries from Egypt to Iran. Even at the
present time, she acts as a model for Muslim women: as a daughter of God's
Prophet; as a mother who trained a girl like Zaynab and sons like Hasan and
Husayn; as a wife, a high, ascending and exemplary wife to her husband; and as
the companion of Ali's solitude, hardships and difficulties. She was beside him
everywhere as a committed social woman, a woman who from the early stages of her
life never left her father and fought beside him and struggled with him. She was
the woman who fought against tyranny on the external front and who fought
against deviation, usurpation and oppression on the internal front.
died in solitude and silence. She asked Ali to bury her in secret, at
night. Here was a woman who even used her death and burial ceremony as a
means for struggle in the way of truth. This is how it is to be a Muslim
woman in the present age.