In Surah Noor of the holy Qur’an is Ayah 36, which says:
“In houses Allah has allowed to be exalted and wherein His Name is celebrated, He is glorified therein, morning and evening.”
According to Tha’labi, the famous Sunni Muslim exegete of the holy Qur’an who flourished several centuries ago, when this ayah was revealed to the Prophet and he elaborated to his companions on the houses referred here by Almighty Allah, a companion called Abu Bakr asked: whether these exalted houses include the house of your daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra and her husband Imam Ali (peace upon them)? The Prophet replied: “Yes, rather (it is) the Greater One of these houses.”
The mercy of God is All-Encompassing. It is widespread and covers many venerable spots around the world. It is fully manifest in the principal mosques of Islam – such as in Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Bayt al-Moqaddas etc. The unending showers of divine mercy are evident in the houses where the prophets of God were born as well as around their graves, where the Name of God is constantly recited and glorified day and night – irrespective of whether these places of pilgrimage have been bulldozed by the Salafi heretics or it is beyond their power to desecrate them.
Qutadah, a prominent Hadith narrator held in high esteem by our Sunni brethren, says that once during a visit to the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Heir, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), he said: I have sat with great scholars but never did my heart feel the effect of a glorious awe on it, as I do feel in your presence. The Imam smiled and said: “Do you know where you sit? You sit in the House about which God has said: “In houses Allah has allowed to be exalted and wherein His Name is celebrated, He is glorified therein, morning and evening.”
This is another firm testimony of the grace of God covering the houses and the shrines of the Ahl al-Bayt for the benefit of humanity – even though the sacred tombs of four of the 12 Infallible Successors of the Prophet lie in a dilapidated state today as testimony to the unpardonable blasphemous sin of the Wahhabis. Imam Sadeq (AS), who revived the genuine Sunnah and Seerah of his ancestor the Prophet has further elaborated on the sanctity of the sites where torrents of Divine mercy continue to pour, when he expressed the famous statement:
“Indeed, God has a sanctuary and that is Mecca (the Holy Ka’ba); the Messenger of God (Prophet Muhammad – SAWA) has a sanctuary and that is Medina; the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali – AS) has a sanctuary and that is Kufa (in Iraq)’ and we (the Ahl al-Bayt) have a sanctuary and that is Qom (in Iran).”
Today, on the 10th of Rabi al-Akher, Qom is draped in black. Processions of black clad mourners beating their chests in grief could be seen in the city centre, where all shops and the marketplace are closed. The chants of “Ya Ma’souma, Ya Fatema” rent the air. Thousands of believers have converged on a shrine topped by a gold-plated dome and flanked by two majestic minarets. It is the mausoleum of a venerable descendent of the Prophet of Islam. To put it more properly, it is one of those houses exalted by God Almighty, where His Name is constantly recited and He is glorified day and night. The people are commemorating the martyrdom of the revered daughter of Imam Musa al-Kazem (SA), whose tomb has made Qom the second most holy spot in Iran after that of her brother Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad, Khorasan. In fact, this noble lady had left her hometown Medina and was on her way to see her brother in distant Merv (presently in Turkmenistan), when her caravan was attacked near the city of Savah by brigands of the usurper Abbasid regime, making her to head for nearby Qom, where the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt came out in great numbers to welcome her. The people knew she was no ordinary person but the most knowledgeable lady of her times, regarding whom her father had said “Fidaha Abuha” which means “may her father be sacrificed for her”, on seeing the correct answers she had given as a girl of less than ten years to a set of complicated jurisprudential queries presented by a group of visitors from Iran.
Fatema Ma’soumah was known as a prominent narrator of Hadith. On her authority, scholars penned down such important events as the Hadith al-Manzila that is a comparison of Imam Ali (AS) to Aaron the brother of Prophet Moses. She is also one of the prominent interpreters of Ayah al-Muwadda of the holy Qur’an that obligates love and affection for the Ahl al-Bayt as a token of a Muslim’s gratitude towards the Prophet. Yet another famous event recorded on her authority on the prime position of Imam Ali (AS), is the memorable proclamation of the Imam as his vicegerent by the Prophet at Ghadir-Khom on the express commandment of God in 10 AH while returning from the his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage. Alas, this repository of knowledge was not destined to stay long in Qom after suffering the consequences of the attack on her caravan that led to the martyrdom of two of her brothers near Saveh. A mere 17 days after her arrival in this Iranian city on the edge of the desert, the 28-year old young lady, who had remained unmarried since no man of her age was worthy of her hand, left for the ethereal heavens in the year 201 AH – true to the prophecy of her grandfather Imam Sadeq (AS), who had said decades before birth:
"There will pass away in Qom a lady of my descendants known as Fatema bint Musa, by whose intercession believers will enter the heaven.”
Qom, which today has been transformed into the leading centre for diffusion of Islamic sciences all over the world, is indeed honoured to be the stairway to the heavens, thanks to the mercy of God in exalting this city by virtue of this noble descendent of the Prophet. Let us join the pilgrims at her shrine to salute her in the proper manner with the words:
"O Fatema! Intercede for me for (the reward of) paradise, for indeed you have with Allah a lofty status)"