Thursday, May 19, 2011

Divine Feminine in Islam and Fatima | part 2


Everything that comes into life has two sides, a masculine and feminine quality, even love. The masculine side of love is “I love you.” Longing is the feminine side of love: “I am waiting for you. I am longing for you.” Longing is the cup waiting to be filled.

The soul is feminine before God, waiting in a state of surrender for the Beloved to come. The sixteenth-century Indian princess and poet Mirabai knew this mystical truth. Mirabai was devoted to Krishna, her “Dark Lord,” and once, when she was wandering in some woodlands sacred to Krishna, a famous theologian and ascetic named Jiv Gosvami denied her access to one of her Dark Lord’s temples because she was a woman. Mirabai shamed him with the words: “Are not all souls female before God?” Jiv Gosvami bowed his head and led her into the temple.

The lover waits for her Beloved. And when He comes to us, in those moments of meeting and merging that are so intimate that one can hardly speak of them, the lover is feminine, pierced, penetrated by the tremendous bliss of His love. - Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Love is a Fire: The Sufi's Mystical Journey Home

The wife of Adam was feminine,
but the first soul from which Adam was born was also feminine.  
- Toshihiko Izutsu

The Archetype of Divine Feminine became effulgent and manifest more perfectly than most other human beings at certain historical point in human history. According to the Seal of Prophet, four are the brightest through four Radiant Faces, that of Asiya (Israelite wife of Pharaoh who cared for Moses at his infancy), Mary (Venerable mother of Jesus Christ), Khadija (wife of Muhammad and mother of the faithful) and Fatimah (beloved daughter of the Seal of Prophet), may Allah bless them all.

Prophet Muhammad, upon him be abundant peace and blessings, his holy blood lineage continued not by any son but only with his daughter, who was Fatimah. According to people of the house (ahlul bayat) the true line of the Imams, who act as preserver and transmiter of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, and comes from Fatimah.

Fatimah was born in the holy city of Medinah on 20 Jamadi Ath-Thaniah. Fatimah’s mother was Khadija-tol Kobra, the first wife of the Prophet, who was tremendously helpful in nurturing, protecting and helping Venerable Muhammad in realizing his vision and mission. It was Khadija who comforted her from the beginning days of mind shattering revelatory experiences that came upon Muhammad and even when Muhammad was in shock and disbelief about his own spiritual experiences, it was Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, who reassured Muhammad that such experience can only be coming from the Source of grace. In fact it was Khadija who first whole-heartedly believed in the mission of Muhammad and known as the first of believers, thus mother of Fatimah holds a special position in Islamic faith tradition. Khadija supported Muhammad until her last breath and Muhammad was so in love with this lady who was at least 12 or 15 years older than him, that he never really recovered from the loss of her loving support.

Fatimah was from this venerable lady Khadija and physically Fatimah corresponded the most with her Father. Because of her special beingness of personality and beyond, Fatimah is considered by many Muslims as divine in origin and several variations of a major hadith describe how she was conceived on the night of Mi’raj (ascension).

I heard the Apostle of Allah say, 'I am a tree, Fatimah is its trunk and Ali is its pollen. Hassan and Hussein are its fruits, and our followers are its leaves. The roots of the tree are in the Garden of Eden, and its trunk, fruits and leaves are in Paradise.' - Sacred tradition of Islam on the authority of 'Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf'

Fatimah tul Zehra (Fatimah the Radiant, Fatimah the Brightest Star, Fatimah-Star of Venus, Fatimah-The Evening Star), the daughter of the Prophet, is the secret in Sufism. She is the Hujjat of ‘Ali. In other words, she establishes the esoteric sense of his knowledge and guides those who attain to it. Through her perfume, we breathe paradise. Though she was his daughter, the Prophet Muhammad called her Um Abi’ha (mother of her father). While Fatimah Zehra was Muhammad’s daughter, the Rasulallah (Prophet of God – Muhammad) understood that his gnosis was bestowed upon him from the Divine Feminine.

During his life time the Prophet showed special honor and favor to his daughter. Whenever Fatimah would go to the house of Muhammad, he would stand up out of respect for her and honour her by giving her a special place to seat herself in his house. He regarded her as a sort of primordial woman, a symbol of divine womanhood giving her many holy names, such as: Siddiqah; The Honest, The Righteous; Al-Batool, Pure Virgin; Al-Mubarakah, The Blessed One; .Al-Tahirah, The Virtuous, The Pure, Al-Zakiyah ;The Chaste, The Unblemished; Al-Radhiatul Mardhiah, She who is gratified and who shall be satisfied; Al-Muhaddathah, A person other than a Prophet, that the angels speak to; Al-Zahra, The Splendid; Al-Zahirah, The Luminous. Prophet Muhammad used to say "Allah, The Most High; is pleased when Fatimah is pleased. He is angered; whenever Fatimah is angered!"

Shia school of thought revere the person of Fatimah both as Muhammad's daughter and specially so for being mother of the line of inspired imams who embodied the divine truth for their generation. As such, Fatimah is associated with Sophia, the divine wisdom, which gives birth to all knowledge of God. She has thus become another symbolic equivalent of the Great Mother.

Fatima is the Sād, the letter which symbolizes the pre-eternal purity of the elect

On the face of the earth there is no one more beautiful than You
Wherever I go I wear your image in my heart
Whenever I fall in a despondent mood I remember your image
And my spirit rises a thousand fold
Your advent is the blossom time of the Universe
O Mother you have showered your choicest blessings upon me
Also remember me on the Day of Judgement
I don’t know if I will go to heaven or hell
But wherever I go, please always abide in me.

~ A Sufi Ode to the Divine Mother ~


"In the Presence of the Lord, the meaning (al-murad) of the Sabbath is Fatima the Resplendent (al-fâtima al-zahra'), because She is the Day of the Book (yawm al-kitâb). Verily the Godhead hath caused all created things (kullu-shay') to appear through Her..." - Essence of the Seven Letters, Tafsîr Sûrat’ul-Baqara (Comm. the Surah of the Cow)

Going more into esoteric veneration, the greeting by which she is addressed in special prayer is peculiar enough: “Welcome art thou, O Mother of your Father.” The Arabic form (umm abiha) is an old tribal greeting which was used when the son bore the name of the father of his mother. Here the use of the formula signifies that it is from her that the second divine principle emanates, the mīm, which manifested in her father in order to be manifest anew in her sons. In a similar vein of thought, she appears as the “source of the sun” (the red point on the western sky), from whence the sickle of the moon is born at the beginning of each month, the lunar crescent which, for the Shī’ites, symbolizes the “Imāmat.”

In a Sunni text of ‘Abul Fadl Ahmadi (942 of Hedjra), it is written that ‘Ali must be regarded as the true Tuba-tree of Paradise, for he serves as the veil through which the light of Fatima manifests itself. The proof that this Shī’ite gnostic cultus of Fatima is not based on her human fertility but rather on her beneficent grace is demonstrated by the secret name that she carries after the initiation: instead of her female name, Fatima, she is known only by the name Fatir. But Fatir is a masculine divine epithet. It already features in the Koran, where it signifies “Creator,” or more precisely, “he who lets appear.” What she will let appear, however, is the human form in which, at certain temporal intervals, the divine manifests its representatives (imams) in order to test humankind, to demand from it time and again the highest oath of allegiance.

Fatir [creatrix], the mysterious name of Fatima, was probably chosen because the numerical value of the letters which form the name produce the same total as the numerical value of the name of Mary (Maryam). For these gnostic circles there is a form of reappearance (the reincarnation of one identical, unchanging archetype from one cycle to the next). Thus, Fatima is also seen among esoteric circle a reoccurrence of Maryam principal.

“On the Day of Judgment, a caller will call out, ‘lower your gaze until Fatima has passed.” – Saying of the Prophet, ref. Kenz Al-Omal


The Shī’ite traditions Fatima is also depicted as someone who is holding a sword in her hand and is also named El Zahrā, “the brilliant/effulgent,” has an essential eschatological role to play - she will restore justice through irreconcilable vengeance. She will appear at the final judgment with flowing hair to demand justice for the murder of her children; she will appear against those responsible for the premature delivery of her last son, Mohsin, whose blood drenched body she carries in her arms; she will appear against those who poisoned her eldest son Hassan and slew her second son Hossein in Karbala. In this image, then, she is essentially the embodiment of divine retribution, just as she was the embodiment of selectivity at the beginning of time; for those who love her and her successors, who are already thereby assured of paradise. via Gnostic Fatima



A Modern Day Dream of Initiation by Fatimah

Years before on the night of my Sufi initiation, I had dreamed of Fatima who initiated me in the Mundus Imaginalis, or the Imaginal World.

I dreamed I had entered the sacred precincts of the Ka'aba, in Mecca, on a Night of the Full Moon and there was no one there but me. The doors of the Ka'aba suddenly opened up and a female voice bade me to enter the inner sanctum of the Ka'aba. I entered the Ka'aba and there seated dressed in emerald green and wearing a white headdress, with the words Al-Hayy, translated as “the Living” written in Arabic on the headdress, was Fatima.

She bade me to sit in front of Her and then commanded me to open my mouth. Laying next to Her was the double-edged sword of 'Ali, Zu'l-Fiqar. I opened my mouth and She grabbed my tongue and pierced it with Zu'l-Fiqar. Instead of pain, however, I felt ecstasy and was transported in the next scene of the dream to a dazzling desert landscape whose sands consisted of flakes of pure lustrous gold. I stood in this desert watching the Sun rise and as the Sun rose Fatima's face shone from within it fully unveiled. The higher this Imaginal Sun rose to its meridian, the more it formed itself into various shapes and forms, until it finally became the World Tree, the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Reality as I call it, whose roots reached into every expanse of Heaven and earth. I woke up! It was such a vivid dream I can never forget it!

- Wahid Azal, Fatimiyya Sufi Order


Prophet’s transmission on Fatimah

"Say O Muhammad: 'I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near kin'
- The Quran 42: 23

According to Islamic scholarship and also that of the people of Path (fuqara), the love of the Prophet and those whom he loved, namely his near ones among his holy family is an obligation and a sure pathway to achieve the love of God. In this regard, the love for Fatimah is divinely sanctified since she was the most loved one of the Prophet of Love.

The following are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad on her beloved daughter:

The most beloved of my family to me is Fatimah.
- Source: Al-Jami' al-Sagheer

Whoever hurts Fatima, hurts me, and whoever hurts me, hurts Allah, exalted be His Majesty!- Ibn Majah, Sunan

I never saw a man more beloved of the Apostle of Allah than 'Ali, or a woman more dear to him than Fatimah. - on the authority of Aishah

The Commander of the Faithful said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah, 'Who is more beloved to you, Fatima or I?' He answered, 'Fatimah is more beloved to me, and you are dearer to me than she is.'" - Muslim

The Prophet having spread over Fatimah, Ali, Hassan and Hussein a khaybarite (a mantle made from the region of Khaybar) mantle and prayed saying: "O Allah, these are the People of my Household, remove all imperfections from them and keep them purified as is the right to keep them purified!"

The Mehdi is from my family, from the sons of Fatimah. - Al-Sawaiq Al-Muhariqa

Verily, God has weaned (fatama in Arabic) my daughter Fatimah and her children and those who love them from the Hellfire, and that is why she is named Fatima. - Kenz Al-Omal

The head of the women of Paradise is Fatimah.

If I were separated from the fruits of Paradise I would kiss Fatimah.

Fatimah is part of me, and whoever pleases her, pleases me. - Al-Sawaiq Al-Muhariqa

Prayer of Fatimah

Imam Hassan (AS) said, 'on the friday night I saw my mother (Fatima (as)) standing in her arch of prayer. She was continuously kneeling and performing prostration till the dawn broke. I would hear her pray for the faithful men and women, but she did not at all pray for herself. I said, 'Oh mother why did you not pray for yourself like you prayed for others?' so she replied, 'Oh my son, first thy neighbour and there after your own house.'

I testify that there is no deity (Lord) except the sole and matchless Allah. And the testification of the oneness of Allah is a word that Allah has declared sincerity (as) it's reality, and made the hearts the center of it's contact and union. And has made the specifications and research of the oneness of Allah's station obvious and evident in the light of meditation. The Allah Who can not be seen by the eyes and tongues are unable and baffled to describe His virtues and attributes. And the intelligence and apprehension of man is helpless and destitute from the imagination of his howness. 

Oh Allah! belittle me in my eyes and glorify and magnify Your station to me. And inspire me (about) Your obedience and the practice which may cause Your pleasure and the shunning and evading from things (matters) which are the cause of Your wrath, oh the Most Merciful of all!


# Further:
* Fatimah, Mary and the Divine Feminine in Islam
* Sayings of Fatema
* Women and Sufism: Camille Helminski
* Fatimiyya Sufi Order
* The Gnostic Cultus of Fatima in Shi'ite Islam
* The Centrality of the Divine Feminine in Sufism
* The Divine Mother
* Teachings on the Feminine & the World Soul
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