Lady Fatima and the Night of Divine Decrees

(by: Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi, via Islamic Insights)

Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) is the very Night of Divine Decrees. Anyone who really knows Lady Fatima as she is and was has understood the Night of Divine Decrees. Very few persons have known Lady Fatima in this way. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) once said in a tradition recorded in the commentary of Furat ibn Ibrahim, speaking of the meaning of the Qur’anic verse: “The Night of Divine Decrees (Layla-tul-Qadr) is Fatima, therefore whoever knows Fatima well has understood the Night of Divine Decrees, and the reason for Fatima being named Fatima [1] is that mankind has been ‘prevented from obtaining’ her acquaintance!” (Bihar al-Anwar)

We know that Qur’anic verses have a literal meaning and a figurative meaning, and many interpretations. Without a doubt, the literal interpretation of the chapter of Qadr tells of the night in which the Holy Qur’an was descended upon the pure heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), and in which the divine decrees (destinies) of human beings are ascertained for a year, according to Divine Wisdom. As such, what was said in the tradition above is a figurative interpretation of this chapter’s meaning, or the second meaning of the Qadr chapter.

And what a close relationship there is between the existence of the Lady of Islam and the Night of Divine Decrees!

  1. The Night of Divine Decrees – the disguised, unknown night of Qadr – is undoubtedly this great Lady, whom the Prophet would call a part of his flesh and reckoned her pleasure to cause God’s pleasure and her anger God’s anger. She is also the disguised and unknown meaning of Qadr.
  2. The Night of Qadr is hidden among the nights of the year. The grave of the Lady of Islam is unknown among the graves of the great Personages of Islam (peace be upon them). Those who wish to pay pilgrimage to her who enter Madina and visit the shrines of all the other great ones, but seek her grave only to be unable to find it, will well understand the heavy load of this sorrow.
  3. The Night of Qadr is better than 1,000 nights of worship – “Laylatul-qadri khayrun min alfish-shahr” (The Holy Qur’an, 97:3) – and the virtue of its worship is greater than that of a long life of 80 years. The virtue of this great Lady is also greater than thousands upon thousands of virtuous persons and her rank is more superior.
  4. The Night of Qadr was the time in which the Qur’an was descended upon the pure heart of the Prophet of Islam, and it was a sudden, all-together revelation even though its gradual descent took over 23 years. The “Night of Qadr” may also therefore be named as the Night of the Descent of Virtue, Perfection, Knowledge and Wisdom. The being of Lady Fatima is also the source of luminosity of the guardianship and Imamat, and divine knowledge and wisdom. The written Qur’an descended on the Night of Qadr, but Lady Fatima is the one from whom 11 Speaking Qur’ans (Qur’an-e-Naatiq) have descended!
  5. The Night of Qadr is the night in which, by the command of God, the Angels ascertain the destinies of all human beings and present them to the Wali al-Amr, the Guardian of His Command. It is a night of peace and good in its entirety: “Salaamun hiya hatta matla’il-fajr” (97:5). The brief life of this Lady of Islam was also goodness, soundness and blessed from beginning to end, and was given the attention and interest of the Angels.

The close relationship between the Night of Qadr and the being of Lady Fatima deems it necessary for all of us to strive harder in knowing her and obtaining greater benefit from the blessings of her radiance.

[1] Fatima is from the root Fa-Ta-Ma, originally meaning “weaning from milk”. Among the reasons that have been mentioned for the appropriate choice of this name for the Lady Islam, the above meaning has also been included.


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