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Name: Fatima al-Sughra
Title: Lady Fatima Masuma
Kunya: Karimat Ahl al-Bayt
Date & Place of Birth: 1st Dhul Qa’dah, 173 AH
Father: Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim
Date & Place of Demise: 10th Rabi al-Thani 201 AH
This noble lady, brother of our 8th Imam, was awarded the title “Lady Fatima Masuma” by her brother following her demise. It is also worth noting that, this Lady’s stature was such that her birth and place of demise was known long before she entered this life. In the following text, we will dissect and explore the different titles of which Lady Fatima Masuma is famous for.
IQādī Nūrullāh Shūshtarī (d. 1109 A.H) reports from the 6th Imam, Imam Ja`far al-Sādiq (A):
تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدى، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتى الجنّة بَاجْمَعِهِمْ
“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the Day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”
The fact that the birth of Lady Fatima Masuma was foretold many years before the earth was blessed with her presence, is itself a blessing and not to be taken lightly.
Amongst teachers of islamic history, there is much emphasis on the names and titles of Lady Fatima, and in particular the differentiation between her name at birth and the name she is refered to post-demise. The name Fatima is of such high calibre, that immediately her father awarded this holy name, which reflects her piousness and sincerity.
However, the title “Masuma” was given to this noble lady by her brother, Imam al-Rida after her death. The following tradition reported by Mirzā Muhammad Taqī (d. 1297 A.H) is one in which the origin of this awarded title of “Masuma” originated.
The imam said:
مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَني
“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me”
Through the above tradition, the narration can broken down into parts and studied respectively, one of which is belief that if she was awarded this sacred title, was this a statement of her infallibility, like that of the 14 Ma’sumin? A brief statement can be made, whereby if it is believed, of course, that the imam’s did not practice in misleading or unworthy praise, it must then conclude that this Lady was deserving of her title.
The other respective title is Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt, the definition translates into english as “The noble one of the family of the Prophet” The story behind this title dates back to a dream seen by ayatollah Sayyid Mahmūd Mar`ashī Najafī, the author of Mashjirat al-`Ālawīyīn. During the life of this Ayatollah, he longed for allah through his mercy and love to award him the privilege of knowing the resting place of Lady Fatima Zahra (as). In a dream one night, after having had supplicated for 40 days to be awarded this privilege, he narrates that in his dream he saw himself at Jannat al-Baqi in Madina, beside the grave of either Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-Sādiq (A). The imam (as) said to him
عَلَيْكَ بِكَريمَـةِ اَهْـلِ الْبَيْتِ
“I advise you to go to the Karīmat (Noble one)
of the Ahl al-Bayt”
The story is narrated to us by Ayatollah, and he explains that upon hearing this he believed that “Karimat Ahl al-Bayt” was in reference to Lady Fatima (as), and thus the 40 days of supplication was answered. However, Imam (as) corrected him, and stated that he was referring to the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma and added that she rests in Qum. With regards to the misunderstanding of the Ayatollah, Imam stated that it is the wish of the Almighty that the location of the final resting place of Lady Fatima (as) remains unknown. Through this narrative, we are taught of the beautiful title of Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt.