Fatima… ever after: from the Encyclopedia Iranica by Tamam Kahn


Fatima… ever after: from the “Encyclopedia Iranica”
Tamam Kahn

Whoever pleases Fatima has pleased Allah… Fatima is a part of me.
Prophet Muhammad

They break and replace earthenware pots in her honor on the last
Wednesday of the solar year.

I hear the sound of the breaking.

The waters of heaven and earth were part of her
dowry — as salt, jasmine, and the pomegranate.

O, grain of salt, tinted sky, white flower, stem bearing fruit.

She shines in a host of texts. No one talks about her quarrels
with ‘Ali. All those words are washed away.

I apologize for the rain over fallen tree-trunks of legend.

Her name is sometimes given to girls born on Friday night.
Samanu is a kind of pudding reputed to have been her favorite dish.

While I twirl my spoon, I say her name.

She is the guardian of two of the secret and sacred books of
the Immaculate Ones, and two tablets of white pearl and emerald.

From meaning to meaning she comes to us.

She is identified with the cavern of the Seven Sleepers, or
the rock of Moses from which water gushes forth.

I taste her prayers in each fresh desert rill.

Fatima has been linked with Khidr. Her birthday is often celebrated
as Mother’s Day.

Mother of how-this-story-goes, her life polishes each child’s face.

She appears to some as an icon; crowned for Muhammad,
with earrings of diamond or ruby for departed ones.

Hasan! Husayn! I hear the sound of breaking.

Notes:
from the Encyclopedia Iranica, on Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad: I. “In History and Shi’ite Hagiography,” compiled by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi and II. “In Myth, Folklore, and Popular Devotion,” by Jean Calmard. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/fatema.
Whoever pleases… Camille Adams Helminski, Women of Sufism, Shambhala, Boston, 2003, p. 11.
Khidr – an immortal, who is a transformative presence. Hasan, Husayn – Fatima’s sons, both killed, Husayn’s massacre is the great tragedy of Shi‘a Islam.


Tamam Kahn is a poet, lecturer and the author of a prosimetrum (poems set in prose): “Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad,” Monkfish Books, 2010. She continues to write on seventh century women, most recently a forthcoming poetic biography on Fatima, daughter of Prophet Muhammad.
In the contemporary Islamic world, Fatima is an archetypal symbol of the Sunni-Shi‘i conflict. In the West, she is almost unknown. Her story makes a vital bridge between the West and Women in early Islam. May she be known!

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