Historical Poetry on the oppression and martyrdom of Al-Zahra (as)

By: Ayatullah Ja’afar Murtada in his famous book “Tragedy of Al-Zahra (as)”


Poetry is a Reliable Historical Chronicle

We are of the view that poets have thoroughly covered what al-Zahra’ (A.S.) underwent of oppression, persecution, beating and miscarriage since the first generations and till our time. They make their poetry target those who participated in all of that or did not stop it. Some of them were contemporary to the Imams (A.S.), or their time was close to that of the Imam’s.

This is regarded as a reliable and strong historical record. Its strength underscores the fact that its contexts were true as it was transmitted by traditionists and historians. Here we would like to cite a bouquet of such poetry in successive centuries and till our time:


1. Sayyid al-Himyari (d. 173 A.H.)

Sayyid al-Himyari, may Allah have mercy on him, was contemporary to Imams al-Sadiq (A.S.) and al-Kazim (A.S.) and he says the following:


Beaten, she was, and of her rights deprived,

And was made to taste after his demise of wounds.

God sever the hands that her did they hit,

And of that who agreed thereto and followed suit.

God may never forgive him nor

Spare him of the horror of leaving the grave.[1]


2. Al-Barqi (d. 245 A.H.)


Al-Barqi, namely `Abdullah ibn `Ammar, has said,


They gathered the firewood at the house,

And those who ignited it kept taunting,

While nobody at the house except

The Purified Lady, the Truthful one,

And the Prophet’s two grandsons.[2]


3. Al-Nu`man, the Judge (d. 363 A.H.)

Judge al-Nu`man, an Isma`alite, composed a poem about what happened following the demise of the Messenger of Allah (A.S.) in one inclusive poem wherein he says,


Both swore fealty to him and said:

The best, you are, of everyone in state!

Among them were people of those at Badr slain,

And at others, people of confined grudge, plain.

They swore fealty, the heads of their folks,

So people swore, too, on that day

Except a few who recognized the way

Of their Prophet, so they kept away.

To Ali, their Imam, they went;

Said he: Your effort is already spent!

They said: No We shall do it for sure!

So he said: Set out now and your heads shave

So people will know you then come in a wave

To me so we may fight, God will make a way

For us to judge, and we will see what He does say.

The failed when they saw him determined,

So those who went to him counted only seven,

While fealty was sworn by all the rest

Who thought swearing it was the best.

I did call them by their very names.

He said: I shall not fight you for sure

For few you are and cannot meet the rest

So they sat to see what he would do

With them and what order to issue.

`Omer came to them with a group

Seeing the man they installed is not obeyed

Till they reached the door of Fatima (A.S.)

The Batal lady who boycotted them.

She intercepted between him and them

Hoping they would not reach her man

But he broke the door, the first of them

And they forced their way through her veil

As she did cry, ask for help and wail.

They hit her, so she did miscarry

Al-Zubayr heard the call and went in a hurry

But stumbled, his sword was taken

And was surely by them broken

So they caught al-Zubayr and he

In their hands a captive came to be.

The wasi came out with the rest of the men

Seeing their defenses were totally in vain.

They overpowered them and brought them to `Ateeq.


He goes on to say:


What a sigh in my heart

Like fire I feel in my mind.

Their killing al-Zahra Fatima

Ignited in my insides the fire

For it is known among the people

She died after having miscarried

She ordered to be at night buried

And her grave’s marks obliterated

So nobody knows where she is buried.

So that only her cousin would be there

And his family, and in distress she did disappear.

Her Lord greets her, with her nations she was displeased.

They swore fealty to him against their wish

As taqiyya. Alas! God for His servants did allow

Not to be forced to make for the ruler an untrue vow.


Till he says,


It is narrated for sure

That he said when he came:

Swear it! Said he: I shall not!

He said: Then I shall have you killed!

May Allah testify that he was weak

When he swore fealty to the usurper

Fearing being killed, and others swore too

For fear of those who were there.

If they made the Trusted One so weak

Before him Aaron was treated the same

By the nation of Moses when they

Wanted otherwise to have him killed

Treading the same steps indeed

The steps the wasis had to tread

Just as the sent Messenger said.


4. Mihyar al-Daylani (d. 428 A.H.)


The brilliant poet, Mihyar al-Daylami, may Allah have mercy on his soul, has said the following lines in a poem he wrote:


How come it was not severed

The hand that stretched to harm you?

That of the son of one inferior to you?

They were elated when they insulted you,

Being wrongful to your own father (A.S.).


5. Ali ibn al-Muqarrab (d. 629 A.H.)


Prince Ali  ibn Muqarrab, of al-Ahsa’, one of the wise and well known men of letters, has said:


I wonder which one of them shall I mourn

And for whom shall my tears overflow?

To the wasi when, at his mosque, he was crowned

By the sword before bowing down?

Or to the Batal, Fatima, who was deprived

Of her inheritance, rightfully hers according to all

And according to one who to her said:

You sought wrong, so desist

Your father loudly declared before many:

We, prophets, leave for our sons nothing to inherit.

What we leave is for each and all.

So be pleased with what your father said.

She said: Give me what my father left me

The best of all people, the one with intercession.

But they regarded their witness void

And the text of the Book did not convince them.

She remained oppressed, persecuted, when her claim

Was rejected, when her ribs were crushed.

Or should I mourn the one who had to drink

From their Ju`da the cup of disguised poison?[3]


6. Al-Khala`i (d. 750 A.H.)


Shaikh Ali (A.S.) ibn `Abd al-`Azaz al-Khala`i al-Hilli said the following among other verses in one of his poems:


O Lord of the one who was disputed about

What her father left her of inheritance and who

Was sought by those of grudge and hatred

And who made anyone drink the cup of grief

To a father because of her son

Like the son of Marjana, the accursed one

Who made me of it drink

And who before called a liar

Someone by the Lord from sins purified

And is there another son of a Prophet

For whom fire was lit

As those who circled my home to burn me?[4]


7. `Ala’ ad-Din al-Hilli (killed in 786 A.H.)

The virtuous scholar and the accomplished man of letters `Ala’ ad-Din son of Shaikh Ali ibn al-Husain al-Hilli al-Shafhani, a contemporary to the First Martyr, who, may Allah have mercy on him, explained some of his poets, said,


They unanimously agreed upon it, with their whims,

Ignorance and hope, to burn the house of al-Zahra’

Fatima! What an awful momentous thing to do!

A house wherein five whose sixth is Gabriel

Without a reason set ablaze,

And the Murtada from his home forcibly taken…[5]


8. Mughamis al-Hilli (d. in the late 900s A.H.)


Shaikh Mughamis al-Hilli said the following in one of his poems:


And the Purified One, Fatima (A.S.), her inheritance seized

By the worst of people as her tears are shed

After having miscarried because of a blow,

So she passed away, what was hers confiscated.[6]


9. Muflih al-Saymari (d. 900 A.H.)


The famous `allama, the great Faqih and the respected man of letters, Shaikh Muflih al-Saymari, said the following in one of his poems:


Shackled in the straps of his own sword they took Ali (A.S.)

And `Ammar before his rib crushed and was assaulted,

And they raided the home of the daughter of the Chosen One

And of their own Imam as one kept calling:

In her house burn a fire!

Of the inheritance of Prophet Muhammed (A.S.) was she deprived

And she was whipped and slapped.[7]


10. Al-Hurr al-`Amili (d. 1104 A.H.)


The public speaker and the `allama Faqih Shaikh al-Hurr al-`amili, author of the modern encyclopedia known as Wasa’il al-Shi`a, wrote a poem wherein he says,


Her children are five: Hasan and Husain (A.S.)

And Zainab, older than Umm Kultham

And Muhassan was miscarried when

`Omer forcibly opened their door

As it became known to all.

So she died after the Prophet (A.S.)

Willingly went to her Lord satisfied

With what He for her had been decreed.

Such brings pain to the heart

And every other calamity is surely less in pain

What grief, humiliation, persecution and oppression

And savagery became clear to all.


Then he explains how she died, saying,


Its cause, it was said, natural death but

It was also said that it was caused of the pain

Inflicted from a blow dealt to her by that man

When she instantly miscarried her fetus

For whom she kept weeping and wailing.[8]


11. Al-Salih al-Fattani al-`Amili


Shaikh Muhammed Mehdi al-Fattani al-Nabati al-`amili, a scholar, poet, an imam of fiqh, hadith and Tafsir, has said,


O Master! O Messenger of Allah! Stand and see

What happened to your very family:

More that what you did tell:

They took away caliphate from Ali,

And what you said many did deny.

They led him to so-and-so to swear fealty,

Against his wish, oppressors taking him forcefully.

For that, he was with the sword his Shabir became

A martyr, and by poison his Shubbar died.

As if he was not the like of the Prophet

Nor was he, by his Lord, purified.

And Fatima is there, her sanctity did they violate,

By one who caused her rib at the door to break.

Your Husain, without a cause, slain,

Her body cut to parts, with blood stained

Dusted, lying on the grou