The meaning of Kawthar is the abundance of progeny and children of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) and the progeny of the Prophet (s) who have become so abundant the number of whom is countless and their blessings will last until the Judgment Day.
“Indeed We have given you Kawthar (“abundance”).” (108:1)
“Kawthar” means “abundance of blessings” and includes all the meanings mentioned in the comments of interpreters such as “the fount in the paradise”, “the prophethood”, “the Qur’an”, “abundance of rain” and “endless progeny”. But, the most appropriate example for “abundant blessings” with regards to the context of the verse is the latter meaning which was chosen by Tabrisi, “the meaning of Kawthar is the abundance of progeny and children of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) and the progeny of the Prophet (s) who have become so abundant the number of whom is countless and their blessings will last until the Judgment Day.”
After reviewing different views, also Fakhr Razi wrote, “Kawthar refers to the children of the noble Prophet (a), because, this sura is revealed to reject the person who criticized the Prophet (s) that he (s) did not have children. Therefore, the meaning of the verse is that God gives the Prophet (a) a progeny which would increase over time. See how many of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) have been killed; but, the world is full of them while no considerable person is remained from the Umayyad sin the world, and you see how many great scholars including Imam al-Baqir (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Kazim (a), Imam al-Rida (a), Nafs Zakiyya and such are from the Ahl al-Bayt (a).”
God’s foretelling in the Qur’an happened; and today, the pure progeny of the Prophet (a) through Lady Fatima (a) has made spiritual influences in all the lands and all the times – in a way that today almost all Muslims are lovers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) – and have blessed a vast part of the world:
- ‘Iraq and Levant (Sham)
Establishment of the caliphate of Imam Ali (a) in Kufa resulted in the expansion of Shia in Iraq. They spread in Najaf and Kufa after his grave was revealed. Shia also spread in Karbala, Kadhimiya and Samara due to blessings of the graves of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his family, Imam Musa al-Kazim (a), Imam al-Jawad (a), Imam Ali al-Naqi (a) and Imam Hasan al-‘Askari (a). The graves of tens of others among Sayyids and the progeny of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) in Iraq proves their strong status in this land and the cause of development and settlement of Shia in this land for more than a thousand years.
The land of Sham too embraced the love for the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (a) for the first time when the caravan of the captives of Karbala led by Lady Zaynab (a) and Imam al-Sajjad (a) passed through it; and later,after the fall of Umayyads and the emigration of Sayyids and Shia, Shia governments of Hamdanids and Fatimids came to power in Sham. It is good to know that in 54 AH, Sayf al-Dawla Hamdani minted new dinar coins on which, it was written, “La ilah-a ill-Allah, Muhammad Rasul-Allah, Amir-al-Mu’minin Ali b. Abi Talib (a), Fatimat al-Zahra, al-Hasan wa-l-Husayn, Jibra’il”. The status of Shia in Mosul, Aleppo and other places was so much promoted that for centuries, the people praying in the great Umayyad mosque in Damascus see the undying names of Ali (a), Hasan (a) and Husayn (a) on the ceiling of its dome instead of the names of Mu’awiya and Yazid. Still, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan are full of Alawites and lovers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (a).
- Yemen and Hijaz
The sapling of knowledge and spirituality which was planted in Yemen by Imam Ali (a) at the time of the Prophet (a) grew so much in less than a century that became the center for emigration of many of the children of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a). In 4th century AH, one of the rulers of Yemen invited Yahya b. Husayn al-Hadi who was among the descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), to that land and,through making allegiance with different tribes, established the rule of Zaidi Imams; a government which considered the leadership only befitting to pious and courageous religious scholarscapable of making armed uprising who were descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) from the lineages of Imam al-Hasan (a) or Imam al-Husayn (a). The rule of descendants of the daughter of the Prophet (a) in Aden lasted from 280 AH until about 700 AH and the rule of Zaidi Imams in Sana’a lasted from about 1000 AH until a decade ago.
In 4th century AH, some Alawi – Hasani families from the descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) –established the position of “Sharif of Mecca” and by making it an official position in future dynasties, it lasted for about 1000 years.
- Iran and Central Asia
Spiritual influence of Imam al-Rida (a) in Khurasan during the rule of Ma’mun made Mashhad a great shining city. In this land, few places can be found which are not endowed for Imam al-Rida (a). Upon the appointment of Imam al-Rida (a) as the crown prince, hundreds of Alawi Sayyids were invited to come to Iran by Ma’mun and were accommodated in Merv.But, they were dispersed after the martyrdom of Imam (a). Although, the emigration of the relatives of Imam al-Rida (a) through Fars to Khurasan was not safe from the harms of the enemies; but,wherever they adorned with their blessed steps, added them to the dominion of the Ahl al-Bayt (a). Lady Fatima al-Ma’suma (a) in Qom, Sayyid Mir Muhammad and Sayyid ‘Ala’iddin Husayn in Shiraz and ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Hasani in Rey made the bases for the attention of the people toward the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and the cause of the development of the places they resided.
The greatest revolution of the century led by Imam Khomeini – one of the most honorable MusawiSayyids – and its continuation by the leadership of Ayatullah Khamenei – a honorable HusayniSayyid – is the proof for the global influence of Sayyids in Iran.
Since the beginning of the 2nd century AH, with the growth of the oppression of Umayyads, especially by Hajjaj, the descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a), i.e. Hasani and HusayniSayyidsimmigratedto the eastern areas of Iran, especially to Khurasan and around Samarkand. Although some of them made uprising against Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs and were martyred, they expanded the areas of residence of this pure progeny. Existence of thousands of the children of Imams (a) and their blessed shrines in the east of Iran and central Asia as well as the revolution and the government of Sarbedaran of Khurasan during Ilkhanate and millions of Shia in the north and the east of Khurasan, e.g. in Bukhara and Herat, are the signs of the mentioned expansion.
Also, a group of Sayyids during the rule of Alawis of Tabaristan inclined to their courts and after residing in fairly safe mountainous areas of Iraq, Rey, Deylam and Tabaristan, they gradually became the most respected ones among the original inhabitants.
Some of the descendants of Lady Fatima (a) through Imam al-Hasan (a), especially the lineage of Alawis (including ‘Abd al-‘Aẓīm b. Muhammad b. Qāsim b. Muhammad b. Baṭḥā’ī and the children of Ibrahim b. Ali b. ‘Abd al-Rahman Shajari) emigrated to Samarkand and some of the descendants of Imam al-Husayn (a), some the children of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a), children of Muhammad b. Ali ‘Arīḍ, some of the children of the martyred Zayd and some of the children of the martyred ‘Isā b. Zayd entered Samarkand and in less than a century influenced the people of this land and made Samarkand the residence and the center for the influence of Fatimid Sayyids.
Welcoming the letter and command of Imam Ali (a) by Ash‘ath b. Qeys, the governor of Azerbaijan may be the first emotional relation between the people of this land with the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (a). In the 2nd century AH, Ibrahim, son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) went to Ganja in Armenia and now his shrine is visited by all people there. Different regions of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Dagestan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are the major Shi’a regions in central Asia and most of their residents are Twelvers.
About 80 percent of multi-million republic of Azerbaijan are Shia and 20 percent of its population are Hanafi Sunnis. The title of the head of the organization of Shia religious affairs is “Sheikh al-Islam” and his deputy is a Sunni with the title of “Mufti al-Islam”. The mosque and the grave of the great scholar Sayyid YahyaBaku’i is among important historical sites of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The mourning ceremonies for Imams (a), especially the ceremonies of ‘Ashura, are so glorious that some believe that they were the guarantor of Islam in Azerbaijan – with all the pressures of the Soviet Union.
- Indian Subcontinent and Far East
In 8th century AH, one of the descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) called Mir Ali Husayni Hamadani from the lineage of Imam al-Sajjad (a) guided thousands of Indian people to Islam. He took 700 of Alawi Sayyids to Kashmir and built mosques and promoted Art and industries all around this land.
A group of the descendants of Lady Fatima (a) who were successful in business and Islamic invitation in India and some from Hadhramaut of Yemen immigrated to the South China Sea. They delivered the message of Islam to those regions and some of them married with the royals and commanders there and established Islamic states and a new place for residence of Sayyids. This way, Islam was promoted in the islands of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippine, Malaya and Sumatra;as well as in China, Burma and Cambodia after the emigration of some of them to China.
The Sayyids, who emigrated to these regions, have kept their lineage until today and are famous among people for their good morals, great personality and dignity.
In Egypt and some parts of eastern and central Africa,in total,eleven caliphs from Fatimid dynasty ruled and competed with Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad. Fatimids considered their lineage originating from Isma‘il b. Ja‘far b. Muhammad (a). Today, many families from the descendants of Lady Fatima (a) live in Egypt and in Aswan, Ju‘afira tribe consider their lineage reaching back to Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (a).
For more than a thousand years, Fatimids have blessed al-Azhar University with the blessed name of Lady al-Zahra (a), and it is considered the most important cultural center of the world of Islam. The same way Cairo was the center for Shia for several centuries, al-Azhar is the lasting memory of Fatimid dynasty and among the oldest universities of the world, where the slogan of Shia vividlylooks evidentand the sermons were made beginning with the names of Imam Ali (a) and other Imams (a) and the teachings of Shia were offered.
Still today, Shia fiqh is taught in comparative study in al-Azhar University and the books of Shia fiqh and tafsirhave published in this country for several times and benefitted from by the scholars of al-Azhar. Department of Islamic studies for women in this university publishes a journal titled al-Zahra (a), in which they also discuss Shia literature and Persian poetry.
The mosque of Ra’s al-Husayn (a) and the station of Sayyida Zaynab (a) and also Sayyida Nafisa Mausoleum (among the descendants of Lady Fatima (a) and Imam al-Sadiq’s (a) daughter-in-law) are the centers of spiritual attention of common people and elites. The honorable daughter of the Prophet (a) and her children are so beloved to the people of Egypt that every year they hold their best celebrations at the birth anniversaries of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a) which are unique in the world of Islam.
- Sudan and Libya
In Sudan, there are branches of Sayyids from the descendants of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a) including al-Mahdi family who are pioneers of fighting foreign enemies. One of their distinguished personalities is Sadiq al-Mahdi, the leader of the National Umma Party and the former minister of Sudan. Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah in 19th century AH was also a Husayni Sayyid. Under whose allegiance, in his return journey from hajj,different Sudanese tribes fought the British and liberated Khartoum. He finally passed away in Omdurman. He founded al-Mahdyun rule in Sudan.
In 19th century AH, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi the Great – from Idrisi Sayyid families – went to Libya after founding Senussi tariqa (Sufi order) in Mecca and merged the political-religious with jihad against the French. After him, his children and grandchildren came to power and Senussi dynasty continued up to the socialist revolution.
- Morocco and Spain
In the ancient world, the gulf between Morocco and Andalusia (Spain) was called the Roman Sea. In the late 2nd century AH, one of the descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) called Idris ibn Abdillah b. Hasan b. Ali (a) made uprising beside other Alawis against Abbasids and went to Egypt and then to Africa. After general public welcomed him and native tribes joined him, he took the rule over a vast area from west Kairouan to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. After him, his son, Idris II of Morocco continued the Idrisid dynasty. He became famous among the people of Africa and Andalusia for his great power and founded the city of Fez with its great famous scientific, economic and wealth infrastructures.It became the capital of Lady Fatima’s (a) descendants.
Also, two branches of Idrisid Sayyids came to power in 5th century AH in Andalusia – from the east southern coasts to the Strait of Gibraltar. Medina Azahra and Medina Azaharain Andalusia with their great exemplary architectures remind the blessed name of Fatima al-Zahra (a).
The progeny of Fatima al-Zahra (a) went through all the world of Islam and today only in Iraq more than one million people, three millionpeople in Iran, five millionpeople in Egypt, five millionpeople in Morocco, about 20 million peoplein Yemen, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia and Sayyid and millions of Sayyids and descendants of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a)live in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Persian gulf coast, and many of them are among great personalities and elites of these societies.
Thus, today, all the world has received the abundant blessings of the children of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (a) and due to the endeavors of Imams (a), their children and companions, the enmity with the Ahl al-Bayt (a) is gone from among the Muslim community and the Shia and the love for the Ahl al-Bayt (a) – considering its different levels – is being expanded day by day and God’s foretelling in the Sura al-Kawthar is continuously being revealed. May God’s peace be with her, upon her birth, upon her martyrdom and upon her resurrection.
The article was written by Hujjat al-Islam Mojtaba Elahi Khorasani, the teacher of Mashhad Hawza Ilmiyya and Assistant Professor at Akhund Khurasani Expert Center.