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What Is the Reality of the Codex of Fatimah?

The codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace) is a book of high status dictated by Gabriel, the Trustworthy, to the Supreme Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (upon whom be peace) after the death of her father the Messenger of God (upon whom) in order to appease and console her for her father’s loss.

Much indistinct speech proceeded in respect to the Codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace) known as ‘Mushaf Fatimah’. The enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (upon whom be peace) sought to speak ill of the Shi‘a by accusing them that they have another Qur’an from which they derive the precepts of religion, which they call the ‘Codex of Fatimah’. This is what the enemies of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (upon whom be peace) claim – which is a false accusation and is not worthy of any consideration. For the scholar will soon find the invalidity of these words when he refers to external reality of refers to the proof texts reported from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (upon whom be peace).

Moreover, the foregoing accusation is not new, or rather, it goes back to the area of the Umayyads and the Abbasids who were contemporary with the infallible Imams (upon whom be peace). What corroborates it are the reporters’ questions and the Imams’ replies as well as their declaration that deny categorically the Codex of Fatimah being another Qur’an.

However, despite all that and despite the recurrent replies by the eminent scholars as to the foregoing inquiry, we see that a number of hostile men still endeavour to charge the Shi‘a, driven only by disease or lack of knowledge.

Let us now see what is meant by the Codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace) from the viewpoint of the Ahl al-Bayt (upon whom be peace) and their Shi‘a Imami followers. So it is necessary first of all to have knowledge of the lexical meaning of the word ‘mushaf’, and then we come to examine the traditions and narrations transmitted from the infallible Imams (upon whom be peace) in this connection in order to grasp the reality of Fatimah’s Codex properly.

The Lexical Meaning of the Mushaf

  1. In respect to the word ‘mushaf’ al-Farra’ said: … for it is with regard to meaning derived from the verb ashafa, that is, it had (i.e. written pieces of paper) collected in it.[1]
  2. Abu Hilal al-‘Askari in his book al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah thus stated: The difference between book (kitab) and codex (mushaf) is that the former may be one paper or a number of papers, unlike the latter, for it is nothing but a number of papers collected with one another.[2]
  3. The word ‘mushaf’ is derived from sahifah, in the sense of written piece of paper. Moreover, the ‘mushaf’ is written pieces of paper collected in it between two boards. It is for this reason that the Qur’an is called a mushaf. Based on this, every book is called a mushaf.[3]
  4. Ibn Babawayh said: the Paper of Fatimah, the Codex of Fatimah, or the Book of Fatimah – by all that is expressed the meaning of a book that is attributed to her (upon whom be peace).[4]

What is the Codex of Fatimah ?

The codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace) is a book of high status dictated by Gabriel, the Trustworthy, to the Supreme Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (upon whom be peace) after the death of her father the Messenger of God (upon whom) in order to appease and console her for her father’s loss. As for the writer of this blessed volume, it is the Commander of the Faithful Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (upon whom be peace).

Moreover, the Codex of Faithful (upon whom be peace) counts as one of the deposits of Imamate. Imam al-Rida (upon whom be peace), enumerating the signs of the infallible Imam, said: … and with him is the Codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace).[5]

As regard the place of this Codex in the present, it is with Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his relief and comfort).

Furthermore, this Codex is ranked the first composition in Islam. For Fatimah al-Zahra (upon whom be peace) died on the third of Jumada al-Ula in the eleventh year, and no other book had ever been written before.

In light of this, the Codex of Fatimah is a collection of sayings dictated by Gabriel, the Trustworthy, to Fatimah (upon whom be peace). It is a revelation, though inimitable, like the holy saying and the prophetic hadith.[6]

It is no wonder then that Fatimah (upon whom be peace) was a divinely inspired relater. Moreover, she is not the only woman to whom the angels would speak.

For Mary, daughter of Imran, and the mother of Moses (upon whom be peace) were divinely inspired relaters too, and so also was Sara, wife of Abraham (upon whom be peace), who saw the angels, so they gave her the good tidings of the birth of Isaac and Jacob. Even though speaking to the angels is of high importance and greatness, it is not one of the signs of prophecy, just as the aforementioned women were not prophets, although the angels addressed them. To this meaning Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr alludes, saying: Mary, though not a prophet, was a divinely inspired relater. As well, the mother of Moses ibn ‘Imam was a divinely inspired relater, but not a prophet. Also, Sara, Abraham’s wife, saw the angels, and they gave her the good news of the birth of Isaac and, after Isaac, of Jacob, even though she was not a prophet. And Fatimah, daughter of the Messenger of God (upon whom), was a divinely inspired relater, but not a prophet.[7]

The Infallible Imams and Fatimah’s Codex

When Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) was asked about the Codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace), he thus replied: Fatimah lived for seventy-five days after the Messenger of God, broken-hearted and grief-stricken about his departure. Gabriel would come to her, express sympathy with her on her father’s loss, console her, and tell her about that which would happen to her descendents after her departure. ‘Ali (upon whom be peace) used to write down that; so this was the Codex of Fatimah.[8]

It is reported that Hammad ibn ‘Uthman asked Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace), what is the Codex of Fatimah? To which he (upon whom be peace) replied: When God (high exalted be He) made His prophet (upon whom) to die, grief crept into Fatimah in consequence of his death such that no one could estimate save God (exalted and majestic be He). So God sent to her an angel to express sympathy with her distress and converse with her. She then told the Commander of the Faithful (upon whom be peace) about that, and he said: When you experience it and hear the sound, tell me. She informed him thereof, so he began to record whatever he hears, until he made (upon whom and whose household be blessing) a codex thereof.

Then he added: Lo! it includes nothing of the lawful or the unlawful, or rather, it comprises the knowledge of that which will be.[9]

The Contents of the Codex of Fatimah

  1. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: Surely with us is the Codex of Fatimah (upon whom be peace). What will convey unto them what the Codex of Fatimah is! It is a Codex wherein lies three the like of your Qur’an. By God, it does not include any letter of your Qur’an. It is only a thing that God dictated and revealed to her.[10]
  2. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: … The Codex of Fatimah does not include any verse of the Qur’an.[11]
  3. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: With us is the Codex of the Qur’an. Lo! by God, it does not include any letter of the Qur’an.[12]
  4. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: the Codex of Fatimah includes nothing of the Book of God. It is only a thing that was cast into her after her father’s death, upon both of whom be peace.[13]
  5. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: … and therein is the Codex of Fatimah that includes no verse of the Qur’an whatsoever. [14]
  6. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: … with us is the Codex of Fatimah. Lo! by God, it is not the Qur’an.[15]
  7. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: Gabriel would would come to her, express sympathy with her on her father’s loss, console her, tell her about her father and his station, and tell her about that which would happen to her descendants after her.[16]
  8. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: Let them bring forth the Codex of Fatimah, for it includes the last will and testament of Fatimah.[17]
  9. Imam al-Sadiq (upon whom be peace) said: Lo! it includes nothing of the lawful or the unlawful, or rather, it comprises the knowledge of that which will be.[18]
  10. In al-Imamah wa al-Tabsirah Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi thus stated: the Paper of Fatimah, the Codex of Fatimah, or the Book of Fatimah – by all that is expressed a book that is attributed to her (upon whom be peace). It was with the Imams, and in it is mentioned the names of the rulers who are supposed to rule.[19]
  11. It is reported that in the Codex of Fatimah are the forthcoming events and the names of all those who are supposed to rule until the Hour stands forth. [20]
  12. Allamah Majlisi (may God have mercy upon him) said:

What is apparent from most of the reports is that her Codex comprises reports only.

——————————————————————————-

References

[1] Islah al-Mantiq by Ibn Sikkit, p.345, and al-Jawhari, al-Sihah, vol.4,p.1384.

[2] Al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah,p.447.

[3] Da’irat al-Ma ‘arif al-Husayniyyah: Mu ‘jam al-Musannafat, vol.1, p.19. Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Kirbasi.

[4] Al-Imamah wa al-Tabsirah, p.12.

[5] Refer to al-Khisal, p.528 and Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Wafa, 1414), vol.25, p.117.

[6] Ayatollah Shaykh Ja‘far al-Subhani said: The holy saying(hadith qudsi) is a divine speech revealed not out of inimitability and is related by one of the prophets or the executors, such as His words: ‘Fasting belong to Me, and I will recompense it’. See Usul al-Hadith wa Ahkamuh fi ‘Ilm al-Dirayah, p.20.

[7] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.39, pp55 and 79.

[8] See Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ya ‘qub al-Kulayni (d.329), al-Kafi (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, 1365), vol.1 p.241;Bihar al-Anwar, vol.22, p.545; Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Saffar (d.290 AH), Basa’ir al-Darajat (Qum: Mar ‘ashi Najafi).

[9] See al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 240 ; Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.177. Mawsu ‘at al-Imam al-Sadiq, vol, 10, p.93; and Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26,p.44.

[10] Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.152 and Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26, p.39.

[11] Ibid.p.156

[12] Ibid.,p.159.

[13] Ibid.,p.160.

[14] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26, p.38.

[15] Al-Kafi, vol,1,p.241; Bihar al-Anwar, vol.22, p.545; Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.173; and Mawsu‘at al-Imam al-Sadiq, vol.10m p.92.

[16] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26,p.43.

[17] Al-Kafi, vol.1,p.240; Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.177; Mawsu ‘at al-Imam al-Sadiq, vol.10,p.93; and Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26, p.44.

[18] Al-Imamah wa al-Tabsirah,p.12.

[19] Al-Khara’ij wa al-Jara’ih, vol.2, p.894; I ‘lam al-Wara,p.285; and Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26,p.18.

[20] Bihar al-Anwar, vol.26, p.40.

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