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Rhythm-A-Day Blog for January 29, 2020: Martyrdom of Fatima

Posted by Wolf Murphy on

The Martyrdom of Fatima, Iran

On this day Shia Muslims commemorate the death anniversary of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. It is a public holiday as Shia is the official religion in Iran. Fatimah Zahra was the youngest daughter of Muhammad and his first wife. She is greatly revered by all Muslims because she supported her father throughout all his trials, and her descendants are important figures in Islam: her husband was the first young man to accept Islam, and their sons became the first two Imams of Shia (a term that means the prayer leader in a mosque, but also the leader of Shia after Muhammed's time).

The Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom was built in Fatima's honor and is one of the most beautiful architectural wonders of the world:


Main entrance of Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom, Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)

Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom, Iran (Wikimedia Commons)

Fatima died in 632, several months after her father's death. It is believed that she was martyred by caliph Umar. The anniversary of this martyrdom is commemorated with mourning ceremonies and processions, and the ceremonies can last 20 days (though this is the only public holiday). Pilgrimages are made to Qom, considered by Shia Muslims to be the second most sacred city in Iran after Mashhad.


Arabic calligraphy with the name of Fatima (Wikimedia Commons)

Another common celebration is the charitable giving away of food, especially Samanu (a germinated wheat pudding, which takes a week to prepare). It is prepared in large quantities and offered as a votive practice which represents the simple lifestyle Fatima followed and continues to represent. 

Here are several phrases from the Persian/Iranian rhythm Gaval.

Today's Video Lesson

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