Fatima blog

Fatima was the most important of Prophet Muhammad’s children. Here are poems  from the forthcoming book: Fatima’s Touch, Poems and Stories of the Prophet’s Daughter, White Cloud Press, Ashland, OR.2017 by Tamam Kahn. The introduction is in Untold:

If her elder sisters have been eclipsed by history, the youngest, Fatima, lived in the spotlight. The hadith offers collected stories of her childhood, marriage, family, and alliances. History has saved both her words and those of her father speaking to her. After Khadija’s death, Muhammad leaned on her for support; later she was given the curious and weighty title, “Umm Abi-ha,” which translates as “the mother of her father.” She became a symbol of protection in the culture of Islam. The open hand, a defining symbol of protection for Muslim women, is called “The Hand of Fatima.”

Five poems on Fatima in the spring 2016 issue of “Knot Magazine”


Silver Hand

The Hand of Fatima

We forget the face 
but wear the silver hand,
forget the look
of a lighthouse,
but recall the beam; 
witness being lifted
on clear digits of light.
We concede
her rescuing face. 
Like her father’s,
we say.But we cannot
see either one.
Ya falak!  
We swim as stars
in orbit round his
daughter, a lamp
of whispered mercy.
When she extends
her hand, we are
met in unforgettable

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Wild Honey of adab 

Was there ever a better gesture for us than this? The way
Muhammad gets up when Fatima enters the room
and takes her hand to kiss it, then indicates his seat to her.
At her house, she reciprocates. Each garland of respect
 reveals the wild honey of adab;
inflorescent meadows spreading out, scented
with grace. Since we know the sting of a shrug,
how kindness can pivot and leave the room without a glance—
become the Bee Keeper. Stretch toward the buzz of others,
watch over each hive as the honey bees waggle.
Move slow, bee veil lowered. Honor the queen,
and hand a sweet jar to everyone you meet.
Adab: (Arabic) important principle of refined behavior politeness, and doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason

 Waggle dance is a term used in beekeeping and ethnology for a particular figure- eight movement of the honey bee, communicating the direction of food.

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photo 1GLORY: Source: Fatima, Daughter of Muhammad, Christopher Paul Clohessy. Gorgias Press, 2009, pp. 168-173. Corrections: shear is sheer; stars marking galaxies is star-marked galaxies.

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[one sentence sonnet, after Robert Frost “The silken Tent”]
The shining happened every day, in tent
and hut, in all the rooms, and while the breeze
would linger, Zahra’s glow, all white, relent-
lessly lit each scene with light that squeezed
out dark— she sparked delight, a living pole
star— lighthouse beaming, pointing toward
each heart as if to soothe and bleach the soul
of doubt as noon-prayer yellow sang a chord,
a citrine gem; that sound showed women bound
in Zahra’s golden ties of love and thought,
a unity of sound went round and round
and reddened as the sun passed through the taut                          
line of the earth— red stayed in land and air;
while Zahra’s face shone conscious and aware.
This description of Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, Fatima Zahra, and her “glowing,” comes from historical material known as “hadith.” Source: Fatima, Daughter of Muhammad, Christopher Paul Clohessy. Gorgias Press, 2009, p. 94. (Ibn Babuya – Shia hadith) <>   <> “Squeezed” replaces “ease” as an end-word in Frost’s sonnet.

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<>   <>   <><>   poems from a new collection of  Fatima poems, 2012-2015