Thus, the plan of God was for Qum to be a place of disseminating the precious teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt. But why does Qum need a woman? Why not a male figure?
Sometimes a man, despite his high status, cannot have the same impact that a woman has. Mothers have a much stronger role in raising good children than fathers. Even if the father is closer to God and has great knowledge and good morals, the mother is more influential, and if she is not well behaved, there is a high chance of the child becoming immoral.
We need a motherly figure to host the generations of youth who leave their homelands, families, jobs, and all that they have to study in Qum. These youths may find it difficult to leave and may even find living in these new conditions quite challenging. Hence, they need a motherly figure to welcome and embrace them with love and compassion while simultaneously being responsible for their moral and spiritual upbringing.
Lady Ma’sumah will not forget the students who travel to Qum and begin their experience by approaching the Lady, honestly and sincerely requesting her to look after their well-being, education, and spirituality. This is why she is here. She is here to be a mother, and not merely one who is responsible for our food and clothing, but an affectionate one who will feed our souls; who will inspire us with knowledge, wisdom, and piety; a mother who will provide us with a comfortable learning environment.
Imagine Qum as a community of people united in their hearts with love for each other for the sake of God, and who have all adopted this Lady as a mother. This has yet to occur. Most people have benefited from her as individuals, but if as a community and one unified body, all the seminarians of Qum were to submit their affairs to the Lady, Qum would function at its best, and humanity would benefit from the knowledge and spirituality that emanates from this town
Lady Ma’sumah’s true reality sprung into being after her demise. It was a planted seed that is now growing into a strong and blessed tree:
Have you not regarded how Allah has drawn a parable? A good word is like a good tree: its roots are steady, and its branches are in the sky. (14:24)
What qualities does this Lady have that, among all the members of the Ahl al-Bayt, resulted in her being chosen for such a mission? She must be very special; she must be a woman who is similar to Fatimah al-Zahra. She is the second Fatimah. Out of His wisdom, God planned for Fatimah al-Zahra not to be known in this world before or after her death. No one – not even the lovers of Fatimah al-Zahra will realize her status until the Day of Judgment. Only part of the light of Lady Fatimah, which is enough to fill the entire world with light, emanates from Lady Ma’sumah: she reflects the light of Lady Fatimah for humanity.
Thus, it is accurate to conclude that Lady Ma’sumah is the second Kawthar. she brings abundant and infinite good in to this world. God-willing millions, if not billions, will sooner or later benefit from her light and guidance. It is up to us – depending on our honesty, sincerity, good deeds, and social wilayah – whether our level of light suits the level of those who serve the Lady. If we serve her, the hearts of humanity will be attracted. However, we can also become barriers to her light through our ignorance and immoral actions. It is only with truthfulness and unity that through her light we can reflect the light of the Ahl al-Bayt.
There is much hope that this will occur since it is God’s plan. It is a matter of whether we are fortunate enough to play that role; otherwise, it will transpire in another generation. All in all, it will happen.
In the time of Ayatollah Borujerdi, the Iranian government found oil near Qum. Wells were to be dug to produce oil, and this meant that Qum was to eventually become an industrial city. With the influx of foreign consultants and technicians, the entire city was to be transformed. Deeply concerned, some people approached the Ayatollah and requested him to ask the Shah to put a halt to the upcoming change as the entire history of the Shi’a seminary would disintegrate, Ayatollah Bornjerii calmly assured them that this could not occur, as it does not match the predictions stated in the Hadiths of the Ahl al-Baut. Sure enough, the wells dried up, proving Shah’s plan to be impracticable.
There are several narrations by Imam al-Rida on Lady Ma’sumah. The Imam says in one hadith:
Whenever someone visits Ma’sumah in Qum it is as if he has visited me. (1)
We know that the Imams are appointed by God as our guides, and so it is far from them to exaggerate. They guide people to reality; otherwise, it would be deemed misguidance. Hence, this hadith raises two questions
Why was she called “Ma’sumah”? After all, the actual name given to the Lady by her parents was Fatimah. “Ma’sumah” seems to be the title given to the Lady by Imam al-Rida, since she possessed the quality of purity and excellence, so that she is far from any impurities in her heart. Although this may not necessarily mean “infallible” in the sense that is used for the Imams and Fatimah al-Zahra, it certainly indicates a high level of righteousness and piety. She is immaculate.
What does it mean that visiting Lady Ma’sumah is like visiting Imam al-Rida? The similarity between visiting her and her brother is not just a matter of the divine rewards accrued by the visitor; it can also refer to the spiritual impact and guidance visiting both exemplars can have. Those who want to benefit from the light of Imam al-Rida can have the same experience while visiting Lady Ma’sumah; this was true even when he was alive and continues to be true afterwards. It is not only that the visitor receives the same divine reward; rather, everything about visiting Imam al-Rida is mimicked when visiting her.
1. Nasikh al-Tawārīkh, vol. 3, p. 68; Rayāhīn al-Shari ah, vol. 5, P35.