Zahra, the daughter of Mullah Youssuf Mullah Attiya Al-Jamri, or (Um-Jamil), (Born in Bahrain, 1942), is the Bahraini woman who seems to be to tens of thousands of Bahrainis, – a representative of the people, of their souls and their spirits, of their origins and their prayers. Zahra is much more than the wife of the man who had been [widely] loved by citizens, by Sunnis and Shias, and who’s funeral was the biggest funeral in the history of the Bahrain. Undoubtedly, the value of Um-Jamil is in her effective contributions that were marked in the biography of the late (Abu-Jamil) Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri (1938-2006). She was his only wife, and was the closest person and heart to her extraordinary husband. Sheikh Al-Jamri on the other hand intended to utilize opportunities to praise her publicly, complementing her, and expressing the extent to which he valued her was frequently repeated by Al Jamri. She was indeed his life-long partner, in good times and during hardships, and she was assertive at all times, just like her husband Sheikh Abdul Amir.
At times when all doors seem to be shut – when all choices seem out of reach – the natural reaction, at that point, would be a longing for comfort and personnel reassurance, and this would not be gained without the presence of a heart of a woman who is in the rank of a true “mother”. This makes her ‘the mother of her father’, the mother of her husband, and the mother of her family and the mother of her entire community. The mother here, at most times, would not be afar from the meaning of a nation, nor from those who do not live a state of internal settlement or balance without being sufficed from a mother’s tenderness, particularly those who have exited their limited selves to fill themselves with the souls and passions of others. A mother would not be the best of mothers unless she was the best of nations, i.e. in being a blessing for everyone, with her unlimited tenderness, her everlasting provision, and her unstrained compassion. Um-Jamil was an example of this ‘nation mother’, accordingly she was not just any mother, as she was not the wife of any man.
Zahra’s providence is characterized in two paths. The first is the path of her exceptional husband – late Sheikh Al-Jamri. The second is that of her ten children, sons and daughters. In the first path, a woman’s capacity to be a source of support and reinforcement is manifested, and in the second path her capabilities of nurturing and caring are revealed. Men are capable of enduring distress and hardships when accompanied by an supporting, happy partner, in both tracks. Um-Jamil was, indeed, a shining example of a woman who could do so in the most simple states, those states which cannot be attained unless a woman is elevated to a level where she can take a scent from the fragrance of Virgin Mary’s status (the mother of Jesus Christ), from “the mother of her father” (Lady Fatima – the daughter of Prophet Muhammad), and from fragrances of other great women such as: Um Al-Banin, and Zeinab – the sister of Imam Hussein.
It was not long before the foothold of (Um-Jamil) proved to be as firm as the foothold of her late husband. In their joint stands, stability towards noble values, and an active defense of such values – as justice, equality, and dignity – was demonstrated. In Al-Najaf Al-Ashraf, the difficulties of living endured throughout Sheikh Al-Jamri’s entire stay for attaining religious studies. In addition to Al-Jamri’s determination, tolerating the conditions and being distinct in doing so required a wife that would share her husband’s concerns and responsibilities. Um-Jamil took the responsibility of house-management, parenting, and supporting her husband; when he was outside or within the country, during his presence and his absence, during hardships and when relief prevailed. She was not obstructed by poverty, by the severity of difficulties, by her husband’s preoccupation with learning, preaching, and with the national struggle for democracy, and her resoluteness had not diminished during all the arbitrariness and the years in which her husband, children, and sons in law were imprisoned.
The sons have excelled, and continue to do so, in more than one aspect and distinction, as for the husband, he passed away towards the Higher Companion, after a life that was abundant with great provision, and will remain present in the memory of a nation as a shining star that does not dissolve within the sky. Within the distances that lays between footsteps, and within the spaces of joy and sorrow, Zahra provided what her husband and children needed, and thus her provision was a “guiding light”. The patience of Um-Jamil was “gracious patience”, and she was not hesitant in making her provision “sincere and victorious”. All her children were educated and all had specialized in different fields, but she planted in them– in all sons and daughters – a tree with “chastity” roots : which entails that each one of them should refrain from all that harms them, and harms others, that they should excuse others when capable [of acting otherwise], and that they must forgive those who hurt them, without bidding, nor compensation. She did not distinct in doing so between her sons and daughters, between names or colors, nor between doctors, architects, managers, lawyers, and journalists. Laws of virtuous motherhood, and values of motherhood, apply to all.
In the Seventies, during living abroad and facing the difficulties of life, Um-Jamil’s patience and gratitude was revealed
. In the Eighties, during her husband’s suffering and the detention of loved ones, Um-Jamil saw nothing but beauty, and provided generously despite the sorrow from many deeds and sayings, which made her provision a guide towards the good days. In the Nineties, the greatest within Um-Jamil’s motherhood prevailed, she became the mother of the detainees’ and martyrs’ families, she was their loud, clear voice in the BBC documentary, which was a sign of her husband’s frequent imprisonment, of the ordeals of forced house arrest, and of the painful disease. During his entire journey, including traveling for medical treatment , Zahra did not leave Al-Jamri alone, until he departed towards his lord, in December 18, 2006. Um-Jamil’s picture is no less than the pictures of great women on this earth, and she enjoys utmost eligibility of remaining the mother of Bahrain, with all its palms and seas.