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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word kawthar means abundance. It is related that the Prophet's son Tahir, born of Khadija, died and there was no male issue of the Prophet. His opponents, such as Umar bin A'as and Hakam bin A'as taunted the Prophet, calling him abtar. The word abtar is derived from batr meaning the cutting off, as applied to a beast, means one whose tail is cut off, denoting the one whose succession in his seed has ceased. To console the Prophet, the 108th chapter of the Koran, called Sura Kawthar was revealed: "Verily, We have given you the Kawthar (abundance). So you pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice. Verily, your enemy shall be the abtar (cut off in his progeny)."

Kawthar means abundant bounty here and hereafter. It is also related that kawthar is a name of a stream in the paradise. The Prophet said, "Its banks are of gold, its stream is of pearl and jacinth. Its soil is better than musk. Its water is sweeter than honey and whiter than snow." When the above chapter was revealed, the Prophet was asked as to what kawthar actually meant. He said that it is a stream of super excellence, exclusively meant for him and the righteous ones would be served with the drink of it. Saying this, the Prophet struck on the hand of Ali bin Abu Talib, who stood beside him and said, "You will be the saqi (distributor)" or the supplier of the drink from kawthar, and from that day Ali is popularly called saqi'i kawthar (the distributor of kawthar).

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