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Fadak fi al-Tarikh (Fadak in History)

Author: Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr

Book Review
The dispute between the Prophet's noble daughter Hazrat Fatimah al Zahra' (A.S.) and the first caliph, Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah, over the tract of Fadak near Khaybar which was the personal property of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and which he had bequeathed to his daughter, has been the subject of several books. The issue of Fadak is in fact a sad turn of events in the history of Islam, especially for the followers of the Prophet's Household, who view it as a symbol of oppression of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) in particular.
The question which arises in Muslim minds is: What were the motives of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) and Abu Bakr to confront each other on a few acres of Fadak? This point has been analyzed from different angles and convincing answers given by Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in his valuable book Fadak fi al Tarikh (Fadak in History) which was written when he was 24 years old. The book, besides being considered one of the original works on this topic, gives an idea of the dynamic thoughts of the young Sadr who at the start of his scholarly life displayed his tendencies as a guardian of the sanctity of the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.).
Fadak, according to Martyr Ayatullah Baqir al-Sadr, is a wholly political issue, and the dispute over it between Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) and Abu Bakr is not the dispute of ownership but is a political confrontation which, as he points out, was to continue in later centuries between the caliphs and the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.). In fact, the author considers as political, the motive of the two sides in entering the dispute and stresses that Abu Bakr knew very well that Hazrat Fatimah's (A.S.) contention was not for mere inheritance, bequeathal or grant but was a political battle, or more properly a litigation for reclaiming the rights of her noble and peerless husband, Imam 'Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.), who had been deprived of his natural position and indisputable right over the Islamic state by the caliph and his accomplices. As Sadr notes, Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) took this revolutionary step to assert her ownership of Fadak in defense of the trampled rights of her husband, and his political rule and leadership of the state which had been usurped after the Prophet. In view of this fact, says the author, the actual boundaries of Fadak are the boundaries of the caliphate and of Islamic rule. This becomes clear in the words of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) herself:
"Yes, Fadak was in our possession. Fadak in its wider sense, that is, whatever was under the shade of the sky. Then some envied it and others took it over."
The book is divided into five sections. The first section presents the scenario of a revolution with Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) playing the role of the leading revolutionary. The motive of the Prophet's daughter for taking this dynamic revolutionary step which has been recorded in history with all its deep tragedy was to protest the usurpation of the indisputable rights of her immaculate husband who was the most suitable person for the caliphate. To emphasize her point, she reminded people of the merits of Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and his position with the Prophet
In the second section of his book the author has reviewed the political history of Fadak and how it changed hands among the caliphs and the descendants of the Prophet. During the rule of the Umayyads and the Abbasids, Fadak was restored to the descendants of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) on several occasions, only to be seized again by the next caliph.
The third section deals with the history of the revolution with the author detailing the political duels of the first and second caliphs with Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and their role in paving the ground for coming to power of the ungodly Umayyads. He points out that among the pressures on Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and the Prophet's clan the Bani Hashim, during the reign of the first two caliphs was the increase of the political influence of those late and reluctant converts to Islam, the Umayyuds, and in view of these developments it could rightly be said that both Abu Bakr and 'Umar ibn al-Khattab facilitated the conditions for the coming to power of this ungodly dynasty. Martyr Sadr then mentions the merits of Imam 'Ali (A.S.) and after drawing a comparison between him and the first three caliphs, praises his selfless sacrifice in leaving the caliphate alone, because his spiritual position was much higher and more extensive than his own political position. The author says that the Imam abstained from claiming his right of the caliphate in the interests of the Muslims and in order to avoid a civil war which at that particular stage of history would have been detrimental to the cause of Islam. According to Ayatullah Baqir al Sadr, the cry of justice of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) is actually the cry of justice of Imam 'Ali (A.S.), but coming from the blessed mouth of his wife so as to prove the righteousness of her husband.
The fourth section focuses on the famous sermon of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) in Masjid al-Nabi with an analysis and explanation of its words and phrases, and the memory it brought back to the listeners of the sermons of her father the Prophet. In her sermon - which has been preserved in all historical texts - Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) after praising Allah the Almighty and sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), elaborates on the tenets of Islam and recounts the merits and virtues of her husband, and warns the caliph and his companions of divine justice for their unjustified actions. She tells them:
"Now hang firmly to this cheap dromedary of caliphate of yours and release it not. But beware; the hump of this camel is injured while there are blisters and holes in its feet. It carries the scars of ignominy and the sign of the wrath of Allah. Eternal shame is attached to it."
In this way she entrusted to God her complaint against their injustice.
In the fifth and last section of the book, Ayatullah Baqir al Sadr analyses the issue of Fadak and draws conclusion that in the first place Abu Bakr himself did not consider as reliable the hadith he recited for turning down the claims of Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) to Fadak. It was under the pressure of 'Umar that he attributed to the Prophet the words: "We (the Prophets) do not leave inheritance and whatever we leave is charity." The author then scrutinizes the words of the supposed hadith and says that in the light of the verses of the Holy Qur'an regarding the inheritance of previous prophets which Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) quoted in order to refute the contention of the caliph, it is clear that such an attribution to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) cannot be relied upon. For instance, the Prophet's daughter countered Abu Bakr's contention as blasphemous since it implied that the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not follow the divine commandments on inheritance. She pointed to the ayahs,of the Holy Qur'an where Allah, quoting Zachariah's supplication, says: "So grant me from Yourself an heir, who shall inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. " (19:5,6) "And Solomon inherited David"'(27:16).
In view of these clear facts it cannot be said that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) left no inheritance. In other words, says the author, Abu Bakr's contention stands null and void, and the least that one could interpret his words is that Prophets accumulate no wealth and property to be left as inheritance! He then goes on to study this spurious hadith from different angles, and after focusing on the verses of the Holy Qur'an which Hazrat Fatimah (A.S.) cited in her defense, he dismisses Abu Bakr's attribution to the Prophet as false and contradictory to the express commandments of Almighty Allah.
The book provides excellent reading, and although brief, it draws a vivid picture of the dispute over Fadak, thereby clearing any doubts from unbiased minds that the Prophet's daughter was the guardian of her father's divine legacy and not those who had isolated the Book and the Sunnah to seize the political functions of the caliphate.
Topical and Chronological List of Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr's Works
Topical List:

Fiqh:
1. Buhuth fi Sharh al- 'Urvah al' Wuthqa (Discourses on the Commentary of al- 'Urvah al-Wuthqa), 4 volumes.
2. Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Minhaj al-Salihin (Annotation of Ayatullah Hakim's Minhaj al-Salihin), 2 volumes.
3. Al-Fatawa al-Wazihah (Clear Decrees).
4. Mujaz Ahkam al-Hajj (Summarized Rules of Hajj)
5. Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Manasik al-Hajj (Annotation of Ayatullah Khui's Hajj Rites).
6. Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Salah al-Jumu'ah (Annotation on Friday Prayer)

Usul al-Fiqh:
7. Durus fi Ilm al-Usul (Lessons in the Science of Jurisprudence), 3 Parts.
8. Al-Ma'alim al-Jadidah lil-Usul (The New Signposts of Jurisprudence).
9. Ghayah al-Fikr (The Highest Degree of Thought)

Philosophy:
10. Falsafatuna (Our Philosophy)

Logic:
11. Al-Usus al-Mantiqiyyah lil-Istiqra' (The Logical Basis of Induction)

Kalam:
12. Al-Mujaz fi Usul al-Din: al-Mursil, al-Rasul, al-Risalah (The Summarized Principles of Religion: The Sender, The Messenger, The Message).
13. Al-Tashayyu' wa al-Islam - Bahth Hawl al-Wilayah (Discourse on Divine Authority).
14. Bahth Hawl al-Mahdi (Discourse on Imam Mahdi)

Economics:
15. Iqtisaduna (Our Economics).
16. Al-Bank al-la Ribawi fi al-Islam (Usury-free Banking in Islam).
17. Maqalat Iqtisadiyyah (Essays in Economy).

Tafsir:
18. Al-Tafair al-Mawzu'i lil-Qur'an al-Karim - al-Madrasah al-Qur'aniyyah (The Thematic exegesis of the Holy Qur'an).
19. Buhuth fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an (Discourses on Qur'anic Sciences).
20. Maqalat Qur'aniyyah (Essays on Qur'an).

History:
21. Ahl al-Bayt Tanawwu' Ahdaf wa Wahdah Hadaf (Ahl al- Bayt, Variety of Objectives Towards a Single Goal).
22. Fadak fi al-Tarikh (Fadak in History).

Islamic Culture:
23. Al-Islam Yaqud al-Hayah (Islam Directive to Life).
24. Al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic School):
1. Al-Insan al-Mu'asir wa al-Mushkilah al-Ijtima'iyyah
(Modern Man and Social Problems)
2. Maza Tu'raf 'an al-Iqtisad al-Islami? (What could be Known of Islamic Economy?).
25. Risalatuna (Our Mission).
26. Nazrah Ammah fi al-Ibadat (General View on Rites of Worship).
27. Maqalat wa Muhazrat (Essays and Lectures)

B) Chronological List:
1. Fadak fi al-Tarikh, 1374/1955.
2. Ghayah al-Fikr, 1374/1955.
3. Falsafatuna, 1379/1959.
4. Iqtisaduna, 1381/1961.
5. Al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah, 1384/1964:
1. Al Insan al-Mu 'asir wa al-Mushkilah al-Ijtima'iyyah.
2. Maza Tu'raf 'an al-Iqtisad al-Islami.
6. Al-Ma'alim al-Jadidah lil-Usul, 1385/1985.
7. Al-Bank al-la Ribawi fi al-Islam, 1389/1969.
8. Al-Usus al-Mantiqiyyah lil-Istiqra ' 1391/1971
9. Buhuth fi Sharh al-'Urwah al-Wuthqa, Volume One 1391/1971.
10. Buhuth fi Sharh al-'Urwah al-Wuthqa, Volume Two 1392/1972.
11. Buhuth fi Sharh al-'Ufw'ah al-Wuthqa, Volume Three 1394/1974.
12. Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Minhaj al-Salihin (Sayyid Hakim),2 volumes, 1395/1975.
13. Mujaz Ahkam al-Hajj, 1395/1975.
14. Al-Fatawa al-Wazihah, 1396/1976.
15. Nazrah 'Ammah fi al-Ibadat, 1396/1976.
16. Al-Tashayyu' wa al-Islam (Bahth Hawl al-Wilayah) 1396/1976.
17. Buhuth fi Sharh al-'Urwah al-Wuthqa, Volume Four 1397/1977.
18. Bahth Hawl al-Mahdi, 1397/1977.
19. Al-Mujaz fi Usul al-Din (al-Mursil, al-Rasul, al-Risalah 1397/1977.
20. Durus fi Ilm al Usul, 1397/1978

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