The Historical Event of Fadak
After his victory at Khayber the Holy Prophet (S) decided to destroy the remaining strongholds of the Jews and thus end the danger to Islam. He therefore turned his attention to the Jewish village of Fadak, which was a fertile territory 180 kilometers north of Madina.
He sent an envoy to the elders of Fadak. The chief of the village, preferred peace and surrender to fighting. In return for the protection of the Muslims, he agreed to give half of the produce of the region to the Holy Prophet (S).
According to the rules of Islam, the lands conquered through war and military power are the property of all the Muslims and their administration lies with the ruler of the Muslims. However, those lands that are submitted to the Muslims without war, as in the case of Fadak, belong to the Holy Prophet (S) and after him, to the Holy Imam (A) of the time. They have the right to distribute such properties as they see fit. This is evident from the following verse:
Whatever God has bestowed on His Prophet from the people of the towns is for God and the Prophet and his relatives and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not circulate among the rich ones of you...
Surae Hashr, 59 : 7(Part)
The land of Fadak thus came into the possession of the Holy Prophet (S), and when the following verse was revealed,
And give the kinsman his due, and the needy and the wayfarer...
Surae Bani Israa'il, 17 : 26(Part)
he made a gift of Fadak to his dear daughter Bibi Fatima (A).
He did this for several reasons. Firstly, he was commanded to give his near ones their due. The Holy Prophet (S) and all the Muslims were indebted to Bibi Khadija (A) who sacrificed her entire wealth for the sake of the early Muslims. Her money had been used to spread Islam, free those Muslims who were slaves and support them in their times of trouble as in the three years of social boycott that they had faced in Makka. Now the Holy Prophet (S) could return her favours by gifting her daughter the rich land of Fadak. He also knew that after him, Imam Ali (A) would need Fadak as a source of income to safeguard his position as Caliph.
Finally, he wanted to leave some provision for his daughter and grandchildren so that they could live with dignity after his death.
However, after the Holy Prophet (S) passed away, Abu Bakr, who had stolen the right of Imam Ali (A) to the Caliphate, took Fadak away from Bibi Fatima (A). He did this to ensure that Imam Ali (A) would not have the means to regain his rights.
When her agents informed her that they had been replaced by the Caliph's men at Fadak, Bibi Fatima (A) decided to contest her right by legal means.
Abu Bakr refused to acknowledge her claim, and asked her to provide witnesses. Although she already possessed the property of Fadak and there had never been any doubt about her ownership, she brought two witnesses. These were Imam Ali (A) and a woman named Umme Ayman, about whom the Holy Prophet (S) had guaranteed that she would go to heaven.
Even then, Abu Bakr would not agree and he quoted a fake tradition saying,
"The Holy Prophet has said, `We the group of Prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited and what we leave is for alms.'"
This was a blatant lie and moreover no one but Abu Bakr claimed to have heard it.
Bibi Fatima (A) then gave an eloquent lecture in which she first explained about the Oneness of Allah and the nature of the mission of her father. She then proved that Abu Bakr was lying by quoting the following verse:
And Sulaiman inherited Dawood...
Surae Naml 27 : 16(Part)
Although Abu Bakr was ashamed of his conduct and decided to return Fadak to her, she never forgave him for his actions. She did not speak to him again as long as she lived and at her funeral six months after her father died, he was not allowed to take part as per her will.
Eventually, Abu Bakr wrote a certificate to the effect that Fadak was the absolute property of Bibi Fatima (A) and gave it to her. However, when she was going back to her house, Umar al-Khattab chanced to meet her and came to know the contents of the certificate. He brought it back to Abu Bakr saying,
"As Ali is a beneficiary in this case, his evidence is not acceptable. As for Umme Ayman, being a woman, her testimony is also of no value on its own."
Saying this, he tore up the certificate in the presence of Abu Bakr. This action grieved Bibi Fatima (A) so much that she cursed him saying,
"May Allah cause your abdomen to be torn in the same way."
This prayer proved fateful, because in 24 A.H., Umar was stabbed thrice in the stomach by his killer, Abu Lulu.
After this, Fadak remained in the hands of successive rulers until the time of the Umayyad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, who returned it to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A). However, the next Caliph took it away and it remained with the Bani Umayyah Caliphs until their rule ended. During the rule of the Bani Abbas it was returned briefly, but then taken away forever.
An Account of Fadak
1) On 7th Hijri, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had given this place as a gift to his beloved daughter Janabe Fatema (s.a.). She used to administer this place through her appointees.
2) Just ten days after the demise of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Fadak was snatched away from her. Inspite of providing proofs and witnesses, it was not returned to her. It was not considered as a parented heritage and property.
3) According to Sahih Bukhari the 2nd Caliph had returned it to the successors.
4) The 3rd Caliph took possession of it by force and gifted it to Marwan.
5) Mu'aviya in his time divided it into three parts.
6) Marwan, during the tenure of his Khilafat took all of it in his possession and gifted away to his sons Abdul Malik and Abdul Aziz. It remained in their possession till the time of Umar Bin Abdul Aziz.
7) Umar Bin Abdul Aziz, got his father's share as inheritance, he bought the share of Abdul Malik and returned it to the children of Fatema (s.a.).
8) Yazid Bin Malik, in his time, took it back from the children of Fatema (s.a.), and kept it in his possession.
9) The 1st Caliph of Bani Abbas, Sa'fah, considering Imam Hasan (a.s.) as a successor of Fatema (s.a.), gave Fadak to him.
10) Mansoor Dawaniqi, again usurped it.
11) Mahdi, the son of Mansoor returned it to the children of Hazrat Ali (a.s.).
12) Moosa, the son of Mahdi, again usurped it. Fadak that was given by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to Janabe Fatema Zahra (s.a.), was changing hands between the Caliphs of Bani Abbas, till the time of Ma'moun.
13) Ma'moun, had a religious discussion with a follower of Hazrat-Ali (a.s.) (Alawi), and reached to the decision that Fadak is the property of Janabe Fatema (s.a.). Hence he returned it to her children.
14) Mutwakkel Abbasi, usurped it and took it in his possession. He gifted it away to Abdulla Bin Umar Baaq. Abdulla Bin Umar Baaq, ordered Bushraan Bin Abi Umaryyi Taqzi to go and cut down all the trees. He went to Medina and cut all the trees. He even cut those eleven trees that were personally planted by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). When Bushraan returned from Medina to Basrah he was struck by paralysis and died subsequently.
If Fadak was not the property of Fatema Zahra (s.a.w.a.), then why the 2nd Caliph, Umar Bin Abdul Aziz, Sa'fah, Mahdi and Mamoon and other Umayyid Caliphs had returned it to Janabe Fatema (s.a.)?
If Fadak was the property of Fatema Zahra (s.a.w.a.) why the 3rd Caliph, Mu'aviya, Yazid Bin Abdul Malik, Mansoor Dawaniqi, Moosa Bin Mahdi and Mutewakkel added it in their property? And why they gifted it away to others? If Fadak, was the property of Government Treasury, every Muslim was having a right over it; why only a few favorites were considered for keeping it?
Why the 1st Caliph did not do justice by it? And he did not try to earn the pleasure of Janabe Fatema Zahra (s.a.), by giving it to her. This would have resulted in earning the pleasure of Allah as well as of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
The Historical Tragedy of Fadak
In addition to being a reason encouraging others to be unjust to Ahlul-Bayt, the usurping of Fadak by Abu Bakr ignited political unrest throughout history. Sheik Jafar Subhani, a leading historian, wrote the following in his book The Message P.60 1 regarding Fadak throughout history:
"The foundation of the deprivation of the descendants of Fatima s claim of Fadak was laid in the time of the First Callph. After the martyrdom of Ali, Mu awiyah assumed the reins of government and divided Fadak amongst three persons (Marwan, Amr bin Uthman and his own son, Yazid). During the preriod of the Caliphate of Marwan, all three shares were assumed by him and he gifted them to his son, AbdulAziz. He, in turn, gave the same to his son, Umar. On account of the fact that Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was an upright person from amongst Bani Umayyah, the first heresy which he removed was that he returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima. After his death, however, the succeeding Umayyad Caliphs again took away Fadak from the Bani Hashim and it continued to remain in their possession till their rule came to an end.
During the Caliphate of Bani Abbas, the question of Fadak vacillated in a strange manner. For example, Saffah gave it to Abdullah Bin Hassan and after him Mansur Dawaniqi took it back but his son Mahdi returned it to the descendants of Zahrah. After him Musa and Harun took it a way from them on account of some political considerations. When Ma`mun assumed the office of caliph, he handed it over formally to its owner. After his death, the conditions of Fadak vacillated once again and it was returned at one time to the descendants of Fatima and then taken away from them again.
During the periods of the Caliphate of Bani Umayah and Bani Abbas, Fadak assumed largely a political aspect as compared with its pecuniaiy aspect. And even if the First Caliphs were in need of income from Fadak the later Caliphs and nobles were so rich that they did not stand in any need of income from it. Hence, when Umar Bin Abdul Aziz handed over Fadak to the descendants of Fatima, Bani Umayyah reproached him and said,' By this act of your, you have found fault with the two venerable men (viz. Abu Bakr and Umar).' They, therefore, persuaded him to distribute the income from Fadak among the descendants of Fatima, but to keep its ownership with himself."
Source - Fatima the Gracious, compiled by Abu Muhammad Ordoni (Jordanian).
Hadrat Fatema's house attacked
In compliance with God's command Baligh maa onzila ilaik-' (5:67) the Holy Prophet had inaugurated the serial of Imamate' (Divine guidance in succession to the Final apostleship) and had placed Au as the First in charge of it, and had declared it at the historic ceremonial event at Ghadeer-e-Khum, before the multitude of the thousands of the Hajies, on 8. 12.10 A.H. at the conclusion of which event was revealed 5:6... declaring the religion to be perfect and Islam to be the religion for man, accepted by God. In pursuance of the expressed divine will of the Lord, Au could not recognize or yield to the man-made authority set up at the Saqeefa' and hence had not paid fealty to it.
Imam Ali (A.S.) to exercise patience
The holy Prophet who knew through the divine gift of knowledge, as to what would happen after him till the Day of Judgment, had advised Ali to exercise the maximum possible patience against every atrocious move that might confront him. In compliance with the apostolic will, without the least interference into, or any concern with the affairs that proceeded at the Saqeefa', Ali had retired with a determination not to get out until he collects together all the notes on the Holy Qur'an which he had from the Holy Prophet about the external as well as the internal meanings of the Final Word of God.
Without Ali being subjugated, the authority set up at the Saqeefa' could not have the seal of the recognition of it, by the Holy Ahul-Bait and Ali was now the Chief of the Ahlul-Bait, the House of the Holy Prophet, and he would not yield. The retirement of Ali was exploited and a charge of conspiracy was coined and the people of the newly set up rule, headed by Omar, collected at the door of Fatema, demanded Au to come out of the house. The reply from inside was that it was a vow Au had made not to come out until the collection of the important notes on the Holy Qur'an is not completed. But the insurgent crowd would not agree and a big row was set into action.
Hadrat Fatema's house threatened with fire
The Holy Lady Fatema, bereaved only a day or two before, deeply sunk in grief; standing behind the door of her abode remonstrated saying:
"O' people! it is only yesterday that my father, the holy Prophet, departed from you and today you have the audacity to attack his house in which his daughter is mourning for him, which door he did not enter but with a salutation on its inmates".
Some historians say that fire and firewood was already- collected at the door of the holy house with the threat to set the abode on fire and some say fire was already kindled. However, Shibli No'mani in his well-known Alfarooq' says: - "Some say that fire was already set, but with the short temperedness of Omar this act was not improbable". (AF)
Hadrat Fatema wounded
A violent kick at the door from one among the crowd pushed it down on the side of the Holy Lady Fatema standing behind it, breaking her rib and the Khatoone Jannat' the Queen of Paradise, fell unconscious and ultimately the hit and the wound killed the Holy Mother along with the baby son in her womb. According to the tradition of the Ahlul-Bait, the Baby was already named Mohsin.
Hadrat Fatema martyred succumbing to the Wound
Thus after seventy-five or ninety days after the departure of the Holy Prophet, as prophesied, the Holy Lady passed away. But before breathing her last, she called Ali and desired that none of those particularly a few ones, who had turned hostile to the House of the Prophet and violated the will of the Apostle of God, should be informed of her departure from this world, and that she should be quietly buried in the darkness of the night.
Some reporters say that when the body was lowered into the grave, by Ali, in the grave appeared the two hands of the Holy Prophet, with a voice addressing Ali:- "Come on! Ali! Return thou the part of mine, to me". It is said that Ali shedding tears responded to the voice saying:-
"I am ashamed of thee O' Apostle of God,for I took Fatema from thee sound in her body but I am now returning her unto thee rib-broken".
Thus, the Holy Lady was the first of the martyrs among the Ahlul-Bait, after the departure of the Holy Prophet.
It is now left to the intelligent ones of the readers to judge the position of those who annoyed this holy one of God, (i.e., Lady Fatema) under the apostolic announcements of the Holy Prophet and the verse of the Holy Qur'an referred to above.
It is authentically reported that the Holy Lady once referring to her miserable plight and the sorrowful life she had to lead, addressing her father, the Holy Prophet, standing before his grave, said :- "Oh! Father dear! After thee, fell on me such miseries that had they fallen on bright days, the bright days would have turned into darkest nights.
The Holy Lady of Light left behind two sons and two daughters whose ages at the time of her departing from them, were :-
Hasan about 8 years.
Husain about 7 years.
Zainab (daughter) about 6 years.
Umme Kulthoom (daughter) about 5 years.
Husain, the Saviour of Islam, by S.V. Mir Ahmad Ali.
Fadak fi al-Tarikh (Fadak in History)
Author: Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr
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.