The Tragic Incident in the History of Islam:
Attacking the House of Hadrat Fatimah Zahra (A.S.)
A Sunni Brother mentioned that the Caliphate of Abu Bakr is the Consensus of scholars (Ijma'). It is incumbent upon Muslims to accept the Ijma'.
First I would like to point out that we also believe that Ijma'a is binding. But, my brother, how can Sunni scholars make Ijma'a on something that the Prophet and some of his companions opposed it? This opposition is a clear evidence to the fact that there is no Ijma'a in that very matter.
As for the Prophet (S.A.W.)I mentioned the authentic Sunni traditions in the previous articles where he gave Imam Ali the position that Haroon had to Moses. That position is explained in Quran whose verses I mentioned. The verses show that:
1-Allah is the one who appoints the Caliph. 2-The verse also uses the word "Ukhlofni" which is exactly the verb form of Khalif.
Moreover, I reproduced the historical reports documented by the Sunni scholars concerning the fact that the Messenger of Allah unequivocally announced Imam Ali (AS) as his successor in his first open preach. I also mentioned the authentic and frequent tradition of Ghadir Khum where the Prophet declared the leadership of Imam Ali (AS) officially.
Now, my brother, how can Ijma'a exist on this important issue when the Messenger of Allah oppose it? This is enough for us to close the issue of Ijma'a on this subject. However let us, now, go a little further:
Even the companions did not all agree that all these four individuals are the legitimate successors of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Muslims agree that the caliphate of Abu Bakr came through election by a limited number of people and was a surprise for all other companions. By limited, I mean, a majority of the prominent companions of prophet had no knowledge of this election. Ali, Ibn Abbas, Uthman, Talha, Zubair, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, Salman al- Farsi, Abu Dhar, Ammar Ibn Yasir, Miqdad, Abdurrahman Ibn Owf were among those who were not consulted or even informed of. Even Umar confessed to the fact that the election of Abu Bakr was without consultation of Muslims. (See sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v8, Tradition #817)
My dear brother, we can not close our eyes to the undeniable facts documented even by the Sunni scholars, and yet claim to have Ijma'a. After the demise of the Prophet (S.A.W.)those who heed what the Messenger of Allah ordered them such as Ammar Ibn Yasir, Abu-Dhar al-Ghafari, Miqdad, Salman al-Farsi, Ibn Abbas, and others such as al-Abbas, Utbah Ibn Abi Lahab, Bara Ibn Azib, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas ... etc., all gathered in the house of Fatimah (AS). Even Talha and al-Zubair were loyal to Imam Ali at the beginning and joint the others in the house of Fatimah (AS). They assembled in the house of Fatimah as a place of refuge since they were opposing the majority of people. According to the authentic traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari, Umar confessed that the Imam Ali (AS) and his followers OPPOSED Abu Bakr.
Umar said: "And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr."
Sunni Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v8, Tradition #817
Other Sunni traditionists narrated that on the day of Saqifah:
Umar said: "Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Zubair Ibn Awwam and those who were with them separated from us (and gathered) in the house of Fatimah, the daughter of the messenger of Allah."
- Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p55
- Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, by Ibn Hisham, v4, p309
- History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, p1822
- History of Tabari, English version, v9, p192
They demanded confirmation of the oath, but Ali and al-Zubair stayed away. Al-Zubair drew his sword (from the scabbard), saying, "I will not put it back until the oath of allegiance is rendered to Ali." When this news reached Abu Bakr and Umar, the latter said, "Hit him with a stone and seize the sword." It is stated that Umar rushed (to the door of the House of Fatimah) and brought them forcibly while telling them that they must give their oath of allegiance willingly or unwillingly.
Sunni reference: History of al-Tabari, English version, v9, pp 188-189
Dear brother, let's just think a little! What kind of election was that?! Election implies choice and freedom, and that every Muslim has the right to elect the nominee. Whoever refuses to elect him does not oppose God or His Messenger because neither God nor His Messenger appointed the nominated person by people.
Election, by its nature, does not compel any Muslim to elect a specific nominee. Otherwise, the election would be coercion. This means that the election would lose its own nature and it would be a dictatorial operation. It is well known that the Prophet said: "There is no validity for any allegiance given by force."
Now let us see what Umar did on those days. Sunni historians reported that:
When Umar came to the door of the house of Fatimah, he said: "By Allah, I shall burn down (the house) over you unless you come out and give the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr)."
- History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, pp 1118-1120
- History of Ibn Athir, v2, p325
- al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p975
- Tarikh al-Kulafa, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p20
- al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20
Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to the house of Ali. Talha and Zubair and some of the immigrants were also in the house. Umar cried out: "By God, either you come out to render the oath of allegiance, or I will set the house on fire." al-Zubair came out with his sword drawn. As he stumbled (upon something), the sword fell from his hand so they jumped over him and seized him."
Sunni Reference: History of Tabari, English version, v9, pp 186-187 In the footnotes of the same page (p187) in the English version of the History of al-Tabari the translator has commented:
Although the timing is not clear, it seems that Ali and his group came to know about Saqifa after what had happened there. At this point, his supporters gathered in Fatimah's house. Abu Bakr and Umar, fully aware of Ali's claims and fearing a serious threat from his supporters, summoned him to the mosque to swear the oath of allegiance. Ali refused, and so the house was surrounded by an armed band led by Abu Bakr and Umar, who threatened to set it on fire if Ali and his supporters refused to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. The scene grew violent and Fatimah was furious. (See Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his , v1, pp 582-586; Tarikh Ya'qubi, v2, p116; al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20).
Abu Bakr said on the authority of an authentic report that, after the demise of the holy Prophet when the people had paid fealty to him, Ali and Zubair used to go to Fatimah al-Zahra, daughter of the Prophet, for consultation. When this fact was known to Umar, he went to Fatimah and said:
"O' daughter of the Prophet! I didn't love anyone as much as I loved your father, nor anyone after him is more loving to me as you are. But I swear by Allah that if these people assemble here with you, then this love of mine would not prevent me from setting your house on fire."
- History of Tabari, in the events of the year 11 AH
- al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, beginning of the book, and pp 19-20 - Izalatul Khilafa, by Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi, v2, p362
- Iqd al-Farid, by Ibn Abd Rabbah al-Malik, v2, chapter of Saqifah Also it is reported that:
Umar said to Fatimah (who was behind the door of her house): "I know that the Prophet of God did not love any one more than you, but this will not stop me to carry out my decision. If these people stay in your house, I will burn the door in front of you."
Sunni reference: Kanz al-Ummal, v3, p140
In fact Shibli Numani himself testifies the above event in the following words:
"From Umar's irritable and peevish temperament such an action on his part was not improbable."
Sunni reference: al-Faruq, by Shibli Numani, p44
It is also reported that:
Abu Bakr said (on his death bed): "I wish I had not searched for Fatimah's house, and had not sent men to harass her, though it would have caused a war if her house would have continued to be used as a shelter."
- History of Ya'qubi, v2, pp 115-116
- Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586
The historian named the following people among those who attacked the house of Fatimah to disperse people who sheltered there:
- Umar Ibn al-Khattab
- Khalid Ibn Walid
- Abdurrahman Ibn Ouf
- Thabit Ibn Shammas
- Ziad Ibn Labid
- Muhammad Ibn Maslamah
- Salamah Ibn Salem Ibn Waqash
- Salamah Ibn Aslam
- Usaid Ibn Hozair
- Zaid Ibn Thabit
The revered Sunni scholar, Abu Mohammad Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn Qutaybah Daynuri in his history of Caliphs known as "al-Imamah wa al- Siyasah" reported:
Umar asked for wood, and told those people inside the house: "I swear by Allah who has my soul in his hand, that if you do not come out, I will burn the house." Someone told Umar that Fatimah was inside the house. Umar said: "So what! It doesn't matter to me who is in the house."
Sunni reference: al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 3,19-20
Another Sunni historian, al-Baladhuri, reported that:
Abu Bakr asked Ali to support him, but Ali refused, then Umar went toward the Ali's house with a burning torch. At the door he met Fatimah who said to him: "Do you intend to burn the door of my house?" Umar said: "Yes, because this act will strengthen the faith brought to us by your father."
Sunni reference: al-Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586 Also Jouhari in his book said: "Umar and a few Muslims went to the house of Fatimah to burn it down and to burn those who were in opposition." Ibn Shahna said the same statement adding "to burn the house and inhabitants". Furthermore, it is reported that:
Ali and Abbas were sitting inside the house of Fatimah, Abu Bakr told Umar: "Go and bring them; if they refuse, kill them." Umar brought fire to burn the house. Fatimah came near the door and said: "O son of Khattab, have you come to burn our house on me and my children?" Umar replied: "Yes I will, by Allah, until they come out and pay allegiance to the Prophet's Caliph."
- Iqd al-Fareed, by Ibn Abd Rabb, Part 3, Pg. 63
- al-Ghurar, by Ibn Khazaben, related from Zayd Ibn Aslam
Everybody came out of the house except Imam Ali (AS), who said: "I have sworn to remain home until I collect the Quran." Umar refused but Lady Fatimah's remonstration caused him to return. He instigated Abu Bakr to pursue the matter, and he send Qunfuz (his slave) several times but received a negative reply each time. Ultimately, Umar went with a group of people to the Fatimah's house. When she heard their voice, she cried loudly; "O father, O Messenger of Allah, how are Umar Ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Quhafah treating us after you and how do they meet us."
The Sunni scholars, Ahmad Ibn Abdul Aziz al-Jawhari in his book 'Saqifah', Abu Waleed Muhibbuddin Mohammad al-Shahnah al-Hanafi in his book 'Rawdhat al-Manadhir Fi Akhbaar al-Awayil wal-Aawaakhir', Ibn Abil Hadid in his book 'Sharh al-Nahj', and others have reported the events to the same effect.
Also refer to the esteemed Sunni historian Abul Hasan, Ali Ibn al-Husain al- Mas'udi who in his book 'Isbaat al-Wasiyyah' describes the events in detail and reports that: "They surrounded Ali (AS) and burned the door of his house and pulled him out against his will and pressed the leader of all women (Hadhrat Fatimah (AS)) between the door and the wall killing Mohsin (the male-child she was carrying in her womb for six months)."
Salahuddin Khalil al-Safadi another Sunni scholar in his book 'Waafi al- Wafiyyaat' under the letter 'A' while recording the view of Ibrahim Ibn Sayyar Ibn Hani al-Basri, well-known as Nidhaam quotes him to have said: "On the day of 'Bay'aat' (paying allegiance), Umar hit Fatimah (AS) on the stomach such that child in her womb died."
Why do you think an 18 year old young lady was forced to walk with the help of a walking-stick? Unbelieveable acts of cruelty and oppression had led Hadhrat Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) to lament: "Such calamities have visited me that had they descended on the day it would have darkened it." She fell into bed till she was martyred as a results of these calamities and injuries while she was just eighteen years old!
During her last days, when Abu Bakr and Umar sought the mediation of Imam Ali (AS) to visit the ailing Hadhrat Fatimah (AS), as quoted by Ibn Qutaybah, she tured her face to the wall when they greeted her and in response to their plea for appeasement reminded them of the prophetic declaration that one who displeases Fatimah (AS) has displeased the Prophet and finally said: "I take Allah and the angels to be my witness that you have not pleased me; on the other hand, you have angered me. When I shall meet the Prophet (S.A.W.)I will complain about you two." (al-Imamah wa al- Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p14).
For the same reason, she willed that those who have hurt her should not participate in her funeral rites and that she be buried at night. al- Bukhari in his Sahih attests to this fact that Imam Ali (AS) complied with the will of Lady Fatimah (AS). al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Aisha that:
... Fatimah became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not talk to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself.
Sunni references: - Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter of "The battle of Khaibar", Arabic-English, v5, tradition #546, pp 381-383, also v4, Tradition #325
Howsoever they tried, people failed to locate her grave. It was known only to a handful of Imam Ali (AS)'s family members. And to this date, the grave of the daughter of prophet is unknown which is another sign of her unhappiness from some of the companions.
The Opinion of the Prophet about He Who Hurts Fatimah
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.)had frequently said: "Fatimah is a part of me. Whoever makes her angry, makes me angry."
Sunni references: - Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v5, Traditions #61 and #111 - Sahih Muslim, section of virtues of Fatimah, v4, pp 1904-5
According to al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah has testified that Fatimah is the best of the ladies of the worlds:
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.819 Narrated 'Aisha:
The Messenger of Allah said to Fatimah (who was crying at her father's deathbed): "Are you not satisfied that you are the chief of all the ladies of Paradise or the chief of all the believing women?"
Furthermore, Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.)said: Four women are the mistress of the worlds: Mary, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh), Khadija, and Fatimah. And the most excellent one among them in the world is Fatimah."
Sunni references: Ibn Asakir, as quoted in Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor Allah, Exalted He is, said in Quran:"(O Prophet) tell (people) I don't ask you any wage except to love my family." (Quran 42:23).
He also said:"(O Prophet) tell (people) whatever I asked as wage (in return for my prophethood) is in the benefit of you (people)."(Quran 34:47).
The above two verses of Holy Quran explicitly indicate that the Prophet, with the order of Allah, has asked people to love his family as a command. Moreover loving them is in our benefit since "true love" requires to follow and obey the purified members of his family who carry his true Sunnah.
It is unfortunate that those who claimed to be his sicere compnions inflicted such horrible pains to his family while a week had not been passed since the death of the Prophet (S.A.W.). Is this the love, Allah ordered for the family of prophet?!
But also they cut all the financial resources of Ahlul-Bayt in order to crush the opposition. In Sahih al-Bukhari the following has also been narrated by Aisha:
Fatimah the daughter of the Prophet sent someone to Abu Bakr (when he was a caliph), asking for her inheritance of what Allah's Apostle had left of the property bestowed on him by Allah from the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) in Medina, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khumus of the Khaibar booty. ...but Abu Bakr refused to give anything of that to Fatimah. So she became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not task to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself.
Sunni References: - Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter of "The battle of Khaibar", Arabic-English, v5, tradition #546, pp 381-383, also v4, Tradition #325 (Please see the appendix for the whole tradition.)
Now either Fatimah was liar or Abu Bakr treated her unjustly. If she was liar, then she did not deserve such a saying from the Prophet that Fatimah is a part of me and whoever angers her, angers me. This itself is a clear indication of her infallibility. The purification sentence of the Holy Quran (the last sentence of verse 33:33) is another indication of her infallibility, as Aisha herself testified (See Sahih Muslim, 1980 Edition, Arabic, v4, p1883, Tradition #61). Hence there is nothing left for the sensible people but to accept the fact that she was unjustly treated, and that she was easy to be branded as a liar by Umar who was willing to let her burn unless the remaining people in her house come out to vote for Abu Bakr.
So logical conclusion from the above traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is that Fatimah was treated unjustly, and that she was angry at Abu Bakr and Umar, which follows Allah and his prophet are angry at them according the above tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari.
The excuse that Abu Bakr used to refuse to pay the right of Fatimah (see Appendix) was against the text of Quran. How can he be the executor of prophet while he does not obey the clear text of Quran? Abu Bakr claimed that prophet has said: "We prophets do not leave any inheritance, and whatever we leave should go to charity." This is false allegation that he has made up, because prophet can not contradict Quran which in two verses testifies that prophets had heir, and their children inherited from them. Allah says in Quran:
"And Solomon (Sulaymaan) inherited from David." (Quran 27:16)
While both Sulaymaan and David were prophets and very wealthy. They were kings of their times. Allah , Exalted, also says:
"(Zakariya prayed to Allah by saying)... Grant me a son from yourself, who inherits from me and inherit from the children of Jacob, and make him, O' my Lord, the one with whom you are well-pleased." (Quran 19:5-6).
These are examples that prophets left inheritance. In fact, Fatimah (AS) mentioned these verses as her proof for her right, but Abu Bakr refused due to the suggestion of Umar, and they intentionally went against the clear text of Quran.
Historical facts testifies that prophet even had already transferred Fadak (Which was a big and rich piece of land in Hijaz) to Fatimah and it was the property of Fatimah long before the demise of the Prophet. As such, even it was not even the matter of inheritance as claimed by Abu Bakr. The reason that the Prophet has transferred Fadak to Fatimah was to provide financial resources for the followers of Ahlul-Bayt. But after the Prophet passed away, Abu Bakr and Umar dismissed the managers of that land (who were assigned by Fatimah in the life time of his father), and confiscated that land and other properties of Ahlul-Bayt. The reason is very simple: They knew that if this rich property remains in the hand of Imam Ali and Fatimah, peace be upon them, they will spend its revenues to their followers and this would give strength to the rival party and endangers their position. Abu Bakr and Umar realized the fact that in order to control the oppositions, it is necessary to remove all the funding abilities first.
Thus the problem was not a simple financial problem. It was absolutely political in nature. The quarrel Fatimah (AS) was not for the pleasure of this world. History testifies that Imam Ali and Fatimah have had a very simple life during the life time of prophet as well as thereafter. It is well known that verses (76:8-9) of the holy Quran was revealed for them when for 3 consecutive days, they gave their meal to needy people at the time of IFTAR, when they were going to break their fast, and there was noting left for them and their children to eat for three consecutive days. So such pious people do not struggle or GET ANGRY because of such worldly things. THAT IS WHY, ANGER OF FATIMAH IS ANGER OF PROPHET. They were, in fact, struggling for the sake of Allah and for spending their ligitimate properties for His Right Path and its followers.
At the time of Harun al-Rashid (one of the Abbasid Tyrants) the Islamic country was in its biggest extent. It was extended from Afghanistan and central Asia to the North Africa. So it was not important for government to give up a piece of land. Moreover, by returning it they could make propaganda for their interest. According to some reports, Harun told to Imam Musa al-Kadhim (the 7th Imam of the Ahlul-Bayt): "Let us know the location of the land of Fadak so that I could return it to you." The Imam (AS) replied: "I would accept it only in its entirety." Harun said: "Specify its boundaries then." The Imam (AS) said: "If I specify its borders, you will not return it." Harun said: "I swear in the name of your grandfather that I shall return it." At this time, the Imam (AS) said: "It extends from one side to Aden (Southern part of Arabian peninsula), and from one side to Samarqand (Afghanistan), and from one side to Armenia (south of Russia) and from one side to Egypt in Africa." The face of Harun turned red and said: "This does not leave anything for us." The Imam (AS) replied: "I told you that you will not return it if I specify its limits!" (al-Bihar, v48, p144, Hadith #20).
Here is the whole tradition which was referred above:
Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 5.546
Fatimah the daughter of the Prophet sent someone to Abu Bakr (when he was a caliph), asking for her inheritance of what Allah's Apostle had left of the property bestowed on him by Allah from the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) in Medina, and Fadak, and what remained of the Khumus of the Khaibar booty. On that, Abu Bakr said, "Allah's Apostle said, "Our property is not inherited. Whatever we leave, is Sadaqa, but the family of (the Prophet) Muhammad can eat of this property.' By Allah, I will not make any change in the state of the Sadaqa of Allah's Apostle and will leave it as it was during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle, and will dispose of it as Allah's Apostle used to do." So Abu Bakr refused to give anything of that to Fatima. So she became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not talk to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself.
When Fatimah was alive, the people used to respect 'Ali much, but after her death, 'Ali noticed a change in the people's attitude towards him. So Ali sought reconciliation with Abu Bakr and gave him an oath of allegiance. Ali had not given the oath of allegiance during those months (i.e. the period between the Prophet's death and Fatima's death). 'Ali sent someone to Abu Bakr saying, "Come to us, but let nobody come with you," as he disliked that 'Umar should come, 'Umar said (to Abu Bakr), "No, by Allah, you shall not enter upon them alone " Abu Bakr said, "What do you think they will do to me? By Allah, I will go to them' So Abu Bakr entered upon them, and then 'Ali uttered Tashah-hud and said (to Abu Bakr), "We know well your superiority and what Allah has given you, and we are not jealous of the good what Allah has bestowed upon you, but you did not consult us in the question of the rule and we thought that we have got a right in it because of our near relationship to Allah's Apostle ." Thereupon Abu Bakr's eyes flowed with tears. And when Abu Bakr spoke, he said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is to keep good relations with the relatives of Allah's Apostle is dearer to me than to keep good relations with my own relatives. But as for the trouble which arose between me and you about his property, I will do my best to spend it according to what is good, and will not leave any rule or regulation which I saw Allah's Apostle following, in disposing of it, but I will follow." On that 'Ali said to Abu Bakr, "I promise to give you the oath of allegiance in this after noon."
So when Abu Bakr had offered the Zuhr prayer, he ascended the pulpit and uttered the Tashah-hud and then mentioned the story of 'Ali and his failure to give the oath of allegiance, and excused him, accepting what excuses he had offered; Then 'Ali (got up) and praying (to Allah) for forgiveness, he uttered Tashah-hud, praised Abu Bakr's right, and said, that he had not done what he had done because of jealousy of Abu Bakr or as a protest of that Allah had favored him with. 'Ali added, "But we used to consider that we too had some right in this affair (of rulership) and that he (i.e. Abu Bakr) did not consult us in this matter, and therefore caused us to feel sorry." On that all the Muslims became happy and said, "You have done the right thing." The Muslims then became friendly with 'Ali as he returned to what the people had done (i.e. giving the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr).