What is the Fadak Event?
By: Allama Jafar Murtuza Amili
Most readers, non-Shi’ites of course, know little or none about Fadak, so it is appropriate here to introduce them to Fadak and to narrate its story to them:
Fatima (sa) After The Prophet’s Demise
The Prophet of Islam (S) left us only one single offspring: his daughter Fatima (sa), the personification of human perfection. He S taught Fatima (sa) divine knowledge and endowed her with special intellectual brilliance, so much so that she realized the true meaning of faith, piety, and the reality of Islam. But Fatima (sa) also was a witness to sorrow and a life of anguish from the very beginning of her life. She constantly saw how her revered father was mistreated by the unbelievers and later how she herself fell a victim to the same abuse, only this time by some Muslims.
This book cannot be complete without shedding more light on her life and on the way some Muslims mistreated her, so much so that nobody knows for sure where her grave is. When you read her biography, you will glorify the Almighty and get to know Him better by seeing how He bestowed on this great lady what He did not bestow on any other woman in the history of mankind. To know Allah, is to know His creation, and one of the very best of His creation is this great lady; so, let us review some pages of Islamic history and see how some Muslims, even during the first Islamic century, had a shallow idea of their creed and how their conviction did not settle deeply in their hearts as their actions clearly demonstrate to those who have eyes.
Ibn al-Jawzi, namely Abul-Faraj Abdur-Rahman ibn Abul-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammed al-Qarashi (or Quraishi, of Quraish tribe) al-Taymi al-Bakri, was a Hanbali faqih who knew the Holy Qur'an by heart, an orator, historian and a man of letters. He was born in Baghdad in 510 A.H./1116-7 A.D. and died there on the 12th of the month of Ramadan of 592 A.H. which coincided with August 16, 1196 A.D. according to the Gregorian Christian calendar or the 9th of the same month and year according to the Julian calendar. May the Almighty shower him with His spacious mercy and admit him into His spacious Paradise, Allahomma Ameen. He quotes Imam Ali saying that when the Messenger of Allah S died, Fatima (as) went to his gravesite, took a handful of its dust, put it on her eyes, wept and composed these verses of poetry: My soul is confined with every sigh, How I wish it departed as sighs depart.
No good is there in life after you so I For fear my life will prolong do I cry.
In 628 A.D., the Prophet of Islam found himself fighting the Jewish tribes in Medina who had violated the terms of a pact which they had signed with the Prophet. Those Jews were not originally residents of Medina but had migrated to it from Yemen and Palestine in order to be the first to testify to the truth of the new Arabian Prophet, but they ended up fighting him. In that year, the Prophet expelled Banu Nadir and Banu Qinaqa’ from Medina and dispatched Ali ibn Abu Talib on an expedition to a Jewish tribe living in Fadak, one of the oases of Khaybar.
It was inhabited by Arab Jews (tribes that spoke Arabic and were following the Jewish faith) who pioneered the cultivation of the Fadak oasis and made their living growing date palm trees, as well as through commerce and craftsmanship, accumulating considerable wealth. This oasis was divided into three regions: al-Natat, al-Shiqq ÇáÔöøÞ, and al-Katiba ÇáßÊíÈÉ, probably separated by natural diversions such as the desert, lava drifts, and swamps. Each of these regions contained several fortresses or redoubts containing homes, storehouses and stables. Each fortress was occupied by a clan and surrounded by cultivated fields and palm-groves. In order to improve their defensive capabilities, the fortresses were raised up on hills or basalt rocks.
Ali ibn Abu Talib without any battle, they agreed to the same terms as the people of Khaybar had.
The income from Khaybar was for all Muslims in general, whereas the income from Fadak was exclusively for the Prophet because it was taken without any use of force. Jalaluddin al-Sayyuti states in Ad-Durr al-Manthur on the authority of Bazar, Abu Yacli and Ibn Abu µatim who have learned the tradition from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that when the verse: Wa ati thal-Qurba µaqqahu "And give thy kinsfolk their dues” (Qur’an, Chap. 17, V. 26) was revealed, the Prophet gave the property of Fadak as a gift to Fatima. Also, Ibn Abbas has narrated that when the verse "And give thy kinsfolk their dues” was revealed, the Prophet assigned the Fadak property to Fatima.
The Prophet S taught Fatima (sa) divine knowledge and endowed her with special intellectual brilliance, so much so that she realized the true meaning of faith, piety, and the reality of Islam. But Fatima (sa) also was a witness to sorrow and a life of anguish from the very beginning of her life. She constantly saw how her revered father was mistreated by the unbelievers and later how she herself fell a victim to the same abuse, only this time by some Muslims.
Khutba of Fatima al-Zahra' (sa) Demanding Fadak
Abullah son of Imam al-Hassan (as) quotes his forefathers saying that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar decided to prevent Fatima (sa) from her Fadak property. When she came to know about it, she put her veil on her head, wrapped herself with her outer cloak and, accompanied by some of her relatives and men of her folks, stepping on her gown, her gait not differing from that of the Messenger of Allah (S), she went and entered [the Mosque of the Prophet] where Abu Bakr was.
Abu Bakr was in the company of a crowd of the Muhajirun, Ansar and others. A curtain was placed behind which she sat and moaned. Hearing her thus moaning, everyone present there and then burst in tears, so much so that the meeting place shook. She waited for a moment till the sobbing stopped and the fervor abated. She started her speech by praising Allah and lauding Him, sending blessings to His Messenger, whereon people resumed their cries. When they stopped, she resumed her speech saying, "Praise to Allah for that which He bestowed (on us). We thank and laud Him for all that which He inspired and offered, for the abundant boons which He initiated, the perfect grants which He presented. Such boons are too many to compute, too vast to measure. Their limit is too distant to grasp. He commended them (to His beings) so they would gain more by being grateful for their continuity. He ordained Himself praiseworthy by giving generously to His creatures. I testify that there is no God but Allah , the One without a partner, a statement which sincere devotion is its interpretation, the hearts guarantee its continuation, and in the minds and hearts is its perpetuation. He is the One Who cannot be perceived with vision, nor can He be described by tongues, nor can imagination comprehend how He is. He originated things but not from anything that existed before, created them without pre-existing examples. Rather, He created them with His might and spread them according to His will. He did so not for a need for which He created them, nor for a benefit (for Him) did He shape them, but to establish His wisdom, bring attention to His obedience, manifest His might, lead His creatures to humbly venerate Him and exalt His decrees. He then made the reward for obedience to Him and punishment for disobedience so as to protect His creatures from His Wrath and lodge them into His Paradise.
"I also testify that my Father, Muhammed S, is His servant and messenger whom He chose. Prior to sending him, the [souls of all] beings were still concealed in that which was transcendental, protected from anything appalling, associated with termination and nonexistence. Allah the Exalted One knew that which was to follow, comprehended that which would come to pass and realized the place of every event. Allah sent him (Muhammed S) to perfect His commands, accomplish His decree and implement the dictates of His Mercy. So he (Muhammed S) found nations differing in their creeds, obsessed by their fires [Zoroastrians], worshipping their idols [Pagans], and denying Allah [atheists] despite their knowledge of Him. Therefore, Allah illuminated their darkness with my Father, Muhammed S, uncovered obscurity from their hearts, and cleared the clouds from their insights. He revealed guidance to the people. He delivered them from being led astray, taking them away from misguidance, showing them the right religion and inviting them to the Straight Path (as-ˉirat al-Mustaqeem).
"Allah then chose to recall him mercifully, with love and preference. So, Muhammed S is now in comfort, released from the burden of this world, surrounded by angels of devotion, satisfied with the Merciful Lord and with being near the powerful King. So, peace of Allah with my Father, His Prophet, the trusted one, the one whom He chose from among His servants, His sincere friend, and peace and blessings of Allah with him.”
Fatima (sa) then turned to the crowd and said: 'Surely you (people) are Allah 's servants at His command and prohibition, bearers of His creed and revelation. You are the ones whom Allah entrusted to fare with your own selves, His messengers to the nations. Amongst you does He have the right authority, a covenant which He brought forth to you and a legacy which He left to guard you: the eloquent Book of Allah , the Qur’an of the truth, the brilliant light, the shining beam. Its insights are indisputable, its secrets are revealed, its indications are manifest and those who follow it are surely blessed. (The Qur’an ) leads its adherents to righteousness; listening (and acting on) it leads to salvation. Through it are the enlightening divine arguments achieved, His manifest determination acquired, His prohibited decrees avoided, His manifest evidence recognized, His convincing proofs made apparent, His permissions granted and His laws written. So Allah made belief (in Islam) an act of purification for you from (the filth of) polytheism.
He made prayers an exaltation for you from conceit, zakat an act of purification for the soul and a (cause of) growth in subsistence, fasting an implantation of devotion, pilgrimage a construction of the creed and justice (‘Adl) the harmony of the hearts. And He made obedience to us (Ahl al-Bayt (as)) the management of the affairs of the nation and our leadership (Ahl al-Bayt (as)) a protection from disunity. He made jihad a way for strengthening Islam and patience a helping course for deserving (divine) rewards. He made commending what is right (al-’Amr bil ma’ruf) a cause for public welfare, kindness to parents a safeguard from (His) wrath, the maintaining of close ties with one's kin a cause for a longer life and for multiplying the number of offspring, in-kind reprisal (qisas ÞÕÇÕ) for saving lives, fulfilling vows the earning of mercy, the completing of weights and measures a cause for avoiding neglecting the rights of others, forbidding drinking wines an exaltation from atrocity, avoiding slander a veil from curse, and the abandonment of stealing a reason for deserving chastity. Allah has also prohibited polytheism so that one can devote himself to His Mastership. Therefore; Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam. Obey Allah in that which He has commanded you to do and that which He has forbidden, for surely those who truly fear Him from among His servants are those who have knowledge.'
"O People! Be informed that I am Fatima, and my father is Muhammad; I say so repeatedly and initiate it continually. I do not utter mistakenly, nor do I do what I do aimlessly. Now has come unto you a Prophet from amongst yourselves; it grieves him that you should perish; ardently anxious is he over you; to the believers he is most kind and merciful. Thus, if you identify and recognize him, you shall realize that he is my father and not the father of any of your women; the brother of my cousin (Ali (as) ) rather than any of your men. What an excellent identity he was, may the peace and blessings of Allah be with him and his descendants Thus, he propagated the Message, coming out openly with the warning, inclining away from the path of the polytheists, (he) struck their strength and seized their throats, while he invited (everyone) to the way of his Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching. He destroyed idols and defeated heroes until their group fled and turned on their heels. So night revealed its dawn; righteousness uncovered its genuineness; the voice of the religious authority spoke out loud; the evil discords were silenced; the crown of hypocrisy was diminished; the tying of (the knots of) infidelity and desertion were untied, so you spoke the statement of devotion amongst a band of starved ones, and you were on the edge of a pit of the fire. (You were) the drink of the thirsty; the opportunity of the desiring ones; the fire brand of one who passes in haste; the step for feet. You used to drink of stagnant water gathered on roads; eat dry jerked meat. (Lady Fatima (sa) was stating their miserable living conditions before Islam). You were despised outcasts always in fear of being abducted by those around you.
Yet, Allah rescued you through my father, Muhammad after much ado, and after he was confronted by mighty men, Arab beasts, and demons of the people of the Book Who, whenever they ignited the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and whenever the thorn of the devil appeared, or a mouth of the polytheists opened wide in defiance, he would strike its discords with his brother (Ali (as)), who comes not back until he treads its wing with the sole of his feet, and extinguishes its flames with his sword. (Ali (as) is) diligent in Allah 's affair, near to the Messenger of Allah S, a master among Allah 's worshippers, setting to work briskly, sincere in his advice, earnest and exerting himself (in serving Islam), while you were calm, cheerful and feeling safe in your lives of ease, waiting for us to face disasters, awaiting the spread of news. You fell back during every battle and took to your heels at times of fighting.
Yet, When Allah chose His Prophet to Him from the abode of His prophets, the abode of His sincere (servants), the thorns of hypocrisy appeared on you, the garment of faith became worn out, the misguided ignorant ones from among you spoke out, the sluggish ignorant ones came out to the front and brayed. The vain camel wiggled its tail in your courtyards and the devil stuck its head out of its hideout calling on you, finding you responsive to his invitation and observant of his deceits. He then excited you and found you quick (to answer him), inviting you to wrath; therefore, you branded other than your camels and proceeded to other than your drinking places.
Then, while the era of the Prophet was still near, the gap was still wide, the scar had not yet healed, and the Messenger was not yet buried…, a (quick) undertaking you claimed, saying that you aimed at preventing discord. Surely they have fallen into trial already! And indeed Hell surrounds the unbelievers. How preposterous! What a notion! What falsehood! Allah 's Book is still amongst you; its affairs are apparent; its rules are manifest; its signs are dazzling; its restrictions are visible, and its commands are evident.
Yet, indeed you have cast it behind your backs! What?! Do you detest it? Or according to something else do you wish to rule? Evil would be such a barter for the wrongdoers! And if anyone desires a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost. Surely you have not waited until its stampede stopped and it became easier to deal with. You started fueling its flames, feeding its coal, complying with the call of the misled devil, putting out the light of the manifest religion, and extinguishing the light of the sincere Prophet. You concealed sips on froth and proceeded towards his (Prophet’s) kin and children in swamps and forests [i.e. you plotted against them in deceitful ways]. But we are patient with you as if we are being notched with knives and stung by spearheads in our abdomens.
'still, you now claim that there is not inheritance for us! What?! "Do they, then, seek the ruling of (the Days of) ignorance? But how so for people whose faith is assured? Can you give a better ruling than Allah ? Do you not know? Yes, indeed it is obvious to you that I am his daughter. O Muslims! Will my inheritance be usurped? O son of Abu Quhafa (Abu Bakr)! Where is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father and I do not inherit mine? Surely you have come up with an unprecedented thing. Do you intentionally abandon the Book of Allah and cast it behind your back? Do you not read where it says: ‘And Solomon (Sulayman) inherited David (Dawud)' (Qur’an, 27:16)?
And when it narrates the story of Zacharias, it says: ‘So grant me (O Lord
one (heir) who will inherit me and inherit the posterity of Jacob ' (19:16) And: ‘Blood relatives are nearer to each other in the Book of Allah ' (Qur’an, 8:75). And: ‘Allah (thus) directs you regarding your children's (inheritance): to the male is a portion equal to that of two females' (Qur’an, 4:11). And: ‘It is prescribed for you that when death approaches any of you, if he leaves behind any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin in goodness, a duty incumbent on the pious' (Qur’an, 2:180).
You (O Abu Bakr
claim that I have no share! And that I do not inherit my father! What?! Did Allah reveal a (Qur’an ic) verse regarding you from which He excluded my father? Or do you say that these (Fatima (sa) and her father S) are from people of two (different) faiths, so they do not inherit each other?!' Are we not, I and my father, people adhering to one and the same faith? Or is it that you have knowledge about the specifications and generalizations of the Qur’an more than my father and my cousin (Imam Ali (as))? So, here you are! Take it! (Ready with) its nose rope and saddle! But it shall encounter you on the Day of Gathering: How Great a judge Allah is when the claimant is Muhammad ! What what a day it shall be, the Day of Rising! At the time of the Hour shall the wrongdoers lose, and it shall not benefit you to regret (your actions) then! For every Message, there is a time limit, and soon shall you all know who will be inflicted with torture that will humiliate him, and who will be confronted by an everlasting punishment.
(Fatima (sa) then turned towards the Ansar and said
:) "O you people of intellect! The strong supporters of the nation! And those who embraced Islam: What is this shortcoming in defending my right? And what is this slumber (while you see) injustice (being done to me)? Did not the Messenger of Allah S, my father, use to say: ‘A man is upheld (remembered) by his children’? O how quick have you violated (his orders)?! How soon have you plotted against us? But you still are capable (of helping me in) my attempt, and powerful (enough to help me) in that which I request and (in) my pursuit (of it). Or do you say: ‘Muhammad has perished’? Surely this is a great calamity; its damage is excessive, its injury is great, its wound (is much too deep) to heal. The Earth became darkened with his departure; the stars eclipsed for his calamity; hopes were dashed; mountains submitted; sanctity violated, and holiness encroached on after his death.
Therefore, this, by Allah, is the great affliction, and the momentous calamity; there is not an affliction-which is the like of it; nor will there be a sudden misfortune (as surprising as this). The Book of Allah —excellent in praising him—announced in the courtyards (of your houses) in the place where you spend your evenings and mornings, a call, a cry, a recitation and (verses) placed in order. It (death) had previously come on His (Allah 's) Prophets and Messengers; (for it is) a decree final, and predestination fulfilled: ‘Muhammed is but a Prophet: Many were the Prophets that passed away before him. If he dies or is slain, will you all then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah ; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.’
O you people of reflection! Will I be usurped of the inheritance of my father while you hear and see me?! (And while) You are sitting and gathered around me? You hear my call and are included in the (outcome of the) affair? (But) You are numerous and well equipped! (You have) the means and the power, the weapons and the shields. Yet, the call reaches you but you do not answer; the cry comes to you but you do not come to help? (This happens) while you are characterized by struggle, known for goodness and welfare, the selected group, and the best ones chosen by the Messenger for us, we Ahlul-Bayt (as). You fought the Arabs, bore with pain and exhaustion, struggled against the nations and resisted their heroes. We were still, so were you in ordering you, and you in obeying us.
So Islam triumphed, the accomplishment of the days came near, the fort of polytheism was subjected, its outburst was quelled, the outburst of infidelity calmed down, and the system of religion was well-ordered. Thus, (why have you) become confused after clearness, concealing matters after announcing them? Do you thus turn on your heels after charging, associating (others with Allah) after believing? Will you not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Prophet and became aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do you fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom you should more justly fear, if you believe! Now I see that you are inclined to easy living, having dismissed one who is more worthy of guardianship [referring to Ali (as)].
You secluded yourselves with meekness and dismissed that which you accepted. Yet, if you show ingratitude, you and all those on earth put together, Allah is free of all want, worthy of all praise. Surely I have said all that I have said with full knowledge that you intend to forsake me, and knowing the betrayal that your hearts sensed. But it is the state of the soul, the effusion of fury, the dissemination of (what is in) the chest and the presentation of the proof. Hence, here it is!
Bag it (leadership and) put it on the back of an ill she-camel which has a thin hump with everlasting grace, marked with the wrath of Allah and the blame of ever (which leads to) the Fire of (the wrath of Allah kindled (to a blaze), that which mounts (right) on the hearts. Allah witnesses what you do, and soon will the unjust assailants come to know what vicissitudes their affairs will take! And I am the daughter of a warner (Prophet) to you against a severe punishment. So, act and so will we, and wait, and we, too, shall wait.'”
Abu Bakr responded to her by saying, "O daughter of the Messenger of Allah ! Your father was always affectionate with the believers, generous, kind and merciful, and towards the unbelievers was he a painful torment and a great punishment. Surely the Prophet is your father, not anyone else's, the brother of your husband, not of any other man's; he surely preferred him over all his friends and (Ali (as)) supported him in every important matter. No one loves you save the lucky and no one hates you save the wretch. You are the blessed progeny of Allah 's Messenger, the chosen ones, our guides to goodness, our path to Paradise.
And you, O the best of women, the daughter of the best of prophets, are truthful is your statements, excelling in reasoning. You shall not be driven back from your right... But I surely heard your father saying
: ‘We, group of prophets, do not inherit, nor are we inherited. Yet, this is my situation and property, it is yours (if you wish); it shall not be concealed from you, nor will it be stored away from you. You are the Mistress of your father's nation, and the blessed tree of your descendants. Your property shall not be usurped against your will nor can your name be defamed. Your judgment shall be executed in all that which I possess. Do you think that I would violate your father's (will)?"
Fatima then refuted Abu Bakr's claim that the Prophet had stated that prophets could not be inherited. She said
: "Glory to Allah !! Surely Allah 's Messenger did not abandon Allah 's Book, nor did he violate His commands. Rather, he followed its decrees and adhered to its chapters. So do you unite with treachery justifying your acts with fabrications? Indeed this—after his departure—is similar to the disasters which were plotted against him during his lifetime. But behold! This is Allah 's Book, a just judge and a decisive speaker, saying: ‘… One who will inherit Me and inherit the posterity of Jacob (Ya’qub),' (Qur’an, 19:6) and 'Sulayman (Solomon) inherited Dawood (David).' (Qur’an,27: 16)
Thus, He (Glory to Him) made clear that which He made all heirs share, decreed from the amounts of inheritance, allowed for males and females and eradicated all doubts and ambiguities (pertaining to this issue which existed with the) bygones. Nay! But your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) with you, but (for me) patience is most fitting against that which you assert. It is Allah (alone) whose help can be sought."
It is apparent that Abu Bakr seized the moment when he was addressed Lady Fatima (sa) after delivering her speech to defend himself. Listen to his following speech which is his reply to Fatima 's speech.
Abu Bakr said
: 'surely Allah and His Prophet are truthful, and so has his (the Prophet's) daughter told the truth. Surely you are the source of wisdom, the element of faith, and the sole authority. May Allah not refute your righteous argument, nor invalidate your decisive speech. But these are the Muslims among us who have entrusted me with leadership, and it was according to their satisfaction that I received what (authority) I have undertaken. I am not being arrogant, autocratic or selfish, and they are my witnesses." On hearing Abu Bakr speak of the people's support for him, Lady Fatima al-Zahra’ (sa) turned towards them and said: "O people who rush towards uttering falsehood and are indifferent to disgraceful and lost actions! Do you not earnestly seek to reflect on the Qur’an , or are your hearts isolated with locks? But on your hearts is the stain of the evil which you committed; it has seized your hearing and your sight. Evil is that which you justified, cursed is that which you reckoned, and wicked is that which you have taken for an exchange! You shall, by Allah, find bearing it (to be a great) burden, and its consequence disastrous. (That is) on the Day when the cover is removed and what is behind it of wrath appears to you. When you will be confronted by Allah with that which you can never expect, there and then, those who stood on falsehoods will perish."
Although parts of Abu Bakr's speeches cannot be verified with authentic evidence, and despite the fact that we have already mentioned part of the actual speech, which Abu Bakr delivered after Lady Fatima's arguments, it appears certain that Abu Bakr was finally persuaded to return Fadak to her. Nevertheless, when Fatima was leaving Abu Bakr's house, ‘Umar suddenly appeared and exclaimed
: "What is it that you hold in your hand?"
Abu Bakr replied
: “It is a decree I have written for Fatima (sa) in which I returned Fadak and her father's inheritance to her." ‘Umar then said: "With what will you spend on the Muslims if the Arabs decide to fight you?!"
æÝí ÓíÑÉ ÇáÍáÈí Ì 3 Õ :- 391Ãä ÚãÑ ÃÎÐ ÇáßÊÇÈ ÝÔÞå
According to p. 391, Vol. 3, of al-Halabi’s Seera book, ‘Umar [ibn al-Khattab] seized the decree and tore it to pieces…
In some reports, Abu Bakr, a longtime sahabi of the Prophet and one of the earliest men to embrace Islam, honored Fatima’s request and returned Fadak to her. He wrote her a deed of the Fadak property in his own hand and gave it to her, whereon she (sa) left the Prophet’s Mosque, which Abu Bakr had made the seat of his government, feeling happy. She happened to be seen by ‘Umar who asked her what she was carrying in her hand. When she told him what it was, he grabbed it from her hand in a rude way and with force, spitted in it then tore it to pieces.
After you, reports and momentous chaotic events we found, If you witnessed them, calamities would not abound.
We missed you as sorely as earth would miss its rain, Your folks lost balance, see how from the creed they did refrain, We, like no others, have suffered affliction, Unlike all Arabs, or others from among Allah ’s creation.
One who has oppressed us will come on Judgment Day To know what fate will be awaiting him.
My homeland is now narrow after its great expanse indeed, Both your grandsons have been wronged, so my heart is grieved, Every family has relatives and a place With the Almighty Who is close to those of grace, Certain men what their chests hid did they to us reveal, When you went, and now you from our sights did a grave conceal, Men assaulted and slighted us, when you became far away So, now what rightfully belongs to us is being taken away.
You were the moon, your light showed us what we should heed, Messages from the Exalted One were to you revealed.
With the Verses did Gabriel make our day, Now you are gone, every good thing is kept away.
How we wish in our direction death did the Almighty guide Before you left us, and you did the dunes from us hide.
We shall cry over you so long as our tears can pour, So long as floods of tears can withstand and endure.
We have been afflicted with tragedy on his account One who is pure in peers, folks and lineage, For you are the best of Allah ’s creation and Most truthful of those who only the truth defend.
References to this speech by the Truthful One, Fatima , peace with her, including some who cited excerpts of it, include the following
: Al-Khalil ibn Ahmed al-Farahidi ÇáÎáíá Èä ÃÍãÏ ÇáÝÑÇåíÏí
(d. 175 A.H./792 A.D.) on p. 323, Vol. 8, of Kitab al-’Ayn, Jarallah Muhammed ibn ‘Umar al-Zamakhshari, ÇáÒãÎÔÑí
(d. 538 A.H./1144 A.D.) on p. 331, Vol. 3, of Al-Fa’iq; Abul-Faraj Abdur-Rahman ibn Ali ibn al-Jawzi ÇÈä ÇáÌæÒí
(d. 597 A.H./1201 A.D.), Majd ad-Din Abu al-Sa’adat Ibn al-Athir ÇÈä ÇáÃËíÑ
(d. 606 A.H./1210 A.D.) on p. 273, Vol. 4 of his book titled An-Nihaya, Abul-Fa¤l Jamal ad-Din ibn Man¨our ÇÈä ãäÙæÑ
(d. 711 A.H./1312 A.D.) on p. 548, Vol. 12 (old edition) of his lexicon titled Lisan al-’Arab.
A Brief History of Fadak After Fatima's Death
The motive which prompts us to pursue the history of Fadak and to extract the series of events after it for a period of three centuries from the texts of historical books is to clarify three issues:
a. The truth about the rule of annulment of inheritance from prophets allegedly made by the Holy Prophet S; in other words, the claim that property of the Holy Prophet S is part of the public treasury, baytul-mal, and belongs to all Muslims. This was claimed by the first caliph, Abu Bakr, and it was rejected by his successors, i.e. by both next caliphs (‘’Umar and ‘Othman), by the Umayyads and the Abbassids, all of them. We must consider that the lawfulness and rightfulness of their caliphate depended on the "correctness"and "lawfulness" of the caliphate of the first caliph and his actions.
b. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and the descendants of Fatima (sa) never had any hesitation regarding the rightfulness and justification of their claim. They emphasized and confirmed that Fatima (sa) had always been right and that Abu Bakr's claim had always been rejected; they did not yield to false claims.
c. Whenever a caliph made a decision to put Allah's command into effect, with regard to Fadak, to observe justice and equity and to restore the right to the entitled one in conformity with Islamic rules, he used to return Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (sa). ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab was the most harsh person in depriving Fatima (sa) of her Fadak estate as he himself later confessed, probably with remorse, thus: "When the Messenger of Allah S died, I came along with Abu Bakr to Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and said, "What do you say about what has been left by the Messenger of Allah S?" He replied, "We have the most rights with the Holy Prophet S." I (‘’Umar) said, "Even those properties of Khaybar?" He said, "Yes, even those of Khaybar." I said, "Even those of Fadak?" He replied, "Yes, even those of Fadak."
Then I said, "By Allah! We say NO even if you cut our necks with saws" as recorded in Majma’ al-Zawa'id, Vol. 9, pp. 39 - 40. As it has already been mentioned, ‘’Umar then took the document (deed of ownership) of Fadak and tore it up. But when ‘’Umar became caliph (13 - 23 A.H./634 - 644 A.D.), he gave Fadak back to heirs of the Holy Prophet S. Discussing the Fadak issue, Yaqut al-Hamawi (574 - 626 A.H./1178 - 1229 A.D.), the famous historian and geographer, says the following: "When ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab became caliph and gained victories and the Muslims secured abundant wealth (i.e. the public treasury satisfied the caliphate's needs), he made a judgment contrary to that of his predecessor. He gave it (Fadak) back to the Prophet's heirs. At the time, Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib disputed about Fadak."
Ali said that the Holy Prophet S had bestowed it on Fatima (sa) during his lifetime. Abbas denied this and used to say, "This was in the possession of the Holy Prophet S and I have a share in this inheritance." They were disputing this with each other and asked ‘’Umar to settle the case. He refused to judge between them and said, "Both of you are more conscious and aware of your problem; but I only give it [Fadak] to you" (Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4, pp. 238 -239; Wafa' al-Wafa', Vol. 3, p. 999; Tahdhib al-Lughah, Vol. 10, p. 124; Lisan al-Arab, Vol. 10, p. 473; Taj al-’Arus, Vol. 7, p. 166).
The reason why ‘’Umar and Abu Bakr were trying to seize Fadak was economic and political, not merely a religious one, as the previous episode shows. When the economic and political conditions of the caliphate improved, and when there was no need for the income obtained from Fadak, ‘’Umar reversed his own decision.
The last part of this historic event has been inserted afterwards to demonstrate the matter of inheritance by the brother or paternal uncle of the deceased when the latter had no sons. This problem is a matter of dispute among Islamic sects. The judicial and jurisprudential discussion is separate from our own goal in the writing of this book. We are only discussing the matter historically.
Abbas had no claim in this case because he had not proven that he had a share in this property, nor did his descendants consider it to be among their own assets even when they [the Abbasides] became caliphs and were ruling the Islamic lands. They either considered themselves as owners of this estate in their capacity as caliphs, or they used to return it to the descendants of Fatima (sa) when they had decided to be just rulers.
When ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan became caliph, following the death of ‘’Umar (23 - 35 A.H./644 - 656 A.D.), he granted Fadak to Marwan ibn al-Hakam, his cousin (see Al-Sunan al-Kubra, Vol. 6, p. 301; Wafa' al-Wafa', Vol. 3, p. 1000; Ibn Abul-Hadid, Vol. 1, p. 198) and this was one of the causes of hostile feelings among the Muslims against ‘Othman: Refer to Al-Ma’arif, Ibn Qutaybah, p. 195; Al-’Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, pp. 283, 435; Abul-Fida', Tarikh,Vol. 1, p. 168; Ibn al-Wardi, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 204.
These hostile sentiments ended in the rebellion against him and, subsequently, in his murder. "While previously Fatima (sa) used to claim it, sometimes as her inheritance and sometimes as a gift (from her father), she was driven away from it (Fadak)," as Ibn Abul-Hadid has said in Sharh Nahjul-Balagha. In this way, Fadak fell into the possession of Marwan. He used to sell its crops, fruits and products for at least ten thousand dinars per year. If in some years its income decreased, this drop was not made public. This was its usual profit till the time of the caliphate of ‘’Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (in 100 A.H./718 A.D.) (Ibn Sa’d, Vol. 5, pp. 286, 287; Subh al-A’sha, Vol. 4, p. 291).
When Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan (41 - 60 A.H./661 - 680 A.D.) declared himself ruler of Syria, he became partner in Fadak with Marwan ibn al-Hakam and others, allotting one third of it to Marwan, one third to ‘Amr son of ‘Othman ibn ‘Affan, and one third to his own son Yazid, as if it were their personal property. This was after the death of Imam al-Hassan ibn Ali (as). "In order to enrage the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S), as al-Ya’qubi states on p. 199, Vol. 2 of his Tarikh, it remained in the possession of the three above-mentioned individuals till Marwan became monarch for less than a couple of years (64 - 65 A.H./684 - 685 A.D.); he took full possession of it. Then he doled it out to his two sons, Abdul-Malik and Abdul-Aziz. Then Abdul-Aziz doled out his share to his son (‘’Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz).
When ‘’Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz became caliph (99 - 101 A.H./717 - 720 A.D.) for this shorter period, he delivered a sermon once in which he said, "Verily, Fadak was among the things which Allah had bestowed on His Messenger and neither horse nor camel was stirred for its acquisition."He mentioned the history of the Fadak case during the past monarchies till he said the following: "Then Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] gave it (Fadak) to my father and to Abdul-Malik.
It became mine as well as al-Walid's and Sulayman's (Marwan's two sons). When al-Walid became ruler (86 - 96 A.H./705 - 715 A.D.), I asked him for his share and he gave it to me. I also asked for Sulayman's share and he, too, gave it to me. Then I gathered the three parts and I possessed no property more dear to me than it. Do testify that I have returned it to its original status (as property of Fatima's descendants)."He wrote to his governor over Medina, Abu Bakr ibn Muhammed ibn ‘Amr ibn Hazm, ordering him to carry out what he had declared in this sermon.
Then Fadak went back to the possession of the children of Fatima (sa). "This was the first removal of oppression through the returningof Fadak to the children of Ali ," Abu Hilal al-’Askari writes on p. 209 of his work titled Al-Awa'il. They possessed it during the rule of ‘’Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz.
When Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik became caliph (101 - 105 A.H./720 - 724 A.D.), he seized Fadak and they (Ali's children) were again dispossessed, robbed of their property. It fell into the possession of the children of Marwan ibn al-Hakam, cousin of ‘Othman ibn Affan, as it had previously used to be. They passed it from one to another till their authority came to an end. It was then that it passed to the hands of Banu al-Abbas, the Abbasids or Abbasides or Abbasis.
When "Abul-Abbas" Abdullah as-Saffah became the first caliph of the Abbasid dynasty (132 - 136 A.H./749 - 754 A.D.), he returned Fadak to the children of Fatima (sa), handing it over to Abdullah ibn al-Hassan ibn al-Hassan [known as al-Hassan al-Muthanna or al-Hassan II] son of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as). When "Abu Ja’far" Abdullah al-Mansur ad-Dawaniqi (136 - 158 A.H./754 -775 A.D.) became caliph, he confiscated Fadak from the offspring of Imam al-Hassan C. When Muhammed al-Mahdi, son of al-Mansur, became caliph (158 - 169 A.H./775 - 785 A.D.), he returned Fadak to the children of Fatima (sa). Then Musa al-Hadi ibn al-Mahdi (169 - 170 A.H./785 - 786 A.D.) and his brother Harun ar-Rashid (170 - 193 A.H./786 - 809 A.D.) confiscated it from the descendants of Fatima (sa). It found itself in the possession of Banu al-Abbas till the time when al-Ma’mun became caliph (193 - 218 A.H./813 - 833 A.D.). Al-Ma’mun al-Abbasi gave it back to the descendants of Fatima (sa) in 210 A.H./826 A.D.).
It is narrated through al-Mahdi ibn Sabiq that al-Ma’mun one day sat to hear the complaints of the people and to judge in their disputes. The first complaint which he received caused him to weep on considering it. When he asked where the defending representative of the children of Fatima (sa) daughter of the Holy Prophet (S) was, an old man stood up and came forth. He argued with him about Fadak, and al-Ma’mun, too, argued till the first won the argument over al-Ma’mun, as we read on p. 209 of Al-Awa'il. Al-Ma’mun summoned the faqihs and questioned them about the claim of the descendants of Fatima (sa).
They narrated to al-Ma’mun saying that the Holy Prophet (S) gave Fadak to Fatima (sa) as a gift and that after the death of the Holy Prophet (S), Fatima (sa) demanded Abu Bakr to return it to her. He asked her to bring witnesses to her claim regarding this gift. She brought Ali, al-Hassan, al-Husayn (as) and Umm Ayman as her witnesses.
They testified in the case in her favor. Abu Bakr rejected their testimony. Then al-Ma’mun asked the faqihs: "What is your view about Umm Ayman?" They replied, 'she is a woman to whom the Holy Prophet (S) testified that she is a resident of Paradise."Al-Ma’mun disputed at length with them and forced them to accept his argument. They finally confessed that Ali, al-Hassan, al-Husayn (as) and Umm Ayman had testified only to the truth. When they unanimously adopted this stand, he restored Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (sa) as we read on pp. 195-96 of Vol. 3 of the famous history book, Tarikh, by the earliest historian, al-Ya’qubi.
Then al-Ma’mun ordered the Fadak estate to be registered as the property of the descendants of Fatima (sa). Once it was registered, al-Ma’mun signed the deed in person. Then he wrote a letter to his governor in Medina, Qutham ibn Ja’far, as follows: "Be informed that Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), exercising the authority vested on him by the divine religion as the caliph, successor and kinsman of the Holy Prophet (S), considered himself more worthy of following the precedent of the Holy Prophet (S) and of carrying out his commands. And (the chief is more entitled) to restore to the rightful persons any endowment gifted by the Holy Prophet (S) or anything which the Holy Prophet (S) had gifted to anyone.
The success and safeguarding of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) is done by Allah, and he is particularly anxious to act in a way which will win the pleasure of the Almighty for him. Verily, the Holy Prophet (S) had gifted the estate of Fadak to his daughter, Fatima (sa). He had transferred its ownership to her. It is a clear and an established fact. None of the kindred of the Holy Prophet (S) has any difference of view in this regard. Fatima (sa) always claimed that which was more worthy (to be justified) than the person (Abu Bakr) whose word was accepted.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) considers it right and proper to restore Fadak to the heirs of Fatima (sa). He will hereby win nearness to Allah Almighty by establishing His justice and right. It will win the appreciation of the Holy Prophet (S) by carrying his commandments into effect. Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) has commanded that this restoration of Fadak should duly be registered. This command should be transmitted to all officials.
"As it was a custom to proclaim on every annual hajj gathering after the death of the Holy Prophet (S), anyone to whom the Holy Prophet had promised by way of a gift or a present should come forward. His statement will be accepted and the promise will thus be fulfilled. Certainly, Fatima (sa) had a superior right to have her statements accepted in the matter of the gifting of Fadak by the Holy Prophet to her.
"Verily, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) has commanded his servant, Mubarak al-Tabari, to restore Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (sa) the daughter of the Holy Prophet (S), in all its borders, rights and servants attached thereto, cereal crops and other things.
"The same has been restored to Muhammed ibn Yahya ibn al-Hassan ibn Zaid ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and Muhammed ibn Abdullah ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).
"Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) appointed both of them as agents representing the owners of the lands: the heirs of Fatima (sa). Be then informed that this is the view of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) and that Allah has inspired him to obey the order of Allah and to win His pleasure and the pleasure of the Holy Prophet (S). Let also your subordinates know this. Behave towards Muhammed ibn Yahya and Muhammed ibn Abdullah in the same manner as you used to behave towards Mubarak al-Tabari. Help them both in everything which has anything to do with its flourishing and prosperity, its improvement in abundance of cereals by Allah's will, and that is the end of the matter."
This document was dated Wednesday, two nights past Dhul-Qi’dah, of the year 210 A.H. which coincided with February 14, 826 A.D.
During the period of al-Ma’mun's government, Fadak was in the possession of Fatima's descendants. This continued during the caliphate of al-Mu’tasim (218 - 227 A.H./833 - 842 A.D.) and that of al-Wathiq (227 - 232 A.H./842 - 847 A.D.).
When Ja’far al-Mutawakkil became caliph (232 - 247 A.H./847 - 861 A.D.), the one among them who was marked as an arch-enemy of the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S), both of those alive and of those dead, gave the order to again confiscate Fadak from the descendants of Fatima (sa). He seized it and gave it to his poet Harmalah al-Hajjam (the cupper).
After the death of al-Hajjam, he gave it to al-Bazyar (the falconer, a native of Tabaristan), according to Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, pp. 121 - 122; Bihar al-Anwar [1st old ed.], Vol. 8, p. 108 and Safinat al-Bihar, Vol. 2, p. 351. Abu Hilal al-’Askari stated that his name was Abdullah ibn ‘’Umar al-Bazyar and added: "... And there were in it (Fadak) eleven date-palm trees which the Holy Prophet (S) had planted with his own hands.
The descendants of Abu Talib used to pick these dates. When pilgrims (hujjaj) entered Medina, these descendants donated the dates to them. Through this, they received a considerable return. This news reached al-Mutawakkil. He ordered Abdullah ibn ‘’Umar to pick the produce and to squeeze it into juice. Abdullah ibn ‘’Umar sent a man named Bishr ibn Umayyah ath-Thaqafi who squeezed the produce into juice. It was reported that he made it into wine..., Astaghfirullah"! It had not reached Basra, on its way to this Mutawakkil despot, before decaying. By then al-Mutawakkil was killed, as we read on p. 209 of Al-Awa'il.
When al-Mutawakkil was killed and al-Muntasir (his son) succeeded him (247 - 248 A.H./861 - 862 A.D.), the latter issued an order to restore Fadak to its rightful owners, the descendants of al-Hassan and al-Husayn C, awarding grants to them in order to mitigate them. This took place in 248 A.H./862 A.D. according to the following references:Fath al-Buldan, Vol. 1, pp. 33 - 38; Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4, pp. 238 - 240; Tarikh, al-Ya’qubi, Vol. 2, p. 199; Vol. 3, pp. 48, 195 - 196; Al-Tarikh Al-Kamil, Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 2, pp. 224 - 225; Vol. 3, pp. 457, 497; Vol. 5, p. 63; Vol. 7, p. 116; Al-’Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, pp. 216, 283, 435; Wafa' al-Wafa', Vol. 3, pp. 999 - 1000; Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 5, pp. 286 - 287; Tarikh al-Khulafa', pp. 231 - 232, 356; Muruj al-Dhahab, Vol. 4, p. 82; Sirat ‘’Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz, Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 110; Subh al-A’sha, Vol. 4, p. 291; Jamharat Rasa"il al-’Arab, Vol. 2, pp. 331 - 332; Vol. 3, pp. 509 - 510; A’lam an-Nisa', Vol. 3, pp. 1211 - 1212; Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 16, pp. 277 - 278; Al-Awa'il, p. 209; Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, pp. 120 - 122; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 8, pp. 107 - 108.
It seemed that Fadak was re-seized from the descendants of Fatima (sa) after the death of Abdul-Nasir "al-Muntasir Billah", which took place in 248 A.H./862 A.D., because "Abul-Hassan"Ali ibn Isa al-Irbili (d. 692 A.H./1293 A.D.) stated that al-Mu’tadid (279 - 289 A.H./892 - 902 A.D.) returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (sa). Then he mentioned that al-Muqtafi (289 - 295 A.H./902 - 908 A.D.) seized it from them. It is said also that al-Muqtadir (295 - 320 A.H./908 - 932 A.D.) returned it to them (to the descendants of Fatima [Ø¹]), according to Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, p. 122; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 8, p. 108 and Safinat al-Bihar, Vol. 2, p. 351.
After this long period of re-seizing and restoring, Fadak was returned to the possession of the usurpers and their heirs. It seems there is no further mention that such changing hands was ever made in history, and the curtain fell. "Is it then that the judgment of (the times of pagan) ignorance that they desire? And who (else) can be better than Allah to judge for a people of assured faith?" (Qur"an, 5:50).
1. Al-Shafi, Talkhis, Vol. 3, p. 156.
2. Jannat al-Ma’wa, pp. 78-81.
3. Al-Bid’ wal-Tarikh, Vol. 5, p. 20.
4. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 2, p. 60.
5. Dala’il al-Sidq, Vol. 3, section 1.
6. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, Vol. 1, p. 355 (edition published by the al al-Bayt for the revival of the legacy of Beirut, Lebanon, in 1416 A.H./1995 A.D.).
7. Al-Shafi, Talkhis, Vol. 3, p. 156.
10. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, Vol. 1, p. 189 (published by the al al-Bayt (as) Foundation)
11. Al-Mufid, Al-Ikhtisas, p. 185. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 29, p. 192.
12. Refer to Al-Ikhtisas, p. 344 and Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 29, pp. 192 and Vol. 28, p. 227 and Vol. 7, p. 270.
13. Al-Mufid, Al-Ikhtisas, p. 344. Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 327, through another isnad. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 7, p. 270 and Vol. 8, p. 213. He also cited al-Saffar’s book titled Basa’ir al-Darajat.
14. Kifayat al-Talib, p. 413.
15. Al-Muqanna`a, p. 459. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 97, p. 195. Al-Balad al-Amin, p. 198.
16. Al-Mufid, Al-Amali, pp. 50-59.
17. Refer to my book titled Dirasat wa Buhuth fal Tarikh wal Islam (studies and researches in history and Islam), Vol. 1, p. 169, the research titled “Where was the Prophet buried: at the House of `A’isha or at Fatima’s House?”
18. Al-Jamal (new edition), pp. 117-18.
19. This copy is available at the sacred mausoleum of Imam al-Rida (as) in the city of Mash-had, Iran, written in either 1085 or 1087 A.H. (1674 or 1676 A.D.).