The Garden of Fadak (Izalat al-Shak)

The following article was authored by Moulana Muhammad Abdul Sattar Tonswi, originally titled Izalat al Shak An Mas‘alah Fadak, which deals with the circumstances surrounding the garden of Fadak. The author has endeavoured to answer the baseless Shia allegations together with displaying the great love shared by the Ahlul Bayt and the general Sahabah. Though it is a concise read, he has not omitted the academic discussions which scholar and layman alike will find invaluable.

 
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allah the most beneficent the most merciful

 

Introduction

All praises are due to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, Lord of the entire universe. Peace and salutations be upon the master of the Messengers, his family, his honourable consorts, and his Companions.

Wherever I have travelled to deliver lectures amongst the Muslims I have been inundated with queries regarding the incident of Fadak[1]. What should be taken to note however is that the incident itself does not hold a fundamental position in Islam which one has to be cognisant of in order to preserve ones faith.

If for instance one has faith in the necessary articles of Islam but does not know the particulars and facts surrounding the incident of Fadak, or perhaps may not have knowledge of the incident at all, then too his faith will be sound. This is merely a historical incident.

My conviction of the unanimity between the Ansar and Muhajirin the Banu Hashim and Quraysh in general and specifically between Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, ‘Abbas, Hassan, Hussain, Sayyidah Fatimah al Zahra and Sayyidah Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Furthermore my belief is that they are embodiments of the Qur’anic statements:

 

رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

Merciful among themselves.[2]

and

وَاعْتَصِمُوْا بِحَبْلِ اللّٰهِ جَمِيْعًا

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together.[3]3

 

This in addition to being an ardent follower of the various Qur’anic injunctions has spurred me on to compile this treatise.

We are living in an era wherein there is an effort to discredit the unity of Islam from various platforms. From the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to this day there has been a struggle to drive a wedge between the Muslims thereby creating opposing sects. Additionally there are those who wish to put into ill repute, through false accusations, the leaders and stalwarts of Islam whose souls had been nourished by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself. They accuse the noble Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of being narcissistic and self-absorbed enemies of each other, hankering for worldly gain, not caring for the poor and needy. Their targets are Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, and Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhum — the guiding stars of this Ummah. (We seek refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala from such folly)

Due to the aforementioned concerns, as a well-wisher, I have decided to pen a few lines.

It is hoped that through this treatise the champions of the Islamic cause and their pure character will remain untainted by the unjustified attacks on the Noble Companions. May this also be a means of keeping the unity of the Ummah intact. And there is no might to do good actions save through the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

Before delving into the incident of Fadak contemplate over the following: Every just and level headed individual knows full well that in the past, present, or future whenever a religious movement is founded, the cornerstone to its rise and success are those persons who sacrifice their all in laying its foundation. They stake their wealth, family, and lives in working towards attaining success for the cause. Yet all this is only bearable when, and if, they have complete faith and confidence in the leader of the movement. It is acceptable only when they are fully aware that the leader is not egotistic nor is his gaze on the wealth of the masses, rather he places the greater good before himself and his dear ones.

The secret to success has always remained in the selflessness of a sincere leader who gives himself over to the cause. Behind such a leader the said constituents will be at his beck and call.

 

The Formula of Success

The reason this formula has been liked and proven successful is because this was the first lesson learnt from the pure and infallible teachings, together with the blessed lives, of the Messengers ‘alayh al Salam.

Where kings ascend to power to amass wealth, live luxurious lives, and are infatuated with fulfilling their every fantasy and carnal desire. Where their nights and days, their hearts and minds are preoccupied with the singular goal of attaining this world, in a breath of fresh air we see a stark contrast between them and the Messengers’alayh al Salam and their vicegerents radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Their objective and goal in life remain a far cry from the kings of this world. Their hearts are set on pleasing Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The ache and passion emanating from them is to sacrifice their wealth and riches, near and dear ones, body and soul, comforts and luxuries in the path and pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. This is what hopes and dreams are made off and this is true success.

Whatever oppressions and difficulties these individuals were confronted by, whilst traversing this path, was not only bearable to them; rather they enjoyed divine ecstasy and comfort therein. Their status was one of ultimate slavery to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘alaand doing everything for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Every moment spent, and every breath taken, all worry and concern must be only to please Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. One’s talking, listening, giving, standing, sitting, laying, and ultimately ones living and dying must be for Him alone. It was this lesson that they left behind for their vicegerents who took it on wholly.

The legacy of Caesar and Khosrow for those to come after them was wealth and materialistic possessions coupled with power and pride. The Messengers ‘alayh al Salam on the other hand left a legacy of sincerity, exemplary character, Prophetic knowledge, and the passion to sacrifice in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Money and riches that came their way was left in the treasury for distribution in the cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the poor, and destitute.

The Qur’an is loud and clear with regards to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِيْ وَنُسُكِيْ وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِيْ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ

Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.”[4]

 

قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ أَن يَتَّخِذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا

Say, “I do not ask of you for it any payment – only that whoever wills might take to his Lord a way.”[5]

 

In a prophetic narration Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has mentioned:

 

مالي وللدنيا

What have I to do with the world?[6]

 

It is for this very reason that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was enveloped, day and night, in the concern of emancipating those who are unmindful of the hereafter, stooped in ignorance and stranded in the love of this world, shackled by their own desires. The worry was to save them from having no connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to attaining that divine light which will enlighten for them the road to the recognition of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala together with preparing them to sacrifice their wealth, lives, families, and friends; in short to sacrifice everything in the court of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

For the period of twenty- three years Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with a heavy and pained heart remained pre occupied in working tirelessly and fervently calling towards Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, spreading the message of Islam, nurturing, and advising with complete sincerity and devotion. The result of this blessed dissemination resulted in the extraordinary. People began to accept the creed of Islam in droves as the Qur’an outlines:

 

وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُوْنَ فِي دِيْنِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا

And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes.[7]

 

The above verse is referring to those who had now entered Islam in unprecedented numbers. Regarding whom the Qur’an says:

 

يَتْلُوْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيْهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوْا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِيْ ضَلَالٍ مُّبِيْنٍ

Reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.[8]

 

The nurturing, teaching and purifying of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum led to them abandoning all sin and misdeeds, to the extent that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala refers to them repeatedly in the Qur’an in the noblest of manners, alluding to their complete faith, guidance, trust, sincerity, and above all attaining His eternal pleasure.

On the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah 1400 courageous Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum with the spirit of sacrificing their lives took the pledge of fighting the disbelievers to martyrdom upon the blessed hands of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

This show of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum undying love and zeal to lay down their life is recorded in Hayat al Qulub. A book which the Shia themselves consider as reliable.

‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud narrates his experience thus:

The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum honored and obeyed the instructions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If he ordered them, they would carry out his order immediately; if he performed ablution, they would struggle to take the remaining water not letting it fall to the earth; and when they spoke, they would lower their voices and would not look at his face constantly out of respect.

 

He further said:

I have never seen anyone respected by his courtiers as much as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is respected by his Companions.[9]

 

This pledge is known as Bayat al Ridwan[10]. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala refers to it in the Qur’an in the following manner:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُوْنَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيْهِمْ

Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, [O Muhammad] – they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.[11]

 

Based on the outcome of the pledge Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mentions:

 

لَّقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِيْنَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيْبًا

Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.[12]

 

It is with regards to these 1400 loyal and blessed souls who were ready to sacrifice their lives, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mentions further in the same chapter:

 

إِذْ جَعَلَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِمُ الْحَمِيَّةَ حَمِيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِيْنَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُوْلِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَأَلْزَمَهُمْ كَلِمَةَ التَّقْوٰى وَكَانُوْا أَحَقَّ بِهَا وَأَهْلَهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيْمًا

When those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism – the chauvinism of the time of ignorance. But Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and imposed upon them the word of righteousness, and they were more deserving of it and worthy of it. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.[13]

 

Towards the end of the chapter Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:

 

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا سِيْمَاهُمْ فِيْ وُجُوْهِهِمْ مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجوْدِ ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِيْ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنجِيْل

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah and their description in the Gospel.[14]

 

In short Surah al Fath makes mention of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum; their complete faith, trust, sincerity, and passion to attain His eternal pleasure. The aforementioned qualities were in reality the reason why Muslims later on would search for the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who participated in Badr or Bayat al Ridwan seeking through them solutions when faced by challenges and opposition from the disbelievers. The masses would flock to them finding resolutions by way of their blessings, prayers, and complete spirituality.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mentioned regarding the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum in the 26th Juz of the Qur’an:

 

وَلٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيْمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِيْ قُلُوْبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوْقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُوْنَ

But Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided.[15]

 

Ponder for a moment, how intense was the iman of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and to what extent was their abhorrence to disbelief, sin, and going against the instructions of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His beloved Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

In various places in the Qur’an Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala celebrates the Muhajirin[16] and the Ansar[17] thus:

 

لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ أُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُوْنَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُوْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُوْنَ

For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah and [His] approval and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful.[18]

 

وَالَّذِيْنَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيْمَانَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ

And [also for] those who were settled in al Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them.[19]

 

الَّذْينَ أُخْرِجُوْا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوْا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ

[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.”[20]

 

وَالَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا وَهَاجَرُوْا وَجَاهَدُوْا فِي سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِيْنَ آوَوْا وَّنَصَرُوْا أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ حَقًّا لَّهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَّرِزْقٌ كَرِيْمٌ

But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided – it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision.[21]

 

وَالسَّابِقُوْنَ الْأَوَّلُوْنَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِيْنَ اتَّبَعُوْهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِيْ تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِيْنَ فِيْهَا أَبَدًا ذٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيْمُ

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajirin and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.[22]

 

In many other places of the Qur’an too, has Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala applauded the spiritual achievements of the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum essentially regarding them as the yardstick of one’s faith. The unmatched deep-rooted conviction possessed by the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum coupled with taqwa[23] and enjoying closeness to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala all but sealed their entry into Jannat. The announcement of the Qur’an is clear; if one desires true guidance as willed by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the sole path is to follow the footsteps of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

 

فَإِنْ آمَنُوْا بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُمْ بِهِ فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوْا

So if they believe in the same as you believe in, then they have been [rightly] guided[24]

 

وَإِذَا قِيْلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُوْا كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ

And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people have believed,”[25]

 

The Sahabah

A group so numerous that the Qur’an says, “And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes.” A nation brimming with taqwa and purity. Individuals who had attained the everlasting Pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and promises of Jannat. Giants, to whom iman had been made beloved, and sin—much less disbelief—had been made abhorrent. A people to whom the Qur’an bears testimony.

It is incomprehensible that in front of these bold personalities the Queen of Jannat, the beloved daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha is oppressed and they sit back not batting an eyelid. It is insanity to believe that an army possessing such deep-rooted faith, the Ansar, Muhajirin, Banu Hashim, and Banu ‘Abd Manaf witness such coercion and remain dumbstruck.

If for arguments sake one were to be inclined to believe so, this would result in the testimony of the Qur’an being false and the twenty-three years of effort of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam worthless. Furthermore, holding such belief would render the Qur’an and all the articles of faith which has reached us through the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum unreliable. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala save us from such falsities!

The incident of Fadak and the supposed oppression of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha is merely a historical account which has no mention in the Qur’an nor in the accepted narrations of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If therein lay elements which discredit the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and their Islamic integrity together with bringing into question the veracity of the Qur’an and Ahadith it will not be accepted. The benchmark in judging the reliability of such incidents falls into the scope of the Qur’an and Sunnah, failing to attain which, such an interpretation will be sought which does not go against the ethos of the faith. In principle, to accept any historical recollection which goes against the Qur’an and accepted narrations of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in addition to making it a foundation to support integral theological arguments is nothing short of ignorance and misguidance.

Ignoring any truthful interpretation or explanation of the Fadak incident and blindly attributing coercion to the first Khalifah of Islam, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whilst assuming the silence of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, toping that off with the accusation of them being accessories; is belying the Qur’an and ahadith. It is implausible that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who incidentally holds the mantle of the Lion of Allah, and ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu,the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, remained quiet whilst the oppression of one of their own took place. Therefore, if one has no knowledge of the correct interpretation and explanation of this historical incident in light of the Qur’an and Sunnah it is best to not turn one’s attention to it all. This is a safer and healthier for one and all.

Now that we have discussed these fundamental aspects let us move on to the incident of Fadak, seeking the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

 

Fadak

To understand the matter of Fadak it is imperative to keep in mind the following:

Firstly, Fadak was a village approximately three nights journey from Madinah, which contained some springs and a few date palms. It came into the possession of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam peacefully with no resistance and was included in the spoils of war. Historians, Muslim, non-Muslim, Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah, and Shia are all unanimous that Fadak was from the fay’.[26] In the book Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, a book of the Shia themselves authored by Sayed ‘Ali al Naqi there is mention of this fact:

The people of Fadak had given up half according to one source and according to another the entire village peacefully without showing any resistance to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[27]

 

The Qur’an outlines that wealth attained peacefully is termed as fay’.

Secondly, the wealth of fay’ whether it be of Fadak or otherwise is determined by the Qur’an as follows:

 

مَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُوْلِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَىٰ فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُوْلِ وَلِذِيْ الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيْلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُوْنَ دُوْلَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنْكُمْ ۚ

And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the [stranded] traveller – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you.[28]

 

As mentioned in the verse, the reason for allotting this wealth to the discretion of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was to facilitate the poor and not indulge the rich. This verse is explicit in conveying its meaning and holds no room for any sort of ambiguity. It outlines the recipients of fay’ plainly which was quite evident to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as well as Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali, and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Similarly, the injunctions of this verse and by extension all other verses are clear to all Muslims, not masked by any form of indistinctness.

A commentary of this verse, sourced from a Shia exegesis of the Qur’an, reads as follows:

 

هي لله وللرسول عليه السلام و لمن قام مقامه بعده

Fay’ is the right of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and for those in his position after him.[29]

 

It is therefore clear that fay’ is not such wealth which can be owned or inherited.

Thirdly, Fadak and its position as fay’ remained unchanged from the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through to the time of ‘Ali, and even Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. This fact is reiterated in the books of both the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah and the Shia, as we will demonstrate through excerpts from the books of the Shia. There was no change in the status of Fadak in the least during the Caliphate of the four Rightly Guided Khalifas; Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum. The zoning of the land of Fadak was kept in the same manner as designated by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which was in accordance to the dictates of the Qur’an. Admittedly during the Caliphate of Marwan this changed but were soon reversed when ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz rose to the seat of Caliphate.

If we were to label the actions of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as hypocritical and oppressive in the matter of Fadak, then by all means attach these same labels to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam before them, and to ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, and Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhum who came after them; seeing as there was no difference in dealing with the matter during their era. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala save us from such foolishness.

Furthermore, the management of the wealth of fay’ was handed to ‘Abbas and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma by ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself. They would administrate the lands and gardens of the Bani Nadhir clan amongst the other lands of fay’. The produce and income of the lands were dealt with by them as it was dealt with by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Fourthly, this too has been recorded in the reliable books of both groups; Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah and Shia that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu called upon Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha explaining to her his stance on the matter of fay’. His actions were to be true to the actions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, not making any changes in the management and administration of the lands. His sentiment of love and admiration for her however shone through when he offered his own wealth to her as she would like to pick and choose from.

Consequently, Haqq al Yaqin, considered to be amongst their reliable works, there is mention of the statements of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding the many virtues of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha:

I will not withhold any of my personal wealth from you. Take whatever your heart desires. You are the Queen of the Ummah of your father in addition to holding a blessed and pure linage for your children. No one can deny your virtue. My wealth is all but yours, take without any hesitation. As far as the wealth of the Muslims is concerned however, I cannot oppose the ruling of your beloved father salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[30]

 

Similarly, there is a narration recorded in Sahih al Bukhari the statement of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha:

 

قرابة رسول الله صلى عليه وسلم احب الي من قرابتي

The family of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is more beloved to me than my own family.[31]

 

Another narration of Sahih al Bukhari regarding a statement of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

لست تاركا شيئا كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يعمل به إلا عملت به ، وإني لأخشى إن تركت شيئا من أمره أن أزيغ

I cannot leave out that which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would do. I will do only that which I know of him. If not, I fear misguidance for myself.[32]

 

The above displays that though Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was prepared to sacrifice his own wealth for Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, he would not under any circumstance be prepared to go against the command and actions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The fifth and possibly the most pertinent point to take note of is the incident which is oft repeated wherein Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha voiced her anger to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu due to her being deprived of the lands Fadak. This altercation is not and cannot be substantiated through any reliable source of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah. It is not possible to ascertain that she portrayed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as one who had oppressed her and went on to seize Fadak from her. Similarly, it cannot be proven through any reliable source that she rallied against him taking an oath not to speak to him. Take it as a challenge of mine, no one till the end of time can prove the premise of her vocalising her displeasure toward Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Anger as with other emotions, cannot be proven unless displayed by the subject themselves. Sure, conjecture is the go to when one runs out of facts and reliable authorities, however is this enough to prove the emotions of an individual let alone their actions? Given that there are cues which point toward one’s emotional state, the question remains, is there room for error in interpreting such cues or not? Well, even the infallible may blunder without the reality of the matter being clear to them. The incident of Nabi Musa ‘alayh al Salam and Khidr is clear evidence of this. When Khidr caused some damage to the ship, the infallible Prophet, Musa ‘alayh al Salam, expressed his opinion based on conjecture; reproaching Khidr ‘alayh al Salam on his supposed intention of drowning those onboard whereas that was, as we know, far from the truth. It is therefore evident that simply one’s opinion regarding another’s actions does not make that the truth.

It would be incorrect to opine on a rift between Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha through mere speculation even if for arguments sake that individual is infallible. Undoubtedly this theory cannot hold any weight until and unless Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha herself clearly mentioned it to be as such. This theory is nowhere established amongst the reliable books of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah.

Looking to the reliable books of the Shia we find mention of a clear vocal display of anger from Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha toward ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding the Fadak issue. What is peculiar however is that during the reign of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu he did not make any change into the management of Fadak, opting to follow his predecessors, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Umarradiya Llahu ‘anhu, who dealt with it in the same fashion as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did.

The anger of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha toward ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu which is factual according to Shia sources leaves them venerating him to levels of infallibility and naming him the chosen, rightful leader. Yet they hurl abuses of coercion and oppression upon Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding whom there is no proof of conflict.

Is this justice? Is this integrity?

The next point to take into consideration when understanding the issue of Fadak is that according to the Shia, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha maintained ownership of the seven gardens of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which was separate from the gardens, lands, and wealth of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The narrations of the Shia speak of ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, seeking these seven gardens from Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha to which she countered that there cannot be inheritance in these lands, thereby not giving him anything from it.

Consequently, this excerpt from the book Furu’ al Kafi states:

 

عن احمد ابن محمد عن ابي الحسن الثاني عليه السلام قال سالته عن الحيطان السبعة التي كانت ميراث رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم لفاطمة عليها السلام فقال لا انما كانت وقفا كان رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم يأخذ اليه منها ما ينفق علي اضيافه فلما قبض صلي الله عليه و سلم جاء العباس يخاصم فاطمة فيها فشهد علي عليه السلام و غيره انما وقف على فاطمة عليها السلام و هي الدلال والعفاف والحسنى والصيافة ومالام ابراهيم والمبيت والبرقة

Ahmed ibn Muhammad narrating from Imam Musa al Kazim says I asked the Imam regarding the seven gardens which had been bequeathed to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Imam replied that these were in fact waqf[33] not inheritance, from which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would take and spend on his guests accordingly. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left this world, ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu came seeking these seven gardens from Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha to which ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu among others bore testimony to the lands being waqf. The names of these seven gardens were al Dalal, al ‘Ifaf, al Husna, al Siyafah, Ma lam Ibrahim, al Mabit, and al Baraqah.[34]

 

At this juncture it is worth pondering that knowing Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha had these seven gardens and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu possessed his own lands, it is far-fetched to conceive that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left the lands of Fadak too to his daughter which would then be an assault on the nobility of prophethood, especially when considering the output of the land was, according to Shia sources, worth thousands of gold coins. Mulla Baqir al Majlisi has inferred in Hayat al Qulub that the agreement between Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the people of Fadak was of twenty-four thousand gold coins per annum.

Therefore, theorising that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would in addition to the seven gardens grant the income of Fadak to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha is in direct opposition to the directives of the Qur’an and paints a bleak picture of the nobility of prophethood as well. If this was truly the case that would mean Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went against the direct command of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:

 

كَيْ لَا يَكُوْنَ دُوْلَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنْكُمْ

So that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you.[35]           

 

Additionally, this would imply that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had self-serving motives and would give undue preference to his family members. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala protect us from such irrational thoughts. Furthermore, this contradicts the mantle of ‘mercy unto mankind’ which was given to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. How would this oppression be bearable to him whereas the people of Suffah, and other poor Muhajirin and Ansar, were in dire straits, not having proper clothing nor sufficient food to nourish themselves together with there being a severe need for wealth to be injected into the military campaigns. The final expedition of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the expedition of Tabuk, which was also known as the voyage of hardship was the epitome of sacrifice and meagre provisions. The Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum were each rationed to a single date for the day. When that was depleted they sufficed on sucking the date pit at times sharing one between a few and drinking water. The transportation of this expedition has been drawn out in the Qur’an in the following manner:

 

وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِيْنَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لَا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ تَوَلَّوا وَّأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيْضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا أَلَّا يَجِدُوْا مَا يُنفِقُوْنَ

Nor [is there blame] upon those who, when they came to you that you might give them mounts, you said, “I can find nothing for you to ride upon.” They turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief that they could not find something to spend [for the cause of Allah].[36]

 

It is therefore inconceivable to assume that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ignored the needs of the poor, orphans, Muhajirin, Ansar, and general Muslim population by handing over such a large amount of wealth to his daughter. This would in turn mean that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went against the law of the Qur’an. This premise is even more unlikely when we look at the incident wherein Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha requested help from her father by means of a slave girl only to be directed towards the recitation of Sub an Allah, Alhamdulillah, and Allahu Akbar thirty-three times after every salah thereby gaining divine help which is undoubtedly more effective then receiving help from a slave girl. Similarly, when Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha made inquiries regarding Fadak, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam chose not to hand it over to her, placing the needs of the Banu Hashim, poor and needy ahead of family. Throughout his life the noble Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam continued spending on those in need and into the Islamic economy as mentioned in narrations found in reliable books such as Mishkat al Masabih and Sunan Abu Dawood. This is further understood through the following injunction of the Qur’an:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ إِنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِيْنَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيْلًا

وَإِن كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ وَالدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَاتِ مِنْكُنَّ أَجْرًا عَظِيْمًا

O Prophet, say to your wives, “If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release. But if you should desire Allah and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter – then indeed, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.”[37]

 

Further on Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala mentions:

 

إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[38]

 

Pause and think for a moment. Is it possible for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to want for his beloved daughter that which he disliked for his noble consorts? It only makes sense that he would want to keep his daughter away from the filth of materialism just as he wished for the Mothers of the Believers; his wives. The more pressing concern for him was to distribute this wealth to those in need and worthy of it, not to merely enrich family members soiling them with the possessions of this world. Purifying the noble family of the filth of this world was the command of the Qur’an which was followed perfectly in every sense by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

These verses of the Qur’an and traditions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam make it crystal clear that those who claim Fadak was given to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha are laying claim to fallacies. Such a statement undermines the character of Prophethood and can only be a fabrication.

If the claim that it was a gift were to be accepted for a moment, it would raise the question that why she would then—as is alleged by the Shia—ask for it as inheritance from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It simply does not make sense, not from the view point of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah nor the Shia.

 

The Inheritance of the Prophets

To understand the claim to inheritance, know that when ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha seeking from, the previously mentioned, seven gardens he was made to understand that these were in fact given as waqf by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and as is known there is no inheritance in waqf. Since the Qur’an has called the lands of Fadak fay’, ergo waqf; how is it possible to then raise the question of inheritance here. Just as raising the issue of inheritance with regards the seven gardens and Fadak is nonsensical, similarly the matter of inheritance will not be applicable to any other wealth left behind by any Messenger.

The narrations of both the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah and the Shia are unanimous that the Messengers ‘alayh al Salam do not leave behind any materialistic inheritance, the only inheritance of the Messengers ‘alayh al Salam are divine knowledge and absolute character.

 

The First Proof

Narration of Imam Jafar al Sadiq from the Shia compilation; Usul al Kafi.

 

إن العلماء ورثة الأنبياء إن الأنبياء لم يورثوا دينارا ولا درهما ولكن أورثوا العلم فمن أخذ منه أخذ بحظ وافر

The Ulama’ are the heirs of the Ambiya’ who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.[39]

 

The Second Proof

The parting advices of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to his son Muhammad ibn Hanafiyah recorded in the Shia book Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih.

 

تفقه في الدين فان الفقهاء ورثة الأنبياء إن الأنبياء لم يورثوا دينارا ولا درهما ولكنهم ورثوا العلم فمن أخذ منه أخذ بحظ وافر

Gain a deep understanding of the faith as verily the learned are the heirs of the Messengers who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.[40]

 

The Third Proof

Imam Jafar al Sadiq says:

 

إن العلماء ورثة الأنبياء و ذاك ان الانبياء لم يورثوا درهما ولا دينارا وانما ورثوا احاديث من احاديثهم فمن أخذ بشيء منها فقد أخذ حظا وافرا

The learned are the heirs of the Messengers and that is because the Messengers bequeath neither dirham nor dinar but only their narrations (knowledge and laws of the faith); and he who acquires any part of it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.[41]

 

The above three narrations are clear in that the Messengers ‘alayh al Salam do not bequeath any tangible, material wealth. It is their refined character and divine knowledge that is left for those after them to benefit from. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah bring these narrations forth from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explaining this matter. The third narration is especially significant as it restricts the meaning, i.e. they do not bequeath anything besides knowledge.

 

The Fourth Proof

Imam Jafar al Sadiq says:

 

ورث سليمان داؤد وورث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم سليمان

Sulaiman ‘alayh al Salam was the inheritor of Dawood ‘alayh al Salam, similarly Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam inherited from Sulaiman ‘alayh al Salam.[42]

 

Ponder over this saying of Imam Jafar al Sadiq. Surely the inheritance here can only be that of prophethood, knowledge, and divine character. It is not possible to assume materialistic inheritance here. The statement refers to a spirituality which passes down from prophet to prophet.

 

The Fifth Proof

Ibn Babawayh in his book, Al Khisal, which is considered as reliable by the Shia writes:

 

اتت فاطمة بنت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في شكواه الذي توفي فيه فقالت يا رسول الله هاذان ابنان فورثهما شيأ قال اما الحسن فان له هيبتي و اما الحسين فان له جراتي

Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha came to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his final sickness and requested, “These two are my children, grant them something to inherit from you. He replied to her saying, “As for Hassan, he has inherited my awe and Hussain holds my valour.”[43]

 

In this narration Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bequeathed his character to his beloved grandsons; Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. There is no mention of monetary inheritance. This narration has been recorded in Sharh Nahj al Balaghah[44] as well as in Al Manaqib al Fakhirah li al ‘Itrah al Tahirah[45]

 

The Sixth Proof

عن الفضيل بن يسار قال سمعت ابا جعفر عليه السلام يقول لا والله ما ورث رسول الله العباس ولا على ولا ورثته الا فاطمة عليها السلام

Fudhayl ibn Yasar relates that he heard Abu Jafar, i.e. Imam Baqir, saying, “I swear by Allah, neither ‘Abbas nor ‘Ali inherited from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It was only Fatimah that inherited from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”[46]

 

According to this narration of Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih the inheritance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was restricted to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha alone, ‘Abbas , ‘Ali, the noble consorts of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his other family members radiya Llahu ‘anhum alike did not inherit.

The injunctions of inheritance specified in the Qur’an outlines half to a daughter and one eighth to the wives collectively. If Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was governed by the Qur’anic injunctions of inheritance as the layman, then the Shia should wonder why Imam Baqir rahimahu Llah would make the afore mentioned statement.

Considering the collective statements laid out, one must conclude that the Imams hold the opinion that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was not held by the injunctions of inheritance as we are. The distribution of the estate of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was vastly different from the common Muslim. As with laws there remain exemptions and here it was Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who is exempted from this law.

The belief held by the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah is in fact the same.

The following is recorded Sahih al Bukhari:

 

لا نورث ما تركنا صدقة

We the fraternity of Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance, what we leave is Sadaqah.[47]

 

The exemption is clear from this narration of Sahih al Bukhari.

 

The account of the request from Fatimah

The Shia and their leaders recount quite forcefully, citing Sahih al Bukhari, the tale of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha seeking her inheritance from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu during his Caliphate which he denied her; causing her to leave empty handed which in turn enraged her. Some individuals of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah, due to their limited knowledge, not broadening their study to other books of hadith or simply not studying Sahih al Bukhari well hold the same erroneous view. They are of the misconception that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha went to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu seeking her inheritance from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

This train of thought is incorrect. In fact, looking at what is established from Sahih al Bukhari, and Sahih Muslim we come to realise that far from having a heated exchange, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha did not go personally to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu at all. The established narrations however show that she sent a representative to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu seeking clarification regarding her inheritance.

 

عن عائشة أن فاطمة بنت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أرسلت إلى أبي بكر تسأله ميراثها من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مما أفاء الله عليه

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha sent an emissary to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu asking him regarding her inheritance from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had bestowed upon him.[48]

 

It is evident from this narration that she in fact sent someone to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and did not go herself. The narrations which omit the portion of her sending a representative is not to be taken on its face value as they all refer to but one single incident.

This kind of language is found throughout. For example one says the king built this river. In fact, the king did none of the labour he simply had it commissioned. The building of the river is however still attributed to him. In a similar fashion the act of asking is attributed to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha even though she herself did none of the talking.

 

The Objective and Wisdom of the Question Fatimah Poses

One may wonder, the Qur’an is clear on the laws of Fay’ and it is now common knowledge that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will not leave inheritance, then why does Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha supposedly seek inheritance. The liable recipients of Fay’ as drawn out by the Qur’an are Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his near relatives, orphans, and the stranded traveller. Furthermore, the Qur’an aptly discourages giving any of it to the wealthy. To reiterate then, what was the objective of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha seemingly asking for her share?

The erudite scholar of recent, ‘Allamah Anwar Shah al Kashmiri rahimahu Llah has indicated towards a befitting answer in his commentary on al Jami’ al Tirmidhi on the authority of Sayyad Samhudi rahimahu Llah in the following manner:

 

Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha approached the subject of management of the land of Fay’ owing to her family ties. In no way was this proposal one of ownership. The reply then sent to her by Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the narration of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which specifies, no heir will receive any inheritance, not in the form of ownership nor in the form of management. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu and many other senior Sahabah concurred with him on this judgment.[49]

 

Upon this resolve, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhu never again approached the topic. The hadith which Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu presented before her appears in Sahih al Bukhari.

 

إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لا نورث ما تركنا صدقة إنما يأكل آل محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم في هذا المال وإني والله لا أغير شيئا من صدقة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن حالها التي كان عليها في عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولأعملن فيها بما عمل به رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “We (prophets) do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity.” The household of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will live on the income from these properties, but, by Allah, I will not change the charity of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from the condition in which it was in his own time. I will do the same with it as the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself used to do.[50]

 

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu presented his case to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha stating he will not allow such changes which go against the practice of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He further assured her that the expenses of the noble family will continue to come through the same avenue. She, having heard his case rested hers, content with the decision and his steadfastness.

The Shia hold the same view as is recorded in their books; Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was pleased with the answer of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Her livelihood and expenses were sourced from Fadak as well as the other lands of Fay’.

 

ولك على الله ان اصنع بها كما كان يصنع فرضيث بذالك و اخذت العهد عليه به وكان يأخذ غلتها فيدفع اليهم منها ما يكفيهم

I swear by Allah, I will do exactly as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had done. She was pleased by this and held him to his word. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after taking the produce of the land, would hand over to them that which would suffice them.[51]

 

The reason behind her asking was to merely be handed the management of the lands together with the other close family members. However, due to there being a lingering fear that the masses would interpret this as having the inheritance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam distributed which would in turn lead to the future misappropriation of the lands, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu took the decisive step of nipping it in the bud. It was due to this very fear ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu vetoed the proposal of splitting the lands of Fay’ that was under the supervision of ‘Ali and ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

Another reason which could explain Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha sending an official delegation seeking clarity on this matter in a public setting would be to educate the ummah. Elucidating to the people, the inheritance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a spiritual one. Noble character and divine knowledge the corner stones of this inheritance. Making it as apparent as the sun at midday, there is none and never will be any material possessions handed down to the heirs, be it herself or her children. The wealth of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, just as his life, was to be spent in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

If this question was not posed in the public setting of the court there could have been room for doubt in many a person’s mind that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was indeed bound by the injunctions of inheritance laid out in the Qur’an.

Furthermore, she was striving to educate her children on the lesson of keeping aloof from the wealth Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Perhaps her intention was to test Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Would he endeavour to follow in the footsteps of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spending on the poor, orphans, Bani Hashim, and the various worthy recipients or would he take a new path. The outcome of the matter was pivotal in establishing Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as a trustworthy successor of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He would firmly adhere to the teachings of his predecessor and not shy away based on nobility or love.

 

Proofs of the Shia for Inheritance

 

First Proof

يُوْصِيْكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنثَيَيْنِ ۚ

Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females.[52]

 

This verse is general in its meaning. Just the layman is bound to it so to was Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. His wealth was the right of his daughter. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu went against this verse, depriving Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha of her right by claiming the narration:

 

لا نورث ما تركنا صدقة

We the fraternity of Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance, what we leave is Sadaqah[53]

 

Answer

The verse presented by the Shia is specific to the ummah and does include the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Shia and the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah both establish that the Messengers ‘alayh al Salam do not leave monetary inheritance. We have produced statements to support the above from the reliable books of the Shia. ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Imam Jafar al Sadiq rahimahu Llah both held the same view as we have already established. Similarly, the narrations of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah mirror the same view. The claim of the Shia that this narration has only been recorded by Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is unsubstantiated. Besides, even if it were so it would not bring into question the veracity of the narration. The division of hadith to mutawatir[54] and khabr-wahid[55] is for those who have not heard it directly from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. For the Companions who heard it directly from him it leaves no room for doubt. Just as the Qur’an is concrete, for them all such narrations hold the same conviction.

The afore-mentioned explanation is however not necessary as this hadith has been narrated by many other Companions as well. The narrators of this hadith include but is not restricted to; ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf, ‘Abbas, Hudhayfah ibn Yaman, Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam, Sa’d ibn Waqqas, Abu al Darda’, Abu Hurairah, and the Honorable Consorts radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

This narration is therefore the explanation of the verse in contention of Surah al Nisa. It exempts Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from the injunctions mentioned therein. This is not a standalone phenomenon. Turning our attention to the following verse shows us the same occurrence.

 

فَانكِحُوْا مَا طَاْبَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ

Then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four.[56]

 

This verse is for the ummah at large, however Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is exempt from its legal implications as he was given the option of marrying more than four.

A narration expounding upon a verse by broadening or narrowing its meaning does not necessarily dispute the verse. The Shia too have expounded upon the very verse citing legal implications in the case of children being disbelievers to a Muslim father, the children murdering the father, or their being enslaved. Similarly, they have expanded its meaning to exclude children born after li’an.[57]

 

Second Proof

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُوْدَ

And Sulaiman inherited Dawood.[58]

 

Answer

Inheritance in this verse alludes to prophethood, kingdom, and knowledge. Looking at the context of this verse implies the same. Dawood ‘alayh al Salam had nineteen children, if this verse is subjected to monetary inheritance, it would imply depriving the other children.

The narration of Usul al Kafi; a canonical Shia book, gives strength to our answer.

 

قال ابو عبد الله عليه السلام ان سليمان ورث داؤد وان محمدا ورث سليمان

Sulaiman inherited from Dawood and Muhammad inherited from Sulaiman

 

Inheritance of prophethood is definitely meant in the verse as is here. Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in no way could possibly inherit the wealth of Sulaiman ‘alayh al Salam.

 

Third Proof

Zakariyya ‘alayh al Salam supplicated to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala thus:

 

وَإِنِّيْ خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِيَ مِنْ وَرَائِيْ وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِيْ عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِيْ مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا

And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir.[59]

 

يَرِثُنِيْ وَيَرِثُ مِنْ آلِ يَعْقُوْبَ ۖ وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا

Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].”[60]

 

From these verses they deduce that the prophets do have heirs who inherit their wealth.

 

Answer

Here too our answer is the same not without our own proof though. Inheritance in these verses refer to knowledge and prophethood. It is illogical to assume otherwise. Firstly, in the era of Zakariyya ‘alayh al Salam there were thousands upon thousands of individuals from the progeny of Yaqub ‘alayh al Salam. Would they then be deprived of his inheritance upon the supplication of Zakariyya ‘alayh al Salam?

Secondly, it is irrational to assume that a Prophet of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala would supplicate for such worldly benefit which will deprive other deserving recipients of their rights. This goes to undo the very fabric of prophethood which demands purity of heart and mind from greed and gluttony.

One cannot, after searching endlessly, establish material inheritance of or from the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam in the Qur’an. Neither have they inherited nor have their dependents inherited from their estate.

O Shia! Were ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha oblivious of these realities that you profess them inheritors of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and make such preposterous deductions from these verses?

When ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave up the conjoined supervision of the fay’ lands, it landed into the sole supervision of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If the laws of inheritance were to be applied, then how could ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu take the supposed right of ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Furthermore, these lands were supervised by Hussain and Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma after ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. If indeed this was inheritance as some believe it to be then each one of them would have taken their shares from these lands. ‘Abbas and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma would have split their share considering the share of Honourable Consorts radiya Llahu ‘anhunna of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This would have then been distributed between Hussain and Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and their sisters. Evidently this was not the case.

Have the proponents of injustice towards Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha considered that if not distributing the inheritance was coercion then this would in turn mean injustice to the Honourable Consorts radiya Llahu ‘anhunna. This hand of injustice would have been dealt to ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha, the daughter of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well.

The management of the lands of Fadak during the Caliphate of ‘Ali and Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was exactly the same as had been during Caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.

The beloved son of the Ahlul Bayt, Zaid al Shahid rahimahu Llah, is reported to have said:

 

اما انا لو كنت مكان ابي بكر حكمت كما حكم به ابو بكر في فدك

Had I been in the position afforded to Abu Bakr, I would have passed the same decision as he had with regards to Fadak.[61]

 

If by following the footsteps of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the Fadak issue Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was unjust, then so too by extension are ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain, and Zaid al Shahid radiya Llahu ‘anhum unjust. Allah save us from such folly.

 

Question

Why were the wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam each given a home if there was no distribution of estate?

 

Answer

Just as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had given Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and Usamah radiya Llahu ‘anhu houses during his lifetime, similarly each wife had been afforded a home with sole ownership.

The Qur’an indicates towards these homes of the honourable wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

وَقَرْنَ فِيْ بُيُوْتِكُنَّ

And abide in your houses

 

This proves that the homes of the honourable wives were owned by them and was not given to them as inheritance.

If we were to assume that these homes were in the ownership of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then too there is no objection. When a man passes away the widow is given the right to reside in his house for her ‘iddah[62] as she cannot marry during this period.

The wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were prohibited from remarrying, therefore they were given the right to reside in these homes indefinitely.

 

The narrations that allude to the gifting of Fadak

The narrations regarding the inheritance of Fadak and the circumstances surrounding it are well established, there is no scope to consider that it had been given as a gift. We do, however, find some narrations that mention the same. These recollections are fabricated by the Shia which can be gauged by the narrators hailing from that school of thought. Contrary to this we find in the reliable books of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah the statement of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz when he ascended the Caliphate:

 

إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كانت له فدك فكان ينفق منها ويعود منها على صغير بني هاشم ويزوج منها أيمهم وإن فاطمة سألته أن يجعلها لها فأبى فكانت كذلك في حياة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى مضى لسبيله فلما أن ولي أبو بكر رضي الله عنه عمل فيها بما عمل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في حياته حتى مضى لسبيله فلما أن ولي عمر عمل فيها بمثل ما عملا حتى مضى لسبيله ثم أقطعها مروان ثم صارت لعمر بن عبد العزيز قال يعني عمر بن عبد العزيز فرأيت أمرا منعه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فاطمة عليها السلام ليس لي بحق وأنا أشهدكم أني قد رددتها على ما كانت يعني على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

Fadak belonged to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he made contributions from it, showing repeated kindness to the poor of the Banu Hashim from it, and supplying from it the cost of marriage for those who were unmarried. Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha asked him to give it to her, but he refused. That is how matters stood during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam till he passed on

When Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was made ruler, he administered it as the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had done in his lifetime till he passed on. Then when ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu was made ruler he administered it as they had done till he passed on. Then it was given to Marwan who distributed it, and it afterwards came to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz.

(Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz said,) I consider I have no right to something which the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam refused to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, and I call you to witness that I have restored it to its former condition; meaning in the time of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[63]

 

The narrations that suggest Fatimah’s radiya Llahu ‘anha displeasure

When Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha approached Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding the inheritance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam he countered her with the narration:

 

نحن معاشر الانبياء لا نورث ما تركنا فهو صدقة

We the fraternity of Prophets do not leave behind any inheritance, what we leave is charity.[64]

 

Upon which, some narrations suggest, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha exhibited displeasure and refused to speak to him again. At this juncture is it important to understand the reality of this account.

The narration as mentioned previously recounts Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha turning back happy with this answer and not brining it up again. There is no mention of her getting angry here, besides it is impossible for any individual of the ummah to show anger on the mention of a hadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, more so his beloved daughter. The question, however, remains that why is there then the word “غضبت”, i.e. “she got angry,” in this narration?

Firstly, looking at the recollections of Fadak we find there are five Sahabah who report this narration namely, Aisha al Siddiqah, Abu Hurairah, Abu al Tufayl, ‘Amir ibn Wathilah, and Umm Hani radiya Llahu ‘anhum. The narrations of the latter four have no mention of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha displaying anger. Looking at the narration of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, we find that through Imam al Zuhri rahimahu Llah only a few students relate this portion.[65] The remainder of the narrators from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha as well as from Imam al Zuhri rahimahu Llah omit this addition. And for good reason too. Wherever there is mention of the display of anger it is not established from Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha herself, it is simply conjecture based on what human sentiment could be in that situation.

Deducing from the apparent can be misleading as we find in the incident of Musa ‘alayh al Salam. He returns from Mount Tur only to find the Israelites rebelling, upon which he takes his brother Harun ‘alayh al Salam to task by physically grabbing his beard and hair, supposing he had not followed the instructions he left before the trek to the Mountain. This was an error of judgement by Musa ‘alayh al Salam based on the apparent.

In the instance of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha displaying anger, it is deduction not based on the apparent, rather it is conjecture based on what the sentiment could be. It is nigh impossible to ascertain the reaction of an emotion when the occurrence of that emotion is based on mere guess work.

Secondly, a narrator will sometimes make an addition to a narration through deductive analogy which may or may not be correct. Take for example the incident wherein Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam distanced himself from his wives for a few days. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had taken up residence during this time in the upper story secluding himself. The talk of the town was that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had divorced his wives. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu hearing of this came to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam seeking clarity on the matter and was informed that he had not divorced his wives.

As Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had taken up seclusion and had stopped coming to his wives for a few days, people through deductive analogy assumed that he had divorced his wives. An unfortunate miscalculation.

Similarly, in the narration of Fadak when the narrators came across the phrase “لم تتكلم”, i.e. “she did not speak thereafter,” some narrator assumed it was due to her displeasure and conveniently added “غضبت”, i.e. “she got angry,” to the narration which then got carried down by other narrators.

The correct meaning of “لم تتكلم”, i.e. “she did not speak thereafter.” is she did not approach Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu thereafter to engage him on the matter as she was pleased with his decision!

To assume that she was angry with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and refused to speak to him thereafter is a mistake born of deductive analogy, though this will not affect the narrators’ reliability and trustworthiness or bring into doubt his worthiness.

Just as after seeking clarification from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam it was established that he had not divorced his wives, similarly one cannot establish the displeasure of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha unless she determines it so through her own words. How can one have the courage to just assume that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha had gotten angry after hearing a hadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The narrator, having heard the phrase ‘she did not speak thereafter’ went on to narrate the incident loosely, not verbatim, thereby including the phrase ‘she got angry’ based on deductive analogy.

This stance is further strengthened when one looks at the other students of Imam al Zuhri rahimahu Llah who have omitted this portion completely. They did in fact narrate the hadith verbatim.

As this narration is brought forth in Sahih al Bukhari, one may have some misgivings then, of the veracity of this book. One must understand that the meaning of this corpus being authentic is that the narrators are all reliable, trustworthy, and just. There are no liars or fabricators found therein. If a narrator is found to have narrated a hadith loosely; not verbatim, thereby making an error of judgment it will not bring into question his reliability or trustworthiness nor will it put a question mark on the authenticity of Sahih al Bukhari.

If, for arguments sake the incident of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha getting angry was true it would have been the topic of the day and a point of wide spread controversy among the Ahlul Bayt, Tabi’in, and people of Madinah. As the only source for this point of contention are a few students of Imam al Zuhri rahimahu Llah it holds no weight nor is there any substance of truth therein.

Intelligence and justice demands that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was pleased with the decision of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the hadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Anything else is implausible from one who enjoyed the title batul (chaste), pure from the ill of worldly gain and was given the honour of being the Queen of Jannat.

 

Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was Pleased

The narrations of both the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah and the Shia outline the pleasure of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha upon the steps taken to follow Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the matter of Fadak. Looking at the books of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah one will find such narrations in al Bayhaqi, commentaries of Sahih al Bukhari, commentaries of Mishkat al Masabih, Nibras—the commentary on Sharh al ‘Aqa’id[66], al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, and other such books.

After the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha in the presence of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu with the following:

 

والله ما تركت الدار والمال، والأهل والعشيرة، إلا إبتغاء مرضاة الله، ومرضاة رسوله، ومرضاتكم أهل البيت، ثم ترضاها حتى رضيت. قال ابن كثير: وهذا إسناد جيد قوي

I have only spent my wealth, home, and family to attain the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the pleasure of you; the Ahlul Bayt. The narrator says, he continued making her happy until she became pleased. Hafiz ibn Kathir making a critical analysis of this narration concludes that the chain of narrators is strong.[67]

 

In the books of the Shia, which they consider to be most reliable, such as the commentary of Nahj al Balaghah by Ibn al Maytham al Bahrani[68], the commentary of the same by Ibn Abi al Hadid[69], and Durrah Najafiyyah[70] the following is recorded:

 

كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يأخذ من فدك قوثهم و يقسم الباقي ويحمل منه في سبيل الله و لك على الله ان اصنع بها كما كان يصنع فرضيت بذالك و اخذت العهد عليه به وكان يأخذ غلتها فيدفع اليهم منها ما يكفيهم ثم فعلت الخلفاء بعده كذالك الى ان ولى معاوية

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha with the following, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would take from Fadak for your provisions and distribute the rest. He would also finance expeditions from it. I swear by Allah, I will do exactly as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had done.” She was pleased by this and held him to his word. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after taking the produce of the land, would hand over to them that which would suffice them. The Khalifas after him would do the same till Muawiyah ascended the Caliphate.

 

The above mentioned three books of the Shia are clear on the following issues:

  1. The produce of Fadak was used for the expenses of the Ahlul Bayt and the poor. Together with this it was used to finance the needs of the Islamic Empire. It was never gifted to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu or their children: Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
  2. Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha took the pledge from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu to continue distributing the wealth of Fadak as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had done. He agreed to this which pleased her.
  3. Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Hassan, and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma would have their needs seen to by Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu from the produce of Fadak.
  4. The manner of distribution was the same throughout the lives of the rightly guided Khalifas: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhum. During the Caliphate of Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu too there was no change until the reign of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Prior to the reign of Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu there was no change as the Khalifas adhered firmly to the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This being the case, it is impossible to fathom that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was displeased with the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. If one is adamant that she was displeased, why did she then continue taking from the produce of Fadak. The only logical explanation is that this was the misunderstanding of a narrator from the chain of narrators which thereafter carried on down the links.
  5. The statements recorded in these books also clarify the misconceptions that some have regarding ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu supposedly handing the land over to Marwan during his Caliphate. It has been thoroughly established that he had handled the affair just as his predecessors had done.

Similarly, Sayed ‘Ali Naqi has written in his commentary on Nahj al Balaghah:

 

ابو بکرغله وسودآن را گرفته بقدر کفایت با اهل بیت عليه السلام مي داد وخلافاء بعد از وبرآن اسلوب رفتار نمودند تا زمان معاويه

Abu Bakr would hand over to the Ahlul Bayt from the produce of Fadak which would suffice them. The Khalifas after him carried on the tradition till the advent of Muawiyah.[71]

 

This too establishes that Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was happy in taking her expenses, ergo pleased with the situation. Besides this it is evident from Shia sources that the wife of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would unremittingly serve Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. During her days of sickness too Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha—the wife of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu—would see to her needs. When the time came for Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha to leave this temporary abode, the shrouding and burial affair too was headed by Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha.

Jila’ al -’Uyun has the following:

امیرالمومنين و اسمآء بنت عميس فطمة را غسل دادند

‘Ali and Asma’ bint ‘Umays performed the ghusl for Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha.[72]

 

During her final illness Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha prepared a canopy makeshift veil and presented it to Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Seeing this Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha made a bequest requesting her burial service be covered by this veil which was adhered to.

The incident regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu taking the pledge of allegiance at the hand of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and reading salah behind him is also found in Shia sources. Al Ihtijaj authored by the Shi’i scholar al Tabarsi holds the following:

 

ثم تناول يد ابى بكر فبايعه

‘Ali then took the hand of Abu Bakr, pledging allegiance to him.[73]

 

In the same book we find regarding ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

ثم قام و تهيأ للصلوة و حضر المسجد و صلى خلف ابى بكر

Then ‘Ali stood up, prepared for salah, and prayed behind Abu Bakr.[74]

 

The same text is found in other Shia sources such as Tafsir al Qummi and Mirat al ‘Uqul Sharh al Usul wa al Furu’.

If Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was indeed displeased, then why would ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu take the pledge and pray behind Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Now after fourteen hundred years someone comes along, hears the supposed incident of her displeasure and concludes that keeping his distance from Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is the demand of his iman. Notwithstanding the Lion of Allah—’Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu—took the pledge at his hands. If there was any substance to their claim of displeasure why would he go through with the pledge?

All the above solidifies the fact that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha had a good relationship with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and were pleased with him. It is highly unlikely to have a close relationship as theirs whilst harbouring ill feelings. If there was true anger, then one would expect a reaction like that of Musa ‘alayh al Salam with Harun ‘alayh al Salam. He physically gripped his brother thinking him to be at fault. Or perhaps it would warrant a reaction like that of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when he saw his beloved daughter donning silver upon which, according to Shia sources, angered him.

 

The Shi’i scholar ‘Abbas al Qummi writes in Muntaha al Amal:

 

Fatimah became angry with ‘Ali regarding Fadak and said to him:

اشتملت شملة الجنين وقعدت حجرة الظنّين

You’ve curled up like a foetus and sit back like the helpless.[75]

 

In the Shia book Al Ihtijaj, which Baqir al Majlisi has translated in Haqq al Yaqin as follows:

 

خطا بهای شجاعانه درشت با سید وصیا نمود که مانند جنین در رهم پرده نشین شده ومثل خا نان در خانه گر یخته

Why is it you sit hiding not coming to my assistance.[76]

 

Similarly, we find in the Shia book Jila’ al -’Uyun:

Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha became angry with ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and left to go to the house of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

Further on in the book we find:

She went to complain of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[77]

 

If all these incidents of displeasure, Musa ‘alayh al Salam and Harun ‘alayh al Salam, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his daughter, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; does not warrant pointing a finger at their iman nor defamation of their character then is it not the highest form of injustice to do the contrary when Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu supposedly angers Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha?

 

The Funeral of Fatimah

To say that due to the supposed bad blood between Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha he did not attend her janazah nor was he informed of it is diverging from the truth. There was no need for him to be informed by a third party as his wife, Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha was the one taking care of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha during her final days. It was his wife who saw to the burial service, as well as the veiled canopy for it. Furthermore, there is no narration stating he did not lead her funeral prayer, rather some narrations establish the very fact:

 

عن جعفر ابن محمد عن ابيه قال ماتت فاطمة بنت النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم فجاء ابو بكر و عمر ليصلوا فقال ابو بكر لعلي ابن ابى طالب ثقدم فقال ما كنت لاتقدم و انت خليفة رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم فتقدم ابو بكر فصلى عليها

Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha passes away, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma come for the funeral prayer. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu gives ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu the option to perform the prayer. He refuses citing seniority. He says how can I perform the prayer in your presence; the vicegerent of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu goes forward and performs the prayer.[78]

 

عن حماد عن ابراهيم قال صلى ابو بكر الصديق على فاطمة بنت رسول الله صلي الله عليه و سلم فكبر عليها اربعا

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu performed the funeral prayers of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and said the takbir four times therein.[79]

 

This narration is found verbatim in Sirah Halabiyyah.[80]

The historians of both the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah and the Shia mention that Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu gave the honour of performing the funeral prayers of Hassan radiya Llahu ‘anhu to the then governor of Madinah, Sa’id ibn al ‘As. Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

لولا انه سنة ما قدمته

If it was not tradition for the leader to perform the prayer I would not have allowed him to.

 

This too strengthens the fact that it was none other than Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu who performed the funeral prayer of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. The tradition was for the ruler to lead these prayers. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.

What should be noted too, from the perspective of the underlying principles of hadith, a narration that establishes will be given preference over another that negates the same.

Through this principle it is plausible to conclude regarding those narrations which mention ‘Ali or ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma reading the funeral prayer, leading it is not intended. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best, His Knowledge is supreme.

Following the chain of thought without any bias one will reach the conclusion that it is impossible to fathom injustice from a man who followed Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in totality, did not take a dime from Fadak for his own use, left a bequest to return the wages he had taken from the treasury, and preferred old pieces of cloth for his shroud rather than spend on new. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala reward him tremendously.

It was his complete honesty and justice that led the Muhajirin, Ansar, Banu Hashim, and Quraysh to unify in pledging allegiance to him. The vicegerent of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the first Khalifah, Sayyidina Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It was through this sense of brotherhood, unity, and mutual love that they attained the highest of stages in this world and the hereafter.

They and their era are the yardstick for success for every individual, society, and era to come after.

If Muslims desire rectification and safety of their iman, worldly success, and everlasting salvation the only way is to tread the path of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam which was followed without deviating in the slightest by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, the Ahl Bayt, and the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. It was these pure souls that pleased their Creator subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, their Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the creation. They left an unprecedented example for the world to follow.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala grant us the ability to follow their footsteps.

 

و ما توفيقي الا بالله

I am helpless without Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

 

 

[1] Fadak is the name of a small hamlet near Khaybar, in northern Arabia, situated approximately 140 km from Madinah.

[2] Surah al Fath: 29

[3] Surah Al ‘Imran: 103

[4] Surah al An’am: 162

[5] Surah al Furqan: 57

[6] Musnad Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal: #2641

[7] Surah al Nasr: 2

[8] Surah Al ‘Imran: 164

[9] Hayat al Qulub, vol. 2 pg. 405

[10] Bay’at al Ridwan was a pledge that was sworn to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by his Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum on the occasion of Hudaybiyyah. The pledge, sworn under a tree, was to avenge the rumoured death of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[11] Surah al Fath: 10

[12]Surah al Fath: 18

[13] Surah al Fath: 26

[14] Surah al Fath: 29

[15] Surah al Hujurat: 7

[16] The Muhajirin (Emigrants) were the first converts to Islam, who emigrated with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from Makkah to Madinah, the event known in Islam as the Hijrah.

[17] The early Muslims from Madinah are called the Ansar (Helpers).

[18] Surah al Hashr: 8

[19] Surah al Hashr: 9

[20] Surah al Haj: 40

[21] Surah al Tawbah: 74

[22] Surah al Tawbah: 100

[23] Being conscious and cognizant of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

[24] Surah al Baqarah:137

[25] Surah al Baqarah: 13

[26] Wealth attained peacefully is termed as fay’

[27] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah pg. 959.

[28] Surah al Hashr: 7

[29] Tafsir al Safi, pg. 210.

[30] Haqq al Yaqin, pg. 231.

[31] Sahih al Bukhari: Hadith: 3508.

[32] Sahih al Bukhari. Hadith: 3093.

[33] Habous property.

[34] Furu’ al Kafi vol. 3 pg. 27.

[35] Surah al Hashr: 7.

[36] Surah al Tawbah: 92.

[37] Surah al Ahzab: 28,29.

[38] Surah al Ahzab: 33.

[39] Usul al Kafi, pg. 18.

[40] Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih, vol. 2 pg. 346

[41] Usul al Kafi, pg. 17.

[42] Usul al Kafi, pg. 137.

[43] Al Khisal of Ibn Babawayh, pg. 39.

[44] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol 2 pg. 261.

[45] Al Manaqib al Fakhirah li al ‘Itrah al Tahirah, pg. 189.

[46] Man la Yahduruhu al Faqih, vol. 2 pg. 217.

[47] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 6346

[48] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith 3998

[49] Al ‘Urf al Shadhi, pg. 485.

[50] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith 3998

[51] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 332.

[52] Surah al Nisa: 11

[53] Sahih al Bukhari: Hadith: 6346

[54] Hadith narrated by such a large number of people that it is impossible for them to have agreed upon a lie collectively.

[55] Hadith which does not reach the level of mutawatir.

[56] Surah al Nisa: 3

[57] Sworn allegation of adultery committed by one’s spouse leading to a legal judgement separating a wife from her husband.

[58] Surah al Naml: 16

[59] Surah al Maryam: 5

[60] Surah al Maryam: 6

[61] Al Bidayah wa Al Nihayah. vol.5 pg.289

[62] The period a woman must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man.

[63] Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith: 2972

[64] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 6346

[65] This narration has a total of 36 chains of narration. 11 chains run through Abu Hurairah, Abu al Tufayl, ‘Amir ibn Wathilah, and Umm Hani; wherein there is no mention of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha becoming angry. The remaining 25 chains are from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha by a narrator by the name of Zuhri. 9 do not have any mention of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha becoming angry. Thus 20 narrations of the 36 narrations have no indication of anger. It is only in the remaining 16 that we find the words she became angry, all narrated by way of Zuhri. Of these 16 narrations, 7 clearly mention this to be the words of Zuhri—appearing after the words, “He said,” as opposed to being the words of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and another narration contains the words, “She said,” after this statement indicating that there was an interruption in the wording. This leaves only 8 out of 36 narrations wherein the students of Zuhri did not differentiate his words from the actual narration of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Thus the entire allegation against Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is based upon this assumption of Zuhri and not from Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha narration. An error in judgement on Zuhri’s part.

[66] Al Nibras, pg.550

[67] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol.5 pg.289

[68] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah of Ibn al Maytham al Bahrani, 543/35

[69] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah of Ibn Abi al Hadid, 296/16

[70] Durrah Najafiyyah pg. 332

[71] Sharh Nahj al Balaghah of Sayed ‘Ali Naqi, pg.960

[72] Jila’ ul -’Uyun pg. 73

[73] Al Ihtijaj pg.52.

[74] Al Ihtijaj pg.60.

[75] Muntaha al Amal. pg. 97.

[76] Haq al Yaqin. vol.1 pg. 161.

[77] Jila’ al ‘Uyun pg. 61, 71

[78] Kanz al ‘Umal vol. 6 pg. 318.

[79] Tabaqat ibn Sa’d vol. 8 pg. 29.

[80] Sirah Halabiyyah vol.3 pg.391.