Burial of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha

Burial of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha

 

Question:

According to the view of the Ahlus Sunnah, Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away six months after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away two and a half years after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away on the 26 Dhu al Hijjah 24 A.H. Thus, what was the reason for these two luminaries being buried in the Rawdah, although they passed away long after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? On the other hand, the sole surviving daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, the mother of Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, was not buried next to the grave of her father? Did Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha make a bequest that her grave be separate from the grave of her father? Or, did Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu clash with the government of the time? Conversely, did the Muslims not allow the beloved daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be buried near the grave of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?

 

Answer:

The Shia are masters at deception like their forefathers. The saying goes:

A lazy claimant is quick at being witness.

 

The shrouding and burial of Sayyidah Fatimah al Zahra’ radiya Llahu ‘anha took place in accordance to her wishes and bequest. Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina ‘Abbas, and other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum fulfilled all these things in accordance to her bequest. Study the narrations from Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha as reported in Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 8, under her biography:

  1. Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was the first woman for whom a veiled bier was made. It was made by Sayyidah Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha, the wife of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. (narrated by Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu)
  2. The Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was led by Sayyidina ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Sayyidina Fadl ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu lowered her into the grave. (narrated by Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu)
  3. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and Sayyidina Fadl radiya Llahu ‘anhu went into the grave of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. (narrated by Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha)
  4. The Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was performed by Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. (narrated by Sayyidina ‘Urwah radiya Llahu ‘anhu)
  5. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu led the Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. (narrated by Sha’bi)
  6. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu led the Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha and he recited four Takbirs. (narrated by Ibrahim Nakha’i)
  7. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu buried Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha at night. (narrated by Zuhri)

 

‘Urwah, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, and Yahya ibn Sa’id all narrate from Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu buried her at night. It is apparent from these narrations that however it occurred, it occurred without any argument or difference of opinion; and the responsibility of shrouding and burial was undertaken by the Banu Hashim. The overpowering factor here is that Sayyidah Fatimah al Zahra radiya Llahu ‘anha made a special bequest that her bier be lifted at night and she be being buried in Jannat al Baqi’. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu subsequently performed the Salat al Janazah with four Takbirs.

It is recorded in I’lam al Wara bi A’lam al Huda (p. 158), considered a reliable reference by the Shia:

 

روى أنها توفيت لثالث من جمادى الاخرة احدى عشرة من الهجرة وبقيت بعد النبي خمسة وتسعين يوما وروى أربعة أشهر وتولى أمير المؤمنين غسلها أسماء بنت عميس وأنها قالت أوصت فاطمة ان لا يغسلها اذا ماتت الا انا وعلي فغسلتها انا وعلي وصلى عليها أمير المؤمنين والحسن والحسين وعمار ومقداد وعقيل والزبير وأبو ذر وسلمان وبريدة ونفر من بني هاشم في جوف الليل ودفنها على أمير المؤمنين سرا بوصيته منها بذالك

It is narrated that she passed away on 3 Jumad al Ukhra 11 A.H. She remained alive after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for 95 days or it has been narrated for 4 months. Amir al Mu’minin ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Asma bint ‘Umays (the wife of Abu Bakr) performed her ghusl. Asma’ said, “Fatimah made a bequest that only ‘Ali and I should perform the ghusl. So ‘Ali and I performed the ghusl for her.” The following individuals were definitely present for her burial; ‘Ali, Hassan, Hussain, ‘Ammar, Miqdad, ‘Aqil, Zubair, Abu Dhar, Salman, Buraydah, and a few people of the Banu Hashim. The burial took place at night and Amir al Mu’minin buried her quietly, in accordance to her bequest.[1]

 

We learn a number of points from the above extract:

1. Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha made a bequest with regards to her ghusl and burial, and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu carried this out and buried her at night. If she made a bequest to be buried at night in the Rawdah al Nabawi, then it would have definitely been mentioned in the narrations, and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu would not have gone against her bequest and buried her in Jannat al Baqi’. If the Shia objector had proof for this, then they should clarify it with references to the historical works of both parties.

2. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu buried her at night secretly in accordance to her bequest. If she made a bequest to be buried in the room of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, then there is a contradiction. How could burial in Masjid al Nabawi and the Rawdah be done secretly? The door of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu opened into the Masjid. The Masjid would be filled with those performing optional salah and worshippers, and there would be a queue of people wanting to recite salah and salam.

3. The hidden burial at night was not so that Sayyidina Abu Bakr, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, and the other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum be left out from participating in the burial, as is the baseless thought of the Shia, but the reasoning behind this bequest was concealment and to prevent others from gazing at her bier. It is stated in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah (vol. 6 p. 333):

 

ودفنت بالبقيع وهي أول من ستر سريرها

She was buried in Jannat al Baqi’. She was the first woman whose bier was covered.

 

The effect of the bequest to be buried at night was to show that the leader of the women of Jannat is leaving this world during a dark night and besides the close servants of Allah, there is only darkness in the world.

4. Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha appointed Sayyidah Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha to perform the ghusl for her and appointed Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu to assist her. Asma’ was the honourable wife of the Khalifah Sayyidina Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and after his demise she married Sayyidina ‘Ali al Murtada radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

The love and cordial relations between the household of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the Ahlul Bayt can be gauged from this event. Sayyidah Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha not only cared for Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha throughout her illness, with the permission of her husband, but she acquired the honour of a bequest to perform her ghusl, which has an added lustre. It also stands as the highest proof that the Ahlul Bayt had the greatest of reliance upon the household of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

It is evident from the above mentioned facts that the baseless accusations of the Shia—that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not informed of the demise and Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha—is blown by the wind. When his wife performed the ghusl and shrouding, it is impossible that her husband, khalifah of the Muslims, was unaware; this too is the illogical perception of the Shia and actually dishonours and disgraces the Ahlul Bayt of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. According to us, the funeral was not a hidden matter, as a murderer does with his victim, but a significant amount of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum participated in her funeral.

As for who led the Salat al Janazah: the narrations differ in this regard. One narration mentions  that her husband, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, performed it, while another takes the name of Sayyidina ‘Abbas, the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. While another narration takes the name of Sayyidina Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In any case, whoever it may have been; they were all saints and worthy of leading her Salat al Janazah. What a fortunate Salat al Janazah it was and how fortunate was the one who led the Salat al Janazah? May the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon their Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and upon them all.

The Shia scholar, Najm al Hassan al Kararwi writes with regards to her demise:

 

When night fell, ‘Ali gave the ghusl to Sayyidah Fatimah and placed the shroud on her. He performed the salah and took her to Jannat al Baqi’ and buried her. One narration states that she was buried between the pulpit and the grave of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[2]

 

There is no need to object against the second narration, it is apparent from the first narration that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu did all this upon her bequest. If she had made a bequest to be buried in the room of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, then he would have done so. In this extract, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu giving the ghusl means that he helped in bringing and pouring the water. The one who carried out the ghusl was the wife of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidah Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha.

 

The Divergent Shia Views With Regards to the Burial of Sayyidah Fatimah

Contrary to the Ahlus Sunnah, the Shia narrations with regards to the burial spot of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha are contradictory. One narration states she was buried in Jannat al Baqi’, which is the most virtuous graveyard in the world, where ten thousand Sahabah are buried, as well as the Ummahat al Mu’minin, the daughters of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his son—Sayyidina Ibrahim radiya Llahu ‘anhum. This narration is the most authentic and the strongest position held according to the Ahlus Sunnah. The senior Shia scholars say the same, as the narration of al Kararwi discussed above clarifies. Her grave and the graves of Sayyidina Hassan, Sayyidina ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib, Zayn al ‘Abidin, al Baqir, and Jafar radiya Llahu ‘anhum are close to each other in almost a circle. The humble author has observed many well-known Shia scholars reciting salawat and salam here.

The second narration indicates that Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was buried in her home, which is in the Masjid, just past the door.

The third narration mentions that she was buried between the blessed grave of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the minbar, in the Rawdat al Jannat. These two places are now part of Masjid al Nabawi.

Now study the Shia narration:

 

ثم قال علي يا أسماء اغسليها وحنطيها وكفنيها قال فغسلوها وكفنوها وحنطوها وصلوا عليها ليلا ودفنها بالبقيع وماتت بعد العصر قال ابن بابويه جاء هذا الخبر هكذا والصحيح عندي أنها دفنت في بيتها فلما زاد وبنو أمية في المسجد صارت في المسجد

Then ‘Ali said to Asma’, “O Asma’, perform the ghusl, apply perfume upon her, and enshroud her.” So they performed the ghusl, enshrouded her, and applied perfume upon her. They then performed the Salat al Janazah at night and buried her in Jannat al Baqi’. She passed away after ‘Asr Salah. Ibn Babawayh says, “This narration has been reported in this way; however, what is correct according to me is that she was buried in her house; and when the Banu Umayyah extended the Masjid, this part became part of the Masjid.[3]

 

وأما موضع قبرها فاختلف فيه قال بعض أصحابنا أنها دفنت بالبقيع وقال بعضهم انها دفنت في بيتها …وقال بعضهم انها دفنت فيما بين القبر والمنبر

As for the location of her grave; some say that she is buried in Jannat al Baqi’, while others opine that she is buried in her house; while others are of the view that she is buried between the blessed grave of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the minbar, which is a portion of Jannat.[4]

 

The first view is far-fetched and the second is closest to what is correct.

In the light of this narration, if she is definitely buried in her home, or in the section of Masjid al Nabawi, known as Rawdat al Jannat, then what more need be said? In this case, her place of burial will not be hidden at all. This was the headquarters of the Muslim khilafah, hundreds of Muslims were present all the time, performing salah, optional devotions, and reciting salam—day and night. The Ashab al Suffah would reside here. When it is obvious that these places are perpetually crowded, then how could the burial take place in secret? After studying these narrations and taking into consideration the place of burial, the ‘story’ of the secret funeral, as well as the alleged displeasure of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha with the khalifah and the Muslims (such that she did not want them present at her funeral) and all other Shia ‘assumptions’ are proven to be nothing more than fabrications, fairy-tales, and works of fiction.

 

Adapted from Tuhfah Imamiyyah by Mawlana Mohr Muhammad Miyanwalawi.

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[1] The same is stated in Bihar al Anwar, vol. 43, pg. 200. Ibn Rustam al Tabari records in his Dala’il al Imamah (pg. 42) that the women of the Muhajirin and Ansar would visit Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha during her final illness. [Translator]

[2] Chawda Sitar-e p. 252

[3] Kashf al Ghummah p. 149

[4] I’lam al Wara’ p. 159, from Kashf al Asrar p. 26