Fatima az-Zahra (sa), the only surviving child of the Prophet, his most beloved, claimed inheritance of the property which could be apportioned to her in the lands of Medina and in Khaibar, also known as Fadak, which having been acquired without the use of force, the Prophet (S) had given her for her maintenance, in accordance with the commands of Allah (SwT). 1
Yet, Fadak became an arena for political games when Abu Bakr refused to transfer it to Fatima az-Zahra (sa). It is appropriate here to speak about Fadak before clarifying the corresponding events which occurred in its regard:
Fadak was a village located at a two-day walking distance from Medina. Apparently, it was inhabited by Jews who refused to submit to Islam at the beginning, but when the later realized the might of the Muslims, especially after they, led by ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as) conquered Khaibar, the Jews decided to yield to the Messenger of Allah (S) without fighting. So, he took possession of the village.
The village was valued at 100,000 dirhams by Umar's appraisers when he expelled its inhabitants to Syria. Umar took possession of the village and paid half of the price to the Jews.
Since the reason that motivated the inhabitants of Fadak to transfer its possession to Allah's Messenger (as) was fear of the Muslims after they had conquered Khaibar, this property became the sole possession of the Prophet (S). This conforms to Allah's decree in the Holy Qur’an:
"What Allah has bestowed on His Apostle (and taken away) from them for this (which) ye made no expedition with either calvary or camelry: But Allah gives power to His Apostles over any He pleases: and Allah Has power over all things." (59: 6)
There was no dispute between the Muslims that Fadak belonged to the Prophet (S); rather, the disagreement was related to how much Fadak had the Jews granted him as part of the peace settlement. Thus, it is strange to hear Abu Bakr narrate a tradition from the Prophet saying:
"We the group of Prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited; what we leave is for alms!!"
Because, had the Prophet actually said so (which is doubted), how did Abu Bakr understand from this saying that Fadak did not belong to him. There is clear contradiction in Abu Bakr's arguments.
Therefore, after realizing beyond doubt that Fadak was the personal property of Allah's Messenger (as), it is appropriate to inquire as to what he did with it? But the answer is clear. He granted it to Fatima az-Zahra (sa) before his death. In other words, Fadak became the personal property of Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa). Moreover, it is not for anyone to object to the Prophet for granting his own property to any person he wished-including his daughter.
Moreover, the following factors can be cited as proofs that the Prophet (S) granted Fadak to his noble daughter (as):
1. Fatima's saying to Imam ‘Ali (as):
"This is Ibn Abu Quhafa snatching away my father's grant to me."
2. Fatima az-Zahra’s (sa) saying to Abu Bakr
"Surely Fadak was granted to me by my father, the Messenger of Allah (S)."
Especially in light of the fact that her infallibility prevents her from uttering falsehood, and from demanding anything, which does not rightfully belong to her.
3. ‘Ali (as), the infallible Imam, would not allow his wife to demand something, which did not belong to her.
4. Imam ‘Ali (as) wrote in his letter to Uthman Ibn Hunaif:
"Yes! Fadak was the only land from that which was under the heavens, in our hands; but the inclinations of certain men lusted for it and the souls of others relinquished it."
Hence, had it been part of the Prophet's (as) inheritance, he (as) would not have said that it belonged to them (‘Ali (as) and Fatima az-Zahra (sa)).
5. Imam ‘Ali (as) together with Um Ayman testified to the fact that Allah's Messenger (as) granted it to Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa), when Abu Bakr requested Fatima az-Zahra (sa) to summon witnesses to prove that he (Prophet (S)) had granted it to her.
Yet, despite these undisputable proofs, Abu Bakr denied Fatima az-Zahra (sa) the possession of Fadak and brought the following as proof of the correctness of his action:
1. According to Abu Bakr, Fadak did not belong to the Messenger of Allah (S); it rather was the property of all Muslims.
2. Besides, according to Abu Bakr, even if it belonged to the Prophet of Allah (S), he had heard him saying:
"We the group of prophets do not inherit nor are we inherited."
3. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (S) said:
"My inheritance is not to be divided after me, even if it is one dinar or dirham. That which I leave is alms, save what is to maintain my wives and dependents."
However, when these hypothetical points made by Abu Bakr are put on the board of discussion, free from ideological, or, emotional prejudgments, and far from blind sanctification of the early followers of Islam, we can record the following points against them:
1. It is true that he denied the Prophet's (as) ownership of Fadak, but all the Muslims, whether early Muslims, or, contemporary ones, unanimously agree that Fadak was the sole possession of Allah's Prophet (S) This fact is also supported by the Qur’anic verse which we have already mentioned. Therefore, Abu Bakr's claim is invalidated for being a mere endeavor to null the effect of the Qur’an.
2. Abu Bakr claimed that he heard the Prophet of Allah (S) say:
"We the group of prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited; what we leave is for alms,"
This can be disputed as follows:
A. This narration is irrelevant regarding this issue; because we have already stated that Fadak was a grant from the Prophet (S) to his daughter before he died. So, it is inappropriate to quote a narration related to the issue of inheritance with the purpose of denying Lady Fatima (sa) her property.
B. This narration was only reported by one man, who is Abu Bakr, himself. And, the Holy Qur’an stated a general rule concerning inheritance, where the Prophets and their heirs are included in this rule. So, Abu Bakr's claim cannot be taken as proof versus the Holy Qur’an, nor, can it be proof for excluding the prophets, and their families from the Qur’anic rule.
C. Yet, the real reasons which provoke Abu Bakr, and his followers to deprive Fatima az-Zahra (sa) from her own property, despite the fact that the Prophet (S) said:
"Fatima is part of me, he who loves her loves me, and he who angers her angers me, "'
This had more implicit motives behind them, and was directly related to the political events of that time.
3. As for Abu Hurairah's narration; it is sufficient for us to keep in mind that he was famous for forging Prophetic traditions. Even he, himself, admitted this; and anyone wishing to study more about his life, should refer to Sheikh al-Madhirah - Abu Hurairah Dowsi, written by Mahmoud Abu Raieh.
The Real Motives Which Lead Abu Bakr to Usurp Fadak from Fatima az-Zahra (sa)
The history books at hand need thorough examination and revision, for they have been recorded according to the wishes and satisfactions of despotic rulers throughout history. In view of this, and in light of the fact that Lady Fatima Zahra (sa) was a strong supporter of her husband in his quest to regain Caliphate, and that her views were proofs that the followers of Imam ‘Ali (as) can use it to easily verify his claims against Abu Bakr; we can easily understand how Abu Bakr was successful in depriving Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) of her rights, and how his moves corresponded to his adopted political thinking. So, not only was Abu Bakr able to persuade the Muslims to dismiss Fatima’s (sa) stands as those of a woman who can be depended upon even in such a secondary issue like Fadak, but also he aimed at convincing them that since she (sa) was not to be believed in such a matter, she (sa) was also to be deserted when it comes to the most important issue of that time (i.e., Caliphate).
Yet, there are more motives that can be spotted to have led Abu Bakr to usurp Fatima az-Zahra’s (sa) property. Among them are:
1. Since Fadak brought large profits to its owners, ‘Ali (as) could use this profit in his fight against Abu Bakr just as Lady Khadija (as) used her wealth against the infidels.
2. The political challenge which Abu Bakr created, was aimed at proving to ‘Ali (as) and Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) that the nation was not ready to aid them in an emotional issue in which he was successful in downgrading ‘Ali (as) and Fatima az-Zahra (sa) by controlling and directing the public opinion. Listen to Abu Bakr as he speaks to the people after Fatima’s (sa) speech in the Mosque:
What is this attentiveness to every aimless speech?!
Where were these claims at the time of Allah's Messenger (as)?
He who heard something should say so!
He who witnessed anything should speak out!
Surely they are (‘Ali (as) and Fatima (sa), like foxes who have no witnesses save their tails!
They instigate every dissension!
And say: Renew (trouble) after it has cooled down
They seek help from the weak and acquire support from women
They are like Umm Tahal (a woman who was a prostitute during the era of ignorance) whose family chose prostitution for her
Surely if I wish 1 can say a lot; and
had I said (something), would have revealed (much).
But, I will remain silent as long as I am left alone."
3. Abu Bakr's drive to deprive Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) of her property had another underlying motive. Had Abu Bakr admitted Fatima’s (sa) words in regard to Fadak as undisputable facts, she could also claim her husband's right to leadership, which would force Abu Bakr to hand it back to ‘Ali (as).
Ibn Abil-Hadid said: I asked ‘Ali Ibn Fareqi, a distinguished teacher of Madrassa-Gharbia, Baghdad: "Was Fatima truthful in making the claim (regarding Fadak)?"
He answered: "Yes!"
I said: "Did Abu Bakr know that she [Fatima az-Zahra (sa)] was a truthful woman?"
Again he answered: "Yes."
I then asked: "Then why did the Caliph not give that which she [(as)] was entitled to back to her?"
At that moment the teacher smiled, and said with great dignity:
"If he had accepted her word on that day and had returned Fadak to her on account of her being a truthful woman and without asking for any witnesses, she could very well use this position for the benefit of her husband on the following day and say:
`My husband, ‘Ali is entitled to the Caliphate,' and then the Caliph would have been obliged to surrender the Caliphate to ‘Ali on account of his having acknowledged her to be a truthful woman. However, in order to obviate any such claim, or, dispute, he deprived her of her undisputed right!"
4. Moreover, there were several emotional factors, which lead Abu Bakr to refuse Fatima, Khadija's daughter, her rights. Some of these factors are:
Once, the Prophet of Allah (S) sent Abu Bakr to the Muslims, during Hajj season, to recite for them the newly revealed Surah al-Tawbah, but before reaching his destination AbuBakr was stopped by ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib who informed him that the Messenger commanded him to deliver the Surah himself; because according to the Prophet (S):
"No-one can take the Messenger's place save he (Messenger himself), or, someone from him."
This surely creates a feeling of envy in a man's heart!! A cause that could be said to have influenced Abu Bakr to be spiteful to ‘Ali (as).
B. When the Prophet (S) was too ill to lead the prayers, Abu Bakr was asked by his daughter, Aisha, to do so. But, as soon as Allah's Messenger (as) learned what was going on, he, supported by Imam ‘Ali and Abbas, came out and removed Abu Bakr, and led the prayers himself. The author of 'Fatima Umm Abiha' says in this regard:
"This event might have led Abu Bakr to think that Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was the one who informed the Prophet (S) of Abu Bakr's actions, just as Aisha told him (Abu Bakr) to lead the prayers!!"
C. Aisha, the Prophet's wife and Abu Bakr's daughter, had uncalled for feelings towards Fatima az-Zahra (sa), and her mother, Lady Khadija (as).
For instance, Aisha said:
"Despite the fact that Lady Khadija (as) died three years before the Prophet (S) married me, I did not have a feeling of envy" for anyone as much as I had for her. This was because he (the Prophet) used to mention her name constantly, and he was ordered by HIS Almighty Lord to give her the good news of a house made of brocade in Paradise. He also used to slaughter sheep, and distribute their meat among her (Lady Khadija's (as)) friends."
This undoubtedly led Abu Bakr to join his daughter in her feelings towards Lady Khadija (as), her daughter (Fatima az-Zahra (sa)) and her son-in-law (‘Ali (as)).
D. Aisha, Abu Bakr's daughter was sterile. Yet Lady Khadija (as) was the only wife of the Prophet who had children that survived. Moreover, that child of Lady Khadija (as) was Aisha's main adversary, Fatima az-Zahra (sa). So, the Messenger of Allah's (as) descendants would only come from his daughter, and her husband, ‘Ali (as). This surely was an unwelcomed fact to Aisha and her father, Abu Bakr.
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) felt grieved by Abu Bakr's actions, and was so displeased with him that when she knew of his attempt to seize Fadak, she accompanied a group of women to the mosque. There she sat down and delivered the following speech:
“Praise be to Allah for that which He bestowed (upon us); And thanks be to Him for all that which He inspired; and commended in His Name for that which He Provided: Form prevalent favors which He created, And abundant benefactions which He offered and perfect grants which He presented; (such benefactions) that their number is much too plentiful to compute; Bounties too vast to measure; Their limit was too distant to realize; He recommended to them (His creatures) to gain more (of His benefaction) by being grateful for their continuity; He ordained Himself praiseworthy by giving generously to His creatures; I bear witness that there is no God but Allah Who is One without partner, a statement which sincere devotion is made to be its interpretation; hearts guarantee its continuation, and illuminated in the minds is its sensibility. He Who can not be perceived with vision; neither be described with tongues; nor can imagination surround His state.
He originated things but not from anything that existed before them, and created them without examples to follow. Rather, He created them with His might and dispersed them according to His will; not for a need did He create them; nor for a benefit (for Him) did He shape them, But to establish His wisdom, Bring attention to His obedience, manifest His might, lead His creatures to humbly venerate Him, and to exalt His decrees. He then made the reward for His obedience, and punishment for his disobedience, so as to protect His creatures from His Wrath and amass them into His Paradise.
I too bear witness that my Father, Muhammad, is His Slave and Messenger, Whom He chose prior to sending him, named him before sending him; when creatures were still concealed in that which was transcendental, guarded from that which was appalling, and associated with the termination and nonexistence. For Allah the Exalted knew that which was to follow, comprehended that which will come to pass, And realized the place of every event. Allah has sent him (Muhammad) as perfection for His commands, a resolution to accomplish His rule, and an implementation of the decrees of His Mercy. So, he found the nations to vary in their faiths; Obsessed by their fires, Worshipping their idols, And, denying Allah (SwT) despite their knowledge of Him. Therefore, Allah (SwT) illuminated their darkness with my Father, Muhammad (S), uncovered obscurity from their hearts, and cleared the clouds from their insights. He revealed guidance among the people; so, he delivered them from being led astray, led them away from misguidance, guided them to the proper religion, and called them to the straight path.
Allah (SwT) then chose to recall him back in mercy, love and preference. So, Muhammad (S) is in comfort from the burden of this world, he is surrounded with devoted angels, the satisfaction of the Merciful Lord, and the nearness of the powerful King.
So, may the praise of Allah be upon my Father, His Prophet, Trusted one, the chosen one
from among His creatures, and His sincere friend, and may peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him.'
Fatima (sa) then turned to the crowd, and said:
'Surely you are Allah's (SwT) slaves at His command Prohibition; You are the bearers of His religion and revelation; You are Allah's trusted ones with yourselves; and His messengers to the nations. Amongst you does He have righteous authority; A covenant He brought unto you, and an heir He left to guard you; That is The eloquent book of Allah; The truthful Qur’an; The brilliant light; The shining beam; Its insights are indisputable; Its secrets are revealed; Its indications are manifest; and its followers are blessed by it. (The Qur’an) leads its adherents to goodwill; and Hearing it leads to salvation; with it are the bright divine authorities achieved, His manifest determination acquired, His prohibited decrees avoided; His manifest evidence recognized; His satisfying proofs made apparent, His permissions granted, and His laws written.
So Allah (SwT) made belief to be purification for you from polytheism.
He made Prayer, An exaltation for you from conceit.
Alms -A purification for the soul and a (cause of) growth in subsistence.
Fasting an implantation of devotion.
Pilgrimage -A construction of religion.
Justice -A harmony of the hearts;
obeying us (Ahlul-Bayt)Management of the nation.
Our leadership (Ahlul-Bayt), Safeguard from disunity.
Jihad (struggle) a strengthening of Islam.
Patience -A helping course for deserving (divine) reward.
Ordering goodness (Amr Bil Maruf) Public welfare.
Kindness to the parents A safeguard from wrath.
Maintaining close relations with one's kin -A cause for a longer life and multiplying the number of descendants.
Retaliation (Qesas)-For sparing blood (souls).
Fulfillment of vows-subjecting oneself to mercy.
Completion of weights and measures -A cause for preventing the neglect of others' rights. Forbiddance of drinking wines an exaltation from atrocity.
Avoiding slander -A veil from curse.
Abandoning theft-a reason for deserving chastity.
Allah (SwT) has also prohibited polytheism so that one can devote himself to His Lordship.
Therefore; Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam;
Obey Allah in that which He has commanded you to do and that which He has forbidden, for surely those truly fear among His servants, who have knowledge.'
Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) then added:
'O People! Be informed that I am Fatima az-Zahra (sa), and my father is Muhammad (S) I say that repeatedly, and initiate it continually; I say not what I say mistakenly, nor, do I do what I do aimlessly.
Now, hath come unto you an Apostle from amongst yourselves; It grieves him (Prophet (S)) that you should perish; ardently anxious is he over you; To the believers he is most kind and merciful. Thus, if you identify and recognize him, you shall realize that he is my father and not the father of any of your women; the brother of my cousin (‘Ali (as)) rather than any of your men. What an excellent identity he was, may the peace, and blessings of Allah (SwT) be upon him, and his descendants.
Thus, he propagated the Message, by coming out openly with the warning, and while inclined away from the path of the polytheists, (whom he) struck their strength and seized their throats, while he invited (all) to the way of his Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching. He destroyed idols, and defeated heroes, until their group fled and turned their backs.
So, night revealed its dawn; righteousness uncovered its genuineness; the voice of the religious authority spoke out loud; the evil discords were silenced; the crown of hypocrisy was diminished; the tightening of infidelity and desertion were untied.
So, you spoke the statement of devotion amongst a band of starved ones; and you were
on the edge of a hole of fire;(you were) the drink of the thirsty one; the opportunity of the desiring one; the fire brand of him who passes in haste; the step for feet; you used to drink from the water gathered on roads; eat jerked meat. (Lady Fatima (sa) was stating their lowly situation before Islam). You were despised outcasts always in fear of abduction from those around you. Yet, Allah rescued you through my father, Muhammad after much ado, and after he was confronted by mighty men, the Arab beasts, and the demons of the people of the Book Who, whenever they ignited the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and whenever the thorn of the devil appeared, or, a mouth of the polytheists opened wide in defiance, he would strike its discords with his brother (‘Ali (as)), who comes not back until he treads its wing with the sole of his feet, and extinguishes its flames with his sword. (‘Ali is) diligent in Allah's affair, near to the Messenger of Allah (S), A master among Allah's worshippers, setting to work briskly, sincere in his advice, earnest and exerting himself (in service to Islam); While you were calm, gay, and feeling safe in your comfortable lives, waiting for us to meet disasters, awaiting the spread of news, you fell back during every battle, and took to your heels at times of fighting. Yet, When Allah chose His Prophet from the dwell of His prophets, and the abode of His sincere (servants); The thorns of hypocrisy appeared on you, the garment of faith became worn out, The misguided ignorant(s) spoke out, the sluggish ignorant came to the front and brayed. The he camel of the vain wiggled his tail in your courtyards and the your courtyards and the Devil stuck his head from its place of hiding and called upon you, he found you responsive to his invitation, and observing his deceits.
He then aroused you and found you quick (to answer him), and invited you to wrath, therefore; you branded other than your camels and proceeded to other than your drinking places. Then while the era of the Prophet was still near, the gash was still wide, the scar had not yet healed, and the Messenger was not yet buried. A (quick) undertaking as you claimed, aimed at preventing discord (trial), surely, they have fallen into trial already! And, indeed Hell surrounds the unbelievers. How preposterous! What an idea!
What falsehood! For Allah's Book is still amongst you, its affairs are apparent; its rules are manifest; its signs are dazzling; its restrictions are visible, and its commands are evident. Yet, indeed you have casted it behind your backs! What! Do you detest it? Or, according to something else you wish to rule? Evil would be the exchange for the wrongdoers! And, if anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (SwT)), it never will it be accepted from him; and, in the hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost. Surely you have not waited until its stampede seized, and it became obedient. You then started arousing its flames, instigating its coal, complying with the call of the misled devil, quenching the light of the manifest religion, and extinguished the light of the sincere Prophet. You concealed sips on froth and proceeded towards his (the Prophet) kin and children in swamps and forests (meaning you plot against them in deceitful ways), but we are patient with you as if we are being notched with knives and stung by spearheads in our abdomens, Yet, now you claim that there is not inheritance for us! What! "Do they then seek after a judgment of (the Days of) ignorance? But, how, for a people whose faith is assured, can give better judgment than Allah? Don't you know? Yes, indeed it is obvious to you that I am his daughter.
O Muslims! Will my inheritance be usurped? O son of Abu Quhafa! Where is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father and I do not inherit mine? Surely, you have come up with an unprecedented thing. Do you intentionally abandon the Book of Allah and cast it behind your back? Do you not read where it says: And Sulaiman inherited Dawood'?
And, when it narrates the story of Zakariya and says: `So, give me an heir as from thyself (One that) will inherit me, and inherit the posterity of Yaqoob.' And, ‘But kindred by hood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah'
And: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance) to the male, a portion equal to that of two females.' And, if he leaves any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the pious ones.' You claim that I have no share! And, that I do not inherit my father! What! Did Allah reveal a (Qur’anic) verse regarding you, from which He excluded my father? Or, do you say: `These (Fatima and her father) are the people of two faiths, they do not inherit each other?!' Are we not, I and my father, a people adhering to one faith? Or, is it that you have more knowledge about the specifications, and generalizations of the Qur’an than my father, and my cousin (Imam ‘Ali (as))? So, here you are! Take it! (Ready with) its nose rope and saddled! But, if shall encounter you on the Day of Gathering; (thus) what a wonderful judge is Allah, a claimant is Muhammad, and a day is the Day of Rising. At the time of the Hour shall the wrongdoers lose; and it shall not benefit you to regret (your actions) then! For every Message, there is a time limit; and soon shall ye know who will be inflicted with torture that will humiliate him, and who will be confronted by an everlasting punishment. (Fatima az-Zahra then turned towards the Ansars, and said: “O you people of intellect! The strong supporters of the nation! And, those who embraced Islam, what is this short-coming in defending my right? And, what is this slumber (while you see) injustice (being done toward me)? Did not the Messenger of Allah (S), my father, used to say: A man is upheld (remembered) by his children'? O how quick have you violated (his orders)?! How soon have you plotted against us? But you still are capable (of helping me in) my attempt, and powerful (to help me) in that which I request and (in) my pursuit (of it). Or, do you say: "Muhammad has perished;"
Surely this is a great calamity; its damage is excessive its injury is great, its wound (is much too deep) to heal.
The Earth became darkened with his departure; the stars eclipsed for his calamity; hopes were seized; mountains submitted; sanctity was violated, and holiness was encroached upon after his death. Therefore, this, by Allah, is the great affliction, and the grand calamity; there is not an affliction, which is the like of it; nor, will there be a sudden misfortune (as surprising as this).
The Book of Allah, excellent in praising Him, announced in the courtyards (of your houses) in the place where you spend your evenings, and mornings; A call, A cry, A recitation, and (verses) in order. It had previously came upon His (Allah's) Prophets and Messengers; (for it is) A decree final, and a predestination fulfilled: "Muhammad is not but an Apostle: Many were the apostles that passed away before him. If he died or was slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude." O you people of reflection; will I be usurped the inheritance of my father while you hear and see me?! (And while) You are sitting, and gathered around me? You hear my call, and are included in the (news of the) affair? (But) You are numerous and well equipped! (You have) the means, and the power, and the weapons and the shields. Yet, the call reaches you but you do not answer; the cry comes to you but you do not come to help? (This) While you are characterized by struggle, known for goodness and welfare, the selected group (which was chosen), and the best ones chosen by the Messenger for us: the Ahlul-Bayt. You fought the Arabs, bore with pain and exhaustion, struggled against the nations, and resisted their heroes. We were still, so were you in ordering you, and you in obeying us. So that Islam became triumphant, the accomplishment of the days came near, the fort of polytheism was subjected, the outburst of was subjected, the outburst of infidelity calmed down, and the system of religion was well-ordered. Thus, (why have you) become confused after clearness? Conceal matters after announcing them? Turned on your heels after daring? Associated (others with Allah) after believing? Will you not fight people who violated their oaths? Plotted to expel the Apostle, and became aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if you believe!
Nevertheless, I see that you are inclined to easy living; dismissed he who is more worthy of guardianship (‘Ali (as)); you secluded yourselves with meekness and dismissed that which you accepted. Yet, if you show ingratitude, ye and all on earth together, yet, Allah (SwT) free of all wants, worthy of all praise. Surely, I have said all that I have said with full knowledge that you intent to forsake me, and knowing the betrayal that your hearts sensed. But, it is the state of soul, the effusion of fury, the dissemination of (what is) the chest and the presentation of the proof. Hence, here it is! Bag it (leadership and) put it on the back of an ill she camel, which has a thin hump with everlasting grace, marked with the wrath of Allah, and the blame of ever (which leads to) the Fire of (the wrath of Allah kindled (to a blaze), that which doth mount (right) to the hearts; For, Allah witnesses what you do, and soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take! And, I am the daughter of a warner (the Prophet) to you against a severe punishment. So, act and so we will too, and wait, and we shall wait.'
(the end of Lady Fatima’s (sa) speech).
It appears from recorded historical events, that Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was successful at the beginning in persuading. Abu Bakr to hand back Fadak to her; listen to part of a speech he (according to some historians) delivered after hearing Fatima’s (sa) speech. He said:
"O daughter of the Messenger of Allah... Surely the Prophet is your father, not anyone else's, the brother of your husband, not any other man's; he surely preferred him over all his friends and (‘Ali) supported him in every important matter, no one loves you save the lucky and no one hates you save the wretched. You are the blessed progeny of Allah's Messenger, the chosen ones, our guides to goodness our path to Paradise, and you-the best of women-and the daughter of the best of prophets, truthful is your sayings, excelling in reason. You shall not be driven back from your right...But, I surely heard your father saying: `We the, group of prophets do not inherit, nor, are we inherited. Yet, this is my situation and property, it is yours (if you wish); it shall not be concealed from you, nor, will it be stored away from you. You are the Mistress of your father's nation, and the blessed tree of your descendants. Your property shall not be usurped against your will, nor, can your name be defamed. Your judgment shall be executed in all that which I possess. This, do you think that I violate your father's (will)?"
Fatima az-Zahra (sa) then refuted Abu Bakr's claim that the Prophet had stated that prophets cannot be inherited, and said:
"Glory be to Allah!! Surely Allah's Messenger did not abandon Allah's Book nor did he violate His commands. Rather, he followed its decrees and adhered to its chapters. So do you unite with treachery justifying your acts with fabrications? Indeed this-after his departure-is similar to the disasters which were plotted against him during his lifetime. But behold! This is Allah's Book, a just judge and a decisive speaker, saying:
`One that will (truly) inherit Me, and inherit the posterity of Yaqub,' (19:6)
'And Sulaiman inherited Dawood.' (27: 16)
Thus, He (Glory be to Him) made clear that which He made share of all heirs, decreed from the amounts of inheritance, allowed for males and females, and eradicated all doubts, and ambiguities (pertaining to this issue which existed with the) bygones.
But, your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) with you, but (for me) patience is most fitting against that which ye assert; it is Allah (alone) whose help can be sought."
It is apparent that Abu Bakr chanced the mode with which he addressed Lady Fatima az-Zahra (sa) after delivering her speech. Listen to his following speech; which is his reply to Fatima’s (sa) recently delivered speech.
Abu Bakr said:
"Surely Allah (SwT) and His Apostle are truthful, and his (the Prophet's) daughter told the truth. Surely, you are the source of wisdom, the element of faith, and the sole authority. May Allah (SwT) not refute your righteous argument, nor, invalidate your decisive speech. But these are the Muslims between us, who have entrusted me with leadership, and it was according to their satisfaction that I received what I have. I am not being arrogant, autocratic, or, selfish, and they are my witnesses."
Upon hearing Abu Bakr speak of the people's support for him, Lady Fatima –az-Zahra (sa)
turned towards them, and said:
"O people, who rush towards uttering falsehood, and are indifferent to disgraceful, and losing actions!”
Do you not earnestly seek to reflect upon the Qur’an, or, are your hearts isolated with locks? But, on your hearts is the stain of the evil, which you committed; it has seized your hearing, and your sight, evil is that which you justified cursed is that which you reckoned, and wicked is what you have taken for an exchange! You shall, by Allah, find bearing it (to be a great) burden, and its consequence disastrous. (That is) on the day when the cover is removed, and appears to you what is behind it of wrath. When you will be confronted by Allah (SwT) with that which you could never have expected, they will perish, there and then, those who stood on falsehoods." (The end of her speech).
Although parts of Abu Bakr's speeches cannot be verified with authentic evidence, and despite the fact that we have already mentioned part of the actual speech, which Abu Bakr delivered after Lady Fatima’s (sa) arguments, it appears certain that Abu Bakr was finally persuaded to submit Fadak to her.
Nevertheless, when Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was leaving Abu Bakr's house, Umar suddenly appeared, and exclaimed:
"What is it that you hold in your hand?"
Abu Bakr replied: 'A decree I have written for Fatima az-Zahra (sa) in which I assigned Fadak and her father's inheritance to her."
Umar then said: "With what will you spend on the Muslims if the Arabs decide to fight you?!"
Umar then seized the decree and tore it up!!!
In addition to being a reason encouraging others to be unjust to Ahlul-Bayt, the usurping of Fadak by Abu Bakr ignited political unrest throughout history. Sheikh Ja'far Subhani, a leading historian, wrote the following in his book The Message p.601 regarding Fadak throughout history:
"The foundation of the deprivation of the descendants of Fatima’s (sa) claim of Fadak was laid in the time of the First Caliph. After the martyrdom of ‘Ali (as), Mu'awiyah assumed the reins of government and divided Fadak amongst three persons (Marwan, Amr bin Uthman and his own son, Yazid). During the period of the Caliphate of Marwan, all three shares were assumed by him and he gifted them to his son, Abdul Aziz. He, in turn, gave the same to his son, Umar. On account of the fact that Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was an upright person from amongst Bani Umayyah, the first heresy which he removed was that he returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima. After his death, however, the succeeding Umayyad Caliphs again took away Fadak from the Bani Hashim and it continued to remain in their possession till their rule came to an end.
During the Caliphate of Bani Abbas, the question of Fadak vacillated in a strange manner. For example, Saffah gave it to Abdullah Bin Hasan, and after him Mansur Dawaniqi took it back, but his son Mahdi (as) returned it to the descendants of Zahrah (as). After him Musa and Harun took it away from them on account of some political considerations. When Ma'mun assumed the office of caliph, he handed it over formally to its owner. After his death, the conditions of Fadak vacillated once again and it was returned at one time to the descendants of Fatima az-Zahra (sa), and then taken away from them again.
During the periods of the Caliphate of Bani Umayyah, and Bani Abbas, Fadak assumed largely a political aspect as compared with its pecuniary aspect. And, even if the First Caliphs were in need of income from Fadak the later Caliphs and nobles were so rich that they did not stand in any need of income from it.
Hence, when Umar Bin Abdul Aziz handed over Fadak to the descendants of Fatima az-Zahra (sa), Bani Umayyah reproached him, and said; `By this act of your, you have found fault with the two venerable men (viz. Abu Bakr and Umar).' They, therefore, persuaded him to distribute the income from Fadak among the descendants of Fatima az-Zahra (sa), but to keep its ownership with himself."
- 1. Man La Yahdharhu al-Faqih.