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Opponents Make Light of the Fadak Affair

With a view to lessen the importance of the Fadak affair, the opponents of Lady Fatima (s.a.) say that the matter of Fadak was never significant, that it was only an orchard with some date trees etc. and hence its income was not considerable. One of the recent claimants of omniscience goes further to assert that the orchard comprised of sixteen or seventeen date trees and a spring of water and and that its annual income never exceeded fourteen annas1 (very less amount).

Such statements are issued, so that those who have no knowledge may imagine that the matter of Fadak was insignificant, about which the people in favor of Fatima (s.a.) are raising so much hue and cry quite unnecessarily. But those who undertake a deep research, know that Fadak was a hamlet, which was very fertile and well populated that there were several orchards and springs in it.

The writings of the author of Rauzatul Safa show that its annual income was four thousand gold coins. One dirham equals ten rupees. From this account, its income in those days was about forty thousand rupees per year. This is what history says. Anyway, it was a considerable amount and was in no way insignificant. The claim that it was worth only fourteen annas (less than a rupee) cannot be accepted as authentic for the following reasons:

Had the annual income of Fadak been only equal to fourteen annas (sixteen annas made a rupee till the last century AD), its dealing would not have been as described above, that is how was it that some of the Caliphs were snatching it away from Muhammad’s Progeny and some were restoring it to them? All this only goes to show that in the eyes of the Caliphs of the time, Fadak did have some importance and value!

Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz returned Fadak to Muhammad’s Progeny. Had the matter been so insignificant, as claimed by the opponents of Lady Fatima (s.a.), it would not have been necessary for a justice-loving Caliph to attend to it after about a hundred years of confiscation by the first Caliph. The very words uttered by this truth-loving Caliph: “Abu Bakr and Umar had themselves opened floodgates of taunts for them by snatching Fadak” show that Fadak had a significant value and importance.

As a matter of fact, had the value of Fadak been so insignificant as claimed, then neither the people of Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s time would have told him: “You have taunted Abu Bakr and Umar” nor the Caliph would have replied to them as above. The nature of this dialogue shows that the significance was such that both the Caliph and the people had paid attention to it. Doubtlessly, the above events show that even after the passing of a hundred years, the affair called for attention. That is why a Caliph of the time had to attend to it and the people also were alerted by it. It would never have been so, had Fadak been an insignificant thing.

If Fadak was not a province and if it was merely a small garden having some trees, then according to nature, such a little garden would not have lasted from the time of Abu Bakr till the time of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, especially when no one knows since when had that garden existed! The opponents of the Leader of the women of both the worlds (Fatima) should think that if a garden cannot last for such a long time what was that thing which Caliph Umar, the second, returned to the holy progeny of the Holy Prophet (S)?

This only shows that Fadak was not merely a garden but was a village, having several fruit trees and also some springs which was returned by the wise Caliph to Muhammad’s Progeny. It is also known that after the time of this just Caliph, some Caliphs used to confiscate it and some used to restore. So the existence of this thing for such a long time and its confiscation and restoring also proves that it was not a mere little garden but that it was a province.

Fadak, which was given by Mutawakkil the Nasibi to his barber, was surely a province of Fadak. Reason does not allow us to believe that a Caliph had gifted a garden having only an income of less than a rupee per annum to his barber of choice. Gifting such a trifling thing to a man of Caliph’s trust is incomprehensible, especially when that area was at a distance of about three months’ journey from the capital, Baghdad. It would have been like not giving at all.

Knowledgeable people know that the Caliphs of Bani Abbas were among the richest kings of the time, who gave away millions to their well-wishers. So it is unbelievable that such a Caliph could have confiscated such a cheap garden at a far off place from the capital from Ahlul Bayt to gift it to his man of choice. Surely that place was valuable and so the Caliph gifted it to his man of trust.

It may be noted that the misunderstanding of those who believe that the garden claimed by Lady Fatima was a garden of only a few trees seems to be based on an imagination that Fadak was a group of those trees which were planted by the Holy Prophet (S) himself in the province of Fadak and their number was not more than ten or eleven. Allamah Ibn Mitham Bahraini writes on Pg. 20 of Sharh Nahjul Balagha that in Fadak, there were eleven trees planted by the Holy Prophet (S) himself and those trees were in the possession of the progeny of Fatima (s.a.) and the Ahlul Bayt were giving the fruits of these trees to Hajj pilgrims, who used to recite benedictions on the Prophet (Durood) on receiving these fruits. But then some gentlemen ordered to cut off those trees and so it was done. This writer says:

“May my soul be sacrificed for the trees planted by the Holy Prophet (S) and may thousands of trees of Paradise be sacrificed for those trees.”

In short, it should be understood that Fadak was a fertile land and never a bunch of fruit trees, as some foolish people have believed. Ibn Abbas writes in his Tafseer that the Holy Prophet (S) used to distribute the produce of Fadak among Bani Abdul Muttalib. This proves that Fadak was yielding much produce. Similarly, narrations in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim also show that Fadak was an area near Khaybar and reliable commentators have written that the Holy Prophet (S) used to distribute Fadak grain between his near and dear relatives. How astonishing on the part of those unwise people who have understood that Fadak was a bunch of merely eleven trees which were planted in Fadak!

  • 1. Indian currency