Oppressing Al-Zahra’: Centuries-Old Sectarian Arguments
The issue of assaulting al-Zahra’ (sa) with beating, attacking her house, the attempt to burn it, the actual burning of it, her miscarriage, and other issues have all been included in the spheres of sectarian arguments since the very first [Hijri] century and till our time.
We would like to cite samples of arguments by orators and others in this regard from prominent personalities of this sect against their opponents across successive centuries so that it may become clear that such diction was not invented by those who recite commemorative ceremonies in order to extract people’s tears with truthful and untruthful words, as someone terms it, leaving the option to research them to whoever wishes to do so.
So, let us say that on Allah do we depend, and from Him do we derive our will power, strength and success.
Judge ‘Abd al-Jabbar, one of the most prominent Mu’tazilites, has said the following in his attempt to rebut the Shi’a, “... And among the charges they mention is the claim that Fatima (sa), on account of her anger with Abu Bakr and ‘’Umar, willed that they both should not perform her funeral prayers, and that they both should not know where she was buried. So she was buried at night. In a narrative transmitted by Ja’far ibn Muhammed and others, they claim that ‘’Umar hit Fatima (sa) with a whip and struck al-Zubayr with the sword. They also say that ‘’Umar went to her house as Ali (as), al-Zubayr and a group of those who boycotted the swearing of fealty to Abu Bakr assembled there. He said to her, ‘I find none after your father whom I love most but you. Yet by Allah! Since these folks have assembled at your house, they shall all be burnt.’ She, therefore, prohibited people from assembling, and they did not go back to her till they swore fealty to Abu Bakr..., in addition to such far-fetched narratives. The answer to these narratives is that we do not believe them.”1
He also said, “As regarding what they mentioned abut ‘’Umar in reference to such burning, had it been true, it would not be demeaning to ‘’Umar because he was right in threatening those who refused to swear the oath of allegiance.”2
Sayyid al-Murtada, the flag of guidance (‘alam al-huda), rebutting what the afore-mentioned Judge had said, states the following:
We have made it quite clear that the narrative regarding such burning has been narrated by non-Shi’as who cannot be charged... The excuse which he used regarding this burning, if true, is quite interesting! How can anyone seek an excuse for someone who wanted to burn the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) and of Fatima (sa)?!”3
Rebutting ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s rejection of Fatima (sa) being hit and her house attacked and her being threatened with burning, and in response to his saying, “We neither believe it, nor do we think it is possible at all,” Sayyid al-Murtada says, “You did not base your rejection on any proof or possibility whatsoever so you would defend your viewpoint. Rejecting what is narrated without producing any evidence whatsoever is totally disregarded.”4
When ‘Abd al-Jabbar claimed that to say that Fatima (sa) was hit reminds one of the narratives regarding the hulal, Sayyid al-Murtada responded to him by asking him: “Do you not know that this sect is referred to by those who believe in the hulul, and that reason proves the error of what they claim?! Do you say that reason concludes that it is impossible that Fatima (sa) was hit?! If you say that they both are the same, then prove how reason considers it impossible, just as you explain how impossible it is to believe in the hulul, and you will then nail down your argument. Surely it is well known that you cannot do it!”5
He also said, “There is no difference between a threat for the reason which he mentioned and hitting Fatima (sa) for the same reason, for burning houses is surely a greater offense than whipping someone. There is no sense in the author expressing his anger at such whipping and his calling the transmitter of the incident a liar.”6
The sect’s mentor, Shaikh Muhammed ibn al-Hassan al-Tusi, may Allah have mercy on him, has said,
One of their offenses, which were held in contempt, was beating Fatima (sa). It is narrated that she was whipped, and it is well known without any contention among the Shi’as is that ‘’Umar (ibn al-Khattab) hit her on the stomach, so she miscarried Muhsin. Such a narrative is quite famous among them. Add to this their attempt to burn her house when some people sought shelter in it, refusing to swear the oath of allegiance to him (to Abu Bakr).
Nobody denies this narrative at all because we have proven how such a narrative is transmitted by the Sunnis via al-Balathiri and others, and the narratives transmitted by the Shi’as are numerous, and there are no contradictions in them.
Nobody has the right to say that if this were true, it would not be a serious charge because a leader has the right to threaten those who refuse to swear fealty to him; he is unlike other Muslims. This is not true because there is no excuse whatsoever for anyone to burn the house of Fatima (sa), of the Commander of the Faithful (as) and of al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as)... Can a heinous act such as this be really justified?!
Rather, one will be acting contrarily to the consensus of the Muslims had such consensus been confirmed and proven. It is accurate and fixed when the Commander of the Faithful (as) and those who refused to swear the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr) from among those who sought shelter at Fatima’s house entering into it and not getting out of it.
What “consensus” is this while the Commander of the Faithful (as) refused to endorse it, let alone others who refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him? Anyone, such as al-Juba’i and others who say so clearly, demonstrates his animosity and fanaticism because the burning incident took place prior to the (forced) swearing of allegiance by the Commander of the Faithful (as) and the group of men who were then at his house (who were likewise forced to swear it). They claimed such “consensus” after such swearing, that is, when those who refused to swear did indeed swear it (though against their will). What we have rejected is surely contemptible.7
Shaikh al-Tusi has also said the following:
Al-Balathiri, quoting al-Mada’ini from Maslamah ibn Muharib from Sulayman al-Tamimi from Abu ‘Awn, says: “Abu Bakr sent (‘’Umar) to Ali (as) requiring him to swear the oath of allegiance to him, but he refused, and also refused with him a number of others. Fatima (sa) met ‘’Umar at the door and said to him, ‘O son of al-Khattab! Are you really going to burn my house door?!’ He said, ‘Yes.8 And this is stronger than what your father had brought (!).’ Ali went and swore it.”
This same incident is narrated by Shi’as from many venues. It is interesting that it is also narrated by the mentors of Sunni narrators of hadith, but they used to narrate what would protect them. They may be alert to some of what they narrate, so they stop narrating it. Yet what “choice” can one have when he sees his house door set to fire so that he would be forced to swear fealty?9
The great faqih and gifted orator, Shaikh Abul-Salah al-Halabi, may Allah have mercy on him, has said the following:
They harmed Ali (as) because he did not go along with what they wanted him to do, and they were rough when they spoke to him and went too far in their threats to him. They brought firewood to burn his house and assault it with men without his permission. They brought him tied-up, thus forcing his wife, daughters, women and kinsfolk from Banu Hashim and others to go out of their homes. They surrounded him with their unsheathed swords and promised to kill him if he refused to swear fealty to them.10
In his book, wherein he rebutted a book titled Al-Naqd (in response to “Some Rafidi Scandals”), ‘Abd al-Jalal al-Qazwini has said the following:
“... They claim that ‘’Umar hit Fatima (sa) in the stomach, killing a fetus in her womb whom the Messenger of Allah S had named Muhsin...” The answer to it is this: This is true. Shi’as and Sunnis have recorded it in their respective books. But it has been narrated about the Chosen One S that he had said, “Actions are judged according to intentions.” If ‘’Umar’s purpose was to secure the oath of allegiance from Ali (as), and he did not intend to cause any miscarriage, and perhaps ‘’Umar did not know that Fatima (sa) was behind the door, his killing of her fetus will be by mistake, unintentionally. Even if he had killed him deliberately, he was not an infallible man. Allah is the One Who will judge him, not we, and nothing more can be said. Allah knows best about His servants’ actions, inward thoughts and what they hide.
“And they say that ‘’Umar and ‘Othman prohibited Fatima (sa) from weeping over her father..., etc.”11
And he says in another place, “‘’Umar tore up Fatima’s property title of Fadak, hitting her in the stomach, and they prohibited her from weeping over her father.”12
We say that the excuse provided for killing al-Muhsin is truly odd and strange in the face of the huge torrent of narratives clearly proving that he (‘’Umar) knew that she was behind the door (where she spoke to him prior to being hit by him). Some narratives have even stated that he hit her fingers when she held the door trying to stop him from opening it, telling him that she had no veil on her so that he would not enter her house... He is the one who kicked her, slapped her and hit her, and so did Qunfath and others.
So, we do not know how one can regard the killing of al-Muhsin as “accidental” except that he has a different concept of the word “accident” which none conceives except the writer of those words and their originator...
No matter what, I have cited these paragraphs which he stated because they clearly indicate that she was hit, insulted, her door was broken and privacy forcefully invaded. Her miscarriage is a fact agreed on by all, and it is used by a party as an argument (against the other party), yet the latter party searches for justifications for it no matter how trivial and cold-hearted.
Had we endorsed such kinds of justifications, we shall never come across one criminal on the face of earth to indict and punish. Perhaps some people may be able to find an excuse for Satan. Al-Ghazali tried to relieve Satan of some of the blame, thus sparing him people’s curses, when he said, “There is no harm in remaining silent rather than cursing him.”13
Yes! He said exactly so as he attempted to clear Yazid, the man who was accustomed to drinking wine and to debauchery, from his crime of killing al-Husayn (as). So, read on and be amazed. As long as you live, Time will show you wonders!
The Mu’tazilite scholar (who died in 656 A.H./1258 A.D.), quoting his mentor Abu Ja’far Yahya ibn Muhammed al-’Alawi al-Basri, says the following,
If you say that Fatima’s house was entered by force and her veil was uncovered, all for the sake of “safeguarding” the Islamic system, and so that dissension might not spread and a group of Muslims would commit a mutiny, and it was done for the sake of a unified front..., you will be told that the veil of ‘A’isha was likewise removed, and the privacy of her camel litter was invaded, and there was dissension among the Muslims, even the blood of Muslims was shed...; so, why do you regard invading the privacy of ‘A’isha as one of the greatest sins which required an eternal abode in the fire of Hell, and people should dissociate themselves from the culprit, and that doing so is the strongest indication of conviction, while invading the privacy of Fatima (sa) and entering her house by force and collecting firewood at her door and threatening her with burning... as the most firm indication of conviction and the best to firm the foundations of Islam, something whereby Allah granted dignity to the Muslims, putting out thereby the fire of dissension, while both instances are invasions of privacy and both veils were sacred?!
What we would like to say to you is this: The sanctity of Fatima (sa) is greater; her status is more lofty; safeguarding her sanctity is done seeking nearness to the Messenger of Allah S is more binding on every Muslim, for she is part of him, part of his flesh and blood and is not like a wife from outside his family with whom he S has no kinship. How can ‘A’isha or anyone else be compared with Fatima (sa) while all Muslims, those who love her and those who do not, recognize that she is the Head of the Women of Mankind?
How can we nowadays safeguard the Prophet’s name with regard to his wife and safeguard the name of Umm Habibah with regard to her brother, while the sahaba did not uphold the safeguarding of the family of the Messenger of Allah S?!14
The pious and ascetic scholar and the man with dazzling blessings, namely Sayyid Radiyy ad-Din Ali ibn Tawus, uses the argument of what happened to al-Zahra’ (sa) against followers of the other sects. He narrates to them the same narratives which they themselves have fixed in their references as facts, as we referred to in other places. One of those matters with which he obligated them are the following statements:
Some of this has already been documented in their Sihah books when they discussed how they joined Ali (as) in lagging behind rather than swearing the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, and when they discussed their famous meeting (at the saqifa of Banu Sa’ida), when Abu Bakr and ‘’Umar wanted to burn Ali (as) and al-’Abbas with the fire.15
One of the interesting narratives is mentioned by al-Tabari and al-Waqidi, as well as those who wrote precious works and who have already been referred to above, how they went to the house of Fatima, Ali, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as) with the intention to burn it. Where do such despicable actions stand when we review the continuous recommendations of their Prophet, Muhammed S, on behalf of these individuals?!16
One of the most interesting of all is their deliberate intention to burn Ali and al-’Abbas (as) with the fire; the writer said in this regard, “He brought a torch of fire in order to burn them both, and he was already inside the house of Fatima.” In another narrative, they had with them at home al-Zubayr, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as), and a group of Banu Hashim who all boycotted and cast doubts about the legitimacy of the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr.
Why do folks who are endowed with sound minds from among the Muslims see how Muhammed S was, in their regard, the very best of creation, his Prophetic Mission the most significant, and swearing the oath of allegiance to him the most important oath. He was sent to people who worshipped idols and stones and to other atheists and disbelievers. Yet we never heard that he considered as halal, nor did he ever permit the burning of anyone who was reluctant to acknowledge his being a Prophet and, hence, refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him?!
To what extent did enmity to and jealousy of his family and negligence of his will reach, so they confronted such a family and threatened to burn it?
All rational people have testified that thus was the oath of allegiance to him: Forcing people to swear the oath of allegiance runs contrarily to each and every divine legislation, to the ways of the Prophets, and to customs. Ibn Mas’ud has narrated saying, “We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah S when we passed by a colony of ants, and there was a fire. The Prophet S objected to it by saying, ‘Nobody should ever use a norm of torment [burning] which is the sole prerogative of Allah Almighty.’” ‘Abd al-Mahmud said, “Since when are the family of the Prophet S less important than ants?!” How did they dare to say that they would torment them by a torment used by Allah, i.e. the fire?! By Allah! These issues are the most serious of all times.17
As for Ali (as), you have already come to know what happened to him, how he was deprived of his status and right to be the caliph, and how they went as far as burning him with the fire and violating his privacy.18
Ibn Tawus continues to say that the man (Abu Bakr) was not satisfied with all of that till he sent ‘’Umar to the door of Ali (as) and Fatima (sa), who had with them al-’Abbas and a number of Banu Hashim, and they were all busy mourning the demise of Prophet Muhammed S and with his funeral. He ordered them to be buried if they did not come out to swear the oath of allegiance to him as mentioned by the author of Al-’Iqd al-Farid in Vol. Four of his book as well as by a group of those whose narratives nobody doubts.
It is something which no previous prophet ever had to endure, nor any wasi, nor anything as cruel as committed by kings who were well known for their cruelty, nor even unbelieving kings. None of these had ever burnt those who refused to swear the oath of allegiance to them, nor did they even threaten anyone to be killed or beaten.
It has never come to our knowledge that any of such kings had a prophetic or divine authority. These folks had a sultan who made them rich after they had been impoverished, who rid them of humility and harm, who led them to happiness in the life of this world and in the hereafter, conquering through his Prophetic Mission the lands of the mighty ones. Then he died, leaving among them one single daughter from his own loins. He said to them, “She is the Head of the Women of Mankind” and two children with her and by her who were seven years old or younger. They rewarded such a Prophet S, or such a king, the subjects that they were, when they brought fire to burn his grandsons and daughter who were in the status of his own soul and heart.19
He also argues with others telling them that al-Waqidi has stated that ‘’Umar went to Ali (as) leading a group of men including Assad ibn al-Hassan (the correct name is actually al-Hudayr) and Salamah ibn Aslam al-Ashhali. He said to Ali (as) and to the others, “Come out or else we shall burn you...”20
Researcher-imam Nasir ad-Din al-Tusi, namely Muhammed ibn Muhammed ibn al-Hassan, may Allah have mercy on his soul, has said, “... And he [Abu Bakr] sent people to the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him (to Abu Bakr), so he set it ablaze while Fatima (sa) and a number of Banu Hashim were still inside it.”21
‘Allama al-Hilli added to the above saying, “And they took Ali (as) out by force, and with him al-Zubayr was inside the house. They broke the latter’s sword and took him out of the house. Fatima (sa) was beaten, and she miscarried a son named Muhsin.”22
Making a list of criticisms against the second caliph, he also said, “... He intended to burn the house of the Prophet.”23
We would like to note here that neither Shams ad-Din al-Isfarayani, in his book titled Tasdid al-’Aqa’id fi Tajrid al-Qawa’id, which is also known as the ancient Sharh, nor al-Qawshaji denies what the researcher al-Tusi has said, nor did they cast any doubt about the authenticity of the narrative as they used to do in other instances. Rather, he was satisfied with justifying Ali’s lagging behind rather than swearing the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr by saying that he had an excuse, or something like that, so refer to it.24
This is so despite the fact that al-Qawshaji is so well known for his fanaticism, he is described by major Imamite scholars as a “stubborn and relentless fanatic.”25
In another place, the same author says the following about him: “This, coming from him, is an outrageous arrogance, purely and simply so, because their lagging behind his (Usamah’s) army, and his allegiance to him, is famous to both parties and is mentioned by them both. Nobody can refute it. When someone is honest and fair, you should surrender to him and obey him. Since al-Qawshaji is a stubborn arrogant man, a stubbornly argumentative man, he stopped him, as was his habit in all subjects, when providing an answer is impossible for him.”26
There are other subjects wherein he discusses this characteristic of al-Qawshaji.27
The orator, faqih and researcher, namely Shaikh al-Miqdad al-Sayyari, has said, “When Ali (as) and a group of others refused to swear the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr), and when they sought shelter at the house of Fatima (sa), rejecting such fealty, he (Abu Bakr) sent her ‘’Umar who hit her on her stomach, causing her to miscarry a son named Muhsin. He also lit a fire in order to burn their house although Fatima (sa) and a group of Banu Hashim were all inside it. They took Ali (as) out by force, handcuffing him with his own sword’s suspenders. Nobody should say that only the Shi’as narrate this incident, for someone may say so only to scandalize them. We say that this incident has been narrated by way of the opponents. It is narrated by al-Balathiri and Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr as well as by others. It is supported by what he (‘’Umar) had said at the time of his death: ‘How I wish I left the house of Fatima alone and did not expose it (to invasion of privacy).’”28
I say that the major scholars of the sect, as I have proven by quoting them, insist on using this incident as an argument against their opponents, taking it for granted. The inability of others to get rid of the charge or to clear themselves of it clearly proves that denying or doubting it is not acceptable, even unreasonable. This is so in the presence of the huge number of texts and in the consecutive reporting of it by the Infallible Ones (as), something which leaves no excuse to anyone to deny it, nor does it permit any explanation or justification whatsoever.
The ‘allama, faqih and alert orator, Shaikh Zayn ad-Din al-Bayadi, has said, “Among them is narrated by al-Balathiri. It is well known by the Shi’as that he (‘’Umar) squeezed Fatima (sa) behind the door till she miscarried Muhsin although everybody knew what her father (S) had said, that is, ‘Fatima is part of me; whoever hurts her hurts me.’”29
They have said that ‘A’isha was not the daughter of Muhammed S. When her camel was hamstrung, the Muslims’ zeal to safeguard her was prompted out of respect for her husband (as), so heads and hands flew and flung around her. But the greatest abomination that happened to Fatima (sa) is much greater than a hamstrung camel. So, why did the Muslims not demonstrate the same zeal for her?”30
He also said, “He (Abu Bakr) and ‘’Umar sought to burn the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he and a group of others refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him. Al-Waqidi has mentioned this incident and so has al-Tabari in his Tarikh as well as Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih.”31
The faqih and orator, Muhammed ibn Ali ibn Abu Jumhur al-Ahsa’i, has said the following in his debate with the virtuous al-Harawi which took place in 878 A.H./1473 A.D. which is quite famous among the followers of the sect:
He (‘’Umar) wanted to burn the house of Fatima (sa) when Ali (as) and some members of Banu Hashim refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him [to Abu Bakr, his friend]. He squeezed her with the door till she miscarried her fetus. Qunfath hit her with his sword because he was ordered by him till she died while the pain of whips and their marks were still on her side, in addition to other such abominable acts. He said: “This is what you narrate through your own venues and it cannot be used as a proof against others.” I said, “As regarding her inheritance..., etc. As regarding the incidents of the burning, the whipping and the miscarriage, some of them are narrated by you (Sunnis) as the ‘intention to burn.’ They are narrated by al-Tabari, al-Waqidi and Ibn Qutaybah.”32
Al-Karki, the researcher, has said, “... And he sought his oath of allegiance by insulting him and threatening to burn his house. He gathered firewood at the door and Fatima (sa) miscarried Muhsin. This is why they mentioned, as our folks have narrated, how they enticed the others to oppress them and to seek revenge against them.”33
He also said, “... In addition to forcing him [i.e. forcing Ali (as)] to do it [to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr], putting a great deal of pressure on him, threatening him to burn his house, gathering firewood at his door, as narrators and historians, such as al-Waqidi and others, have narrated..., etc.”34
He has also said, “Transmitters of events and those who have recorded history, and one who reviews the pages of biography books, will confirm that when ‘’Umar swore the oath of allegiance to his friend, and Ali (as) lagged behind and did not swear it, he went to the house of Fatima (sa) to ask Ali (as) to swear it, and he spoke rudely to him, ordering firewood to be brought in order to burn the house and everyone inside it. Inside it were: the Commander of the Faithful (as), his wife (sa) and sons (as) in addition to those who joined them, including al-Zubayr and a group from Banu Hashim.”35
He also said, “Had the Messenger of Allah (S) recommended both of them to take charge, appointing them as the imams, he would never have permitted them to penalize anyone who refused to swear fealty to them by burning him even if he were among the least in status among the people and the most insignificant individual. So, what would you do when they both claimed caliphate..., etc?”36
The knowledgeable scholar, Abu al-Fath ibn Makhdam al-’Arbashahi, has said the following in Chapter 11 of his Sharh while discussing the caliphate of Abu Bakr: “... He also sent people to the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he refused to swear the oath of allegiance, setting it ablaze while the Head of the Women of Mankind was still inside it.”37
The happy martyr and gifted speaker and judge, Nur-Allah al-Tasatturi, has mentioned some texts proving the miscarriage of that fetus and the attempt to burn the house of al-Zahra’ (sa) and other issues. He said, “... What would you say about an issue wherein the chests of the Muhajirun are pressed, their swords broken, the swords are unsheathed against the chiefs of Muslims, and the desire to burn the houses of their masters and other things? How can it not be compulsion had the hearts not been blind, the visions not blinded, for the hearts that are inside the chests are indeed blinded..., etc.?”38
The great researcher, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Nabi ibn Sa’d al-Jaza’iri, one of the greatest scholars of his time, may Allah have mercy on him, has said, “And one of them is that he sent people to the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) on his refusal to swear fealty and ordered fire to be lit, invading the privacy of his house. In it was Fatima (sa) and a group of Banu Hashim. They took Ali (as) out and hit Fatima (sa), so she miscarried.”39
He continues to say, “How so since he (Ali (as)) went out against his wish [to swear fealty to Abu Bakr], following a prolonged argument, the setting of the house ablaze, the hitting of the Infallible Lady daughter of the Chosen One (S) and the annoying of the purified masters?”40
Discussing Abu Bakr and how he was unfit for being a caliph, the great traditionist, outspoken faqih and author of the leading modern encyclopedia titled Wasa’il al-Shi’a, has said the following: “Among them is that he and ‘’Umar sought to burn the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he and a group of others refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him. This is documented by al-Waqidi in his narrative, by al-Tabari in his Tarikh and by Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih in a slightly different wording.”41
He has delivered numerous different speeches on the level of debating and deriving evidence which we see no need here to quote. Whoever wishes may review them.42
The very highly informed mentor of Islam, our master Shaikh Muhammed Baqir (al-Majlisi II), while dealing with the criticism against the caliphate of ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab, says, “... The 17th criticism is that he intended to burn the house of Fatima (sa) although inside it was the Commander of the Faithful (as), Fatima (sa), al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as). He threatened and harmed them.”43
Al-Majlisi has also said, “It became clear from transmissions agreed on by us and by them is that ‘’Umar attempted to burn the house of Fatima (sa) as ordered by Abu Bakr, or with his acquiescence, while inside it were the Commander of the Faithful, Fatima, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as), threatening and harming them despite their lofty status with Allah and with the Messenger of Allah S, something which nobody denies except those who renege from the Islamic faith.”44
The honorable Abul-Hassan al-Fattani, one of the greatest scholars of his time45, has said,
Now we are going to explain some of what she underwent after the demise of the Messenger of Allah S: the aggression and disrespect to which she was exposed, so much so that she openly complained about it, demonstrating her agitation and anger with those who assaulted her. She even willed that they should be banned from participating in her funeral. No fair person can overlook these facts if he keeps in mind her merits which we have listed. Their committing such atrocities clearly indicts them. First of all, they did not care about the ahadith of the Prophet S honoring her, then they did not fear the Wrath of Allah and of His Messenger S.
The Prophet S wept as his end came close, so he was asked about the reason. He said, “I weep over my offspring and how the evil ones from among my nation will fare with them. It is as though I see Fatima (sa) being oppressed after me, calling out: ‘Father! Father!’ while none from among my nation helps her.”
This statement of the Prophet S is a reference to what I will state in the 4th essay of Part II which will clearly explain how ‘’Umar and a group of men with him, according to orders issued by Abu Bakr, assaulted the house of Fatima (sa) in order to get Ali (as) and al-Zubayr out to swear the oath of allegiance to him. It will also explain how she was deprived of her Fadak property, of her share of the khums tax as well as the confiscation of whatever remained of her inheritance from her father (S).
There is no harm in mentioning a summary of the same here:
A group of writers, whose names will be mentioned in the said topic as well as the books wherein they wrote, including al-Tabari, al-Jawhari, al-Qutaybi, al-Sayyuti, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, al-Waqidi and others have all stated that ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab and a group of men with him, including Khalid ibn al-Walid, were ordered by Abu Bakr to go to the house of Fatima (sa), where Ali (as) and al-Zubayr and others were. They knocked at the door, and ‘’Umar called on them, but they refused to go out. When Fatima (sa) heard their voices, she cried out as loudly as she could,
وا أبتاه! وا رسول الله!
Wa Abatah! Wa Rasool-Allah!
O Father! O Messenger of Allah S! What have we suffered after you at the hands of the son of al-Khattab and the son of Abu Quhafah!”
According to the al-Qutaybi [Ibn Qutaybah] and a group of others narrate it, when they refused to come out, ‘’Umar ordered firewood to be brought then said, “By the One Who holds in His hand ‘’Umar’s life, you shall have to come out or else I shall burn all of you!” Someone said to him, “But Fatima (sa) is inside it!” He said, “So what?”
According to the narrative of Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, Fatima (sa) said to him, “O son of al-Khattab! Did you come to burn our house?” He said, “Yes.”
According to the narrative of Zaid ibn Aslam, she said to him, “Are you going to burn Ali (as) and my children?!” ‘’Umar said, “Yes, by Allah, unless they come out and swear the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr).” Then when those in the company of ‘’Umar heard Fatima (sa) crying, most of them dispersed weeping, leaving behind ‘’Umar and a group of men with him who took Ali (as) away.
Most of them narrate saying that ‘’Umar entered the house by force and took out al-Zubayr then Ali (as).
People assembled looking on. Fatima (sa) screamed and wailed, and she came out to the door of her chamber and said, “How swift you are in assaulting the house of the family of your Prophet S!”
In his book titled Al-Milal wal Nihal, al-Sharistani has said that the ruling system transmitted saying that ‘’Umar hit the stomach of Fatima (sa) on that day till she miscarried al-Muhsin, and that he [‘’Umar] was shouting, ‘Burn it and everyone inside it!’”
According to the narratives of Ahl al-Bayt (as), ‘’Umar pushed the door in order to force his way in while Fatima (sa) was behind it. The door hit her stomach, causing her to miscarry her son, al-Muhsin. She died on account of that pain.
Some writers narrate saying that ‘’Umar hit her with the whip on her back. In another narrative, it was Qunfath who hit her as ordered by ‘’Umar.
(Here the author, may Allah have mercy on him, summarizes what is recorded in the book of Sulaym ibn Qays and also cites what Imam al-Hassan (as) said to al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah then adds saying:)
Suffices what they mentioned of what is proven as a fact that her house, which was one of the houses of the Prophet S. It was entered by force without her permission. She was hurt. They especially mention the threats of burning. Even Al-Isti’ab and the book titled Al-Ghurar as well as others cite Zaid ibn Aslam as saying, “I was one of those who carried firewood with ‘’Umar to the house of Fatima (sa).” Some such incidents will be discussed in the 4th essay of Part II.46
It has been proven how both men [‘’Umar and Abu Bakr] harmed Fatima (sa) exceedingly on the day when Ali (as) was pressured to swear the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr), including how her house was assaulted, how people entered it by force without permission, even how she was hit, how firewood was gathered in order to burn it, how she was harmed when Fadak was confiscated from her, how she was deprived of her inheritance, and how her share of the khums was cut off, in addition to other such incidents.
Proven also is how she argued with those who harmed her, how she was angry with those who stood in her way till she died in the aftermath. We, Imamite people, do not doubt any of these incidents because of the consecutively reported incidents transmitted by her offspring from among the Purified Imams (as) as well as by the righteous companions who have recorded the same in their books, nay, even by the admission of a group of others as well, as we shall discuss some in addition to what we have already quoted of what those who chose to follow a path different from theirs have recorded.
As for the opponents, their case is truly odd in this regard because all the ancient ones (as) from among their traditionists have recorded all what we have quoted from them, providing many details. Most of such details are available in their respected reference books, even in their reliable Sihah books, especially both Sihah books (of al-Bukhari and Muslim) which, according to them, come next to the Book of Allah in reliability as they themselves have described.
You have already come to know how clear such texts are, including clarity in the way wherein she was dismissed and how she was deprived of her inheritance, of Fadak, of her khums, and how she remained angry because of all this till she died. Add to this how these texts agree to what is a known fact that she was buried secretly, how the whereabouts of her grave are unknown, so much so that they till know dispute with one another regarding its location.
He deleted from the text which he copied anything which clearly showed that she continued to be angry (till her death). He even cheated in the way he copied the texts in order to give the impression that there was no anger involved. He overlooked the fact that such an action is futile in the face of strong and numerous objections which are reliable and proven.
What is clearly concluded from the narratives of these folks and which we have cited from their own books their agreement with what the Imams (as) from among her offspring, as well as others, have narrated. The latter is this: The causes of the harm did not concentrate on one single issue. Rather, they were numerous.
They kept exposing her to one harm after another since the death of her father S and till she died. The list includes: the assault on her house door, entering her house by force and without her permission, and all what we have already mentioned, even if we suppose that they did not commit anything other than their insults on the day when Ali (as) was required to swear the oath of allegiance.47
The virtuous researcher, al-Khawajoo’i al-Mazandarani, one of the greatest Shi’a scholars of his time, has said the following in his dissertation titled Tariq al-Irshad (the venue of guiding):
As regarding their harming Fatima (sa), this is quite well known and is recorded in the Sunnis’ books. Abu Bakr sent some men to the house of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he refused to swear the oath of allegiance, setting it ablaze although Fatima (sa) and a group of Banu Hashim were inside it. They took Ali (as) out and hit Fatima (sa), so she miscarried.
As regarding Qawshaji’s answer wherein he says that Ali (as) did not lax from swearing the oath of allegiance due to dissension or mutiny but to an excuse and to something which had then taken place, this answer prompts one to ask this question: “Had the matter been so, what prompted him to set his house to fire and take him out by force?!”
Had this delay (in swearing fealty to Abu Bakr) been for something which necessitated lagging behind others in swearing fealty, the issue, as you have come to know, is the necessity to neglect doing so, and the valid excuse, in that case, there is no justification at all for getting him out by force or for setting his house on fire.
But if it was not like that, then how can anyone like Ali (as) lag behind others in swearing fealty without an excuse rather than swear the oath of allegiance to an imam whom he regarded as fit for the imamate? “Whoever dies without having sworn the oath of allegiance to his Imam dies the death of the days of jahiliyya,” according to the narration of this hadith (of the Prophet (S)) by Ibn Maymun ibn Mahran.48
What was the fault of Fatima (sa) in all of this, and for what did she deserve to be beaten till she miscarried?!
After too much arguing, his statement proves what is stated because when he (al-Qawshaji) accepted the authenticity of the narrative, he did not cast any doubt about it. It clearly indicates that they beat Fatima (sa) daughter of the Prophet of Islam (S) severely. Before harming her, they had already hurt the feelings of the Messenger of Allah (S)...”49
Having mentioned a host of what Sunnis have narrated in paying tribute to Ahl al-Bayt (as) and to Lady al-Zahra’ (sa), he said, “How do the Sunnis report these narratives then they oppress her, hurt her, confiscate what belongs to her, attribute telling lies and making a false claim to her, breaking her rib and causing her to miscarry...?”50
He also wrote saying, “So look, O wise, rational and terse reader, how the Sunnis narrate such narratives then oppress her, confiscate what belongs to her, break her rib and cause her to miscarry! So let one who imitates be forewarned... Our own sources indicate that she was an Infallible Lady, a truthful and a pleased martyr.”51
The great faqih and traditionist, Shaikh Yousuf al-Bahrani, has said the following by way of debating: “... And he took him out by force, leading him like any commoner, then gathered firewood at his house in order to burn it and everyone inside it... He hit al-Zahra’ (sa) till she miscarried. And he slapped her till she fell face-long, hitting the ground with her forehead, and she audibly expressed her agony and grief.”52
The renown imam, Shaikh Ja’far Kashifal-Ghita’ Senior, trying to prove that the invalidity of the caliphate of Abu Bakr, has said, “... And one of them is the burning of the house of Fatima al-Zahra’ (sa) while Ali, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as) were all inside it, and when Ali (as) refused to swear the oath of allegiance to him (to Abu Bakr). This has been transmitted from among the Sunnis by a group which includes al-Tabari, al-Waqidi, Ibn Hazamah from Zaid ibn Aslam and Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, one of their distinguished scholars, and it is narrated in Kitab al-Mahasin and in others.”53
Listing his criticisms against the second caliph, he also said, “... And one of the them [‘’Umar’s norms of conduct] is how he went to the house of the Prophet S and his progeny with the intention to burn it.”54
The knowledgeable scholar, Sayyid ‘Abdullah Shubbar, has said the following among his criticisms of ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab: “He intended to set the house of Fatima (sa) ablaze while the Commander of the Faithful, Fatima, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as) were all inside it, and he hurt them.”55
The father of the author of ‘Abaqat al-Anwar, says the following in his book titled Tashyeed al-Mata’in wa Kashf al-Dagha’in تشييد المطاعن و كشف الضغائن wherein he recorded scores of pages containing many texts the translation of which is as follows:
‘’Umar threatened to burn Fatima (sa). He gathered firewood around her house as is narrated by trustworthy Sunni narrators and the most prominent of their reliable authorities and the greatest of their traditionists from the early generations and from the latter ones, such as al-Tabari, al-Waqidi, ‘Othman ibn Abu Shaybah, Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, Ibn Jirayah, the compiler of Al-Mahasin and Anfas al-Jawahir, Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr ibn Abu Shaybah, al-Balathiri, Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr (author of Al-Isti’ab), Abu Bakr al-Jawahiri, author of the book titled Al-Saqifa, judge Jamal ad-Din Wasil, Abul-Fida’ Isma’il ibn Ali ibn Mahmud (author of the book titled Al-Mukhtasar), Ibn Qutaybah, Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdullah al-Yamani al-Shafi’i (author of the book titled Al-Iktifa’), al-Sayyuti (author of the book titled Jam’ al-Jawami’, Mulla Ali al-Muttaqi (author of Kanz al-’Ummal) and Shah Wali-Allah al-Dahlawi..., etc.56 Then he cited what these scholars have written. He also said that the burning of the house of al-Zahra’ (sa) has been narrated by many writers and is supported by authentic proofs recorded in Sunni books.
The renowned scholar and great sign, Sayyid Muhammed ibn al-Mahdi ibn al-Hassan al-Husayni al-Qazwini, one of the greatest scholars and major authorities of taqlid of his time, has said,
“They were not satisfied with all of this, so they harassed Ali (as) and Banu Hashim with regard to their oath of allegiance, setting the houses of the family of Muhammed S ablaze. Fatima (sa) tried to act as a barrier between both parties but, when she could not stop them, and when she opened the door, they squeezed her with it, breaking her rib and causing her to miscarry al-Muhsin. They broke the sword of al-Zubayr in the house’s courtyard and handcuffed Ali (as) with the suspenders of his sword, leading him as they would a stray camel as indicated by al-Tabari, al-Waqidi, Ibn Jirayah (in his book titled Al-Nur), Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, the compiler of the book titled Nafa’is al-Jawahir by Ibn Sahlawayh (who was inspector at public schools in Baghdad), ‘’Umar ibn Shaybah and others. They did all of this after Ali (as) had refused for six months to swear the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr). Add to this how they deprived Fatima (sa) of the inheritance of her father, how they confiscated Fadak and all its orchards, how they rejected her argument and the testimony of Ali and both al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as) as well as Umm Ayman, how they tore to pieces her property title from the Trusted Prophet (S) who was sent as mercy to the whole world, in addition to other behavior whereby they hurt Fatima (sa). They harassed her because she was mourning the death of her father (S) till she had to resort to bayt al-ahzan, how she fell sick because of their treatment of her, how she was buried secretly, even her death while still being depressed as al-Bukhari and others clearly indicated. So, all of this is so well proven...etc.”57
The renown ‘allama and researcher, Sayyid al-Khunsari, may Allah have mercy on him, has said the following commenting on the ahadith relevant to “Fatima (sa) is part of me; whatever harms her harms me”: “... So I do not know who hurt her, who hated her, who caused her to miscarry, who caused her to wail, who slapped her on her face, who hit her on the side...”58
‘Allama Ayatollah Shaikh Muhammed Hassan al-Muzaffar has said,
“As a whole, suffices the evidence of the intention to bury what is narrated by a host of their scholars, even the narrative of one of them, especially since it is consecutively reported by the Shi’as. Nobody is in need of the narratives of al-Bukhari or Muslim or their likes who were exhausted by their enmity towards the Progeny of Muhammed S and loyalty to their foes, who always courted their kings and rulers and enjoyed a good reputation among their commoners.”59
He also said, “Anyone who is acquainted with how rough ‘’Umar was as he dealt with the Prophet by word and by action does not find it hard to believe that he was the one behind the burning incident as well as the events that preceded it.” He added saying, “Yet the burning, had it taken place (completely), is not greater than usurping the caliphate (from Ali (as)).”60
In a previous chapter, I mentioned a little about the arguments presented by the renown imam, Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn Sharafud-Din [al-Musawi] to others: threats to burn, which is proven by consecutively reported facts61, and that Abu Bakr invaded the privacy of Fatima’s house and other issues, so we do not wish to be repetitive.
The great Islamic thinker and happy martyr, Sayyid Muhammed Baqir al-Sadr, may Allah shower him with His mercy, has written saying, “‘’Umar is the one who assaulted your house (O Fatima!) which the Prophet (S) made as a center for his call. He (‘’Umar) assaulted the family of Muhammed S in their own home and set it ablaze or almost.”62
He also said, “Such was the conduct of the caliph and his friends towards Ali (as) which reached the degree of cruelty that ‘’Umar ordered to burn his house even though Fatima (sa) was still inside it. This means that Fatima (sa) or others from her offspring had no sanctity that would stop someone from treating them as someone would treat Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah when he ordered people to kill him.”63
- 1. Judge `Abd al-Jabbar, Al-Mughni, Vol. 20, p. 335. Sayyid al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, p. 110. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 16, p. 271.
- 2. Judge `Abd al-Jabbar, Al-Mughni, Vol. 2, p. 337. Sayyid al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, pp. 119-20.
- 3. Sayyid al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, pp. 119-20.
- 4. Ibid., Vol. 4, pp. 110-13. We, in this regard, would like to say to Sayyid al-Murtada, may Allah be merciful to him, “How similar today to yesterday!”
- 5. Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 117.
- 6. Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 120.
- 7. Talkhis al-Shafi., Vol. 3, pp. 156-57.
- 8. Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 76. Sayyid al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 3, p. 241. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 28, pp. 389, 411 and the footntoe on p. 268. Al-Balathiri, Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 1, p. 586. Refer also to the following references: Ibn `Abd Rabbih, Al-`Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, pp. 259, 260. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal, Vol. 3, p. 149. Al-Riyad al-Nadira, Vol. 1, p. 167. Al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar, Vol. 1, p. 156. Al-Tara’if, p. 239. Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, p. 178. Nahj al-Haqq, p. 271. Nafahat al-Lahut, p. 79. Al-`Awalim, Vol. 11, pp. 602, 408. Ibn Hamzah, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, p. 174.
- 9. Talkhis al-Shafi, Vol. 3, p. 76.
- 10. Taqrib al-Ma`arif, p. 233.
- 11. The previous paragraphs are translated from Al-Naqd by `Abd al-Jalal al-Qazwini, p. 298.
- 12. Ibid., p. 302.
- 13. Ihya’ `Ulum ad-Din, Vol. 3, p. 125 (published by Dar al-Ma`rifa).
- 14. Ibn Abul Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 20, pp. 16-17.
- 15. Al-Tara’if, p. 274.
- 16. Ibid., p. 245.
- 17. Al-Tara’if, pp. 245-46.
- 18. Ibid., p. 195.
- 19. Kashf al-Mahajja, pp. 120-21.
- 20. Al-Tara’if, pp. 238-39. Al-Tasatturi, Ihqaq al-Haqq, Vol. 2, p. 370.
- 21. Al-Tusi, Sharh Tajrid al-A`tiqad (included in Kashf al-Murad), p. 402. Nahj al-Haqq, pp. 271-72.
- 22. Kashf al-Murad, pp. 402-03.
- 23. Nahj al-Haqq, pp. 275-76.
- 24. Al-Qawshaji (d. 879 A.H./1474 A.D.), Sharh al-Tajrid, pp. 482-83 (ancient edition).
- 25. Al-Khawajoo’i, Al-Rasa’il al-I`tiqadiyya, p. 409.
- 26. Ibid., p. 412.
- 27. Refer to pp. 471 and 473 of the previous reference.
- 28. Al-Lawami` al-Ilahiyya fil Mabahith al-Kalamiyya, p. 302.
- 29. Al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, Vol. 3, p. 12.
- 30. Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 13.
- 31. Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 301.
- 32. Refer to pp. 47-48 of the debate between al-Gharawi and al-Harawi which was published in 1397 A.H./1977 A.D.
- 33. Nafahat al-Lahut, p. 130.
- 34. Ibid., p. 65.
- 35. Ibid., p. 78.
- 36. Refer to the previous reference.
- 37. Miftah al-Bab, p. 199, edited by Dr. Mahdi Muhaqqiq.
- 38. Ihqaq al-Haqq, Vol. 2, p. 374.
- 39. Al-Imama, p. 81 (manuscript). A photocopy of it is available at the library of the Center for Islamic Studies.
- 40. Refer to the previous reference.
- 41. Ithbat al-Hudat, Vol. 2, p. 368.
- 42. Refer to pp. 334, 361, 376, 377 of the previous reference.
- 43. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 31, p. 59.
- 44. Ibid., Vol. 28, pp. 408-09.
- 45. Mir’at al-Anwar (published as an Introduction to Tafsir al-Burhan by Sayyid Hashim al-Bahrani). Lu’lu’at al-Bahrain, p. 107.
- 46. Diya’ al-`Alamin (manuscript), Vol. 2, pp. 60-64.
- 47. Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 96-97.
- 48. Al-Rasa’il al-I`tiqadiyya, p. 446.
- 49. Ibid.
- 50. Al-Khawajoo’i al-Mazandarani, Tariq al-Rashad (of the dissertations of taqlid), p. 465.
- 51. Al-Rasa’il al-I`tiqadiyya, p. 301.
- 52. Refer to Al-Hada’iq al-Nadira, Vol. 5, p. 180.
- 53. Kashf al-Ghita’, p. 18.
- 54. Ibid.
- 55. Haqq al-Yaqin, pp. 187-88.
- 56. Tashyeed al-Mata`in, Vol. 1, pp. 433-34 and scores before and after these pages all full of proofs and quotations. This book was written as a rebuttal to the book titled Al-Tuhfa al-Ithna `Ashariyya by al-Dahlawi.
- 57. Al-Sawarim al-Madiya (manuscript), p. 56. A photocopy of it is available at the library of the Center for Islamic Studies in Beirut.
- 58. Rawda al-Jannat, Vol. 1, p. 358.
- 59. Dala’il al-Sidq, Vol. 3, p. 91.
- 60. Ibid., pp. 89-90.
- 61. Al-Musawi, Al-Muraja`at [translated into English by Yasin T. al-Jibouri as Al-Muraja`at: A Sunni-Shi`i Dialogue; its first edition was published in 1414 A.H./1995 A.D. by Imam Husayn Foundation of Beirut Lebanon and its second edition was published in 1422 A.H./2001 A.D. by Ansariyan Publications of Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran], p. 357 (Arabic edition printed in 1413 A.H./2000 A.D. by Intisharat Uswa, Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran). – Tr.
- 62. Al-Sadr, Fadak fil Tarikh, p. 26 (published in Arabic in 1987 A.D. by the International House for Printing, Publishing and Distributing).
- 63. Ibid., p. 91.