Someone quotes a history professor at Damascus University1 as saying that during the time of the Messenger of Allah (S) and thereafter, Medina’s homes did not have wooden doors. Rather, only curtains used to be placed on entrances. Then he said that he discussed it with the professor and that the latter had a proof. Then he follows his statement by saying, “So, how was al-Zahra’ (sa) squeezed between the door and the wall? And how did the fire burn the door’s wood?!”
The same transmitter produces two “proofs” to support his statement. They are:
FIRST: The Prophet (S) returned from one of his trips and went to Fatima’s house. He found on its entrance a curtain which Ali (as) had given to her as a gift, so the Prophet (S) returned. Fatima (sa) knew why he returned, so she gave the curtain to al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as) to get it to her father to do with it whatever he pleased. He S said, “May her father be her sacrifice!” This proves that the entrances had only curtains.
SECOND: Narrating the incident when al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah committed adultery saying that the witnesses saw him in action when the wind blew away the entrance’s curtain, not that they entered the house and saw him in such an abominable and uncompromising condition. This, too, proves that the entrances had curtains, not wooden doors.
The answer to the above is:
FIRST: The same individual raises a case against the history professor at Damascus University that Medina’s homes during the time of the Messenger of Allah S did not have (wooden) doors, saying that he discussed it with the man who had a proof.
We say to the same individual: “Did you rebut his proof or where you convinced of it? If you rebutted it, how did you do that and by what means? And if you accepted it, as seems to be the case, why didn’t you publicly declare it rather than refer people to someone else?!”
SECOND: Perhaps the claim that Medina’s homes did not have doors was a joke intended to tease Ikhwan al-Safa and to break the ice after a period of shunning and avoiding!
This joke is the one that prompted us to collect scores, even hundreds, of texts proving that Medina’s homes did have wooden doors with knobs to open and to shut, to break or to burn, to lock or to knock, during the time of the Prophet (S) and thereafter. They also had keys and locks as well as latches and a knob ring whereby they were knocked at. Their wood may have been either juniper or teak, as was the case with ‘A’isha’s house door. Or they may have been made of palm leaves, or from wood. Curtains may have been placed on them or any countless things which we need not mention.
So, there is no harm if we take the dear reader back to the following research titled “Medina’s Homes During the Time of the Messenger of Allah S” where the reader will find his quest in numerous texts which we have cited from many books and references especially from Bihar al-Anwar and a host of references and also from the Sihah books, from Ahmed’s Musnad and from Sunni collections of hadith.
THIRD: To seek evidence from the story that the Prophet (S) returned from one of his trips, went to Fatima’s house and found on its entrance a curtain which he did not like2 is insufficient to come to such a conclusion, for the doors, generally speaking, had both wooden knobs as well as curtains, and the door could be opened while the curtain remained. The following points this fact out;
1. Abu Dharr quotes the Messenger of Allah S as saying, “If a man passes by a door which has no curtain and is not shut, and if he looked (inside), the sin is not his but belongs to those who inhabit that house.”3
2. In a tradition by Imam al-Sadiq (as), it is stated that “... The Prophet S ordered to get all those inside the house out except Ali (as) and Fatima (sa) between the curtain and the door..., etc.”4
3. Ali (as) is quoted as having said, “It is abominable for a man to spend the night at a house with neither a door nor a curtain.”5
4. The Prophet S has said, “Whenever any of you approaches his wife, he should close his door, put up its curtain and seek Allah’s covering...”6
5. The Prophet S was asked once about a man who divorced his wife thrice, then a man married her, so he closed his door and let the curtain down then divorced her without having touched her, will she be lawful for her first husband?” He said, “Not till she tastes her dower.” And there are other variations of this tradition.7
6. ‘A’isha has said, “The Messenger of Allah (S) opened a door between himself and the public” or “unveiled a curtain.”8
FOURTH: Regarding the incident involving al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah, using it as evidence is not right because of the following:
1. Al-Tabari and other historians state that the house of Abu Bakrah used to face that of al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah, and they are at watering places facing each other. A group of men assembled at the watering place of Abu Bakrah to chat. Wind blew, opening the door, so Abu Bakrah stood up in order to close it. He then saw al-Mughirah, and the wind had opened the door at his watering place. He was positioning himself between a woman’s legs. Abu Bakrah said to the men, “Stand up and take a look!” They stood up and looked. Then he said, “Bear witness to it..., etc.”9
2. We have already stated that the presence of a curtain does not mean that there should be no wooden knobs for a door, and there is no objection to al-Mughirah just lowering the curtain and leaving the door open so that Allah might expose him through the wind!
Someone says that some narratives indicate that those who assailed the house of al-Zahra’ (sa) did not enter it; so, how can it be right for someone to say that they beat her and caused her to miscarry, etc.?!
Here is the answer:
FIRST: The trials and tribulations which al-Zahra’ (sa) had to undergo do not need an entry into her house. Al-Zahra’ (sa) could have been squeezed between the door and the wall, and the assailants could have hit her without entering the house. This is clearly what the texts discussing this issue indicate.
This is so if by entering he means what is obvious. But if he explained by saying that he meant “assailing,” not “entering,” then the culprit himself had said, “How I wish I never had to unveil Fatima’s door!” Numerous texts indicate that they forcefully entered the house, refuting such a claim.
SECOND: Why should this person confine himself to the narrative saying that they did not open the house while she herself never said that they did not enter, contending herself with silence and with mentioning some of what went on.
If we accept such a narrative, it is contradicted by numerous narratives enjoying a much better isnad and are more numerous. They all say that the assailants forcefully entered her house, violating its sanctity and her privacy.
THIRD: Beating al-Zahra’ (sa) and causing her to miscarry is not an ordinary matter. It is a momentous event which cannot be accepted by any Muslim whose conviction is true, and he will be vocal in protesting it and in reprimanding them, only in the absence of the fear of the sword or of the whip. It is surely not in the best interest of the rulers nor that of those who love them that the public should circulate such an event, nor to know its details. Hence, they permitted neither themselves nor others to transmit it or circulate it. Rather, we have seen how some people consider transmitting this issue as a crime whose transmitter is held accountable, and here we would like to transmit to you some proofs from the following:
Ibn Abul-Hadid, the Mu’tazilite scholar, says that he read to his mentor, Abu Ja’far al-Naqib, the story of Zainab when she was terrorized by Habar ibn al-Aswad. Abu Ja’far said to him, “If the Messenger of Allah (S) had permitted the killing of Habar because he terrorized (his granddaughter) Zainab, so she miscarried, it is obvious that had he been alive, he would have permitted the killing of those who terrorized [her mother] Fatima (sa), so she miscarried.” He said to him, “Shall I quote you a statement which some folks have been saying, that is, that Fatima (sa) was terrorized, so she miscarried al-Muhsin?” He said, “Do not quote me saying it, nor should you quote me saying that it did not happen, for I remain in my stand due to the contradictions in its narratives.”10
So, Abu Ja’far al-Naqib quickly retracted his steps when the Mu’tazilite scholar faces him with such a sensitive question, although he had already and definitely passed his judgment in the very beginning. Perhaps the reason for retracting was that it would cause him problems which he wanted to avoid.
Similar to this incident is another issue they mention which is equally sensitive and weighty. Another mentor of the Mu’tazilite scholar made the same retraction with him so that he would distance himself from having to confront problems he could do without.
The Mu’tazilite Shafi’i scholar has stated that his mentor quoted Ali (as) as saying that ‘A’isha was the one who ordered her father to lead the people for the prayers when the Prophet S was suffering from his sickness prior to his demise. He said, “I said to him (to my mentor), may Allah have mercy on him, ‘Do you mean to say that ‘A’isha appointed her father to lead the prayers while the Messenger of Allah S did not appoint him to do that?!’” He said, “I do not say that, but Ali (as) used to say it. My obligation differs from his. He was present there and I was not. I have to stick to the narratives transmitted to me saying that the Prophet S appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers, while Ali (as) was obligated to say what he knew..., etc.”11
They have said the following about the traditionist Ahmed ibn Muhammed ibn al-Surri ibn Yahya ibn Abu Darim: “He was a straightforward person most of his lifetime. During his last days, he used to be quoted most of the time narrating the infamies which he witnessed, and a man used to quote him as saying that ‘’Umar kicked Fatima (sa) till she miscarried al-Muhsin.”12
So, his being quoted saying so got him out of the path of straightforwardness which he upheld most of his life! This became a reason for his being attacked and chewed, and he eventually lost recognition.
They consider what Fatima (sa) had to suffer as the most serious fault which they could find against the ruling system. Al-Shahristani used to quote one of the greatest Mu’tazilite mentors as saying, “‘’Umar hit Fatima’s stomach on the day of swearing the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr) till she miscarried. He used to shout: ‘Burn her house and everyone inside it!’ Those inside it were Ali, Fatima, al-Hassan and al-Husayn (as).”13 Al-Baghdadi [the historian] considered ‘’Umar’s admission that he hit Fatima (sa) and deprived her of her inheritance as one of the ruling system’s deviations (from the Shari’a ).
Because of the issue of miscarrying the fetus of al-Muhsin, we find them quite ready to distort books, too. They distorted the book titled Al-Ma’arif by Ibn Qutaybah as we are told by Ibn Shahr Ashub who died in 577 A.H./1181 A.D. Said he, “... And in Ibn Qutaybah’s book titled Al-Ma’arif, it is stated that Muhsin was aborted because of the stampede caused by Qunfath al-’Adawi.”14 Al-Kanji al-Shafi’i, who died in 685 A.H./1286 A.D., quotes Shaikh al-Mufid as saying, “He added telling the public that after the demise of the Prophet S, Fatima (sa) miscarried a male stillborn whom the Messenger of Allah S had named Muhsin. This is something which none from among the transmitters transmits except Ibn Qutaybah.”15
It seems that he meant that Ibn Qutaybah transmits in his book titled Al-Ma’arif, not in Al-Imama wal Siyasa, by the token Ibn Shahr Ashub says so as quoted above. But p. 92 of the present edition’s content of the book titled Al-Ma’arif, which was published in 1353 A.H./1934 A.D., contains the following: “As for Muhsin, son of Ali (as), he died when he was young...”
Thus, the distortion is carried on in all circulated editions; so, why do some people resort thus to distortion, and why do they truly betray the facts and the history [of Islam]?!
Someone says, “Shaikh al-Tusi transmits the consensus of the Shi’a regarding the ruling system’s statement, that is, that ‘’Umar hit Fatima (sa) in the stomach till she miscarried, whereas the narratives, according to the evidences gathered by the Imamites and by others, say that it was Qunfath who did it.”
It is as if he wants to say, “These transmissions contradict one another; therefore, they should be dropped.”
Our answer is as follows:
FIRST: Shi’as have all agreed on the first, but they did not discount the possibility that Qunfath, too, did it. The narratives collected by Imamites and others, many of which will be quoted, prove that the foul deed did, indeed, take place. Al-Mughirah, too, took part in beating al-Zahra’ (sa) till he caused her to bleed as will be discussed in the part containing texts and legacies. There is no objection that all of them took part in doing something like that, thus causing the miscarriage. It is, then, accurate to attribute it to all of them, and to each of them individually, because they were all behind it. Such an attribution does not mean that each of them was a separate cause of the miscarriage.
SECOND: Texts have clearly shown, as you will see, that the assault on the house of Fatima (sa) was repeated, just as the ceremonies of swearing the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr were repeated, too.16 One such recurrence aimed at burning the house just as Abu Bakr was sitting on the pulpit to receive people’s oath of allegiance and seeing what was going on without opposing it or changing it, as al-Mufid, may Allah rest his soul in peace, proves in his book titled Al-Amali. Repeated assaults are documented in numerous narratives, sometimes quite openly. This is the conclusion which one reaches from comparing the narratives with one another where the particulars of the individuals and the norms of their conduct distinguished one assault from another.
Some narratives assert that Abu Bakr himself used to issue orders to attack. Prior to the assault, threats of burning were made, and firewood was gathered. Then the fire was partly ignited, then the door was broken open and the truthful lady, the purified al-Zahra’ (sa), was beaten by more than one assailant. She fell on the ground and that man (‘’Umar) kicked her with his foot, too. All of this will be detailed in the texts’ part to come, by the Will of Allah Almighty.
Some narratives regarding miscarrying al-Muhsin enjoy authentic isnad. Some other narratives, which prove the fact that the beating and the like took place, are also authentic. The same contender pointed out to the authenticity of the narrative by al-Tabari in Dala’il al-Imama. The narratives, collectively, are consecutively reported from the venues of the Household of Infallibility. If you add to them other texts, they will be more than consecutively reported. The fact that non-Shi’as have referred to this matter is regarded as noteworthy, knowing that they do not wish to exonerate the doers from what they all committed.
This issue is detailed by many of their most prominent scholars such as al-Juwayni, al-Kanji, al-Mas’udi, al-Nizam, Abu Ja’far al-Naqib, mentor of the Mu’tazilite scholar, Ahmed ibn Muhammed ibn al-Surri and others whose statements we will quote in a chapter set aside for them by the Will of Allah Almighty.
Responding to some people who opposed him by saying that there is a contradiction in the narratives, Ibn Hamzah al-Zaidi has stated that there were several assaults.
One narrative says that Ali (as) remained at home and refrained from swearing the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr), and he was joined by Talhah and al-Zubayr. They did not leave the house till ‘’Umar went there and wanted to burn them all as they were inside.
Another individual says that Abu Bakr went out to the Mosque to pray, ordering Khalid ibn al-Walid to pray beside him then to kill Ali (as) the moment he (Abu Bakr) was to recite the tasleem at the conclusion of his prayers.
A third says that Ali (as) was brought in chains and he swore fealty against his wish.
Ibn Hamzah answered his opponent saying, “All these incidents took place at various times, and this does not mean that they contradict each other, nor do they cancel one another.”17
This means that the attempt to burn the house took place at a time and during an assault separate from the one wherein Ali (as) was taken out by force to swear fealty.
Someone says: Let us suppose they did enter the house. Why should they assault al-Zahra’ (sa) in particular, beat her and leave Ali (as) alone? They were supposed to assault him in his room where he and other Banu Hashim were sitting, for the [area of the] house is not ten kilometers [square] but only ten meters!
Here is our answer:
FIRST: We have already indicated that someone says that all Banu Hashim were with Ali (as) inside the house; so, how could a small room measuring ten meters be spacious enough for all of them?!
SECOND: They entered the house after they had finished assaulting al-Zahra’ (sa) at the door, and she was no longer able to face and stop them.
THIRD: It is as if this individual thinks that the home of al-Zahra’ was made up of many rooms, or a house and at least one room; so, how did he prove it and what texts did he rely on to draw such a conclusion?
FOURTH: The reason why they attacked her (sa) was not because she was their target. Rather, they assaulted her because she tried to stop them from reaching Ali (as), setting herself as a barrier between them and him. Texts have made this quite clear, and that she tried to stop them from opening the door, or at least she met them at the door.
Here, we would like to quote a sample from both sects:
From among the texts which have clearly stated that she tried to stop them from reaching Ali (as), we would like to mention the following:
1. Al-Fayd al-Kashani has said, “Fatima (sa) intercepted them and tried not to let them reach her husband saying, ‘By Allah! I shall not let you drag my cousin oppressively!”18
2. Al-Majlisi has quoted Ali (as) as saying that when they took him out, Fatima (sa) intercepted them at the door, so Qunfath hit her with a whip on her wrist, causing a mark on her wrist looking like a bracelet because of Qunfath thus whipping her. He pushed her, breaking one of her side ribs, and she miscarried a fetus in her womb.”19
3. Ali (as) is quoted as having said that the reason why Qunfath escaped being penalized by ‘’Umar is that he was the one who hit Fatima (sa) with the whip when she tried to intercept them so that they might not reach him (Ali (as)). So, she died, peace of Allah with her, and the mark of the whip was still on her wrist looking like a bracelet.20
Among the texts which have clearly indicated that she tried to stop them from opening the door, we would like to mention the following:
1. Al-Balathiri and others have narrated that ‘’Umar went there accompanied by Qays, so Fatima (sa) met him at the door and said, “O son of al-Khattab! Are you really going to burn my door?!” He said, “Yes, and it is stronger than that which your father had brought.”21
2. The narrative by al-Mufaddal refers to Fatima (sa) coming out to face them, addressing them from behind the door till she referred to Qunfath the accursed stretching his hand to beat her when they forcefully broke open her house door. Then she mentions how ‘’Umar kicked the door with his foot till it hit her stomach..., etc.22
3. In the book of Sulaym ibn Qays, it is stated that, “... [‘’Umar] came out to the door behind which Fatima (sa) sat... ‘’Umar came, hit the door and said, ‘O son of Abu Talib! Open the door!’ whereupon Fatima (sa) said, ‘O ‘’Umar! What do we owe you?! Why don’t you leave us and our problems alone?!’ He said to her, ‘Open the door; otherwise, we shall burn it and burn you...’ Then he set the door ablaze. ‘’Umar pushed the door and was met by Fatima (sa) who cried out, ‘وا أبتاه! O father! ..., etc.”23
4. ‘’Umar himself is quoted as having said, “So I kicked the door, and she had stuck her belly on the door as a shield... I pushed the door and entered, so she faced me with a look which caused my eyesight to go into a trance...”24
5. ‘’Umar is also quoted as having said, “When we reached the door, Fatima (sa) saw them, closing the door in their faces. She did not think that any of them would enter her house without her permission. ‘’Umar kicked the door, breaking it open, and it was made of palm branches (fronds), so they entered.”25
6. She (sa) has said, “They brought the fire to burn the house and our own selves, so I stood at the door’s latch and pleaded to them in the Name of Allah..., etc.”26
7. ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab is also quoted as having said
“Fatima clutched her hands on the door trying to stop me from opening it. I sought to open it, but I found the challenge too great, so I hit both her hands with the whip, and it caused her pain... I kicked the door, and she had stuck her belly on the door to reinforce it... I forced the door open and entered. She faced me with a look which caused my vision to go into a trance, so I slapped her on her cheeks from outside her face’s veil, breaking her earring which scattered on the floor. Ali came out. When I felt his presence, I rushed to get out of the house and said to Khalid (ibn al-Walid) and to Qunfath and those in their company, ‘I surely have been spared a momentous event.’ I gathered a large number of men not to subdue Ali but to make my heart more daring. I went to him, and he was besieged at his house and took him out of it..., etc.”27
On the other hand, some texts point out to the fact that the assailants were trying to pressure and scare Fatima (sa) so that she might not intercept their way and keep them from reaching Ali (as) and those with him. They actually wanted her to help them dissuade those assembled at her house from their decision (not to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr). Examples are:
1. When the assailants reached her house, ‘’Umar called out, “O Fatima daughter of the Messenger of Allah! Get those who have sought shelter at your house out so that they may swear the oath of allegiance and join the other Muslims who have already done so; otherwise, I, by Allah, shall set them all to fire.”28
2. In another text, he is quoted as having said, “O daughter of the Messenger of Allah! By Allah! Nobody is dearer to me than your father and your own self! By Allah! This does not stop me from setting the door of those who have assembled at your house ablaze!”29
Someone expresses his bewilderment as he faces such “a great deal of confusion in the narratives,” as he puts it, then says, “The narratives referring to burning the house mentioned in the summary of Al-Shafi, Al-Ikhtisas, al-Mufid’s Amali, contradict each another: Some state the threats but not the actual burning, which are quite few, while others refer to the actual burning.”
In answer, we would like to say that there is really no confusion in these narratives, nor is there any contradiction for the following reasons:
1. The traditions referring to the threat to burn did not deny that it did not actually take place. In a previous answer, we stated that everyone transmits what his political objective dictates to him, or his sectarian bias, or whatever the circumstances permit him to transmit or be acquainted with, especially during that cruel political epoch wherein a narrator would be whipped on account of a narrative in favor of Ali (as) as many as one thousand lashes.30 Even naming a newborn “Ali” was sufficient to kill that newborn.31 In my book about the struggle of freedom during al-Mufid’s time, I listed many weighty matters in this regard, so there is no harm in referring to them.
To sum up, text transmission varies according to the objectives, circumstances, etc. What is transmitted, too, varies in quantity, warmth or coolness according to the circumstances, individuals, affiliations, etc.
One may transmit the threat to burn. Another transmits gathering firewood. A third transmits bringing a torch. A fourth transmits burning the door or the house. A fifth transmits breaking the door. A sixth transmits the forceful entry into the house, exposing it to strangers and violating its privacy. A seventh transmits squeezing al-Zahra’ (sa) between the door and the wall. An eighth transmits the miscarriage because of beating. A ninth transmits hitting her on her fetus, or on her side, or on her wrist till it looked like a bracelet, or hitting her on her fingers so that she would leave the door alone to enable them to open it. A tenth transmits breaking her rib, too.
On the other hand, one transmits that ‘’Umar hit her, while another transmits al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah doing so, whereas a third transmits Qunfath beating her..., etc.
So, there is no narrative which belies another, nor is there any confusion in them. Each narrator transmits a portion of what went on because he has a purpose relevant to it, or for any other reason, such as taking into consideration a certain political circumstance, or due to a sectarian or other biases. Shaikh Muhammed Hassan al-Muzaffar explained all of this when he said,
One of them, who is more knowledgeable than others and who wishes to narrate all facts, could not afford to leave this incident in its entirety, so he narrates some of its introductions in order not to distort it from all facets, and so that he does not under-estimate it, as they did with the swearing of allegiance (to Ali (as)) at the Ghadir and elsewhere.32
2. Those who recorded history and documented hadith used to award a special consideration to the political atmosphere. Rulers and others wanted to underestimate what they had committed against the Household of Infallibility and of the Prophetic Mission before the public. If they could deny the incident entirely, they would do so, and they would show that the assailants’ hearts were “full of love” for al-Zahra’ (sa). This is what we find when someone attempted to show the warmth of the relationship between al-Zahra’ (sa) and the assailants and deny any misunderstanding in this regard. Refer to what is said by Ibn Kathir, the Hanbali scholar, in his book Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya and in others. What we have heard from someone, regarding their “love” for her, may have been taken from some of these same folks.
It becomes quite obvious that transmitting the truth of what al-Zahra’ (sa) had to go through implies a very strong and irrevocable indictment which has its effects on understanding history and evaluating events. It affects those who covet the greatest post and status. Moreover, it has certain effects on the level of feelings and sentiments as well as emotional and religious affiliations of this party or that. Permission to transmit something like that and tolerate it was not the best option for many people.
3. The actual burning has been narrated through the venues of those who follow the path of Ahl al-Bayt (as) in various ways some of which are quite authentic and reliable; so, there is no need to underestimate these narratives by saying that the traditions about the threat to burn are quite a few and give the impression that others should be discarded.
Some texts which prove that the burning did take place have been stated in a forthcoming part of this book dedicated to transmitting the legacies and texts.
4. Some narrators are concerned about underestimating what took place. They wish to distance those whom they love from this embarrassing incident, even exonerating them from it, if possible. When these same narrators transmit how the burning did, in fact, take place, this makes us feel comfortable about the authenticity of the same when transmitted through the venues of those who follow the path of Ahl al-Bayt (as).
5. As regarding the book by Shaikh al-Mufid, may Allah Almighty have mercy on him, we have discussed in a previous chapter the methodology which he applied in Al-Irshad, i.e. that he was reluctant to enter into details of what went on at the saqifa, even stating so himself. His time was extremely sensitive as I detailed in my book about the struggle for freedom during al-Mufid’s time.
As regarding Al-Amali, it is a book with a limited objective and direction. It was not to discuss historical events in detail and in sequence. As for Al-Ikhtisas, the author mentioned in it important and essential details which the opponent himself denies or at least tries to cast some doubts about them.
Yet you have come to know that he, may Allah have mercy on him, detailed in Al-Mazar and Al-Muqanna’a her ziyarat which includes: “Peace with you, O Truthful Lady, O Martyr!” or “Peace with you, O Martyred Batul!”
6. Finally, we say: If those who set out to burn the house wanted the fire to consume the house and everyone inside it, but this did not materialize for them, it is then accurate to say that they wanted to set it ablaze or were about to burn it, or something like that. So, these texts do not vary from those which say that they set it to fire, or the like.
Someone says that he does not deny the issue of breaking her rib but he is not convinced.
Just as proving something requires evidence, denying something also requires an evidence. Then he states his reasons why he is not convinced.
We have stated all these reasons in this book, proving the invalidity of relying on them, yet we would like to add here other issues:
FIRST: Let us say that he is not convinced that they broke her rib, but we would like to ask him this question: “Are you convinced of all the other things which took place to al-Zahra’ (sa), such as her being beaten, her miscarriage, the threat to burn her house and everyone inside it who were: her children and husband, then setting the fire on with the intention to burn them all?”
If he is convinced of all of this, entertaining no doubts other than their breaking her rib, there is no harm in it because all other matters suffice to prove the indications that they did, indeed, break the rib of al-Zahra’ (sa), especially the texts stating that she (sa) died as a truthful martyr.
SECOND: There is no problem if someone is not convinced of a particular issue, but the problem is this: One who announces that he is not convinced of something exerts a serious effort to convince people that it does not exist, gathering what he considers as evidences from everywhere to prove such “non-existence” under the label of his being unconvinced of its existence.
Someone saw a hunter once slaughtering a bird. The hunter’s eyes were watering because he had an eye ailment. Someone said to another, “Look at this hunter and see how kind his heart is! He is crying for the same bird which he is slaughtering!” His companion said to him, “Do not look at his tears; rather, look at what his hands are doing.” So, how can someone convince us when he says that he does not deny that her rib was broken while bringing “a thousand and one proofs,” as he claims, for denying it and denying other issues?! This undermines the issue from its very foundations.
THIRD: A scholar’s mission is to solve the problems faced by people in their intellectual and educational lives, especially those relevant to his own field of specialization and to falling in the heart of his responsibilities. So, he has to make up his mind to either provide a proof for an “Aye” or a “Nay”33 or simply withhold his answer till he makes up his mind and comes to a decision. He has no right to “educate” the people with what he doubts, with the issues which he could not finish researching, or those which he is not quite sure about, or he did not work hard to reach such a conviction. Otherwise, how can we explain his own statement wherein he says, “I asked Sayyid Sharaf ad-Din in the early 1950s during my study of the subject,” then he says in 1414 A.H. (1993 A.D.), “I recently stumbled on a text in Bihar al-Anwar saying..., etc.” So, did his “study” continue for more than forty years till he was finally able to “stumble” on this text or that?! Can this be accurately termed as a “study” or a “research” while he did not consult except Bihar al-Anwar, and after so many years, and yet he “stumbles” on only one single orphan text despite the many, many texts of which Bihar al-Anwar is full as we will, Insha-Allah, demonstrate?!
If he “stumbled” on this text which he wants to show us as solving the problem, why did he not revert to doubting and to raising questions?
FOURTH: One who raises questions may be an ordinary uneducated person who neither graduated from a university nor attended a theological center, so he can be excused, and the knowledgeable scholar has to untie the knot for him and answer this question or questions. But what if the one raising such questions is the same scholar who answers people’s questions?! People understand from his abstention to answer their questions that he upholds the content of the question and all its requirements and outcomes.
We find someone, on being asked to provide his view in the subject of assaulting al-Zahra’ (sa) and breaking her rib, taking the initiative to ask the inquirer, “Have you proven that her rib was, indeed, broken?! If so, what is your proof?!”
We say the following in answer:
FIRST: It is not appropriate for someone who considers himself a man of knowledge, regarding himself responsible for providing guidance to the public, to confront an ordinary person with this question except if he intends to raise doubts in his mind in order to easily control his way of thinking and subject him to what he wants in the easiest way.
SECOND: The texts proving what al-Zahra’ (sa) went through are numerous, and the books written in the previous centuries are continuously reprinted, while manuscripts are discovered here and there. In all of these, we find more that supports and underscores this issue.
We do not want to insist that this man accept the narratives regarding how al-Zahra’ (sa) was wounded and her rib broken and how she (sa) was martyred through numerous and diverse ways, but we would like to provide the kind reader with samples of them here; so, let us say the following:
1. Al-Tibrisi has said, “Al-Zahra’, Fatima (sa), acted as a barrier between them and her husband at the house’s door, so Qunfath whipped her... Abu Bakr had sent a message to Qunfath to beat her, so he cornered her at the latch of her house’s door, pushed her and broke one of her side ribs, and she miscarried her fetus.”34
In the Introduction of his book, Al-Ihtijaj, al-Tibrisi states the following:
Most of the narratives are quoted here due to their isnad or the existence of consensus in their regard or agreement with what many people have thought, or due to fame in biography books between those who agree or who disagree about them except what I have quoted from Abu Muhammed, (Imam) al-Hassan al-’Askari (as).”35
2. Sayyid Tawus, may Allah have mercy on him, narrates the text of the ziyara wherein he says, “... the Lady who was deprived of her inheritance, whose rib was broken, whose husband was oppressed, whose [unborn] son was killed...”36
3. Al-Kulayni narrates from Muhammed ibn Yahya from al-’Amraki bn Ali from Ali ibn Ja’far from his brother from the father of al-Hassan (as) as saying, “Fatima (sa) is a truthful martyr, and the Prophets’ daughters do not menstruate.”37
4. Al-Saduq narrates from Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Musa ibn ‘Imran al-Nakh’i from al-Nawfali from al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Abu Hamzah from his father from Sa’id ibn Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas saying that the Messenger of Allah (S) was once sitting when al-Hassan (as) came. He (S) said, “As for my daughter Fatima..., when I saw her, I recalled what she will have to endure after me. It is as though I see ignominy entering her house, her privacy violated, her right confiscated, her inheritance inaccessible, her side broken, her fetus miscarried..., etc.”38
5. Sulaym ibn Qays al-Hilali has narrated saying, “Qunfath, the curse of Allah be on him, forced her to the door knob of her house and pushed her, breaking one of her side ribs. She miscarried her fetus and remained sick, bed-ridden, till she died, peace and blessings of Allah with her, as a martyr.”41
6. Ibn Shahr Ashub has cited Ibn Qutaybah as saying that she (sa) miscarried al-Muhsin because of the wound inflicted on her by Qunfath al-’Adawi.
7. Al-Sayyid al-Himyari, may Allah have mercy on him, has composed the following verses of poetry:
She was beaten and deprived of her rights
And after him was made to taste of wounds.
May Allah sever the hand that hit her,
And the hand of whoever is pleased thereby
And that of whoever followed the latter.
Al-Himyari’s poetry indicates how widespread the knowledge of this matter was during the time of Imam al-Sadiq (as), so much so that poets referred to it, denouncing it, condemning the perpetrators.
8. Imam al-Hassan (as) said that al-Mughirah hit al-Zahra’ (sa) till she bled.
9. We find the Shi’as during the time of al-Saduq, may Allah have mercy on him, insisting on reciting her ziyara which includes calling her “a truthful martyr.” This book will cite such texts and also texts proving that she (sa) was martyred.
SECOND: If the breaking of her rib is not proven, this does not mean that it never happened, and it is not appropriate to prohibit the recitation of the commemoration containing reference to it, especially since the historians have narrated it and cited its traditions.
THIRD: Should there be an authentic isnad for each and every historical issue?! How many issues have been thus proven? Does the confirmation of any historical incident hinge on the existence of an authentic isnad for it according to the criterion applied for hadith?! Why does the inquirer demand an authentic isnad for this issue in particular especially since he is the one who has said, “We do not authenticate isnad in proving issues; suffices us to ascertain that they did happen.” He actually is satisfied with the fact that there is no need to tell a lie to prove the authenticity and acceptance of a particular narrative even from non-Shi’a Imamite books, although he tries to cast doubts about the narratives of Ahl al-Bayt (as) by continuously stressing that there are false and fabricated narratives without pointing out to scholars’ efforts to distinguish what is false and acceptable and what is not.
To sum up, it is not possible, taking into consideration what we have stated above, to label this issue as a lie so long as evidences abound that they did, indeed, assault her, beat her and cause her to miscarry. Texts have clearly described her as a “martyr,” something which makes breaking her rib plausible and acceptable as a fact; so, what if it is narrated in both Shi’i and Sunni books, and even poets referred to it, especially ancient ones?
FOURTH: If we suppose there is no proof that they broke her rib, why should anyone take it as a pretext to cast doubt about beating al-Zahra’ (sa), her miscarriage, and the invasion of her privacy, facts which have already been proven, keeping in mind that this is the consensus of the Shi’a Imamites whose narratives in its regard abound and are narrated by a host of historians and traditionists from the rest of Islamic sects?
Or does the subjective research require concentration on a particular issue which someone regards as the weakest point, so he wants to use it as a tool to cast doubt about everything else, applying the style of issuing a judgment on the whole, discussing in general terms and dealing with ambiguities where people do not pay attention to the details? He will then have been able to undermine what have already been proven and fixed, things regarding which there is a consensus among the sect’s scholars and are consecutively narrated and detailed, even others reported them as well, those who were not happy at all to prove them because they bring shame to those whom they love and in whose footsteps they follow.
Someone even dares to say that miscarrying Muhsin may have happened due to a natural accident and was not the result of an assault! Here is our answer:
Numerous texts, actually consecutively reported ones, as well as the consensus of the Shi’as, is that al-Muhsin was miscarried because al-Zahra’ (sa) was assaulted as Shaikh al-Tusi, may Allah have mercy on him, says. He actually narrates it, and it is reported also by many others from among the followers and supporters of the assailants, those who are not happy to even remotely attribute it to those whom they love from among the assailants. Despite all of this, they do so. Why, then, should someone exonerate the assailants from this matter, and how do we permit ourselves to judge more than what the judge himself has decreed?!
Is there any scholarly justification for such insistence, especially since the person who used to advocate it says that denial requires evidence just as affirmation?! There is a definite proof for the excuse which stands on affirmation; so, should we reject it and insist on denying it without any evidence at all?!
What is noteworthy is that some other people went beyond that to deny that Fatima (sa) had a son named Muhsin...!
Some others kept silent and refrained from pointing to it, either to confirm or to deny, as if they want to give the impression, by thus remaining silent, that such a child with such a name never had any kinship to al-Zahra’ (sa)!
But others, once they have noticed that denying this matter is not possible, feeling incapable of admitting what those folks had committed against him, got rid of the whole issue by claiming that he “died young,” refraining from referring to his being miscarried. But they hinted at the same when they said that he “died young.”
A fourth group did, indeed, mention this child, and that he was miscarried, but they refrained from telling the truth of what actually took place.
There is a party that has declared the bitter truth and explained it, and we have quoted some of their statements in the part dedicated to texts, so refer to it.
It was not in the best interest of those who oppressed, harmed, beat, caused the miscarriage of the fetus carried by al-Zahra’ (sa) to publicize something like this about them because it would undermine their image, and it might even undermine their stands in the long run. They, therefore, had no choice except to hide the truth, forge history and force a cruel and bitter hegemony on the media.
They had to shut people’s mouths by any possible means. Nothing has reached us except what slipped from their clutches, carried to us by true commandos who traded their blood for the Pleasure of Allah, Glory is His, sacrificing everything precious, just as slipped to us from the clutches of spiteful arrogant people a great deal of good, rather an ocean over-brimming with virtues and stands and jihad of Ali (as). Even the Ghadir tradition, the tradition of the two weighty things, the tradition of Ahl al-Bayt (as) being compared to the ark of Noah, and the tradition of the status…, all this slipped from their clutches despite all the wounds and in spite of all the bleeding and suffering.
They slipped to us covered with heavy wounds, drowned in blood, overwhelmed by pains in order to deeply and truthfully deepen for us the truth of the divine care and concern abut this nation, its future generations and religion.
Every call fought by the rulers vanished and was buried except the call of the truth. This has continued, maintaining its originality and characteristics despite the passage of generations since the inception of this devastating war, although it challenges the rulers’ bases for ruling and legitimacy. Its creed, in as far as an Imam is concerned, is to deny such legitimacy, pointing a finger of accusation at the usurping rulers and at their oppression, at how they fought the teachings of Allah and His Messenger S.
The best evidence for all of this against the determination to justify, to forge and to oppress, and the best proof that the Almighty has been kind enough to safeguard the truth, is relevant to the status of Ali (as) and to how al-Zahra’ (sa) was oppressed, the lady who was presented by the Messenger of Allah S as the criterion for distinguishing right from wrong. This is what made her role, after his demise, effective and influential, decisive and strong. Through it, what was right became distinguished from what was wrong, what was distorted or forged was distinguished from what was sound and straightforward.
Someone says that he cannot imagine al-Zahra’ (sa), the lady who receives Allah’s destiny with an open heart and mind, as being one from the intensity of whose weeping the people of Medina felt irritated42, as those who recite her commemorative mourning do, even if the deceased is on the level of the Messenger of Allah (S).
Our answer is:
We cannot imagine that mourning her father was the reason why the opponents were annoyed, nor was it the cause of their concern. What made them concerned, what annoyed them, was the result of the presence of al-Zahra’ (sa) at her father’s grave. Such a result is profound grief and dismay which would remind people of the tragedy to which she (sa) was exposed immediately following the demise of her father (S). This represented a state of continuous agitation in the hearts of good, believing and sincere Muslims, and it was an indictment of the line which never ceased doing anything at all to get what it wanted.
Her weeping over the person of the Messenger of Allah (S) was not the cause, although it personified the tragedy which engulfed Islam in its symbols as soon as he died, peace and blessings of Allah with him and his progeny.
Her weeping, then, was not on account of being impatient while facing the calamity and for the magnanimity of the loss of that great person, so one may say that all of this contradicts the acceptance of whatever Allah decrees, as the claimant insinuates, except if the same person considers surrendering to destiny and remaining silent about oppression as acceptance of destiny!
Someone sees no need for the “house of grief” (bayt al-ahzan) so that al-Zahra’ (sa) could weep therein. He cannot imagine her mourning her father to the extent that she bothered the people of Medina, so they asked her to take to silence, implying that she used to cry very loudly in the alleys! And such crying and annoyance were not compatible with her status. Here is our answer:
FIRST: There is a narrative mentioned by al-Majlisi43, which he considers as “weak” because he did not transmit it, as he says, from an original reference on which he depends. He transmits it from Fidda (house maid of al-Zahra’ (sa)) saying that Fatima (sa) went out during the night on the second day after the death of her father (S). She wept, and people wept with her. When the people of Medina saw the extent of her grief, they requested Ali (as) to ask her to weep either during the night or during the day, so he set up for her the “house of sorrow بيت الأحزان” at al-Baqi’. Reference to other sources of this incident have already been stated.
It is quite obvious that Fidda’s narrative cannot be relied on as al-Maqdisi, may Allah have mercy on him, says, neither from the isnad standpoint nor from the context, as anyone who reviews it may conclude.
As regarding the “house of sorrow,” it is “... remaining till our time, and it is the place known as Fatima’s Mosque in the direction of the mausoleum of al-Hassan (as) and al-’Abbas. Ibn Jubayr refers to it saying, ‘Next to the ‘Abbasi dome lies the house of Fatima (sa) daughter of the Messenger of Allah S, and it is known as bayt al-huzn بيت الحزن, the house of greif, sorrow, mourning... It is said that she took to it and observed her grief since the demise of her father S.’”44
SECOND: Her nightly mourning was more annoying to people who dispersed during the day to go to work at their farms, to look after their flocks, to take care of their chores, so it would have been more appropriate for her to stay at the “house of sorrow” during the night rather than during the day.
THIRD: The fact is that the weeping of al-Zahra’ (sa) did not annoy the people of Medina. Rather, it annoyed the ruling clique which needed to be present at the Mosque of the Prophet S beside his holy pulpit which was only a few meters (counted on one hand), so the said clique prohibited her from so grieving.45
People used to go to that Mosque in particular and assemble thereat from dawn till a late hour of the night to pray and to stay informed of what events transpired.
The Mosque is the center of the city the population of which, relatively speaking, was at the time small, just a few thousands. Mecca was much larger than Medina, and it used to be called the “mother town” which was capable of raising four thousand warriors as happened during the Campaign of al-Ahzab (coalitions) wherein Mecca enlisted men to its full capacity46. The Ahzab campaign started on Thul-Qi’da 8, 5 A.H./March 31, 627 A.D. and involved every man capable of carrying arms, from teenagers to middle-aged men. As for Medina, the maximum number of troops it could raise was about or a lot less than a thousand47.
A census of the Muslim population was carried out in 6 A.H./628 A.D. when non-Muslims had no human bases of any significance, and the figure came as one thousand and five hundred or one thousand and six hundred.
In another narrative, the following is cited: “... We were between a thousand and six hundred to a thousand and seven hundred when the Messenger of Allah S said to them, ‘Write down for me the names of all those who have accepted Islam.’ Al-Damamini has said, ‘It is said that this took place during the Year of Hudaybiya (Treaty), i.e. 6 A.H. (628 A.D.).’”48
Let us suppose that all those whom they included in the census were men, and that they all were married and had children, how many would have been the total residents of Medina?
The people of Medina used to go to the Mosque to pray behind the Messenger of Allah S in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. Some of them came from outside Medina, walking for miles on foot, yet the Mosque absorbed their number, all of them. Then the Messenger of Allah S expanded its area in the latter phase of his holy life.
So, the Mosque was the center of this small town whose streets were no more than narrow alleys, and its houses were very close to each other. They are not spacious at all because this was a security requirement due to the domestic wars. People did not put their weapons down neither during the day nor during the night49.
The people of Medina had set up a ditch around a large area of their town for fear of the polytheists, during the war of the coalitions, would not be able to reach them, and it took them six days to dig despite its [modest] width and depth.
All of this disproves what Ibn Mardawayh had mentioned while discussing the marriage of Fatima (sa), i.e. that the Prophet S had invited all of them, and they all responded to his invitation “And they were more than four thousand men”50 for Medina at the time did not have even half as many men.
What also disproves this figure is another narrative which discusses the same issue. It states that those who had attended numbered three thousand and three hundred men who came in a total of three days51. Counting them as four thousand may include these men, too.
In a town of this size, when an ordinary person dies, it will undergo something like an emergency situation. Its residents will go to offer their condolences to the family of the deceased and will try to cheer them up and distance them from the environments of grief. If the deceased enjoys a special social status, more attention will be paid.
So, what would you say when the deceased is the greatest person created by Allah, the best of all created beings, the most honorable Prophet S, the one who took them out of the darkness and into the light? The town will be turned upside down. People will not tend to their businesses or farms. They will be living a state charged with emotion, apprehension and expectation.
The center of assembling and decision making and all other movements will then be the Mosque. From it will the troops set out to war. It is the place where problems are solved and emissaries received. It is the starting point of a trip and its final destination. The Mosque is the center of the government, the leadership, the applied juristic system. The Prophet’s pulpit is the place where the ruler sits, and it is only a few meters from the place where the Messenger of Allah S is buried.
Within the atmosphere of the demise of the Prophet S, the number of those who go to or return from the Mosque doubles. The first thing they start doing is to visit the grave of their Prophet S, greet him and greet those at his house, for he was buried inside Fatima’s house52. All doors (opening into the Mosque’s courtyard) had been closed except hers.
They will ask the truthful and purified lady how she is doing, knowing that she is the only daughter of the greatest of all prophets, and she is not an ordinary woman. Rather, she is the Head of the Women of Mankind from the early generations to the last. Allah is pleased when she is pleased and is angry when she is angered.
The atmosphere of grief which dominated that house and overwhelmed al-Zahra’ (sa), due to what the rulers and their supporters had committed against her immediately following the burial of her father S, the burial which was not attended by the assailants, nor did they care to prepare him for it, the man who had taken them out of the darkness and into the light, from death to life. Ali (as) had said to them, “You used to follow the worst of all creeds and live the most evil life, drinking dirty water and eating leather.”53
Instead of offering their condolences to her, their respect and regards, they confronted her not only with their sharp tongues but also with cruel and violent behavior. So, it was not in the interest of the ruling clique that people would see al-Zahra’ (sa) every day looking sad and depressed even if al-Zahra’ (sa) kept silent and did not cry or condemn those who oppressed her and violated her privacy.
Anyone who went to the Mosque and saw her depressed and in pain, enjoying no rest and feeling very upset, then he would go to sit at the caliph’s meeting place only a few meters from her, would remain aware of the pain and the tragedy from which she suffered and of what she had to undergo, and his conscience would in the end wake up.
So, her grief and bitterness would make those rulers sleepless, and it would confound them to a great and serious degree. Many would regret having neglected to honor her because her weeping, bitterness and grief would wake up the conscience, stir the feelings and cause agitation among the public. People have feelings and emotions, and all of this would weaken the authority of the rulers and their influence, especially when they rule the public in the name of her father and according to his teachings, as they allege.
If ‘’Umar ibn Sa’d wept when the human huri, Zainab, spoke to him after he had killed al-Husayn (as) a few moments earlier, what about those women whose hearts were not as cruel, as is the case of hearts like those of Harmalah and al-Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan (who killed Imam al-Husayn (as)) and Ibn Sa’d, although they vary in their conviction according to their mentality, awareness and deeds?
Although they remained silent, for one reason or another, when the calamitous deed took place, they might have undergone some awareness and found an opportunity to express their true feelings and what went on in their minds. It was, therefore, necessary to get al-Zahra’ (sa) out of such a condition and distance her from people’s eyes. These people will increase in awareness and will regret a great deal more when things settle down and they revert to themselves, contemplate on what went on and remember what the Messenger of Allah S had told them in praise of al-Zahra’ (sa) and of Ali (as).
There is no need, then, for her to scream in the streets or to bother people like that. It is not far-fetched that they pushed some people to demand that al-Zahra’ (sa) leave her house, providing more than one pretext, then they took the house as their possession indefinitely.
But was this bayt al-ahzan in the best interest of those rulers?! Did it achieve some of what they wanted to or thought they would achieve?!
The clear and frank answer to these questions is NO! In fact, it brought them a much more calamity than they had expected. People did not find it easy to accept to get al-Zahra’ (sa) out of her house and prohibit her from expressing her grief and from openly declaring her being oppressed. This indeed is a greater oppression, more effective and serious, and a clearer evidence about the extent of the oppression from which she had to suffer.
What makes this picture clearer is that people would see that what she went through took place immediately as soon as her father S passed away. Instead of offering their condolences or consoling her, the only daughter of her father and the Head of all the Women of Mankind that she was, they exposed her to a greater and a more bitter calamity. All of this they did while regarding themselves as adherents to this religion, recognizing her father as their Prophet S… They were supposed to respect and sanctify him. Yet those folks went in their oppression as far as persecuting the closest of all people to him, namely his daughter, a woman of feelings, forbidding her from grieving for a father whom she just lost. All this they did so that she would not publicly expose how they oppressed her.
During the Uhud Campaign, Ibn Ishaq said, “The Messenger of Allah S passed by the homes of the Ansar on his way back to Medina and heard them mourning their dead. The eyes of the Messenger of Allah S were soon overflowing with tears. Then he said, ‘But Hamzah has none to mourn him...,’ whereon Sa’d ibn Mu’ath (or, some say, Assad ibn Hadar) ordered the women of Banu ‘Abd al-Ashhal to go and mourn Hamzah first then to mourn their own dead thereafter.
When he heard them thus mourning, and they were sitting at his Mosque’s door, he ordered them to go home, forbidding them from mourning there. The Ansar women went to him early the next morning and said, ‘It has come to our knowledge, O Messenger of Allah, that you prohibited (some women) from mourning.
We only weep over our dead and thus find some relief; so, please grant us permission to do so.’ He said, ‘If you do it, do not slap your cheeks, nor should you scratch your faces with your nails, nor shave your hair nor tear your clothes.’54 The mother of Sa’d ibn Mu’ath said, ‘No woman from among us ever mourned anyone without first mourning al-Hamzah till now.’”
In another text, the women wept when Ruqayya died, so ‘’Umar kept hitting them with his whip. He (S) took the whip from ‘’Umar’s hand and said, “Leave them alone, O ‘’Umar!” He (S) also said, “Do not wail like the wailing of Satan...” Then the narrator adds saying, “Fatima (sa) wept as she sat at the grave’s side (Ruqayya’s grave), so the Prophet S kept wiping her tears with the end of his garment.”55
The Prophet S wept when Hamzah was martyred and said, “As for Hamzah, there are none to mourn him.” and he S wept when Ja’far (al-Tayyar) was martyred and said, “It is for a man like you that mourners should mourn.” He S also wept when his son Ibrahim died and said, “The eyes are tearful, and the heart is grieved, and we do not say except what pleases the Lord.” He also wept over ‘Othman ibn Maz’un, Sa’d ibn Mu’ath and Zaid ibn Harithah. The sahaba, too, wept. Jabir wept when his father died. Bashir ibn ‘Afra’ mourned his father, too. Such incidents abound in the books of hadith and history.56
All this proves that there is no prohibition of weeping but on demanding the tears to be shed and to the desire of the Prophet S that they should do just that.
Yet, in contrast, we find ‘’Umar ibn al-Khattab prohibiting (women) from mourning the dead, beating them with his whip for weeping and doing whatever he liked to prohibit them.
‘’Umar cites a tradition of the Prophet S supposedly stating that the deceased is in pain when his family mourns him.57 We even find ‘’Umar beating Umm Farwah, sister of Abu Bakr, when she mourned her father,58 while we find him ordering people in person to weep over Khalid ibn al-Walid59… And ‘A’isha wept when Ibrahim60 (son of the Prophet (S)) died. Abu Hurayra wept over ‘Othman (ibn ‘Affan), al-Hajjaj over his son61, Sahab over ‘’Umar62, and they even use what all these did as arguments.
‘A’isha objected to ‘’Umar and to his son ‘Abdullah reporting such a “tradition” which he upheld, while she attributed it to ‘’Umar’s own forgetfulness, saying, “May Allah have mercy on ‘’Umar! By Allah! The Messenger of Allah S never said that Allah would torture any believer on account of his family mourning him. Rather, the Messenger of Allah S said that Allah will increase the penalty of the unbeliever through his family weeping over him.” Then she added saying, “Suffices you the Qur’an: ‘No bearer of sin bears the sin of another.’”65
In another narrative, she is quoted as having said, “The Messenger of Allah S passed by a Jewess being mourned. He said, ‘They are weeping over her and she is surely being tortured inside her grave.’”66
What ‘’Umar said is disputed also by Ibn ‘Abbas. A number of Imams from Ahl al-Bayt (as) rejected his “tradition,” too, and anyone who wishes to research it further is advised to consult the references.67
It seems to us that the prohibition of weeping over the dead is taken from the teachings of the People of the Book. ‘’Umar tried to implement such a prohibition during the lifetime of the Prophet S in particular, and he did not desist from doing so, as the Prophet S required him to do, except outwardly. When the Prophet S passed away, and there was nothing to fear, the stand became political, requiring reverting to what the People of the Book teach, hence prohibiting al-Zahra’ (sa) from mourning her father S as has been indicated. This came in sync with inclinations, with the theological as well as political objectives. What proves that it is taken from the teachings of the People of the Book is the following verse in the Torah:
בן! אני לוקח את רצונו של העיניים שלך ממך עם להיט אחד, ולכן, לא לילל, ולא לבכות, ולא נותן לך את העיניים לשפוך את דמעות. נאנח בשקט. אל תעשו האבל לשמוע על המתים
“Son! I am taking the desire of your eyes away from you with one hit; so, do not wail, and do not weep, and do not let your eyes pour down tears. Sigh silently. Do not make an audible mourning over the dead.”68
Here we would like to point out to a statement made by Imam Sharaf ad-Din, may Allah have mercy on him. He has said, “Here we would like to attract the attention of rational people to research the reason why al-Zahra’ (sa) was displaced from home only because she was mourning her father S, and why she had to go out, escorted by both her sons and some of her women, to al-Baqi’ in order to mourn the Messenger of Allah S in the shade of a lote tree there which, once cut down, was replaced by Ali (as) with a shed at al-Baqi’ to which she used to go to mourn him called bayt al-ahzan. A ziyara used to be observed to it by the past generations of this nation.”69
I say that it is quite possible that the tradition stating that “The deceased person is tortured by the cries of the living” was distorted from the incident involving weeping over the Jewess, to which reference has already been made above, for obvious political reasons. The ruling authority paid a particular attention to prohibiting Fatima (sa) from crying over her father S.
So it is obvious that such a prohibition continued till the ruling authority was settled. This is why ‘’Umar was not concerned about ‘A’isha being angry with him on its account. ‘A’isha even prohibited ‘’Umar from entering her house when Abu Bakr (her father, the first caliph) died, so he hit Umm Farwah, sister of Abu Bakr. He assaulted the house of ‘A’isha, hitting Abu Bakr’s sister. Before then, he used to pay a special attention to ‘A’isha and had a lot of respect for her. He held her in high esteem, and he was the one who very highly respected (her father) Abu Bakr with whom he used to seek refuge, showing utmost respect for his household.
Yes, ‘’Umar did all of that because people had not yet forgotten how the ruling authority prohibited Fatima (sa) from mourning her father S. They had not forgotten what she went through following his demise. Let us suppose that the weeping was only because of the death of her father. What a great stand it was, then, not to mention the environments of cruelty and crudeness, that a woman is prohibited from grieving for her father! What if this father is the Glorious Prophet S, the greatest, the most perfect and the very best human being who ever walked on the face of earth?
When the cause was no more, after many years had passed by since the death of the Head of the Women of the World (sa), and when people almost forgot this issue, the prohibition was lifted by ‘’Umar himself who wept over al-Nu’man ibn Muqrin who died in 21 A.H./642 A.D. and over another Shaikh. He permitted the weeping over Khalid ibn al-Walid who died in 21 or 22 A.H. (642 or 643 A.D.) as indicated above.
Prohibition from weeping over the dead varies in the way it was documented from one reference to another. Some say there was prohibition from scratching the face, tearing clothes, self-slapping, or wailing for falsehood. All these are different from the outbursts of natural human emotions. The first does, indeed, conflict with complete submission to Allah, the most Exalted, the Sublime, and surrendering to His will, whereas the other is a requirement of the human nature and a proof of the balance of such nature, and surely the distance between them both is quite vast.
- 1. The same individual claims that the said professor is Dr. Suhayl Zakir.
- 2. Refer to the following references: Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 20, 83, 86, 89 and Vol. 85, p. 94. Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 95 (1392 A.H. edition). Al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p. 194 (1400 A.H., al-A`lami edition). Al-Irbali, Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, p. 76. Nihaya al-Arab, Vol. 5, p. 264. Thakha’ir al-`Uqba, p. 51, citing Ahmed. Al-Qanduzi, Yanabi` al-Mawadda (Al-A`lami edition), Vol. 2, p. 52. Nazm Durar al-Simtayn, p. 177. Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 275. Mukhtasar Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 6, p. 108. Ihqaq al-Haqq (Appendices), Vol. 10, pp. 234, 291-293, and Vol. 19, pp. 106-07 from some of the references listed above and from numerous others.
- 3. Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 153.
- 4. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 22, pp. 479-80.
- 5. Qurb al-Isnad (published by Ahl al-Bayt (as) Foundation), p. 146. Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 533. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 73, p. 157. Al-Wasa'il, Vol. 5, p. 325.
- 6. Abu Dawud, Sunan, Vol. 1, pp. 234-35 (published by Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-`Arabi).
- 7. Imam Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 2, p. 62. Refer also to al-Nisa’i, Sunan, Vol. 6, p. 149.
- 8. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Vol. 1, p. 510.
- 9. Al-Tabari, Tarikh Muluk (published by Dar Swaydan), Vol. 4, p. 70, in the events of the year 17 A.H. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 30, p. 640. Refer also to Futah al-Buldan, Vol. 3, p. 352. Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan, Vol. 8, p. 235. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fil Tarikh, Vol. 2, pp. 540-41. Wafiyyat al-A`yan, Vol. 2, p. 455. Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, Vol. 7, p. 81. `Umdat al-Qari, Vol. 6, p. 340. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 12, pp. 234-37. Al-Jahiz, Al-Aghani (published by Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-`Arabi), Vol. 16, pp. 331-332. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal.
- 10. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 14, p. 193. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 28, p. 323. Ithbat al-Hudat, Vol. 2, pp. 360, 337-38.
- 11. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 9, p. 198.
- 12. Mizan al-I`tidal, Vol. 1, p. 139. Lisan al-Mizan, Vol. 1, p. 268. Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, Vol. 15, p. 578.
- 13. Al-Milal wal Nihal, Vol. 1, p. 57. Other references will Insha-Allah be cited in the texts’ section.
- 14. Manaqib al Abu Talib, Vol. 3, p. 407 (published by Dar al-Adwa’). Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, p. 233.
- 15. Kifayat al-Talib, p. 413.
- 16. Ibn Hamzah, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, p. 188.
- 17. Ibid.; Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, p. 202.
- 18. `Ilm al-Yaqin fi Usul ad-Din, pp. 686-87, Chapter 20.
- 19. Al-Tibrisi, Al-Ihtijaj, Vol. 1, p. 212. Fatima Bahjat al-Mustafa, p. 529, quoting Mir’at al-`Uqul.
- 20. Sulaym ibn Qays’s book, p. 134.
- 21. Refer for documentation of this [blasphemous] statement the following references: Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 28, pp. 389, 411 and what is mentioned in a footnote on p. 268. Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 1, p. 586. Sayyid al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 3, p. 241. Al-`Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, pp. 259-60. Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal, Vol. 3, p. 149. Al-Riyad al-Nadira, Vol. 1, p. 167. Al-Tara’if, p. 239. Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, p. 178. Nahj al-Haqq, p. 271. Nafahat al-Lahut, p. 79. Abul-Fida’, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 156 and other references which will be forthcoming.
- 22. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 53, pp. 14, 17, 19.
- 23. Ibid., Vol. 43, pp. 43, 197-98 and Vol. 28, p. 299. The book by Sulaym ibn Qays, p. 250 (published by al-A`lami).
- 24. Ibid., Vol. 8, pp. 220-27, quoting Dala’il al-Imamate.
- 25. Al-`Ayyashi, Tafsir, Vol. 2, p. 67. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 28, p. 227. Al-Ikhtisas, pp. 185-86. Tafsir al-Burhan, Vol. 2, p. 93.
- 26. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 30, p. 348, citing Irshad al-Qulub by al-Daylami.
- 27. Ibid., Vol. 30, pp. 293-95.
- 28. Al-Jamal, pp. 117-18 (new edition). Nahj al-Haqq, p. 271. Al-Imama wal Siyasa, Vol. 1, p. 12. Ibn Shuhnah, Tarikh (referred to in a footnote in Al-Kamil), Vol. 7, p. 164. Abul-Fida’, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 156. Al-`Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, p. 259. Al-Ya`qubi, Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 126.
- 29. Muntakhab Kanz al-`Ummal (referred to in a footnote in Ahmed’s Musnad), Vol. 2, p. 174, from Ibn Abu Shaybah. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 2, p. 45 from al-Jawhari and al-Mughni to the judge `Abdullah, Part 20, Section 1, p. 335. Al-Murtada, Al-Shafi, Vol. 4, p. 110.
- 30. Tarikh Baghdad, Vol. 13, pp. 387-88. Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, Vol. 11, p. 135. Tahthib al-Tahthib, Vol. 10, p. 430.
- 31. Refer to Al-Wafa bil Wafiyyat, Vol. 21, p. 104.
- 32. Dala’il al-Sidq, Vol. 3, part 1, p. 53.
- 33. This is so especially since he himself says, “Negating, too, requires evidence.”
- 34. Al-Tibrisi, Al-Ihtijaj, Vol. 1, p. 212. Mir’at al-`Uqul, Vol. 5, p. 320.
- 35. Al-Tibrisi, Al-Ihtijaj, Introduction, p. 4.
- 36. Iqbal al-A`mal, p. 625. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 97, p. 200.
- 37. Ibid.
- 38. Al-Saduq, Al-Amali, pp. 100-01. Al-Daylami, Irshad al-Qulub, p. 295. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 28, pp. 37-39 and Vol. 43, pp. 172-73. Al-`Awalim, Vol. 11, p. 391 (the section dealing with al-Zahra’ (sa)). Other references will be cited as well.
- 39. In his book Irshad al-Qulub, Vol. 2, p. 295.
- 40. In his book Fara’id al-Simtayn, Vol. 2, p. 35.
- 41. Refer to the book by Salam as edited by Muhammed Baqir al-Ansari, Vol. 2, p. 588.
- 42. Refer to the people of Medina feeling annoyed by al-Zahra’ (sa) weeping (over the demise of her father, the Messenger of Allah (S)) in the following references: Al-Khisal, Vol. 1, p. 272. Al-Saduq, Amali, p. 121. Al-`Awalim, Vol. 11, p. 449 where the previous references are cited in some of its footnotes in addition to the following: al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 35, 155, 177 and Vol. 46, p. 35 and Vol. 11, pp. 204, 311 and Vol. 12, p. 264 and Vol. 82, p. 86. Irshad al-Qulub, p. 95. Al-`Ayyashi, Tafsir, Vol. 2, p. 188. Rawdat al-Wa`izin, p. 520. Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 335. Manaqib al Abu Talib (printed at the `Ilmiyya Press), Vol. 3, p. 322. Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 2, p. 124.
- 43. A reference to al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 174-180.
- 44. Tawfiq Abu `Alam, Ahl al-Bayt, pp. 167-68. Refer also to Al-Wafa’, Vol. 3, p. 918. Refer to the footnote on p. 489 of `Awalim al-`Ulum, Vol. 11, Ihqaq al-Haqq (Appendices), Vol. 10, p. 476, and Fatima al-Zahra’ (sa) fil Ahadith al-Qudsiyya, pp. 184-85.
- 45. Diya’ al-`Alamin (manuscript), Vol. 2, Part 3, p. 140.
- 46. Refer to my book titled Al-Sihah min Sirat al-Nabiyy al-A`zam (S), Vol. 9.
- 47. Ibid.
- 48. Al-Bukhari, Sihah, Vol. 2, p. 116. Muslim, Sihah, Vol. 1, p. 91. Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 384. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Vol. 2, p. 1337. Al-Taratib al-Idariyya, Vol. 2, pp. 251-52 and Vol. 1, pp. 220-23. Ibn Abu Shaybah, Al-Musannaf, Vol. 15, p. 69.
- 49. I`lam al-Wara, p. 55. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 8-10.
- 50. `Awalim al-`Ulum, Vol. 11, pp. 298, 340. Refer to Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 43, pp. 94, 114. Al-Tusi, Amali, Vol. 1, p. 39.
- 51. `Awalim al-`Ulum, Vol. 11, p. 345. Dala’il al-Imama, p. 21.
- 52. Refer to my article in Dirasat wa Buhuth fil Tarikh wal Islam (studies and researches in history and Islamics), Vol. 1, p. 169 and the following pages.
- 53. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Sermon 26.
- 54. Al-Sira al-Halabiyya, Vol. 2, p. 254. Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, p. 444 quoting Al-Muntaqa. Refer to Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 2, p. 167. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 210. Al-`Iqd al-Farid, Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, Vol. 4, p. 48. Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 2, pp. 40, 84, 92. Al-Isti`ab (in the biography of al-Hamzah). Abu Ya`li, Musnad, Vol. 6, pp. 272, 293-94 and its footnotes cite the following: p. 120, Vol. 6, of Mujma` al-Zawa’id, p. 10, Part 1, Vol. 3, of Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Vol. 3, p. 94. In the book of the Prophet’s biography, and in the discussion of funerals, it is hadith number 1591. Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p. 195. Ibn Hisham, Sira, Vol. 1, p. 103. Al-Isaba, Vol. 4 (in the biography of Ruqayya).
- 55. Ibn Shaybah, Tarikh al-Medina, Vol. 1, p. 103. Al-Isaba, Vol. 4, in the biography of Ruqayya.
- 56. Refer to Al-Nass wal Ijtihad, pp. 230-34. Al-Amini, Al-Ghadir, Vol. 6, pp. 159-67. Dala’il al-Sidq, Vol. 3, Part 1, pp. 134-36 citing scores of reliable references. Al-Isti`ab (as referred to in a footnote in Al-Isaba) in the biography of Ja`far (al-Tayyar), Vol. 1, p. 211. Minhat al-Ma`bud, Vol. 1, p. 159. Kashf al-Astar, Vol. 1, pp. 381-83. Al-Isaba, Vol. 2, p. 464. Al-Majruhun, Vol. 2, p. 92. Al-Sira al-Halabiyya, Vol. 2, p. 89. Refer also to p. 251 as well. Wafa’ al-Wafa’, Vol. 3, pp. 894-95. Refer also to pp. 932-33. Hayat al-Sahaba, Vol. 1, p. 571. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3, p. 396 and Vol. 2, p. 313.
- 57. Refer to Al-`Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 4, p. 264 and other books.
- 58. Refer to the above stated references and others and to Al-Ghadir and scores of other references as well as p. 158, Vol. 1, of Minhat al-Ma`bud and while discussing Isfahan on p. 61, Vol. 1, quoting Ibn Musa. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3, pp. 209, 346, 362. Refer to the explanation of various traditions on p. 245.
- 59. Al-Taratib al-Idariyya, Vol. 2, p. 375. Al-Isaba, Vol. 1, p. 415. Sifat al-Safwah, Vol. 1, p. 655. Usd al-Ghaba, Vol. 2, p. 96. Hayat al-Sahaba, Vol. 1, p. 465 quoting Al-Isaba. Al-Musannaf, Vol. 3, p. 559 in the footnotes of which al-Bukhari, Ibn Sa`d and Ibn Abu Shaybah are quoted. Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 2, p. 247. Fath al-Bari, Vol. 7, p. 79. Al-Fa’iq, Vol. 4, p. 19. Al-Qanduzi, Rabi` al-Abrar, Vol. 3, p. 330. Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 88. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-`Arab, Vol. 8, p. 363.
- 60. Minhat al-Ma`bud, Vol. 1, p. 159.
- 61. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3 (Dar Sadir’s edition), p. 81. Rabi` al-Abrar, Vol. 2, p. 586.
- 62. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3, p. 362. Minhat al-Ma`bud, Vol. 1, p. 159.
- 63. Al-Amini, Al-Ghadir, Vol. 1, pp. 54, 155, 164. Refer to the biography of al-Nu`man ibn Muqrin in Al-Isti`ab. Refer also to pp. 328-29, Vol. 2, of Al-Riyad al-Nadira about how `’Umar wept over that bedouin till he wetted his beard!
- 64. Refer to Al-Ghadir where the following references are cited: Ahmed’s Musnad, Vol. 1, pp. 235, 237 and Vol. 2, pp. 333, 408; al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, Vol. 3, pp. 190, 381, where both al-Dhahbi, in his Talkhis, and he label this tradition as authentic; Mujma` al-Zawa’id, Vol. 3, p. 17; Al-Isti`ab in the biography of `Othman ibn Maz`un; al-Tayalisi’s Musnad, p. 351; al-Bayhaqi’s Sunan, Vol. 4, p. 70; `Umdat al-Qari, Vol. 4, p. 87 citing al-Nisa’i, Ibn Majah; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Vol. 1, p. 481; al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal, Vol. 1, p. 117; Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 1, p. 157. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3, pp. 399, 429; Minhat al-Ma`bud, Vol. 1, p. 159.
- 65. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 146 (1039 A.H. edition). Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, Vol. 3, p. 381. A reference to al-Shafi`i disagreeing with this “tradition” is recorded on p. 266, Vol. 7, of Al-Umm. Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm, Vol. 2, p. 105. Minhat al-Ma`bud, Vol. 1, p. 158. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 3, p. 346. Al-Mazni, Mukhtasar as referred to on p. 187, Vol. 1, of Al-Umm. Al-Amini, Al-Ghadir, Vol. 6, p. 163 from the above cited references. Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 1, pp. 342-44. Ahmed, Musnad, Vol. 1, p. 41. Al-Nisa’i, Sunan, Vol. 4, pp. 17-18. Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan, Vol. 4, pp. 72-73. Ibn Dawud, Sunan, Vol. 2, p. 59. Ibn Malik, Al-Muatta’, Vol. 1, p. 96.
- 66. Al-Bukhari, Sihah, Vol. 1, p. 147.
- 67. Refer to Al-Ghadir, Dala’il al-Sidq, Al-Nass wal Ijtihad and others.
- 68. Ezekiel, 24:16-18.
- 69. Al-Musawi, Al-Nass wal Ijtihad, p. 234.