Abu Bakr Versus Fatima (A.S.)
Fatima-the only surviving child of the Prophet, his most beloved- claimed inheritance of the property which could be apportioned to her in the lands of Medina and in Khaibar, as also Fadak, which having been acquired without the use of force, the Prophet had given her for her maintenance, in accordance with the commands of Allah.[1]

Yet, Fadak became an arena for political games when Abu Bakr refused to transfer it to Fatima. It is appropriate here to speak about Fadak before clarifying the corresponding events which occurred in its regard:

Fadak was a village located at a two-day walking distance from Medina. Apparently, it was inhabited by Jews who refused to submit to Islam at the beginning, but when the later realized the might of the Muslims, especially after they, led by Ali Ibn Abu Talib conquered Khaibar, the Jews decided to yield to the Messenger of Allah without fighting. So he took possession of the village.

The village was valued at 100,000 dirhams by Umar's appraisers when he expelled its inhabitants to Syria. Umar took possession of the village and paid half of the price to the Jews.

Fadak Becomes the Prophet's Personal Property

Since the reason that motivated the inhabitants of Fadak to transfer its possession to Allah's Messenger was fear of the Muslims after they had conquered Khaibar, this property became the sole possession of the Prophet. This conforms to Allah's decree in the Holy Quran: 

"What Allah has bestowed on His Apostle (and taken away) from them for this (which) ye made no expedition with either calvary or camelry: But Allah gives power to His Apostles over any He pleases: and Allah Has power over all things." (59: 6)

There was no dispute between the Muslims that Fadak belonged to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.); rather, the disagreement was related to how much Fadak had the Jews granted him as part of the peace settlement. Thus, it is strange to hear Abu Bakr narrate a tradition from the Prophet saying:

"We the group of Prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited; what we leave is for alms!!"

Because, had the Prophet actually said so (which is doubted), how did Abu Bakr understand from this saying that Fadak did not belong to him. There is clear contradiction in Abu Bakr's arguments.

Therefore, after realizing beyond doubt that Fadak was the personal property of Allah's Messenger (P.B.U.H.), it is appropriate to inquire as to what he did with it? But the answer is clear. He granted it to Fatima (A.S.) before his death. In other words, Fadak became the personal property of Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.). Moreover, it is not for anyone to object to the Prophet for granting his own property to any person he wished-including his daughter.

Moreover, the following factors can be cited as proofs that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) granted Fadak to his noble daughter (A.S.):

1. Fatima's saying to Imam Ali (A.S.):

"This is Ibn Abu Quhafa snatching away my father's grant to me."

2. Fatima Zahra's saying to Abu Bakr "Surely Fadak was granted to me by my father, the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H.)." 

Especially in light of the fact that her infallibility prevents her from uttering falsehood or from demanding that which does not belong to her.

3. Ali (A.S.), the infallible Imam, would not allow his wife to demand something, which did not belong to her.

4. Imam Ali (A.S.) wrote in his letter to Uthman Ibn Hunaif:

"Yes! Fadak was the only land from that which was under the heavens, in our hands; but the inclinations of certain men lusted for it and the souls of others relinquished it."

Hence, had it been part of the Prophet's inheritance, he (A.S.) would not have said that it belonged to them (Ali and Fatima).

5. Imam Ali (A.S.) together with Um Ayman testified to the fact that Allah's Messenger (P.B.U.H.) granted it to Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.), when Abu Bakr requested Fatima to summon witnesses that he (P.B.U.H.)granted it to her.

Yet, despite these undisputable proofs, Abu Bakr denied Fatima possession of Fadak and brought the following as proof of the correctness of his action:

1. According to Abu Bakr, Fadak did not belong to the Messenger of Allah; it rather was the property of all Muslims.

2. Besides, according to Abu Bakr, even if it belonged to the Prophet of Allah, he had heard him saying:

"We the group of prophets do not inherit nor are we inherited."

3. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said:

"My inheritance is not to be divided after me, even if it is one dinar or dirham. That which I leave is alms, save what is to maintain my wives and dependents."

However, when these hypothetical points made by Abu Bakr are put on the board of discussion, free from ideological or emotional prejudgments, and far from blind sanctification of the early followers of Islam, we can record the following points against them: 

1. It is true that he denied the Prophet's ownership of Fadak, but all the Muslims--whether early Muslims or now-a-days-unanimously agree that Fadak was the sole possession of Allah's Prophet (P.B.U.H.) This fact is also supported by the Quranic verse which we have already mentioned. Therefore, Abu Bakr's claim is invalidated £or being a mere endeavor to null the effect of the Quran.

2. Abu Bakr's claim that he heard the Prophet of Allah (P.B.U.H.) say:

"We the group of prophets do not inherit, nor are we inherited; what we leave is for alms,"

can be disputed as follows:

A. This narration is irrelevant regarding this issue; because we have already stated that Fadak was a grant from the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to his daughter before he died. So it is inappropriate to quote a narration related to the issue of inheritance with the purpose of denying Lady Fatima (A.S.) her property.

B. This narration was only reported by one man--who is Abu Bakr, himself--and since the Holy Quran stated a general rule concerning inheritance, the Prophets and their heirs are included in this rule. So Abu Bakr's claim cannot be taken as proof versus the Holy Quran, nor can it be proof for excluding the prophets and their families from the Quranic rule.

C. Yet, the real reasons which provoke Abu Bakr and his followers to deprive Fatima Zahra (A.S.) from her own property, despite the fact that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said:

"Fatima is part of me, he who loves her loves me, and he who angers her angers me, "' 

had more dangerous and implicit motives behind them, and were directly related to the political events of that time.

3. As for Abu Hurairah's narration; it is sufficient for us to keep in mind that he was famous for forging Prophetic traditions. Even he, himself, admitted this; and anyone wishing to study more about his life, should refer to Sheikh al-Madhirah - Abu Hurairah Dowsi, written by Mahmoud Abu Raieh.

The Real Motives Which Lead Abu Bakr to Usurp Fadak from Fatima Fadak

The history books at hand need thorough examination and revision, for they have been recorded according to the wishes and satisfactions of despotic rulers throughout history. In view of this, and in light of the fact that Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) was a strong supporter of her husband in his quest to regain Caliphate, and that her views were proof that the followers of Imam Ali(A.S.) can use it to easily verify his claims against Abu Bakr; we can easily understand how Abu Bakr was successful in depriving Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) of her rights, and how his moves corresponded to his adopted political thinking. So, not only was Abu Bakr able to persuade the Muslims to dismiss Fatima's stands as those of a woman who can be depended upon even in such a secondary issue like Fadak, but also he aimed at convincing them that since she was not to be believed in such a matter, she was also to be deserted when it comes to the most important issue of that time (i.e., Caliphate).

Yet, there are more motives that can be spotted to have led Abu Bakr to usurp Fatima Zahra's (A.S.) property. Among them are:

1. Since Fadak brought large profits to its owners, Ali (A.S.) could use this profit in his fight against Abu Bakr just as Khadija was able her wealth to use against the infidels. 

2. The political challenge which Abu Bakr created here, was aimed at proving to Ali and Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) that the nation was not ready to aid them in an emotional issue in which he was successful in downgrading Ali and Fatima by controlling and directing the public opinion. Listen to Abu Bakr as he speaks to the people after Fatima's speech in the Mosque:

"O people!

What is this attentiveness to every aimless speech?!

Where were these claims at the time of Allah's Messenger (P.B.U.H.)?

He who heard something should say so!

He who witnessed anything should speak out!

Surely they are (Ali and Fatima, like) foxes who have no witnesses save their tails!

They instigate every dissension!

And say: Renew (trouble) after it has cooled down

They seek help from the weak and acquire support from women

They are like Umme Tahal (a woman who was a prostitute during the era of ignorance) whose family chose prostitution for her

Surely if I wish 1 can say a lot; and

had I said (something), would have revealed (much).

But I will remain silent as long as I am left alone."

3. Abu Bakr's drive to deprive Lady Fatima Zahra (A.S.) of her property had another underlying motive. Had Abu Bakr admitted Fatima's words in regard to Fadak as undisputable facts, she could also claim her husband's right to leadership, which would force Abu Bakr to hand it back to Ali (A.S.)

Ibn Abil-Hadid said:

I asked Ali Ibn Fareqi, a distinguished teacher of Madrassa-Gharbia, Baghdad: "Was Fatima truthful in making the claim (regarding Fadak)?"

He answered: "Yes!"

I said: "Did Abu Bakr know that she was a truthful woman?"

Again he answered: "Yes."

I then asked: "Then why did the Caliph not give that which she was entitled to back to her?"

At that moment the teacher smiled and said with great dignity:

"If he had accepted her word on that day and had returned Fadak to her on account of her being a truthful woman and without asking for any witnesses, she could very well use this position for the benefit of her husband on the following day and say:

'My husband, Ali is entitled to the Caliphate,' and then the Caliph would have been obliged to surrender the Caliphate to Ali on account of his having acknowledged her to be a truthful woman. However, in order to obviate any such claim or dispute, he deprived her of her undisputed right!"

4. Moreover, there were several emotional factors, which lead Abu Bakr to refuse Fatima, Khadija's daughter, her rights. Some of these factors are:

Once, the Prophet of Allah sent Abu Bakr to the Muslims, during Hajj season, to recite for them the newly revealed Surah al-Tawbah, but before reaching his destination AbuBakr was stopped by Ali Ibn Abu Talib who informed him that the Messenger commanded him to deliver the Surah himself; because according to the Prophet :

"No-one can take the Messenger's place save he or someone from him."

This surely creates a feeling of envy in a man's heart!! A matter, that can be said to have influenced Abu Bakr himself.

B. When the Prophet was too ill to lead the prayers, Abu Bakr was asked by his daughter, Aisha, to do so. But as soon as Allah's Messenger (P.B.U.H.) learned what was going on, he, supported by Imam Ali and Abbas, came out and removed Abu Bakr and led the prayers himself. The author of 'Fatima Umme Abiha' says in this regard:

"This event might have led Abu Bakr to think that Fatima was the one who informed the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) of Abu Bakr's actions, just as Aisha told him (Abu Bakr) to lead the prayers!!"

C. Aisha, the Prophet's wife and Abu Bakr's daughter, had uncalled for feelings towards Fatima and her mother, Khadija.

For instance, Aisha said:

"Despite the fact that Khadija died three years before the Prophet married me, I did not have a feeling of envy" for anyone as much as I had for her. This was because he (the Prophet) used to mention her name constantly and he was ordered by His Almighty Lord to give her the good news of a house made of brocade in Paradise. He also used to slaughter sheep and distribute their meat among her (Khadija's) friends."

This undoubtedly led Abu Bakr to join his daughter in her feelings towards Khadija, her daughter (Fatima) and her son-in-law (Ali (A.S.)).

D. Aisha, Abu Bakr's daughter was sterile. Yet Khadija (A.S.) was the only wife of the Prophet who had children that survived. Moreover, that child of Khadija was Aisha's main adversary, Fatima. So the Messenger of Allah's descendants would only come from his daughter and her husband, Ali. This surely was an unwelcomed fact to Aisha and her father, Abu Bakr.

[1] Man La Yahdharhu al-Faqih.
Fatima (S.A.) The Gracious
by: Abu Muhammad Ordoni
Published by: Ansariyan Publications
Qum, The Islamic Republic of Iran
Ref: maaref-foundation


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