By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Brief Biographies of Janab Fatima Zahra (s.a) and Her Eleven Descendants (a.s)
Fatima Zahra (s.a)
The holy Prophet (saw.) combated with the disbelievers of the Arabs and polytheists of the tribe of Quraish for 23 years and after extraordinary difficulties and troubles had to migrate to Abyssinia.
Finally, at the end of all these calamities, which were beyond the capacity of ordinary mortals, he had to bear separation from the near and dear ones and to leave their place of residence. Gradually, the true religion of Islam obtained influence and strength. The low Arabs became wealthy, prosperous and honourable.
The idol-worshippers and the slaves of statues turned into the worshippers of ONLY ONE GOD, thanks to Islam. The holy Prophet (saw.) had no attachment with anything. Only Fatima Zahra (s.a.), the leader of all women, was extremely dear to him. That is why it is essential that Fatima must be dearer than life for every professing believer because the holy Prophet (saw.) has said, “Fatimah is a part of me, Whoever hurts her, hurts me.”5 Once one of the companions of the holy Prophet (saw.) asked Ayesha,
‘Who, among all the creatures, is the dearest to the holy Prophet (saw.)’? She replied, ‘Fatima Zahra is the dearest for the holy Prophet (saw.).’ The questioner inquired again, ‘Who among men is dearest to the holy Prophet (saw.)? Ayesha responded, ‘Ali (a.s)’. There are so many traditions and narrations praising and honouring Fatima Zahra (a.s) that if only one example from each one of them is included here, this 5volume will not suffice. But, since it is our intention to explain and examine the event of Fadak, we will express our view regarding this bitter and retrograde happening.
What happened to Fadak?
“Fadak” was one of the properties, which belonged to the Jews who lived around Madinah. After the conquest of Khaibar, as per the terms of treaty, it went in the possession of the holy Prophet (saw.). As it was not captured forcibly in a holy war, no one had any right or share in it and thus it was an absolute property of the holy Prophet (saw.). All properties apart from Fadak were also similar.
There also were such other properties, which formerly belonged to “Bani Quraizah” and were within Madinah. The holy Prophet (saw.) used to spend the proceeds of these properties on both his holy wives and on his poor and needy relatives, thus helping them. So he had, since long back, gifted Fadak to his dearest daughter Fatima Zahra (s.a.).
So it belonged exclusively to her. Fatima (s.a.) too used to spend and donate the profits of Fadak in the path of Allah. As soon as the holy Prophet (saw.) passed away and when Fatima was still in a state of mourning, she was informed that the officials of caliph Abu Bakr had cancelled Fatima (a.s)’s ownership of Fadak! Fatima (a.s) was very much grieved by this deed of greed. So she sent some one to the caliph to question him about this cancellation of her right over Fadak. He replied, ‘Fadak is a part of Baitul Maal and hence Fatima has no right in it.’
“Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return.” (Surah Baqura 2:156)
Has such irregularity ever taken place in the world? Before dealing with the objection raised by Fatima (s.a.)we find it necessary to mention here our impressions: Firstly: Had the caliph taken into consideration benefits of both the worlds offered to him by the Prophet of God (saw.), he would have never indulged in such undue deeds.
Did the caliph not recollect that the locust-eating Arabs had become the caliphs of the world? Did he not remember that when he and his like were bowing before stones and worshipping idols, it was the father of Fatima (s.a.) who pulled them out of humiliation and degradation and guided them to grandeur, and brought them out from polytheism and made them believers?
Was it a reward of all this goodness that the dearest daughter of the holy Prophet (saw.) should be grieved so much just for the sake of a little piece of garden? And all this despite the right of the holy Prophet (saw.) had already been mentioned in the holy Quran through the holy verse:
Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives. (Surah Shura 42:23) And thus the friendship (affection) of the holy progeny has been made obligatory for the entire community. Was it unbecoming on the part of the holy Prophet (saw.) who had gifted so much to the caliph to gift even a piece of garden to his beloved daughter?
Secondly: Fatima is one of the holy members of the honourable family regarding whom the holy Quran says:
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying ( Surah Ahzab 33.33 ) indicating that Allah the Almighty has made them pure from all uncleanness. Can such a respectable personality ever make an unlawful or improper claim of ownership? No, never. Each and every word and deed and movement and pause of Fatima prove that it is true and that she is the righteous leader. Making a false claim of Fadak is filth, which is impossibility in the case of Fatima (s.a.).
Thirdly: Under what authority and proof can Fatima (s.a.) be prevented from making her claim when she is an associate of Quran and a source of reason?
Fourthly: How can the claim of Fatima be baseless when the holy Prophet (saw.) says, “Fatemah is a part of me”? Can Fatima who is a part of the Prophet (saw.) ever make a false claim? No, never. (For it will tantamount to accusing the Prophet (saw.) of making a false claim).
Fifthly: The holy Prophet (saw) said: “I am at war with those who attack you.” This makes it clear that the holy Prophet (saw.) too is an associate in her claim. Yes, there is no doubt that the one who quarrels with Fatima (a.s) quarrels with the holy Prophet (saw.), because there is no disagreement about the validity and soundness of the abovementioned Hadith. Its goes as follows: One day the holy Prophet (saw) gathered Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain at one place and said: “I am at war with the one who quarrels with you and I am at peace with the one who is at peace with you.”
Sixthly: It is obvious that Fatima (s.a.) who was denied her right had become sad, as is expected from any human being. There is a Hadith recorded in Sahih Bukhari from Ayesha which runs as follows: Fatima went to my father Abu Bakr to inform him about the usurpation of Fadak and said that her father, the Prophet of God (saw.), had gifted Fadak to her. Abu Bakr held back Fadak from her. So Fatima returned disappointed and died while she was angry with my father.
This Hadith is found in all Hadith books but I have quoted only Bukhari. It shows that Fatima (s.a.) was unhappy with the caliph, while the Prophet of God had said, “Fatima is from me, and whoever hurts her hurts me”. This is an explicit statement. No claim contrary to it is possible. Just as it is impossible that denial of Fadak may not displease her, so it is impossible that the displeasure of Fatima (s.a.) will not make the holy Prophet (saw.) unhappy.
Now we may revert to the argumentation of the original claim: We quote below a narration made by Allamah Abu Abdillah Bukhari in the part “Faraaiz-e-Sahih al- Bukhari”, which says that Fatima (s.a.) demanded, “O Abu Bakr! In case your father expires who is his heir?” He replied, “I, his son, will be his heir.” Fatima asked, “Who is the heir of my late father?” Abu Bakr said, “You who are his daughter.” Fatima asked, “Then why do you take back Fadak forcibly?”
Abu Bakr replied that the Messenger of Allah (saw.) said, “We Prophets do not leave inheritance.” Fatima shot back, “My father had gifted me Fadak during his lifetime and currently it is in my use.” Abu Bakr argued, “You must produce witness.” Fatima brought Ali (a.s) and Umme Aiman as witness. The caliph did not accept. Fatima returned disheartened and disappointed. Here let us examine some aspects of this claim:
First: The tradition on which the caliph based his decision is a one-person narration, and a one-man narration cannot be relied upon against a clear Quranic commandment.
Second: Even if a narration is true, it does not pertain to the inheritance of wealth. Rather, it indicates the inheritance of Prophethood or messengership. For, at that time the holy Prophet (saw.) had, in response to a claim made by the Jews and the Christians, said that Prophethood is not based on race that I must belong to Bani Israel.
Had Prophethood been a part of heritage or inheritance, then a Prophet must be from Bani Israel. That is why the holy Prophet (saw.) had defended his claim in these words. Third: In case this Hadith was about inheritance of wealth, then no Prophet should have any inheritor. But we do see that the inheritors of all the Prophets have shared the wealth left by those Prophets. The holy Quran also supports our claim as God Almighty says in it while mentioning the event of Prophet that Zakariya said,
“Who should inherit from me and from the children of Yaqoub?” (Surah Maryam 19:6)
Zakariya’s request for a child was because of his desire that his children should inherit his wealth, and in his children were also those who were not Prophets.
Fourth: This tradition, in any case, does not relate to the claim of Fatima because the possession of Fadak by Fatima was not by way of inheritance but it was a gift and this hadith prevents inheritance, not a gift.
Fifth: Bringing forth of witnesses was not necessary for Fatima (s.a.) because she was only defending what was in her possession and witnesses are required when the possession of anything is demanded.
Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was holding a property, not demanding it. Sixth: It is known that the second caliph had, during his caliphate, returned Fadak to Ali (a.s) but Ali rejected the offer
saying: When an established right of one was denied to her and now when she is no more, I cannot accept Fadak. All historians, even the author of Qaamoos al Aalaam has, under the topic, FADAK explained this sentence of Ali (a.s).
Now, if the argument of the first caliph was correct then why did the second caliph disregard it and returned Fadak to its owner? And if the first caliph was not right, then why was the dearest child of the holy Prophet (saw) harassed?
Seventh: Umar bin Abdul Aziz, an Umayyad caliph, was known as a wiser and more pious man than his predecessors. He was also more inclined toward truth. He returned Fadak to the progeny of Fatima (s.a.) during his caliphate. This also means that all Muslims had been convinced that the confiscation of Fadak was oppressive and wrong. We conclude this unpalatable investigation here.
At the end of every court trial, some rights are established. Yet we suffice with this much that the First Caliph had expressed his remorse publicly in these three phrases: First: Acceptance of caliphate, Second: Sending his men to the house of Fatima to obtain allegiance. Three: Confiscation of Fadak We have nothing to do with the remorse or otherwise on the part of that Caliph. But, alas, before taking such ugly actions, he should have done something to prevent it. How much hardships and pains the holy Prophet (saw.) had suffered for the welfare and prosperity and safety of religion as well as their worldly lives.
The kind Prophet, at the last moment of his life, when the entire Muslim nation was under his obligation, leaves as his memorial his beloved daughter. He also ordered everybody to respect and honour her. Thus, anybody who opposes these commands, whosoever he may be, cannot escape historic investigation and its unpalatable consequences.
Fatima Zahra (s.a.), after the passing away of the holy Prophet (saw.), suffered many oppressions and innumerable attacks on her rights. Then she, under the painful effects of such excesses passed away from this world. Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was the youngest child of the holy Prophet (saw.). She was born to lady Khadija (s.a.) and was the youngest remembrance of the holy Prophet (saw.) left for the Ummah.
Thereafter the memorials of Fatima Zahra are Hasan (a.s), Husain (a.s), Zainab (a.s) and Umme Kulsoom (a.s). The Quranic verses and hadiths describing the grace and nobility of Fatima Zahra (s.a.) are so many that the brevity of this book does not suffice to accommodate all of them. As Fatima Zahra (a.s) was buried secretly at night in the presence of only Ali (a.s), Hasan, Husain and a small selected group of Bani Hashim, the actual location of her blessed grave of this dearest daughter of the holy Prophet (saw) is not known to common Muslims. But it is likely that her holy grave is situated in one of the mausoleums.
Translation from Persian: Syed Athar Husain Rizvi