Examining the history of Islam gives us a clear vision of the position of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH) with regards to the political situations after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP).
Among the reactions of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) towards the incidents at that period of time, her complaint against the government for the usurpation of the Land of Fadak(1) and her objections to it are of specific importance.
A question might arise that:” Did Lady Fatimah (PBUH) rise and show her intense opposition because the products and benefits of Fadak was taken away from her?” In other words,” Should we consider the incident of Fadak a personal dispute?”
To answer this question, it is sufficient to refer to the sermon Lady Fatimah (PBUH) delivered in the Mosque of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) before the Caliph and in the presence of a huge crowd of the companions as her most clear sign of objection.
Lady Fatimah (PBUH) started her sermon with praising Allah (SWT), and after testifying to the oneness of Allah (SWT) and the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), and mentioning the greatness of the Holy Quran and the rulings of religion, she described her relation to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP).
She went on by explaining the role of Imam Ali (PBUH) in the mission of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) and how he protected the religion. She introduced the brother of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as the agent by whom Allah (SWT) extinguished the fire of animosity of the Pagans against Islam in the wars. Then, to make a comparison, she added,
“…This happened while you were resting in peace in the midst of all those dangers!”(2)
What an amazing contrast Lady Fatimah (PBUH) has made here. She has compared the greatest example of courage and bravery in the history of Islam with people who stood back in the battlefields as opposed to doing sacrifice in the way of Allah (SWT), and even ran away from fighting in some instances; such an act that is clearly condemned and forbidden according to the verses of the Holy Quran (3).
In another part of her sermon where she asks for her property to be given back, she responds to the claim of Abu Bakr that the Prophets do not leave anything as inheritance behind by referring to the book of Allah (SWT):
“Is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father and I do not inherit mine? You have come up with a strange accusation. Do you intentionally abandon the Book of Allah and cast it behind your back? Does not the Book of Allah say that:” And Sulayman (Solomon) inherited Dawood (David) (4)”? And when it narrates the story Yahya (John) son of Zakariya (Zechariah) says:” So give me a child who will inherit me and the family of Ya’qoob (Jacob)(5)”?… Did Allah (SWT) reveal a verse regarding you from which He excluded my father? …Is it that you have more knowledge about the specifications and generalizations of the Quran than my father and my cousin?(6)”
It is evident that in this part of the sermon, Lady Fatimah (PBUH) explained how the act of the Caliph was against the Holy Quran, and that it had no basis in the Divine words. In fact, Lady Fatimah (PBUH) put those who claimed to be the successors of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) in a great challenge, which was unawareness of the book of Allah (SWT); this challenge on its own disclosed their unworthiness for being the successor of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP).
Therefore, this argument was indeed much broader than just a personal dispute for the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). This sermon describes a firm intention of this Lady to bring back those who had returned to their ignorance to the path of Islam.
By asking for Fadak, Lady Fatimah (PBUH) sent an eternal, important message to all the followers of the Holy Quran throughout the entire history; a message that expressed the deviation of the Islamic nation from the straight path and the misplacement of the leadership of the nation. This message was even observed and referred to by eminent Suuni scholars centuries later. Ibn Abil Hadid Mu’tazili, the Sunni scholar and poet, says in his book:
I asked the teacher of the west Baghdad school (7):” Did Fatimah not say the truth?”
He said,” She did”.
I asked,” If so, then why did the Caliph not return Fadak to her?”
The teacher smiled and said,” If he had returned Fadak to her that day, she would have claimed Caliphate for her husband. Then the Caliph could not reject her saying, because he had acknowledged that whatever the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said was the truth” (8).
(The above is a selection taken from “Fadak in History”, by Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sadr, translated by Mahmoud Aabedi, with some additions)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 3rd of Jamaadi al-Thaani, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the protector of Wilayah and the defender of Imamate, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (PBUH).
1. Fadak was a prosperous village near Medina, originally a Jewish land. After Islam became dominant, Allah (SWT) cast fear in the hearts of the Jews; so in order to escape from fear, the Jews signed a peace treaty with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) regarding Fadak. Since Fadak was not conquered with military might, it became the personal property of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) according to the Holy Quran. After a while, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) offered it as a gift to his beloved daughter, Lady Fatimah (PBUH). Fadak was owned by Lady Fatimah (PBUH) until the demise of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) when the first Caliph usurped it from Lady Fatimah (PBUH). The huge incomes of Fadak were one of the main sources of the budget during his rulership.
2. An excerpt from the Sermon of Fadakyiah
Sources: Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 29, pp. 224-225; Ihtijaaj, vol. 1, p. 101…
The sermon has also been narrated in Sunni references such as Balaaghat al-Nisa, vol. 1, pp. 16-22; Al-Saqifah and Fadak, pp. 137-144 with some differences.
3. In verse 15 of Chapter 8 of the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) addresses the believers by saying,” O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve in a battlefield, then do not turn your backs to them (and do not run away)”. Then He continues by saying,” And whoever shall turn his back to them (the disbelievers) on that day, unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to join a group (of fighters), then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah’s wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be”.
It is clear that Allah (SWT) considers running away from the battlefield as a great sin; however, unfortunately some of the Muslims ran away from the vital battles of the beginning years of Islam which had extra importance in protecting the existence of Islam. According to the historical texts, some of the great companions including the first three Caliphs were among those who ran away from battlefields.
For example, in the battle of Uhud when the disbelievers attacked the Muslims, despite the explicit statement of the Holy Quran in which the Messenger of Allah (SWT) ordered the Muslims to stand firm (Chapter 2, verse 153), a large number of Muslims left the battlefield, turned their backs to the enemy, and climbed the mountain of Uhud.
In this regard, some of the Sunni historians and narrators have quoted Ayisha that whenever the first Caliph remembered the battle of Uhud, he regretted having left the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) alone (Mustadrak of Hakim, vol. 3, p. 298; Tabaqaat of Ibn Sa’ad, vol. 3, p. 163; Al-Bidayah Wa Al-Nahayah, vol. 4, p. 33; Musnad Abi Dawood al-Tayalasi, vol. 1, p. 8). Even the second Caliph, according to what has been narrated in Tafsir Tabari (vol. 7, p. 327), Al-Dur Al-Manthur (vol. 2, p. 355), Kanz al-Ummaal (vol. 2, p. 376) clearly confessed that he had left the Messenger of Allah (SWT) in that difficult situation and ran away.
4. The Holy Quran (27, 16)
5. The Holy Quran (19, 5 & 6)
6. Another excerpt from Sermon of Fadakyiah of Lady Fatimah (PBUH).
7. The author refers to Abul Hassan Ali ibn Ali Al-Faariqi Al-Shaafei, one of the great Sunni jurists and scholars who used to teach at the military and west Baghdad schools.
8. Commentary of Nahj al-Balaghah by Ibn Abil Hadid, vol. 16, p. 284