Rafed English

The Political Dimensions of the Case of Fadak

Adopted from the book : "Fadak in History" by : "Shahid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr"

This was Fatimite revolution in its sentimental aspect, which was composed of many aspects.The clearest and the most dominent one was the political aspects.When I say that, I do not mean by politics the widespread notion among the public nowadays, which concentrates on crookedness and fabrication but I mean the real straight notion. He, who scrutinizes the steps of the dispute and its seccessive forms, does not understand it as a case of asking for a piece of land, but he perceives a mission further than that calling for an ambitious aim that prompts to revolt in order to regain stolen throne, a lost crown and a great glory and revive the inverted umma.1

Hence Fadak was a symbolic meaning representing a great notion and not that seized piece of land in Hijaz. This symbolic meaning of Fadak transferred it from an ordinary dispute shrunken in a limited circle to a big revolution with a wide horizon. Try to study whatever you like of the true historical documents about the case,will you find it a dispute about a property or a disagreement about a piece of land with its yields however much they were?

Certainly not! But it was the revolution against the bases of the rule and the outcry, by which Fatima wanted to pluck out the conerstone, on which history was built after the day of the Saqeefa.It suffices to read the speech that Fatima made in the mosque before the caliph and the crowd of the Muhajireen and the Ansar. Most of it was about praising Ali and his eternal situations for Islam.She recorded the right of the prophet's family that she considered as the means between Allah and His people and as Allah's choice, His sign of holiness, His argument among people and the heirs of the prophets for the caliphate and the rule.She warned the people of their bad fate because of their unsuccessful choice, their deviation, selecting an eligible one for the rule, the sedition2 they fell into and motives that led them to leave the Quran and oppose its commandment concerning the caliphate and the imamate.The matter was not a matter of inheritance or donation except to the account relating to the policy of the state.It was not a claim about a property or a house but it was, according to Fatima's opinion, (a matter of belief and unbelief, faith and hypocrisy and a matter of dictate and Shura).3

We also notice this political style in her talk with the women of the Muhajireen and the Ansar. She said: " Whereto did they move it from the position of the mission,the bases of the prophethood and the places of descent of Gabriel, who is aware of life and religion's affairs? That was the great loss. What did they deny from Abul Hassan (Ali)? Yes, they denied the beating of his sword, his forcefulness, his strict punishing and his venturing for the sake of Allah. By Allah, if they turned away from the rein, which the prophet had handed over to him (toImam Ali), he would catch it tenderly and he would move without harm or worry. He would lead them to a fresh flowing fount and would return them with satiety while he himself would not profit of anything but a little just to break his acute thirst and hunger.If they did so, they would be granted blessings from the Heaven and the earth 4 and they would be rewarded by Allah according to their deeds. Come on and listen! Whatever you live, you will see wonders, whose astonishment would last as long as you live! To what refuge they resorted and to what tie they clung! Evil certainly is the guardian and evil certainly is the associate and evil certainly is this change for the unjust! By Allah, they replaced the good with the bad and the just with the unjust. Disgrace be for people, who think they do well.Surely they themselves are the mischief makers, but they do not percieve. Woe to them! (Is He then who guides to the truth more worthly to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge? Quran : 10:35)"

History did not mention that the prophet's wives disputed with Abu Bakr about their inheritance. Were they more indifferent to the vanities of life and closer to the prophet's aspects than his daughter Fatima? Were they busy with the great misfortune ( the prophet's death) and his daughter was not ?! Or that the political circumstances separated them and made Fatima the oppositionist away from the prophet's wives,who were not disturbed by the situations of the rule.

It might be certain that Fatima found that her husband's followers and his best companions, who did never have any doubt about her truthfulness, would add their witnesses to Ali 's and so the evidence would be clear to the calipha. Did not that show us that the high aim of fatima ,which was known well by the all ,was not to prove the donation or the inheritance but to do away with the results of the Saqqefa?5 that would not be by giving the evidence about the case of fadak, but to give the evidence to all of the people that they had deviated from the right way.6 this was exactly what fatima wanted to do by her struggling plan.

Let us hear the caliph's speech after Fatima finished her speech andleft the mosque.He ascended the minbar and said : "O people,what is the attention to every saying ! Were these wishes available at the time of the prophet (s) ? let every one say whatever he heard and tell of whatever he saw.He7 is not but a fox, whose witness is his tail .He keeps to every sedition. It is he, who says: "Bring it back as it was before(sedition and commotion)!" (they) ask for the help of the weak and women.He is like ummTihal,8 whose family was delighted with her prostitution. If I wanted to say, I would say and if I said,I would reveal but I am silent as long as I am not provoked." Then to the Ansar and said: "O people of Ansar, I have heard the saying of your foolish people. You were the best of those, who kept to the prophet's obligations. He came to you and you sheltered and helped him. I do not want to punish or scold whoever does not deserve that (from us)".9This speech uncovers for us some aspects of the caliph's personality and sheds a light on Fatima's dispute with him. What important for us now is that what this speech shows about the dispute and the caliph's impression about it. He perceived well that the protest of Fatima was not about the inheritance or the donation but it was a political war, as we would call nowadays, and complaining about the wrong doing to her great husband, whom the caliph and his companions wanted to keep away from his natural position in the world of Islam. So he did not talk except about Ali.He described him as a fox,the cause of every sedition, (umm Tihal) and that Fatima was his tail that followed him. He did not mention anything about the inheritance.Let us notice the tradition in the Sihah (Sunni books of Hadith) that Ali and his uncle al-Abbas disputed about Fadak during the reign of Omar. Ali said that the prophet (s) had donated it to Fatima.Al-Abbas denied that and that it was the prophet's ownership and that he (al-Abbas) was the heir. They went to Omar to judge betweeen them. Omar refused to judge between them and said: "You are more aware of your affairs and as for me, I have given it to you".10

We understand from this tradition-if it was true-that the decision of the caliph was a temporary political decision and that the situation was one of the necessities of the rule at that critical time, otherwise why did Omar ignored the tradition of Abu Bakr and put it aside to give Fadak to al-Abbas and Ali? His situation with them showed that he considered Fadak as a part of the prophet's inheritance and nothing else, because if it was but so, Ali and Abbas would not dispute about it whether it was a donation from the prophet (s) to Fatima or a part of his inheritance that his heirs deserved. What was the important of this dispute if the caliph (Omar) thought that Fadak was the Muslim's wealth and that he entrusted them (Ali and al-Abbas) with it to take care of it ? Could not he end the dispute between them and tell them that he did not think it was a part of the inheritance or it belonged to Fatima and that he entrusted them with it just to take care of it instead of him? He did not decide to give Fadak to Ali alone that he was not certain if the prophet had donated it to Fatima or not. So there was no away to justify his giving it to Ali and al-Abbas except by considering it as inheritance.Hence the case had two possibilities;

The first : That Omar accused Abu Bakr of fabricating the tradition of denying the inheritance.11

The second : That he interpreted the tradition and understood that it did not object to bequeating but he did not discuss it with Abu Bakr when the latter told of it.Wheather this or that was true,the political side was clear in this case, otherwise why did Omar accuse the first caliph of fabricating the tradition if it did not concern the policy of the government at hesitate in declaring his objection to the prophet and the first caliph in many cases, hide his interpretation?

It was clear that Fatima claimed for her inheritance after ruling party seized it because it was not common for people to ask the caliph's permission in order to recieve their inheritances or to give inheritances to the possessors. So Fatima did not have to consult with the caliph and was not in need of his opinion where he was unjust 12 and that he leapt on the throne as she thought. Hence her asking for her inheritance must be the echo of the nationalization-as we say nowadays-of the inheritance as a pretext to seize it. I say : if we knew that Fatima did not ask he rights before they were extracted from her, we would find that the circumstance of her claim encouraged, to a far extent, the oppositionists to seize the opportunity of the case of the inheritance to resist the ruling party in a peaceful manner required for the common wealth at that time and to accuse it of plundering, altering the bases of the Sharia and dealing with the law carelessly.

1- With reference to Qurnic verse: ( And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back on you beels? and whoever turns back on his beels,! so, he will by means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the greatful) 3:144. And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back?

Refer to tradition talking about the apostasy of people ( after the prophet' s death). The prophet (s) said: "I precede you to the pond (On the Day of resurrection).Some men, whom I know, will be brought but they will preventen from me.I say: They are my companions. It is said: You do not know what they did after you. Then I say: Away with him! he, who distorded (the sunna), after me ..." Refer to al-Bukhari's Sahih vol.8, p.86, al-Kashahaf by az-Zamakhshari vol.4, p.811 and at-Tabari's Tareekh vol.2, p.245

2- Refer to the case of Saqeefa in at-Tabari's Tareekh vol. 2 p.235 and the following page. It was mentioned that: " The homage of Abu Bakr was a slip ..."

3- This was according to the Fatimite's thought about the case. She said in her speech: " You claimed that you fear a sediation to happen... then she recited this verse: (Surely into trial have they already tumbled down, and most surely hell encompass the unbelievers). 9:49. Refer to the full descussion of (The origin of the Shiism and the shia) edited by Dr. Abdul Jabbar Sharara.

4- Her speach means: (If they let imam Ali be the calipha , as the prophet had ordered , he would rule with justice and fairness.He would never burden them with more than their abilities.He would make them live in luxury and ease while he himself would live in asceticism)

5- Refer to sharh Nahjul Balagha vol.16p.236. it seemed that the caliph realized that ,so he prevented it. It seemed clear by the argument between the second caliph (Omar) and Ibn Abbas. It was mentioned by at-Tabari in his tareekh vol.2 p.578 that Omar said: "O ibn Abbas,do you know why they prevented your people -the Hashimites -(from the caliphate) after muhammad (s) ?Ibn Abbas said: I hated to answer him and said with my self if I did not know amirul mu'mineen would tell him. Omar said; they hated that both the prophethood and the caliphate would be for you -the Hashimites-so they boasted again you.Quraysh chose for itself and succceded. I said would you allow me to talk? He said: O Ibn abbas talk ! I said As for your saying that (Quraysh chose and it succeded) ... if Quraysh chose as Allah had chosen,it would be the right choice no doubt ... and as for you saying (they hated that the prophethood and the caliphate both being for )Allah had described some people by hating when He said :(that is because they hated what Allah revealed, so he rendered their deeds null)47:9.

6- Sharh Nahjul Balagha vol.16p.236.

7- He means Imam Ali!

8- A name of a famous prostitute in the pre-Islamic age.

9- Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 16 p.214-215

10- Sharh Nahjul Balagha vol.16 p.221.Refer to the traditions confirming that Ali was the guardian,the heir and the caliph after the prophet (s). Refer for example to The history of Damascus by ibn Assakir vol.3 p.5 to see the saying of the prophet." Every prophet had a guardian and heir.Ali is my guardian and heir".
Refer to famous tradition of ad-Dar mention in at-Tabari's Tareekh vol.3 p.218, al-Khazin's Tafseer vol.3 p.371 about the interpretation of the verse: (And warn your nearest relations) and Ahmad's Musnad vol.2 p.352.

11- With refrence to the traditon narrated by Abu Bakr alone when he said that the prophet had said: "We the prophets, do not bequeath. What we leave is to be as charity". Refer to as-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa p. 34 and Sharh Nahjul Balagha vol. 19p.223.

12- Refer to the dialogue between the second caliph and Ali and al-Abbas bin Abd al-Mutallib as mentioned in Sharh Nahjul Balagha vol.16 p.222.

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