Published on 24th
Akram Islamic Centre, Sydney
The motive which causes us to
further pursue the history of Fadak and to extract the
continuation of events after it for a period of three
centuries from the texts of the historical books is to clarify
The rule of
annulment of inheritance from prophets made by the Holy Prophet
('s), in other words, that the
property of the Holy Prophet ('s) is a part of the public
and belongs to all Muslims. This was claimed by the first Caliph Abu
Bakr, and was rejected by his successors,
both by the next two caliphs (Umar and Uthman), and by the Umayyads
and the Abbasids. We must consider that the lawfulness and rightfulness of their caliphate depended upon the correctness
and the lawfulness of the first caliph and his actions.
and the descendants of Fatimah ('a) never had any hesitation regarding the rightfulness and justifiability of
their claim. They insisted and confirmed that Fatima ('a) had always been right and that Abu Bakr's claim had always been
rejected, and they did not yield to the false claim.
of the Caliphs made a decision to put into effect Allah's command, in regards to
Fadak, to observe justice and equity, and to restore the right to the entitled one in
conformity with Islamic rules, he used to return back the Fadak to the descendants of Fatima
('a) and to hand it over
Umar was the most harsh person in keeping Fatima ('a)
from Fadak and her inheritance as he himself confessed:
" When the
Messenger of Allah (''s) died, I came along with Abu Bakr to Ali ibn
Abu Talib ('a), and said:
" What do you have to say about what has
been left by the Messenger of Allah?"
He ('a) replied:
" We have
the most rights with the Holy Prophet ('s)."
" Even those properties of Khaibar?"
He ('a) said:
even those of Khaybar."
I said :
" Even those of Fadak?",
" Yes, even those of Fadak."
Then I said:
"By Allah we say no, even if you cut our necks with saws."
- Majma al
Zawaid, vol 9 pp 39-40
As mentioned in the previous article, Umar took the
document of Fadak and tore it up. But when Umar became caliph
(13/634-23/644) he gave back the Fadak to the inheritors of
the Holy Prophet ('s). Yaqut al Hamawi, the famous historian and geographer, following the event of Fadak
'Then, when Umar
ibn al Khattab became the caliph and gained victories and the
Muslims had secured abundant wealth (i.e the public treasury
satisfied the caliphate's needs), he made his judgment
contrary to that of his predecessor, and that was to give it (Fadak)
back to the Prophet's heirs. At that time Ali ibn Abi Talib and
Abbas ibn Abd al Muttalib disputed Fadak.
('a) said that
the Holy Prophet ('s) had bestowed it on Fatima ('a) during
his life time. Abbas denied this and used to say:
"This was in the possession of the Holy Prophet ('s), and I am
sharing with his heirs."
They were disputing this with among each other
and asked Umar to settle the case:
"Both of you are more conscious
and aware to your problem; but I only give it to you." [See note
for this para]
- Mujam al
Buldan, vol 4 p 238-9
- Wafa al Wafa, vol 3 p 999
- Tadhib al Tadhib, vol 10 p 124
- Lisan al Arab, vol 10 p 473
- Taj al Arus, vol 7 p 166
(Note: The last part of the historic event has been
inserted after wards to demonstrate the
matter of inheritance by the brother of the deceased or the
paternal uncle of the deceased when he has no sons. This problem is a
matter of dispute between Islamic Sects. The judicial and the jurisprudential
discussion is separate from our goal. We are only
discussing the matter historically.
Abbas had no
claim in this case because he had not shown that he had a share in this
property, nor did his descendants consider it to be among their
assets even when they had become caliphs and were reigning. They
owed this estate either in their position as Caliphs, or they
used to return it to the descendants of Fatima ('a) when they had
decided to be just governors.)
When Uthman ibn Affan became the caliph after the death
of Umar, he granted Fadak to Marwan ibn al Hakam, his cousin,
and this was one of the causes of the vindictive feelings
among the Muslims towards Uthman, which ended in the revolt
against him and his murder.
- as Sunan al Kubra, vol 6 p 301
- Wafa al Wafa, vol 3 p 1000
- Sharah, ibn Al Hadid, vol 1 p 198
- al Maarif, al Qutaybah, p 195
- al Iqd al Farid, vol 4 p 283, 485
- at Tarikh, Abul Fida, vol 1 p 168
- Ibn al Wardi, vol 1 p 204
In this way Fadak fell into the possession of Marwan; he used
to sell crops and products for at least ten thousand dinars
per year, and if in some years its income decreased, this drop
was not very pronounced. This was its usual profit until the
time of the Caliphate of Umar ibn Abd al Aziz (in 100.718).
- Tabaqat, Ibn Sa'ad, vol 5 p 286-7
- Subh al Asha, vol 4 p 291
When Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan became the Caliph, he
became the partner with Marwan and others in Fadak. He
allotted one third to Marwan, and one third to Amr ibn Uthman
ibn Affan and one third to his son, Yazid. This was after the
death of Imam Hasan ('a). In the words of the Sunni historian, Yaqubi
"To make angry the progeny of the Holy
- at Tarikh, Yaqubi, vol 2 p 199
It was in the possession of the three above
mentioned persons until Marwan became Caliph and then he completely took
over possession over it. Then he donated to his two sons, Abd al Malik
and Abd al Aziz. Then Abd al Aziz donated his share to his son
ibn Abd al Aziz).
When Umar ibn Abd al Aziz became the Caliph he delivered
a lecture and mentioned that:
'Verily, Fadak was among the
things that Allah had bestowed on His Messenger, and no horse, nor
camel was pricked against it.'
As he mentioned the case of Fadak during the
past caliphates he said:
"Then Marwan gave
it to my father and to Abd al Malik. It became mine and al Walids
and Sulaymans (two sons of Abd al Malik).When al Walid
became caliph I asked him for his share and he gave it to me. Then
I gathered the three parts and I possess no property more
preferable to me than this. Be witness that I returned it to its
He wrote this to his governor in Medina (Abu
Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Amr ibn Hazm) and ordered him to carry out what he
had declared in the speech be delivered. Then Fadak came into the
possession of the children of Fatima ('a).
This was the
first removal of oppression by returning Fadak to the Children of
Imam Ali ('a).
- al Awail, Abu Hilal al Askari, p 209
When Yazid ibn Abd al Malik became caliph
(101/720-105/724) he seized Fadak and they (the children of Imam Ali (as))
were dispossessed. It fell into the possession of the Banu Marwan as it
had been previously. They passed it from hand to hand until their
caliphate expired and passed away to Banu al Abbas.
When Abul Abbas Abdullah as Saffah became the first
caliph of the Abbasid Dynasty (132/749-136/754) he gave back
Fadak to the Children of Fatima ('a) and submitted it to Abdullah ibn
al Hasan ibn al Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib.
When Abu Jafar Abdullah al Mansur ad Dawaniqi
(136/754-158/775) became the caliph, he seized Fadak from the children of
When Muhammad al Mahdi ibn al Mansur became caliph
(158/775-169/785) he returned Fadak to the children of Fatima
The Musa al Hadi ibn al Mahdi (169/785-170/786) and his
brother Harun ar Rashid (170/786-193/809) seized it from the
descendants of Fatima (as) and it was in the possession of Banu al
Abbas until the time that al-Mamun became the Caliph (193/831-218/833)
al Mamun al Abbasi gave it back to the descendants of
Fatima ('a). It is narrated through al Mahdi ibn Sabiq
"al Mamun one day
sat to hear the complaints of the people and to judging cases.
The first utter complaint which he received caused him to weep
when he looked at it. He asked where the attorney of Fatima ('a), daughter of the Holy Prophet
('s) was? An old man
stood up and came forth, arguing with him about Fadak and al Mamun
also argued with him until he overcame al Mamun".
- al Awail, p 209
al Mamun summoned the Islamic
Jurisprudents and interrogated them about the claim of Banu
narrated to al Mamun that the Holy Prophet ('s) gifted Fadak to
Fatima ('a) and that after the death of the Holy Prophet ('s),
Fatima ('a) demanded Abu Bakr to return Fadak to her. He asked her to
bring witnesses to her claim regarding the gift. She brought, Ali, al
Hasan, al Hussain and Umm Ayman, as her witnesses. They witnessed the
case in her favour. Abu Bakr rejected their witness. Then al Mamun
asked the scholars:
"What is your view about Umm Ayman?"
" She is a woman to whom the Holy Prophet ('s) bore witness
that she is an inhabitant of Paradise."
al Mamun disputed at length with
them and forced them to accept the arguments put forth by proofs
till they confessed that Ali, al Hasan, al Hussain and Umm Ayman had
witnessed only the truth. When they unanimously accepted this matter, he
restored Fadak to the descendants to Fatima ('a).
- at Tarikh, al Yaqubi, vol 3 p 195-96
During the period of al Mamun's caliphate Fadak was in
the possession of Fatimah's ('a.) descendants, and
this was confirmed during the caliphate of al Mutasim (218/833-227/842)
and al Wathiq (227/842 -232/847).
When Jafar al Mutawakkil became the caliph
(232/847-247/861), the one among them who was marked as an arch enemy
of the progeny of the Holy Prophet ('s), both of those
and of those dead, gave the order to recapture Fadak from the
descendants of Fatima ('a)
- Kashf al Ghumnah, vol 2 p 121-2
- al Bihar, vol 8 p 108
- Safinah al Bihar, vol 2 p 351
Sunni references [ For 3 - 13 ]
- Futuh al Buldan, vol 1 p 33-8
- Mujam al Buldan, vol 4 p 238-40
- at Tarikh, Yaqubi, vol 2 p 199, vol 3 p 48, 195-96
- al Kamil, Ibn Atheer, vol 2 p 224-225, vol 3 p 457, 497, vol
5 p 63,vol 7 p 116
- al Iqd al Farid, vol 4 p 216, 283, 435
- Wafa al Wafa, vol 3 p 999-1000
- al Tabaqat al Kabir, vol 5 p 286-7
- Tarikh ul Khulafa, p 231-32, 356
- Muruj ad Dhahab, vol 4 p 82
- Sirah Umar ibn Abd al Aziz, Ibn al Jawzi, p 110
- Sharah, ibn Al Hadid, vol 16 p 277-78
(279/892-289/902) returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima.
Then he mentioned that al Muqtafi
(289/902-295/908) seized it from them. It is said also that al Muqtadir
(295/908-320/932) returned it to them.
- Kash al Ghummah, vol 2 p 122
- al Bihar, vol 8 p 108
(then that) the judgment of (the times of pagan) ignorance they
And who (else) can be better than Allah to judge for
a people of assured faith.
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