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Fadak: The property of Fatima al-Zahra (sa)

Fadak is a controversial issue that has since the death of Rasulullah(saww) created an open wound between the Sunni and Shi'a schools of thought.

The best summary exists from Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 53, Number 325:
Narrated Ayesha(mother of the believers), After the death of Allah's Apostle Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Apostle asked Abu Bakr As-Siddiq to give her the share of inheritance from what Allah's Apostle had left of the Fai (i.e. booty gained without fighting) which Allah had given him. Abu Bakr said to her, "the Holy Prophet (saww) had said, Our property will not be inherited, whatever we (i.e. prophets) leave is Sadaqah (to be used for charity)." Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Apostle got angry and stopped speaking to Abu Bakr, and continued assuming that attitude till she died. Fatima remained alive for six months after the death of the Holy prophet(saww).

We read further down in the same Hadith:
Narrated Aisha: "…She used to ask Abu Bakr for her share from the property of Allah's Apostle which he left at Khaibar, and Fadak, and his property at Medina (devoted for charity). Abu Bakr refused to give her that property and said, "I will not leave anything Allah's Apostle used to do, because I am afraid that if I left something from the Prophet's tradition, then I would go astray." …

What is clear is that the scholars of Ahl’ul Sunnah have fought tirelessly to uphold the decision of Abu Bakr as correct. The reason that they do so is because so much hangs on upholding Abu Bakr's stance. After all if he is proven wrong then they will have to admit that the Khalifa coined a tradition to justify the usurpation of Fadak from Sayyida Fatima(sa). The matter would not just end there it will raise more serious issues such as:

  1. The Justice of the Sahaba - If the 'best friend' of the Prophet(saww) could behave in such an unjust manner what can we expect of the other Sahaba?
  2. If Abu Bakr ruled in such an unjust manner then how can he be deemed the rightly guided Khalifa of the Prophet(saww)?
  3. If hatred for Abu Bakr is a sin then why did Sayyida Fatima(sa) hate Abu Bakr until her dying day?

The status of Fadak under the Shari'ah

There were several types of things, upon which Rasool Allah(saww) had a right to -E.g. Zakat, Ghanimat, Fay etc.

What is the difference between Ghanimah and Fay?

We read in Tafseer Kabeer, v8, p125 and Tafseer Muraghi under the commentary of Surah Hashar:

وهو أن الغنيمة ما أتعبتم أنفسكم في تحصيلها وأوجفتم عليها الخيل والركاب بخلاف الفيء فإنكم ما تحملتم في تحصيله تعبا

"Ghanimah is (that property) in which you had worked to get it and used horses or rode while the Fay is (that property) in which you didn't have make efforts to attain."

Fadak was the Fay Property

The Qur'an has ruled on the status of Fadak as property of Fay.
What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from them - for this ye made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry (like Fadak): but Allah gives power to His messengers over any He pleases: and Allah has power over all things.
Al-Qur'an, Surah 59, Ayah 6, translated by Yusufali

Commentaries of the Qur'an confirm that Fadak was Fay property

  1. Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 10 page 506
  2. Tafseer Mazhari, p238
  3. Tafseer Ruh Al-Ma'ani, Tafseer Surah Hashr.
  4. Tafseer Muraghi, Tafseer Surah Hashr.
  5. Tafseer Durr-e-Manthur, Tafseer Surah Hashr.
  6. Tafseer Juwahir Tantawi, Tafseer Surah Hashr.

Imam Fakhrudeen Radhi writes in Tafseer Kabeer:

"This verse was revealed with regard to Fadak, which the Prophet(saww) acquired as it was conquered without any fighting."
 Tafseer al-Kabeer, Vol. 10, page 506

From all these Sunni commentaries it is clear that Fadak was property of Fay, which the Prophet gave to Fatima Zahra(sa) as a gift. But after the death of Allah's Apostle, Abu Bakr seized it by force. 

The Prophet(saww) owned all of Fadak

For proof we shall cite the following Sunni works: 

  1. Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim, Volume 2, p92
  2. Sunan Nasai, v7, p137
  3. Wafa ul Wafa, v4, p1280
  4. Sirat un Nabi by Ibn Hisham, v3, p353
  5. Tareekh Abul Fida, p140, Dhikr Ghazwa Khayber

Imam Nawawi writes in his Sharh of Sahih Muslim:
"Half the Land of Fadak, which was given by the Jews following the peace treaty, was purely the property of Rasool Allah(saww). Similarly, 1/3rd of the Valley of Qari which was given by the Jews after the peace treaty and 2 castles of Khayber which is al-Watikh & al-Selalem, were owned by him after the peace treaty. The third his share 1/5 of Khaybar booty after the conquest by force, these were the exclusive properties of the Prophet(saww) and no one else had a share of it".

However as opposed to all other Sunni historians, Shah Waliyullah in "Quratul Ain" p228 and Ibn Taymeeya in his Minhaj al Sunnah, Dhikr of Fadak, both have impertinently refused to accept that Fadak was in possession of the Prophet(saww). We have proven from 5 esteemed Sunni works that the Prophet(saww) had exclusive ownership of Fadak.

Umar also deemed Fadak to be the exclusive property of Rasulullah(saww)

This is proven from al Farooq Volume 2 page 289-290 by Shams al Hind Allamah Shibli Numani:
"…after the conquest of Syria and Iraq Omar addressed the companions, he declared on the basis of the Holy Qur'an that the conquered territories were not the property of any man, but that they were a national trust, as has been discussed under Fay. However, from the verse of the Qur'an it appears that the lands of Fadak were the Holy Prophet's own property, and that Omar himself understood the verse to imply so. What Allah has made this people (i.e. Bani Nadir) deliver to his Apostle, to conquest which you did not lead any camels or horses, but Allah empowers his Apostles over who, he pleases". On reading this verse Omar declared that the land was reserved for the Holy Prophet. The matter is mentioned in Sahih al Bukhari in detail in the chapters on Khums al Maghazi and al Mirath"
 Al-Farooq, Vol. 2, Page 289 & 290

The Prophet(saww) also gave Fatima Zahra(sa) a written instruction about Fadak

Following are the proofs from authority works of Ahl'ul-Sunnah:

  1. Rauzat ul Safa as quoted in Tashdheed-ul-Mathaeen page 102
  2.  Ma'arij un Nabuwwah, page 321
  3. Habeeb us Siyaar, vol 1, Dhikr of Ghazwa Khayber

The texts read as follows:
"Jibrael (as) came to Prophet Muhammad(saww) and told him that Allah (swt) had ordered that he give the Dhul Qurba (close relatives) their rights. Rasulullah(saww) asked who was meant from Dhul Qurba and what is meant from 'right'. Jibrael (as) replied that Dhul Qurba refers to Fatima Zahra(sa), and from 'right' it is meant the property of Fadak. The Prophet(saww) called Fatima and presented Fadak to her giving her a written paper as a proof. This paper was presented to Abu Bakr after the death of Rasool Allah(saww) by Fatima and she said that it was the paper which the Prophet(saww) wrote for her, Hasan and Husayn"


The contents of the written paper

In Fatawa Azizi, page 165, (published Karachi) al Muhaddith Shah Abdul Aziz sets out the contents of the written document:
Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib bin Hashim bin Abd Manaf has given this piece of land, whose premises are known, to his daughter Fatima Zahra. And after her, this land is entrusted to her children. And anyone who denies it after hearing it, then it's sin is on his head. And Allah is "Sami" and "Aleem".

We have proved from 10 Sunni works that the Prophet(saww) presented Fadak to Fatima Zahra(sa) as a gift by the orders of Allah(swt) and it was in her possession. But the same Shah Abdul Aziz in "Tuhfa Ithna Ashari", "Shah Wali Ullah" in "Quratul Ain" and Ibn Taymeeya in "Minhaj-us-Sunnah" and their modern day apprentice al Khider in 'Fadak' continue to lie by denying this fact. May Allah's curse be upon these liars!

Abu Bakr usurped the land of Fadak and Fatima Zahra(sa) asked him for her Right

As evidence we have relied on the following esteemed Sunni works:

  1. Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 53, Number 325 and Volume 5, Hadeeth number 546, pp 381-383
  2. Sahih Muslim, Volume 2 page 72, Chapter 'Prophets leave no inheritance
  3. Sunan Abu Dawood Book 19, Tribute, Spoils, and Rulership (Kitab Al-Kharaj, Wal-Fai' Wal-Imarah) Number 2967:
  4. Sunan al Kabeera Volume, 6 page 30 (published in Hyderabad)
  5. Riyadh al Nadira Volume, 4 page 231 (Baghdad publishers)
  6. Sawaiqh al Muhriqa, page 21 Bab Muthaeen Abu Bakr
  7. Maujam-ul-Buldan, Volume 3 page 312, Dhikr Fadak
  8. Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 8 page 125 Ayat Fay
  9. Kanz al Ummal, Volume 3 page 129, Kitab al Khilafat ma al Imara
  10. al Milal wa al Nihal, Volume 1 page 18
  11. al Bidayah wa al Nihaya, Volume 5 page 245
  12. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 4 page 1825
  13. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Volume 1 page 158
  14. Tareekh Khamees, Volume 2 page 174
  15. Futuh al Buldan, page 35
  16. Wafa al Wafa, page 995
  17. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd (Book of the Major Classes, d. 852 AD.), Volume 2, page 392 translated by S. Moinul Haq assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A.
  18. Naseem al Riyadh, Sharh Shifa Qadhi Khan Volume 3 page 414

The irony of the matter lies in the fact that it was proven by witness testimony. Sayyida Fatima(sa) brought forth witnesses to corroborate her claim, and he still struck it out. The scholars of Ahl'ul Sunnah do not deny that witnesses were presented (as this Nasibi is claiming). They state that (for various reasons) those testimonies were not accepted.

One of the main defences that Abu Bakr's advocates like Ibn Hajr al Makki on the Fadak dispute present is that the number of witnesses required were not met. This is mentioned in the following authentic Sunni works:

  1. Sharh ibn al Hadeed, Volume 4 page 113
  2. Futuh al Buldan, page 35 printed 1350 Hijri, Egypt.
  3. Tafseer Kabeer Volume 10 page 506
  4. Seerath al Halabeeya, Volume 3 page 498
  5. Sharah Mawaqif, page 735 page 735
  6. Sawaiqh al Muhriqa, page 22 Bab Mathaeen Abu Bakr
  7. Maujam-ul-Buldan, Volume 4 page 239
  8. Wafa al Wafa, Volume 3 page 999 Bab Sadaqath un Nabi

We read in Sharah Mawaqif:
If it is advanced that Fatima claimed that Rasulullah had bestowed Fadak to her and that Ali, Hassan, Husayn, Umme Kulthum testified in her favour, and the Sahih view is that Umm Ayman testified in her favour and Abu Bakr rejected their testimony which made him an oppressor, so we will reply that the testimonies of Hasan and Husayn were not accepted being her progeny and minors. As for the testimonies of Ali and Umm Ayman, they were rejected being short of the requirement.

If the Nasibi are still not convinced then we now present the admission of Ibn Hajr al Makki in his Sawaiqh al Muhriqa, Page 138 & 139. He defends Abu Bakr as follows:
Fatima made a claim that Rasulullah(saww) left Fadak for her and she presented the testimonies of Umm Ayman and Ali in her favour, yet the criteria for witness numbers was not met. There are differences amongst the scholars as to whether a husband can testify in favour of a claim made by his wife. It can also be said that Fatima did not ask her witnesses to make a claim on oath. People have also said that Hassan and Husayn testified in support of Fatima's claim, this is Batil, the testimony of offspring or underage children in favour of their parents is unacceptable.
 Sawaiq al-Muhriqa, Page 138 & 139



May the Peace and Blessings be upon Muhammad and Ale Muhammad. We thank Hadhrat Fatima Al- Zahra(sa) for removing the layers of darkness from our eyes and the obstacles from our path and for spreading the light for us in darkness, by going and speaking against such actions which were contradictory to the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah. And through her actions it became clearer to us that, if the property of the Holy Prophet(saww) could be confiscated, if the most beloved to the Holy Prophet, Hadhrat Fatima al-Zahra(sa), could be deprived of her rights, by the Companions of the Holy Prophet(saww) then surely it is reasonable to accept that Imam Ali(as) too was deprived of his Leadership in Islam.


Allamah Sadr'adeen al-Hanafi in Riwaya al-Mustafa pages 36-37 (published Ahmad Kanpur) despite his being Sunni uttered the truth when he exposed the ruthless motive of Abu Bakr:
"We have proven that Abu Bakr took Fadak from Fatima without any basis. The grounds was a mere excuse based on political consideration that had the objective of lowering the esteem of Banu Hashim in people's eyes, make them dependent on others so that the people's hearts can focus towards us"

Whether readers agree with this assertion, is up to them but we have tried to present to our readers is the fact that the Ahle Sunnah have advanced all manner of excuse to defend Abu Bakr's injustice and 'explain' the anger of Sayyida Fatima(sa), and the comments of Salafi scholar Waheed uz-Zaman are particularly notable, in his footnote to the tradition in Saheeh al Bukhari he states.
"Hadhrat Abu Bakr heard this hadeeth himself from the Prophet(s), therefore how could he go against his(s)'s saying? And Hadhrat Fatima(sa) became angry with him because she did not have the knowledge of this hadeeth."
 Tayseer ul-Bari Sharh Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Page 243

What exactly was Sayyida Fatima(sa) angry at? Was she angry because Abu Bakr told her something she didn't want to hear? Why would she be angered at Abu Bakr, whose only wrongdoing was to convey something allegedly relayed to him by her father? We are left with two options.

Option One: She was angry at her father. This clearly makes no sense, moreover why would she have taken this anger out on Abu Bakr, boycotting him and insisting he not attend her funeral prayers? All this anger just because poor Abu Bakr told her the Hadeeth of her deceased father?

Option Two: She was angry at Khalifa Abu Bakr, because she did not believe the veracity of the Hadeeth that Abu Bakr had advanced. Saheeh al Bukhari certainly points to this, and if so why? Would she be angry at Abu Bakr for telling her the truth? What would be the basis for to hold such a grudge if she believed the word of Abu Bakr?

We have presented all the details of the Fadak dispute to our readers and hence it is now time to make the decision who was right and who was wrong in this decision? There are only two conclusions available for readers to choose:

Conclusion One: Sayyida Fatima(sa) whether through ignorance, forgetfulness or deviousness made a claim to her father's inheritance. Abu Bakr correctly pointed out that Prophets leave no inheritance. Rather than thank Abu Bakr for clarifying the matter, she bore malice towards him for telling the truth and kept aloof from him for the rest of her short life. By doing so she committed a grave sin (since you are only permitted to be angry with a fellow Muslim for a maximum of three days) and she died the death of Jahilyya since you refused to recognise Abu Bakr as the Imam of her time.

Conclusion Two: Sayyida Fatima (as) was perfectly right with her claim to her father's inheritance. Rather than give it Abu Bakr fabricated a tradition to justify the unlawful / unjust usurpation of Fadak, Sayyida Fatima (as) reacted by never speaking to Abu Bakr again, she did not recognise him as the Imam of her time, and did not even want him to participate in her funeral.

We now leave to our readers to decide which of these conclusions they wish to choose.