Chapter Five: Imam Ali (as)’s position on Fadak

 

The view of Maula Ali (as)the most superior judge from amongst the Sahaba in relation to Abu Bakr’s ruling on the Fadak dispute

Nawasib can offer as many defences for Abu Bakr as they like, but the bottom line is that Imam Ali (as) did not deem Abu Bakr’s position to be correct, rather he was scathing in his criticism. We read in Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4349 that Umar acknowledged the following to Imam ‘Ali (as):

Umar’s Words:
When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) passed away, Abu Bakr said:” I am the successor of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him).” Both of you came to demand your shares from the property (left behind by the Messenger of Allah). (Referring to Hadhrat ‘Abbas), he said: You demanded your share from the property of your nephew, and he (referring to ‘Ali) demanded a share on behalf of his wife from the property of her father. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:” We do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity.” So both of you thought him to be a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest.

We appeal to justice, in any legal system the more senior a judge, the more reliability is afforded to his decision on account of a recognition that the said  judge excels all other on matters of law, so that what he opines will be the most accurate ruling on a matter based on an accurate interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah.  Now when we look at the companions of the Prophet (s) we see that the most senior judge from amongst them was Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as).  In this regard we read the following traditions:

بن أبي إياس ثنا شعبة عن أبي إسحاق عن عبد الرحمن بن يزيد عن علقمة عن عبد الله قال كنا نتحدث أن أقضى أهل المدينة علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه
هذا حديث صحيح على شرط الشيخين و لم يخرجاه

Abullah said: ‘We used to say that no one is the best Judge in Madina other than Ali’
Hakim said: ‘Sahih according to the standards of both Sheikhs’ 

This tradition also recorded in:

  1. Tabaqat kubra, by ibn Saad, v2, p339
  2. Tarikh Dimashq, v42, p404
  3. Al-Estiab, by ibn Abdulbar, v3, p1103

With this in mind it is logical that the viewpoint of Ali (as) on a legal matter will be the most accurate interpretation of the law, due to his being the most superior Judge from amongst the Sahaba.  This being the case when Imam Ali (as) supported the claim of his wife for Fadak, by:

  • testifying in support of her inheritance claim (as we proved in an earlier chapter)
  • submitted the same claim of his wife after she died (as can be evidenced by the abovementioned narrations that he “ demanded a share on behalf of his wife from the property of her father”)
  • rejecting the rulings of the Shaikhain deeming both liars, sinful, treacherous and dishonest for ruling against her

 

then his judgment is the most accurate and reliable judgment on the issue of Fadak, as this was the viewpoint of the most superior judicial authority from amongst the Sahaba.  It was a viewpoint that was diametrically opposed to Abu Bakr, we are therefore at a loss as to why so much ink has been wasted on defending Abu Bakr, when the opinion of Ali (as) the most senior judge from amongst the Sahaba should be more accepted as the final word on the matter.

Why didn’t Ali raise his sword to get Fadak back at the time?

Imam Ali’s reasons for not fighting at the time to restore Fadak are the same as why he didn’t fight to claim his rightful throne back, and we have addressed these points in our article on Taqiyyah.
 Taqiyyah (Expedient dissimulation)

If Nawasib are still not satisfied then allow us to give a more comprehensive reply from Kanz al Ummal, Volume 11 page 399 Tradition 31519:

Rasulullah (s) said to Ali: ‘When people love this world and shall usurp inheritance and love money so much amd used the religion of Allah as a source of income and the property of Allah as estates, what will you do? Ali (ra) replied: ‘I shall leave them alone, and shall seek out Allah (swt), his Prophet (s) and the next world. I shall bear patience in relation to worldly problems until I meet you’. Rasulullah (s) said: ‘You spoke correctly, O Allah! Give ‘Ali patience’.
 Kanz al Ummal, Volume 11 page 399 Tradition 31519

We appeal to justice. Abu Bakr loved this world and denied Sayyida Fatima (as) her legal right. If Hadhrat Ali (as) chose not to exercise force to get Fadak back, preferring the matter to be resolved on the Day of Judgement, he was acting in a way that had been endorsed as correct by Rasulullah (s).

The common Sunni/Nasibi counter attack and alleged Shia defences for Khalifa Ali (as)’s failure to reclaim Fadak

Al Khider employs the common counter attack method on the Fadak dispute:

It is therefore concluded that Fadak was neither inheritance nor a gift. This was exactly the position of Imam ‘Ali. When he became the Khaleefah he did not treat Fadak as the estate of his deceased wife Sayyidah Fatimah, by taking a quarter for himself and distributing the remaining three quarters between , Husayn and Umm Kulthum according to the rule “to the male twice the share of the female”. This is an established fact of history.

In the article ‘Fadak’ the unnamed author then sets out what he deems are Shi’a responses to Khalifa Ali (as)’s decision not to restore Fadak to the Ahl’ul bayt (as). He attributes four common excuses (conjured up in his mind) and then refutes each one of them. What is amusing is the fact that he fails to provide even a single Shi’a source wherein such a defence has been put forward. He attributes these defences to the Shi’a and then refutes them! Let us see the work of his genious mind:

1. “Members of the Ahlul-Bayt will not resume property usurped from them. As a matter of fact, when Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam, conquered Mecca, he did not take his home back from the Meccans who had usurped it from him.”

This answer is not sound. Hadhrat Khalif ‘Umar bin Abdul-’Aziz (Radhi Allahu Anhu), during his Khulafa, gave the orchard called Fedek to Hadhrat al-Imam Sayyid Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu), who accepted it, so that it was possessed by the Ahlul-Bayt A’immah until it was seized by Abbasid Khalifas. Then, in 203 Hijra, Khalifa Ma’mun wrote to his official, Qusam bin Ja’far and thus the orchard was given again to one of the Sayyid Imams, namely to al-Imam Ali Rida, and upon his death the same year, it was given to Yahya, a grandson of Zayd, who was the grandson of Sayyidina al-Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu). This person should not be mistaken for his namesake, Zayd, who was Hadhrat Sayyidah Nafisa’s grandfather and at the same time Hadhrat Sayyidina al-Hasan’s son. The orchard was usurped again by Khalifa Mutawakkil, who was Mamun’s grandson. Later on Mu’tadid gave it back again. If members of the Ahlul-Bayt (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhum Ajma’een) would not take back their usurped property, then why did these Imams (who were members of the Ahlul-Bayt) take the orchard back? By the same token, it is asserted that Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) usurped the office of Khalifa which belonged to Hadhrat Ali (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) by rights. Why did Hadhrat Ali (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) accept this “usurped” right later? Furthermore, why did Hadhrat al-Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) try to win his usurped right of Khaleefah back from Yazid so earnestly that he attained the gardens of martyrdom in the end?

Not to be hard done by modern day Salafi hero Ibn al Hasihmi also adopts the same line of argument…

Ibn al Hashimi states:

We have also seen the Shia propagandists claim that the reason Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t take back Fadak was that the Ahlel Bayt does not take back usurped property. To bolster this argument, the Shia will bring up the example of Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), whose Meccan home had been usurped by the infidels; upon conquering Mecca, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) did not take it back.This answer is very weak, and easily debunked by simply providing the names of Infallible Imams of the Shia who accepted usurped property. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz “returned” Fadak to Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, who accepted it. Imam Al-Baqir is considered to be one of the Infallible Imams of the Shia, and thus very much part of what the Shia consider to be the Ahlel Bayt. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz was wrong in returning Fadak (and his ruling was overturned by later Caliphs), but that’s not the point. The point is that we see here that one of their twelve Infallible Imams accepted usurped property.

The government once again took back Fadak, and then another Caliph came along later down the line who decided to once again return Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Caliph Ma’mun would return Fadak to Imam Rida, yet another of those whom the Shia consider to be Infallible Imams. And there are a couple more examples of the Shia Infallibles accepting usurped property. Thus, this argument of the Shia is baseless.

Reply

Since Nawasib have deprived themselves from attaining the benefits of the rhetoric and wisdom bestowed on the Ahlulbayt (as), they are incapable of grasping the matter and analyzing the issue from all its aspects. The Nasibi author has stated that “Members of the Ahlul-Bayt will not resume property usurped from them” but failed to understand the actual meanings of this belief in the light of the practice of the very members of Ahl’ul bayt (as). We do not know what the Nasibi author understood by the key word used in the sentence i.e. resume, whilst the actual meaning of this sentence is that if the members of Ahl’ulbayt (as) are in power, they ‘themselves’ do not take back the property or any other right that has been usurped from them but they (as) expect the usurpers or their adherents to realize the sin they committed and restore the legitimate right of Ahlulbayt to them (as). There is a minor yet major difference between taking one’s right back on his accord or an usurpers restoring it to its actual owner. All the examples mentioned by the Nasibi authors fall into the latter category therefore there isn’t any contradiction between the (alleged) belief quoted by both Nasibi authors and the examples they cited. Let us see one such tradition, recorded by Shaykh Seduq in Ilal-ul-Sharai, Volume 1 page 155 so that the points we have explained become clearer:

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Fadhal narrated from Abul-Hasan (Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha) [a]: I asked him about Amir-ul-Momineen, why he did not seek to return Fadak when he ruled the people, and he replied: “Because we the Ahlul Bayt do not take our rights from those who have wronged us, except Him (Allah). And we are the Awliya of the Momineen, we rule for them and take (and return) their rights from those that wronged them, and we do not take it for ourselves.”

The words of the Imam (as) make it clear that they rule for the benefit of the common man, when it comes to their personal usurped rights, they do not take them back themselves rather their expectation is that the usurpers and their adherents express remorse for the sin of usurping the right of Ahl’ul bayt (as) and accordingly restore that right to them.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) was given it back by the successor of the usurpers voluntarily, he didn’t take it back himself. It was then taken back by the Abbasids then given back, then taken back and so on. There is a big difference between Imam Ali (as) became Caliph and taking it back, and Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) not having any political power and being given it back by the Caliph. Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) took it back when the conditions were suitable. We throw it back to the the Nawasib, why did Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (during Umar’s reign), Imam Jaffar Sadiq (as) and other Imams (as) take it back when they deemed it Sadaqa whilst Maula Ali (as) did not take it back (during his own reign)?

What is interesting is his admission that three of the Khalifas, (according to the unnamed author) Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, Mamun and Mu’tadid restored Fadak to the descendants of Sayyida Fatima (as). If Fadak was not their legal right then why did these Khalifas offer this rich land to them? Why did these descendants accept the land if it was not their legal right? By advancing this argument the author has shot himself in the foot, for he has inadvertently cited three Khalifas who rejected Abu Bakr’s decision in the Fadak dispute.

un named author states:

2. “Hadrat Ali imitated Hadhrat Fatimah ‘radi-allahu anhuma’ and did not accept any share from Fedek.”

This answer makes no sense. Why did the Ahlul-Bayt A’immah (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhum Ajma’een) who accepted Fedek (afterwards) not imitate Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra (Millions of Sallams upon her)? If it was a fard to imitate her, why did they ignore this fard, bearing in mind that their belief regarding the Ahlul-Bayt A’immah are without error and contradiction. If it was supererogatory (Wajib) and not fard, then why did Hadhrat Ali (Karamallahu wajhu) do this supererogatory act at the cost of omitting an act that was fard? Hadhrat Ali would never omit a fard act. For it is fard to give everyone his or her due. Moreover, it might be reasonable to imitate someone’s optional behavior. If this behavior is a result of coercion, then it should not be imitated. If Hadhrat Sayyidah Fatimah’s (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anha) not utilizing Fedek was due to someone else’s oppression, then she had to waive her right because she had no other way. In this case it would have been senseless to imitate her.

Reply

Again the Shi’a never advance this imitation argument, if Imam Ali (as) was imitating anyone it was Rasulullah (s) by not taking an action that would cause Fitnah, and we shall elaborate this later.

3. “Hadrat Ali (radi-allahu ta’ala) had witnessed Fedek’s being bequeathed to Hadhrat Fatimah. In order to show that this witnessing was done for Allah’s sake and not for worldly advantages, he did not accept any advantage from Fedek.”

Al Khidhr replies to this:
Those who knew about Hadhrat Ali’s witnessing and those who rejected it were dead by the time he became Khalifa. Furthermore, some Ahlul-Bayt Imams’ accepting the orchard named Fedek made the group called Khariji consider that Hadhrat Ali might have done this witnessing in order to obtain advantages for his children. In fact, in matters concerning real estates, such as fields, houses, vineyards and orchards, one thinks of one’s children’s advantages rather than one’s own. Perhaps, Hadhrat Ali might have advised his children not to utilize Fedek, lest his witnessing be tarnished. And his children might have refused Fedek both to imitate Hadhrat Fatimah and to fulfill this secret advice. Such is Ulama’s comments on the matter.

Reply

Again this is not a Shi’a argument the reason that Imam Ali (as) did not take the land back was because of the situation that he faced when he came to power. Those who rejected the claim may have been dead by the time, but their memory lived on in the minds of their die hard adherents led by Ayesha, Marwan and Mu’awiya, all of whom rejected the Khilafat of Imam Ali (as) and were willing to use any type of propaganda to damage him.

Ibn al Hashimi states:

According to the Shia, Fadak should have been rightfully distributed to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Then, why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) do what is right? The only response the Shia can give is their standard cop-out: why, of course Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was doing Taqiyyah! The Shia will say that this is why he didn’t return Fadak. Oh, nice! Whenever the logic of historical facts do not sit well with the Shia narrative, they will then always have the trump card of Taqiyyah.

un named author states:

Claim
4. “Hadrat Ali’s not accepting the orchard called Fedek was intended for Taqiyya. Taqiyya is necessary for Shi’ah.”

Al Khidhr replies to this:
Taqiyya means to lie and Shi’ah believe it is fard to lie, especially to those of the Ummah of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam, known as Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. This statement of theirs is untenable. For, according to the adherents of Shi’ism, “when an Imam takes the battlefield and begins to fight it is haram for him to do Taqiyya. It was for this reason that Hadhrat Husayn did not do Taqiyya.” To say that Hadhrat Ali (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) did Taqiyya during the period of his Khaleefat would mean to say that he committed haraam. Astaghfirullahal-Azeem.

Reply

Firstly Taqiyyah does not mean to lie and we have addressed the concept in two of our articles:
 The creed of Shia’a; explained
 Taqiyyah (Expedient dissimulation)

Like both authors, we also believe that Imam Ali (as) did not adopt Taqiyyah, his silence was because he did not want any action to be used in the propaganda campaign against him and again we shall address this in the later part of this article.

Was Maula Ali (as) ‘ashamed’ to reclaim Fadak

Al Khider advances this earth shattering reference:

Sayyid Murtada (known as ‘Alam al-Huda) narrates in his book on Imamah entitled ash-Shafi, that when ‘Ali became the khalifah he was approached about returning Fadak. His reply was: “I am ashamed before Allah to overturn something that was prohibited by Abu Bakr and continued by ‘Umar.” (al-Murtada, ash-Shafi fil-Imamah, p. 231; and Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 4

It is amazing how these Nawasib all just perpetuate the same lies, like school kids spreading rumors in a playground. One Nasibi dishonestly cites a text, and his followers copy it like blind mice. Take the example of Ibn al Hashimi who even inspecting the original source quoted the same text verbatim in his article ‘Fadak, Part II: Why Didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Return Fadak?’. Is this what we have come to expect from this great Shia destroyer?
 Screenshot of Ibn al-Hashimi copy pasting the above alleged Shia tradition from Ansar.org in his article

Reply One

Why don’t these Nawasib understand that their Caliph did what he had to do, no matter how much deceit the Nawasib adopt, they can never absolve their Caliph of this sin. They have indeed been deceitful to cite Ibn Abi al Hadeed and convince the Shias when he was not a Shia, but a Mutazali Sunni scholar. And as for the reference cited from Sayyid Murtada’s work ash-Shafi fil-Imamah, it should be known that his book was a refutation to a book ‘Al-Mughni’ by a Mutazali Sunni scholar Qazi Abduljabbar (d. 415 H) and hence adhering to the pattern of debates, at several places in the book, Sayyid Murtada used the texts from the sources of his opponents and the tradition relied by the Nasibi author is no different in this regards as the tradition’s chain includes the names of orthodox Sunni figures:

“Abu abdullah Muhammad bin Umran al-Merzebani from Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Katib from Ahmad bin Ubaid bin Naseh al-Nahawi from al-Zyadi from al-Sharqi bin al-Qatami from Muhammad bin Ishaq from Saleh bin Kysan from Urwa from Ayesha”

The tradition is quite lengthy and contains the incident of Fadak from the beginning including the Fatima’s (as) notion of rejecting Abu Bakr. Sayyid Murtada quoted this Sunni tradition to prove that lady Fatima Zahra (as) clashed with Abu Bakr and since the tradition is not from a Shia source, we see that Sayyid Murtada before using the tradition clearly stated:

فقد روى أكثر الرواة الذين لا يتهمون بتشيع ولا عصبية فيه من كلامها

“The Majority of these narrators are neither accused of Shiaism nor have fanatics narrated her statements”

This is a Sunni tradition that is non existent in Shia hadith literature, although it can be located in Sunnis hadith books such as Maqtal al-Hussain by Khawarezmi. Therefore, the next time the cunning Nawasib produce a Shia source to convince the Shias rather than demanding that we respond to the words narrated from the mouths of their ancestors.

Reply Two

Al Khider wants to suggest that Maula Ali (as) was ashamed of changing the status quo set by Abu Bakr and questions why he failed to take remedial steps to claim back Fadak and restore it to its rightful owners, yet according to Ahl’ul Sunnah’s most authentic work Sahih Bukhari, Maula Ali (as) claimed Fadak during the Caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar. Maula Ali (as) and Abbas:

- approached Umar and demanded the right of Fadak.
- were entrusted (by Umar) to manage Fadak in accordance with the conditions set by Abu Bakr.
- ignored these conditions and disputed with one other, that resulted in Maula Ali (as) attaining full control over Fadak.

Note: We are only representing the Authentic Sunni Point of View on this historical incident, which differs from Shi’a point of view. We will give Shi’a point of view about this later on.

This is the complete tradition from Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 367:

Narrated Malik bin Aus Al-Hadathan An-Nasri,
…Then ‘Umar turned towards ‘Ali and ‘Abbas and said, …So I kept this property in my possession for the first two years of my rule (i.e. Caliphate) and I used to dispose it of in the same way as Allah’s Apostle and Abu Bakr used to do; and Allah knows that I have been sincere, pious, rightly guided and the follower of the right (in this matter.Later on both of you (i.e. ‘Ali and Abbas) came to me, O ‘Abbas! You also came to me and the claim of you both was one and the same.So I told you both that Allah’s Apostle said, “Our property is not inherited, but whatever we leave is to be given in charity.’ Then when I thought that I should better hand over this property to you both or the condition that you will promise and pledge before Allah that you will dispose it off in the same way as Allah’s Apostle and Abu Bakr did and as I have done since the beginning of my caliphate or else you should not speak to me (about it).’ So, both of you said to me, ‘Hand it over to us on this condition.’ And on this condition I handed it over to you. Do you want me now to give a decision other than that (decision)? By Allah, with Whose Permission both the sky and the earth stand fast, I will never give any decision other than that (decision) till the Last Hour is established. But if you are unable to manage it (i.e. that property), then return it to me, and I will manage on your behalf.” The sub-narrator said,…………..So, this property (of Sadaqah) was in the hands of Ali who withheld it from ‘Abbas and overpowered him. Then it came in the hands of Hasan bin ‘Ali, then in the hands of Hussain bin ‘Ali, and then in the hands of Ali bin Hussain and Hasan bin Hasan, and each of the last two used to manage it in turn, then it came in the hands of Zaid bin Hasan, and it was truly the Sadaqah of Allah’s Apostle .”

Readers can also consult traditions on this subject: Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth: 9.408, 8.720 4:326.

Can Al Khider and Ibn al Hashimi explain why they do not ascribe to what their most authentic Hadeeth scholar Imam Bukhari has recorded? Once you accept that which has been authentically transmitted to you (according to your standards), then why are you (al Khider) producing a weak Hadeeth suggesting that Imam Ali (as) was ashamed of doing things which Abu Bakr prohibited?

Tell us al Khider and Ibn al Hashimi, does the above tradition corroborate the tradition you both cited, wherein Imam Ali (as) was ashamed before Allah to overturn something that was prohibited by Abu Bakr and continued by ‘Umar?

Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4349 and 4350 informs us that Abu Bakr prohibited Fadak by using the Hadith of “No heirs of Prophet” while Maula Ali (as) remained unconvinced with it and deemed the Khalifa’s confiscation of Fadak as proof of him being a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest.

If Maula Ali (as) was really ashamed of overturning something that was prohibited by Abu Bakr, why would he make a claim before Abu Bakr in the first place?

Both Ahadith confirm the fact that when Hadhrat Umar continued to follow the practice of Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Mawla Ali (as) also of deemed him a ’liar, dishonest, treacherous and sinful’.

There is therefore no question of Maula ‘Ali (as) being ashamed of reclaiming something that had been prohibited by Abu Bakr and Umar.

Reply Three

The tradition suggests that Maula ‘Ali (as) was ashamed to do anything that would contravene a decision of Abu Bakr. If this was even remotely true, then there would have been no reason to for him to reject the offer of Khilafath (the third time) on the condition that he adhered to the Qur’an, Sunnah and to the practices of Abu Bakr and Umar! Whilst agreeing to the Qur’an and Sunnah he (as) refused to adhere to the practices of Abu Bakr and Umar. This fact can be located in the following esteemed works of Ahl’ul Sunnah:

  1. al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 7 page 146
  2.  Sharah Fiqh Akbar, page 66 “Fadail Naas badh ai Rasulullah” (Maktabah Haqaniya, Multan. Pakistan)
  3. Iqd al Fareed Volume 2 page 213
  4. Tareekh Abu Fida Volume 1 page 166 Dhikr Maqatil Umar
  5. Tareekh Khamees Volume 2 page 255
  6.  Tareekh Tabari Volume 14 page 158-159
  7. Tareekh Kamil Volume 3 page 35 Dhikr Shura

If Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) was ‘ashamed’ to contravene Abu Bakr’s rulings then he would have accepted this condition whole heartedly. What would be the reason for Imam Ali (as) refusing to abide by the decision of a Khalifa whose rulings he was too ashamed to change? The refusal of Imam Ali (as) to accept this condition serves as the greatest proof that he wanted to distance himself from their Bidah rulings. The fact that this rejection by Maula ‘Ali (as) of the so called hadeeth cited by Abu Bakr is replete in Sunni books of Tareekh and Fiqh leaves no doubt that it is fabricated, and this clear proof makes the narration cited by al Khider as completely baseless.

So ‘Why’ didn’t caliph Ali (as) take Fadak back?

After these great responses, the author of the article Fedek arrives at the following conclusion:

Conclusion with common sense…
Hadhrat Abu’l-Barakat Abdullah Suwaydi al-Baghdadi writes in his Hujaj-e-Qatiya:
“Supposing all these evidences are disignored and it is still presumed that the Khalifa Abu Bakr as-Siddiq took the date orchard called Fedek by force; then why did Hadhrat ‘Ali (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ‘Anhu) not give the date orchard to Hadhrat al-Hasan and al-Husayn when he became the Khaleefah and everything was now in his hands, under his command? Why did he not change what had been done by the three Khalifas previous to him? Hadrat Ali’s following the same policy as had been followed by the previous three Khaleefahs concerning the date orchard is a plain evidence for the fact that it had not been taken by force by Abu Bakr.”

Ibn al Hashimi states:

So again, we ask our Shia brothers: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? Why did he uphold Abu Bakr’s decision (رضّى الله عنه) if it was so wrong? Why don’t the Shia hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for failing to return Fadak? Why don’t they hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for reaping the gains of Fadak while he was Caliph? Why the double standard with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه)? The Shia say that Caliph Umar (رضّى الله عنه) gave Fadak back to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه), and they accuse Caliph Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) of being a tyrant because he snatched it back from them. So then the question is: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) when he became Caliph? Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) is a tyrant but Ali (رضّى الله عنه) is not? Indeed this is nothing short of an incredible double standard.

Reply One

We read in the esteemed Shi’a work Rudhutul Kafi, Sermon of Al-Fatan wa Al-Bidah, page 59, published in Iran:

“The Caliphs before me intentionally practiced such acts in which they went against Rasool Allah (saww). They broke the promises (which they made with Rasool) and changed the Sunnah of Rasool Allah (saww). If (today) I ask people to leave all these things (innovations) and restore things back to the way they were at the time of Rasulullah (s), my army shall rebel and abandon me, and I shall be left alone. All that shall remain turning to me shall be those Shi’a who recognise my virtues and rank.
Then he further explained by giving some examples that: “If I return Fadak to the heirs of Fatima (as), and if I order to restore the “Sa’a” (a unit for measuring wheat) of Rasool Allah (s). And if I return the properties, which were given by Rasool (s) to their original owners, and deny the decisions which were based on injustice (and tyranny), and snatch the women who were illegally taken by some people and return them to their husbands, and if I deny the (unjust) distribution of Fadak, and start giving the shares to every one equally (as were originally given by Rasool (s), but earlier caliphs started giving according to status), …. and restore the condition of Khums of Rasool (saww), and to bring Masjid-e-Nabi to it’s original position, and to make “Mash alal Khaffin” haram, and to issue punishment (“Had”) for drinking “Nabeedh” (alcohol made out of barley), and give the fatwa for Mut’ah being Halaal, and start saying 5 Takbirs at funeral, and make it obligatory upon people to recite “Bismillah” loudly during Salat …… and ask people to follow the Quranic and Sunnah way of giving Talaq, and ask people to give all the Sadaqat, and to restore the way of ablution, ghusl and Salah to their original forms and time, and give back the fidya (which was unjustly taken) to Ahl-e-Najran, and return the slave girls of Ahle Faras, and ask people to return to Qur’an and Sunnah of Rasool (s), then all people will abandon me (and I will be left alone). I ordered people that they should only gather for Fardh (obligatory) prayers during Ramadhan, and told them that congregation (Jamah) in Nafl (i.e. Tarawih) is a Bidah (innovation) then all of these people started shouting that Sunnah of Hadhrat Umar has been changed.”

Comment

Thanks to the efforts of the early Khalifas, the Estate of Fadak had ultimately reached the hands of evil characters. Had Imam Ali (as) the Khalifa restored Fadak by force, these people would have reacted with open opposition, and spread rumours / Fitnah and hatred against the Imam (as). It was due to this difficult situation that Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) chose not to raise the Fadak matter, to avoid the propaganda, namely ‘the moment Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) came to power he annexed the land belonging to his political opponents’. Fadak was in the hands of Banu Umayyad, sworn enemies of Hadhrat ‘Ali (as), and he knew that they would never return Fadak of their own accord.Any attempt to take the land would have lead to vocal opposition, they would have raised a hue and cry towards Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) stating:

‘You are taking land that was bestowed to us by the slain third Khalifa Uthman Ibn Affan’, and on becoming the Khalifa you have perpetuated injustice against us’.

Aware of the potential ramifications of claiming Fadak back, Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) restrained from any physical aggression to wrest Fadak back, but condemned the usurpers through his eloquent sermon.

Reply Two – The situation for Imam Ali (as) made it impossible for him to take back Fadak, he had far greater priorities to focus on

A Head of State that takes the reigns of power does not implement his programs of reform forthwith.  Policies are implemented gradually, and based on prioritization.  Those policies that need to be addressed immediately are two fold, those that need to:

1)      overcome challenges such as poverty, unemployment and alienation

2)      address challenges that threaten the smooth functioning of the state, such as co-ordinated mob rule creating criminality, anarchy and disorder, a failure to address such a challenge might lead to a breakdown in the rule of law, bringing down the Government and creating a failed state ruled by anarchy.

Both of the above priorities have an overriding objective, to improve the quality of life amongst the people by eradicating those elements that were hitherto acting as a barrier to social cohesion and equality.  Any Head of State taking power during a period of social upheaval and decay will seek to impress on his subjects that he will strive to alleviate their difficulties.  The Head of State may have himself suffered due to the decision making of the previous Government, he may have some personal issues that require resolving, but in the greater scheme of things personal matters, are personal to that individual, and they can be shelved since a Head of State will seek to prioritize on implementing those policies that will benefit his subjects.  If the Head of State was to leave societal ills / challenges and instead focus on rectifying any injustice that had been done to him, that would lead to a messy dispute that would not be resolved without a serious risk of disorder, how would his subjects view that leader?  Would they be impressed that he is fighting for his personal interests at a time when his subjects are suffering from poverty, alienation and unemployment? If faced with major challenges the Head of State chooses to abandon pursuing his personal disputes in favour of focusing on resolving those ills affecting the people as a whole, this in no way means that the Head of State has temporarily deferred his personal issues, it in no way means that he has relinquished his claim, he has merely deemed it a lesser priority since the challenge of societal decay and civil unrest are those that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, all other matters becoming secondary.

With this in mind if one wishes to understand why Imam Ali (as) did not deem Fadak his priority when taking up power one needs to understand the unique and unusual circumstances that led to him taking office.  This was not some simple transition of power. Uthman had been murdered and the people had begged Maula ‘Ali to take helm of the State to prevent matters falling into further anarchy. Imam Ali (as) inherited a Khliafath that had been plagued by corruption and nepotism, that brought riches to the Ummayyads and their supporters at the expense of the ordinary man on the street, which is one of the main reasons why the anti Uthman movement commanded such popularity amongst the masses, a movement that ultimately led to aggrieved parties storming Uthman’s residence and killing him.  When the people then turned to Ali (as) and gave him bayya they did so in hope that he would act as a force of good that would overcome the serious inequality and divisions that had been borne out of Uthman’s reign.  Imam Ali (as)’s priority once taking office was to address the plague of nepotism and corruption that became a hallmark of the latter part of Uthman’s rule which is why he immediately began dismissing the Ummayad’s from their political positions. His next focus was to quash the efforts of those that were seeking to sow discord in the Ummah, and this was a genuine threat to his leadership since  Imam Ali (as) was surrounded by Fitnah all around, no sooner had Talha and Zubayr given bayya that they broke it, joining Ayesha in a movement against the Khalifa, whipping up support and garnering a fighting force that was demanding he handed over the killers of Uthman. Their refusals to abandon their Fitnah lead to the Battle of Jamal. At the same time Mu’awiyah was also taking advantage of the situation, presenting the blood-stained shirt of Uthman, and his wife’s severed fingers throughout Syria he was cooking up a frenzy of agitation towards Imam Ali (as) in Syria that lead to the Battle of Siffeen. The death of Uthman had provided the enemies of Maula Ali (as) with ample opportunity to defame him. If readers inspect Volume 16 of Tabari, they will see that:

  • Ayesha was constantly blaming Maula Ali (as) for killing of Uthman.
  • Marwan bin Hakam was constantly blaming Mawla Ali (as) for killing of Uthman.
    (Note: Even during the time, when Uthman was alive, Marwan was constantly accusing Maula Ali (as) of inciting people against Uthman and rule of Bani Ummiyyah)
  • Muawiyah was continually making propaganda that Ali and Bani Hashim killed Uthman for their personal interests. (Note: Muawiyah even order that Ali to abandon opposition to Uthman during the civil strife in Madina).

Surrounded by opposition / civil strife all round, the slightest action that would have been exploited by his opponents, could create a further challenge to his reign.  With such major challenges afoot, would it have been correct to keep such matters in abeyance and instead focus on getting Fadak back, an act that would no doubt have involved physical force?  The usurpation of Fadak was indeed a genuine grievance, as land that was the right ofFatima(as) had been annexed but it was ultimately a personal dispute, one that would upon restoration benefit Ali (as) and his children, nobody else.  Would it have been correct for Imam Ali (as) to fight for the restoration of Fadak when the more pressing issue of nepotism, corruption and civil disorder was affecting the Ummah as a whole?  Imam Ali (as) was already facing unprecedented criticism from those vigilante elements that were accusing him of harboring the killers of Uthman and demanding that he transfer them into their hands, would it have been a wise political decision to get embroiled into a further dispute that would no doubt provide the opportunity for his critics to further attack him by suggesting he cared more about his personal land than bettering people’s lives and seeking justice for Uthman?  Did Imam Ali (as) not have enough on his plate already?  Why would he want to bring on an additional complication / challenge by fighting for his personal interest against the Ummayyads?

Had Maula Ali (as) taken back Fadak back during this period, the Ummayads would have seized the opportunity to accuse Ali of killing Uthman by inciting the people against him, so as to get attain power and his objective in attaining power was for personal gain, taking land rather than peace. The Banu Umayya were master tacticians in the field of propaganda and they would have pounced on the slightest glimmer of opportunity, getting people to turn on the Khalifa. Let us not forget that in his letter to Mu’awiyah as recorded in Nahj ul Balagha the Imam (as) questioned what right he had to accept his authority when:

Verily, those who took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have sworn allegiance to me.

Nasibi love to misinterpret this letter suggesting that Maula ‘Ali (as) endorsing the legitimacy of the three Khaleefas. What he was actually doing was entering into a polemical debate with Mu’awiyah. In Sunni / Shi’a polemics debates are based on one party quoting sources of the opposing camp as proof, and this is exactly what Imam Ali (as) was doing. He (as) was telling Mu’awiya since he believed that legitimacy of a Khaleefa’s rule is based on gaining bayya then he had also come to power on this basis. What Imam Ali (as) was also presenting was the fact that those that had given him bayya were supporters of the first three Khaleefas in other words they were the early remnants of what later developed as Sunni aqeedah! Had Imam Ali (as) taken back Fadak, then those that had given bayya to his predecessors would have attacked him for changing their practises; this would have increased the likelihood of them deserting him and joining the ranks of Mu’awiyah. Maula ‘Ali (as) was in effect walking on egg shells, and of interest are his words recorded in Umadatul Qari Sharah Sahih Bukhari, Volume 16 page 218:

عن علي رضي الله تعالى عنه قال اقضوا كما كنتم تقضون فإني أكره الأختلاف حتى يكون للناس جماعة أو أموت كما مات أصحابي

Ali (r) said: ‘You shall maintain the type of orders that you had done in the past, because I dislike disagreement, until the people gather under a single group, or I die as my companions died’.

This best explains why Maula Ali (as) failed take remedial action to take back Fadak, his fear of further division, that would only weaken his support base further.

Reply Three – Hadhrat Ali (as) was merely adhering to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (s)

We read in Sahih al Bukhari, Book of Knowledge Volume 1, Book 3, Number 128:

Narrated Aswad:
Ibn Az-Zubair said to me, “Ayesha used to tell you secretly a number of things. What did she tell you about the Ka’ba?” I replied, “She told me that once the Prophet said, ‘O ‘Ayesha! Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance (infidelity)! I would have dismantled the Ka’ba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit.” Later on Ibn Az-Zubair did the same.

Comment

Was it incumbent on Rasulullah (s) to re-design the Ka’aba, Yes or No? If it was not then why did Rasulullah (s) say ‘Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance (infidelity)! I would have dismantled the Ka’ba and would have made two doors in it’. If it was compulsory then why did Rasulullah (s) fail to carry out this religious duty on account of his fear of the reaction by the newly converted Sahaba?

The Hadeeth proves that a fear of Fitnah amongst the people led Rasulullah (s) to abandon an important act. By the same token,Hazrat Ali(as)also din not take hold of Fadak and return it to his children.Since Fadak was in the hands of usurpers, if he moved to take it back forcefully he would have faced fierce resistance, Fitnah and a major backlash which would have been extremely harmful to the nascent Islamic state and religion. Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) therefore adhered to the Sunnah of Rasulullah and maintained silence on the matter for the sake of maslahat.

Reply Four – The wisdom behind not reclaiming Fadak

In his commentary of the above Hadeeth (destruction of the Ka’aba) Allamah Badr’adeen A’ini in his commentary of Sahih al Bukhari Umdah thul Qari Volume 1 page 615, Bab al Ilm makes an interesting comment:

Ibn Batal said: It is possible to abandon ‘enjoining the good’ if there is a fear of fitna from the people who would deny it.

Comment

According to this Sunni principle Hadhrat Ali (as)’s not taking back Fadak was Amr bil Maroof (enjoining the good), and if a good act creates a fear of inciting anger and Fitnah amongst the people leading to chaos in the society then it is permissible to abandon its implementation. Based on the facts, Imam Ali (as) was in a difficult situation when it came to getting back Fadak, he knew that doing so would lead to open hatred and opposition from the followers of the first three Khalifas. It was this fear that led to Imam Ali (as) preferring to adhere to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (s) and maintain silence.

Reply Five

Allamah Badruddin al-A’ini continues with his commentary of the Ka’aba tradition in Umdat ul Qari, Volume 2 page 204:

أن النفوس تحب أن تساس كلها لما تأنس إليه في دين الله من غير الفرائض

“In Allah’s religion, people want to be led in a manner that they are familiar with, however there must be strictness when it comes the obligations (such as prayers, fasting etc)”

Here Al-Aini is trying to say that the people were familiar with a particular appearance of the Kaaba and had Prophet (s) sought to alter its appearance, the newly converted Muslims would have created a hue and cry.

Comment

By the time Hadhrat Ali (as) came to power the Estate of Fadak had been usurped for 45 years. The initial usurpers had died, but many amongst their subjects had witnessed Fadak as being in the hands of the descendants of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Imam Ali (as) upon becoming Khalifa had many vigorous opponents to him coming to power and was faced with a difficult situation when it came to dealing with those who had usurped his wife’s land. If he adopted a firm approach and took it back by force then this act would have created widespread Fitnah and opposition. His fear of the nefarious activities of the Banu Umayyad and Ayesha, led him to steer clear of this matter.

Reply Six

Imam Nawawi says in his commentary of this Hadeeth, in his Sharh Muslim Volume 9 page 89:

“This Hadeeth proves principles of Ahkam. When two issues conflict with one another, when a problem that carries benefit conflicts with another carries harm and it is not possible to do the good and abandon the harmful altogether, then one should start with the most important. Rasulullah saw a benefit in reconstructing the Ka’aba and build it as it was during the time of Ibrahim. He (s) also feared Fitnah from the new Muslims, who would glorify the Ka’aba and believed that reconstructing it was some thing horrible, therefore he (s) chose not to reconstruct the Ka’aba”.
Sharah Sahih Muslim, Volume 9 page 89

Comment

The restoration of Fadak carried a benefit, but would have created an image that Imam Ali (as) had reclaimed land that had been taken by the earlier Khalifas. He was aware that the current unlawful occupiers would openly resist this and would spread Fitnah throughout the empire, complaining against Imam Ali (as)’s ‘unjust usurpation’ of the land that had been given to them by the third Khalifa. The owners at that time were sworn enemies of Hadhrat ‘Ali (as). Had Imam Ali (as) forcefully claimed back Fadak at that critical time it would have created a very negative image, and would have been mere fodder for the propaganda machine that was the Banu Umayyads. Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) therefore preferred silence on this matter.

Reply Seven – When Hadhrat ‘Ali became Khalifa, Fadak was in the hands of Marwan

We read in Mirqat:

مروان أي في زمن عثمان رضي الله تعالى عنهم والمعنى جعلها قطيعة لنفسه وتوابعه والقطيعة الطائفة من أرض الخراج يقطعها السلطان من يريد ومروان هو مروان بن الحكم جد عمر بن عبد العزيز ۔۔۔

“Then Marwan during Uthman’s time made it his personal property and his retinue, the ruler has the right to grant piece of land to whoever he wants and Marwan is Marwan ibn al-Hakam the grand father of Umar bin Abdulaziz, he was born during Allah’s messenger time but he didn’t see the prophet, because the prophet had exiled his father to Taeif and he remained there till Uthman became the ruler, hence he (Uthman) brought him (al-Hakam) back to Madina with his son (Marwan), after that Fadak was transferred to Umar bin Abdulaziz”
 Mirqat Sharh Mishkat, Volume 12 page 317

We read in Al-Aqd al-Farid, Volume 2 page 87:

وأقطع فدك مروانَ

“He (Uthman) granted Fadak to Marwan”

While talking about Fadak, Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti records in Tarikh Khulafa, Volume 1 page 95:

فكانت كذلك حياة أبي بكر ثم عمر ثم أقطعها مروان ثم صارت لعمر بن عبد العزيز

“It was so during Abu Bakr and Umar’s time, then he (Uthman) granted it to Marwan and then it transferred to Umar bin Abdulaziz”

By granting the entire estate of Fadak to one man Uthman Ibn Affan contradicted the practises of the Shaykhayn. Hadhrat ‘Ali was faced with the land being in possession of Marwan, who was his enemy in the same way as Iblis was an enemy of Hadhrat Adam (as). Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) was therefore faced with a difficult situation. Marwan would have argued that Fadak had been bestowed to him and if anyone had usurped the land it was the early Khalifas, and he deemed them to be rightful Khalifas, who would decide matters subject to Islamic Shari’ah, he would have then argued:

you have become Khalifa and are committing an injustice towards me, if you are with the truth you should maintain silence as you had done so in the past.

Marwan knew Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) would never wrest Fadak from him.

Reply Eight – Nasibi double standards

It is indeed incredible that our opponents are fond of questioning why the all powerful Khalifa ‘Ali (as) never used force to take his rights back, but fail to ask why Uthman the Khalifa failed to use force to defend his right of Khilafath! After all Nasibis claim that none of the inhabitants of Madina or the surrounding areas rebelled against Uthman, rather it was the evil Sabaites from Egypt, who were responsible for starting the agitation, laying siege to Uthman’s residence for forty days and finally killing him. We often quiz our accusers as to ‘why the residents to Madina failed to defend Uthman?’ The reply of great debaters like Ansar.org is that Uthman didn’t want bloodshed in Madina, so he didn’t ask people to fight against the rebels.

Curiously when we argue that Maula Ali (as) didn’t fight Marwan and the Bani Umayyads to restore Fadak, so as to prevent bloodshed, they reject such an assertion. This clearly shows double standards of the Nawasib.

Had Maula Ali (as) taken Fadak back at that time, his opponents would have seized the opportunity to propagate that it was Ali himself who assisted in killing of Uthman, so as to ultimately take Fadak. The same had already shamelessly blamed Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, Ammar Yasir and Malik bin Ashtar for the killing of Uthman.Imam Ali (as) taking Fadak back would have been the perfect excuse for them to add his name to the ‘Killer List’.

When Ayesha, Marwan, Talha, Zubayr and Mu’awiya were recruiting people in their armies against Ali (as) for the accusation that he was hiding the killers of Uthman, taking Fadak back would have been the perfect opportunity to paint him as the mastermind who wanted Uthman killed so as to attain Fadak.

Reply Nine – According to Ahl’ul Sunnah ‘difficulties’ meant Rasulullah (s) was unable to forcefully get his daughter back

We read in Tareekh Khamees, Volume 1 page 273 Hijrat Zaynab:

“Ayesha narrates that Islam had caused a separation between Zaynab and Abi al-Aas but Rasulullah (s) was in such a desperate situation that he was unable to separate them in Makka”

We read in Sirah Ibn Hisham:

وكان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم لا يحل بمكة ولا يحرم مغلوبا على أمره وكان الإسلام قد فرق بين ۔۔۔

“Rasulullah (s) was in a difficult situation in Makka, he was unable to make something Halal or Haram and when Zaynab became Muslim this caused a separation with her husband Abi al-Aas bin al-Rabeh. Despite this, Rasulullah (s) due to difficulties was unable to separate Zaynab from Abi al-Aas. Zaynab despite embracing Islam remained with the Kaafir; he remained a polytheist at the time that Rasulullah (s) migrated”.
 Sirah Ibn Hisham, Volume 3 page 202

Comment

Zaynab according to Ahl’ul Sunnah was the daughter of Rasulullah (s) and al Bidayah wa al Nihaya Volume 3 page 332, states that she embraced Islam at the time of the first revelation. Her husband Abi al Aas remained a Kaafir, and he embraced Islam after the battle of Badr. According to Ayesha, Zaynab’s embracing Islam caused a rift between husband and wife, but for Rasulullah (s) the situation in Makka made him so desperate that he was unable to physically take his daughter away from the clutches of the Mushrikeen, even though he had the power to create a crack in the moon. Let us not forget that by his side was Umar Ibn al Farooq who Ahl’ul Sunnah acclaim as powerful, brave, and tough against the Kuffar.We would like to know of what use was his power and strength in Makka when instead of taking immediate remedial action Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman all remained silent. If these three were indeed Rasulullah’s closest friends then why did they not fight and risk their lives so as to ensure that Zaynab was retuned to Rasulullah (s)? It is indeed sad that all these virtues were present and yet Abu Bakr’s kindness, Umar’s firmness against the Kuffar and Uthman’s shyness were of no use here.

We appeal to justice, the Fadak dispute concerned worldly possession, whilst Zaynab was a human being; there is a world of difference between the two. If Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were indeed the closest friends of Rasulullah (s), then why do the sources portray Rasulullah (s) as so desperate in Makka? If Rasulullah (s) was unable to claim his daughter back from the clutches of her Kaafir husband, then Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) was not superior to Rasulullah (s).If he was in difficulty following the reigns of the first three Khalifas who made it impossible for him to claim back Fadak from the usurpers, then no objections should be raised, since the Ahl’ul Sunnah have portrayed Rasulullah (s) in such a desperate manner, that discussing the matter causes immense shame.

Reply Ten

We read in Ahl’ul Sunnah’s esteemed work al-Istiab, Volume 1 page 147, the letter ‘ra’, Dhikr Rafa bin Raafi’e:

لما خرج طلحة والزبير كتبت أم الفضل بنت الحارث إلى على بخروجهم، فقال علي ۔۔۔

“When Talha and Zubayr rebelled against Ali, Um al-Fadhl bin al-Harith wrote to Ali informing him about their rebellion, he (Ali) said: ‘This is a astonishing from Talha and Zubayr. When Allah (swt) brought his Prophet back to Him and we said ‘We are his (prophet) family and guardians, no one disputes us in his authority (leadership)’ our people rejected us and made others as their leaders. By Allah! Had it not been a fear of dissension and a return to apostasy, and my fear of the destruction of the religion, we would have changed things, but we maintained silence”.
 Al-Istiab, Volume 1 page 147

Khilafat and Fadak were both the rights of the Ahl’ul bayt (as); both had been usurped. Just as fear of disputes and return to Jahiliyya prevented Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) from claiming his right of Khilafat back, the same applied to the Fadak dispute.

Reply Eleven

We read in Ahl’ul Sunnah’s esteemed work Lughut al Hadeeth Volume 2 page 97, Kitab Jeem:

‘Ali said ‘had Rasulullah (s) not made me promise I would have killed my opponents’

As we have already proven when Imam Ali (as) was the Khalifa, Fadak was in the hands of his enemy Marwan. It was Marwan’s duty to return the land back of which he had no intention. Marwan was a trickster, and a master in stirring dissension, the rich source of the Fadak land, served as a major financial benefit to him. Had Imam Ali (as) moved to forcefully take back Fadak it would have no doubt led to the death of his opponents that would have in turn constituted a breach of the promise that he (as) made to Rasulullah (s).Hadhrat Ali (as) honoured his promise with Rasulullah (s) and adopted patience, his stance in no way means that he deemed the Khilafat of the three Khalifas to be rightful, neither does it prove that Imam Ali (as) deemed Abu Bakr’s usurpation of Fadak to be correct.

Reply Twelve

We read in Sahih al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadeeth Number 428: Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah:

We were in a Ghazwa (Sufyan once said, in an army) and a man from the emigrants kicked an Ansari man (on the buttocks with his foot). The Ansari man said, “O the Ansar! (Help!)” and the emigrant said. “O the emigrants! (Help!) Allah’s Apostle heard that and said, “What is this call for, which is characteristic of the period of ignorance?” They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! A man from the emigrants kicked one of the Ansar (on the buttocks with his foot).” Allah’s Apostle said, “Leave it (that call) as is a detestable thing.” ‘Abdullah bin Ubai heard that and said, ‘Have the (the emigrants) done so? By Allah, if we return Medina, surely, the more honourable will expel there from the meaner.” When this statement reached the Prophet. ‘Umar got up and, said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Let me chop off the head of this hypocrite (‘Abdullah bin Ubai)!” The Prophet said “Leave him, lest the people say that Muhammad kills his companions.” The Ansar were then more in number than the emigrants when the latter came to Medina, but later on the emigrant increased.

The reference makes it clear that a hypocrite was sitting in the midst of the Sahaba, Umar offered to have him killed, but the Prophet (s) refused stating that he did not want outsiders to think that Rasulullah (s) kills his Sahaba. On the same principle Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) did not force Marwan to return Fadak to him, already facing direct civil strife, he simply did not want to partake in any action that would be used as propaganda by the Ummayads.  Had he done so opposition would have led to resistance and bloodshed, and people would have said ‘Ali the Khalifa is killing his subjects for worldly benefits’. Ali (as) maintained silence for the same reason that the Prophet (s) did. Maula Ali (as) was keen to avoid taking forceful steps to reacquire Fadak, as he was fearful over the manner in which his loquacious Ummayad opponents would highlight his stance. This fear was a genuine one, we after all see how today’s pro Ummayad Salafi Shaykh Ibrahim al-Jabhan who in his work Tabdeed al-Dhalam pages 131 & 132 unashamedly attack the reign of Ali (as) stating:

 هذا علي رضي الله عنه تولى الخلافة ومكث فيها خمسة أعوام أو تزيد فهل أكل الناس في عهده وشربوا إلا دماء الأبرياء وعرق الضعفاء ودموع الثكالى واليتامى والبؤساء

 ”This is Ali (ra), he ruled for five years or more and the people during his reign didn’t eat or drink other than the blood of innocent people, the sweat of weak people, and the tears of women, orphans and poor people.”

 If this Shaykh de jour is prepared to attack the reign of Ali (as), to the point that he even inferred his culpability in the murder of “innocent people”, rather than attack those seditious elements whose activities led to the battles of Jamal, Siffeen and Naharwan, can one imagine what he would have written of Ali (as) had he sought to forcefully wrest Fadak from Marwan, that would have undoubtedly raised the scepter of bloodshed between the Hashemites and Ummayyads? If Imam Ali (as) chose to leave the issue of Fadak, fearing what the people might say, then he did so as he was adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet (s).  In the same he (s) refrained from taking action against a blasphemer so as to avoid criticisms from outside observers, Maula Ali (as) likewise during his reign refrained from taking steps to get Fadak back under his control, fearing how such an action, during a period of civil unrest would be viewed by onlookers.

Reply Thirteen

We read in Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Volume 9, p212: {Between Traditions 9.281 and 9.282}:

(21) CHAPTER. If a judge has to testify in favour of a litigant when he is a judge or he testifyied for him before he became a judge (can he pass a judgment in his favour accordingly or should he refer the case to another judge before whom he would bear witness?). And the judge Shurayh said to a person who sought his witness, “Go to the ruler so that I may bear witness (before him) for you.” And ‘Ikrima said, “Umar said to ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf, ‘If I saw a man committing illegal sexual intercourse or theft, and you were the ruler (what would you do)?. ‘Abdur-Rahman said, ‘I would regard your witness as equal to the witness of any other man among the Muslims. ‘Umar said, ‘You have said the truth.’ ‘Umar added: If I were not afraid of the fact that people may say that ‘Umar has added to the Qur’an extra (verses), I would have written the Verse al-Rajm (stoning to death of married adulterers) with my own hands.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9 pages 213-213

Interestingly we read the following words of Sunni Scholar Abu Bakar Razi recorded by Allamah Jalaluddin Suyuti in Al Itqan (Urdu), Volume 2, page 67:

“About the statement of Umar i.e “If I were not afraid of the fact that people may say that ‘Umar has added to the Qur’an extra verses, I would have written the Verse al-Rajm with my own hands” Abu Bakar Razi has written in his book ‘Al Burhan’: ‘The literal words of this statement prove that it is permissible [Jaiz] to write down those words in the Quran, and it was the fear of people which stopped Umar from this writing this in the Mushaf and sometimes it happens that obstacles appear between permissible things and since the writing the verse of stoning was permissible hence it is obvious that its recitation is also proven.”

We appeal to justice, if Imam ‘Ali (as)’s abstaining from taking back Fadak from Marwan was due to the difficult situation in which he had found himself in, namely that he feared the stead of Fitnah, then this is no different to the position that had been adopted by Umar Ibn al Khattab, who through the fear of Fitnah chose not to add a verse of Rajm into the Qur’an. If this fear, does not alter Ahl’ul Sunnah’s portrayal of Umar as a firm, strong Sahaba, then Imam ‘Ali (as)’s not taking back Fadak also does not alter his position as a brave warrior.

Reply Fourteen – A Bedouin’s insult of Ayesha and the silence of Rasulullah (s)

We read in al Istiab Volume 3 pages 316 & 317, Dhikr A’ini bin Hasan:

“On one occasion Aineea entered the home of Rasulullah (s) without seeking permission. Rasulullah (s) asked why he failed to ask for permission, he replied ‘Master I have never sought permission from anyone from the Hazr tribe’. At the time Ayesha was sitting next to Rasulullah (s), and the Chief of Bedouins asked ‘Who is this red faced women?’ He (s) replied ‘This is my wife Ayesha’. The Bedouin said ‘Master if you allow me I shall give you a more beautiful woman in exchange for her’. Ayesha asked ‘Who is this disgraceful person?’ Rasulullah (s) said ‘As you see, he is the Chief of his tribe’.
 Al-Istiab, Vol. 3, Pages 316 & 317

If a man enters your home without permission and offers to exchange your red cheeked wife with another, and you have no response to such behaviour, then only two conclusions can be reached:

You are either:

A shameless person, devoid of any sense of dignity or honour.

OR:

You have maintained silence in response to the difficult situation that you find yourself in.

Applying this to the facts, Rasulullah’s failure to address a man’s entering his home without prior permission and his subsequent insult of Ayesha was not because he (s) had no dignity (astaghfirullah) rather he remained silent on account of the situation he was confronted with.

By the time Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) became Khalifa, he had witnessed Abu Bakr usurp Fadak belonging to his wife. If Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) failed to take back Fadak during his rule it was due to the difficult situation facing him.Had he taken it Marwan would have incited dissension throughout the Ummah. Hadhrat ‘Ali (as) did not alter the situation as he knew that any manoeuvring on his part would serve as propaganda fodder for his opponents, that would in turn lead to mass Fitnah. Imam Ali (as) therefore adopted silence in exactly the same manner that Rasulullah (s) had done. Let us not forget that according to the Ahl’ul Sunnah, Ayesha was the most beloved wife of Rasulullah (s), and Angels delivered a photo of Ayesha to him (s) prior to marriage [Sahih al Bukhari]. The Bedouins comments, namely his attempted exchange for this beloved wife was a major insult, and Rasulullah’ silence to this was definitely due to some hidden reason or foreseen problems.

A Nasibi’s false claim that Maula ‘Ali (as) was implementing the Sunnah of Abu Bakr

The author of Fedak advances this claim:

If there had been such a will and Hadhrat Ali (Karramallah wajhu) had known about it, it would have been necessary and permissible for him to fulfill it during his khilafat. However, he followed the example of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu ta’ala Anhu) and dealt the property out to poor, destitute and stranded people. If it should be maintained that he dealt out his share, then why did he deprive the Sahibayn wa Syedayn, al-Imam al-Hasan and al-Imam al-Husayn Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma of the property they were to inherit from their blessed mother (may millions of Salaams be upon her)?

Ibn al Hashimi states:

The Shia accusations against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) are baseless, since he was following orders from Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and this decision was upheld by Ali (رضّى الله عنه). If the Shia want to lay blame on Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) for using Fadak as a charitable property, then the Shia should also accuse Ali (رضّى الله عنه) since he did the same thing during his Caliphate.

Reply

Hadhrat Ali (as) did not take control of the property in his reign. We challenge this Nasibi to show us which authentic Sunni source confirms that he followed the Sunnah of Abu Bakr with regards to its distribution. The property had been given to Marwan by the Khalifa Uthman and he did NOT take it back. This is one of the main arguments that Ahl’ul Sunnah use against us, namely he left it as it was, whilst this author claims he took control of the land and then distributed it among the poor and needy from it!

There’s a world of difference between the approach taken by Abu Bakr and ‘Ali (as). Abu Bakr usurped land that was in the lawful possession of somebody else, whereas Maula ‘Ali (as) despite his being the Head of State did not exercise force to reclaim this land. The difference between these two approaches is like comparing night to day.

Ibn al Hashimi’s claim that the Shi’a are portraying Imam Ali (as) as a coward

Ibn al Hashimi states:

In any case, if Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was a brave and courageous man, then he should have done what is right and restored the land to its rightful owners. The cowardly image of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) that the Shia portray–of a man who cannot stand up for what he thinks is right–is offensive to the Ahlus Sunnah. The Shia believe that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) could make all the atoms of the earth submit to him, so surely he should have used some of this supernatural power to do what is right.

Reply One

Those that uphold and praise violence to attain power through methods such as suicide bombing in market places that kill and maim innocent men, women and children would indeed interpret the stance of Imam Ali (as) as that of a coward. What they don’t appreciate is being a leader doesn’t just involve using your muscle to intimidate and brow beat your opponents! The intelligent leader knows when to use force and when not to. If Imam Ali (as) desisted from violently claiming back Fadak it was on account of him assessing the situation around him and deciding upon the best option. Is that not what any good leader should do? Is the use of force the best option in all circumstances? Why should Imam Ali (as)’s decision to avoid Fitnah and turmoil from the Banu Ummaya by forcefully taking back Fadak be deemed cowardly? Does Ibn al Hashimi really believe that Marwan a chief Fitnah monger would have just restored Fadak to Imam Ali (as) without galvanising clan support and putting up a fight? Would it have been brave if Imam Ali (as) had used force and in consequence hordes of Banu Ummaya Nawasib from Madina came out and shed the blood of the supporters of Imam Ali (as)? When The Islamic State had just (whether rightly or wrongly) rid itself of a corrupt Khalifa whose nepotism made the Banu Ummayads and their supporters rich aristocrats, at the expense of all others (who were living on or below the poverty line), what was the priority for Imam Ali (as)? Was it to use his legendary bravery and get back the legal estate of his wife, or was it to meet the needs of his poor down trodden subjects that had suffered so immensely during the reign of the third Khalifa? Imam Ali (as) was not just the greatest Islamic warrior, he was also the greatest amongst the Sahaba in wisdom. If Imam Ali (as) through his immense wisdom felt that the best option was to keep his sword sheathed in the matter of Fadak, since raising it could risk turmoil, why should that be deemed cowardice? These Salafis will never understand that resorting to violence to get your way is not always the correct approach. Ibn al Hashimi needs to stop watching cowboy films and take a reality check! Violence begets violence, and if a Leaders patience is prioritised over force that should not automatically be rendered cowardice on the part of a Leader.

Reply Two

This shameless Nasibi did not even consider the fact that Allah (swt) has given man free choice, and not forced him to believe in His (swt) Deen. He (swt) ordered his Prophets and their executors to lead normal lives and not utilise the supernatural powers that He (swt) bestowed on them, as a mechanism for improving their lives. That is why they were sometimes in power, whilst at other times they were oppressed. Whilst Allah (swt) could have no doubt aided his Prophets via miracles, to overcome and destroy their enemies, He (swt) said to the greatest of Creations:

Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.
Al-Qur’an, Surah 88, Ayah 22, translated by Yusufali

Along the same lines, Allah (swt) says:

The worshippers of false gods say: “If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him – neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His.” So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message?
Al-Qur’an, Surah 16, Ayah 35, translated by Yusufali

That is why the objection of Ibn al Hashimi (as) to why Imam Ali (as) didn’t utilise his ’supernatural power’ is so false, since exactly the same questions could be asked of the Prophets and their executors, who were overpowered by infidels and hypocrites, and yet Allah (swt) did not instruct them to allay their difficulties by utilising miracles. Is it not an accepted fact that previous Prophets were killed, and their executors were persecuted? Prophet Sulayman (as) was the Wasi of his father, the powerful Dawood (as), yet after his death, his strong kingdom was snatched, even though Sulayman (as) had amongst his loyal followers Asif, who the Quran attests possessed a partial knowledge of the Book with which he was able to move the throne of Bilks within the blinking of an eye! How was such a powerful supporter of Sulayman (as) incapable of using his ‘supernatural power’ to prevent the downfall of the Kingdom of his Master (as)? Along the same lines, Imam Ali (as) who possessed a complete knowledge of the book, did indeed have far greater supernatural powers than moving a throne within the blinking of an eye, had he supplicated against the usurpers of Fadak they would have been destroyed, but he was ordered to maintain patience in the face of injustice, as were the past divine orders given to Prophets and their executors.

 

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