Attacking the House of Fatimah (as)

A Sunni Brother mentioned that the Caliphate of Abu Bakr is the Consensus of scholars (Ijma'). It is incumbent upon Muslims to accept the Ijma'.

First I would like to point out that we also believe that Ijma'a is binding. But, my brother, how can Sunni scholars make Ijma'a on something that the Prophet and some of his companions opposed it? This opposition is a clear evidence to the fact that there is no Ijma'a in that very matter.

As for the Prophet (PBUH&HF), I mentioned the authentic Sunni traditions in the previous articles where he gave Imam Ali the position that Haroon had to Moses. That position is explained in Quran whose verses I mentioned. The verses show that:

1-Allah is the one who appoints the Caliph.

2-The verse also uses the word "Ukhlofni" which is exactly the verb form of Khalif.

Moreover, I reproduced the historical reports documented by the Sunni scholars concerning the fact that the Messenger of Allah unequivocally announced Imam Ali (AS) as his successor in his first open preach. I also mentioned the authentic and frequent tradition of Ghadir Khum where the Prophet declared the leadership of Imam Ali (AS) officially.

Now, my brother, how can Ijma'a exist on this important issue when the Messenger of Allah oppose it? This is enough for us to close the issue of Ijma'a on this subject. However let us, now, go a little further:

Even the companions did not all agree that all these four individuals are the legitimate successors of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). Muslims agree that the caliphate of Abu Bakr came through election by a limited number of people and was a surprise for all other companions.

By limited, I mean, a majority of the prominent companions of prophet had no knowledge of this election. Ali, Ibn Abbas, Uthman, Talha, Zubair, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, Salman al- Farsi, Abu Dhar, Ammar Ibn Yasir, Miqdad, Abdurrahman Ibn Owf were among those who were not consulted or even informed of.

Even Umar confessed to the fact that the election of Abu Bakr was without consultation of Muslims. (See sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v8, Tradition #817)

My dear brother, we can not close our eyes to the undeniable facts documented even by the Sunni scholars, and yet claim to have Ijma'a. After the demise of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), those who heed what the Messenger of Allah ordered them such as Ammar Ibn Yasir, Abu-Dhar al-Ghafari, Miqdad, Salman al-Farsi, Ibn Abbas, and others such as al-Abbas, Utbah Ibn Abi Lahab, Bara Ibn Azib, Ubay Ibn Ka'b, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas ... etc., all gathered in the house of Fatimah (AS).

Even Talha and al-Zubair were loyal to Imam Ali at the beginning and joint the others in the house of Fatimah (AS). They assembled in the house of Fatimah as a place of refuge since they were opposing the majority of people. According to the authentic traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari, Umar confessed that the Imam Ali (AS) and his followers OPPOSED Abu Bakr.

Al-Bukhari narrated:

Umar said: "And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr."

Sunni Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v8, Tradition #817

Other Sunni traditionists narrated that on the day of Saqifah:

Umar said: "Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Zubair Ibn Awwam and those who were with them separated from us (and gathered) in the house of Fatimah, the daughter of the messenger of Allah."

Sunni References:

  • Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p55
  • Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, by Ibn Hisham, v4, p309
  • History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, p1822
  • History of Tabari, English version, v9, p192


They demanded confirmation of the oath, but Ali and al-Zubair stayed away. Al-Zubair drew his sword (from the scabbard), saying, "I will not put it back until the oath of allegiance is rendered to Ali." When this news reached Abu Bakr and Umar, the latter said, "Hit him with a stone and seize the sword." It is stated that Umar rushed (to the door of the House of Fatimah) and brought them forcibly while telling them that they must give their oath of allegiance willingly or unwillingly.

Sunni reference: History of al-Tabari, English version, v9, pp 188-189

Dear brother, let's just think a little! What kind of election was that?! Election implies choice and freedom, and that every Muslim has the right to elect the nominee. Whoever refuses to elect him does not oppose God or His Messenger because neither God nor His Messenger appointed the nominated person by people.

Election, by its nature, does not compel any Muslim to elect a specific nominee. Otherwise, the election would be coercion. This means that the election would lose its own nature and it would be a dictatorial operation. It is well known that the Prophet said: "There is no validity for any allegiance given by force."

Now let us see what Umar did on those days. Sunni historians reported that:

When Umar came to the door of the house of Fatimah, he said: "By Allah, I shall burn down (the house) over you unless you come out and give the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr)."

Sunni References:

  • History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, pp 1118-1120
  • History of Ibn Athir, v2, p325
  • al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p975
  • Tarikh al-Kulafa, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p20
  • al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20


Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to the house of Ali. Talha and Zubair and some of the immigrants were also in the house. Umar cried out: "By God, either you come out to render the oath of allegiance, or I will set the house on fire." al-Zubair came out with his sword drawn. As he stumbled (upon something), the sword fell from his hand so they jumped over him and seized him."

Sunni Reference: History of Tabari, English version, v9, pp 186-187 In the footnotes of the same page (p187) in the English version of the History of al-Tabari the translator has commented:

Although the timing is not clear, it seems that Ali and his group came to know about Saqifa after what had happened there. At this point, his supporters gathered in Fatimah's house. Abu Bakr and Umar, fully aware of Ali's claims and fearing a serious threat from his supporters, summoned him to the mosque to swear the oath of allegiance.

Ali refused, and so the house was surrounded by an armed band led by Abu Bakr and Umar, who threatened to set it on fire if Ali and his supporters refused to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. The scene grew violent and Fatimah was furious. (See Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his , v1, pp 582-586; Tarikh Ya'qubi, v2, p116; al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20).

Abu Bakr said on the authority of an authentic report that, after the demise of the holy Prophet when the people had paid fealty to him, Ali and Zubair used to go to Fatimah al-Zahra, daughter of the Prophet, for consultation. When this fact was known to Umar, he went to Fatimah and said:

"O' daughter of the Prophet! I didn't love anyone as much as I loved your father, nor anyone after him is more loving to me as you are. But I swear by Allah that if these people assemble here with you, then this love of mine would not prevent me from setting your house on fire."

Sunni references:

  • History of Tabari, in the events of the year 11 AH
  • al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, beginning of the book, and pp 19-20
  • Izalatul Khilafa, by Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi, v2, p362
  • Iqd al-Farid, by Ibn Abd Rabbah al-Malik, v2, chapter of Saqifah

Also it is reported that:

Umar said to Fatimah (who was behind the door of her house): "I know that the Prophet of God did not love any one more than you, but this will not stop me to carry out my decision. If these people stay in your house, I will burn the door in front of you."

Sunni reference: Kanz al-Ummal, v3, p140

In fact Shibli Numani himself testifies the above event in the following words:

"From Umar's irritable and peevish temperament such an action on his part was not improbable."

Sunni reference: al-Faruq, by Shibli Numani, p44

It is also reported that:

Abu Bakr said (on his death bed): "I wish I had not searched for Fatimah's house, and had not sent men to harass her, though it would have caused a war if her house would have continued to be used as a shelter."

Sunni references:

  • History of Ya'qubi, v2, pp 115-116
  • Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586

The historian named the following people among those who attacked the house of Fatimah to disperse people who sheltered there:

  • Umar Ibn al-Khattab
  • Khalid Ibn Walid
  • Abdurrahman Ibn Ouf
  • Thabit Ibn Shammas
  • Ziad Ibn Labid
  • Muhammad Ibn Maslamah
  • Salamah Ibn Salem Ibn Waqash
  • Salamah Ibn Aslam
  • Usaid Ibn Hozair
  • Zaid Ibn Thabit

The revered Sunni scholar, Abu Mohammad Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn Qutaybah Daynuri in his history of Caliphs known as "al-Imamah wa al- Siyasah" reported:

Umar asked for wood, and told those people inside the house: "I swear by Allah who has my soul in his hand, that if you do not come out, I will burn the house." Someone told Umar that Fatimah was inside the house. Umar said: "So what! It doesn't matter to me who is in the house."

Sunni reference: al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 3,19-20 Another Sunni historian, al-Baladhuri, reported that:

Abu Bakr asked Ali to support him, but Ali refused, then Umar went toward the Ali's house with a burning torch. At the door he met Fatimah who said to him: "Do you intend to burn the door of my house?" Umar said: "Yes, because this act will strengthen the faith brought to us by your father."

Sunni reference: al-Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586 Also Jouhari in his book said: "Umar and a few Muslims went to the house of Fatimah to burn it down and to burn those who were in opposition." Ibn Shahna said the same statement adding "to burn the house and inhabitants".

Furthermore, it is reported that:

Ali and Abbas were sitting inside the house of Fatimah, Abu Bakr told Umar: "Go and bring them; if they refuse, kill them." Umar brought fire to burn the house. Fatimah came near the door and said: "O son of Khattab, have you come to burn our house on me and my children?" Umar replied: "Yes I will, by Allah, until they come out and pay allegiance to the Prophet's Caliph."

Sunni reference:

  • Iqd al-Fareed, by Ibn Abd Rabb, Part 3, Pg. 63
  • al-Ghurar, by Ibn Khazaben, related from Zayd Ibn Aslam

Everybody came out of the house except Imam Ali (AS), who said: "I have sworn to remain home until I collect the Quran." Umar refused but Lady Fatimah's remonstration caused him to return. He instigated Abu Bakr to pursue the matter, and he send Qunfuz (his slave) several times but received a negative reply each time.

Ultimately, Umar went with a group of people to the Fatimah's house. When she heard their voice, she cried loudly; "O father, O Messenger of Allah, how are Umar Ibn al-Khattab and Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Quhafah treating us after you and how do they meet us."

The Sunni scholars, Ahmad Ibn Abdul Aziz al-Jawhari in his book 'Saqifah', Abu Waleed Muhibbuddin Mohammad al-Shahnah al-Hanafi in his book 'Rawdhat al-Manadhir Fi Akhbaar al-Awayil wal-Aawaakhir', Ibn Abil Hadid in his book 'Sharh al-Nahj', and others have reported the events to the same effect.

Also refer to the esteemed Sunni historian Abul Hasan, Ali Ibn al-Husain al- Mas'udi who in his book 'Isbaat al-Wasiyyah' describes the events in detail and reports that: "They surrounded Ali (AS) and burned the door of his house and pulled him out against his will and pressed the leader of all women (Hadhrat Fatimah (AS)) between the door and the wall killing Mohsin (the male-child she was carrying in her womb for six months)."

Salahuddin Khalil al-Safadi another Sunni scholar in his book 'Waafi al- Wafiyyaat' under the letter 'A' while recording the view of Ibrahim Ibn Sayyar Ibn Hani al-Basri, well-known as Nidhaam quotes him to have said: "On the day of 'Bay'aat' (paying allegiance), Umar hit Fatimah (AS) on the stomach such that child in her womb died."

Why do you think an 18 year old young lady was forced to walk with the help of a walking-stick? Unbelieveable acts of cruelty and oppression had led Hadhrat Fatimah al-Zahra (AS) to lament: "Such calamities have visited me that had they descended on the day it would have darkened it." She fell into bed till she was martyred as a results of these calamities and injuries while she was just eighteen years old!

During her last days, when Abu Bakr and Umar sought the mediation of Imam Ali (AS) to visit the ailing Hadhrat Fatimah (AS), as quoted by Ibn Qutaybah, she tured her face to the wall when they greeted her and in response to their plea for appeasement reminded them of the prophetic declaration that one who displeases Fatimah (AS) has displeased the Prophet and finally said:

"I take Allah and the angels to be my witness that you have not pleased me; on the other hand, you have angered me. When I shall meet the Prophet (PBUH&HF) I will complain about you two." (al-Imamah wa al- Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p14).

For the same reason, she willed that those who have hurt her should not participate in her funeral rites and that she be buried at night. al- Bukhari in his Sahih attests to this fact that Imam Ali (AS) complied with the will of Lady Fatimah (AS). al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Aisha that:

... Fatimah became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not talk to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband 'Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself.

Sunni references:

  • Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter of "The battle of Khaibar", Arabic-English, v5, tradition #546, pp 381-383, also v4, Tradition #325

Howsoever they tried, people failed to locate her grave. It was known only to a handful of Imam Ali (AS)'s family members. And to this date, the grave of the daughter of prophet is unknown which is another sign of her unhappiness from some of the companions.