The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Arguments and Debates
Imam Ali (a.s) argued with the people over that he was the most appropriate for the authority and worthiest of it. Besides, his Hashimite relatives, those who had precedence in Islam from among the leading Muhajireen and Ansar protested against them. We will mention to readers some of those arguments:
- Imam Ali
When Imam Ali (a.s) was taken by force to pay homage to Abu Bakr, the people violently commanded him: “Pay homage to Abu Bakr!”
He calmly answered them: “I am more entitled to the authority than you. I will not pay homage to you. You have to pledge allegiance to me. You have taken this authority from the Ansar. You have advanced the kinship to the Prophet (a.s) as an argument against them. Now, you want to take it from us, Ahlul Bayt, by force. Did you not claim before the Ansar that you were more deserving of this authority than they due to the fact that Muhammad belonged to you? So they gave you the leadership and handed the authority to you. And I argue with you in the same manner you argued with the Ansar. We are more appropriate for Allah’s Apostle (a.s) whether he is alive or dead. Therefore, treat us with justice if you are believers; otherwise, do wrong while you know (that).”
Through this strong argument, the Imam (a.s) followed the manner the Muhajireen followed before the Ansar, saying that they were the nearest of all the people to Allah’s Apostle in kinship. This argument that the Muhajireen hailed and employed as means to destroy the hopes of their opponents was available in the Imam (a.s) in the best way, for he was the cousin of the Prophet (a.s) and his son-in-law. Before this logic, Umar bin al-Khattab could do nothing except that he followed a violent way, which is the way of those lacking evidence and proof. He said to him: “Most surely I will not leave you until you pledge allegiance (to Abu Bakr)!”
So Imam Ali (a.s) shouted at him: “You milk some milk that you shall have half of it. Make firm his affair for him, and he will return it to you tomorrow!”
The Imam became excited and said: “By Allah, O Umar, I do not accept your statement, nor do I pledge allegiance to him (Abu Bakr).”
Abu Bakr feared that the consequences of the matter would be bad, so he showed kindness to Imam Ali (a.s) and said softly: “If you do not pay homage (to me), I will not force you!” Abu Ubayda bin al-Jarrah tried to satisfy the Imam. He said to him: “O my cousin, you are still young. These are the Sheikhs of your people. You do not have their experience and their knowledge of affairs. I think that Abu Bakr is stronger than you in this affair, that he is greater than you in enduring and undertaking it. Therefore, hand over this affair to Abu Bakr. If you live for a long time, then you will be worthy of it due to your excellence, religion, knowledge, understanding, precedence (in Islam), lineage, and your relationship (with the Prophet) by marriage.”
This deception moved the hidden pain and displeasure in the self of the Imam, and he hurried to address the Muhajireen and mentioned to them the achievements of Ahlul Bayt, peace be on them, saying: “O Community of the Muhajireen, (fear) Allah! (Fear) Allah! Do not take the authority of Muhammad over the Arabs out of his house, and his house to your houses! Do not remove his household from their position among the people and (from) their right. By Allah, O community of the Muhajireen we are worthier of him than the people, for we are his household. We are more entitled to this affair than your are. Among us are those who recite Allah’s Book, have jurisprudence in the religion of Allah and knowledge of the Sunna of Allah’s Apostle, undertake the affairs of the subjects, repel from them bad things, and equally divide (wealth) among them. By Allah all these qualities are available in us. Therefore, do not follow caprice lest you should lose the way of Allah and be far away from the truth.”[^1]
Through his wonderful arguments, Imam Ali refuted all the vague errors of the people. He closed all their windows through his strong arguments and proofs. The strongest thing to which Abu Ubayda clung in order to prove the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr is that he was older than Imam Ali (a.s). Such was with him the measure of rightness and sound judgment. However it is incorrect reasoning in the viewpoint of Islam. The measure in Islam in respect of the values of men is that they should have talents, qualifications, and geniuses. Therefore, whoever has such qualities is entitled to the leadership over the community and the management of its affairs. This is what the Imam meant through his arguments. He explained to them the high qualities the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) had such as understanding the religion of Allah, knowledge of the Sunna of His Apostle, undertaking the affairs of the subjects, repelling from them evil and detested things, and equally treating people. Islam required rulers and heads to have these qualities. But they were available in no one except Ahlul Bayt, peace be on them. So they were worthier of the authority and more appropriate for it than others.
[^1] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, pp. 11-12.
- Fatima Al-Zahra’
Fatima, the principal of the women of the world, argued with the people with strong arguments. She explained to them their bad deeds. She, peace be on her, said: “How dare they? Whereto have they moved it (the caliphate) from the bases of the Mission, and the (place of) descent of Loyal Gabriel, the expert in religious and worldly matters? This, indeed, is the manifest loss. Why do they hate Abu al-Hasan so much? By Allah, they hate the strength of his sword, his might and astounding deeds, and his extraordinary effort in supporting the religion of Allah. By Allah, had they all yielded to his leadership, he would have taken them to the easy path, without harming anyone.
He would have brought them to an overflowing fountain of goodness, advised them in secrecy and in public, neither filling his belly with their own sustenance, nor satisfying his thirst or hunger out of their own toil. The gates of mercy of the heavens and the earth would have been widely opened for them. Allah will punish them for the sins they were committing; so, come and listen to the story, and so long as you live, be amazed, and when you are amazed the incident bemuses you… Where have they gone, and which handle have they clung to? What an evil guardian they have taken, and what an evil bunch! How evil is the end of the oppressors who traded the tails for the hoofs, and the rumps for the chests! So, dusted are the noses of those who think that they have done well;
they are the ones who fill the world with corruption without knowing it. Woe unto them! Isn’t that who guides to the truth worthy of being followed than the one who does not guide? What is the matter with you? How do you judge? By Allah, it has become pollinated. Wait until it produces, and then you milk it as a cupful fresh blood, and bitter, poisonous food. On that day shall they perish who say false things, the followers will come to know of the consequences of the ancients. Then be pleased and prepare a heart for the discords. Be delighted at a sharp sword and an inclusive injury that will leave your fay’[^1] insignificant and your gathering as a reaped seed-produce. O my grief for you! Shall we constrain you to (accept) it while you are averse from it.”[^2]
In her eloquent, wonderful sermon, the daughter of the Prophet (a.s) has condemned the flagrant aggression against Ahlul Bayt, peace be on them, and criticized those who usurped the office of the Islamic Caliphate, for the people had put it in a place other than its place; and through that they lost the family of their Prophet, who were the haven of the Message, and the
[^1] Fay’ is wealth, income, or war booty gained without fighting. [^2] Balaaghaat al-Nisa’, p. 23. A‘lam al-Nisa’, vol. 3, pp. 1219-1220. Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijajj. Al-Majlisi, al-Bihar. Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha.
foundations of Prophethood; in whose houses the faithful spirit (Gabriel) descended and the Qur’an was revealed. Her valuable sermon has several affairs of great importance, which are as follows:
- She has mentioned the most important and reliable reasons for which the people turned away from Abu al-Hasan and harbored malice against him:
A. His sharp sword, with which he reaped the heads of the polytheists and the infidels, defended the Prophet (a.s) in all attitudes and at all battles, killed those near and far for the sake of establishing the pillars of the religion. Of course, such deeds made the people harbor great malice and hatred against him.
B. His might and astounding deeds; he killed the infidels and angered the hypocrites. He did not flatter them, nor did he side with (his own relatives). For Allah, he did not fear the censure of any censurer. He said: “By Allah, I will take revenge for the oppressed on the oppressor and will put a string in the nose of the oppressor and drag him to the spring of truthfulness even though he may grudge it.”
C. His extraordinary effort with which he supported the religion of Allah. He (a.s) sacrificed his soul and employed all his abilities for giving life to the religion of Allah and establishing His Laws. He threw himself in the heat of the battles, entered hardships and terrors, and walked on the heads of the polytheists. Because of his blessed efforts and great jihad, the religion became straight and strong.
Most surely these reasons made the people harbor malice and grudge against him as well as they envied him for the talents and perfect qualities Allah had given to him. Envy creates hatred and malice in souls and throws people into great evil.
- If the community had entrusted their affairs to Imam Ali (a.s) and followed the commandments of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) in respect of him, they would have won the following:
A. He (Imam Ali) would have led them through the way of justice and the truth and ruled according to what Allah had revealed. None would have been wronged during his government. The dignity of any of them would not have been destroyed.
B. He would have brought them to an overflowing fountain of goodness, led them to the shore of security and safety, lavished upon them good and blessings, and bestowed upon them favors. Therefore, none would have complained of deprivation, hunger, and poverty under his justice.
C. He would have advised them in secrecy and in public and guided them to the straight path.
D. Most surely if the Imam (a.s) had seized the reins of government, he would have taken nothing of the people’s world and seized nothing of their properties. He would have shared with them in sorrows and joys. He really did that when he undertook the affairs of the Muslims. Of his world he was satisfied with two shabby garments, and of his food he was content with two loaves of bread. He led a life like that of the poor and the deprived. In respect of such a life, he has said his immortal statement: “Shall I be satisfied with my self that I am called the Commander of the faithful, while I do not share with them the detested things of time and coarse life?”
In the history of Muslims there is no one like Imam Ali in asceticism, piety, justice, and turning away from the wealth of the subjects. His life has remained as the most wonderful model on which Muslims pride themselves.
E. If Imam Ali (a.s) had undertook the caliphate after the Prophet (a.s), boons and blessings would have spread, favors would have dominated all over the country, and the people would have eaten from above their heads and from beneath their feet. However, the Muslims deprived themselves of happiness and deprived the following generations of it. They abandoned the leading figures who would show them the truth and treat them with justice.
- Through the unseen, the daughter of the Prophet (a.s) came to know of the horrible consequences that would result from what the people had done, and which are as follows:
A. Discords would spread among the Muslims; their ranks would be cracked, and their unity would be divided. B. The tyrannical authorities would punish and exhaust them. C. The oppressors would seize their affairs.
These dangerous consequences came true on the arena of life when the Umayyads seized the reins of government. Mu’awiya ruled the Muslims and appointed over them some criminal governors such as Samra bin Jundub, Bisr bin Arta’a, and Ziyad bin Abeeh. They went too far in exhausting and punishing the Muslims and spreading terror among them. During the time of Ziyad bin Abeeh, the people would say: “Sa’d, escape! For Sa’eed has perished!” Mu’awiya appointed his son Yazid as caliph after him. The latter appointed Ibn Marjana as governor over the Muslims, and he committed abominable deeds through which he blackened the face of history. In this manner the Islamic caliphate passed from one oppressor to another and from one tyrant to another, to the extent that the country was full of oppression, tyranny, and dictatorship.
For these reliable reasons she has mentioned in her sermon, she opposed the then government, and battled against it with all her abilities. She demanded the Muslims to overthrow the government and summoned them to revolt against it to restore the usurped right. Her wronged husband, Imam Ali, took her around the houses of the Muhajireen and the Ansar for forty days, that she might ask them for help and support; however, they said to her: “O daughter of Allah’s Apostle, our pledge of allegiance to this man (Abu Bakr) has been concluded!”
She answered them with condemnation: “Will you let the inheritance of Allah’s Apostle come out of his house to another than his house?” They apologized to her for that, saying: “O daughter of Allah’s Apostle, if your husband had come to us before Abu Bakr, we would not have turned away from him.” Imam Ali (a.s) retorted: “Had I to leave Allah’s Apostle in his house, not to bury him, and to go out to dispute with the people over his authority?”
The daughter of the Prophet confirmed the statement of Imam Ali (a.s) saying: “Abul Hasan did what he had to do, and they have done that which Allah will punish them for.”[^1]
Fatima, peace be on her, delivered a famous sermon and aroused in many of its parts the efforts of the Muslims. She urged them to revolt and demanded them to return the caliphate to Imam Ali (a.s). Addressing the Banu Qeela, she has said: “O Banu Qeela, is my father’s inheritance seized from me while you see and hear? The summons reaches you and the voice includes you. You have the equipment. The house and the curtains belong to you. You are the choice Allah has chosen. You have brought the Arabs to light, improvised the affairs, and struggled against the brave men. So, through you, Islam has spread, its boons have become many, the fires of the war have gone out, the violence of polytheism has calmed down, the summons to the commotion has ceased, and the regulation of the religion has become firm. Have you lagged after boldness, recoiled after intensity, cowered after bravery from the people who have withdrawn from their faith after their covenant, and defamed your religion? Then fight the leaders of unbelief-surely their oaths are nothing- so that they may desist.”[^2]
[^1] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, p. 12. [^2] A‘lam al-Nisa’, vol. 3, p. 1214.
Through her great sermon, Fatima moved the anger of the people and inflamed the fire of the revolt. However, Abu Bakr received her with an apology and gentleness. He showed toward her strong respect. So he suppressed the revolt and paralyzed its movement. As Fatima found no way to regain the right of Imam Ali (a.s) she revealed her complaints and sorrows to her father and inclined to patience toward the ordeals and misfortunes that had befallen her.
- Imam al-Hasan
Agony and sorrow dwelt in the soul of Imam Ali (a.s) due to the loss of his right and usurp of his inheritance. They also dwelt in the soul of his son al-Hasan (a.s) and he went to the mosque of his grandfather (a.s). He saw Abu Bakr sitting on the pulpit of the mosque and delivering a sermon. He became displeased and bitterly criticized him (Abu Bakr), saying: “Get down! Get down from the pulpit of my (grand) father! Go to your father’s pulpit!”
Abu Bakr became astonished, and the people looked at the sayer. They suddenly came to know that he was the grandson of the Prophet (a.s) and his darling. They became perplexed and astonished and fell silent. Abu Bakr kept silent, avoided the attitude and said to him softly: “By Allah, you are truthful! Most surely it is your father’s pulpit, not my father’s pulpit!”[^1]
Most surely the argument of Imam al-Hasan, though young, issued from maturity, ambition, and cleverness. The Imam disclosed the exhausting pain he had hidden in the depth of his soul due to the loss of his father’s right. He saw his grandfather going up on the pulpit, summoning the people to Allah and guiding them to the right path. He came to know that that Light had disappeared and that Voice was veiled. He found none to succeed him (the Prophet) except his father, who defended Allah’s Apostle (a.s) in all the attitudes and battles.
- Salman al-Farisi
Salman al-Farisi, the pious son of Islam and source of piety and righteousness, hurried to rebuke the people and to protest against them. He argued with Abu Bakr, saying to him: “O Abu Bakr, to whom will you entrust your affair when that which you do not know befalls you? To whom will you
[^1] Al-Riyad al-Nadira, vol. 1, p. 139. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 2, p. 17. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, vol. 1, p. 93. Al-Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 172. In the book al-Isaba, vol. 2, p. 15, it has been mentioned: “This argument issued from Imam al-Husayn.” In the book al-Sawa‘iq al-Muhriqa, p. 105, it has been mentioned: “Al-Hasan said these words to Abu Bakr, and that happened to al-Husayn with Umar bin al-Khattab.”
resort when you are asked about something you do not know? What is your excuse? That is because there is someone who is more learned than you are, nearer to Allah’s Apostle (a.s), more knowledgeable in interpreting the Book of Allah, the Great and Almighty, and the Sunna of His Prophet. He is the one to whom the Prophet gave precedence during his lifetime, and whom he asked you to cling to at his death. But you have neglected his statement, forgotten his commandments, left behind you the promise, broken the covenant, and abrogated the agreement he had concluded with you in respect of walking behind the standard of Usama bin Zayd.”[^1]
- Ammar Bin Yasir
Ammar Bin Yasir began arguing with the people, saying to them: “O community of Quraysh, and O communities of the Muslims! If you have come to know; otherwise, you should know that the household of your Prophet are more appropriate for him, more entitled to inherit him, more righteous in the affairs of the religion, safer to the believers, more keeping to his creed, and sincerer to his community (than you are). Therefore, ask your leader (Abu Bakr) to return the right to its men before your cord becomes disordered, your affair becomes weak, your dissension appears, the affliction among you becomes greater, you differ with each other, and your enemy craves after you. You have come to know that the Hashimites are more appropriate for this affair than you are;
Ali is nearer to your Prophet than you are. He is among them and is your master in respect of the covenant of Allah and of His Apostle. You have come to know about the manifest difference for a condition after a condition. That was when the Prophet (a.s) closed all your doors facing the Mosque except his (Ali) door. He preferred him through marrying him to his daughter Fatima to the rest of those from among you who proposed to her. These words of him (a.s): ‘I am the City of knowledge, and Ali is its gate; and whoever seeks wisdom, let him come to it through its gate.’ You all are required to consult him in regard with the difficult affairs of your religion, while he is in no need of you all. Moreover he has excellent precedence the like of which the best one of you does not have. So why have you turned away from him, usurped his right, preferred the life in this world to the next? Evil is (this) change for the unjust. Give him what Allah has appointed for him. Do not turn away from him. And turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.”[^2]
[^1] Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijaj, pp. 42-43. [^2] Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijaj p. 43.
- Khuzayma Bin Thabit
Khuzayma Bin Thabit, a great companion of the Prophet, has said: “O People, did you not know that the Prophet (a.s) had accepted my witness alone and wanted no other witness with me?” Yes,” they replied. He said: “I bear witness that I have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) say: ‘My household distinguish between the truth and the falsehood; and they are the Imams who should be followed.’ I have said what I have known. Nothing is (incumbent) on the Apostle only a clear deliverance.”
- Abul Haythem bin al-Tayhan
Abul Haythem bin al-Tayhan, a great companion of the Prophet, has said: “And I bear witness for our Prophet (a.s) that he installed Ali (as an Imam) on the Day of Ghadir Khum. So the Ansar said: ‘He (the Prophet) installed him (for nothing) except for the caliphate.’ Some of them said: ‘He installed him for nothing except for that the people had to know that he was the master of those whose master was Allah’s Apostle (a.s).’ There was a lot of discussion about that; so, we sent some men from among us to Allah’s Apostle (a.s) to ask him about that. He said: ‘Say to them: Ali is the master of the believers after me and the most loyal of the people to my community.’ I have borne witness to that which came to my mind. So let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve. Surely the day of decision is (a day) appointed.
- Sahl bin Hunayf
Sahl Bin Hunayf praised Allah and lauded him, called down blessings upon the Prophet and his family. Then he said: “O Community of Quraysh, I bear witness that I saw Allah’s Apostle (a.s) in this place (the Mosque of the Prophet) taking Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) by the hand. I heard him say to him: ‘O people, this Ali is your Imam (leader) after me. He is my gurdian during my lifetime and after my death. He settles my debts, fulfills my promises and will be the first to shake hand with me by the Pool. Blessed is he who follows and supports him. Woe unto him who lags behind and deserts him.”
- Uthman bin Hunayf
Uthman bin Hunayf rose and said: “We have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) say: ‘My household are the stars of the earth; therefore, do not go ahead of them, for they are the rulers after me.’ A man rose for him and said: ‘O Allah’s Apostle, Who are your household?’ ‘Ali and his pure children,’ replied the Prophet.”
- Abu Ayyub al-Ansari
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari has said: “O servants of Allah, fear Allah in respect of the household of your Prophet, return to them their right that Allah had appointed to them. You have heard just as our brothers have heard that our Prophet (a.s) said in different gatherings: ‘My household are your Imams after me.’ He indicated with his hand to Ali. Then he said: ‘This is the Commander of the pious and killer of the unbelievers. Whoever deserts him is deserted; whoever supports him is supported. Therefore, turn to Allah in repentance because of your deeds, most surely Allah is the Most Forgiving, Merciful. Do not turn away from him, turning back’.”[^1]
- Utba bin Abi Lahab
While Utba bin Abi Lahab was shedding tears, he rose and recited:
I did not think that the authority would be turned away from Hashim, and then from Abu al-Hasan. From the first of the people in faith, precedence, and the most learned of the people in the Qur’an and the Sunna. The last of the people in making covenant with the Prophet, and whom Gabriel helped to wash and shroud (the Prophet), Who has that which they do not doubt, and the people do not have the good he has.[^2]
The great, trustworthy Muslims have mentioned other strong arguments concerning the right of Imam Ali (a.s). However, the people paid no attention to that and insisted on turning the caliphate away from the Prophet’s Household, peace be on them.
Imam Ali’s House is attacked
Imam Ali (a.s) did not pay homage to Abu Bakr and argued with him that he was more appropriate for the caliphate than he was. He announced his strong displeasure with the people. The Muslim leading personalities such as Ammar bin Yasir, Abu Dharr, al-Zubayr, and Khalid bin Sa’eed joined him. They held meetings in the Imam’s house and discussed the affair of the caliphate. These meetings disturbed Abu Bakr, so he decided to attack the Imam’s house, to meet the Imam with intensity and strictness, and to take against him all decisive measures. Accordingly, he commanded Umar to break into the
[^1] Al-Tabrasi, al-Ihtijaj, pp. 43-44. Other writers have mentioned it. [^2] Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 156.
Imam’s house and to force the Imam to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr. Umar became stern. He took some fighters and went to the Imam’s house. He thought that the best way to force the Imam to pay homage was setting fire to his house. He took a flambeau, and the fighters carried firewood. They angrily hurried to set fire to the house that Allah has permitted to be exalted and His name may be remembered in it, from which He took uncleanness away and completely purified. Any way, Umar angrily attacked the house and was shouting at the top of his voice: “By Him in whose hand is Umar’s soul, he (Imam Ali) should come out; otherwise, I will set fire to it (the house) with all those in it.[^1] Some people blamed and warned him against the punishment of Allah. They said to him: “Fatima is in the house!”
He paid no attention to them and shouted at them: “Even though! Even though!” The dear daughter of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) went out. She was terrified and astonished. She bitterly criticized them, saying: “I have never known a people doing worse than you have done!” You left Allah’s Apostle (a.s) as a corpse before us. You decided your affair among you. You did not consult us and did not return our right to us.”
The haughtiness of the people dispersed, and their violence melted. Umar hurried to Abu Bakr and urged him to force the Imam to pay homage to him. He said to him: “Do you not punish this one who has not pledged allegiance to you?” Abu Bakr sent Qunfudh to the Imam (a.s) and he refused to go with him. As a result, Umar and his helpers set out to the Imam’s house. They knocked on the door and came into the house. The daughter of the Prophet (a.s) called out her father and sought help from him, saying: “O father, O Allah’s Apostle,
[^1] Traditions ensured by many ways of narration have mentioned that Umar threatened Imam Ali, the Commander of the faithful, with setting fire to his house. Most historians have mentioned that. This event has been mentioned in the books: Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, pp. 12-13. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Sharh Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 34. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 202, (Daar al-Ma‘rif edition). Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 156. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 105. ‘Alaam al-Nisa’, vol. 3, p. 205. Abu ‘Ubayd, al-Amwal, p. 131. Al-Mas‘udi, Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 414. ‘Abd al-Fattah, Imam Ali, vol. 1, p. 213. He has mentioned it in vol. 4, p. 171. Hafiz Ibraheem, the poet of the Nile, has written poetry on it, saying:
Umar said a statement to Ali; venerate its listener; respect its speaker:
I shall burn your house and do not leave you alive wherein if you do not pay homage, even if al-Mustafa’s daughter is in it. None said it except Abu Hafs (Umar) when he addressed Adnan’s Knight and Protector.
what have we met after you from (Umar) Ibn al-Khattab and Ibn Abi Quhafa (Abu Bakr)?”
The hearts became broken, and the souls melted due to the horrible misfortune, and the people went away weeping. Umar bin al-Khattab and his group remained there. They were angry. They paid no attention to the rebuke of the Prophet’s daughter. Umar violently brought out Imam Ali (a.s) and set out to Abu Bakr. He said to him: “Pay homage (to Abu Bakr)!” “And if I do not do?” he asked.
The people that caprice had misled said to him: “By Allah, Whom there is no god but Him, we will cut off your head!” The Imam fell silent for a while. He looked at the people. He found neither helper nor supporter among them, so he sadly said to them: “Therefore, you will kill Allah’s servant and the brother of His Apostle!” Umar bin al-Khattab excitedly hurried to say: “As for (that you are) Allah’s servant, (the answer is) yes; and (as for that you are) the brother of his Apostle, (the answer is) no!” Anyhow, Umar bin al-Khattab forgot that Imam Ali (a.s) was the brother of the Prophet, his self, and the gate of the city of his knowledge. He turned to Abu Bakr and urged him to inflict a punishment on the Imam, saying: “Do you not issue your command in respect of him?” Abu Bakr was careful of a discord and feared that the fires of the revolt would break out; so, he said: “I will not force him to do anything as long as Fatima is beside him!”
He released the Imam, and he went to the tomb of the Prophet (a.s). He sat there weeping. Then he addressed the Prophet at the top of his voice, saying: “Son of my mother, surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me!”
Indeed the people reckoned the Imam weak and alone and and they violated his sacredness. He returned home. He was sad; cares and sorrows surrounded him. He came to know that the people had harbored malice and hatred against him.
Fadak is confiscated
When the Muslim armies conquered Khaybar forts, Allah threw fear and terror in the hearts of the inhabitants of Fadak, panic and fear dominated them; so, they hurried to Allah’s Apostle (a.s). They yielded to his decision and made peace with him provided that they should give him half of their lands. Accordingly, Fadak was the Prophet’s own property. That is because the Muslims had not conquered it through fighting. When Allah, the Exalted, revealed to His Prophet these words: And give to the near of kin his due[^1], the Prophet hurried to give Fadak to his daughter as a gift. Accordingly, Fatima laid hand on Fadak and disposed of it as owners disposed of their properties. When the Prophet (a.s) died, Abu Bakr confiscated Fadak and took it by force from Fatima’s hand lest Imam Ali should be powerful. This is a kind of an economic war aiming at undermining the opponents and paralyzing the opposite movement. Ancient and modern governments use such a policy against their opponents. Ali bin Muhanna’ al-‘Alawi has inclined to this viewpoint, saying: “Through their depriving Fatima of Fadak, Abu Bakr and Umar had no purpose other than that lest Ali should be powerful to dispute with them over the caliphate through its yields and corps.”[^2]
After Abu Bakr had seized Fadak and dismissed from it the worker of Fatima al-Zahra’, Fatima, peace be on her, demanded him to return it to her. However, he did not respond to her in respect of that; rather, he asked her to give evidence for the truthfulness of her case. This procedure is very strange for the following reasons: Firstly, it does not apply to that which has been decided in the Islamic jurisprudence, and which is that the plaintiff is demanded to give evidence, and not the owner. When there is no evidence, there is no right against the plaintiff except taking an oath. As Fatima al-Zahra’ was the owner of Fadak, then she would not be demanded to give evidence; rather, Abu Bakr had to give it. As he had no evidence, then there was no right against him except taking an oath. However he neglected that and insisted on that Fatima had to give evidence. Secondly, Fatima was the mistress of the women of the world and the best of them, as her father, Allah’s Apostle (a.s) had said. The Muslims have unanimously agreed on that she was among those concerning whom Allah had revealed the verse of al-Tatheer, which indicates that Fatima was pure and infallible. She was the most truthful of all the people in speech, as A’isha said. Are these statements not enough to regard her as truthful and to respond to her?
Anyhow, Fatima, the darling of Allah’s Apostle (a.s), went and brought Imam Ali (a.s) and Umm Ayman. They bore witness before Abu Bakr that Allah’s Apostle (a.s) had given Fadak to Fatima as a gift; nevertheless, he rejected their witness justifying that the evidence was not complete. This procedure
[^1] Qur’an, 17, 26. [^2] A‘lam al-Nisa’, vol. 3, p. 215.
also faces some criticisms: Firstly, it does not agree with the juristic rules, which are clear in indicating that if the case is for property, then it is established through one witness and taking an oath. If the plaintiff brings one witness, then the judge has to make him take an oath in stead of the second witness. If the plaintiff takes an oath, then the judge has to give him the right. If he refrains from that, the judge has to reject the case. However Abu Bakr did not apply that; he cancelled the witness and refused the case. Secondly, he refused the testimony of Imam Ali (a.s) while he was with the Qur’an, and the Qur’an was with him, and they did not separate from each other, as Allah’s Apostle (a.s) said.[^1] Thirdly, he rejected the witness of Umm Ayman, a righteous woman, for whom Allah’s Apostle (a.s) bore witness that she would be among the people of the Garden.[^2]
Fatima, the mistress of women, left Abu Bakr while she was tripping over the trains of her gown because of her disappointment of Fadak. Sorrows and pain befell her. Imam Sharaf al-Deen, may Allah rest him in peace, has said: “I wish that he (Abu Bakr) avoided the failure of al-Zahra’ in her attitudes through all the wise ways he had. If he had done that, he would have been more trustworthy in result, farther away from most likely places of regret, remoter from the attitudes of blame, more unifying to the community, and better for him in particular. He was able to deem the deposit and only daughter of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) far above the disappointment, and not to let her leave him while she was tripping over the trains of her gown. What would have been against him if he had replaced her father and gave her Fadak without any trial? The Imam had the right to do that according to his general authority. What was the value of Fadak in respect of this interest and removing this corruption?”[^3]
Most surely Abu Bakr did no favor nor did he do a good deed to the daughter of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). He was able to let her own Fadak, to avoid deception, severity, and estrangement toward her. However the affair is as narrated by Ali bin al-Fariqi, a great figure in Baghdad, a teacher at its western school, and among the Sheikhs of Ibn Abi al-Haddeed. Ibn Abi al-Haddeed asked Ali bin al-Fariqi:
-Was Fatima truthful in her case of the gift?
[^1] Al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 124. Al-Sawa‘iq al-Muhriqa, 75. [^2] Al-Isaba. [^3] Al-Nas wa al-Ijtihad, p. 37.
-Why did Abu Bakr not give Fadak to her while he came to know that she was truthful?
Ibn Abi al-Haddeed said: “He (Ali bin al-Fariqi) smiled, and then said: ‘A nice, approved speech in respect of his law, his sacredness, and his little joking.’ He said: ‘If he had given her Fadak as soon as she demanded him, she would have come to him. She would have claimed the caliphate for her husband, and removed him from his position. At that time he would be unable to make an apology through a certain thing, for he would write against himself that she was truthful in respect of what she claimed whoever she was without any need of evidence and witnesses.’”
Yes, for this reason the people decided to wrong Fatima, plunder her wealth, regard as lawful the rejection of the witness of Imam Ali (a.s), and to make the family of the Prophet bemoan, sigh, lead a life full of cares, sorrows, and fears.
Abu Bakr regrets
Abu Bakr too much repented of what he neglected toward the daughter of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). He felt remorse because of what had issued from him such as attacking Imam Ali’s house, and carrying the flambeaus to burn it. He said: “I wish I did not uncover Fatima’s house even if they had closed it (to declare) war (against me)!”[^1]
He was very impatient because of what he had done toward the deposit (daughter) of the Prophet (a.s). As a result he and his companion Umar went to her house to soothe and please her. They asked permission to enter her house, but she refused to permit them. They asked permission again, but she refused to permit them. So they went to Imam Ali (a.s) and asked him to permit them to meet the deposit (daughter) of the Prophet (a.s). The Imam (a.s) went to his house and asked Fatima, the mistress of women, to permit them to meet her. She responded to him, and he (a.s) permitted them to meet her. They visited and greeted her, but she did not answer them. They walked towards her and sat in front of her, but she turned her face away from them. They insisted on that she had to listen to their speech. She permitted them to do that. Abu Bakr said: “Dear daughter of Allah’s Apostle (a.s), by Allah, the kinship of Allah’s Apostle is more lovable to me than my kinship. You are more lovable to me than (my daughter) A’isha. I wish I died on the day when your father died and did not remain (alive) after him. Do you think that I know you, your excellence, your honor and prevent you from (taking) your
[^1] Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 3, p. 135. Al-Tabari, vol. 4, p. 52.
right and inheriting Allah’s Apostle? However, I have heard Allah’s Apostle say: “We do not bequeath what we leave (after us), for it is alms.” With her reliable proofs she gave during her great sermon, the daughter of the Apostle (a.s) refuted his statement in respect of that the Prophet equally treated all the Muslims in the inheritance. She said to Abu Bakr and Umar: “I adjure you before Allah, have you not heard Allah’s Apostle say: ‘Fatima’s pleasure is mine, and Fatima’s displeasure is mine. So whoever loves my daughter Fatima loves me. Whoever pleases Fatima pleases me, and whoever discontents Fatima discontents me.”
They believed her statement, saying: “Yes, we have heard him say that.” So she raised her hands towards the heaven and began saying through a broken heart: “Therefore, I call to witness Allah and His angels that you have discontented me, and not pleased me; and if I meet Allah’s Apostle, I will complain to him of you!”
Abu Bakr began weeping; nevertheless, she said to him: “By Allah, I will invoke Allah against you during every prayer I offer.”[^1] “How strong these words were! The blows of swords were lighter than their effect! The earth beneath them shook and turned like the quern, to the extent that they staggered due to the fear of what they had met. They left the house while they were hopeless of pleasing the daughter of the Apostle. They came to know of the anger and rage in her heart they drew on themselves.”[^2]
Abu Bakr had the right to weep and be sad due to the anger of the mistress of women with him, for Allah’s Apostle (a.s) had said to her: “Most surely Allah’s Apostle becomes angry due to your anger and becomes pleased due to your pleasure!”[^3] The world became narrow in Abu Bakr’s eyes, and he sought shelter with his tears, that he might decrease his pain and sorrows, for he missed the good pleasure of the daughter of the Prophet (a.s) which was of Allah’s. All these events were before the very eyes of Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and within his earshot. They had a great effect on his feelings, and he became angry with those who usurped his father’s right of authority and discontent with those who occupied his office of the caliphate.
[^1] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, p. 14. A’lam al-Nisa’, vol. 3, p. 1214. Imam Ali, vol. 1, p. 217. [^2] Imam Ali, vol. 1, pp. 217-218. [^3] Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 153. Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 5, p. 522. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 12, p. 441. Mizan al-I‘tidal, vol. 2, p. 219. Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, p. 39. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal, vol. 1, p. 52.
Waves of cares and sorrows covered the daughter of the Prophet (a.s). Clouds of troubles and agony encompassed her due to the loss of her right and her father. The people narrated that none saw her smile or show delight after him until she followed him to the better world. She thought of nothing except of him, nor did she mention his name except accompanied with lamentation and pain.
She visited his pure tomb and went around it, while she was perplexed. She wept and moistened it with generous tears. She threw herself on the tomb, while she was astonished-minded, broken-hearted, and cracked-bodied. She smelt and kissed the earth of the tomb for a long time. She wept bitterly and said with sad tones:
Whoever smells the earth of Ahmed will not smell the ghaliya[^1] throughout the time. Misfortunes have been poured on me that if they were poured on days, they would turn into nights.[^2]
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) looked at this black sadness that befell his affectionate mother, so his heart cracked, and he shed tears as far as the eye-lids could help him. During his youth, he saw the agony of the misfortunes that attacked his affectionate mother, to the extent that her strength became weak, sadness made her face black, and she became a corpse void of life. So he drowned in tears and affairs.
[^1] Ghaliya is a perfume of musk and ambergris. [^2] Noor al-Abbsar, p. 42. In his book al-Manaqib, vol., 2, p. 131, Ibn Shahrashub has mentioned an addition to the above-mentioned poetry lines. The addition is as follows:
Say to him who has been caused to be absent beneath the layers of the earth if you can hear my cry and my call. I had protection under the wing of Muhammed. I had no fear of oppression and he was my beauty. However, today I have yielded to the lowly one, avoided being oppressed, and repelled with my garment him who wrongs me.
If a turtledove weeps on a twig during its night out of grief, I will weep throughout my morning. So, after you, I will appoint sadness as my bosom friend and make the tears over you as my sash.
What a kind of sadness was that befell the daughter and the darling of Allah’s Apostle (a.s)! People set her an example for sadness, regarded her as among the five tearful people,[^1] who represented sadness and sorrow on the arena of life? She was so sad that Anas bin Malik[^2] asked permission to condole her on her painful misfortune, and she gave him permission. “Are you Anas bin Malik?” she asked him. “Yes, daughter of Allah’s Apostle,” he replied.
She asked him a question accompanied with lamentation and pain: “How were your souls pleased to pour earth upon Allah’s Apostle?”[^3] Anas went out, while his heart was about to come to an end due to sorrows, and he loudly wept. Fatima (a.s) demanded Imam Ali (a.s) to give her the shirt with which he had washed Allah’s Apostle (a.s). When she saw the shirt, she smelt it and put it on her eyes; her heart melted due to the pain of sadness, to the extent that she fainted.
The Apostle’s daughter remained so after her father. Sadness exhausted her; that the people denied her right and deprived her of her inheritance increased her sadness. Al-Hasan (a.s) went on seeing the disasters and misfortunes that befell his mother. The freshness of his youth withered. During his daytime he came to know nothing except the Tree of al-Arak where he went to help his mother in lamenting and to reduce her agony and sorrow. He stayed with her throughout the daytime in sadness and depression. When the sun was about to set, he, his father, and his brother took her home. There he found nothing other than loneliness and cares dominating the house.
The people uprooted the tree in whose shadow she sat. So she and her two sons wept in the heat of the sun. Imam Ali (a.s) built her a house and called it the House of Sorrows. She sat in the house and wept for her father. She addressed and complained to him. Pain surrounded her, and illness destroyed her; so, she remained at bed. She was unable to rise or stand up. Some Muslim women visited her and said to her: “How about your illness, O daughter of Allah’s Apostle?”
[^1] The five tearful people are Adam, Ya‘qub, Yusuf, Fatima, and Ali bin al-Husayn. [^2] Anas bin Malik was among those who lowered Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) into his final resting-place. [^3] Ibn Maja, Sunan, p. 18.