Fadak : Shia Hadith Confirms Abu Bakr’s Justice (رضّى الله عنه)
The issue of Fadak is a favorite topic for the Shia, and the story (in collusion with spiteful rhetoric) is one that the Shia children grow up on. The Shia propagandists feel no qualms in rabble-rousing and exploiting Fadak by reviving Fitnah and disagreements that died hundreds of years ago. On the other hand, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah does not focus on the story of Fadak, namely to prevent senseless Fitnah and out of respect for Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) and Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), two of the great personalities of Islam.
Because of the fact that the issue of Fadak is not a center of focus in Sunni circles, many Sunni youth do not have the details about this event and most haven’t even heard of it. Meanwhile, the Shia youth are trained with propaganda points to assault the unknowing Sunnis with. This imbalance of knowledge leads to a quick “victory” for the Shia propagandists.
The reality, however, is that the Shia version of Fadak is completely biased, contrary to the facts, and yet another typical Taqiyyah-oriented deception and manipulation of history designed to malign Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). We find that a fair analysis of Fadak not only absolves Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) of all wrong doing, but it also exposes the falsity of the Shia paradigm.
Fadak was the name of a property that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) personally owned. Upon the Prophet’s death (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) expected to inherit Fadak, but Caliph Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) refused to give it to her and he instead donated it to the state as charity. Based on this event, the Shia villify Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) for “stealing” land from the daughter of the Prophet.
The reason Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) did not–and Islamically could not–give Fadak to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) was because the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had declared that the Prophets do not leave behind inheritance. Prophets are awarded special financial privelages in order to aid them in their mission to spread Islam; Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) got a portion of the Khums on the very basis that he was a Prophet. It is thus not an absurd stipulation that their inheritance too has a special set of rules distinct from non-prophets. Both Sunni and Shia Hadith confirm that the property of Prophets is left behind as charity and not to be awarded as inheritance.
Let us now examine Sunni Hadith on the topic of Prophets and inheritance. Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) said:
“We do not leave inheritance. What we leave behind is charity.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad was-Siyar, no. 49)
“We, the Prophets, do not leave heirs.” (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 2 p. 462)
This is confirmed in Shia Hadith as well. Let us examine Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, the most reliable of the four Shia books of Hadith, on the same matter:
“The Prophets did not leave dinars and dirhams as inheritance, but they left knowledge.” (al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 42)
This Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi has two separate narrations, and is considered Sahih by the Shia. The authenticity is confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini, who used this Hadith to prove his claim of Wilayah al-Faqih. Khomeini said about the Hadith:
“The narrators of this tradition are all reliable and trustworthy. The father of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim [namely Ibrahim ibn Hashim] is not only reliable, [but in fact] he is one of the most reliable and trustworthy narrators.”
(source: Khomeini, al-Hukumat al-Islamiyyah, p. 133, published by Markaz Baqiyyat Allah al-A’zam, Beirut)
So we wonder why this Hadith is reliable enough to prove Wilayah al-Faqih, but suddenly it is not used by the Shia to defend Abu Bakr’s (رضّى الله عنه) position?
Do we not then see that the statement made by Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) about Prophets not giving inheritance is the same statement that was made by Imam Sadiq (رضّى الله عنه) whom the Shia consider to be infallible? Allamah Al-Majlisi declared that the Hadith “do[es] not fall short of being Sahih.” And Ayatollah Khomeini considered it to be so Sahih that he used it to prove his Wilayah al-Faqih. If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is to be considered a liar for quoting this Hadith, then would the Shia also accept that Imam Sadiq (رضّى الله عنه), Allamah Majlisi, and Ayatollah Khomeini are also liars by same logic?
This Shia Hadith is referenced on Al-Shia.com, one of the most reliable of the Shia websites:
Hadith 57, Chapter 4, h 1
“The prophets did not leave any Dirham or Dinar (wealth) as their inheritance but they did leave knowledge as their inheritance.” (Al Kafi)
The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is recorded as saying:
“What we leave behind is to become alms.” (Hadith ash-Shafi)
The truth is that the Shia has no leg to stand upon since we point to their own Al-Kafi.
When Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph, he did not
revoke the decision of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on the propety of Fadak. What stopped Ali (رضّى الله عنه) from doing this? So why are the Shia against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the decision? In fact, the scholar Sayyid Murtada (known as ‘Alam al-Huda) narrates in his book on Imamah entitled ash-Shafi
, that when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became the Caliph he was approached about returning Fadak. Ali’s reply (رضّى الله عنه) 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)
This here is the crux of the matter. Why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? There is no Shia response to this question. We ask our Shia brothers to guess who returned Fadak. The Shia will be shocked to know that it would be a later Umayyad Caliph that returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), even though the Umayyads are hated and villified by the Shia. (However, this decision by the Umayyad Caliph was over-turned by future Caliphs on the basis that it was incorrect, considering that the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم] forbade inheritance of his property, and that Abu Bakr [رضّى الله عنه], Umar [رضّى الله عنه], Uthman [رضّى الله عنه], and Ali [رضّى الله عنه] upheld the decision of Fadak.)
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.
What is also interesting is that Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)–who was also Caliph for a short duration–also did not return Fadak! He did not claim it for himself, nor did he distribute it to the other inheritors from Fatima’s lineage (رضّى الله عنها). So why did he too do nothing about Fadak? Surely, if blame is to be put on Abu Bakr’s shoulders (رضّى الله عنه), and on the shoulders of Uthman (رضّى الله عنه), then fairness dictates that equal blame should be put on Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)!
- Shia Rebuttal #1: Taqiyyah
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. (Taqiyyah, according to a Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, means to say something outwardly but mean something else inwardly.)
How can we have an intelligent discussion with the Shia when everyone in history is doing Taqiyyah? Why can’t we claim then that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah and that’s why he didn’t return Fadak to Fatima? And why couldn’t we say that Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah? It becomes comical when one’s entire historical narrative rests on Taqiyyah. There is no way to prove anything if we rely on Taqiyyah as a precedent.
The only way the Shia can answer why Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as a companion and even married his daughter is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was of course doing Taqiyyah! The only way that the Shia can reconcile the fact that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t fight the Three Caliphs like Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) fought Yezid is again of course Taqiyyah! Why didn’t Allah reveal anything in the Quran about Imamah or the Wilayah of Ali? Again, Allah was doing Taqiyyah!
- Shia Rebuttal #2: Usurped Property
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.
The Answering-Ansar Team has argued that “no Shia would use such a pathetic argument”, but the reality is that we have seen this argument being used again and again on various forums. Thus, it was imperative that we respond to it here. We are glad that the Answering-Ansar Team also recognizes the baseness of this argument; instead, they have said that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did not want to commit Fitnah (i.e. disunity, chaos, etc) and this is why he didn’t return Fadak. We address this argument below.
- Shia Rebuttal #3: Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Didn’t Want Fitnah
One could just as easily say that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t return Fadak for the exact same reason. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) must have been under immense stress from the general public who would have been angered if the Shariah was abandoned for those of a high rank such as Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was held accountable to many poor people who would recieve aid from the charity money obtained from Fadak. This was at the same time that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was waging a war against those who refused to pay Zakat. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was so strict on the Shariah in regards to the charity from Zakat; imagine how upset the apostate renegades would have been had they seen him be lax on the charity from Fadak.
In any case, this argument of the Shia is pretty much the same as the Taqiyyah argument. Thus, our counter-response above applies here as well. 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.
- Shia Rebuttal #4: Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) Was Dead
Sometimes an E-Shia will try forwarding the argument that Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) died six months into Caliph Abu Bakr’s rule, and thus Fadak was a non-issue by the time Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph. Unfortunately, this argument falls apart when we look at the Shia narrations which show that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) approached Umar (رضّى الله عنه) and asked him to return Fadak to Fatima’s heirs, including Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه). Thus, according to the Shia, Fadak was still a monumental issue and the land should be returned to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). In fact, the Shia today still claim that Fadak should be returned to those whom they call “Syedi.”
Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) were the inheritors of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), and thus Fadak–according to the Shia–was their right. The Shia curse Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) for taking Fadak away from Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and giving it to Marwan (رضّى الله عنه). As can be seen, the issue of Fadak did not then die with Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) and this argument is weak.
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. The truth is that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did at first think that Fadak should be given to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها); however, he changed his mind after being presented with Abu Bakr’s argument (رضّى الله عنه), and this is why Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the first Caliph’s decision in regards to Fadak.
The Shia propagandists will argue that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) went against the Quranic rules of inheritance, but these rules of inheritance do not apply to Prophets as clearly mentioned by the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) in both Sunni and Shia Hadith. The very fact that such Hadith exist in the Shia canon makes impotent the Shia attack on the personality of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). In Al-Kafi, the most reliable of the Shia books of Hadith, we find the following Sahih narration:
“The Prophets did not leave dinars and dirhams as inheritance, but they left knowledge.” (al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 42)
The Shia will argue that the Quranic verses on inheritance pertain to Prophets and non-Prophets alike, and that these rules are all-inclusive without exception. This argument is weakened by the fact that the Shia Ulema themselves make exceptions in the rules of inheritance. For example, the Quran declares that children inherit wealth from their parents. However, the Shia Ulema (as well as the Sunni Ulema) make an exception to this general rule: Kaffir children do not inherit from their Muslim parents. Hence, not everyone is encompassed in the Quranic verse regarding inheritance; it is the general rule for the average person, but there are exceptions for special cases (and Prophets are one such exception).
The Shia propagandists may resort to dogmatic rhetoric declaring the supermacy of the Quran and accusing the Sunnis of straying away from it by making exceptions to the laws of inheritance. Unfortunately for the Shia, their own Infallible Imams have made exceptions to the rules of inheritance that would make any Shia accusations against the Sunnis to be simply hypocritical and sanctimonious. For example, the Shia Infallible Imams have prohibited some heirs from inheriting certain items of their estates, including the Dhul Fiqar (Ali’s sword [رضّى الله عنه]), the Quran, the Prophet’s ring, and his bodily garments. These items were excluded from the Quranic laws of inheritance and reserved for the new Imam, instead of being properly distributed amongst the other children and eligible heirs. Hence, Imams had a different system of inheritance, so why is it surprising for the Shia that the Prophets also have their own system of inheritance distinct from non-Prophets?
The Quran gives the general rule, and then the Hadith give the details and exceptions to this rule. For example, the Quran says that men can only marry upto four wives. And yet, we find in Hadith that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was exempted from this ruling and he married more than four. Thus, the rules of Hadith grant an exception to the Prophets, and their rules are different than the rules of ordinary people as mentioned in the Quran. Any time a Shia propagandist attempts to assert that we are going against the Quran, we remind them that Prophets in general have different rules in certain matters; otherwise, are the Shia accusing the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) of going against the Quran by marrying more than four women? If the rule about marrying four women can be different for Prophets, then similarly we see no problem in the rules of inheritance also being different for Prophets. The analogy is perfect, and completely negates the Shia claims.
Furthermore, the Shia admit that the Quran dictates that if a person becomes poor, then he becomes eligible for Zakat. This is a right of an individual based in the Quran. And yet, the Hadith tells us that the Prophet’s family is not permitted to take Zakat; even if he becomes poor, a member of the Prophet’s family could not ask for Zakat. This fact is accepted by the Shia. If the Prophet’s family could not recieve Zakat, then why are we surprised when they are also not allowed to recieve inheritance from the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? Both rules come from the Hadith, which modify the general rule in the Quran.
An astounding revelation–of which many people happen to be uninformed of–is the fact that, according to Shia Hadith, a woman does not inherit land or fixed property. How is it that the Shia accept it for Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) to inherit Fadak, when their own Hadith does not allow the succession of a woman to land or fixed property?
In the Shia book of Hadith al-Kafi, al-Kulayni has included a chapter entitled “Women do not inherit land.” In this chapter, he narrates a Hadith from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir:
“Women do not inherit anything of land or fixed property.” (al-Kafi, vol. 7 p. 127, Kitab al-Mawarith, hadith no. 1)
He asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq about what a woman inherits. The Imam replied:
“They will get the value of the bricks, the building, the wood and the bamboo. As for the land and the fixed property, they will get no inheritance from that.” (Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 9 p. 299; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 104 p. 351)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir said:
“A woman will not inherit anything of land and fixed property.” (Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 9 p. 298; al-Istibsar, vol. 4 p. 152)
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq said:
“Women will have nothing of houses or land.” (Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 9 p. 299; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 104 p. 351)
So the Shia Hadiths themselves would deny the inheritance to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) even if the Prophets were allowed to give inheritance to their heirs (even though they are not). This makes the Shia arguments against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) even more useless.
Continued in Fadak - II