The political factors for the usurpation of Fadak

The political factors for the usurpation of FadakAyatullah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

The seizing of Fadak from the lady of Islam Fatimah Zahra (s.a.) was not a simple matter only of an economic nature. On the contrary, its economic aspect was outshone by the political matters governing the Islamic community after the death of the Prophet (S). Indeed, Fadak cannot be separated from the other events of that era. On the contrary, it is a link from a lengthy chain and a phenomenon from a total, enveloping current!

The following factors may be cited for this serious historical Usurpation:

1. The possession of Fadak in the hands of the prophet’s family was calculated as a great meaningful distinction for them. This was in itself proof of their elevated position and superiority in the presence of God and the earmarking of their intense closeness to the Prophet (S). This is especially because, according to the shia and sunni narratives mentioned above, when the Quranic verse «وآتذاالقربىحقه» was descended the Prophet (S) sent for Fatimah (s.a.) and granted to her the land of Fadak.

It is clear that the possession of Fadak in the hands of the Prophets family in view of this historical background wouldcause the people to search for the Prophet’s (S) other vestiges in this family especially the matter of caliphate or the successor of that Hazrat (S). This was not a situation, which could be tolerated by those who supported the transferral of the caliphate to other persons.

2. This matter was also important from an economic stand-point, and it affected its political aspect. This was due to the fact that if Ali (a.s.) and his supporters were placed under severely straightened economic circumstances, their political power would be reduced proportionately According to another interpretation, the existence of Fadak. in their hands made resources available to them that could have been supportive of them in the matter of the guardianship (leadership). This was just as the wealth of Khadija (s.a.) was backing for the progress of Islam at the beginning of the Prophet’s (S) mission.

All the world over it is customary that whenever they wish to shut – out an important person or country they place him under economic embargo.

In the history of Islam this has come to us in the Story of “Abu-Talib’s camp”, and the severe economic siege inflicted on the Muslims by the infidels of Quraish.

In the interpretation of the Quranic chapter “The Hypocrites” under the verse;

يَقُولُونَ لَئِن رَّجَعْنَا إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ لَيُخْرِجَنَّ الْأَعَزُّ مِنْهَا

“If we return to Medina, surely the mighty will drive out the meaner there from.” (Sura Munafiqin, 63:8)

Here is a reference to a plot similar to this plot, by the hypocrites, which, by the mercy of God was nipped in the bud. As such it is not surprising that the enemies should try to take this investment from the Prophet’s family, secluding them and emptying their hands of wealth.

3. If they had been willing to give Fadak to Fatimah Zahra (s.a.) as her inheritance, or a gift of the Prophet (S) to her; the way would have been made clear for her to also request the matter of the caliphate from them.

This point has been subtly reverberated by “Ibn Abil-Hadid Motazaly” in his account of the “Nahjul Balagha” He says:

I asked my professor Ali-bin-Fareghie – teacher of theology in Baghdad school: “Was Fatimah (s.a.) truthful in her claim of the ownership of Fadak?”

He replied: “Yes.”

I then said: “Then why didn’t the first caliph give her Fadak when she was truthful to him?”

He then smiled and spoke a beautiful, subtle and joke-like utterance, even though he was not in the habit of joking, saying:

لو أعطاها اليوم فدك بمجرد دعواها لجاءت إليه غداً و ادعت لزوجها الخلافة، و زحزحته عن مقامه، و لم يكن يمكنه الاعتذار و المدافعة بشيء، لأنه يكون قد سجل على نفسه أنها صادقة فيما تدعيه كائناً ما كان من غير حاجة إلى بيِّنة و لا شهود

“If at that time, Abi Bakr on hearing Fatimah’s claim would have given Fadak to her, the next day she would have come to him and claimed the caliphate for her husband! She Would have set him aside from his position, and he would have set him aside from his position, and he would have had no defense or justification for himself, because by giving “Fadak” he would have accepted that whatever Fatimah (s.a.) claimed was the truth, needing no proof or evidence.[16]

Then Ibn Abil Hadid adds:

“This was a fact, even though my teacher related it as a joke.”

This obvious confession by two Sunni scholars is a living witness for the Fadak story’s, “Political essence”.

If we look at this village’s fate in the first few decades of Islam’s history how it constantly changed hands and how each of the caliphs held a particular position in relation to it, this matter is better clarified. God willing in the following discussion we will refer to this.

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