It is evident from the dispute over Fadak that Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) held the upper hand.
In fact she staked her claim with such forceful arguments and irrefutable testimonies that according to some reports, the ruler of the time was compelled to issue a written decree granting her Fadak.
The all-important question is – why were the rulers so nervous about handing over Fadak to Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.)?
Ibn Abil Hadid has tackled the dilemma of the rulers in his Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah.
One of the teachers of Baghdad was asked – Wasn’t Fatima (s.a.) truthful in her claim?
Teacher replied – Yes.
The person asked – Then why didn’t the ruler hand over Fadak to her while she was truthful?
Teacher – If he were to grant her Fadak based solely on her claim, then certainly she would have approached him the next day and claimed caliphate for her husband. And in this way she would have displaced him from his position (as ‘caliph’).
Then it would no longer be possible for him to offer an excuse as he had already noted that she was truthful in all her claims.
Ibn Abil Hadid mentions that this dialogue is correct.
• Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah v 16 p 284
• Ithbaat al-Hudaat v 3 p 410
Clearly the rulers deprived Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) of Fadak as their own position as ‘caliphs’ would have been endangered.