There are some who doubt the attack on Lady Fatima Zahra’s (s.a.) house by the rulers for seeking Ali’s (a.s.) allegiance. The ownership of Fadak is another contentious issue with the skeptics claiming that the Ahle Bait (a.s.) could not claim it as prophets do not leave behind inheritance.
While there are many reliable Muslim sources that confirm the Shiite viewpoint on both issues (attack on the house and Fadak ownership), let us turn to Nahjul Balagha for guidance.
Nahjul Balagha is an invaluable book mainly for its contents which are verified as correct by a majority of Muslims, so they should have no problem in accepting its views on both the issues.
- Attack on Lady Fatima Zahra’s (s.a.) house
The attack on house of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and Ali (a.s.) being dragged out for allegiance was common knowledge among the Muslims and enemies of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) gloated over this incident.
Ali (a.s.) replies to Muawiyah’s letter:
You have written that I was dragged like a camel with a nose string to swear allegiance (to Abu Bakr at Saqifah). By Allah, you had intended to revile me, but you have praised me, and to humiliate me but have yourself been humiliated. What humiliation does it mean for a Muslim to be the victim of oppression so long as he does not entertain any doubt in his religion, nor any misgiving in his firm belief!
- Letter 28 of Nahj al-Balagha: In reply to Muawiya, and it is one of his most elegant writings
Three points are notable from the extract of this letter:
- The house of Lady Fatima (s.a.) was ambushed by the rulers of the day for purpose of seeking allegiance of Ali (a.s.).
- This fact was common knowledge among the Muslims and even Muawiyah sitting in Sham (Syria) was aware of it and wrote letters to Ali (a.s.) seeking to humiliate him through this incident.
- Ali (a.s.) saw himself as a victim of oppression, meaning he saw the rulers (‘caliphs’) as oppressors. So, there is no question about Ali (a.s.) being satisfied with the rulers. All advice and assistance extended by Ali (a.s.) to the rulers was owing to his innate purity and sincerity in dealing with the creatures – good or bad. It was like Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being ‘Ameen’ (trustworthy) even with the infidels of Mecca. It is like Allah sustaining Satan and His prophets.
- Fadak ownership
Fadak belonged to Ahle Bait (a.s.) and the rulers usurped it out of greed.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in his letter to Usman Ibn Hunaif al-Ansari, the Basra governor:
…all that we had in our possession under this sky was Fadak, but a group of people felt greedy for it and the other party withheld themselves from it.
Nahj al-Balagha – Letter 45: To Usman Ibn Hunaif al-Ansari
Three points are clear from this extract of the letter:
- Ali (a.s.) claimed title of the Fadak property in clear terms, so whether or not he reclaimed it, he (a.s.) still maintained that they were the owners.
- He maintained that the rulers usurped it out of greed. In his eyes the rulers were usurpers so those who claim that Ali (a.s.) had high opinion about the rulers are making groundless claims.
- The Ahle Bait (a.s.) consistently claimed that Fadak belonged to them. While the government kept changing their stance in response to circumstances.
First the rulers demanded witnesses from Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) to prove that Fadak was gifted to her by Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
When she produced iron clad witnesses like Umm Ayman (r.a.), who was promised Paradise, and Ali (a.s.), the distributor of Paradise and Hasanain (s.a.), the Chief of Youths of Paradise, they changed their stand. They claimed that Fadak could not have been gifted in the first place as prophets do not leave behind inheritance, whatever they leave behind is for all Muslims.
Later the third ruler gifted Fadak to Marwan, usurping it from the Muslims, who were supposedly the owners. Meaning the third ruler rejected the stand of the previous two rulers that prophets do not leave behind inheritance, all their property is for the Muslims.
So, from the two groups – Ahle Bait (a.s.) were not only truthful but also consistent which is the mark of a truthful person, while the rulers kept shifting stands which is the mark of a dishonest person.
Skeptics can raise any number of questions on these issues but surely they can no longer question the validity of these events after these irrefutable proofs from a most widely acknowledged book like Nahjul Balagha.