The demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) triggered a chain of events that caught the Muslims unawares. They accepted these events as if that was the most natural thing to do and remained unmindful of the far-reaching consequences of their submission.
One such incident that stands out in the aftermath of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise is the siege on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house and the eventual attack that claimed two lives in its wake, one of them being Fatimah (s.a.) herself. The other one being the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), which is the subject of this article.
1. Unbelievably true
2. Timing of the attack
3. Who is Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.)
4. Documentary evidence of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
5. Permissibility of Killing the One Who Oppressed Fatimah (s.a.)
6. Bibliography of References Documenting Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
Back to TopUnbelievably true
Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom is so unsettling and even incredible that it has been denied by many Muslims.
When one comes to think of it, indeed the incident is unbelievably true. Not just the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), the entire chain of incidents, the oppressors and oppressed ones, everything about the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house is unbelievable.
It is unbelievable that a hair on Fatimah’s (s.a.) would be harmed let alone being inflicted with a fatal body blow. Especially when the Muslims were served a crystal clear warning by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in this regard when he informed them that Fatimah’s displeasure was the cause of his displeasure and his displeasure was the cause of Allah’s displeasure and incurring Allah’s displeasure would drive one to Hell.
It is unbelievable that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) who was anointed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) publicly by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on divine command less than three months before his (s.a.w.a.) demise in Ghadeer-e-Khumm and was the unanimous choice of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) as highlighted by every notable incident in Islam’s history should be subjugated by individuals who could not even compare to the dust of his horse’s hooves which incidentally Allah swears by in Surah Aadiyaat.
It is unbelievable that the perpetrators of this crime were none other than the so-called companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his so-called successors who claimed proximity and brotherhood with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and after whose names the Muslims invoke Allah’s satisfaction and mercy.
It is unbelievable that the atrocities meted out to Fatimah (s.a.) would eventually claim her life inducing Ali (a.s.) to declare that she was like a flower nipped in the bud and confessing to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) his helplessness in safeguarding the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) trust. All this within a few days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise and revelation of the Verse of Purification (Surah Ahzaab (33): 33) and Incident of the Cloak testified to by all the Muslims as being related to Fatimah (s.a.) along with her husband and sons.
It is unbelievable that Fatimah (s.a.) willed her burial to be carried out in the dead of the night deeming the companions in question unfit to attend her funeral and in this way categorically refuting their claim to caliphate and so-called proximity to her father (s.a.w.a.) and inflicting a slap so hard on her oppressors that its reverberations will always be felt by her oppressors and their partisans.
Finally it is unbelievable that the struggle launched by a few individuals for worldly power and status would mercilessly uproot the existence of a six-month unborn infant from the comfort of his mother’s womb.
Over here, the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), the third son of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) after Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.), has been analyzed in detail. Other events before and after the martyrdom, although very significant from the viewpoint of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) in particular and Muslims in general, are referred to in lesser detail.
Despite claims to the contrary by misinformed and uninformed Muslims, it is well-documented by scores of scholars from both the sects – Ahle Sunnah and Shias, that there was a full-scale attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house only a few days after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. The objective of the companions who assaulted Fatimah (s.a.) and Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) was to extract Ali’s (a.s.) allegiance for Abu Bakr, without which they knew Abu Bakr’s caliphate would lack any form of legitimacy.
Back to TopTiming of the attack
Although the exact day of the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house is a matter of some debate among historians, the broad consensus is that it all happened within three days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. This is concluded from the fact that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) refused to leave the house when the mobsters demanded allegiance for Abu Bakr, citing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) recommendation that he remain confined to the house until he had collected the Quran and Ali (a.s.) took three days to complete the task. (Tafseer-e-Furaat-e-Kufi pg. 398-399 from Imam Muhammed Baqir (a.s.), which has been recorded by Ibne Nadeem in his book Al-Fehrist pg. 30, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23 pg. 249. However in some traditions the number of days for compiling the Quran has been narrated varyingly as seven days and nine days.)
Based on this, it is apparent the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was executed within a maximum of nine days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. Many narrations that mention the attack and compilation of the Quran mention two days and three days and it is likely that the two events have been mixed up by narrators. At any rate, it is most probable that the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was engineered by the government-backed mob within two-three days as opposed to a more prolonged period of seven or nine days.
A quicker attack also appears more plausible given the alacrity and keenness with which this group had moved within moments of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise on 28th Safar to select a caliph amongst themselves. Since Ali’s (a.s.) allegiance to Abu Bakr was very important to lend legitimacy to their scheme, it is unlikely they would have delayed the move (to force Ali’s (a.s.) consent) as with every passing day the danger of tables turning on them increased manifold. Also once the entire Medina (save the Bani Hashim and Ali’s (a.s.) select companions) had pledged allegiance, they realized they had to move fast to acquire Ali’s allegiance which was conspicuous by its absence. (Kitab-e-Sulaim Ibne Qays pgs 82, 249)
If one considers the attack three days after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise then 1st Rabi al-Awwal is the fateful day in the lives of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) and their Shias that altered the course of Islam forever. It marked the subjugation of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) at the hands of the unworthy creatures and laid the foundation of other heinous crimes like the battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of all Imams (a.s.) ending in the occultation of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). All these events were triggered by that single attack on the house of Fatimah (s.a.) and if anyone believes otherwise then he has underestimated Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) and/or not fully comprehended the consequences of Karbala and other calamities that befell the nation.
It is for this reason that Shias across the globe observe 1st Rabi al-Awwal as the date of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom. The idea is not so much to observe a specific date as it is to observe the martyrdom of someone who by giving his life invalidated the efforts of those who forcefully attempted to legitimize their caliphate by illegitimately entering Fatimah’s (s.a.) house despite her pleas and lamentations to be left alone.
Back to TopWho is Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.)
Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) is the third son of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) after Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.). He is also referred to as Mushabar which is also the name of Haroon b. Imran’s (a.s.) third son. He was no more than six months old at the time of the attack. (Al-Hidaayat al-Kubra, pg. 407, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 53 pg. 19).
Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) was the least involved in the business of politics and machinations which the attack on Fatimah’s (a.s.) was all about. He was not concerned with anything that transpired on that day and no one who had any grouse with Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) had an argument against Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.). Even those who debate about the infallibility of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) fall silent when the infallibility of an unborn child is raised because they have no answer.
Therefore, although the entire attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was illegitimate, the attack on Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) in many ways was the most illegitimate part of the attack.
Just like this vicious attack laid the foundation of another murderous attack 50 years later in Karbala, it is perhaps Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom to safeguard the infallibility of his parents (a.s.), that inspired his nephew Ali b. Husain (al-Asghar) to wage a battle against the enemies in Karbala to safeguard the infallibility of his father Husain b. Ali (a.s.). Husain b. Ali (a.s.), of course, is unique among the oppressed ones as he is the only one present on the scenes of both the attacks – one on his parents and brother and the second on his children, nephews and another brother.
It is perhaps the potency of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom that has led some Muslims to deny his death in the attack, attributing it to other causes. This is clearly a campaign based on misinformation or lack of information that is similar to the campaign to deny the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house altogether. The attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house has no justification whatsoever and therefore the only way out is to deny it altogether.
Of course, the biggest blow to the deniers is the martyrdom of Fatimah (s.a.) and Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) in the aftermath of the attack. It is widely documented that both (a.s.) were martyred as a result of the attack; Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) instantly and Fatimah (s.a.) a few days later.