WAS FATIMA ATTACKED?
Sunni sources report that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the house of his daughter Fatima was attacked by the new leaders who had seized power in a secret coup.
Umar came to the house of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, in order to get, by force if necessary, allegiance from Ali and his followers. He threatened to burn down Fatima's house down if Ali did not accept Abu bakr. This event was allegedly the cause of Fatima's miscarriage and her eventual death.
According to the story, following the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Umar moved quickly to grab political power. They succeeded. Abu Bakr become the caliph (leader) over the Islamic ummah (community). Ali attended the funeral of Muhammad while Abu Bakr and Umar organised a secret meeting in Saqifa. As Ali was burying Muhammad, he learned that Abu Bakr had attained communal consensus. Fatima, Ali, and their supporters maintained that Ali should be the leader over the Islamic community because of Muhammad's appointment at Ghadir Khumm. When Ali refused to recognise Abu Bakr, Umar became furious.
Professor Veccia Vaglieri in her article "FATIMA", in the Encyclopedia of Islam, chronicles the event as such:
"Fatima, a timid woman who had never taken part in political matters, found herself indirectly involved in some of the events which followed the death of the Prophet. After his election, Abu Bakr made his way with some companions towards Fatima's house, where a number of Ansar and of Ali's supporters had assembled. The newly-elected Khalifa wanted to obtain the homage of these dissidents also, but Ali went forward to meet him with sword drawn, and Fatima, when her husband had been disarmed by Umar and the party was preparing to enter the house, raised such cries and threatened so boldly to uncover her hair that Abu Bakr preferred to withdraw. There are other accounts of the same episode: Fatima saw in Umar's hand a brand, and asked him if he intended to set fire to her door because of his hostility to her. In one book, al-Imama wal-siyasa, the episode is related with more serious details:
Umar really had evil intentions; he had wood brought and threatened to burn the house with everything in it. When he was asked, 'Even if Fatima is there?', he replied in the affirmative. Then those who were in the house came out and rendered the homage demanded except for Ali. Fatima, appearing at the door, reproached them: 'You have left the body of the Apostle of God with us and you have decided among yourselves without consulting us, without respecting our rights!' When Abu Bakr and Umar repeated their attempts to make Ali comply, she is said to have cried out, 'O father! O Apostle of God! What evils we have suffered at the hands of Umar and Abu Bakr after your death!'."
Sunni sources contain details on how the home of Fatima was attacked:
Umar said: "And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Saida. Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr."
Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, v8, Tradition 817
Other Sunni traditionists narrated that on the day of Saqifah:
Umar said: "Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Zubair Ibn Awwam and those who were with them separated from us (and gathered) in the house of Fatima, the daughter of the messenger of Allah."
- Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, p55
- Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, by Ibn Hisham, v4, p309
- History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, p1822
- History of Tabari, English version, v9, p192
They demanded confirmation of the oath, but Ali and Zubair stayed away. Zubair drew his sword (from the scabbard), saying, "I will not put it back until the oath of allegiance is rendered to Ali." When this news reached Abu Bakr and Umar, the latter said, "Hit him with a stone and seize the sword." It is stated that Umar rushed (to the door of the House of Fatima) and brought them forcibly while telling them that they must give their oath of allegiance willingly or unwillingly.
History of al-Tabari, English version, v9, pp 188-189
Now let us see what Umar did on those days. Sunni historians reported that:
When Umar came to the door of the house of Fatima, he said: "By Allah, I shall burn down (the house) over you unless you come out and give the oath of allegiance (to Abu Bakr)."
- History of Tabari (Arabic), v1, pp 1118-1120
- History of Ibn Athir, v2, p325
- al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p975
- Tarikh al-Kulafa, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p20
- Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20
Umar Ibn Khattab came to the house of Ali. Talha and Zubair and some of the immigrants were also in the house. Umar cried out: "By God, either you come out to render the oath of allegiance, or I will set the house on fire."Zubair came out with his sword drawn. As he stumbled (upon something), the sword fell from his hand so they jumped over him and seized him."
History of Tabari, English version, v9, pp 186-187
In the footnotes of the same page (p187) in the English version of the History of al-Tabari the translator has commented:
Although the timing is not clear, it seems that Ali and his group came to know about Saqifa after what had happened there. At this point, his supporters gathered in Fatima's house. Abu Bakr and Umar, fully aware of Ali's claims and fearing a serious threat from his supporters, summoned him to the mosque to swear the oath of allegiance. Ali refused, and so the house was surrounded by an armed band led by Abu Bakr and Umar, who threatened to set it on fire if Ali and his supporters refused to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. The scene grew violent and Fatima was furious. (See Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his , v1, pp 582-586; Tarikh Yaqubi, v2, p116; Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20).
Abu Bakr said on the authority of an authentic report that, after the demise of the holy Prophet when the people had paid fealty to him, Ali and Zubair used to go to Fatima al-Zahra, daughter of the Prophet, for consultation. When this fact was known to Umar, he went to Fatima and said:
"O' daughter of the Prophet! I didn't love anyone as much as I loved your father, nor anyone after him is more loving to me as you are. But I swear by Allah that if these people assemble here with you, then this love of mine would not prevent me from setting your house on fire."
- History of Tabari, in the events of the year 11 AH
- Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, beginning of the book, and pp 19-20
- Izalatul Khilafa, by Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi, v2, p362
- Iqd al-Farid, by Ibn Abd Rabbah al-Malik, v2, chapter of Saqifah
Also it is reported that:
Umar said to Fatima (who was behind the door of her house): "I know that the Prophet of God did not love any one more than you, but this will not stop me to carry out my decision. If these people stay in your house, I will burn the door in front of you."
Kanz al-Ummal, v3, p140
In fact Shibli Numani himself testifies the above event in the following words:
"From Umar's irritable and peevish temperament such an action on his
part was not improbable."
al-Faruq, by Shibli Numani, p44
It is also reported that:
Abu Bakr said (on his death bed): "I wish I had not searched for Fatima's house, and had not sent men to harass her, though it would have caused a war if her house would have continued to be used as a shelter."
- History of Yaqubi, v2, pp 115-116
- Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586
The historian named the following people among those who attacked the house of Fatima to disperse people who sheltered there:
- Umar Ibn al-Khattab
- Khalid Ibn Walid
- Abdurrahman Ibn Ouf
- Thabit Ibn Shammas
- Ziad Ibn Labid
- Muhammad Ibn Maslamah
- Salamah Ibn Salem Ibn Waqash
- Salamah Ibn Aslam
- Usaid Ibn Hozair
- Zaid Ibn Thabit
The revered Sunni scholar, Abu Mohammad Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn Qutaybah Daynuri in his history of Caliphs known as "Imamah wa al- Siyasah" reported:
Umar asked for wood, and told those people inside the house: "I swear by Allah who has my soul in his hand, that if you do not come out, I will burn the house." Someone told Umar that Fatima was inside the house. Umar said: "So what! It doesn't matter to me who is in the house."
al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 3,19-20
Another Sunni historian, al-Baladhuri, reported that:
Abu Bakr asked Ali to support him, but Ali refused, then Umar went toward the Ali's house with a burning torch. At the door he met Fatima who said to him: "Do you intend to burn the door of my house?" Umar said: "Yes, because this act will strengthen the faith brought to us by your father."
al-Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582,586
Also Jouhari in his book said:
"Umar and a few Muslims went to the house of Fatima to burn it down and to burn those who were in opposition."
Ibn Shahna said the same statement adding "to burn the house and inhabitants".
Furthermore, it is reported that:
Ali and Abbas were sitting inside the house of Fatima, Abu Bakr told Umar: "Go and bring them; if they refuse, kill them." Umar brought fire to burn the house. Fatima came near the door and said: "O son of Khattab, have you come to burn our house on me and my children?" Umar replied: "Yes I will, by Allah, until they come out and pay allegiance to the Prophet's Caliph."
- Iqd al-Fareed, by Ibn Abd Rabb, Part 3, Pg. 63
- al-Ghurar, by Ibn Khazaben, related from Zayd Ibn Aslam
Everybody came out of the house except Imam Ali, who said: "I have sworn to remain home until I collect the Quran." Umar refused but Lady Fatima's remonstration caused him to return. He instigated Abu Bakr to pursue the matter, and he send Qunfuz (his slave) several times but received a negative reply each time. Ultimately, Umar went with a group of people to the Fatima's house. When she heard their voice, she cried loudly;
"O father, O Messenger of Allah, how are Umar Ibn Khattab and Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Quhafah treating us after you and how do they meet us."
Also refer to the esteemed Sunni historian Abul Hasan, Ali Ibn al-Husain al- Masudi who in his book 'Isbaat al-Wasiyyah' describes the events in detail and reports that:
"They surrounded Ali and burned the door of his house and pulled him out against his will and pressed the leader of all women (Fatima) between the door and the wall killing Mohsin (the male-child she was carrying in her womb for six months)."
Salahuddin Khalil al-Safadi another Sunni scholar in his book 'Waafi al- Wafiyyaat' under the letter 'A' while recording the view of Ibrahim Ibn Sayyar Ibn Hani al-Basri, well-known as Nidhaam quotes him to have said:"On the day of 'Bayaat' (paying allegiance), Umar hit Fatima on the stomach such that child in her womb died."
Unbelieveable acts of cruelty and oppression had led Fatima al-Zahra to lament:
"Such calamities have visited me that had they descended on the day it would have darkened it."
She fell into bed till she was martyred as a results of these calamities and injuries
During her last days, when Abu Bakr and Umar sought the mediation of Imam Ali to visit the ailing Fatima, as quoted by Ibn Qutaybah, she turned her face to the wall when they greeted her and in response to their plea for appeasement reminded them of the prophetic declaration that one who displeases Fatima has displeased the Prophet and finally said:
"I take Allah and the angels to be my witness that you have not pleased me; on the other hand, you have angered me. When I shall meet the Prophet I will complain about you two."
(Imamah wa al-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, p14).
For the same reason, she willed that those who have hurt her should not participate in her funeral rites and that she be buried at night. Bukhari in his Sahih attests to this fact that Imam Ali complied with the will of Lady Fatima.
Bukhari narrated on the authority of Aisha that:
... Fatima became angry with Abu Bakr and kept away from him, and did not talk to him till she died. She remained alive for six months after the death of the Prophet. When she died, her husband Ali, buried her at night without informing Abu Bakr and he said the funeral prayer by himself.
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter of "The battle of Khaibar", Arabic-English, v5, tradition 546, pp 381-383, also v4, Tradition 325
Howsoever they tried, people failed to locate her grave. It was known only to a handful of Imam Ali's family members. And to this date, the grave of the daughter of prophet is unknown which is another sign of her unhappiness from some of the companions.