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Fadak is the name of a piece of farming land around Medina that came under the ownership of the Holy Prophet after the peace treaty with the Jews of that area. Upon Allah’s command, the Holy Prophet gave this land to his daughter. After the passing of the Holy Prophet, the first caliph took Fadak from Lady Fatimah. Over the course of history, this land was given to the inheritors of Fatimah several times, but taken back.

What is Fadak?

Fadak is the name of a fertile piece of land belonging to the Jews and in it, there was a collection of orchards and lush greenery. Fadak is approximately 160 km from Mina. [1] When the people of Fadak heard that the Holy Prophet had besieged the people of Khaybar in the forts ‘Watih’ and ‘Sulalim’, they became scared and despatched their representative, alongside Muhayyisah ibn Masud (the messenger of the Holy Prophet), to serve the Holy Prophet. The Jews of Fadak requested that the Holy Prophet sign a peace treaty with them. With the acceptance of the Holy Prophet and the signing of the peace treaty, Fadak was considered the bounty of the Holy Prophet, because it was not conquered through fighting and, according to the 6th and 7th verses of Surah Hashr, any property that is obtained without fighting is called ‘fay’ and is considered the personal belonging of the Holy Prophet. [2] [3] [4]

Gifting of Fadak to Lady Fatimah Zahra

After the Holy Prophet took possession of Fadak, verse 26 of Surah Isra was revealed unto him: “Give the relatives their [due] right, and the needy and the traveller [as well], but do not squander wastefully.” [5] The Holy Prophet asked Gabriel:

“Who are my relatives and what are their rights?”

Gabriel replied:

“She is Fatimah. The rights of Allah and the His Prophet is that you gift this to her.”

After that, the Holy Prophet summoned Lady Fatimah and he wrote up the title-deed of Fadak for Her Holiness. This context of revelation referring to verse 26 of Surah Isra is well-known and can be seen in the Shiite and Sunni exegesis books. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Usurpation of Fadak

After the events of Saqifah and the appointment of Abu Bakr as the first caliph after the Holy Prophet, he expelled Lady Fatimah’s workers from Fadak and took Fadak from Her Holiness in his first action after taking seat as the caliph.

In reply to Lady Fatimah’s protests, Abu Bakr replied:

“I heard from the Holy Prophet that he said: “We, the Prophets, do not inherit.”” [12]

However, Lady Fatimah considered this narration to be fictitious and opposed to the explicit meaning of the Holy Quran. [13] [14] This is because in verse 16 of Surah Naml, it has been revealed: “Solomon inherited from David...” [5] This verse clearly indicates that the Prophets gave and received inheritance and, based on the views of a large number of Shiite and Sunni commentators, the intent by inheritance is property and finance. [15] [16]

Also, in verses 6 and 7 of Surah Maryam, Prophet Zakariyya requests Allah to grant him a son that may inherit from him and the House of Jacob: “So grant me from Yourself an heir who may inherit from me and inherit from the House of Jacob, and make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You]!’” [5] [17] Fatimah brought Imam Ali and Umm Ayman as witnesses that Fadak was gifted to her by the Holy Prophet. Thus, Abu Bakr gave Fadak back to Lady Fatimah. However, after Lady Fatimah had left the presence of Abu Bakr, Umar saw her and took Abu Bakr’s letter from her by force and tore it. [18]

Returning of Fadak to the Holy Prophet’s family over the course of history

With due attention that Lady Fatimah’s ownership of Fadak is well-known throughout history and this claim, as well as the usurpation by Abu Bakr, has strong and sound proofs, this property was returned to the family of the Holy Prophet many times over the course of history; but the greed and excesses of the caliphs, as well as the fear of the power of the Ahl al-Bayt, resulted in the right of the Imams being encroached once again and it being forcibly taken from them. As we read in history, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz returned Fadak back to the Alawites, but the caliph after him, Abu al-Abbas Saffah, usurped it.

When Mamun made his intent to turn Fadak over to the Ahl al-Bayt clear, opposition grew against him; so, the Caliph convened several meetings, comprised of knowledgeable individuals, to solve the issue regarding Fadak. The final conclusion of these meetings was this that Fadak belongs to Lady Fatimah and must be turned over to her inheritors. Subsequently, Mamun wrote to Qatham ibn Jafar, the governor of Medina, to return Fadak to the children of Lady Fatimah. [19] [20]


  1. Mu’jam ‘al-Buldān, vol. 6, p. 342
  2. ‘Al-Sīraḧ ‘al-Nabawīyyaḧ, vol. 3, p. 352 and 368
  3. ‘Al-Saqīfaḧ wa Fadak, p. 98
  4. Sharḥ Nahj ‘al-Balāghaḧ, vol. 1, p. 198
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Translation by Ali Quli Qarai
  6. ‘I’lām ‘al-Warā, vol. 1, p. 209
  7. Tafsīre Qummī, vol. 2, p. 18
  8. Majma’ ‘al-Bayān fī Tafsīr ‘al-Qur’ān, vol. 6, p. 634
  9. Tafsīr ‘al-‘Ayyāshī, vol. 2, p. 287
  10. Shawāhid ‘al-Tanzīl li Qawā’id ‘al-Tafḍīl, vol. 1, p. 438
  11. Tafsīr Nūr ‘al-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, p. 153
  12. Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, vol. 8, p. 149
  13. ‘Al-‘Iḥtijāj, vol. 1, p. 131
  14. Tafsīr Nūr ‘al-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, p. 324
  15. ‘Al-Mīzān fī Tafsīr ‘al-Qur’ān, vol. 15, p. 349
  16. ‘Al-Tafsīr ‘al-Kabīr (Tafsīr ‘al-Qur’ān ‘al-Aẓīm), vol. 5, p. 9
  17. Jāmi’ ‘al-Bayān fī Tafsīr ‘al-Qur’ān, vol. 16, p. 37
  18. ‘Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 543
  19. Tārīkh Madīnaḧ Damishq, vol. 45, p. 178
  20. Mu’jam ‘al-Buldān, vol. 4, p. 240