Articles  >  Sahabah  >  Fadak, Part II: Why Didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Return Fadak?

Fadak, Part II: Why Didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Return Fadak?




  • Crux of the Matter
When Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph, he did not revoke the decision of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on the propety of Fadak. What stopped Ali (رضّى الله عنه) from doing this? So why are the Shia against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the decision? In fact, the scholar Sayyid Murtada (known as ‘Alam al-Huda) narrates in his book on Imamah entitled ash-Shafi, that when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became the Caliph he was approached about returning Fadak. Ali’s reply (رضّى الله عنه) was:

“I am ashamed before Allah to overturn something that was prohibited by Abu Bakr and continued by Umar.” (al-Murtada, ash-Shafi fil-Imamah, p. 231; and Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 4)

This here is the crux of the matter. Why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? There is no Shia response to this question. We ask our Shia brothers to guess who returned Fadak. The Shia will be shocked to know that it would be a later Umayyad Caliph that returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), even though the Umayyads are hated and villified by the Shia. (However, this decision by the Umayyad Caliph was over-turned by future Caliphs on the basis that it was incorrect, considering that the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم] forbade inheritance of his property, and that Abu Bakr [رضّى الله عنه], Umar [رضّى الله عنه], Uthman [رضّى الله عنه], and Ali [رضّى الله عنه] upheld the decision of Fadak.)

So again, we ask our Shia brothers: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? Why did he uphold Abu Bakr’s decision (رضّى الله عنه) if it was so wrong? Why don’t the Shia hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for failing to return Fadak? Why don’t they hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for reaping the gains of Fadak while he was Caliph? Why the double standard with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه)? The Shia say that Caliph Umar (رضّى الله عنه) gave Fadak back to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه), and they accuse Caliph Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) of being a tyrant because he snatched it back from them. So then the question is: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) when he became Caliph? Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) is a tyrant but Ali (رضّى الله عنه) is not? Indeed this is nothing short of an incredible double standard.

What is also interesting is that Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)–who was also Caliph for a short duration–also did not return Fadak! He did not claim it for himself, nor did he distribute it to the other inheritors from Fatima’s lineage (رضّى الله عنها). So why did he too do nothing about Fadak? Surely, if blame is to be put on Abu Bakr’s shoulders (رضّى الله عنه), and on the shoulders of Uthman (رضّى الله عنه), then fairness dictates that equal blame should be put on Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)!

  • Shia Rebuttal #1: Taqiyyah

According to the Shia, Fadak should have been rightfully distributed to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Then, why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) do what is right? The only response the Shia can give is their standard cop-out: why, of course Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was doing Taqiyyah! The Shia will say that this is why he didn’t return Fadak. Oh, nice! Whenever the logic of historical facts do not sit well with the Shia narrative, they will then always have the trump card of Taqiyyah. (Taqiyyah, according to a Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, means to say something outwardly but mean something else inwardly.)

How can we have an intelligent discussion with the Shia when everyone in history is doing Taqiyyah? Why can’t we claim then that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah and that’s why he didn’t return Fadak to Fatima? And why couldn’t we say that Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah? It becomes comical when one’s entire historical narrative rests on Taqiyyah. There is no way to prove anything if we rely on Taqiyyah as a precedent.

The only way the Shia can answer why Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as a companion and even married his daughter is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was of course doing Taqiyyah! The only way that the Shia can reconcile the fact that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t fight the Three Caliphs like Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) fought Yezid is again of course Taqiyyah! Why didn’t Allah reveal anything in the Quran about Imamah or the Wilayah of Ali? Again, Allah was doing Taqiyyah!

  • Shia Rebuttal #2: Usurped Property

We have also seen the Shia propagandists claim that the reason Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t take back Fadak was that the Ahlel Bayt does not take back usurped property. To bolster this argument, the Shia will bring up the example of Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), whose Meccan home had been usurped by the infidels; upon conquering Mecca, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) did not take it back.

This answer is very weak, and easily debunked by simply providing the names of Infallible Imams of the Shia who accepted usurped property. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz “returned” Fadak to Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, who accepted it. Imam Al-Baqir is considered to be one of the Infallible Imams of the Shia, and thus very much part of what the Shia consider to be the Ahlel Bayt. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz was wrong in returning Fadak (and his ruling was overturned by later Caliphs), but that’s not the point. The point is that we see here that one of their twelve Infallible Imams accepted usurped property.

The government once again took back Fadak, and then another Caliph came along later down the line who decided to once again return Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Caliph Ma’mun would return Fadak to Imam Rida, yet another of those whom the Shia consider to be Infallible Imams. And there are a couple more examples of the Shia Infallibles accepting usurped property. Thus, this argument of the Shia is baseless.

The Answering-Ansar Team has argued that “no Shia would use such a pathetic argument”, but the reality is that we have seen this argument being used again and again on various forums. Thus, it was imperative that we respond to it here. We are glad that the Answering-Ansar Team also recognizes the baseness of this argument; instead, they have said that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did not want to commit Fitnah (i.e. disunity, chaos, etc) and this is why he didn’t return Fadak. We address this argument below.

  • Shia Rebuttal #3: Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Didn’t Want Fitnah

One could just as easily say that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t return Fadak for the exact same reason. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) must have been under immense stress from the general public who would have been angered if the Shariah was abandoned for those of a high rank such as Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was held accountable to many poor people who would recieve aid from the charity money obtained from Fadak. This was at the same time that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was waging a war against those who refused to pay Zakat. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was so strict on the Shariah in regards to the charity from Zakat; imagine how upset the apostate renegades would have been had they seen him be lax on the charity from Fadak.

In any case, this argument of the Shia is pretty much the same as the Taqiyyah argument. Thus, our counter-response above applies here as well. In any case, if Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was a brave and courageous man, then he should have done what is right and restored the land to its rightful owners. The cowardly image of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) that the Shia portray–of a man who cannot stand up for what he thinks is right–is offensive to the Ahlus Sunnah. The Shia believe that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) could make all the atoms of the earth submit to him, so surely he should have used some of this supernatural power to do what is right.

  • Shia Rebuttal #4: Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) Was Dead

Sometimes an E-Shia will try forwarding the argument that Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) died six months into Caliph Abu Bakr’s rule, and thus Fadak was a non-issue by the time Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph. Unfortunately, this argument falls apart when we look at the Shia narrations which show that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) approached Umar (رضّى الله عنه) and asked him to return Fadak to Fatima’s heirs, including Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه). Thus, according to the Shia, Fadak was still a monumental issue and the land should be returned to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). In fact, the Shia today still claim that Fadak should be returned to those whom they call “Syedi.”

Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) were the inheritors of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), and thus Fadak–according to the Shia–was their right. The Shia curse Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) for taking Fadak away from Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and giving it to Marwan (رضّى الله عنه). As can be seen, the issue of Fadak did not then die with Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) and this argument is weak.

  • Conclusion

The Shia accusations against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) are baseless, since he was following orders from Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and this decision was upheld by Ali (رضّى الله عنه). If the Shia want to lay blame on Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) for using Fadak as a charitable property, then the Shia should also accuse Ali (رضّى الله عنه) since he did the same thing during his Caliphate. The truth is that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did at first think that Fadak should be given to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها); however, he changed his mind after being presented with Abu Bakr’s argument (رضّى الله عنه), and this is why Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the first Caliph’s decision in regards to Fadak.

Next: Part III, The Ahlus Sunnah is Not Abandoning the Quran

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