Regret for the Actions Taken Against Fatima

As time passed, Abu Bakr felt the pangs of remorse about the incident at Fatima al-Zahra’s home and said, “Every man sleeps next to his wife, embracing her, enjoying his family, and you left me with my misery. I don’t need your bayah, I don’t need it, take it away from me.” Near the end of his life he also mentioned, “I was sad for three things that I did, and I wish I hadn’t done them. One of them is that I exposed the house of Fatima.”[14]

Perhaps Abu Bakr’s guilt came from the fact that he had ordered Umar to subdue whoever was in the house if they did not surrender, even though he knew that those in the house included Fatima al-Zahra – the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophet and his grandsons, Hasan and Husayn. The guilt drove Abu Bakr to seek reconciliation, so he asked Umar to accompany him to reconcile with Fatima al-Zahra and said to Umar, “Since we have angered Fatima, let us go and make her happy.”[15]

Initially, they sought permission from her to enter her house, but she refused, so they asked Ali and he allowed them in. Both Abu Bakr and Umar b. Khattab sat in front of Fatima al-Zahra, but she turned her head towards the wall.

Abu Bakr said to her, “O beloved daughter of the Prophet, you are dearer to me than my daughter Aishah, and I wish that on the day your father died, I would have died instead and that I would not have remained (alive) after him. You are angry because we did not grant you your inheritance since we heard your father say, ‘We don’t leave any inheritance; whatever we leave is charity.’”

With her head still turned against them, Fatima al-Zahra replied, “If I remind you of a saying of my father, would you acknowledge it, and if you acknowledge it, would you practice and implement it?” Both of them said they would and thus she said, “I ask you by Allah, did you not hear the Prophet of Allah saying, ‘The pleasure of Fatima is my pleasure, and her wrath and anger is my anger, and whoever loves my daughter Fatima loves me, and whoever pleases her pleases me, and whoever angers her angers me?’”[16] They said, “Yes, we heard  this from the Messenger of Allah.” She continued, “Then I testify before Allah and His angels that you have angered me, and when I meet the Prophet, I will raise my grievances with you to him.”

According to al-Tabari,[17] al-Bukhari,[18] and al-Muslim,[19] Fatima al-Zahra refused to speak with Abu Bakr until she died. Even at her funeral, her wishes were for them not to be present, thus Ali buried her at night according to her wishes and did not allow Abu Bakr and Umar to participate in her burial.

The exact date when Fatima al-Zahra died is uncertain. According to Abul Faraj al-Isfahani,[20] she lived a maximum of six months after the death of her father, while others mention a minimum period of forty days. What the author upholds is that of the narration of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, in which he stated she died three months after the departure of the Messenger of Allah.

[14] Lisan al Mizan, 8:189; Ibn Qutaybah, Al-Imamah wa Siyasah, 1:18; Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah, 6:51; Tarikh al-Ya´qubi, 2:137
[15] Ibn Qutaybah, Al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, 1:14
[16] Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:36
[17] Tarikh al-Tabari, 3:202
[18] Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:96
[19] Sahih al-Muslim, hadith 1259
[20] Abul Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibi´in, 19

When Power and Piety Collide by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini