Usurping the Land of Fadak

Muslim commentators report that when the verse, “And give your kin their rightful due” was revealed,[21] the Holy Prophet asked the Angel Gabriel what he was being directed to do, and Gabriel replied that Allah was commanding him to give Fadak, a piece of land north of Madinah, to his daughter Fatima al-Zahra and the Holy Prophet avidly complied.

However, after the death of the Prophet, Abu Bakr confiscated the land from Fatima on the pretext that the Holy Prophet had said, “We the prophets, do not leave any inheritance. Whatever we leave behind is charity.” This is a statement that not only contradicts the wishes of the Prophet, but also a precedent of the Qur’an that states, “And Sulayman inherited from Dawud.”[22]

Nevertheless, when Abu Bakr and Umar later came to power, they both gave preference to Lady Aishah. History narrates that on several occasions, the exception to their rule that “prophets do not leave inheritance” was enacted. For instance, both Abu Bakr and Umar allowed Lady Aishah to inherit the house of the Holy Prophet, although she did not have the absolute right to inherit the home exclusively, considering that she was merely one out of the nine wives of the Prophet, while the other wives were renounced of their share of the home inheritance. The property was hers and she exercised her control of it by permitting the burial of her father, Abu Bakr in the room of the Holy Prophet, next to the Prophet, while refusing the grandson of the Holy Prophet, Hasan to be buried next to his grandfather.

When Uthman came to power, Lady Aishah and Hafsah (two wives of the Prophet) asked him to grant them more of the inheritance of the Prophet, however Uthman rebuked Lady Aishah by saying, “Didn’t you come here with another man named Malik b. Aus al-Nadhari and say that the Prophet said, ‘We don’t leave inheritance?’ Didn’t you prevent Fatima al-Zahra from taking her share of the inheritance of the Prophet, and now you have come to ask for your share?”

Enraged, Lady Aishah went to the Mosque of the Holy Prophet, raised the Prophet’s shirt and cried that Uthman had disagreed with “the owner of this shirt.” In turn, Uthman cited verse 66:10 of the Qur’an drawing a parallel about the disobedient wives of the prophets Nuh and Lut to her.

Ironically, Uthman did not return the land of Fadak to the children of Fatima al-Zahra nor allow Lady Aishah to have it, nor did he give it as charity, as the hadith that he was claiming to act under said. Instead, Uthman gave it as a gift to one of his family members named Marwan b. al-Hakam, whom the Holy Prophet had cursed and exiled from Madinah for his sedition and rampage against Islam.[23]


[21] Holy Qur’an, 17:26, 30:38
[22] Holy Qur’an, 27:16
[23] Ibn Qutaybah, Al-Marif, 195; Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah


When Power and Piety Collide by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini