Download PDF: [S] The issue of Fadak and Khalifah Safah

Abul Abbas Abdullah Saffah bin Mohammed bin Ali is the great grandson of Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas Radi Allahu ‘Anhuma. He became the leader in Iraq after Marwan bin Mohammed, the last ruler of the Ummayad Dynasty, was killed. He became the ruler in 132 A.H.


The person to lay the foundation of the Abbasi Khilafat was Abu Muslim Khurasani when he sent an army under the leadership of Ziyad bin Saleh to fight against the Chinese forces in Farghanah. The Chinese had nearly a hundred thousand men in this army. When the war ended, nearly fifty thousand Chinese were killed and nearly twenty thousand had been captured. Saffah passed away in the month of Zil Hajj 136 A.H. (Taarikh Islam, 847,853)


Saffah therefore is considered as the first Khalifah of the Abbasi Dynasty. He was born in 108 A.H. People swore allegiance to him in Kufah. In the Musnad of Imam Ahmed bin Hambal Radi Allahu ‘Anhu there is a report which has been narrated by Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu who narrates that the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has stated that, “After a few years when fitnah would appear, there will be a person born from my Ahle Bait whose name will be Saffah. He will pour wealth on people.” (Musnad Imam Ahmed, 3/80)


What did Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali Radi Allahu ‘Anhu do about the issue of Fadak?


Ibn Arabi reveals that the first Khutbah delivered by Saffah was in a village also called Abbasiyah. During the Khutbah, a person belonging to the Abu Talib family stood up. He had a Qur’an around his neck. According to Taarikhul Khulafah, this person’s name was Abdullah bin Hasan. He then asked the new Khalifah a few questions.


He mentioned, “While you are mentioning the name of Allah azza wajal, therefore on the basis of this, I remind you to perform justice and give a verdict based on the Qur’an.”


The Khalifah asked him, “Who has oppressed you?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Abu Bakr who had withheld Fadak from Fatimah.”


Khalifah: “Tell me, after Abu Bakr, was there another Khalifah?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Yes.”


Khalifah: “Who was this person?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “’Umar bin Khattab.”


Khalifah: “Therefore, it means that ‘Umar bin Khattab had also oppressed you?”

Abdullah bin Hasan: “Yes.”


Khalifah: “Was there another Khalifah after ‘Umar bin Khattab?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Yes, it was ‘Uthman bin Affan.”


Khalifah: “That means, he must have also oppressed you?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Yes.”


Khalifah: “Was there another Khalifah after ‘Uthman bin Affan?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Yes.”


Khalifah: “Who was this?”


Abdullah bin Hasan: “Ameerul Mo’mineen Hadrat Ali bin Abi Talib.”


Khalifah: “That means that Ali bin Abi Talib also continued to oppress you and did not take away this orchard of Fadak from the Muslims and give it you?”


After saying this, the Khalifah Saffah continued, “Your grandfather Ali bin abi Talib was far greater than me and had much more justice than me. Even his era appeared. In his era, did he give his two sons Hasan and Husain the orchard of Fadak even though they were far greater than you.?”


He is left speechless


When he heard these words, Abdullah bin Hasan was left speechless. He began to look around as if seeking some help and as if he wanted to leave quickly without been noticed.


However, Khalifah Saffah continued, “I swear by that Divine Being besides Whom there is no other Divine Being. If this was not my first Khutbah and since (this question) was not asked of someone else before me, (then surely), I would have beheaded you and then sat on the Mimbar.”


He then severely scolded this person and made him sit and then continued with the Khutbah. (Akhbaarul Azkiyah, 68; Taarikhul Khulafah, 200)


The actual background to the issue of Fadak


Fadak is the name of a small village in the Hijaz. In those days, it was a two or three day’s journey from Madina Shareef.


In the 7th year of Hijrah, when the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was returning from Khyber after defeating the Jews, he also sent Hadrat Muhaysah bin Masud Radi Allahu ‘Anhu as an emissary to Fadak which was also under the control of Jews. Its leader was a person named Yusha bin Nun.


By then these Jews had already become fearful of the Muslims after hearing about the defeat of their companions in Khyber. After receiving the message from the emissary, of either accepting Islam or paying the Jizyah, they collectively decided that instead of fighting the Muslims, they would rather give half their crops or earnings to the Muslims as Jizyah. This was then kept by the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam since it was something achieved without fighting. In other words, whatever income came from this, the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam kept it for his family and those he was responsible for.


After the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam had passed away, this is the income that Sayyida Fatimah Radi Allahu ‘Anha had asked Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Radi Allahu ‘Anhu for. However, the eminent leader of the Muslims replied, “I heard the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam declare that Fadak had been given to him by Allah azza wajal and from whose income he had been fed from during his life time and when he passes away, then it should be distributed among the Muslims.” (Ma’jamul Buldaan, 4/272)


Another important point which should be remembered here is that in the entire period of all the Rightly-Guided leaders of Islam, no one had changed this decision. Even Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali Radi Allahu ‘Anhu did not change his decision when he became the leader of the Muslims. This proves that the action taken by Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Radi Allahu ‘Anhu was something which was collectively accepted by all the blessed companions and had therefore become ‘Ijmah.


This is the reason that Khalifah Saffah had become so angry with this person’s questions. He understood that this person had done nothing but try to create fitnah in the Muslim Ummah as the Shias are doing in the present time. Obviously when he asked the person whether the same circumstances existed during the time of Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali Radi Allahu ‘Anhu and the person replied in the affirmative, it clearly proved that Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali Radi Allahu ‘Anhu, although having the power, did not hand this income to his own sons. Hence, he was also in agreement with all the Muslim leaders that came before him. When this is the case, how can any sensible person say that the blessed daughter of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was actually robbed of this income?