One of the most tragic incidences in the history of Islam has been the the martyrdom of the the Lady of light, Our Prophet Muhammad(saw)' daughter, Fatima Zahra(as). To date the exact location of her grave is not known. What is even sadder is that most Shias of Ahlebayt(as) are not clear about the facts and timeline of events surrounding her tragic death. Ambiguities have been created,some people choose to adopt a defensive attitude when naming people involved in the incident, others shy away from talking about it because of creating discord with people of other sects. However, I believe it is very important that we are very clear about what happened after the death of RasulAllah(saw) and in the event of a discussion we are able to state the facts objectively, and this is the sole purpose of this post. It is not to curse the caliphs, or offend the Sunnis, so I will request that if anyone replies here he also refrains from doing so.
Most of what I have written below comes from Sheiky Abbas Qummi's book "House of Sorrows" . I will try to provide references wherever possible in the post, but since I want to keep it short and concise I would ask you to refer to the book if anyone wishes to read more. The book is available online on al-islam.org.
1. DEATH OF THE HOLY PROPHET
The Holy Prophet (saw) departed from this world on 28 safar 11 A.H. For three days Imam Ali(as) postponed his burial. Why? Because he wanted to give all the Muslims an opportunity to join his funeral. Sadly, most of the Ansar and Muhajireen were busy choosing the successor of Prophet(saw) and didn't show up. Seeing this, Imam Ali(as) went ahead with the funeral and burial of RasulAllah(saw)
In Arabic, the word Saqeefah literally means a 'tent'.So,while the Bani Hashim were busy with funeral arrangements of RasulAllah(saw) and had withdrawn from social activities because they were mourning the Ansaar gathered in the tent of the tribe of Bani Sa'idah and started choosing a leader for the Arabs. Upon hearing this Umar told Abu Bakr to quickly rush to the place. After some squabble between Ansaar and Muhajireen Abu bakr was chosen as a successor for Prophet(saw).
The first three people to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr were: Bashir b.Sa'ad, Umar b.Khattab and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah.
3. DID EVERYONE PLEAD ALLEGIANCE TO ABU BAKR? WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T?
Of course, one of the persons to not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr was our Imam Ali(as) but there were people amongst Arabs who refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. Let's just look at two examples.
1. MALIK b.NUWAYRAH: Malik b Nuwayarh was a devout companion of the Holy Prophet(saw). Upon his refusal to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr told Khalid b. Waleed to prepare an army against him and attack him under the pretext that he had turned apostate and was refusing to pay Zakat and taxes to the Caliph. What Khalid b. Waleed did was attack him during the night in his house, like a coward. They killed him, later raped his wife and they didn't stop there. They cut off Malik's head and cooked it with camel meat and the food from the vessel containing Malik's head was consumed by Khalid b. Waleed's army.
2. SA'AD b. UBADAH: Saad b.Ubadah was from the Ansaar of Medina and a contender with Abu Bakr for caliphate.However, he lost when the clan of al-Khizraj did not side with him. Umar tried to force him to pledge allegiance. However,he refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr and to Umar after him and instead lived a life of seclusion. When Umar took over the reins he ordered Khalid b. Waleed to kill Sa'ad. He shot arrows at him which killed him and they later spread a rumour that he was killed by jinns(narrated by Historian al-baladhuri)
So now we have some idea what was happening to people who refused allegiance.
4.CONFISCATION OF FADAK
Fadak was confiscated and one of the reasons behind confiscating Fadak was to hurt Imam Ali(as) economically because Abu Bakr and Umar feared that Imam Ali(as) might rise against them so they took away Fadak.
5. WHY DIDN'T IMAM ALI OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF ABU BAKR?
After Saqeefa took place three hundred and sixty people pledged allegiance at the hand of Imam Ali(as) to defend him until his death. Imam(as) told them go home and gather in a particular street the next day with shaved heads.Out of of these three hundred and sixty people how many turned up the next day? Only FIVE! Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Hudhayfah, Ammar and Salman.
Imam ALi(as) saw a flock of sheep, about thirty in number gathered in a pen and looking at them he said, "By Allah! If I had along with me men who were true supporters of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and His Prophet, equaling the number of these sheep, I would certainly have deposed Abu Bakr, from his authority."
6. FORCING IMAM ALI(AS) TO GIVE ALLEGIANCE & THREATENING TO BURN THEIR HOUSE
After seeing fickleness of the people Imam Ali (as)settled into his house. Abu Bakr sent men to get Imam Ali(as) to come out. He turned them down.They went again,this time Lady Fatima(as) refused to open the door and sent them away. Next, three men gathered firewood outside the home of Hazrat Ali(as) and Bibi Fatima(as). Who were these three men 1. Qunfudh 2.Khalid b.Waleed 3.Mughaira b.Shu'bah.
Umar came to the door and asked Fatima(as) to open it, which she refused once again.They started lighting up the firewood on Umar's instructions. Hazrat Fatima(as)cried out and tried to remind them of her position which they ignored and, pushed the door open behind which Hazrat Fatima(as),who was pregnant at that time was standin, and she was crushed between the wall and door. Umar entered the house and struck Fatima(as) on the arm with his whip which left a bruise there. She sustained injuries which led her to miscarrying the baby Mohsin; and went into an illness from which she did not recover.
7.IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE THAT UMAR ASSAULTED FATIMA(AS)?
If we look at Umer's life we see that he had an explosive temper a history of abuse against women. The famous incident narrated by our sunni brothers about his conversion to islam, where Umar struck his own sister and wounded her. Before going to his Sister's house he was on his way to kill Prophet of Allah(saw)
8. ISLAMIC POSITION ON ENTERING SOMEONE'S HOUSE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION
O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded.And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do. - Quran Surah Nur: 27-28
9. WHY DID FATIMA(AS) ANSWER THE DOOR AND NOT IMAM ALI(AS)?
This is one of the points frequently brought up, why didn't Imam Ali answer the door? The answer is, there is nothing wrong per se to a wife answering the door. there are numerous narrations where one of Prophet(saw)'s wives answered the door while the Prophet(saw) was himself in the house.
10.WHY DIDN'T IMAM ALI DEFEND FATIMA(AS)?
After Umar had struck Fatima(as) Imam Ali(as) came out and caught hold of the collar of ‘Umar and threw him down to the ground. He was determined to kill him but suddenly recalled the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and called out, ‘O son of Sahhak! I swear by Allah Who exalted Muhammad to the rank of prophethood that if the command of Allah would not have been decreed and the promise (to bear patiently) not have been given to me by the Prophet of Allah, you would have realized how difficult it is to enter my house!’
11. HAZRAT FATIMA(AS) PASSED AWAY AT LEAST A MONTH AFTER HER SERMON ON FADAK