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The conduct of Umar outside the home of Sayyida Fatima (as)

The conduct of Umar outside the home of Sayyida Fatima (as)

When it comes to Umar’s conduct at the home of Sayyida Fatima (as), do we have any documentary evidence that highlights his conduct? The answer is yes, accounts of his conduct on that fateful day can be located in the following books:

Musnaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shebah, Volume 7 page 432 Tradition 37045

al Imama wa al Siyasa pages 18-30 Dhikr Bayya Abu Bakr

Tareekh Abul Fida Volume 1 page 156 Dhikr bayya Abu Bakr

History of al-Tabari, Volume 9 page 187

al-Istiab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr Volume 1 page 246 Dhikr Abdullah in Abi Quhafa

Sharh ibn al Hadeed Volume 1 page 157

Al Mihal wa al Nihal Volume 1 page 77, Dhikr Nizameeya

Muruj adh-Dhahab by Abd al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn al Masudi Volume 3 page 198

Izalat ul Khifa by Muhaddith Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi Volume 2 page 226 (Urdu translation, Qur’an Mehal publishers, Karachi)

Tareekh Kamil by Ibn Atheer Volume 11 page 113

Tareekh Ahmadi by Ahmad Husayn Khan pages 111-112

Tauhfa Ithna Ashari, by al Muhaddith Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi page 292 Dhikr Muthain Umar

Al Murthada by Hafidh Abdul Rahman al Hanafi page 45 (Amritsar edition)

Kanz al Ummal, Volume 2 page 184 (Egypt).

Tahqeeq Mubashraab Sunni page 110 by Maulana Waheedudin Khan al Hanafi

Ansar Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, pp 582-586

Tareekh Ya’qubi, v2, p116

 Qurat al-Aynayn fi Tafdhil al-Shaykhayn by Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi, page 88

al Faruq, Volume 1 page 92 Dhikr Saqeefa Bani Sa’ada

Ruh al Mustafai Volume 3 page 36

Iqd al Fareed, Volume 3 page 273

Having provided a list of the above references, let us now build up a prosecution case, by asking two questions:


First Question: Are there any authentic Sunni references that highlight Umar’s actions at the home of Sayyida Fatima (as)?

The answer is there are. We read in Musnaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shebah, Volume 7 page 432 Tradition 37045:

“Narrated Muhammad bin Bashir from Ubaidllah bin Umar from Zaid bin Aslam that his father Aslam said: ‘When the homage (baya) went to Abu Bakr after the Messenger of Allah, Ali and Zubair were entering into the house of Fatima to consult her and revise their issue, so when Umar came to know about that, he went to Fatima and said : ‘Oh daughter of Messenger of Allah, no one is dearest to us more than your father and no one dearest to us after your father than you, I swear by Allah, if these people gathered in your house then nothing will prevent me from giving order to burn the house and those who are inside.’

So when Umar left, they (Ali and Zubair) came , so she (Fatima) said to them: ‘Do you know that Umar came here and swear by Allah to burn the house if you gather here, I swear by God that he (Umar) will execute his oath, so please leave wisely and take a decision and don’t gather here again.’ So they left her and didn’t gather there till they give baya to Abu Bakr.”

All the narrators are authentic as they are the narrators of Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim. Muhammad bin Bashir: Imam Al-Dhahabi said: ‘Thabt’ (Al-Kaashif, v2 p159), Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani said: ‘Thiqa’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, v2 p58). Ubaidllah bin Umar: Al-Dhahabi said: ‘Thabt’ (Al-Kaashif, v1 p685), Ibn Hajar Asqalani said: ‘Thiqa Thabt’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, v1 p637). Zaid bin Aslam: Al-Dhahabi said: ‘Hujja’ (Siar alam alnubala, v5 p316), Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani said: ‘Thiqa’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, v1 p326). Aslam al-Qurashi (the slave of Umar): Al-Dhahabi said: ‘Faqih, Imam’ (Siar alam alnubala, v4 p98), Ibn Hajar Asqalani said: ‘Thiqa’ (Taqrib al-Tahdib, v1 p88).

It is worth noting the observation made in Qeraa fi kutub al-Aqaed, by Farhan Hassan al-Maliki, page 52

”However Ali’s party was smaller (in number) during the reign of Umar than the reign of Abu Bakr al-Sidiq due to his abandoning Ali on account of his breaking into Fatima’s home during Abu Bakr’s reign, and forcing some sahaba that were with Ali to give bayya to Abu Bakr, thus the memory of this dispute – that is proven via authentic chains – was deemed a painful memory which they did not like to recollect”

What is even more interesting is the commentary of the margin writer who states:

”I thought that the story of breaking into (Fatima’s house) was just a lie , until I discovered reliable chains of narrations for it, such as what is been recorded by Ibn Abi Shebah in the Musanaf, anyhow neither is (the story) an exaggeration in the manner that the extremist Shia claim nor can it be denied as is the approach of the extremist Hanbalis.”

So we have a Sahih chain evidencing Umar’s conduct outside the day in question, and a modern day Sunni scholar citing the same book as proof that the incident did indeed occur.

This episode can also be found in al-Bayana Izalatul Khifa, Volume 2 page 29 wherein Al-Muhaddith Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi states that the chain is ‘Sahih’ according to the criterion of authenticity that had been set by the two Shaykhs (Bukhari and Muslim). We yet again see Umar issuing the threat to set fire to the home of Lady Fatim (as) if bayya is not given to Abu Bakr.



This reference places Umar squarely at the scene, it shows that he was acting in the capacity of an agent for the newly installed Khalifah and evidences his use of threats to set fire to the home of Fatima (as). It evidences the complete disregard that he had for the beloved daughter of the Prophet (s).


Second Question: Are there any secondary Sunni references that support this authentic one?

The answer is yes. Other Sunni sources might not be as authentic in terms of chains as Musnaf but they should in no way be discounted for they place Umar at the crime scene and evidence his conduct on that fateful day. Crucially they corroborate the authentic Musnaf tradition.


First Supporting Reference – al Imama wa al Siyasa

Let us begin with Abu Muhammad Abdullah bin Muslim bin Qutaybah (d. 276 Hijri) who in his famous book al Imama wa al Siyasa pages 18-28 states as follows:

Abu Bakr was after group of people who failed to give bayya and gathered with Ali, he sent Umar in their direction. He (Umar) called them to come out from the house of Ali, but they refused to come out. Thus (Umar) asked (his men) to bring wood, then he said: ‘I swear by He who controls the life of Umar, if you people do not come out of the house I shall set fire to it, and everyone inside shall perish. Some people said: ‘O Abu Hafs (Umar), Fatima is also in this house’. Umar replied, ‘I do not care’ Then the people came out from the house and gave bayya except Ali.

  Al-Imama Walsiyasa Page 12


Second Supporting Reference – Tareekh Abul Fida

Sunni historian Abul Fida in his discussion on the attack on the house of Fatima (as) recorded the event, in a very low key / cautious tone, but as a scholar of integrity and honesty he has refused to cover up history and has still acknowledged that the event did indeed take place and Umar threatened to burn Fatima (sa) alive:


ثم إن أبا بكر بعث عمر بن الخطاب إِلى علي ومن معه ليخرجهم من بيت فاطمة رضي الله عنها وقال : إِن أبوا عليك فقاتلهم .فأقبل عمر بشيء من نار على أن يضرم الدار فلقيته فاطمة رضي الله عنها وقالت : إِلى أين يا ابن الخطاب أجئت لتحرق دارنا قال : نعم أو تدخلوا فيما دخل فيه الأمة

Then Abu Bakr sent Umar bin Khattab to Ali and his companions with the objective that those ‘people gathered in the house of Fatima come out, and that if anyone objects to coming out then you should fight them’. Then Umar approached with fire in his hands to set the house ablaze. At this point Fatima approached and said: ‘ O son of Khattab, would do you dare?’ Do you wish to set my home on fire?’ Umar said: ‘Yes, unless if you give bayya to Abu Bakr and enter into that which the majority of the Ummah have agreed to.’

Tareekh Abul Fida [Arabic], page 235

Tareekh Abul Fida, Urdu translation by Maulana Karrem’ud Deen al Hanafi, pages 177-179



Again this reference is not at variance with the previous two. It again evidences Umar making threats to set fire to the home, if Ali (as) did not give bayya, the only difference is this reference mentions him carrying fire, that shows that he meant business. There is no contradiction here it merely demonstrates that Umar came equipped with the tools to carry out the threat if his demands were not met.


Third Supporting Reference – Iqd al Fareed

Ibn Abd Rabbah in his book Iqd al Fareed, Volume 3 page 273 states:

الذين تخلفوا عن بيعة أبي بكر – في والعباس والزبير وسعد بن عُبادة. فأما عليّ والعباس والزبير، فقعدوا في بيت فاطمة حتى بَعث إليهم أبو بكر عمرَ ابن الخطاب ليُخرِجهم من بيت فاطمة، وقال له: إِن أبوا فقاتِلْهم. فأقبل بقَبس من نار على أن يُضرم عليهم الدار، فلقيته فاطمةُ، فقالت: يا بن الخطاب، أجئت لتُحرق دارنا؟ قال: نعم، أو تدخلوا فيما دخلتْ فيه الأمة.

Those who fell behind giving the bayya of Abu Bakr were Abbas, Zubayr and Sa’d bin Ubada, amongst whom Ali, Abbas and Zubayr were sitting in the house of Fatima. At that time Abu Bakr sent Umar ibn al-Khattab with the order ‘that you remove those gathered in the house of Fatima, and if they refuse to come out then fight them’. Umar brought fire to the house of Fatima, then Fatima met him and said: ‘O Ibn Khattab have you arrived in order to set my home on fire?’. He (Umar) replied: ‘Yes, unless if you people give bayya to Abu Bakr as others have done’.

 Al Iqd al Fareed, Volume 3 page 273



We are sure that Umar did not simply go to the home of Sayyida Fatima (as) of his own accord. He was clearly carrying out instructions, and this reference confirms that he was acting on the orders of Abu Bakr. Like Abu’l Fida it confirms Umar came equipped with fire, thus evidencing his willingness to take extreme measures to carry through his desire that bayya be given to Abu Bakr. Like the previous references this confirms that the motive was to secure bayya for Abu Bakr, so it corroborates the previous texts.


Fourth Supporting Reference – Tareekh Tabari

The most renowned Sunni historian Ibn Jareer al Tabari also recorded this event. We read in al Tabari (English translation), Volume 9 page 187:

Ibn Humayd – Jarir – Mughirah – Ziyad b. Kulayb:Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to the house of Ali. Talha and Zubair and some of the immigrants were also in the house. Umar cried out: “By God, either you come out to render the oath of allegiance, or I will set the house on fire.” al-Zubair came out with his sword drawn. As he stumbled (upon something), the sword fell from his hand so they jumped over him and seized him.”

  History of al-Tabari, Volume 9 page 187

The academic and authoritative translator Ismail Poonawalla, in the footnotes of this event (same page), provides us with an interesting background to this event:

Although the timing is not clear, it seems that Ali and his group came to know about Saqifa after what had happened there. At this point, his supporters gathered in Fatimah’s house. Abu Bakr and Umar, fully aware of Ali’s claims and fearing a serious threat from his supporters, summoned him to the mosque to swear the oath of allegiance. Ali refused, and so the house was surrounded by an armed band led by Abu Bakr and Umar, who threatened to set it on fire if Ali and his supporters refused to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. The scene grew violent and Fatimah was furious.

Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his, v1, pp 582-586;

Tareekh Ya’qubi, v2, p116;

al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20


Lest also attach the original text of Tarikh Tabari [Arabic], Volume 2 page 443 “The events of 11 Hijri”

 Tareekh Tabari [Arabic], Volume 2 page 443



Just like the previous references Tabari highlights threats issued outside the home of Sayyida Fatima (as) if bayya is not administered to Abu Bakr. It is in complete conformity with the authentic tradition of Ibn Abi Shaybah. Whilst Ibn Abu Shaybah’s narrative takes events from the threats to bayya, the reaction of Ibn Zubayr and his being seized upon should not be deemed a contradiction. This merely adds more flesh to the bones of the narrative of Ibn Abu Shaybah. It would not be illogical to believe that the threats courted the sort of reaction made by Ibn Zubayr, but the fact of the matter is Umar came with back up ready to apprehend anyone that took issue with his threats.


Bringing these references together

If we read these five supporting references alongside the authentic reference of Ibn Abi Shaybah, then Umar’s conduct at the home of Sayyida Fatima (as) is proven beyond all reasonable doubt. None of these references is at variance with another, rather two common facts can be located in all of them, namely that Umar:

threatened to set fire to the home of Sayyida Fatima (as)

justified his conduct on the basis that Maula Ali (as) and his supporters had failed to give bayya to Abu Bakr


Source: Shia Pen

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