In Volume 2 page 51 of Hayatus Sahaba under the Chapter ‘The practice of seeking advice of the elite by Hadrat Abu Bakr (r)’ we read a narration transmitted by Ibn Abu Shaibah in Tarikh by al Bukhari, Ibn Asakir, Baihaqi and Yaqoob bin Sufyan:
“Ubaida reports ‘Aina bin Hasan and Aqra bin Habis approached Hadrat Abu Bakr (rad) and said ‘O Caliph of the Messenger of Allah!” There is some fallow land in out area. If you deem it considerable, give us the land so that we can cultivate it to earn our livelihood. He donated it to them and wrote a decree in support thereof.
He also put down the name of Hadrat Umar (ra) on it as a witness. On seeing the document Hadrath Umar spat over it and erased its contents. Both of them grew angry and admonished Hadrat UImar (Rad). He replied ‘The Holy Prophet (s) infused love for Islam in both of you. It was the time when Islam was unstable, but now it has gained an honourable status. You therefore go and do as you like. May Allah allow you concession if you seek any. Both of them went grambling to Hadrat Abu Bakr (Rad) and said, ‘Tell us who is the Caliph, yourself or Umar? ‘In a way he (umar) is the Caliph, because he could become Caliph if he wanted to be so said Hadrat Abu Bakr (Rad). In the meantime Hadrat Umar said ‘Does te land you have donated to these two persons belong to you or to the Muslims as a whole? Hadrat Abu Bakr replied, ‘It is the property of the Muslims as a whole’ Hadrat Umar (Rad) said ‘What them made you to reserve this piece of land for these two persons ignoring the Muslims as a whole? Hadrat Abu Bakr (Rad) said, ‘The people around me had advised me to do so’. At this Hadrat Umar (Rad) said, ‘Had you consulted only the people around you or had you sought the opinion of all the Muslims who are the real owners of the property?’ Hadrat Abu Bakr (Rad) replied, ‘I had told you that you are stronger than me in matters of Caliphate, but you did ignore my pleas and put me as Caliph [Al Kanz (Volume 2 page 189)al Isabah (Volume 3 page 55) Al Bukhari (Volume 1 page 59). This Hadith has been mentioned by the above sources with a correct Isnad…]“.
Hayat us-Sahaba, Vol. 2, Pages 51 & 52
To summarise the facts of this narration are as follows:
- Abu Bakr donated Muslim land to the Sahaba to aid them with livelihood.
- Abu Bakr arrived at the decision by seeking out advice of ‘the people around me’
- Umar overruled Abu Bakr, stating that the land was Muslim land and hence all the Muslims required consultation on the matter.
“Sibt ibn Jauzi narrates that after Fatima made her claim to the ownership of Fadak, Abu Bakr heard her claim and Abu Bakr left a written instruction that it be restored to her, then Umar came to Abu Bakr, and asked ‘Who is this document for?’ The Khalifa said ‘It’s with regards to Fadak this is a written document for Fatima in relation to her father’s inheritance. Umar said ‘then how will you spend for the Muslims, when the Arabs are preparing to fight you, Umar then took the document and ripped it up”.
Why did Umar not intervene in this matter and insist that as Fadak belonged to all Muslims the opinion of all Muslims should be sought? That was his line of argument when it came to Abu Bakr’s donating Muslim land to the Sahaba, but when it came to giving land to Sayyida Fatima (as) Umar deemed it his sole entitlement to rule on the matter, without the need to consult the Muslims! If anything this references serves as proof of the contradictory approach that Umar took when ruling on ‘Muslim lands’, showing clear prejudice towards Sayyida Fatima (as).
We read in Tabaqat ibn Sad Volume 2 page 451 [English translation], under the Chapter ‘The learned and those who gave Fatwas from among the companions of the Apostle of Allah, May Allah bless him:
“Muhammad ibn Umar al Aslami informed us; (he said): Jariyah ibn Abi Imran informed us on the authority of Abd al-Rahman Ibn al Qasim, he on the authority of his father; Verily when Abu Bakr confronted with an important affair about which he needed council of the wise and the jurists, he called some Muhajirs and Ansars. He called Umar, Uthman, ‘Ali, ‘Abd-al Rahman Ibn Awf, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Unayy Ibn Ka’b and Zayd Ibn Thabit, every one of whom gave Fatwas during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. The cases of the people for Fatwas were referred to them(the companions). This continued till the end of Abu Bakr’s life”.
Tabaqat Ibn Sa’ad, Vol. 2, Page 451 & 452
When Abu Bakr had a Council of scholars to clarify legal disputes then why did he not utilise this Panel of scholars during the Fadak dispute?
Either Abu Bakr deemed himself to be a claimant.
He feared handing over the matter to the Muslims as claimants to the action since they may rule in favour of the claimant.