Did Hz. Umar want to burn Hz. Fatima's house?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It will be appropriate to answer the question in a few items:

1. The narration regarding the issue is included in “al-Imama was-Siyasa” and “Kanzul-Ummal”. (see Ibn Qutayba ad- Dinawari, Abdullah b. Muslim, al-Imama was-Siyasa, I- II, Darul- Ma’rifa Beirut, nd I, 19- 20)

2. Kanzul-Ummal received this narration probably from Ibn Abi Shayba’s Musannaf. The narration in Ibn Abi Shayba is as follows:

“…From Zayd b. Aslam; he narrates from his father Aslam:

"When allegiance was paid to Abu Bakr, after the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Ali and Zubayr used to go to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, for consultation. When this fact was known to Umar bin Khattab, he went to Fatimah and said:

‘O daughter of the Prophet! I did not love anyone as much as I loved your father, nor anyone after him is more loving to me as you are. However, I swear by Allah that if these people (those who have not paid allegiance to Abu Bakr) assemble here with you, this love of mine will not prevent me from setting your house on fire.’" 

The narrator added the following: “After Umar left, they came to Fatima’s house. She addressed them as follows:

‘You know that Umar came to me and swore by Allah that if you were to come back, he would surely burn the door with you inside. By Allah, he shall certainly fulfill what he swore. So, go away in peace, flee from your opinion, and do not come back to see me.’”

They returned and finally paid allegiance to Abu Bakr.” (see Ibn Abi Shayba, al- Musannaf, Darul- Fikr, 1989, VIII, 572; Alauddin Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanzul-Ummal, I- II, al- Baytul-Afkarud-Duwaliyya, Jordan, 2005, I, 681, no. 141138)

In the narration in Kanzul-Ummal, the phrase "demolishing the door" is used instead of "burning the house".

3. As it is seen, Hz. Umar is very sensitive and uncompromised related to the issues that could cause mischief and chaos. We know some incidents in his previous life when he wanted to kill those who wanted to cause mischief and chaos.

4. To interpret the issue as enmity toward Ahl al-Bayt or Hz. Fatima means to twist the issue. Besides, Hz. Umar told Hz. Fatima that he loved the Prophet and her and warned her related to this sensitive issue. As a matter of fact, his warning became effective and the dissidents paid allegiance to Hz. Abu Bakr. What Hz. Umar did was to warn, to prevent mischief, to preserve the unity of Islam and to prevent chaos. The issue should be viewed from this aspect. This attitude seems to be an appropriate one in terms of administration.

5. We should remember that when there was nothing else to do, Hz. Ali had to declare war against the dissidents. The Battle of Jamal, Battle of Siffin and the battles against the Kharijites were wars like that. For, the verses related to rebels gave him this authority.

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