- This article is about the land of Fadak. For other usages of Fadak, see Fadak (disambiguation).
Fadak (Arabic: فدك) is a village in Hijaz, which had lush gardens with date palm trees located near Khaybar. After Muslims conquered Khaybar castles, based on a peace treaty, half of the gardens and farming fields were given to Prophet Muhammad (s) by the Jews. As Fadak was conquered in peace, according to the Qur'an it was particularly owned by Prophet Muhammad (s). As ordered by the Prophet (s), the revenue from Fadak was given to the poor, particularly the needy of Banu Hashim. According to historical reports, after some time Prophet Muhammad (s) gave Fadak to Lady Fatima (a) as a gift. After the demise of Prophet (s), Abu Bakr confiscated Fadak. The al-Fadakiyya Sermon was delivered by Lady Fatima (a) in order to complain about this incident, and Abu Bakr refused to give it back to Lady Fatima (a). For many centuries, the garden of Fadak was frequently given back to and retaken from the descendants of Lady Fatima (a). Today, Fadak is located in a city called al-Ha'it.
Location and Situation
Fadak is located in Hijaz, 160 Km from Medina. Although it is situated in the dry lands of al-Harra, it is covered with date palms and provided land for gardens and farming. In the early Islamic period, Jews resided there. The Shamrukh castle was located near Fadak, which was strategically regarded as the main military base for the Jews. Reports state that the Jewish people were living there until the time of 'Umar b. al-Khattab, the second caliph, who ordered them to evacuate the region.
Today Fadak is located in the city of al-Ha'it, which consisted of 21 villages by 1975. According to reports, in 2010, about 14,000 people live there.
During the emergence of Islam, the fertile soil and rich water sources allowed Fadak to be rich in date palms and other gardens. As a result, Fadak was a productive and fruitful land with profitable income. It is said the date palms of Fadak are worth the same as date palms of Kufa-which is well-known for its extensive cultivation of date palms. When 'Umar b. al-Khattab decided to expel the Jews, he paid them 50 thousand Dirhams (old currency of Hijaz) for the remaining half of Fadak, which was owned by the Jews.
Fadak was undeniably a fertile land, but its annual income is unknown. According to a number of sources, Fadak produced an annual income of 24 to 70 thousand Dinars at the time of Prophet Muhammad (s). As estimated by researchers, the income achieved from Fadak could easily cover the expenses of Banu Hashim, so they would not need financial support from the government or caliphate.
Battle of Khaybar
- Main article: Battle of Khaybar
After conspiracy by the Jews against Muslims in the Battle of Trench where Muslims defeated their opponents, Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered his forces to attack Khaybar and defeat the Jews.
After the conquest of Khaybar, Jews surrendered to Muslims. When the Jewish people of Fadak were informed about their defeat to the Muslim forces, they were afraid of a probable attack to Fadak; therefore, they sent their representative to Prophet Muhammad (s) in order to negotiate and make peace with Muslims.
According to their peace treaty Jews were supposed to give half of their gardens and fields of Fadak to Prophet (s) in exchange for permission to continue their life in Fadak. It also guaranteed safety and security for the rest of their properties and lands.
As Muslims did not attend the conquest of Fadak, according to the order of the Holy Quran, Fadak was owned specifically by Prophet Muhammad (s). As dictated in the Quran, the properties achieved for Muslims, in which they did not fight for, are owned only by Prophet (s). Such properties are called fay' which belong to Prophet Muhammad (s) and he can transfer the ownership or control of such properties to whomever he decides.
The Holy Prophet (s) would give away the income achieved from Fadak to Banu Hashim, the poor, and travelers in need of support. Subsequently, he (s) gave Fadak to Lady Fatima (a).
Usurpation after the Demise of the Prophet (s)
- Main article: Usurpation of Fadak
The fame of Fadak among Shi'a is due to an event which took place after the demise of the Prophet (s). In this event, Abu Bakr took Fadak from Lady Fatima (a) and confiscated it for the caliphate. Abu Bakr argued that the Prophets do not leave inheritance as he had heard it from the Prophet (s). But, Lady Fatima (a) mentioned that Abu Bakr's argument was against the Qur'an and took Imam Ali (a) and Umm Ayman as witnesses that the Prophet (s) had gifted Fadak to her before his demise (and Fadak was not an inheritance). Abu Bakr accepted that and wrote a handwriting that no one should encroaches on it. When Lady Fatima (a) exited the meeting, 'Umar b. al-Khattab saw her, took the handwriting and torn it. As Imam Ali's (a) petition was rejected, Lady Fatima (a) went to the mosque and gave al-Fadakiyya sermon.
Ownership in Different Periods
- Rule of 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz
- Rule of Abu l-'Abbas al-Saffah
- Rule of al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi[Note 2]
- Rule of al-Ma'mun
After al-Ma'mun, al-Mutawakkil ordered to change Fadak's ownership to the condition before the order of al-Ma'mun. Most historical books have not mentioned anything about Fadak after the caliphate of al-Ma'mun.
When al-Ma'mun (ruled 198/813-14 – 218/833) decided to return Fadak to descendants of Lady Fatima (a), many oppositions arose. Thus, he invited 200 of prominent scholars of his time and asked them to mention their opinions about Fadak's ownership. After the presentation of ideas, the conclusion of the meeting was that Fadak belonged to Lady Fatima (a) and needed to return to its original inheritors. The insistence of objectors made al-Ma'mun hold another meeting with more scholars from around the Islamic world. The result of this session was similar to the result of the first meeting. Therefore, in 210/825-26, he wrote to the governor of Medina, Qutham b. Ja'far, to return Fadak to children of Lady Fatima (a).
Fadak is today located in Ha'it province of Saudi Arabia. According to a report (in 2008), the region of Fadak is known as "Wadi Fatima" and its palm gardens are known as "Bustan Fatima". Also, there are a mosque and wells in this area which are called "Masjid Fatima" and "'Uyun Fatima". Houses and towers of this area are turned to ruins and most palm trees have died.
- وَآتِ ذَا القُربىٰ حَقَّهُ وَالمِسكينَ وَابنَ السَّبيلِ وَلا تُبَذِّر تَبذيرًا: Give the relatives their [due] right, and the needy and the traveler [as well], but do not squander wastefully. (Qur'an 17:26)
- however according to some accounts, Imam al-Kazim (a)'s request for Fadak was rejected by al-Mahdi al-'Abbasi.
- The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from فدک in Farsi WikiShia.