Umar at Fatimah's house

Umar at Fatimah's house refers to the controversial event where Umar came to the house of Fatimah, the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in order to get the allegiance of Ali and his followers or burn her house down. This event, according to Shias, is said to be the cause of Fatimah's miscarriage and eventual death.


According to the sources, following the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Umar attempted to gain the shura (consensus) of the community that Abu Bakr should become the caliph (leader) over the Islamic ummah (community). According to Shi'a sources, as Ali attended the funeral of Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Umar attained the consensus of the community. As Ali was burying Muhammad, he learned that Abu Bakr had attained communal consensus. Fatimah, Ali, and their supporters maintained that Ali should be the leader over the Islamic community because of Muhammad's statement at Ghadir Khumm.[1][2]


After Abu Bakr became caliph, he sent for Ali to demand his allegiance.[3] At the time, Ali and his supporters had gathered in Fatimah's house. There are multiple versions of what happened, ranging from Umar threatening to burn down the place if Ali refused to comply,[4][5][6][7] to storming the house[8] during which Fatimah miscarried Muhsin.[9][10][11]

Tabari adds that Zubayr came out of the house with his sword drawn, but stumbled and was overpowered by Umar's men.[12][3] Veccia Vaglieri says that it was Ali who came to Umar with his sword drawn and was subsequently disarmed, after which Fatima cried and threatened to uncover her hair so that Abu Bakr preferred to withdraw.[13][14]

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari cites Abu Bakr on his deathbed saying that he wished he had never opened Fatima's house to anything, even though they had locked it as a gesture of defiance, implying that her house may have been broken into forced open.[15]

Sunni view and historical sources supporting the Sunni view

According to Sunni books of Hadith and books of history written at the time however, this entire story did not occur. It states that Ali willingly gave oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, though maintained a distance from him out of respect for Ali's wife Fatima, because of an argument Abu Bakr had with Fatima over her inheritance. When Fatima died 6 months later, Ali went to Abu Bakr to re-establish closer relations. It is further refuted considering that Umar married Ali and Fatima's daughter, Umm Kulthum, whom he married after Abu Bakr taking Khilafa, showing the good relations he had with Ali at the time.

Mosnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal

After Umar and Abu Bakr achieved the Bay'ah at Saqifah when the Ansar mooted their claim to nominate one of them for the Khilafa, Fatima asked Abu Bakr for her inheritance as the prophet's daughter, mainly Khaybar and Fadak, to which he responded that the prophet Mohammed said no inheritance is claimed from prophets and all their belongings should be charity, to which she was cross and would not speak with him afterwards.[16]

According to Al-Baladhuri,[17] 'Ali ibn Abi Talib came close to the end of the events at Saqifah, and said to Abu Bakr: "I knew that the prophet gave you the right of leading the prayer, and that you were his companion in the cave during the migration, but I had the right of being consulted, however may you be forgiven." and reports that Ali gave his allegiance. This is also confirmed in History of the Caliphs,[18] and Al-Mustadrak.[19]

Various Historical Sunni Sources

According to the hadith, Abu Bakr al-Baihaqi relates on the authority of Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri: 'Abu Bakr ascended the pulpit and cast a glance on the people. He did not find Ali among them. So he sent for Ali and said: "O brother and son-in-law of the Prophet, would you like that the unity among Muslims should be torn to pieces?" Ali replied: "I have no grudge or complaint, O Caliph, of the Prophet." He immediately swore allegiance to him. Al-Baihaqi adds that Ali uttered these words or this was their purport.

Historian Ibn Kathir adds that Ali gave his allegiance soon after Muhammad died, since Ali remained Abu Bakr's companion and was never absent from any congregational prayer.[20]

See also


  1. Hughes, Thomas Patrick. A Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopaedia of the Doctrines, Rites. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  2. Meri, Josef W. (31 October 2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  3. 1 2 Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad. pp. 43–44.
  4. Ibn Abed Rabboh. Al-Iqd al-Farīd كتاب: العقد الفريد **|نداء الإيمان (in Arabic). Retrieved 4 March 2012. As for Ali, Abbas and Zubair, they stayed in the house of Fatima until Abu Bakr sent Umar to get them out of Fatima's house and told him: if they refuse, fight them. He took a torch to burn the house and Fatima met him and told him: are you here to burn our house? He said: yes, or you enter what the Ummah has entered (i.e swear allegiance).
  5. al-Baladhuri (297 AH / 892 CE) (1959). Ansab al-Ashraf. 1. Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif. p. 586. Abu Bakr sent for Ali so that he can give alligance but he didn't. So Umar came [to the house] and Fatima met him at the door. She said: 'ibn Khatab you want to burn my door down?' Umar replied: 'Yes, in order to strengthen the religion your father brought.'
  6. Ibn Qutaybah (276 AH / 889 CE). al-Imama wa al-Siyasa. Egypt: Maktabt al-Tijaria al-Kubra. p. 13. Umar said: 'I swear by He who controls the life of Umar, either you come out or I will burn this house down!' The people said: 'Abu'l Hafs, Fatima is also in this house'. Umar replied: 'Even if she is...
  7. Ibn Abi Shayba (235 AH / 849 CE) (1989). al-Musanaf. 7. Beirut: Dar al-Taj. p. 432. Umar came to the house of Fatima and said: "O' Daughter of the Prophet of God! I swear by God that we love no one more than your father, and after him we love no one more than you. Yet I swear by God that that won't stop me from gathering these people and commanding them to burn this house down!
  8. Tarikh al-Ya’qoubi (in Urdu). 2. Karachi, Pakistan: Nafees Academy. p. 199. When Abu Bakr and Umar heard the news that a party of the Ansar and the Muhajirin have gathered with ‘Ali at the house of the daughter of the Prophet, they went with a group of people and attacked the house...
  9. Buehler, Arthur F. (2014). "Fatima". In Coeli Fitzpatrick; Adam Hani Walker. Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God. 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-61069-178-9.
  10. Sulaym bin Qays al-Hilali. "Hadith 4". Kitab Sulaym Ibn Qays al-Hilali. pp. 48–67. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  11. Al-Shahrastani. Al-Milal wa al-Nihal كتاب: الملل والنحل **|نداء الإيمان (in Arabic). Retrieved 4 March 2012. That a troublesome theologian called al-Naẓẓām (d. 231 AH) "increased his lying deception" and said: "Umar kicked Fatima's stomach on the day of allegiance until she miscarried and he yelled: "Burn her house and whoever is in it" and in it were Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn."
  12. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. History of the Prophets and Kings. مكتبة مشكاة الاسلامية - Retrieved 4 March 2012. Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to the house of Ali. Talhah and Zubayr 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.
  13. al-Yaghubi, ii, 141
  14. Laura Veccia Vaglieri. "Fāṭima". In P. Bearman; et al. Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). Brill Online.
  15. Denise L. Soufi, "The Image of Fatima in Classical Muslim Thought," PhD dissertation, Princeton, 1997, p. 84
  16. Mosnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Section 025
  17. Al-Baladhuri. Ansab al Ashraf [Genealogies of the Nobles]. 2. p. 263.
  18. History of the Califs by Al-Soyouty, page 56
  19. Al-Mustadrak (continuation) for Al-Hakim, part 3, page 66
  20. Ibn Kathir. Al-Bidaya Wan Nihaya. A significant aspect of this affair is that Ali took the oath of allegiance on the very first day or the day following the death of the Prophet. This is correct in point of fact since Ali never gave up Abu Bakr's companionship nor he absented himself in any congregational prayer.
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