There is a view based on the text / words of the Grand Marja Ayatullah Sayyid Abul Qasim Khoei (r.a.) that he did not verify as true, the attack on Lady Fatima Zahra’s (s.a.) house.
View of Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khoei (r.a.) on the subject
After examining the perspective of Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah elevate his status), we observe that he did not question the authenticity of this matter although this issue substantiates the religious aspect within its absolute necessities, rather than reviewing the historical aspect from chain (sanad) point of view.
Therefore, when Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah have mercy on him) was directly asked about this incident in his book ‘Sirat al-Najah,’ he responded as follows:
Question 98: Some orators, preachers, and a few authors mention incidents about Umar breaking the ribs of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.). In your opinion, are these narrations accurate?
Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah have mercy on him): This matter is well-known and widely acknowledged and Allah knows best.
Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah have mercy on him) also very clearly expressed his opinion in this regard, just like he has mentioned his opinion in his book ‘Fiqh al-Shia’ v 3 p 126, where he discussed the positions of the first and second rulers towards the Ahle Bait (a.s.), and he commented on the outcome of that as follows:
‘From here, it can be inferred that the early usurpers of the rights of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) are not considered as openly hostile to the Ahle Bait (a.s.), but rather they disputed them in their seeking position of caliphate and public leadership.’
Based on the above perspective, it is inferred (by some) that Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah have mercy on him) disregards the narratives, including the issue of the attack on the house of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.), breaking of her ribs, burning her door, causing the miscarriage, and striking Lady Fatima (s.a.) and slapping her, after he decided that there is no clear evidence of open hostility by the usurpers of the rights of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
After reaching the conclusion that none of these actions have any basis, meaning there is no act that directly implicates those who wrongfully seized power, and considering the lack of consensus and agreement on these matters in Ayatollah al-Khoei’s opinion, they do not hold any specific stance or theory concerning the first and second caliphs being the wrongdoers aside from their clear stance on being opposed to the Ahle Bait (a.s.).
Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei (May Allah elevate his status) in his book “Sirat al-Najah” does not indicate that the attack on house of Lady Fatima (s.a.) did not occur. This is due to the following reasons:
- Firstly, he indeed said, “That is well-known,” and did not deny the attack on the house.
- The absence of a sound chain of narration (sanad) for a report does not necessarily mean it is false, especially when the event in question is well-known and recognized, as indicated by Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah elevate his status).
- He, (may Allah have mercy on him), was specifically questioned about the incident of “breaking the rib“. He was not questioned, nor did he address the related issues viz. Lady Fatima (s.a.) being struck, the miscarriage, her cheek being slapped, her eyes reddened, her house being set on fire, her being whipped, and the injury on her shoulder, as described in some narrations. So, one cannot conclude that he denied these events.
- His statement (may his soul rest in peace), ‘That (event) is well-known and recognized’, presents us with two possibilities.
- It could mean that he sees the chain of narration as incomplete, or
- it could mean that he considers the chain to be reliable but chooses not to bring up a matter to provoke those who would be angered by such a declaration, especially during the reign of the oppressive Nasibi ruler, who sought to annihilate the Shia and Shi’ism. The ruler was always looking for opportunities to target them under any pretext.
- It can be supported that the latter is the case because throughout his honorable and lengthy life, he never made any reference to any controversy regarding the events that befell Lady Fatima (s.a.).
- Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah elevate his status) knows that the weakness in the chain of narration does not allow him to issue a verdict on the falsehood of its content. Rather, it obligates him to seek clear evidence before he denies the event, which is not possible merely on the weakness of the chain – assuming that the chain is indeed weak. We have already seen that there is nothing in his words that indicates that as well.
- As for what is attributed to him (Ayatollah al-Khoie) that he does not see Umar as a Nasibi, this also does not support the assertion that he denies what happened to Lady Fatima (s.a.). His intention, (may his soul be sanctified), is that these individuals did indeed commit what they did, driven by their desire for power and authority. However, they still claimed to love the Ahle Bait (a.s.) and argued to the people that their actions were not driven by hatred for them but rather by anger and concern for the welfare of the Ummah (community). They then professed remorse for their actions and pretended that they sought to gain the forgiveness of Lady Fatima (s.a.).
- These Sahabah in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) were accepted by him (s.a.w.a.) as Muslims merely on recitation of the Shahadatain (dual testimony). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not inquire further, although in his heart (as informed by Allah) he (s.a.w.a.) knew their intentions.
- It appears Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah elevate his status) has adopted a similar stand and has taken their claim of love for the Ahle Bait (a.s.) at face value and not branded them as Nasibi although he (may Allah elevate his status), knew their intentions.
- This means that his words, may God have mercy on him, are about their outward display and declaration. This does not imply that he denies the breaking of the rib, the physical abuse, or the miscarriage. Instead, it means that if they claimed to regret their actions and professed love for Lady Fatima al-Zahra (s.a.), it is not appropriate to label them as Nasibis, as Nasibis are those who openly express hatred and animosity.
- Also, just like commenting openly on the attack on Lady Fatima’s (s.a.) house could have sparked sectarian tension, making adverse observations against Umar could have had the same devastating effect on Muslim society. This could be another reason why Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khoei (may Allah elevate his status) took a non-confrontational stand on the subject.
(Extracted from ‘Mokhtasar Mofeed’ (A Useful Summary) by Sayyid Jafar Murtaza al-Amili (Questions and Answers about Religion and Faith) (Ninth Collection), Center Islamic, First Edition 1324, 2004 Question No. 500.)