The demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) triggered a chain of events that caught the Muslims unawares. They accepted these events as if that was the most natural thing to do and remained unmindful of the far-reaching consequences of their submission.
One such incident that stands out in the aftermath of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise is the siege on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house and the eventual attack that claimed two lives in its wake, one of them being Fatimah (s.a.) herself. The other one being the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), which is the subject of this article.
1. Unbelievably true
2. Timing of the attack
3. Who is Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.)
4. Documentary evidence of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
5. Permissibility of Killing the One Who Oppressed Fatimah (s.a.)
6. Bibliography of References Documenting Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
Back to TopUnbelievably true
Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom is so unsettling and even incredible that it has been denied by many Muslims.
When one comes to think of it, indeed the incident is unbelievably true. Not just the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), the entire chain of incidents, the oppressors and oppressed ones, everything about the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house is unbelievable.
It is unbelievable that a hair on Fatimah’s (s.a.) would be harmed let alone being inflicted with a fatal body blow. Especially when the Muslims were served a crystal clear warning by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in this regard when he informed them that Fatimah’s displeasure was the cause of his displeasure and his displeasure was the cause of Allah’s displeasure and incurring Allah’s displeasure would drive one to Hell.
It is unbelievable that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) who was anointed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) publicly by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on divine command less than three months before his (s.a.w.a.) demise in Ghadeer-e-Khumm and was the unanimous choice of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) as highlighted by every notable incident in Islam’s history should be subjugated by individuals who could not even compare to the dust of his horse’s hooves which incidentally Allah swears by in Surah Aadiyaat.
It is unbelievable that the perpetrators of this crime were none other than the so-called companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his so-called successors who claimed proximity and brotherhood with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and after whose names the Muslims invoke Allah’s satisfaction and mercy.
It is unbelievable that the atrocities meted out to Fatimah (s.a.) would eventually claim her life inducing Ali (a.s.) to declare that she was like a flower nipped in the bud and confessing to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) his helplessness in safeguarding the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) trust. All this within a few days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise and revelation of the Verse of Purification (Surah Ahzaab (33): 33) and Incident of the Cloak testified to by all the Muslims as being related to Fatimah (s.a.) along with her husband and sons.
It is unbelievable that Fatimah (s.a.) willed her burial to be carried out in the dead of the night deeming the companions in question unfit to attend her funeral and in this way categorically refuting their claim to caliphate and so-called proximity to her father (s.a.w.a.) and inflicting a slap so hard on her oppressors that its reverberations will always be felt by her oppressors and their partisans.
Finally it is unbelievable that the struggle launched by a few individuals for worldly power and status would mercilessly uproot the existence of a six-month unborn infant from the comfort of his mother’s womb.
Over here, the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.), the third son of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) after Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.), has been analyzed in detail. Other events before and after the martyrdom, although very significant from the viewpoint of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) in particular and Muslims in general, are referred to in lesser detail.
Despite claims to the contrary by misinformed and uninformed Muslims, it is well-documented by scores of scholars from both the sects – Ahle Sunnah and Shias, that there was a full-scale attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house only a few days after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. The objective of the companions who assaulted Fatimah (s.a.) and Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) was to extract Ali’s (a.s.) allegiance for Abu Bakr, without which they knew Abu Bakr’s caliphate would lack any form of legitimacy.
Back to TopTiming of the attack
Although the exact day of the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house is a matter of some debate among historians, the broad consensus is that it all happened within three days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. This is concluded from the fact that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) refused to leave the house when the mobsters demanded allegiance for Abu Bakr, citing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) recommendation that he remain confined to the house until he had collected the Quran and Ali (a.s.) took three days to complete the task. (Tafseer-e-Furaat-e-Kufi pg. 398-399 from Imam Muhammed Baqir (a.s.), which has been recorded by Ibne Nadeem in his book Al-Fehrist pg. 30, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23 pg. 249. However in some traditions the number of days for compiling the Quran has been narrated varyingly as seven days and nine days.)
Based on this, it is apparent the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was executed within a maximum of nine days of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise. Many narrations that mention the attack and compilation of the Quran mention two days and three days and it is likely that the two events have been mixed up by narrators. At any rate, it is most probable that the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was engineered by the government-backed mob within two-three days as opposed to a more prolonged period of seven or nine days.
A quicker attack also appears more plausible given the alacrity and keenness with which this group had moved within moments of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise on 28th Safar to select a caliph amongst themselves. Since Ali’s (a.s.) allegiance to Abu Bakr was very important to lend legitimacy to their scheme, it is unlikely they would have delayed the move (to force Ali’s (a.s.) consent) as with every passing day the danger of tables turning on them increased manifold. Also once the entire Medina (save the Bani Hashim and Ali’s (a.s.) select companions) had pledged allegiance, they realized they had to move fast to acquire Ali’s allegiance which was conspicuous by its absence. (Kitab-e-Sulaim Ibne Qays pgs 82, 249)
If one considers the attack three days after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise then 1st Rabi al-Awwal is the fateful day in the lives of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) and their Shias that altered the course of Islam forever. It marked the subjugation of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) at the hands of the unworthy creatures and laid the foundation of other heinous crimes like the battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of all Imams (a.s.) ending in the occultation of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). All these events were triggered by that single attack on the house of Fatimah (s.a.) and if anyone believes otherwise then he has underestimated Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) and/or not fully comprehended the consequences of Karbala and other calamities that befell the nation.
It is for this reason that Shias across the globe observe 1st Rabi al-Awwal as the date of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom. The idea is not so much to observe a specific date as it is to observe the martyrdom of someone who by giving his life invalidated the efforts of those who forcefully attempted to legitimize their caliphate by illegitimately entering Fatimah’s (s.a.) house despite her pleas and lamentations to be left alone.
Back to TopWho is Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.)
Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) is the third son of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) after Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.). He is also referred to as Mushabar which is also the name of Haroon b. Imran’s (a.s.) third son. He was no more than six months old at the time of the attack. (Al-Hidaayat al-Kubra, pg. 407, Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 53 pg. 19).
Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) was the least involved in the business of politics and machinations which the attack on Fatimah’s (a.s.) was all about. He was not concerned with anything that transpired on that day and no one who had any grouse with Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) had an argument against Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.). Even those who debate about the infallibility of Ali (a.s.) and Fatimah (s.a.) fall silent when the infallibility of an unborn child is raised because they have no answer.
Therefore, although the entire attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house was illegitimate, the attack on Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) in many ways was the most illegitimate part of the attack.
Just like this vicious attack laid the foundation of another murderous attack 50 years later in Karbala, it is perhaps Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom to safeguard the infallibility of his parents (a.s.), that inspired his nephew Ali b. Husain (al-Asghar) to wage a battle against the enemies in Karbala to safeguard the infallibility of his father Husain b. Ali (a.s.). Husain b. Ali (a.s.), of course, is unique among the oppressed ones as he is the only one present on the scenes of both the attacks – one on his parents and brother and the second on his children, nephews and another brother.
It is perhaps the potency of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom that has led some Muslims to deny his death in the attack, attributing it to other causes. This is clearly a campaign based on misinformation or lack of information that is similar to the campaign to deny the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house altogether. The attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house has no justification whatsoever and therefore the only way out is to deny it altogether.
Of course, the biggest blow to the deniers is the martyrdom of Fatimah (s.a.) and Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) in the aftermath of the attack. It is widely documented that both (a.s.) were martyred as a result of the attack; Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) instantly and Fatimah (s.a.) a few days later.
Back to TopDocumentary evidence of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
There are several well-documented narrations to establish Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom from the attack on Fatimah’s (s.a.) house. Those interested in seeking the truth of the matter should not be surprised to find scores of scholars and historians from across eras and predispositions (Shia and Ahle Sunnah) record the martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) in a manner that puts the issue beyond doubt.
A) Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom in the Holy Quran
Since the first place to look for evidence of a belief or concept is in the Quran, we must turn to this divine book for evidence of Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom. And evidence of this event appears in the 8th and 9th verses of Surah Taqweer (81):
‘And when the female infant buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed.’
Mufazzal b. Umar, the respected companion and special deputy of Imam Sadiq asked Imam (as) – What is your opinion about these verses?
Imam (a.s.) informed: O Mufazzal, by Allah, ‘Maudato’ (i.e. infant) in this verse means Mohsin and surely he is from us and not others. Those who claim otherwise are lying.
Then Imam (a.s.) elaborated (on the events on the Day of Resurrection) – Fatimah, the daughter of the Allah’s Messenger will supplicate – O Allah fulfill Your Promise and Your Pledge with me with regards to those who oppressed me, usurped my rights, struck me and distressed me with regards to all my children.
On hearing this, all the angels inhabiting the seven heavens, the carriers of the Throne and all those residing in space and the inhabitants of the earth and under the layers of the earth will lament and wail in front of Allah. Then none will remain from those who oppressed us and killed us and those who were pleased at our oppression except that he will be killed.
(Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 53 pg. 23-24)
B) Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom in Supplications
Apart from the Holy Quran, supplications of infallibles (a.s.) are reliable sources of beliefs and concepts. The martyrdom of Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) finds mention even in supplications. In the renowned Supplication of Sanamay-e-Quraish we implore Allah to curse the oppressors (of Ahle Bait a.s.) for every foetus that they have destroyed.
(Misbaah al-Kaf’ami pg. 731 by Shaykh Taqi Al-Deen Ibraheem al-Kaf’ami)
Over here, the reference to the oppressors who attacked Fatimah’s (s.a.) house resulting in Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) martyrdom is obvious.
C) Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom from Sunnah and History
- Allamah Muhammad Baqer Majlisi records in Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 43 pg. 171 on the authority of Abu Baseer who relates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.), ‘Fatimah’s (s.a.) death resulted from being pierced by the sword which claimed (the unborn) Mohsin’s life. The perpetrator of this crime was Qunfuz, who was acting on his master – Umar’s explicit command…’
- Ibn Shahr Aashob al-Sarvi al-Mazandarani in vol. 3 pg. 132 records from Al-Maarif of Ibne Qutaybah al-Dinawari (Ahle Sunnah scholar) – The following were Fatimah’s children – Hasan, Husain, Zainab, Umme Kulsum and Mohsin b. Ali who was killed by Qunfuz Adawi (i.e. from Bani Adi, the same tribe as Umar b. Khattaab).
- Masoodi in Isbaat al-Wilaayah pg. 142 records – They attacked Fatimah’s (s.a.) house. They crushed the Chief of All Women behind the door so violently that it resulted in the miscarriage of Mohsin.
- Muhammad al-Shahrastaani records in Al-Milal wa al-Nehal vol. 1 pg. 57 (Beirut Edition) – Umar struck Fatimah violently in the abdomen (on the Day of Allegiance) so much so that she fell on her abdomen (resulting in the infant’s death).
- Abu Abdillah Shams al-Deen al-Zahabi records in Mizaan al-Etedaal vol. 1 pg. 139 – Undoubtedly Umar kicked Fatimah so much so that it lead to Mohsin’s miscarriage.
- Allamah Khalil b. Aybak al-Safadi in Al-Waafi be al-Wafiyyaat vol. 6 pg. 17 records – The Motazelah sect is of the view that on the Day of Allegiance Umar undoubtedly struck Fatimah so much so that Mohsin was killed.
- Abdul Qadir al-Tamimi al-Baghdadi in Al-Farq bain al-Faraaq pg. 107 records on the same lines as above.
- Sadr al-Deen Ibraheem Ibn Sa’d al-Deen Muhmmad al-Hammuee in Al-Faraaed al-Simtain vol. 2 pg. 35 records on the authority of Ibne Abbas who heard the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prophesy – ‘…it is as if I see grief and anxiety entering my daughter’s house, her respect being violated, her rights being usurped, her inheritance being denied to her, her unborn being miscarried and (in this moment of distress) she is calling out – O Muhammad, but no one replies to her pleas.’
Back to TopPermissibility of Killing the One Who Oppressed Fatimah (s.a.)
Ibne Abil al-Hadeed Motazali in Sharhe Nahjul Balagha vol. 4 pg. 192 (Beirut Edition) has documented the following incident:
Some apostates belonging to a group led by Habbareen b. Aswad were making elaborate plans to trouble Zainab the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Zainab was on camel-back heading towards Medina from Mecca. The apostates were giving her chase. The first to catch up with her was Habbareen b. Aswad. He threateningly pointed his spear towards Zainab’s saddle (so as to scare her and the camel). This terrified Zainab so much so that she suffered a miscarriage as a result. Due to this the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ordered Habbareen b. Aswad to be killed on sight.
After narrating this incident, Ibne Abil Hadeed writes – I have recorded this incident from Naqeeb Abi Jafar.
Naqeeb said – It is clear that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) considered Habbareen b. Aswad a criminal deserving death due to his terrifying Zainab leading to her miscarriage. Without doubt if the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) had been alive at the time of Fatimah, he would likewise have considered permissible shedding the blood of the one who terrorized his daughter leading to her miscarriage.
Ibne Abil Hadeed relates – I asked Naqeeb – Should I report the incident of Fatimah being terrorized by a group of people leading to her miscarriage on your authority?
Naqeeb replied – Do not report this incident on my authority. Also do not report its rejection on my authority. I do not wish to give my view and belief on this subject.
A simple analysis of Naqeeb’s statement tells us that Fatimah’s (s.a.) miscarriage was evident for him. If that was not the case and he did not believe in the miscarriage, he would have outright denied it and would have gone on record saying that he did not believe in the incident. However, he did believe in the miscarriage, it was only because of his prejudice and predisposition that he refused to go on record and in this way tried to show that he was not certain about the incident.
It is worth stating over here Shaikh al-Hurr al-Aameli’s comment in Isbaat al-Hudaat vol. 2 pg. 360 after recording Naqeeb’s confession – It is not concealed from us that witness of something having occurred is closer to acceptance than witness of something not have occurred. The witness of something not having occurred is not acceptable except in the rarity that the witness who refutes the event is doubtful about it. (This is clearly not the case with Naqeeb who confesses that the incident did in fact occur only he did not wish to go on record with the same.)
Back to TopBibliography of References Documenting Mohsin b. Ali’s (a.s.) Martyrdom
Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) martyrdom has been recorded by the following scholars/historians:
I) Ahle Sunnah Sources
- Al-Milal wa al-Nehal vol. 1 pg. 57 (Beirut Edition) by Muhammad al-Shahrastaani exp. 548 AH
- Mizaan al-Etedaal vol. 1 pg. 139 by Abu Abdillah Shams al-Deen al-Zahabi exp. 748 AH
- Al-Waafi be al-Wafiyyaat vol. 6 pg. 17 by Allamah Khalil b. Aybak al-Safadi exp. 746 AH
- Al-Farq bain al-Faraaq pg. 107 by Abdul Qadir al-Tamimi al-Baghdadi exp. 429 AH
- Al-Faraaed al-Simtain vol. 2 pg. 35 Sadr al-Deen Ibraheem Ibn Sa’d al-Deen Muhmmad al-Hammuee exp. 732 AH
- Sharhe Nahjul Balagha vol. 4 pg. 192 (Beirut Edition) by Ibne Abil Hadeed Motazali exp. 656 AH
- Kitaabo Dalaael al-Imamah by Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Jurair al-Tabari exp. 310 AH
II) Shia Sources
- Al-Manaaqeb by Ibn Shahr Aashob al-Sarvi al-Mazandarani (exp. 583 AH) vol. 3 pg. 132 from Al-Maarif of Ibne Qutaybah al-Dinawari (Ahle Sunnah)
- Isbaat al-Wilaayah by Masoodi (exp. 346 AH) pg. 142
- Amaali-e-Sadooq pg. 99 by Shaykh al-Saduq (exp. 381 AH)
- Bashaarah al-Mustafa le Shiah al-Murtaza pg. 197 by Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Abu al-Qaasim al-Tabari (sixth century scholar)
- Iqbaal al-A’maal pg. 625 by Sayyed Ibn Taawoos (exp. 664 AH)
- Irshaad al-Quloob pg. 295 by Abu Muhammad al-Hasan Ibn Abi al-Hasan Muhammad Dailami
- Jalaa al-Uyoon vol. 1 pg. 184 by Allamah Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (exp. 1111 AH)
- Misbaah al-Kaf’ami pg. 522 by Shaykh Taqi Al-Deen Ibraheem al-Kaf’ami (exp. 905 AH)
- Al-Muhtazar pg. 109 by Husain Ibn Sulayman al-Hilli, a student of al-Shaheed al-Awwal
- Kaamil-e-Bahaai pg. 309 by Shaykh Bahaai (exp. 1031 AH)
- Hadiqah al-Shia pg. 265 by Ahmed b. Muhammad famous as Muqaddas-e-Ardebili (exp. 993 AH)
- Ma’ani al-Akhbaar pg. 205 by Shaykh al-Saduq (exp. 381 AH)
- Ilme Yaqeen pg. 686
- Rawzah al-Muttaqeen vol. 5 pg. 342
- Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 43 pg. 171 by Allamah Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (exp. 1111 AH)
- Isbaat al-Hudaat vol. 2 pg. 337 by Shaikh al-Hurr al-Aameli (exp. 1104 AH)
Back to TopConclusion
An unbiased view of the various references from Quran, Sunnah and history recorded by scholars and historians across eras and sects (viz. Ahle Sunnah and Shia) should make it obvious to those seeking the truth that Mohsin b. Ali (a.s.) was martyred by the mob which attacked Fatimah’s (a.s.) house only a few days after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise.