Did the house of Fatima Zahra (s.a.) have a door? – Part 1


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One of the objections brought forth by the skeptics to deny the incident of burning the door of the house of her eminence Fatima Zahra (s.a.) is that the attack did not happen at all. They bring forth a tradition from Ameerul Momineen Imam Ali (a.s.) mentioned by great Shia scholars such as Shaikh Saduq (a.r.) in Al-Khesaal, Shaikh Mufeed (a.r.) in Al-Ikhtesaas and Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) Behaar al-Anwaar, quoting Imam Ali (a.s.) who stated that in those days the Ahlul Bait (a.s.) used to reside in houses without doors and roofs. So, what is the reality behind this doubt and especially this tradition?

Reply

The cynics extract a small part of a lengthy tradition and misuse it to spread discord and doubt in the minds of people, especially Shias, with a sole aim of weakening the Shias. Let us analyse the very same tradition which has been misinterpreted.

The statement of the tradition in question is as follows where Ameerul Momineen Imam Ali (a.s.) states:

وَ نَحْنُ أَهْلُ بَيْتِ مُحَمَّدٍ ص لَا سُقُوفَ‏ لِبُيُوتِنَا وَ لَا أَبْوَابَ وَ لَا سُتُورَ إِلَّا الْجَرَائِدُ وَ مَا أَشْبَهَهَا

“… and we Ahle Bait of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), there were no roofs for our houses, neither doors nor curtains except date palm leaves and similar to it…”

References:

  • Al-Khesaal by Shaikh Saduq (a.r.), vol. 2, p. 373
  • Al-Ikhtesaas by Shaikh Mufeed (a.r.), p. 172
  • Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 38, p. 175

If anyone were to consider the above tradition in its literal sense then it would mean that the houses in those days would not just be devoid of doors but roofs and walls also. Can someone even imagine such a house? It is just outright impossible for a house to not have walls, roof and a door. This clearly means that the tradition from Imam Ali (a.s.) refers to something completely different than what the opponents have construed and deliberately tried to infuse this doubt.

So, what does this tradition really mean? The good thing here is, we need not go too far for the answer. We’ll find it in the tradition itself. If we just carefully observe the chapter under which this tradition has been brought in all the aforementioned books, the answer is right there.

Shaikh Saduq (a.r.) has brought this tradition in his book Al-Khesaal under the following chapter:

امتحان الله عز و جل أوصياء الأنبياء في حياة الأنبياء في سبعة مواطن و بعد وفاتهم في سبعة مواطن‏

“The examination by Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, of the successors of the Prophets (a.s.) on seven occasions during their lifetime and on seven occasions after their demise.”

Shaikh Mufeed (a.r.) in his book Al-Ikhtesaas, has brought this tradition under the topic:

كتاب محنة أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب ع‏

“The Book on the trials of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)”

Similarly, Allamah Majlisi in Behaar al-Anwaar, has brought this tradition under the following chapter:

باب 62 نادر فيما امتحن الله به أمير المؤمنين ص في حياة النبي ص و بعد وفاته‏

“A rare chapter concerning how Allah tested Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in the life of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and after his demise.”

Another interesting thing about the tradition in Behaar al-Anwaar is that Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) has quoted the same tradition in Al-Khesaal of Shaikh Saduq (a.r.).

It is evident from the chapters in all three books that this tradition is about the trials and tribulations which Imam Ali (a.s.) faced. So, what really were those examinations? If we just go through the previous sentence in the same tradition, it states about those difficult times which the Ahlul Bait (a.s.) went through while propagating Islam during the initial period. It mentions that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was so affectionate and merciful, especially to the new Muslims that anyone who came asking for anything, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to fulfil – be it food, water, clothes, etc. When Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) states that they went through such times that their houses were devoid of roofs, it is a phrase used to denote that they patiently bore severe weather conditions. Houses without doors is also a phrase signifying that people used to come at any point of time to ask for their needs such the doors of their house remained open throughout for them.

Conclusion

Now that it is clear for us that the aforementioned tradition which the cynics misuse is a phrase used to highlight the tough times which the Ahlul Bait (a.s.) went through while propagation the divine religion in its initial period, we have a couple of questions for those very people who raise this objection –

  1. The chapter under which this tradition was brought, especially in the book Al-Khesaal, is actually pertaining to the examination which Allah took of the successors of Prophets (a.s.). Why do the skeptics, who use the tradition under this very chapter to raise the objection, not accept Imam Ali (a.s.) as the rightful and immediate successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)? Is this not cherry picking something which was seemingly suitable for them and ignoring the main topic under which the tradition was brought?
  2. Those who find it difficult to digest the innumerable virtues of Ameerul Momineen Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) which Allah has bestowed upon him, try to make futile and frivolous attempts to equate some of their self-revered personalities with Imam Ali (a.s.). In order to do so, they even go to the extent of fabricating a famous tradition in which Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door.” They tried to mischievously fabricate this tradition by adding that so-and-so person is its roof and another person is its window. Our question to them is – “If according to you, houses in those days didn’t have doors, then where did your roof and window come from?”

Turns out, as always, that such objections merely show lack of basic understanding of traditions and labelling objections just for the sake of it and to deny the shameful incident of the attack on the house of the chief of the women of Paradise, her eminence Fatima Zahra (s.a.).

Read Part 2 of this article


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