The short life of Fatimah (as), which lasted no more than twenty years according to some historians, was filled with much suffering and grave crises. If we talk about the suffering and hardships in her daily living, we also need to talk about what was worse than that: the calamities and grievances which she suffered after the death of her father – something which opened a bleeding wound in the Islamic nation, and which in turn was the cause of the painful wounds that followed – one of the worst of which was the murder of the Master of the Youth of Paradise Imam al-Husain (A.S.)and his progeny in the desert of Kerbala' and the taking of the women and children as captives to al-Sham (Damascus), driven like slaves. These grievances have been narrated by both the Sunnah and Shi'ah, and the numerous narrations which speak about her grievances and injustices coincide, even to the level of mutawatir.
1- The attack on her house
Historians, one of whom is Ibn Qutaybah in al-Imamah wal Siyasah, said that – after the death of the Prophet and al-Saqeefah episode – men came with wood to burn down the house of Ali and Fatimah (as), to threaten them and those whom they considered as opposition, who had gathered at the house of Ali (as). Some said to the leader of the assault: 'O man! In the house is Fatimah!'; and Fatimah was the person whom the Muslims agreed to love and respect, and whose position they agreed to acknowledge, because she was the only daughter that the Prophet (sawa) left when he died, and because she was part of him – what made her angry made him angry and what harmed her harmed him… So, how come you come with fire to burn her house?
But, he replied with his famous statement: 'Even though!'
We regard this as one of the most dangerous utterances, because it means that there are no sacred entities in this house, and so there is nothing to prevent it being burned with its people inside!
This utterance points to the mindset of the people, and what they were prepared to do. However, had they opened the door to dialogue through nice words, they would have found Ali the man of dialogue, as he had always been throughout his life, even after he became a caliph; and they would have found Fatimah a woman of dialogue, because the Qur'an, to which Fatimah above all others adhered most closely to, was the book of dialogue. However, those people had already passed the stage of dialogue by the time they gathered the wood to burn the house of al-Zahra (as). So when in reply to 'In the house is Fatimah', that man said 'Even though!' this represented the ugliest form of injustice to which Fatimah (A.S.)was subjected.
2- Other grievances
There were other events in which she suffered, but they have not always been substantiated fully beyond doubt. Those include the actual burning of the house, the breaking of her rib, the miscarriage, the slapping of her cheek, and the beating of her and others. These are recorded in narrations that may have question marks raised against them, either in their actual text (matn) or in the chain of narrators (sanad), as is the case with many historical narrations.
Therefore, we have raised some queries, as have been raised by some scholars in the past (may Allah be satisfied with them) such as Sheikh al-Mufeed who seems to question the miscarriage issue, even the existence of the pregnancy – although we disagree with him on the latter. However, we do not deny that these events may have taken place – as Sheikh Muhammad Husain Kashif al-Ghita’ has done regarding beating her and slapping her cheek because denying requires as much proof as accepting. At any rate, what is definite is that the numerous narrations attain the level of mutawatir as a whole, confirm that there was an assault on her if only by exposing her house, attacking it and threatening to burn it – and this alone should be sufficient to prove the degree of crime which took place. It was a crime that continued to haunt those who committed it, and this was why the first caliph declared as he was dying: ‘I wish I had not exposed the house of Fatimah, even if it had declared war on me.'
3- Denying her Fadak
Scholars from the two schools of thought, including al-Suyooti, in their commentary on the verse: 'And give to the near of kin his due' (Qur'an 17:26), said that when this verse was revealed, the Prophet (sawa) gave Fatimah (A.S.)the village of Fadak, which he saw as part of the peace treaty between him and the Jews… It seems that the right of Fatimah (A.S.)to Fadak has always been well known amongst the Muslims throughout history, and hence ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz, the Umayyad caliph, returned Fadak to Ahlul Bayt. Later, after the first ‘Abbasid caliphs had confiscated it again, al-Mahdi returned it once more, then he and Haroon took it back, and it continued to be in their possession until al-Ma’moon became caliph and returned it to the Fatimids.
The proofs to Fatimah's ownership of Fadak were many and clear, and many Muslims gave witness in that regard, including the Commander of the Faithful (A.S.)and Ummu Ayman, but their evidence was refuted! There was no counter evidence – except the hadith in which Abu Bakr narrated that the Prophet (sawa) said: ‘We, the folk of prophets, do not leave bequests – what we leave is for alms.'
The factors which stood against this counter evidence, in addition to being contradictory to the Qur'an, are:
First: the hadith was narrated by Abu Bakr only, and Fatimah (as), through her stance, denied this hadith;
Second: the Messenger of Allah (sawa) loved Fatimah (A.S.)with the greatest of love, and would protect her from any evil. So how come he did not tell her of this (Islamic) ruling, which was anyway contradictory to the Qur'an, which states that the prophets (A.S.)inherited and bequeathed? How come he did not tell her when the hadith was directly related to her – in fact, she was its most clear manifestation? How come he did not tell his beloved and save her the trouble?
Third: If the Muslims agree that Fatimah (A.S.)is the Doyenne of the Women of the World, how come she tells lies, or talks nonsense or contradicts a hadith of her father (sawa)?
Fourth: The history of prophets (A.S.)did not tell us that they did not bequeath anything, and that what they left was for alms, since if that were the case the followers of other religions would have known.
Fifth: Is it conceivable that Ali (A.S.)would enter into dispute with the people about Fadak, and would accuse them of injustice and treason just to side with his wife?! How come and the Prophet (sawa) said: ‘The right is with Ali wherever he goes' and: ‘Ali is with the right and the right is with Ali?' And how come Ali does not know that the Prophet (sawa) does not bequeath when he is the gate to the Prophet's City of Knowledge and Wisdom, and who has been with the Prophet (sawa) in a way unparalleled by any other companion?
Sixth: Historians mentioned that Fadak was, in fact, under Fatimah's control and that at the beginning her claim was based on it being a gift from her father (sawa) during her life and therefore did not fall into the category of inheritance.
4- The injustice of history
What great individuals suffer is the injustice of history and of the historians who intentionally hide their names, marginalize their roles and do not take care in registering the particulars of their lives, which are rich in lessons and lively examples that can teach generations throughout time. Fatimah (A.S.)has been one of these victims, for when we study her history, we can find only snapshots of her life with her father the Messenger of Allah (sawa), but with little details. Fatimah (A.S.)is mentioned as a migrant: but nothing much is recorded here except that her name is one of those who migrated after the Prophet (sawa). The irony is that we find history talks extensively about things that are irrelevant to our practical life, such as the celebrations in the heavens when she got married!
We know that her life, although short, was full of lessons, teachings, worship and holy struggle. We can say that, in spite of all this historical injustice, what has reached us from her, and about her, is sufficient to give us the highest example and the most complete role model for any Muslim.
5- She died angry with her oppressors
The attack on Fatimah's house, and the threat to burn it and other injustices, did not win the approval of the Muslims in general. This forced the two men who oppressed her to come and request Ali (A.S.)to ask her permission to enter and to try to resolve the matters with her. What was her response?
Ibn Qutaybah, in al-Imamah wal Siyasah, narrates that 'Umar said to Abu Bakr: 'Let's go to Fatimah, for we have made her angry.' So they went together and asked her permission, but she denied it to them. They asked Ali to talk to her, and he did. When they entered and sat, she turned her face to the wall. They greeted her, but she did not answer. Abu Bakr said: 'O you the Messenger of Allah's beloved! I swear by Allah that the kinship of the Messenger of Allah is more beloved to me than my kinship, and you are surely more beloved to me than my daughter 'Ayshah, and I wished the day your father died that I died and did not stay after him… Do you see me, when knowing you and your virtues and honour, denying you your right and inheritance from the Messenger of Allah (sawa)? Except that I heard your father the Messenger of Allah (sawa) saying: We, the folk of prophets, do not leave bequests – what we leave is for alms'.
Fatimah (A.S.)did not comment on the inheritance issue, since she has previously dealt with that in detail in her sermon, but she wanted to establish the proof on the two of them regarding the harm, injustice and wrong-doing to which she was subjected. Hence she said: 'Can I see you if I narrate a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (sawa); you know it, will you do according to it?' They replied: 'Yes'; she said: 'I ask you by Allah, haven't you heard the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (sawa): the satisfaction of Fatimah is my satisfaction and the discontent of Fatimah is my discontent?' They said: 'Yes, we heard it from the Messenger of Allah (sawa)'. She said: 'Therefore, I take Allah and his angels as witnesses that you have made me discontented and have not satisfied me, and when I meet the Prophet I shall complain about you to him!'. Abu Bakr said: 'I take refuge in Allah from his discontent and your discontent O Fatimah!'; but she said: 'I swear by Allah that I shall invoke Allah against you in every prayer I do!'
In another source, she said: 'I ask you by Allah, have you heard the Prophet (sawa) say: Fatimah is part of me and I am part of her; whoever harms her harms me and whoever harms me harms Allah, and whoever harms her after my death it is as if he has harmed her during my life, and who harms her during my life as if he harms her after my death?'. They said: 'O Lord, yes'; she said: 'Gratitude to Allah'. Then she said: 'O Allah! I make you witness, so be witnesses you who are present, that they have harmed me in my life and at my death!'
In this way, and with all strength and courage, Fatimah (A.S.)proved her case and registered that the two of them had made her angry, and hence also the Messenger of Allah (sawa), and above that Allah the Most High. Her anger remained, like a bleeding wound, in the heart of her descendants and followers. When Abdullah bin al-Hasan was asked about Abu Bakr and 'Umar, he said: 'Our mother was a truthful woman and daughter of a sent prophet; she died angry with some people and we are angry because of her anger.'
Her burial, grave and Ali's funeral farewell speech
Her protest did not stop at that; she continued her protest until her death. She asked Ali (A.S.)to bury her at night and that those who oppressed her and confiscated her right should not be present. She wanted to express her protest and opposition to aggression and injustice even after death, and she wanted it to be angry and hurtful, but with wisdom and convincing evidence and strong attitudes. She knew that people would start asking: why would the daughter of the Prophet (sawa) be buried at night? Why did she request that? What was happening? For this had not happened in Islam and everyone was expecting to participate in the funeral of their Prophet's daughter. But they were to find out that she was buried at night, and they would be told that that was her will!
The question spread out amongst Muslims: why? This is what Fatimah (A.S.)wanted, to awaken consciences, and those who had been fooled would know the nature of the conspiracy and what had happened.
Moreover, her will also stated that her grave should be flattened so as to add another proof and witness to the injustice she suffered, and to eternalise her protest upon those who oppressed her…
Ali (A.S.)did exactly what she wanted and buried her at night and effaced her grave. The place of her grave remained unknown, although some narrations by the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.)say that she was buried in her house, while others say that she was buried in the rauda (garden) which was, according to some scholars, what the Prophet (sawa) meant in his hadith: 'Between my grave and my pulpit a garden from the gardens of paradise.' A third possibility, according to others, is that she was buried in the cemetery of al-Baqee'.
 Narrated by so many sources, which could never gather to conspire to lie, so as to make it impossible for it but to be true. The translator.
 Al-Irshad, vol. 1, p. 355; this also seems to be the opinion of al-Tabrasi in I'lam al-Wara bi A'lam al-Huda, vol. 1, p. 395, Ahlul Bayt publishers, Iran, 1417H.
 Jannatul Ma'wa, p. 135, Dar al-Adwa', Beirut 1988.
 Commentary on Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 6, p. 50; Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 4, p. 189.
 Al-Durr al-Manthoor, vol. 4, p. 177; Yenabee' al-Mawaddah, vol. 1, p. 138.
 Futooh al-Buldan, p. 38; Commentary on Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 16, p. 216.
 Commentary on Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 16, p. 216.
 Same, p. 122.
 Sahih al-Bukhari, Karmani's commentary, vol. 15, p. 4.
 Commentary on Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 16, p. 229.
 Fera'id al-Simtayn, vol. 1, p. 177.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 48, p. 26.
'Awalim al-Zahra, p. 275.
 Al-Imamah wal Siyasah, p. 14.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 203.
 Commentary of Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 6, p. 49-50.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 210-1; Ibn Sa'd in Tabaqat al-Sahabah; al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak; al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan; al-Tabari in al-Tareekh; and others.
 'Awalim al-Zahra, p. 519.
 Al-Bihar, vol. 97, p. 190, 192, 193, 196; 'Awalim al-Zahra, p. 517-526.