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Last Updated: 2014/11/26
Summary of question
Sunnis believe the Prophet (S) does not have any inheritors or heirs. The question is: Why did, according to their authentic books, all the Prophet’s wives send Uthman to Abu Bakr to demand their inheritance. None among them opposed this except Aisha?!
Ahl-e Sunnah believe the Prophet (S) does not have any inheritors or heirs. The question is: Why did, according to their authentic books, all the Prophet’s wives send Uthman to Abu Bakr to demand their inheritance. None among them opposed this except Aisha?!
Concise answer
We believe the prophets leave inheritance and the heirs to them inherit what is left behind but it has been reported in the Sunni textual sources – such as Sahih Bukhari – that following the demise of the holy Prophet (S), the Prophet’s wives sent Uthman to Abu Bakr (or they wanted to send him) with an appeal to give their share of inheritance from the Prophet’s property.
1. Bukhari transmits an authentic tradition: “'Aisha said, "When Allah's Apostle died, his wives intended to send 'Uthman to Abu Bakr asking him for their share of the inheritance." Then 'Aisha said to them, "Didn't Allah's Apostle say, 'Our (Apostles') property is not to be inherited, and whatever we leave is to be spent in charity?'"[1]
2. Abdul Razzaq in al-Musanaf: “The wives of the Prophet (S) sent someone to Abu Bakr and demanded their inheritance.  Aisha sent someone to them and said: ‘Why are you not afraid of God? Didn’t the Messenger of Allah (S), say, ‘We do not leave any inheritance and whatever we leave is to be spent in charity?’” The Prophet’s wives were satisfied with Aisha’s word and gave up on their demand.”[2]
In the second narration, there is no mention of the person sent to Abu Bakr but Ibn Shubah transmits through his own chain of transmission from Zuhri, he from Urwa and he from Aisha that the Prophet’s wives sent Uthman.[3]
By going through the aforementioned narrations, these questions will rise up in every fair-minded researcher’s mind:
1.  If the negation of inheritance had been implied by the Prophet (S) himself, how was it possible that only Aisha and no other wives knew about it?!
2. Based on the narration that says Uthman was delegated to talk to Abu Bakr to demand inheritance, why was he never aware of such a ruling and went ahead and did what the Prophet’s wives wanted her to do?!
3. When it comes to Lady Fatima’s request for Fadak to be returned to her and the fact that the Prophet’s wives demanded their share of inheritance, why were only Abu Bakr and his daughter the only people who made reference to the said hadith and others were totally uninformed?

[1] «عَنْ عَائِشَةَ: أَنَّ أَزْوَاجَ النَّبِيِّ(ص) حِينَ تُوُفِّيَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ(ص)، أَرَدْنَ أَنْ يَبْعَثْنَ عُثْمَانَ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ يَسْأَلْنَهُ مِيرَاثَهُنَّ، فَقَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ: أَلَيْسَ قَدْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ(ص): لاَ نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَا صَدَقَةٌ»؛ Bukhhari, Muhammad bin Ismail, Sahih Bukhari, vol.8 p.150, Beirut, Dar al-Towq al-Najat, first edition, 1422 (A.H. )
[2]  «إِنَّ أَزْوَاجَ النَّبِيِّ(ص)أَرْسَلْنَ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ يَسْأَلْنَ مِيرَاثَهُنَّ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ(ص)، فَأَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِنَّ عَائِشَةُ: أَلَا تَتَّقِينَ اللَّهَ؟ أَلَمْ يَقُلْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ(ص): "لَا نُورَثُ، مَا تَرَكْنَا صَدَقَةٌ"؟ قَالَ: فَرَضِينَ بِقَوْلِهَا، وَتَرَكْنَ ذَلِكَ» San’aayi, Abdul Razzaq bin Hamam, al-Musannaf, vol.5, p.471, Beirut, al-Maktab al-Islami, second edition, 1403 A.H.
[3] «سَمِعْتُ عَائِشَةَ تَقُولُ: أَرْسَلَ أَزْوَاجُ النَّبِيِّ(ص)عُثْمَانَ بْنَ عَفَّانَ إِلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ، يَسْأَلُ لَهُنَّ مِيرَاثَهُنَّ...» Numayri Basri, Umar bin Shubah, Tarikh al-Madinah, p.202, Jedda, al-Sayyid Habib Mahmoud Ahmad, 1399 A.H.
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