Hadith 27: Do you intercede in one of the prescribed punishments of Allah?
Aisha, the wife of Allah's Apostle (ﷺ), reported that Quraish were concerned about the woman who had committed theft during the lifetime of Allah's Apostle (ﷺ), in the expedition of Victory (of Makkah). They said: Who would speak to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) about her? They (again) said: Who can dare do this but Usamah bin Zaid, the loved one of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)? She was brought to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and Usamah bin Zaid spoke about her to him (interceded on her behalf). The color of the face of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) changed, and he said: Do you intercede in one of the prescribed punishments of Allah? He (Usamah) said: 'Messenger of Allah, seek forgiveness for me.' When it was dusk, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) stood up and gave an address. He (first) glorified Allah as He deserves, and then said: Now to our topic! This (injustice) destroyed those before you that when any one of (high) rank committed theft among them, they spared him, and when any weak one among them committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Him in Whose Hand is my life, even if Fatima daughter of Muhammad were to commit theft, I would have cut off her hand. He (the Holy Prophet) then commanded about that woman who had committed theft, and her hand was cut off. Aisha (further) said: Hers was a good repentance, and she later on married and used to come to me after that, and I conveyed her needs (and problems) to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ).
The loved one of Allah’s Messenger: Usamah bin Zaid is the son of Zaid bin Harithah, he used to be called Zaid bin Muhammad before abrogating adoption. So, Usamah was as dear as a grandchild for the Prophet (ﷺ). The mother of Usamah was Umm Ayman who was the nanny of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) after the death of his mother Aminah bint Wahb.
The color of the face of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) changed: the change in color was due to anger.
1. We have to resort to the Divine laws commanded by Allah Almighty in all walks of life, they cannot be replaced by any manmade laws. In another narration of the hadith Quraish wanted to redeem the woman with forty ounces of gold, but Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) did not accept.
2. The faith of someone might become weak and fragile that his spirit whispers to him to commit a terrible act like theft, then Allah blesses him with mercy and he repents from such sin.
3. “Messenger of Allah, seek forgiveness for me”: This statement by Usmah indicates the permissibility to ask another living person whom we think is righteous to supplicate for us to ask Allah’s forgiveness.
4. The prescribed punishments and repentance wipe all sins, and the person who commits them in this worldly life does not get punished for them in the Hereafter, if someone does not get the prescribed punishment or does not repent in the worldly life, his fate is subject to Allah’s Will on the Day of Judgment, if He wills, He will punish him, and if He wills, He will forgive him.
Intercession in the Worldly Life:
1. It is when someone intercedes for someone else to ask for a right or remove any oppression that befell his brother in Islam, it is an act of goodness and piety. It is one of the rights of the Muslim over his brother/sister in Islam.
2. Intercession is a recommended act as Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an: “Whoever intercedes for a good cause will have a share [i.e., reward] therefrom.” (Qur’an: 4: 85)
In a hadith, Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever a needy person would come to the Prophet (ﷺ), he would turn to those who were present and say, "If you make intercession for him, you will be rewarded, because Allah decreed what He likes by the tongue of His Messenger".
3. It is not permissible to intercede for invalidating a right or validating falsehood, as Almighty Allah says:
“…and whoever intercedes for an evil cause will have a portion [i.e., burden] therefrom.”
(Qur’an: 4: 85)
4. Prescribed punishments in public rights or what is known as crimes against communities such as theft and adultery, as they affect the whole community when committed, when such crimes are taken to the judge or ruler, intercession or pardon is not to be considered. If such crimes are committed but not taken to the judge yet, it is permissible to conceal or pardon them.
5. Intercession is permissible in case of tazir, but not prescribed punishments, as long as the tazir does not affect the right of a person in a negative way.
Tazir (ta'zeer or ta'zir, Arabic: تعزير) refers to punishment for offenses at the discretion of the judge or ruler of the state. It is one of three major types of punishments or sanctions under Sharia Islamic law.
6. It is not permissible to be paid for an intercession, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) banned Muslims from getting paid for one’s status, i.e. a social status for which an intercession would be approved.
7. It is sometimes preferred to intercede in the presence of the one who seeks intercession; so that he/she knows that the intercessor tried his best, in case the intercession is not accepted. In the hadith it is said: “She was brought to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and Usamah bin Zaid spoke about her to him (interceded on her behalf)”
8. The ruler, judge or the person we address for an intercession is not religiously obliged to accept the intercession. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) interceded for a man so that his wife would take him back after they got divorced, but she did not accept the intercession and she was not considered sinful for that, because Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was not giving her a religious command, he was trying to reconcile between them.
1. The Imam has to apply the prescribed punishments if he is reported of the major sin.
2. The Imam does not have to apply the prescribed punishment himself; he may delegate someone to carry it out on his behalf.
3. The punishment for theft is amputating the hand, it existed prior to Islam and Islam approved it.
4. Favoritism among people based on social classes and backgrounds in applying the prescribed punishments and rulings is the reason for the destruction of nations.
5. Applying the prescribed punishments (hudud) expiates sins, and the one who committed them would not be punished for them on the Day of Judgment, as the person who repents from sin is like someone who did not sin at all.
6. Blessings descend on the ummah by carrying the prescribed punishments as confirmed by a hadith graded good by al-Albani, it was narrated from Ibn Umar that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Carrying out one of the legal punishments prescribed by Allah is better than if it were to rain for forty nights in the land of Allah.”
1. It is permissible to deliver a sermon (khutbah) whenever needed.
2. It is permissible to ascend the pulpit and give a sermon on any day even if it was not Friday.
3. It is recommended to praise Allah and Glorify Him before starting the sermon’s topic.
4. It is permissible to swear an oath by Allah without being asked to, this is recommended to draw the attention to an important matter.
1. Anger while rejecting Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden).
2. Prophet Muhammad would not get angry for personal reasons, He only got angry for the sake of Allah, when the sanctities of Allah were violated.
3. Justice is the basis of ruling.
4. Taking heed and learning from what happened to former nations.
5. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) set forth the example of His daughter Fatimah, whether because of his strong love for her, or because at the time of this incident none of his children were alive but her. It was also said that because his daughter’s name was the same as the name of the woman who stole.
6. Setting forth an example of someone who has a high status to indicate strong rebuke.
7. The virtue of Usamah bin Zaid, and how much love the Prophet (ﷺ) had for him.
8. Being young and inexperienced can be a reason for lack of understanding the purpose of the religious rulings and that can cause problematic issues; Usamah bin Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, was young and lacked the experience so he went forth to intercede for this woman, while the older and more knowledgeable companions of the Prophet did not do that.
9. When Usamah bin Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, realized his mistake he asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to pray to Allah for his forgiveness as recommended in the Qur’an:
“...If only those ˹hypocrites˺ came to you ˹O Prophet˺—after wronging themselves—seeking Allah’s forgiveness and the Messenger prayed for their forgiveness, they would have certainly found Allah ever Accepting of Repentance, Most Merciful.”
(Qur’an: 4: 64)
10. The Muslim should put his love and submission to Allah’s commands first, before any instinctive natural love that he might have for someone or something; even though Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) loved Usamah bin Zaid very much, yet he did not approve of Usamah’s request to violate the Divine law and admonished strongly him for such request.
11. The Muslim community should accept the sinner if he repents to Almighty Allah, and support him to be able to commit to the right path. We should neither disgrace nor remind him of his sin prior to repentance.
12. The Muslim community should not disgrace a person for committing a sin, even though Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, know the name of the woman, she did not mention her name. So, the basic principle in Islam is to conceal the faults of others and not to disclose them.
13. The woman mentioned in the hadith got married, so even though she committed theft it does not make her unfit as a righteous faithful wife, because she repented sincerely.
14. Mother of Believers, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, was sensible in the way she narrated the incident. She was honest in mentioning the details of what happened, and concluded with saying that the woman sincerely repented and praised her faithfulness.
15. The Modesty and compassion of Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, is quite evident in receiving the woman in her house and conveying the woman’s requirements and needs to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).