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  2. The Forty Sayings- by An Nawawi
  3. Hadeeth 32 : No Harming nor Reciprocating Harm

Hadeeth 32 : No Harming nor Reciprocating Harm

Auther : Abu Zakaria An-Nawawi
23490 2008/02/07 2024/06/17

on the authority of abu sa'eed sa'ad bin sinaan al-khudree (radiallaahu anhu) that the messenger of allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :

there should be neither harming [darar] nor reciprocating harm [diraar].

a hasan hadeeth related by ibn maajah, ad-daaraqutnee and others as a musnad hadeeth. it was also related by maalik in al-muwatta in mursal form from 'amr bin yahyaa, from his father from the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), but leaving abu sa'eed from the chain. and it has other chains of narrations that strengthen one another.

explanation of hadeeth number 32

know that he who harms his brother has oppressed him, and oppression is prohibited [haraam], as has preceeded in the hadeeth of abu dharr (radiallaahu anhu) : "o my servants ! i have forbidden dhulm (oppression) for myself, and i have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another", and the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has said : "verily your blood [ie lives] and your property and your honour are all sacred/prohibited". and he said this on many occasions, including the sermon he gave at the farewell hajj.

and as for his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "there should be neither 'darar' nor 'diraar'" then some of the 'ulamaa have said that these are two words which have the same meaning, and they have been used together as a form of emphasis.

and ibn habeeb (rahimahu allaah) said : "according to the scholars of the arabic language, ad-darar refers to the noun and ad-diraar refers to the action/verb, and so the meaning of 'no darar' is that none of you should harm any other with something that they have not harmed you with first. and the meaning of 'no diraar' is that none of you should harm any other at all."

and al-muhsinee (rahimahu allaah) said : "ad-darar is that by which you attain benefit, but in it is harm for your neighbour", and this is a good understanding of a nuance of the meaning. and other scholars have said : "ad-darar and ad-diraar are similar to al-qatal [murder] and al-qitaal [fighting one another], so ad-darar is that you harm one who has not harmed you, while ad-diraar is that you harm one who also harms you in a way that is not responding equally or taking revenge rightfully", and this is similar to his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "return the trusts given to you, to those who entrusted them to you, and do not betray the one who betrays you" [hasan ghareeb, narrated by at-tirmidhee]. and the meaning of this according to some of the 'ulamaa is that one must not betray the one who betrays, after one has already taken revenge or sought justice for his betrayal. and so it is as though the forbiddance here is upon initiating an injustice or harm, while the one who seeks revenge with the equal of what he has been harmed with, and who takes his right, then he is not considered to be a betrayer. rather, the betrayer is he who takes that which does not belong to him or more than that which is rightfully his.

and the jurists [fuqahaa'] have differed over the one who refuses to fulfill the rights/trusts that others have upon him, such that the entruster forcibly takes the wealth that he had entrusted to him. so some of the scholars have said : "it is not correct for him to [forcibly] take what is his right due to what is apparent from his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "return the trusts, and do not betray the one who betrays you". on the other hand, other scholars have said : "it is permissible for him to take revenge from the one who has betrayed him, and to forcibly take what is due to him from the hand of his betrayer" and they use as proof the hadeeth narrated by 'aaishah (radiallaahu anhaa) regarding the incident involving hind and her husband abu sufyaan, wherein hind said to the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) "o messenger of allaah ! verily abu sufyaan is a stingy/tight-fisted man, and he does not give to me what is sufficient for myself and my child, unless i take it from him secretly." so the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) replied : "take [from his wealth] what is sufficient for you and your child, but with justice" [narrated by muslim]. and in this issue the fuqahaa' have mentioned many points and fine issues that cannot be mentioned here.

and what is correct from an examination of all the evidences is that it is not correct for someone to harm his brother, whether he has harmed him or not, except if he avenges himself to the extent that justice allows him to [ie equally], and this is not considered to be oppression nor harm, as long at is in a fashion that the sunnah makes permissible for him.

and the shaykh abu 'amr bin as-salaah (rahimahu allaah) has said that [the famous hadeeth scholar] ad-daaraqutnee has collected a number of chains of narration of this hadeeth which strengthen one another, and thus raise it to the level of being hasan [sound, acceptable], and it has been transmitted and used as proof by the vast majority of the 'ulamaa, and [the hadeeth scholar] abu daawood said : "the knowledge of fiqh revolves around five ahaadeeth", and he counted this hadeeth amongst them. so shaykh abu 'amr said that the fact that abu daawood counted this hadeeth amongst the five, and his other statements about it, show that he did not consider it to be a da'eef [weak, unreliable] hadeeth, and he said about it that ad-diraar is similar to al-qitaal, and this is what is upon the sunnah. and many of the scholars of fiqh and hadeeth have also narrated this hadeeth as "there should be neither darar nor idraar", but this wording has no basis.

and allaah knows best.

summary :

  • that it is forbidden to harm others
  • that it is forbidden to transgress against those who harm us
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