Chapter 26: Unlawfulness of Oppression and Restoring Others Rights
allah, the exalted, says:
"there will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the zalimun (polytheists and the wrongdoers), who could be given heed to.'' (40:18)
"and for the zalimun (wrongdoers, polytheists and disbelievers in the oneness of allah) there is no helper.'' (22:71)
203. jabir bin `abdullah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "beware of injustice, for oppression will be darkness on the day of resurrection; and beware of stinginess because it doomed those who were before you. it incited them to shed blood and treat the unlawful as lawful.''
204. abu hurairah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "on the resurrection day, the rights will be paid to those to whom they are due so much so that a hornless sheep will be retaliated for by punishing the horned sheep which broke its horns".
commentary: this hadith makes it abundantly clear that there will be utmost justice on the day of resurrection. so much so that allah will redress even the grievance of the aggressed animals against the aggressors. thus, this hadith serves a severe warning for people. when animals, who are devoid of sense, will not be forgiven, how would mankind be, which is gifted with senses? the latter will not be pardoned if they are guilty of having been unjust to anyone without adequately compensating them.
205. ibn `umar (may allah bepleased with them) reported: we were talking about the farewell pilgrimage without knowing what was it when messenger of allah (pbuh) was also present. he (pbuh) stood up and recited the praise and glorification of allah. he then gave a detailed account of ad-dajjal and said, 'every prophet sent by allah had warned his people against his mischief. nuh (pbuh) )warned his nation and so did all the prophets after him. if he (i.e., ad-dajjal) appears among you, his condition will not remain hidden from you. your rubb is not one-eyed, but ad-dajjal is. his right eye is protruding like a swollen grape. listen, allah has made your blood, and your properties as inviolable as of this day of yours (i.e., the day of sacrifice), in this city of yours (i.e., makkah), in this month of yours (i.e., dhul -hijjah). listen, have i conveyed allah's message to you?'' the people replied in affirmative. there upon he said, "o allah, bear witness.'' and he repeated it thrice. he (pbuh) concluded: "do not revert after me as infidels killing one another".
commentary: this hadith brings out the following three points:
1. some marks and signs of pseudo-messiah (al-masih ad-dajjal) are mentioned to warn the believers against his mischief.
2. the lives and properties of muslims are inviolable for each other. in other words, it means that each of them is a protector and guardian of the life, property and honour of the other.
3. internal war among the muslims is a great crime and can even lead to infidelity (kufr). may allah save us all from it.
206. `aishah (may allah bepleased with her) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "whoever usurps unlawfully even a hand span of land a collar measuring seven times (this) land will be placed around his neck on the day of resurrection".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith tells us that even a minor injustice to anybody in this world can cause great trouble on the day of resurrection.
207. abu musa (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "verily, allah gives respite to the oppressor. but when he seizes him, he does not let him escape.'' then he (pbuh)) recited, "such is the seizure of your rubb when he seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. verily, his seizure is painful (and) severe". (11:102).
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: one should not take the respite for exemption because no one knows when respite granted by him will come to an end and punishment will follow.
208. mu`adh (may allah bepleased with him) reported that messenger of allah (pbuh) sent me (as a governor of yemen) and instructed me thus: "you will go to the people of the book. first call them to testify that `there is no true god except allah, that i am (muhammad (pbuh)) the messenger of allah.' if they obey you, tell them that allah has enjoined upon them five salat (prayers) during the day and night; and if they obey you, inform them that allah has made zakat obligatory upon them; that it should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor; and if they obey you refrain from picking up (as a share of zakat) the best of their wealth. beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and allah".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
1. if it comes to jihad against infidels, polytheists and the people of the book (ahl-ul-kitab) then before waging war against them, they should be invited to islam and told about the prescribed salat (prayers), zakat and other teachings of islam.
2. the zakat collected from the rich of a locality must be spent on the poor of that place. if some amount is left unspent only then it should be distributed among the deserving people of other areas.
3. the collectors of zakat should refrain from aggression in its collection as in that case they will be invoking the curse of the people concerned and thereby invite the wrath of allah.
209. abu humaid bin sa`d as-sa`idi (may allah bepleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) employed a man from the tribe of al-azd named ibn lutbiyyah as collector of zakat. when the employee returned (with the collections) he said: "(o prophet (pbuh)!) this is for you and this is mine because it was presented to me as gift.'' messenger of allah (pbuh) rose to the pulpit and praised allah and extolled him. then he said, "i employ a man to do a job and he comes and says: `this is for you and this has been presented to me as gift'? why did he not remain in the house of his father or the house of his mother and see whether gifts will be given to him or not? by allah in whose hand is the life of muhammad, if any one of you took anything wrongfully, he will bring it on the day of resurrection, carrying it on (his back), i will not recognize anyone of you, on the day of resurrection with a grunting camel, or a bellowing cow, or a bleating ewe.'' then he raised his hands till we could see the whiteness of his armpits. then he said thrice, ``o allah ! have i conveyed (your commandments)''.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: there is a stern warning in this hadith for the government functionaries. nowadays official positions are very much misused and people have developed the habit of giving presents and gifts to them. according to this hadith, all such presents and gifts which are given to the government employees due to their official position are unlawful and constitute bribery. the taking and accepting of bribery are both unlawful.
210. abu hurairah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "he who has done a wrong affecting his brother's honour or anything else, let him ask his forgiveness today before the time (i.e., the day of resurrection) when he will have neither a dinar nor a dirham. if he has done some good deeds, a portion equal to his wrong doings will be subtracted from them; but if he has no good deeds, he will be burdened with the evil deeds of the one he had wronged in the same proportion".
commentary: this hadith tells us that if one does not compensate a person who has been harmed by one and has not been pardoned for it, then it would have a serious consequence in the hereafter. its detail is mentioned in this hadith. thus, negligence in the case of public rights, which we take very lightly, is in fact ruinous.
211. `abdullah bin `amr bin al-`as (may allah bepleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "a muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the muslims are safe; and a muhajir (emigrant) is the one who refrains from what allah has forbidden".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: the hadith shows that a true muslim is one who does not do any harm to others, overtly or covertly. similarly, the true muhajir is one who avoids disobeying allah. thus, if a person leaves his hearth and home to emigrate to some other place but does not save himself from sins, his emigration is of no avail.
212. `abdullah bin `amr bin al-`as (may allah bepleased with them) reported: a man named kirkirah, who was in charge of the personal effects of messenger of allah (pbuh) passed away and the prophet (pbuh) said, "he is in the (hell) fire.'' some people went to his house looking for its cause and found there a cloak that he had stolen. [al-bukhari]
commentary: the hadith shows that stealing and breach of trust fall in the category of major sins for which one can be consigned to hell.
213. abu bakrah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "time has completed its cycle and has come to the state of the day when allah created the heavens and the earth. the year consists of twelve months of which four are inviolable; three of them consecutive - dhul-qa`dah, dhul-hijjah and muharram and rajab, the month of mudar (tribe), which comes between jumada and sha`ban. what month is this?'' we said, "allah and his messenger (pbuh) know better". the prophet (pbuh) remained silent for some time until we thought that he would give it a name other than its real name. then asked, "is it not (the month of) dhul-hijjah?''. we replied in the affirmative. he asked, "which city is this?". we replied: "allah and his messenger know better". he remained silent until we thought that he would give it another name. he (pbuh) asked, "is it not al-baldah (makkah)?'' we said: "yes". he (pbuh) asked, "what day is this?". we said: "allah and his messenger know better.'' he (pbuh) remained silent until we thought that he would give it another name. he asked, "is it not the day of an-nahr (the sacrifice)?". we replied in the affirmative. thereupon he said, "your blood, your property and your honour are inviolable to you all like the inviolablity of this day of yours, in this city of yours and in this month of yours. you will soon meet your rubb and he will ask you about your deeds. so do not turn to disbelief after me by striking the necks of one another. behold! let him who is present here convey (this message ) to him who is absent; for many a person to whom a message is conveyed has more retentive memory than the one who hears it.'' he (pbuh) again said, "have i conveyed the message to you? behold! have i conveyed the commandments (of allah) to you.'' we submitted: "yes". he then said, "o allah, bear witness (to this)".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
1. the cycle of years and months (that is to say a month consists of 30 or 29 days and a year has 12 months) was completed at the time of creation of heavens and earth.
2. the hadith mentions the sanctity of life, property, respect and honour of each muslim for the other and lays stress upon the importance of this bond in them.
3. it reminds that everyone will be answerable for his actions on the day of requittal.
4. it urges that one should not just keep to oneself the commandments of allah and his prophet's teachings but disseminate them among others also. it is quite possible that someone who remembers these teachings more adheres to them more in practice.
214. abu umamah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah decrees the (hell) fire and debars jannah for the one who usurps the rights of a believer by taking a false oath.'' one man asked: "o messenger of allah! even if it should be for an insignificant thing?'' he said, "even if it be a stick of the arak tree (i.e., the tree from which miswak sticks are taken)".
commentary: the importance of rights of people is evident from the threat of severe punishment that this hadith holds for the usurpers of these rights. their case will depend entirely on the will of allah. such defaulters may be forgiven even in the initial stage or they may be pardoned by allah after some punishment.
215. `adi bin `umairah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "whosoever among you is appointed by us to a position and he conceals from us even a needle or less, it will amount to misappropriation and he will be called upon to restore it on the day of resurrection". (`adi bin `umairah added:) a black man from the ansar stood up - i can see him still - and said: "o messenger of allah, take back from me your assignment.'' he (the prophet (pbuh)) said, "what has happened to you?'' the man replied: "i have heard you saying such and such.'' he (pbuh) said, "i say that even now: whosoever from you is appointed by us to a position, he should render an account of everything, big or small, and whatever he is given therefrom, he should take and he should desist from taking what is unlawful".
commentary: here again functionaries of government are warned to perform their duties with co-operation and integrity. if they neglect their duties or take undue advantage of their official position, they will be held guilty by allah for dereliction of their duties and misuse of power, as has been stated in a hadith quoted before. it also tells us that it is the duty of the superior officers to keep a strict watch on their subordinates and not to let them indulge in bribery and abuse; otherwise, their negligence or slackness or overlooking or shirking from their duty in this behalf will also be treated as crime. it is not difficult to imagine the fate of such officers who conspire in the loot and plunder as is the case in our society today.
216. `umar bin al-khattab (may allah bepleased with him) reported: on the day (of the battle) of khaibar, some companions of the prophet (pbuh) came and remarked: "so-and-so is a martyr and so-and-so is a martyr". when they came to a man about whom they said: "so-and-so is a martyr,'' the prophet (pbuh) declared, "no. i have seen him in hell for a mantle (or cloak) which he has stolen".
1. this hadith tells us that the rights of people will not be forgiven even by martyrdom.
2. misappropriation in the national exchequer is a horrible sin.
217. abu qatadah al-harith bin rib`i (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "faith in allah and striving in his cause (jihad) are the deeds of highest merit.'' a man stood up said: "o messenger of allah! tell me if i am killed in the cause of allah, will all my sins be forgiven?'' he (pbuh) replied, "yes, if you are killed in the cause of allah while you are patient, hopeful of your reward and marching forward not retreating." then the prophet (pbuh) said to him, "repeat what you have said.'' the man said: "tell me if i am killed in the cause of allah, will all my sins be remitted?". he replied, "yes, if you are martyred while you are patient, hopeful of your reward and march forward without retreating, unless, if you owe any debt, that will not be remitted. angel jibril told me that".
commentary: this hadith also shows the importance of rights of people and repayment of loan which will not be pardoned in any case. it is, therefore, essential that every muslim should exercise utmost care to fulfill his obligations in these matters.
218. abu hurairah (may allah bepleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "do you know who is the bankrupt?'' they said: "the bankrupt among us is one who has neither money with him nor any property". he said, "the real bankrupt of my ummah would be he who would come on the day of resurrection with salat, saum and sadaqah (charity), (but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted the good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account and he would be thrown in the (hell) fire".
commentary: this hadith tells us that a muslim has to take strict care in the performance of obligations like prescribed salat (prayers), zakat, etc, but he has to take similar care in his dealings, manners and morals. salvation lies in the proper fulfillment of all these requirements. fulfillment of one at the cost of the other will not be sufficient for salvation.
219. umm salamah (may allah bepleased with her) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "verily, i am only a human and the claimants bring to me (their disputes); perhaps some of them are more eloquent than others. i judge according to what i hear from them). so, he whom i, by my judgment, (give the undue share) out of the right of a muslim, i in fact give him a portion of (hell) fire".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
1. the prophet (pbuh) has explained through this hadith that he, too, was a man like others and was thus liable to judging by what he hears by the facile tongue, cleverness and eloquence of people. but it does not detract from his innocence as a prophet because it has no concern with his duty as a preacher and prophet, the responsibility of protection of which has been accepted by allah.
2. a judge (qadi) should decide on the case which comes before him in the light of arguments presented to him by the litigants. he should not make decision according to speculation but go by the arguments which are in his opinion more convincing.
3. the decision of the qadi will be evidently enforced, but it will not make the lawful as unlawful or vice versa. that is to say, it will not be enforced intrinsically, as is believed by some people. if somebody succeeds in winning a case, it will be invalid and the one who secures it will suffer its consequences in the hell-fire.
220. ibn `umar (may allah bepleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "a believer continues to guard his faith (and thus hopes for allah's mercy) so long as he does not shed blood unjustly".
commentary: this hadith has two meanings. firstly, so long as a muslim does not kill another muslim without valid reason, he remains, by the grace of allah, capable of acting upon the deen. that is to say, he is more hopeful of the mercy of allah, and deserves it also, as long as he does not commit murder. when he kills an innocent person, the gate of allah's compassion is closed on him.
ibn al-arabi interpretted this hadith as follows:
a muslim will still have ample chance for accomplishing good deeds to face evil deeds until he sheds blood. or, he has the chance of forgiveness until he sheds blood. (m.r.m.)
221. khaulah bint `thamir (may allah bepleased with her) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "many people misappropriate (acquire wrongfully) allah's property (meaning muslims' property). these people will be cast in hell on the day of resurrection".
commentary: misappropriation in national exchequer and its use for vested rather than public interest is a major sin which is punishable, if the delinquent does not sincerely beg pardon for it.