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Mu’atta’ Imam Malik (10)
Hadith & Sunnah
Amin Ahsan Islahi
(Tr. by:Nikhat Sattar)


Narratives about fearing God


1. It is narrated from Anas ibn Malik (rta). “I heard from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (rta). I was with him when he entered a garden such that a wall came between him and myself and he was at the centre of the garden. I heard that he was saying: “O ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab! O Amir al-Mu’minin! How great is Amir al-Mu’minin! By God! Keep fearing Allah, otherwise He will punish you severely.” Imam Malik says that the information reached him that Qasim ibn Muhammad would say that the people he had met did not pay any attention to mere talk. Imam Malik says that by this he meant deeds. That is, importance was not given to the words of men but, instead, to their actions. 

Explanation: Bakh means praise but can also be used for sarcasm. “Praise be to Amir al-Mu’minin!” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was saying this to himself. This is a great example of self accountability. This is a sign of real piety. He went inside the garden and when he sat alone, addressing himself, said: “Amir al-Mu’minin! Masha’Allah! You yourself are the Amir al-Mu’minin! Keep fearing Allah and you will be saved. Or else, He will punish you so severely that you will be devastated. You will be under great punishment.” 



What should be said when hearing Thunder 

1.    Imam Malik says about ‘Āmir ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr (rta) that whenever he heard thunder, he would stop talking and recite the following supplication: “The Being is Pure Who is glorified and praised by thunder and is also glorified by angels due to fear of Him.” He would then say that this was a great warning for people on earth.

 Explanation: this supplication is based on a verse of the Quran. Its explanation has been provided in Taddabur-i Qur’an under verse 13 of Surah al-Ra‘d.



About the inheritance of the Prophet (sws)

1.   It is narrated from ‘Ā’ishah (rta) that when the Prophet (sws) passed away, his wives decided to send ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (rta) to the incumbent caliph, Abu Bakr (rta) and ask him to give what they had inherited from the Prophet (sws) to them. At this, ‘Ā’ishah (rta) said to them that did the Prophet (sws) not say: “We prophets have no heirs. What we leave behind is sadaqah.”  

Explanation: Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri is present among the narration chain of this Hadith. He is one of the great imams of Ahl al-Sunnah. All of the matters which are contentious between Sunnis and Shiites can be traced back to him in one way or another. Yet, despite this, Imam Bukhari (rta) and Imam Malik have regarded him with great respect. This is a huge tragedy for the Muslim ummah.

“We have no heirs, no one receives our inheritance, what we leave behind is sadaqah.” Obviously, there is no possibility of inheritance based on this narrative. But Shiites read this differently. They take it to mean: “What we leave behind as sadaqah is not inherited,” although this is illogical. The meaning of the Hadith becomes clear from the next narrative. In any case, this is a basic argument between us and the Shiites. With reference to this narrative, they have also accused ‘Ā’ishah (rta) that she had tried to deprive Fatimah (rta) and other wives of the Prophet (sws) from his inheritance. But the fact is that this is not specific to the Prophet (sws) but holds true for all prophets. The inheritance of Zakariyya (sws) mentioned in Surah Maryam related to the inheritance of his faith, goodness, piety and prophethood. This is because he was afraid that people would distort the tradition of his family; hence he had prayed for a son.  


2.   It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet (sws) said: “My heirs will not distribute my legacy of dirhams and dinars. Whatever I leave behind, after subtracting the needs of my wives and servants of my households is sadaqah.”   

Explanation: Ma’unah means financial support and ‘amil means those who are members of the household, whether slaves or servants. Some people have regarded this to mean other people, which is wrong. The Prophet (sws) had said that what remains after the expenses of his wives and members of the household was sadaqah, which would be the property of the state. The wealth of the government belonged to the state from the beginning because it was based on the power of authority of the state. The Prophet (sws) took his share from this due to his position as the person in command, in exactly the same manner as the caliph of an ummah or president of a state is supported financially by the state. This was so because of his status as the one in authority, i.e. the one responsible for matters of the state and not his status as a prophet. As far as prophethood was concerned, the Quran has said: “I do not seek any recompense from you.” Since he was responsible for the government as well as prophethood, it was necessary that the state cover his expenses. Meeting anyone’s expenses also means that the expenses of his family and related individuals would also be covered. The wives of the Prophet (sws) had some other qualities in addition to being his wives. These were not on the basis of their purity. Sacred they were, but Allah had instructed Muslims, for the sake of their religion and the nation, in verse 53 of Surah al-Ahzab: “They should never hurt the Prophet (sws) and that they should never marry his wives after his demise. These are very serious matters for Allah.” Besides the fact that marrying again was against the dignity of the wives, there were also great dangers in this. Anyone marrying them could have made any sort of propaganda. To eliminate the possibilities of such matters, it was the requirement of religion that they be prevented from a second marriage. Therefore, the responsibility of financially supporting them was that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs and those who came later, which all of them fulfilled.

The word nisa’ that comes after ma tarakta is for wives. This means that it is not related to the family of Hashimites or Fatimah (rta) or ‘Ali (rta), because they are not included in nisa’. However, servants or slaves of the wives of the Prophet (sws) should be included.  



Narratives about the Characteristics of Hell 

1.   It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet (sws) said that the heat of the fire lit by humans is one part of 70 parts of the heat of Hell Fire. The Companions said: “O Prophet of Allah! If this had been the fire, it would have been sufficient to burn.” The Prophet (sws) answered that it has been increased by 69 times.


Explanation: There is no relevance between the question and answer here, but the statement by itself is valid. It means that one should not consider the fire in this world to be the same as that of Hell. Interpreters also say that the answer is meant to explain the difference.


2.   It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that he said: “Do you think that the Hell fire would be red like that of your fire? It would be as black as charcoal.”   

Explanation: This is a statement by Abu Hurayrah (rta). The approach of the Hadith scholars is that if a Companion says something, he would not have said it unless he heard it from the Prophet (sws). Therefore, they consider such a narrative to be valid. However, this is going beyond principles. I believe that Abu Hurayrah (rta) must have said this himself. If it is considered to be valid, what would be the difference between Hadith and such statements? There are several examples which, if considered to possess the status of validity, would confuse the real meaning. If Abu Hurayrah (rta) had heard it from the Prophet (sws), he would have referred it thus, instead of saying it himself. This would have increased the significance of this statement tremendously and he would have been honoured too. Since he did not do so, what is the need to make such claims unnecessarily? 


Advocating for Sadaqah 

1.   Sa‘d ibn Yasar (rta) said that the Prophet (sws) said that whoever gives sadaqah from his pure earnings, and Allah accepts pure earnings only, it is as if he keeps it within the hand of God the All Merciful, who increases it and grows it, just as one takes care of the calf or kid of one’s camel, until the sadaqah becomes as huge as a mountain.   

Explanation: Fasilah means a child that has been weaned off.

The Qur’an says: “Allah will decrease usury and increase sadaqah,” (2:276). God increases the sadaqah that is given in the way of God and God can increase it to any amount. Here, it has been clarified that the increase can be as much as a mountain. Even if you spend a small thing in the way of God, its example is that of putting it in the hand of the Most Merciful Lord, so that He develops and grows it much as when you take care of a calf or a kid of a camel and then it grows into a full animal.

Sadaqahs should be frequent and should be made with sincerity, because the real value is that of sincere intentions.


2.   Ishaq ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Tahah heard Anas ibn Malik (rta) say that Abu Tlhah (rta) was the richest Ansar in Madinah in terms of date orchards. His most favourite orchard was that of Bayruha which was opposite the mosque of the Prophet (sws). The Prophet (sws) would go there and drink its cold and sweet water. Anas (rta) said that when the verse: “You cannot reach the stage of loyalty with God until you spend not from what you own lovingly,” was revealed, Abu Talhah went to the Prophet (sws) and said: “O Prophet of God! Allah says that you cannot reach the stage of loyalty to Allah unless you do not spend from that which is most beloved to you. What is my most beloved wealth for me is my orchard Bayruha. I give it as sadaqah in the way of God. Now I want its recompense and reward from God. O Prophet of God! Please use it wherever you wish to.” The Prophet (sws) said: “Subhanallah! Masha’Allah! This is a very profitable orchard. I have heard what you said. Now my advice is that you should distribute it among your relatives.” Abu Talhah said that this is what he would do. So Abu Talhah distributed it among his paternal cousins.  

Explanation: Bakh is the same word which was used in a previous narrative by ‘Umar (rta) for himself in sarcasm. Here, this word has been used for praise. This narrative shows how the Companions were influenced by the Qur’an. We should compare our own attitudes with them; what fools have we become.

The special information we gather from this Hadith is that if one wishes, one can include one’s relatives and members of one’s tribes, if their situation so demands as recipients of sadaqah. They can be supported through the wealth of sadaqah. Being in want does not mean that a person is totally without any means and in need of bread. The relatives and members of the tribe among whom Abu Talhah (rta) had distributed his orchard were not needy. Hassaan (rta) was from his family. He had sold the portion that he had received at 100,000 dirhams during the times of Banu Ummayah.

According to the Qur’an, there is no difference in how the expenditure for zakah and sadaqah is made. The difference is in how it is collected. If you do not pay zakah, the state has the responsibility to collect it from you. But the giving of sadaqah is entirely up to you.

Our jurists have placed limits upon the possession of wealth by a poor person. If s/he possesses a certain amount, s/he is not eligible to receive zakah. This amount is not even sufficient for a person to have one meal. This is a wrong approach. The narrative shows that the purpose is to ensure the well being of people. Their status in society should be raised and if they are in business, they should be facilitated and if they are employed, their difficulties are eased out and they get opportunities to grow. There is a lot of debate these days about a welfare state. To put a welfare state in place, it is essential that all the instructions about zakah in the Qur’an be implemented properly. Every piece of possession includes zakah. The difference is only in its amount. Whatever is cultivated at a large scale would be liable for zakah. The government can use the zakah thus obtained for collective welfare and development. There is no difference between the uses for sadaqah and zakah. They are to be used for the same purpose: the welfare, development of and reforms for the orphans, the poor and the needy. 


3.   It is narrated from Zayd ibn Aslam that the Prophet (sws) said that he who asks should be given even if he comes riding upon a horse.  

Explanation: This narrative is mawquf. In any case, it means that whoever asks for anything should be given it. Excessive probing should not be done. It is enough for him that he lowers his self respect and his dignity in front of you. For someone who makes such a big sacrifice, one should not question him too much unless it is obvious that he is putting on a show or is a professional beggar. It is not right to refuse on the basis of his appearance. It is possible that he may be a cripple and that is why he may have come on a horse. Thus, he may possess a horse but he may not have the wherewithal to meet its, or even his own needs and he may have been forced to beg.


4.    ‘Amr ibn Mu‘adh al-Ashhali al-Ansari narrates from his grandmother that she said that the Prophet (sws) said: “O Faithful Women! Do not consider it a worthless thing to send even a small gift to your neighbour even if it is a burnt hoof of a goat.”  

Explanation: It is a fact that giving gifts is an important way to enhance love. Whatever one can afford and whenever the opportunity arises, one should give gifts. It is not necessary to give only grand presents. Anything that contains the smallest element of newness should be gifted. The Prophet (sws) has advised this and it has huge beneficial impacts upon society.

The use of the terms “faithful women” in this Hadith is uncommon. In my view, just as a common noun becomes a proper noun when described, an evocative noun too becomes proper, in which case it’s adjective can be proper too. And knowledge comes from God. 


5.   Imam Malik says that the information reached him from ‘Ā’ishah (rta), the wife of the Prophet (sws) that a needy man came to her and she was fasting. There was nothing except one piece of bread in the house. She asked her maid whom she had freed to give it to him. She said that in that case there would be nothing left for her to break her fast with. ‘Ā’ishah (rta) told her to give it and the maid gave it to him. When it was evening, she received a gift of mutton from a family (or from a man) that was not in the habit of sending gifts to her house. ‘Ā’ishah (rta) called her maid and asked her to partake from the meat, saying that this was better than the bread which she had given.  

Explanation: “Sending a goat,” is a style in Arabic, wherein mentioning the whole means a part. It does not mean that an entire goat was sent. When you also feed your guests chicken, you can say “We fed chicken to our guest,” although other people may have eaten from it.

The waw in wa kafnaha is not that for copulation (‘atf) but is a part of the word itself. There is a connotation of drops falling in kaf. Thus, the family did not send gifts regularly. Some people have taken the waw to be that of copulation and considered kafana to mean covering. In other words, bread covered it. People have explained this in other ways also. In any case, the word needs more research. It is possible that the word may have been communicated wrongly.

This narrative is from the balaghat of Imam Malik and argues the point that anyone who asks should be given and in the manner in which ‘Ā’ishah (rta) gave. Experience shows that if you give in this manner, you will never be hungry and will always be fed well.


6.   Imam Malik says that the information reached him that a poor man asked ‘Ā’ishah (rta) for food. She had some grapes in front of her. She asked someone to pick one and give it to him. He looked at her in astonishment. ‘Ā’ishah (rta) said: “You are surprised! There could be so many units of weight in this.”  

Explanation: Here, ‘inab is a common noun which is also used for contempt. The meaning here is that there were a few grapes. If ‘Ā’ishah (rta) had said it, she would have told him to give all of them to the man. Given the knowledge of her character, it is not expected that she would have asked him to give only one grape. In any case, this is one of the balaghat of Imam Malik. I do not take any responsibility for it. 


(Translated by Nikhat Sattar)

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