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

About avoiding Asking 

1.   It is narrated from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (rta) that some Ansar came and asked the Prophet (sws) and he gave. They asked again and he gave again until all that he had with him was finished. Then he said: “Whatever wealth I have will not be kept from you. But remember that whosoever wishes to adopt piety, God will grant him piety; whosoever wishes to be above the state of want, God will make him wealthy and whosoever wishes to persevere, God will make him patient. And remember that the best and most comprehensive gift bestowed by God is perseverance.”  

Explanation: Although this narrative comes from Ibn Shihab, it is an excellent one. It is a very significant narrative from the perspective of the philosophy of our faith. Due to such narratives, Ibn Shihab has gained prominence and under their guise, he has included all his fables.

All basic ethics have come within this narrative. If you wish to become pious, you will be tested. If you make an effort with steadfastness, you will succeed much as Jospeh (sws) did. If you promise yourself that you will never ask whatever happens, God will help you and give you wealth. Without any doubt, if you are determined that you will be always patient and never give in, God will develop such perseverance within you that will make you a person of a high status. In all cases, you are the one who has to make an effort. In the end, the Prophet (sws) explains that the best gift that can come from God is the gift of patience. There is no doubt that our entire faith stands on two pillars: half on gratitude and the other half on patience.  

2.   It is narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (rta) that while giving a sermon on the pulpit, the Prophet (sws) encouraged giving of sadaqah and refraining from asking and said that the upper hand was better than the lower one. The upper hand means the one that spends and the lower one that asks for something. 

Explanation: it is obvious that the hand that gives has superiority over the hand that receives according to status and position. This Hadith contains the advice that a person should bear his burden, be patient and stay away from asking for as long as possible. The previous Hadith has already explained that he who protects his self respect shall have his self respect protected by God.  


3.   It is narrated from ‘Ata’ ibn Yasar that when the Prophet (sws) sent something to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (rta), the latter returned it. The Prophet (sws) asked him why he had returned it. ‘Umar (rta) answered: “Have you not taught us that it was better for us not to accept anything from another?” Then the Prophet (sws) said that that was only in case of asking for something. But if one gets something without asking for it, it was sustenance provided by God. At this, ‘Umar (rta) said: “By God, in whose fist is my life! I will never ask anyone for anything but will accept anything which I receive without asking.”  

Explanation: There is no doubt in that what is received without asking is sustenance from God, but even when one does not ask, there should not be a desire for it inside one’s heart. Sometimes it becomes difficult to hurt another person, so the other person’s feelings should be respected. Anything coming from God should not be returned without reason, but it should neither be sought after nor should it be desired.


4.   It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (rta) that the Prophet said: “By God in whose fist is my life, it is better that one of you picks up a rope and carries a stack of logs on your back, than if you go to a person who has been bestowed by God and you ask him for something and it is up to him to give you or not.”  

Explanation: This is the training for a truly pious character. One should avoid asking to the extent possible. However, those requests are exempted that are made for national, religious, reform or welfare work, although this is very dangerous. The financial support of such institutions comes within the ambit of the state in Islam. If taken over by people, they become a source of business. But even in countries which have good governments, it can be said that sincere people of faith too have to go to the wealthy to seek funds.


5.   ‘Ata’ ibn Yasar narrated from a person of the Banu Asad. He said that he and his family stopped at Baqi#‘ Gharqad. The family members asked him to go to the Prophet (sws) and ask for some food and also began to talk about their needs. When he went to the Prophet (sws), he saw that another person was asking him for something and the Prophet (sws) was telling him that he really did not have anything to give him. The man turned away and was angry. He said: “By God! You give to whoever you wish to.” The Prophet (sws) said to others: “See; he is getting angry with me over the fact that I have nothing to give him. Whoever asks you and he has one uqiyah or its equivalent, his request will be considered as insistence.” The Asadi man said that he thought to himself that their camel who gave milk was better than one uqiyah. Imam Malik says that one uqiyah was equal to 40 dirhams. Thus the man went away from there and did not ask anything of the Prophet (sws). After this, the Prophet (sws) received some barley and raisins which he sent to this man also, until God made them self-sufficient.

Imam Malik says about ‘Ula ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman that he heard him say that sadaqah does not decrease anyone’s wealth and he who forgives and forgets has his esteem enhanced by God. He who is hospitable to others has his status increased by God. Imam Malik says that he does not know whether this Hadith could be marfu‘ to the Prophet (sws) or not.  

Explanation: In this Hadith, ‘Ata’ ibn Yasar narrates from a person of the Banu Asad without naming the man. According to rules, the weak element in this narrative is that it has been mentioned only by Imam Nasa’i and no one else. Imam Malik says about the narrative from ‘Ula ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman that he does not know whether it is marfu‘ from the Prophet (sws) or not. In other words, Imam Malik does not give importance to proof but to the point being said. This is because much poison could be communicated through the covering layers of evidence. But, if the point has substance and appeals to the heart, it is, in itself, proof of the fact that it has come from a pure source.

Baqi Gharqad is a place close to the Masjid-e Nabawi where there is also a graveyard.

Ilhaf means to go after and keep asking by insisting. In the sentence (they do not cling to people and ask), the real purpose is actually a negation of asking. The addition of ilhafaṇ is to demonstrate how people usually continue to nag and how despicable the situation is. The Prophet (sws) said that if a person has wealth of up to one uqiyah, he would be included among those who cling and who are undeserving. When the narrator heard this, he realized that the price of his camel was more than this, so why should he ask the Prophet (sws)? Hence he returned to his family without expressing his needs to the Prophet (sws). God fulfilled his needs by the Prophet (sws) sending him a part of the barley and raisins which he had received.

Imam Malik has stated the value of one uqiyah to be 40 dirhams. This definition is by gut feeling only. The valuation of dirhams keeps changing; valuation of all currencies keeps changing and one cannot make an accurate calculation. In today’s society, it is important to bring as much equivalence into such things as possible. This would be very beneficial.



What is Makruh (repulsive) in Sadaqah? 

1.   It is narrated from Imam Malik that sadaqah is not permissible for the progeny of Muhammad (sws). It is the grime and sweat of people’s bodies.  

Explanation: This narrative is from the balaghat of Imam Malik. Imam Malik has not given the name of the narrator but remember that it is marfu‘ in five or six different ways and all of them include Ibn Shihab. This narrative is fully against the Qur’an and is also against our rationality. In my view, this has been created by the Imam of Shites, Ibn Shihab, so as to establish the supremacy of the progeny of Muhammad (sws). At first I had thought that the Prophet (sws) may have said: sadaqah is not permissible for the progeny of Muhammad (sws), and the reason for this may have been that it had become a practice among the Jews that all income from zakah and sadaqah were considered to be the sole property of the Banu Lawi, the Jewish tribe. The best meat of sacrificial animals was dedicated for them and all charity was kept for them. Other people were deprived of these. I had thought that the Prophet (sws) must have said this to eliminate the scourge of this malpractice and that the next sentence in the narrative was fabricated by Ibn Shihab in exactly the same way as when he had invented an addition in the previous narrative on the evil eye being a fact. In that narrative, there the interpretation of the evil eye could be correct, but the manner in which it could be rid of as explained by Ibn Shihab: to get hold of the person who has cast the evil eye, to wash his lower parts and to throw the water from the washing on the affected person is his own addition. But now I believe that this entire narrative is false. The reason for this is that if sadaqah is the grime and sweat of people’s bodies, this grime and sweat is actually that of people who are wealthy but do not fulfil the rights of others. When the needy and poor get anything, they get their rights. It is proven from the Qur’an that this is haqqun ma‘lum; ie. a known right. It has been explained in the Qur’an that the excess of wealth that some people possess is actually the rights of others that has been given in custody of the rich, who are tested to assess whether they fulfil their obligations or not. For those in need, this is not a heap of dirt and slime, but sustenance given by God.

Additionally, the entire progeny of Muhammad (sws) has been made into a group along the lines of the Brahmins and all those from the Banu Hashim are included. Sadaqahs have been made haram for all the Banu Hashim. The reason for this is because, according to one of the previously stated narrative, the upper hand is better than the lower, so how could it be acceptable for the progeny of Muhammad (sws) that their hand remains lower than others, whether they are rich or poor? They must reside over everyone’s heads; they cannot step down.

The question as to how all of the Banu Hashim came to be included in the progeny of Muhammad (sws) is also important. It is a fact that in Arabia and also among us, lineage is established through the boy and not the girl. Even if we accept that the children of Fatimah (rta) are the progeny of Muhammad (sws), how do we explain the entire Banu Hashim adopting the privilege of being the progeny of Mohammed? It is clear that this narrative has been fabricated merely to elevate the status of the Banu Hashim, otherwise it has no basis.

Here, a question arises that if some people within the progeny of Muhammad (sws) are really needy and do not possess the wherewithal for meeting daily requirements of life, should they be allowed to starve to death and not be helped through sadaqah? If exceptions are made for this, the reality will not change. Even in this case, their hands will be lower.


2.   ‘Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr (rta) narrates from his father that the Prophet (sws) assigned a man from the family of ‘Abd al-Ashhal to collect sadaqah. When he returned, he asked the Prophet (sws) for a camel from the camels of sadaqah. The Prophet (sws) was displeased with this so much that his face showed anger. Whenever anger showed on his face, his eyes would become red. Then he said: “this man is asking me for that which is neither legitimate for myself nor him. If I do not give it, I do not like to refuse; if I give, it means that I give him something which is good for neither myself nor him.” At this, the man said that he will never ask anything from sadaqah again.  

Explanation: This Hadith is very clear. It shows that asking in this manner is also makruh.


3.   Zayd ibn Aslam’s father narrates that ‘Abdullah ibn al-Arqam said to him to identify camels for riding so that he could ask from the Amir al-Mu’minin. So he said: “All right. Ask from one of the sadaqah camels.” ‘Abdullah ibn al-Arqam said: “Do you want that a fat man washes under his sarong and the parts between his thighs on a hot day, then gives the water from the washing to you and you drink it?” Zayd ibn Aslam’s father says that he said in great anger: “May God forgive you! What are you saying to me?” Then ‘Abdullah ibn al-Arqam said that sadaqah is the grime and dirt of people which they wash away with it. 

Explanation: It is true that if a non deserving person asks for something from the wealth put aside for sadaqah, it will be unjust, but remember that it is not impure for a deserving person. It is his right which has been determined thus by God.  


About Desire for Knowledge 

1.   It reached Imam Malik that Hakim Luqman advised his son and said: “Son! Seek the company of scholars and sit with your knees against their knees. God Almighty creates life within hearts through the light of wisdom, just as He enlivens dead earth through rains from heaven.”  

Explanation: This is not a saying by the Prophet (sws) but by Hakim Luqman. Luqman was among the rulers of Arabia and not a prophet. His history is also vague. Had the Qur’an not mentioned him, we would not have been in a position to make a good or bad judgement about him. This advice to his son is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Imam Malik heard it somewhere and has noted it in the book of Ahadith. There are so many other sayings which he has collected in this manner. He has also gathered many alleged sayings of Jesus (sws) which are not found in the Gospels. It seems that he was particularly interested in matters related to wisdom. This advice is very precious in its own right. The company of scholars enables one to listen to wise discussions, and if a person possesses the powers of analysis, he can benefit greatly from this. This becomes a source to enliven the heart.



About Protection from the Curse of the Oppressed 

1.   Zayd ibn Aslam narrates from his father that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (rta) assigned his freed slave whose name was Hunayya, upon the official grazing areas and said to him: “O Hunayya, protect people from your arm and fear the curse of the oppressed because the supplication of the oppressed is accepted by God. Let the shepherds and smaller herds enter but if the herds of Ibn ‘Affan and Ibn ‘Awf come, stop them because if their livestock are killed, they will go to the farms and orchards of Madinah. But if the animals of the smaller shepherds are killed, they will come to me with their children, saying; ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin, O Amir al-Mu’minin! So, will I let them go? O servant of God! Think about it. Is it easier for me to arrange for water and fodder than spend gold and silver on them. By God! They will think that I have been cruel to them. Remember that this country belongs to them. They have fought wars for it during the times of jahilliyah, and they accepted Islam in it. By God in whose fist is my life, if these animals upon whose backs I need to mount the people in the way of God were not required, I would not have used even a handful of their land for grazing.”


Explanation: Al-huma means those official grazing lands which had been developed by the government for the protection and care of animals meant for sadaqah.

Suraymah means a small herd of camels and Ghunaymah means a small herd of goats.

During the times of ‘Umar (rta), there were many thousands of horses, camels and goats that were kept in these grazing areas and men were assigned to care for them. One day, he called his freed slave, Hunayya whom he had assigned this duty and instructed him to stop his hand from oppressing people because the supplications of the oppressed are heard immediately by God. He also asked him not to stop the smaller herds, i.e. the poor people from entering, because they had fought for their land during the times of jahilliyah, and it was in this land that they accepted Islam. How could he then stop them from using its water and fodder? But if the rich people came, they could be stopped. Although they, too, had fought for their land, they had alternate resources in the form of farms and orchards. It would not be difficult for them to arrange for caring for their livestock. If their animals died, they would be able to bear the loss and move to the farms and orchards of Madinah.

Mounting animals in the way of Allah means those camels and horses that were provided to Mujahidin for jihad.  


Names of the Prophet (sws) 

1.   It is narrated from Muhammad ibn Jubayr ibn Mut‘im that the Prophet (sws) said that he had five names: “I am Muhammad and I am Ahmad and I am Mahi because God will eliminate disbelief through me. And I am Hashir because people will be collected at my feet and I am ‘Āqib.”

Explanation: Interpreters say about this narrative that the number five has been given not to determine an absolute number but to indicate the fact that the names are numerous. This is why Sufis consider the Prophet (sws) to possess many hundreds of names.

From the names of the Prophet (sws), two have come in the Qur’an: Muhammad and Ahmad. His name Ahmad has been stated in ancient books and the Qur’an has quoted this name with reference to Jesus (sws).

As far as Mahi, Hashir and ‘Āqib are concerned, these are not names but attributes. A name defines a person clearly and qualities can be attributed with this name and the name can become the noun for such adjectives or attributes. But it is not correct to consider the attributes of a person to be his names. Otherwise, the characteristics of the Prophet (sws) are also pity and mercy for the faithful. If the Prophet (sws) had given his names on the basis of his qualities, he would have said that his names were: the one who has pity and the one who has mercy and that this has come in the Qur’an. Similarly, the attribute of being the last of the prophets has also come for him. He could also have stated this to be his name. But, according to this narrative, he gave some meaningless words to be his names, but did not give the meaningful ones as his names, although they are given in the Qur’an. Hashir, at whose feet people will be collected is entirely fabricated. The reason is because the Qur’an says: the day when all prophets (that include the Prophet also) will be gathered and asked whether they had invited their people, and what had they answered, they will say that they had told them what He had instructed them to. They were not aware of what their nations did after them. This was the best place in the Qur’an for God to have

informed people that He would gather people at the feet of prophets, but, instead, He said that he will gather all prophets and messengers together. A better word than ‘Āqib would have been Khatam because the term Khatam al-Nabiyyin has come for him in the Qur’an. As far as the word Mahi is concerned because he will eliminate disbelief, I would like to inform you that no action, whether it is referred to God or to the Prophet (sws) can become a name. If we start making up names for every action, there is considerable danger in this. For example, God forbid, you can name God Muḍil and Makir because these actions have been given for God in the Qur’an;
Verse 93 of Surah Nahl reads: یُضِلُّ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ  وَیَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ and verse 30 of Surah Anfal reads: یَمۡکُرُ  اللّٰہُ). This is a very dangerous approach and people have made these mistakes. Also, you cannot make up God’s names on your whims. The Qur’an forbids it. God has, Himself, given the names of Muhammad and Ahmad for the Prophet (sws). These are the only two names for him. The rest which are attributes or actions cannot become his names.

This narrative has come from Ibn Shihab and is totally incorrect.


(Translated by Nikhat Sattar)


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