law

If a Person is Exposed, It’s not his First Sin

Anas b. Mālik reports:

A young man who had stolen was brought to ʿUmar (for punishment). He said, “By Allāh I have never stolen before this time.” So ʿUmar responded, “You lie, Allāh would not (or does not) surrender a servant of His on the first sin.”

Abū Dāwūd, Al-Zuhd article 56, and others. Graded ṣaḥīh by Ibn Kathīr and others.

The Man Who Was Abducted by Jinn

ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān b. Abī Laylā reports:

A man from his people, from the Anṣār, went out one night to pray ʿIshāʾ with his people [during the Caliphate of ʿUmar], but some jinn abducted him, and he went missing. His wife went to ʿUmar and told him [of her missing husband]. ʿUmar asked his people about him, and they confirmed that he had gone out to pray ʿIshāʾ but had gone missing. [ʿUmar] told the woman to wait for four years.

When four years had passed, the woman went back to ʿUmar and informed him [of her case]. He asked her people and they confirmed the case. He told her she could now  marry, and she did. But her [first] husband returned and raised a dispute [over the marriage] to ʿUmar b. Al-Khaṭṭāb – Allāh be pleased with him. ʿUmar said, “One of you disappears for ages, his family does not know whether he is alive or not [and then he turns up, making claims]!” The man replied, “O Leader of the Believers, I have an excuse.” He asked, “And what is your excuse?” The man replied, “I went out to pray ʿIshāʾ one night, but some jinn captured me, and I [was held captive] by them for a long time. Then, some Muʾmin – or Muslim (one of the reporters, Saʿīd, was not sure of the exact word used) jinn waged an attack on them, fought them and beat them, and took captives. They took me amongst the captives, but said, ‘We see that you are a Muslim man, and it is not allowed for us to keep you captive.’ So they gave me the choice of staying with them or returning to my family. I chose to return to my family. They set off with me. By night, no one would say anything to me; but by day there would be a stick I would follow.”

ʿUmar – Allāh be pleased with him – asked the man, “What was your food when you were amongst them?” He replied, “Difficult [stolen?] food, and what had not had the name of Allāh mentioned over it.” ʿUmar asked, “And what did you drink when you were amongst them?” He replied, “Al-jadaf (a type of drink that does not ferment).”

ʿUmar ruled that the man had a choice to either get back the ṣadāq (dowry) he had given [and have his marriage stay nullified], or take back his wife.

Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Sunan Al-Kubrā 7:445,446. Al-Albānī graded its chain of transmission ṣaḥīḥ in Irwā Al-Ghalīl 4:151

Five Essential Qualities of a Mufti

Ibn Battah records that Imām Ahmad – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

No man should appoint himself to issue verdicts (fatwa) until and unless he fulfills five characteristics:

  • First, he should have a [firm and good] intention; for if he does not, he will have no light upon him, and nor will his words.
  • Second, he should be forbearing, tranquil and serene.
  • Third, he should be strong upon what he is involved in, strong in its knowledge.
  • Fourth, he should have sufficient means (wealth), otherwise the people will chew him up.
  • Fifth, he should know people and their ways.

Ibn Battah, Ibtāl Al-Hiyal p24.

After quoting this statement, and before his commentary on it, Ibn Al-Qayyim states:

This is one of the proofs of the eminence of Imām Ahmad and his lofty status in knowledge and insight; for these five are the pillars of fatwā, and to the extent that there is deficiency in any of them, to that extent faults will appear in the mufti.

I’lām Al-Muwaqi’īn, 6:106

The Just Mufti

It is reported that Masrūq – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
To (be guaranteed) one day in which I issue correct and just verdicts (fatwā) is more beloved to me than fighting in battle (ghazwah, jihād) for a year.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:66.

The Mad Mufti

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Masʿūd – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

By Allāh, he who gives people verdicts (fatwā) for every question they ask him is crazy (majnūn).

Ibn Battah Al-‘Ukbarī, Ibṭāl Al-Ḥiyal article 81, et al.

Imām Ibn Battah (d. 304H) laments:

So here is Ibn Masʿūd, swearing by Allāh that a person who gives people verdicts for every question they ask him is mad. And [now] if a person swore, he would not be breaking his oath, and if a person said, he would be speaking the truth: that most of the muftis of our time are mad. For you will hardly find a man who is asked about an issue pausing to consider carefully before answering, nor fearing Allāh and bringing to mind that Allāh is watching him, and fearing that He will say to him: What is the basis of your answer? Rather, most of them worry that it will be said: so-and-so was asked a question and he had no answer…