Hadith and Fiqh

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Umar and Hadith

During his lifetime the Holy Prophet pronounced on various matters. When any one met with a problem he  went to the Holy Prophet for his verdict. Such decisions remained know to the persons concerned and  were not publicized. As such the decisions of the Holy Prophet remained wide spread. The traditions were  not compiled in any compendium and as such the sources remained scattered. In view of the diffusion of  resources there grew the risk that some traditions reported might be spurious or colored with the views  or prejudices of the narrator. 

Umar was the first to realize the necessity of the proper sifting of the traditions. Umar accordingly  founded the science of Hadith. The practice with Umar was that if any new problem cropped up, Umar  announced in the public assembly the point at issue, and inquired if any of them remembered any  tradition of the Holy Prophet on the subject. Those who narrated any tradition were required to produce  some witnesses in support of the tradition. If such statement was duly corroborated and was in  accordance with the spirit of the Holy Quran as well as common sense it was adopted and applied to the  facts of the case in hand. In this way a rich corpus of Hadith was built up. These were recorded and  copies were supplied to all provinces for guidance. Umar deputed experts in Hadith to various provinces  to educate the provincial officers in Hadith. 

Umar classified the traditions in two broad categories. One category of traditions pertained to religious,  moral and social affairs pertaining to the community at large. These matters emanated from the prophetic  mission of the Holy Prophet. The other traditions revolved round the person of the Holy Prophet and  pertained to his words and deeds as a human being. Umar distinguished between these two categories  and took care to ensure that these two categories did not get mixed up. All matters falling in the first  category were binding and had the status of law. The matters falling in the second category remained as  ideals to be followed, but these did not have the status of law. Umar took particular care to disseminate  all traditions falling in the second category. The traditions in the second category were sparingly reported  or publicized. 

Umar was alive to the danger that whatever was ascribed to the Holy Prophet, right or wrong would  obtain currency and venerable acceptance. Umar evolved principles on the basis of which the traditions  were to be accepted. The basic principles were: 

  1. (1) The report should be literally faithful; 
  2. (2) Every Hadith narrated should carry with it the name of the narrator and the chain of narrators; 
  3. (3) The narrators must be men of proven faith and integrity; 
  4. (4) In judging the veracity of a report the occasion and circumstances involved should be taken into  consideration; 
  5. (5) The report should not be repugnant to the Holy Quran; 
  6. (6) The report should be rational. 

There was some dispute about the number of takbirs to be said in funeral prayers. Sufficient evidence  was adduced to the effect that the Holy Prophet offered four takbirs. It was accordingly laid down by  Umar that in funeral prayers four takbirs should be said. The matters regarding bath for sexual impurity,  Jizyah to be levied on Magians and other allied matters were decided in the light of authentic traditions of  the Holy Prophet. 

It is related that Abu Musa Ash'ari the Governor of Basra once came to see Umar and by way of  permission said "Assalamulaikam". Umar was busy and did not pay attention to Abu Musa. Abu Musa  repeated the greetings thrice and then went away. Umar had him recalled and enquired why he had gone  away. Abu Musa said that he had heard the Holy Prophet say, "Ask permission thrice, and if you do not  get permission go away". Umar asked for corroborative evidence in support of the tradition. Abu Musa  produced the evidence and the tradition was accepted as a guide. 

In the time of Umar a question arose whether a , woman who had been divorced but the divorce had not  become I effective could remain in the house of her husband. A lady Fatima bint Qais stated before Umar  that she had it on the authority of the Holy Prophet that such woman could no longer lodge with her  husband. The Holy Quran clearly provided that such woman could lodge with her husband till the divorce  became effective. Umar accordingly ruled: "We cannot abandon the Book of Allah on the word of a  woman, for we do not know whether she remembers the tradition correctly or has forgotten it." 

Lest the people should make mistakes in reporting Hadith direct from the Holy Prophet, Umar forbade the  Companions to report direct from the Holy Prophet. Umar also enjoined that Hadith should not be mixed  with the Quran. Lest there might be mistake in reporting. Umar enjoined, "Report sparingly from the Holy  Prophet". When Umar was asked to quote traditions he would usually say "Had I not feared that I might  make a mistake in reporting Hadith I would have quoted one." Umar emphasized that extra care should  be taken to ensure that there was no mistake in reporting. The checks and restraints imposed by Umar  on the reporting of traditions and the high standard of accuracy required by him paid dividends and all the  traditions that were accepted and publicized were free from flaw.

Traditions On Religious Matters

Umar was very close to the Holy Prophet. He was very careful and cautious in reporting traditions. Over  five hundred traditions are on record which are said to have been reported exclusively on the authority of  Umar. 

Some of the traditions on religious matters reported by Umar are noticed hereunder. The account is based  on 'Sahih Bukhari'. 

Umar said that he heard the Holy Prophet say: 

"God created Adam, then passed His right hand over his back and brought forth from it his offspring  saying 'I have created these for paradise and they will do the deeds of those who go to paradise'. He  then passed his hand over his back and brought forth from it his offspring saying 'I have created these for  hell and they will do the deeds of those who go to hell'." A man asked what was the good of doing  anything. The Holy Prophet replied: 

"When God creates a man for paradise He employs him in doing the deeds of those who will go to  paradise, so that his final action before death is one of the deeds of those who go to paradise, for which  He will bring him into paradise. But when He creates a man for hell He employs him in doing the deeds of  those who will go to hell, so that his final actions before death are the deeds of those who go to hell, for  which He will bring him into hell." 

Umar stated that on the day of Khaibar some of the companions of the Holy Prophet stated that so and  so were martyrs, but when they came to a man about whom they said "So and so is a martyr", the Holy  Prophet declared "By no means. I have seen him in hell in a cloak which he took dishonestly." 

The Holy Prophet asked Umar: "Go, Ibn al-Khattab and announce among the people three times that only  the believers will enter paradise." 

In compliance with these instructions, Umar went out and announced three times "Only the believers will  enter paradise." 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"Do not sit with those who believe in freewill and do not address them before they address you." 

The Holy Prophet, according to Umar said: 

"If any one performs the ablution completely, then says 'I testify that there is no god but God, and that  Muhammad is His servant and messenger', the eight gates of paradise will be opened for him, and he may  enter by whichsoever of them he wishes." 

Umar said, "The Prophet saw me standing and passing water and said Umar do not pass water standing'  and I never did it again." 

The Holy Prophet said, "Do not wash in water which has been exposed to the sun for it produces  leprosy." 

The Holy Prophet said: 

"If four persons give a good testimony about any Muslim, God will cause him to enter paradise." 

The Holy Prophet was asked whether this would apply if three testified and he said it would they further  asked if it applied if two testified and he said it would but they did not ask him about one. 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"Should any one fall asleep and fail to recite his portion of the Quran or a part of it, if he recites it  between the dawn and the noon prayer, it will be recorded of him as though he had recited it during the  night." 

Umar said: 

"I heard Hisham b Hakim b Hizam reciting Sura al Furqan in a different way from my way of reciting it the  way that God's Messenger had taught me. I nearly spoke sharply to him, but I delayed till he had finished,  and then catching his cloak at the neck I brought him to God's Messenger and said: 'Messenger of God, I  heard this man reciting Sura al Furqan in a manner different from that in which you taught me to recite it'.  The Holy Prophet told me to leave him, and then turning to him asked him to recite. When he recited it in  the manner in which I had heard him recite it, God's Messenger said, 'Thus was it sent down'. He then  asked me to recite it, and when I had done so, he said 'Thus was it sent down'. I was surprised and the  Holy Prophet said, 'The Quran was sent down in seven modes of reading, so recite according to what  comes most easily." 

About the Holy Quran, Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"By this Book, God exalts some people, and lowers others." Umar said that God's Messenger used to seek  refuge in God from five things, namely: 

  1. (1) Cowardliness; 
  2. (2) Niggardliness; 
  3. (3) Evils of old age; 
  4. (4) Evil thoughts; and 
  5. (5) Punishment of the grave. 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"Among God's servants there are people who are neither prophets nor martyrs but whose position in  relation to God will be an object of desire by the prophets and martyrs on the day of resurrection." 

The people wanted to know who were such people and the Holy Prophet said: 

"They are people who have loved one another by reason of God's spirit, and were giving gifts to one  another without being related or having common property. I swear that their faces will be light, and they  will be placed upon light, neither fearing when men fear, nor grieving when men grieve." 

Umar said that the Holy Prophet sent to Najd an expedition which took much booty and came back  quickly. 

A man who had not gone out said, "We have never seen an expedition return more quickly or bring finer  booty than this one". 

Thereupon the Holy Prophet said: 

"Shall I not indicate to you people who have most excellent booty and a most excellent return? They are  people who have been present at the morning prayer, then sat mentioning of God till the sun rose. They  have the quickest return and the most excellent booty." 

Umar stated that he heard God's Messenger say: 

"Four rakaat before the noon prayer after the sun has passed the meridian are reckoned equivalent to a  similar number at the dawn prayer. There is nothing which does not glorify God at that hour." 

Umar said that then the Holy Prophet recited: 

"Their shadows turn round from the right and the left prostrating themselves to God." 

Umar said that he asked the Holy Prophet about the injunction: 

"You may shorten your prayer if you fear those who are infidels may afflict you." 

About this the Holy Prophet elaborated: 

"It is an act of charity which God has done to you, so accept His charity." 

About the call to prayer, Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"When the Muezzin says 'God is most great, God is most great', and you make the response 'God is most  great, God is most great', then says 'I testify that there is no god but God', then says 'I testify that  Muhammad is God's Messenger', and you make the response 'I testify that Muhammad is God's  Messenger', then says 'Come to prayer', and you make the response 'There is no might and no power  except in God', then says 'Come to salvation', and he makes the response 'God is most great; God is most  great', then says There is no god but God', and if you say this from heart, you will go to paradise."

Traditions Of Ethical Importance

Some traditions of the Holy Prophet of ethical importance have been reported by Umar. 

Umar reported that the Holy Prophet said: 

"Deeds are to be judged only by intentions, and a man will have only what he intended. When one's  emigration is to God and His Messenger his emigration is to God and His Messenger, but when his  emigration is to a worldly end at which he aims or to a woman whom he marries his emigration is to that  to which he has emigrated". 

Umar reported God's Messenger as saying: 

"If any one says, on seeing some one who is suffering affliction 'Praise be to God Who has kept me free  from the affliction He has brought on him and has shown me favor above many whom He has created,  that affliction, whatever it may be, will not smite him." 

Umar said that he had heard the Holy Prophet say: "An oath or a vow to disobey the Lord or to break ties  of relationship or about something over which one has no control is not binding on you." 

Umar stated that he heard the Holy Prophet say "Give the road its due". He was asked what was the  road's due. The Holy Prophet replied: 

  • Lowering the eyes. 
  • Removing anything offensive. 
  • Returning salutations. 
  • Recommending what is reputable. 
  • Forbidding what is disreputable. 
  • Helping the sorrowful. 
  • Guiding people on their way. 

Umar reported that the Holy Prophet taught him to say: 

"O God make my inner nature better than my outer, and make my outer nature good. O God I ask Thee to  give me some of the abundance Thou givest to men, in family, property and children, which neither strays  nor leads astray. " 

Umar stated that he heard the Holy Prophet say: 

"He who is humble for God's sake will be exalted by God, for though he considers himself lowly he is great  in the eyes of men; but he who is proud will be abased by God for though he considers himself great he is  lowly in the eyes of men to such an extent that he is of less value in their estimation than a dog or a pig." 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"In the last days my people will be afflicted with distresses from their rulers from which no one will escape  but a man who knows God's religion and strives on its behalf with his tongue, his hand and his heart, that  being the one who will have surpassing felicity in Heaven; a man who knows God's religion and believes  in it; and a man who knows God's religion but keeps quiet about it, who if he sees some one doing good  loves him for it; that one will escape for all that he kept concealed in his heart." 

Umar stated that once he went to see the Holy Prophet and found him lying on a reed mat without any  cover. The marks of the mat were on the body of the Holy Prophet. The room was bare and there was no  sign of any comfort. 

Umar said to the Holy Prophet: 

"O Messenger of God supplicate God to enrich your people for He has enriched the Persians and the  Byzantines, and yet they worship him not." 

The Holy Prophet replied, "Is that how you feel, Ibn-ul-Khattab? These people have been given their good  things in advance in the present world. Are you not pleased that they should have the present world, and  we should have the next?" 

Umar said that he went one day to the Prophet's mosque, and in the way found Mu'adh b Jabal sitting on  the Prophet's grave weeping. Umar asked him what was making him weep and he replied that it was  something which he had heard from God's Messenger. He had heard him say, "A little hypocrisy is  polytheism, and any one who is hostile to a friend of God has gone forth to fight with God. God loves the  upright, pious and retiring ones who are not missed when they are absent, and are not given invitations  or treated with honor when they are present. Their hearts are the lamps of guidance and they come  forth from every dusty and dark place."

Umar and Fiqh

Umar was the founder of Fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence. Over one thousand juristic pronouncements of  Umar are on record. All the four schools of law in Islamic jurisprudence follow the law laid down by Umar.  The pronouncements of Umar are cited in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaiba. These are also found in Shah  Wali Ullah's book Faraq's Fiqh. 

Umar not only declared the law; he also established principles of inference and construction and  formulated rules therefore. He distinguished between the acts of the Holy Prophet performed in pursuance  of his prophetic mission and the acts that he performed as an ordinary man. All that the Holy Prophet did  in the first capacity was held by Umar to be binding and a basic source of law. In matters falling in the  second category room remained for devising new laws to suit the changing conditions and circumstances. 

Umar also laid down the principle of Qiyas or logical deduction. According to this principle when the Quran  and the Hadith did not mention the details of law on any point, such law could be arrived at by logical  deduction. In his instructions to his judicial officers Umar said: 

"When you do not find a judgment on an issue in the Quran or Hadith and you are in doubt about it,  ponder over the question and ponder again. Then look for dicta on like and similar issues, and decide  accordingly." 

In addition to these fundamental principles Umar enunciated numerous rules about inference and  generalization of laws which form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence, 

When some one asked Umar's verdict on a mere academic question which had not actually arisen, Umar  forbade people raising hypothetical propositions. 

Umar held that one should not urinate standing. 

Umar was asked whether one could perform the ablution with sea water. Umar answered the question in  the affirmative. 

Umar was asked whether one could perform ablution with water taken from a non-Muslim. Umar found no  objection to such ablution. 

Umar was asked whether one who has had sexual intercourse could perform Tayammum and offer  prayers. Umar said that for him bath was essential. 

Umar was very strict about the offering of prayers. He issued instructions to the provincial Governors that  their foremost duty was the offering of prayer. 

Umar was asked as to the time for the morning prayer. He said "In the shadow of the twinkling stars". 

Umar held that the prayer of Zuhr should be delayed as far as possible and the prayer of Isha should be  offered as early as possible. 

Umar was asked: if the meals are ready and it is also the time for prayers, which should be given priority.  Umar said "first take your meals". 

When Umar saw a person offering prayer by the roadside he was advised to pray in the mosque. 

Umar forbade the people to talk loudly in the mosque. 

Umar enjoined that one should not come to the mosque having eaten some thing which produces a bitter  smell. 

Umar was very particular that when offering prayers in congregation the lines should be straight. 

Umar held that journey on a Friday was not forbidden. 

Umar enjoined that around a person on death bed one should recite the article of faith. 

When one of the wives of Umar died Umar led the funeral prayers himself. 

Umar held that in one's shroud three sheets were enough. 

Umar ruled that on the occasion of a funeral prayers four Takbirs should be offered. 

Umar held that in a garden those trees the fruit whereof was reserved for distribution among the poor  were exempt from Zakat. 

Umar held that if any thing was given as Sadaqa it could not be repurchased whatever the price or  consideration. 

Umar held that when a man was under debt, he should offer Zakat on the value of his property after  deducting the amount of the debt. 

Umar held that one should not fast unless he had seen the moon of Ramazan and he should not fast  after he had seen the Eid moon. 

Umar advised the people to keep a fast on the tenth of the Muharram. 

Umar insisted that in the month of Hajj priority should be given to the Hajj and not to Umra. 

Umar prohibited the sale of wine. 

Umar held that one should not purchase anything already mortgaged with him. 

Umar held that if one passed through a garden he could pick up fruit that had fallen on the ground. 

Umar forbade Mutah. 

Umar held that where three talaqs were announced simultaneously such divorce would be irrevocable. 

Umar held that a slave woman who bore children to her master stood emancipated. 

Umar held that justice should not be delayed. 

Umar enjoined his officers to dispatch the State business expeditiously. 

Umar held that in the court the Judge should not be praised. 

All acts should be judged according to the test of public interest. 

Any act which did not harm any one and was otherwise not forbidden under law was permissible. 

In the famous Fidak case Umar held that the property which vested in the Holy Prophet vested after him  in the State and not in his heirs.

Matters About Fiqh

Umar said: 

"I provided a man with a horse to ride on God's path, but as he who had it did not look after it well, I  wanted to buy it, and I thought he would sell it at a cheap price. I therefore asked the Prophet, but he  said 'Do not buy it, and do not take back what you gave as Sadaqa even if he gives it to you for a Dirham,  for the one who takes back what he gave as Sadaqa is like a dog which returns to its vomit." 

Umar said: 

"Once, captives came to the Holy Prophet among whom was a woman whose breast was oozing with  milk. She was running and when she found a child among the captives she took him, put him to her breast  and suckled him. Then the Prophet said to us 'Do you think this woman will cast her child into the fire?' We  replied 'Not so long as she is in a position not to do so'. He said 'God is more merciful to His servants than  this woman to her child." 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"Gold for gold is usury unless both hand over on the spot; silver for silver is usury unless both hand over  on the spot; wheat for wheat is usury unless both hand over on the spot; barley for barley is usury  unless both hand over on the spot; dates for dates is usury unless both hand over on the spot." 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"He who brings goods for sale is blessed with good fortune, but he who keeps them till the price rises is  accursed." 

Umar also reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

"If any one keeps grain from the Muslims waiting for the, price to rise, God will smite him with tubercular  leprosy and insolvency." 

Umar said: 

"God sent Muhammad with the truth and sent down the Book to him, and the verse of stoning was  included in what God Most High sent down. God's Messenger had people stoned to death and we have  done it also since his death. Stoning is a duty laid down in God's Book for married men and women who  commit fornication when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy, or a confession." 

Umar said that a man called Abdullah whose nome-de-plume was 'ass' used to make the Prophet laugh.  The Prophet had beaten him because of wine drinking, but when he was brought to him one day and he  gave orders and had him beaten, and then one of those present said, "O God curse him; how often he is  brought', the Prophet said, "Do not curse him. I swear by God that for all I know he loves God and His  Messenger." 

Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying: 

When you find that a man has been unfaithful with regard to spoils in God's way, burn his goods and beat  him." 

Umar stated that the Holy Prophet reserved three things exclusively to himself namely: the Banu an  Nadir; Khaibar; and Fidak. The Banu an-Nadhir property was kept wholly for his own purposes. Fidak was  kept for travelers. Khaibar was divided into three sections, two for the Muslims and one for the  maintenance of his family. If anything remained after meeting the needs of his family, that was divided  among the poor Muhajreen.

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