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Burning Trees: The Exception (Ahadith 2658 – 2659)

Bismillah.

Hadith no. 2657 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 261 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
A group of eight men from the tribe of ‘Ukil came to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and then they found the climate of Medina unsuitable for them. So, they said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Provide us with some milk.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I recommend that you should join the herd of camels.” So they went and drank the urine and the milk of the camels (as a medicine) till they became healthy and fat. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after whey were Muslims. When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails which were heated and passed over their eyes, and whey were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody provided them with water till they died (Abu Qilaba, a sub-narrator said, “They committed murder and theft and fought against Allah and His Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), and spread evil in the land.”)

Today’s Ahadith:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 262 :
Narrated by Jarir (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostles (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to me, “Will you relieve me from Dhul-Khalasa? Dhul-Khalasa was a house (of an idol) belonging to the tribe of Khath’am called Al-Ka’ba Al-Yama-niya. So, I proceeded with one hundred and fifty cavalry men from the tribe of Ahmas, who were excellent knights. It happened that I could not sit firm on horses, so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), stroke me over my chest till I saw his finger-marks over my chest, he said, ‘O Allah! Make him firm and make him a guiding and rightly guided man.’ ” Jarir (radiallaahu `anhu) proceeded towards that house, and dismantled and burnt it. Then he sent a messenger to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) informing him of that. Jarir’s messenger said, “By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, I did not come to you till I had left it like an emancipated or gabby camel (i.e. completely marred and spoilt).” Jarir (radiallaahu `anhu) added, “The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked for Allah’s Blessings for the horses and the men of Ahmas five times.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 263 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) burnt the date-palms of Bani An-Nadir.

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As we learnt in a recent post, it is unlawful to cut down or burn trees, especially the fruit-bearing ones, during war. The incident above is an exception to this rule. Burning the date-palms of Banu Nadir was allowed by Allah, as He mentions in the Quran (59:5):

﴿مَا قَطَعْتُمْ مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَى أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَلِيُخْزِىَ الْفَـسِقِينَ ﴾
“What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.”

Ibn Kathir comments:

Linah is an especially good type of date tree. Abu `Ubaydah said that Linah is a different kind of dates than `Ajwah and Barni. Several others said that Linah refers to every type of date fruits, except for the `Ajwah (ripen dates), while Ibn Jarir said that it refers to all kinds of date trees. Ibn Jarir quoted Mujahid saying that it also includes the Buwayrah type. When the Messenger of Allah laid siege to Bani An-Nadir, to humiliate them and bring fear and terror to their hearts, he ordered their date trees to be cut down. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Yazid bin Ruman, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said, “Bani An-Nadir sent a message to the Messenger , saying that he used to outlaw mischief in the earth, so why did he order that their trees be cut down Allah sent down this honorable Ayah stating that whatever Linah was felled or left intact by the Muslims, has been done by His permission, will, leave and pleasure to humiliate and disgrace the enemy and degrade them.” Mujahid said, “Some of the emigrants discouraged others from chopping down the date trees of Jews, saying that they were war spoils for Muslims. The Qur’an approved of the actions of those who discouraged and those who approved of cutting these trees, stating that those who cut them or did not, did so only by Allah’s leave.” There is also a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with this meaning. An-Nasa’i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah’s statement,

﴿مَا قَطَعْتُمْ مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَى أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَلِيُخْزِىَ الْفَـسِقِينَ ﴾

(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.) “They forced them to come down from their forts and were ordered to cut their trees cut down. So the Muslims hesitated, and some of them said, `We cut down some and left some. We must ask Allah’s Messenger if we will earn a reward for what we cut and if we will be burdened for what we left intact.’ Allah sent down this Ayah, t

﴿مَا قَطَعْتُمْ مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَى أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ﴾

(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah).” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah ordered that the date trees of Bani An-Nadir be cut down and burned. The Two Sahihs collected a similar narration. Al-Bukhari recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said,”Bani An-Nadir and Bani Qurayzah fought (against the Prophet ), and the Prophet exiled Bani An-Nadir and allowed Bani Qurayzah to remain in their area until later, when the Prophet fought against Qurayzah. Their men were executed and their women, children and wealth were confiscated and divided among Muslims. Some of them, however, were saved because they returned to the Prophet’s side, who granted them asylum, and they embraced Islam. All of the Jews of Al-Madinah, Bani Qaynuqa`, the tribe of `Abdullah bin Salam, Bani Harithah and the rest of the Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah were exiled.” The Two Sahihs also recorded from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah burned down the date trees of Bani An-Nadir and had them cut down the date palms of Al-Buwayrah. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Ayah,

﴿مَا قَطَعْتُمْ مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَآئِمَةً عَلَى أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَلِيُخْزِىَ الْفَـسِقِينَ ﴾

(What you cut down of the Linah, or you left them standing on their stems, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the rebellious.)” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that the battle of Bani An-Nadir occurred after the battles of Uhud and Bi’r Ma`unah.

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Apostasy and Punishment by Fire (Ahadith 2655 – 2656)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 259 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sent us on a mission (i.e. am army-unit) and said, “If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire.” When we intended to depart, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260 :
Narrated by Ikrima
Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) burnt some people and this news reached Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu), who said, “Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Don’t punish (anybody) with Allah’s Punishment.’ No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “

fire

It is impermissible to punish by fire in Islam, as clear from the above ahadith. When it comes to apostates, execution is the prescribed punishment but there are some guidelines that must be followed. For example, the apostate is not to be murdered in cold blood, he deserves to be given a chance to repent. What follows is some basic information about apostasy and what it constitutes of. Read on for clarity.

The ruling of execution because of a word that somebody utters is what the Muslim scholars call al-riddah (apostasy). What is apostasy and what constitutes apostasy? What is the ruling on the apostate (al-murtadd)?

1 – Riddah (apostasy) refers to when a Muslim becomes a disbeliever by saying a clear statement to that effect, or by uttering words which imply that (i.e., which imply kufr or disbelief), or he does something that implies that (i.e., an action which implies kufr or disbelief).

2 – What constitutes apostasy

The matters which constitute apostasy are divided into four categories:

(a)   Apostasy in beliefs, such as associating others with Allaah, denying Him, or denying an attribute which is proven to be one of His attributes, or by affirming that Allaah has a son. Whoever believes that is an apostate and a disbeliever.

(b)  Apostasy in words, such as insulting Allaah or the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

(c)  Apostasy in actions, such as throwing the Qur’an into a filthy place, because doing that shows disrespect towards the words of Allaah, so it is a sign that one does not believe. Other such actions include prostrating to an idol or to the sun or moon.

(d)  Apostasy by omission, such as not doing any of the rituals of Islam, or turning away from following it altogether.

3 – What is the ruling on the apostate? 

If a Muslim apostatizes and meets the conditions of apostasy – i.e., he is of sound mind, an adult and does that of his own free will – then his blood may be shed with impunity. He is to be executed by the Muslim ruler or by his deputy – such as the qaadi or judge, and he is not to not be washed (after death, in preparation for burial), the funeral prayer is not to be offered for him and he is not to be buried with the Muslims.

The evidence that the apostate is to be executed is the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever changes his religion, execute him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2794). What is meant by religion here is Islam (i.e., whoever changes from Islam to another religion).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who bears witness that there is no god except Allaah and that I am His Messenger, except in one of three cases: a soul for a soul (i.e., in the case of murder); a married man who commits adultery; and one who leaves his religion and splits form the jamaa’ah (main group of Muslims).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6878; Muslim, 1676)

See al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 22/180.

To read more on some of the rulings on apostasy and apostates, click here.

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