Hadith 25

Chapter: Allah’s says, “If they turn in repentance and establish the prayer and pay zakat, let them go on their way.” (9:5)

‘Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Al-Musnadi narrated from Abu Rawh Al-Harami Ibn ‘Umarah from Shu’ba from Waqid Ibn Muhammad who heard from his father from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is the Messenger of Allah, and establish the prayer, and pay the zakat.  If they do that, their lives and property are protected from me except for the right of Islam, and their reckoning is up to Allah.”

Ibn Hajar’s Explanation

Allah’s saying, If they turn in repentance”

The author (Bukhari) used the above mentioned hadith as an explanation for the verse, because what is meant by repentance in the verse is the return from disbelief to tawheed.  This meaning was explained with the statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is the Messenger of Allah. Another correlation between the verse and the hadith is that the refrainment in the verse (i.e. let them go on their way) and the protection in the hadith (i.e. if they do that, their lives and property are protected from me) share the same meaning.

His saying, “until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is the Messenger of Allah and establish the prayer, and pay the zakat”

The hadith was placed in the book of eemaan as a further refutation of the murji’a who claimed that eemaan does not require action.

His saying, “I have been commanded”

Meaning Allah commanded me, because anytime the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is commanded, the one commanding him is Allah.  On the other hand, when one of the companions of the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم says, “I was commanded”, it means that the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was the one commanding rather than another companion. This is due to the fact that the companions were capable of extracting rulings from the proofs of the Shariah, so they would not consider the command of one another as proof (in the religion). However, if a person from the tabi’een (the following generation) said “I was commanded”, it could either mean that a companion (of the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم) ordered him, or that another tabi`ee ordered him.

His saying, “to fight the people until they testify”

Objection: This necessitates that once the testimony of faith occurs, the prayer is established, and the zakat is given, the person’s blood is secure (i.e. his life) even if he rejects the remaining orders.

Answer: Bearing witness to the message includes believing in all that was revealed with it, and this can be understood from the wording, “except for the right of Islam” which includes the religion in its totality.

-So If it is asked why didn’t he صلى الله عليه و سلم suffice with the mention of belief, and instead continued to add the establishment of the prayer and the zakat.

The answer is that their addition signifies their importance as they are the source of all acts of worship both physical and material.

His saying, “and establish the prayer”

Establishing the prayer entails remaining steadfast upon it while fulfilling all of its conditions. The prayer referred to is the obligatory prayer and not the prayer in general, it therefore doesn’t include the prostration preformed during (certain parts of) the recitation of the Quran even though it may be referred to as “salat”.  Imam An-Nawawi said, as a result of this hadith, “Whoever leaves the prayer deserves the corporal punishment.” He did, however point out the difference of opinion which exists with the various schools of thought. Al-Kirmani, when asked about the one who abandons the zakat, stated that they (the prayer and zakat) carry the same ruling because they share the same purpose.” It appears that he meant that they carry the same ruling in terms of fighting against them (i.e. the ones who abandon them), and not in regards to the corporal punishment. However, there is a difference between the two (i.e. salat and zakat) in the fact that the zakat can be taken using force from a person who attempts to abstain from paying it, as opposed to the salat (in which force is not used to establish it). The proof (for this opinion) is in the actions of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, who fought those who refused to pay the zakat (after the death of the prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم), but it was not narrated that he killed any of them under the corporal penalty. Hence, using this narration as proof to carry out corporal punishment on the one who leaves the prayer is debatable due to the fact that the statement “to fight” differs than “to kill”.  And Allah knows best

Ibn Daqeeq Al-Eid opposed the view of using corporal punishment on the one who abandons the prayer in his explanation of Al-‘Umdah. He said, “The permissibility of using force against them doesn’t necessitate the permissibility of killing them (by way of corporal punishment), because combat comprises of struggle and fighting from both sides, unlike the outright killing (of a person).

Al-Baihaqe reported that Al-Shaf’e said, “Combat (القتال) is not the same as killing (القتل) by any means, and the permissibility to fight may apply at times without the permissibility of killing a person.”

His saying, “If they do that their lives and property are protected from me except for the right of Islam and their reckoning is up to Allah”

This means that Allah is the one who will judge their secret affairs. This can be used as proof for the acceptance of a person’s outwardly and apparent actions (or statements) and judging based upon them, as opposed to those who consider it obligatory for the proofs to be understood by the one who makes the declaration. It may also be understood that:

  • The people of innovations are not disbelievers as long as they declare the tawheed (unity) of Allah, and accept the Shariah as revelation.

  • The repentance of the one who returns (to Islam) from disbelief is accepted, without attempting to differentiate between their outwardly and inwardly disbelief (or intentions).

-If it said, we understand from the hadith that whoever restrains from declaring tawheed should be fought, so then how can we leave fighting those who pay the jizyah and make pacts (that they have established with the believers)?

The answer may be considered from a number of different angles;

  1. The claim that this narration was abrogated, which would make the permissibility of taking the jizyah and making pacts occurring after these narrations.  This claim is proven by the fact that the permissibility came after Allah said, “Kill the polytheists”

  2. It may be a general statement (i.e. to fight the people) that had something specific excluded from it (i.e. except the ones that pay the jizyah or make pacts)

  3. It may be a general statement, indicating something specific. So the meaning of his saying صلى الله عليه و سلم, “fight the people” is the polytheists from other than the people of the book, as proven by the narration recorded by An-Nasa’i with the wording, “I was ordered to fight the polytheists.”

  4. What was intended by the testimony of faith and what came after it was exalting the status of the testimony of faith, and the deference of those who oppose it, which happens by fighting some of them, or taking the jizyah from them, or setting up treaties and pacts with them.

  5. It may be that what is meant by fighting was actual fighting, or that which takes the place of it such as peace by jizyah and pacts.

  6. The intent of the jizyah is so that they would be coerced towards Islam, so it is as if he صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “until they enter Islam or accept what will lead them to Islam.

And Allah knows best.


Although the two sheikhs (i.e. Bukhari and Muslim) agreed in regards to the authenticity of this hadith, there are some who considered it’s authenticity unlikely due to the fact that if Ibn Umar narrated it (as in this narration), he would not have let his father (Umar Ibn Al-Khattab) differ and argue with Abu Bakr in dealing with the ones who refused to may the zakat (As this narration clearly indicates the permissibility of fighting those who refuse to pay the zakat).  They also considered it’s authenticity improbable because if this hadith was known to them, Abu Bakr would not have consented to Umar’s use of the Prophet’s saying صلى الله عليه و سلم: “I was ordered to fight the people until the say there is no Diety worthy of worship except Allah” as a proof for his argument (i.e. he would have instead answered him with this narration which includes and pay the zakat), nor would he have had to resort to his juristic reasoning when he said: “I surely will fight those who differ between prayer and alms giving, because it (zakat) is linked to salat in the book of Allah.”

-The answer to this objection is that it doesn’t necessitate that in order for this hadith to exist Ibn Umar had to have remembered it at the time of the incident (between Abu Bakr and Umar).   Also, if he did recall it, nothing indicates that he was present at the time of the dispute.  It could also be a possibility that Ibn Umar narrated the hadith to them after the incident took place.  In regards to the claim that Abu Bakr used only his juristic reasoning as a proof, this is incorrect due to the fact that Abu Bakr also said: “except for the right of Islam, and zakat is from the right of Islam”.  To further support the hadith’s authenticity, Ibn Umar was not the only companion to narrate this hadith, rather it was also narrated from Abu Hurairah with the same addition of prayer and zakat.

This hadith also proves that at times the sunnah (correct opinion) may be unknown to the major companions, while a few others are aware of it.  For this reason, opinions are not taken into consideration even if they seem strong with the presence of a sunnah contradicting them, and it is never said: But how could so and so person not be aware of this.

And the success is with Allah.


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