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The unbelievers, recipients of zakah As for the unbelievers, they are of two categories

Jan 31, 2020, 1:48 PM

As for the unbelievers, they are of two categories:

1. Those who may come to Islam through the reconciliation of their hearts: Such was the case of Safwan ibn ‘Umayyah whom the Prophet, (SAW), granted safety on the day of Makkah’s conquest. The Prophet, (SAW), allowed him to think about his situation for four months and then choose for himself. He was absent at the time but came forward later and went with the

Muslims to fight in the battle of Hunayn before his acceptance of Islam. The Prophet, (SAW), borrowed his armory for the expedition of Hunayn, and in return gave him a large number of camels, loaded with goods, that were at a certain valley. Thereupon Safwwan said: “This is a gift from someone who does not fear poverty. By Allah,” he continued, “the Prophet, (SAW), has given all of this to me and verily he is the person whom I dislike the most, but he continued to give me things until he became the one I loved the most.”

2. People whose evil is feared, and it is hoped that money, if given to them, will neutralize their hostility: Ibn ‘Abbas reported: “A group of people used to come to the Prophet, (SAW). If he gave them money, they would praise Islam and say: ‘This is a good religion.’ However, if he did not give them any money, they criticized and found fault with Islam.” Among such people were Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, al-Aqra’ ibn Habis, and ‘Uyainah ibn Hisn. The Prophet, (SAW), gave every one of them one hundred camels.

The Hanafiyyah say that the share of such people are cancelled when Islam is strong. For instance, ‘Uyainah ibn Hisn, al-Aqra’ ibn Habis, and al-’Abbas ibn Mirdas came to Abu Bakr and requested their share. He wrote them a letter, which they took to ‘Umar. He tore the letter and said: “This is something that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to give you to reconcile you to Islam. Now, Allah has fortified Islam and it is no longer in need of you. Unless you stay with Islam, the sword will be between you and us. Say: ‘It is the truth from the Lord of you [all]. Then whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve’ [al Kahf 29].” They returned to Abu Bakr and said: “Are you the Caliph or is ‘Umar? You wrote a letter for us and ‘Umar tore it up.” He answered: “This is the way it is.”

The Hanafiyyah continue: “Indeed, Abu Bakr agreed with ‘Umar, and none of the companions disapproved of it. Likewise, it was never reported from ‘Uthman or ‘Ali that they gave anything to anyone in this category.”

It can be answered that the case under reference was ‘Umar’s own judgment. He saw that there would be no benefit in mollifying these people after Islam had become well-established among their people, and no harm would follow if they abandoned Islam. Also, if ‘Uthman and ‘Ali stopped spending this kind of endowment, this does not necessarily mean that the provision for it was repealed. It is possible that the change of circumstances did not call for the continuation of such an endowment to the nonbelievers. However, this does not amount to the invalidation of the provision for such endowments. Should the contingency call for its revival, the endowments in this category can be given. This is because their sanction lies in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Ahmad and Muslim reported from Anas that whenever the Prophet, upon whom be peace, was asked for anything for the sake of Islam, he would give it away. A man came and asked for sadaqah. The Prophet ordered that the man be given the entire lot of sheep between two mountains. These sheep were part of the sadaqah. The man returned to his people and said: “Oh my people! Accept Islam, for indeed, Muhammad gives in such a way as if he does not fear poverty.” Ash-Shaukani says that al’Itrah, al-Jobbani, al-Balkhi, and Ibn Mubashshir held that sadaqah may be given to those whose hearts are to be reconciled to Islam. On the contrary, ash-Shaf’i maintains that such endowments are not for unbelievers. As for the sinner (faszq), he may be given from such allocations.

Abu Hanifah and his followers hold that this kind of endowment was cancelled with the spread and domination of Islam and, as evidence, they cite Abu Bakr’s refusal to restore endowments to Abu Sufyan, ‘Uyainah, al-Aqra’, and al-’Abbas ibn Mirdas. It appears that reconciliation is permitted when the need for it arises. In other words, it is permitted to give them sadaqah for reconciliation when a people obey a leader only for worldly affairs, and they cannot be controlled except by force and domination. The spread of Islam has no ramification on the issue of reconciliation because it makes no difference in this case. The author of al-Manar testifies: “This is the whole truth. Only independent judgment can be exercised to elaborate on the eligibility and the amount of sadaqah or booty to be given away when they are available, along with other kinds of property [immovable and movable]. It is necessary to seek consultation of capable people (ahl ashShura) as the caliphs did in those matters that required Ijtihad. Whether a leader can force them into obedience by coercive action before resorting to the use of the endowment is an unsettled issue. Nevertheless, this cannot be followed as a rule but rather as the principle of inclining to the lesser of two evils and to the best benefit of the society.”

Freeing Captives 

This category includes two kinds of slaves: contracted slaves (rnukazabun) and regular slaves. Both categories were aided with sadaqah to obtain their freedom. Al-Bara’ reported: “A man came to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and said to him: ‘Guide me to a deed that makes me close to Heaven and far from Hell.’ The Prophet, (AWS), said: ‘Free a person and redeem a slave.’ “Then al-Bara’ asked: “O Messenger of Allah. Are not the two the same?” He answered: “No. Freeing a person is to grant him freedom [by redeeming him from his bondage], but the redeeming of the neck means buying him his freedom.” This is related by Ahmad and ad-Daraqutni and their report is trustworthy.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Three persons have the right to be helped by Allah: the warrior (ghazi) who fights for Allah, the contracted slave who longs to buy his freedom, and one who wishes to get married for the sake of chastity.” This is related by Ahmad and the ashab as-Sunan. At-Tirmizhi grades this report as good and sound.

As to the meaning of free captives (wa fi ar-riqab), ash-Shaukani says that scholars differ over it. ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, Sa’id ibn Jubair, al-Layth, ath-Thauri, al-’Itrah, the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf’iyyah, and the majority of scholars are reported to believe that it refers to contracted slaves (rnukatabdn) whose freedom is secured through payment from zakah. According to Ibn ‘Abbas, al-Hasan al-Basri, Malik, Ahrnad ibn Hanbal, Abu Thaur, and Abu ‘Ubaid, it means using zakah in the release of any kind of slave. Al-Bukhari and Ibn al-Munzhir are also supportive of this view. Their rationale is that the expression wa fi ar-riqab cannot be confined to the kind of slavery arising from a contract because, if that had been the case, then it would have fallen under the category of those in debt (gharimln), for theirs is an obvious case of debt. As such, freeing a slave from bondage is better than helping a contracted slave. He could be aided or helped, but not freed, for the contracted slave is a slave as long as he owes even one dirham. At the same time, freeing a slave is possible at any time, in contrast to the situation of a contracted slave.

Commenting on the subject, az-Zuhri says that the preceding position entails two possibilities. The Qur’anic ‘ayah on the subject alludes to these two possibilities, which have been pointed out by ash-Shaukani in his Muntaqa al-Akhbar. In the hadith narrated by al-Bara’, evidence suggests that redeeming necks is not the same as freeing them. Nor is the deed of freeing slaves the same as helping contracted ones with money to pay off the contract. Both of these bring the individual closer to Heaven and distance him from Hell.

To be Continued