Hadeeth 33 : The Onus of Proof is on the Claimant ….
On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas, radiAllaahu anhumaa, that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :
Were people to be given everything that they clamied, men would [unjustly] claim the wealth and lives of [other] people. But, the onus of proof is upon the claimant, and the taking of an oath is upon him who denies.
A Hasan hadeeth narrated by al-Baihaqee and others in this form, and part of it is in the two Saheehs.
Explanation of Hadeeth Number 33
That which is recorded in the Two Saheehs [ie al-Bukhaaree and Muslim] of this hadeeth mentions that Ibn Abee Mulaikah said that Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiAllaahu anhumaa) wrote : “That the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) decreed that the taking of an oath [of denial] is upon the one against whom a claim is made”, and in another narration : “That the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said that if people were given everything that they clamied, men would [unjustly] claim the blood/lives of other men, and their property; but the taking of an oath is upon the one against whom a claim is made.”
The compiler of the Forty Hadeeth [ie Imaam an-Nawawee] said : “This hadeeth has been narrated by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in their two Saheehs in Marfoo’ form [ie the chain of narrartion goes right up to the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam] from the narration of Ibn ‘Abbaas, and it has been similarly narrated by the compilers of the Collections of Sunan [such as Abu Daawood, an-Nasaa’ee, etc] and other than them.”
And al-Aseelee said “Its chain upto the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) is not established – rather it is the statement of Ibn ‘Abbaas”, to which the collector [ie Imaam an-Nawawee] replied : “If it [the chain of narration] has been declared Marfoo’ by the testimony of the Two Imaams [ie al-Bukhaaree and Muslim] then the statement of another who restricts it [to a Sahaabee] does not have any effect, and this is not considered to be a conflict nor disorder.”
And this hadeeth is a principle from the Principles of the Sharee’ah, and a great authority to which one resorts in case of dispute or argument, and it implies that judgement is not simply passed by the claim of an individual.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “men would [unjustly] claim the wealth and lives of [other] people”, then this has been used by some people to prove the invalidity of the statement of Imaam Maalik regarding the acceptance of the statement of the one who has been [almost] killed that “so and so killed me” or “my blood is on the hands of so and so”, because if the statement of the sick man is not accepted that “so and so has my money” then how can this statement “my blood is on the hands of so and so” be accepted ? However, there is no proof in this for them against Imaam Maalik, as he did not link the Qisaas or Diyah [the laws relating to murder] to the statement of the claimant, but rather to the division of the inheritance upon the murder.
And as for his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “and the taking of an oath is upon him who denies”, then the ‘ulamaa have come to a consensus [ijmaa’] that the one against whom a claim is made can be forced to take an oath of denial in the case of disputed property/possessions, but the ‘ulamaa have differed in cases other than that. So some have ruled that it is compulsory in every dispute such as in the case of divorce, or nikaah, or freeing a slave, and they have taken this from the apparent generality of the hadeeth. And if the claimed against refuses to take an oath, then the claimant may take an oath and his claim will be accepted.
And Abu Haneefah (rahimahu Allaah) said : “An oath is taken [from the claimed against] in the case of divorce and nikaah and freeing a slave, and if it is refused [by the claimed against] then the claimant may take an oath in all of these cases.” And he also said : “And one does not force an oath in the case of the hudood”.
- That we do not have all our wishes and desires fulfilled for the sake of the general good
- That mankind cannot always know by themselves what is good for them all
- That man cannot be completely free of being selfish, and consequently unjust, without the control of Allaah
- That the one who claims something must prove it to be his
- That the one who denies what he is accused of must take an oath of denial
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