It was narrated on the authority of  Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "There were two women with whom there were their two sons. A wolf came and took away the son of one of them. That lady said to her companion, 'The wolf has taken your son.' The other said, 'But it has taken your son.' So both of them sought the judgment of (the Prophet) Daawood (i.e. David), may Allaah exalt his mention, who judged that the boy should be given to the older lady. Then both of them went to (the Prophet) Sulaymaan (i.e. Solomon), son of Daawood, may Allaah exalt their mention, and informed him of the case. Sulaymaan, may Allaah exalt his mention, said, 'Give me a knife so that I may cut the child into two portions and give one half to each of you.' The younger lady said, 'Do not do so; may Allaah bless you ! He is her child.' On that, he gave the child to the younger lady." Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, added: 'By Allaah! I had never heard the word 'Sakkin' as meaning knife, except on that day, for we used to call it 'Mudyah" (1).

Explanation of the Hadeeth:

An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "When Sulaymaan, may Allaah exalt his mention, saw the pity of the younger lady, he became sure that she is his mother. As for the older lady, she saw nothing wrong with cutting the child into two portions so that the other lady may get the same fate i.e. losing her child as the older did." Scholars said: "It is possible that Daawood, may Allaah exalt his mention, gave the child to the older because of the similarity that he saw in him or that his religion gives preference to the older or because she had him and this is also the preponderant opinion according to his religion. As for Sulymaan, may Allaah exalt his mention, by tricks and courteousness, was able to know the hidden truth of the case. He, may Allaah exalt his mention, made them believe that he will cut the child so that he may know who will feel more pity to that and thus she will be his mother. When the younger lady said that words, he became certain that she is his mother. He did not want to cut him in real sense; however, he sought to test their pity for him. He may have also sought confession from the older lady who confessed afterwards that the child is for the younger and thus he passed his judgment according to confession not with the stated pity. Scholars said: Judges can do such things to reach the truth, but not to build their judgment wholly on that. (2).  

Amongst the lessons drawn from the above-mentioned Hadeeth:

1- Ibn Al-Jawzi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "They based their judgment on Ijtihaad (3). That is because if there was a textual evidence, they would have to act upon it. This actually indicates that intelligence and good understanding is a gift from Allaah The Almighty. (4).

2- It is well established in the Islamic Sharee‘ah (i.e. revealed  laws) that if a ruler judges and strives to make the right decision, and his decision is correct, he will have two rewards, and if his decision is wrong, he will still have one reward as it was authentically reported from ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “When the judge issues a ruling, if he strives to work it out (Ijtahada) and gets it right, he will have two rewards, and if he issues a ruling and strives to work it out but gets it wrong, he will have one reward.” (5).

Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, used to judge the cases referred to them according to their Ijtihaad through applying the ruling to the case according to the proofs and the verses of The Noble Quran. It was narrated on the authority of Umm Salamah, may Allaah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "I am only a human being, and you people have disputes. May be someone amongst you can present his case in a more eloquent and convincing manner than the other, and I give my judgment in his favor according to what I hear. Beware! If ever I give (by error) somebody something of his brother's right then he should not take it as I have only, given him a piece of Fire." (6).

Accordingly, the judge who judges with knowledge will surely be rewarded, whether he is correct or wrong if he did his utmost efforts to reach the correct ruling.

3- Permissibility of issuing judgment depending on proofs and evidences. Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said commenting on that story: "The Prophet's, peace and blessing be upon him, statement, "On that, he gave the child to the younger lady", nothing is better than depending on that clear-cut evidence. He, may Allaah exalt his mention, did that because of the consent of the older to have the child cut into portions for she meant to be relaxed when she and the younger will be in the same state of losing her child. When the younger lady felt pity towards the children and refused to have him cut, this proved that she is his mother. What made her do that is the mercy and love that Allaah The Almighty has placed in the heart of the mother. That proof became very strong and even he, may Allaah exalt his mention, gave it precedence over her confession (that the child is not her child). He, may Allaah exalt his mention, gave the child to her while she said: " He is her child " and really he made the right thing because if confession is for a cause that the judge knows, it should be never taken into consideration (7).

4- The great kindness of mother towards her son. Therefore, she preferred that he remains alive even if he will be away from her. Because of such things and the like, honorable Islamic religion gave great importance to the right of mother and made it one of the greatest and most important rights as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Worship Allaah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good.} [Quran 4: 36].

 

______________________________

(1)         Agreed upon i.e. reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari No. (6769) and Saheeh Muslim No. (1720).

(2)         Sharh Saheeh Muslim (12/18).

(3)         Ijtihaad in Islam means striving to understand the Shar'i ruling on the basis of Shar'i evidence. In other words, it refers to the effort a jurist makes in order to deduce the verdict. (Translator)

(4)         ‘Umdatul Qaari (16/17).

(5)         Agreed upon i.e. reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari No. (6919) and Saheeh Muslim No. (1716).

(6)         Agreed upon i.e. reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari No. (6566) and Saheeh Muslim No. (1713).

(7)         At-Turuk Al-Hakeemah (1/6).

 

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