Book of Hiring

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 40. Book of Hiring

I: Hiring a righteous man

in accordance with the words of Allah Almighty, "The best person to hire is someone strong and trustworthy." (28:26)

A trustworthy custodian and someone not giving a post to person overly eager for it

2141. It is related from Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A trustworthy custodian who carries out what he is ordered to do cheerfully is one of those who give sadaqa."

2142. It is related that Abu Musa said, "I came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with two men of the Ash'ari tribe. I said, 'I did not know that they were seeking posts.' He said, 'We will not appoint to our posts any who seek them.'"

II: Herding sheep for money (qirats)

2143. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah did not send any Prophet but that he herded sheep." His Companions said, "Including you?" He said, "Yes, I used to herd them for money (qirats) for the people of Makka."

III: Hiring idolaters in case of necessity or if there are no Muslims available

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, hired Jews at Khaybar.

2144. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr hired a man of the Banu ad-Dil from the Banu 'Abd ibn 'Adi as an expert guide, (khirrit means expert guide.) He had taken an oath of alliance with the family of al-'As ibn Wa'il and followed the religion of the unbelievers of Quraysh. They both trusted him and gave him their mounts and arranged with him to meet them at the cave of Thawr after three nights. He brought them their mounts on the morning of the third day whereupon they set off. 'Amir ibn Fuhayra and the Dili guide went with them. He took them below Makka on the coastal route."

IV: It is permitted for someone to hire another to work for him after three days or a month or part of a year, both parties should carry out the conditions they have stipulated when the stipulated time comes

2145. It is related that 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr hired a man of the Banu ad-Dil as an expert guide even though he followed the religion of the unbelievers of Quraysh. They gave him their mounts and they arranged to meet him at the cave of Thawr after three nights and he brought them their mounts on the morning of the third day."

V: Hired men on expeditions

2146. It is related that Ya'la ibn Umayya said, "I went on the expedition of the Army of Hardship (Tabuk) with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. I think that was one my best deeds. An employee of mine fought with a man and one of them close his teeth on the other's finger and when he pulled out his finger the other's tooth fell out. He went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who denied his claim for compensation for the tooth, saying, 'Would you rather he had left his finger in your mouth so that you could gnaw on it (he said, 'I think he said, ' as a stallion gnaws')."

A similar story to this is related from the grandfather of 'Abdullah ibn Abi Mulayka - a man bit another man's hand and his tooth fell out and Abu Bakr denied the claim.

VI: When someone is hired and the period of employment is made clear to him but not the work, with reference to the words of Allah, "I would like to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine ...to His words...Allah is Guardian over what we say." (28:27-28)

To hire someone means to give him a wage. Part of it is what is said in consolation, "May Allah repay you!"

VII: It is permitted to hire someone to shore up a wall that is about to fall down

2147. It is related from Ubayy ibn Ka'b that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, They found there a wall on the point of falling down. (Sa'id said, "With his hand like this" and raised his hand and put it upright.)" Ya'la said, "I think that Sa'id said, 'He touched it with his hand and put it upright.' He said, 'If you had wished, surely you could have exacted some recompense for it.'" Sa'id said, "A wage that we can eat with."

VIII: Hiring people up to the time of midday

2148. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Your example and the example of the People of the Two Books is like that of a man who hired some employees and said, 'Who will work for me from morning to midday for a qirat?' So the Jews worked. Then he said, 'Who will work for me from midday to the 'Asr prayer for a qirat?' So the Christians worked. Then he said, 'Who will work for me from 'Asr until sunset for two qirats?' You are they. The Jews and Christians became angry and said, 'Why do we have more work and less wages?' He said, 'Have I given you less than what was due to you?' They said, 'No.' He said, 'That is my bounty which I give to whomever I wish.'"

IX: Hiring until the time of 'Asr prayer

2149. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The example of you, the Jews and the Christians is like that of a man who employed some workers. He said, 'Who will work for me until midday for a qirat each?' The Jews worked for a qirat each. Then the Christians worked for a qirat each. Then you are those who work from the 'Asr prayer to sunset for two qirats each. The Jews and Christians got angry and said, 'We did more work but get less pay!' He said, 'Have I wronged you at all regarding anything which was due to you?' They said, 'No.' He said, 'That is my bounty which I give to whomever I wish.'"

X: The sin of someone who withholds the wages of an employee

2150. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah Almighty says, 'I will be an adversary against three people on the Day of Rising: a man who makes an agreement in My name and then betrays it, a man who sells a free man and consumes the proceeds, and a man who hires an employee and gets full work from him and then does not pay him his wages.'"

XI: Hiring from the time of 'Asr till nightfall

2151. It is related from Abu Musa that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The example of the Muslims, Jews and Christians is like that of a man who hires some people to work for him for a day until nightfall for a specified wage. They work until midday and say, 'We do not need the wage you stipulated for us and let the work we have done be discounted.' He says to them, 'Do not do that. Finish the rest of your work and take your wage in full.' They refuse and leave. He hires two workers after them and says to them, 'Finish the rest of this day and you will have the wage I stipulated for them.' They work until the time of the 'Asr prayer and say, 'Let our work be discounted and you keep the wage which you stipulated for us for doing it.' He says, 'Finish the rest of your work. There is only a little of the day left.' They refuse. He hires some more people to work for him for the rest of the day and they work for the rest of the day until the sun sets and they take the full wage of both of the other two groups. That is their example and the example of their non-acceptance of this light."

XII: Someone who hires another who neglects to take his wage and then the employer uses that money and it increases, or someone who uses someone else's money which increases

2152. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that he heard the Messenger of Allah. may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "Three men among those before you were out walking. When night fell they took refuge in a cave and entered it and a rock fell down from the mountain and blocked their way out of the cave. They said, 'You will not be delivered from this rock unless you make supplication to Allah by your virtuous actions!' One of them said, 'O Allah, I have two aged parents and I used not to give any milk in the evening to my family or friends before them. One evening I went a long way to get something and did not reach them until after they had gone to sleep. I milked their evening drink for them and then found them asleep. I did not want to give my family or friends their evening drink before them so I remained with the cup in my hand waiting for them to wake up until dawn came. Then they woke up and drank their drink. O Allah, if I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then release us from this situation we are in in respect of this rock.' A little gap opened but they still could not get out."

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Another said, 'O Allah! A niece of mine used to be the person I loved more than anyone else. I tried to seduce her and she refused me until one year she was suffering on account of a drought. She came to me and I gave her a hundred and twenty dinars provided that she would give me a free hand with herself. She did that until I was about to have her and she said, "It is not lawful for you to deflower without marriage." I gave up the idea of sexual intercourse with her and left her even though she was the person I loved more than any other. However, I still left the gold I had given her. O Allah, if I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then release us from the situation we are in!' The rock opened further but not enough to enable them to leave."

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The third one said, 'O Allah, I employed workers and gave them their wages except for one man who left what he was owed and went off. I invested his wage and the wealth from it multiplied. He came to me after a time and said, "'Abdullah, pay me my wage!" I said, "All the camels, cattle, sheep and slaves that you see here have come from your wage." He said, "'Abdullah, are you making fun of me?" I said, "No, I am not making fun of you." He took all of them and drove them off not leaving anything. O Allah, if I did that out of the desire for Your pleasure, then release us from the situation we are in!' The stone moved out of the way and they walked out."

XIII: Someone who lets himself be hired to carry things on his back and then gives his wage away as sadaqa, and the wages of porters

2153. It is related that Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded us to give sadaqa, we used to go to the market and carry things and get a mudd. Some of us now have a hundred thousand." Shaqiq said, "We think he meant himself."

XIV: The wage of the broker

Ibn Sirin, 'Ata'. Ibrahim and al-Hasan did not think that there was any harm in a broker reveiving a wage.

Ibn 'Abbas said, "There is no harm in someone saying, 'Sell this garment and whatever is more than such-and-such is yours.'"

Ibn Sirin said, "There is no harm in someone saying, 'Sell it for such-and-such and whatever profit there is belongs to you, or should be shared between you and me.'"

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Muslims abide by their conditions."

2154. It is related from Ibn 'Abbas, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade going out to meet carvans and that a townsman sell on behalf of men of the desert." Tawus said, "I asked, 'Ibn 'Abbas, what is meant by his words, "What does he means by 'townsmen should not sell on behalf of men of the desert'?" He said, "They should not act as his broker."

XV: Is a Muslim permitted to hire himself to an idolater in the Land of War?

2155. It is related that Khabbab said, "I used to be a blacksmith and I did some work for al-'As ibn Wa'il. He owed me some money, so I went to him to ask for it. He said, 'By Allah, I will not pay it to you until you reject Muhammad.' I said,, 'By Allah, not until you die and are resurrected from the dead.' He said, 'So I will die and be resurrected?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'So then I will be given wealth and children and I will pay you.' So Allah Almighty revealed, 'Have you seen him who rejects Our Signs and says, "I will certainly be given wealth and children there"?' (19:77))"

XVI: What is paid for making incantation with the Fatiha of the Book over Arab tribes

Ibn 'Abbas reported from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "That for which a man is most entitled to take a wage is the Book of Allah."

Ash-Sha'bi said, "A teacher should not stipulate any wage, but if he is given something, he should accept it." Al-Hakam said, "I did not hear of anyone disliking paying teachers a wage." Al-Hasan paid ten dirhams and Ibn Sirin did not see any harm in a wage being given to official distributors." He said, "It was said that suht (ill-gotten gains) refers to bribes given to secure favourable judgements. People used to be paid for estimating."

2156. It is related that Abu Sa'id said, "A group of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went on a journey and halted near one of the Arab tribes. They asked them for hospitality but they refused to give them any. The chief of that tribe was bitten or stung [by a snake or scorpion] and they tried everything, but nothing helped. One of them said, 'If you were to go to those people who camped, perhaps one of them has something.' So they went to them and said, 'Our chief has been stung and we have tried everything but nothing has helped him. Does any of you have anything [which will help]?' One of them said, 'Yes, by Allah. I can recite an incantation, but, by Allah, we asked you for hospitality and you did not give it to us. I will not recite it for you until you stipulate a payment for us.' They agreed to pay them a certain number of sheep. He spat on it and recited, 'Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds.' It was as if the chief was released from a hobble and he began to walk and there was nothing wrong with him. He said, 'Pay them their wage which you agreed with them.' One of the [Muslims] said, 'Divide it up.' The one who had recited said, 'Do not do it until we reach the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. We will tell him what happened and see what he commands us.' They went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and mentioned it to him. He said, 'How did you know that it is an incantation?' Then he said, 'You were right. Divide and give me a share as well.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, laughed."

It is related that Abu Bishr heard Abu'l-Mutawakkil relate this.

XVII: The levy on a slave and the paying of the levies of a slavegirl

2157. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "Abu Tayyiba cupped the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he commanded a sa' or two sa's of food to be given to him and told his owners to reduce his levy or tax."

XVIII: The levy of the cupper

2158. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was cupped and paid the cupper."

2159. It is related that Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was cupped and paid the cupper his wage. If he knew it was disliked, he would not have paid him."

2160. It is related that Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was cupped and never withheld anyone's wages."

XIX: Someone telling the owners of a slave to lessen his levy

2161. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called for a slave who was a cupper and he cupped him and he commanded a sa' or two sa's or a mudd or two mudds to be given to him and spoke [to his owners] about him to reduce his levy."

XX: Earnings from prostition and slavegirls

Ibrahim disliked the wages of the wailer and the singing-girl.

The words of Allah Almighty, "Do not force your slavegirls to prostitute themselves if they desire to be virtuous women out of your desire for the goods of this world. If anyone forces them, after they have been forced, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (24:33) "Fatayatikum means your slavegirls."

2162. It is related from Abu Mas'ud al-Ansari that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade the proceeds from the sale of dogs, money earned through prostitution and the earnings of a soothsayer."

2163. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade the earnings of slavegirls."

XXI: The semen of male camels

2164. It is related that Ibn 'Umar said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade selling the semen of the male camel."

XXII: When someone rents land and then  he or the owner dies

Ibn Sirin said, "His family cannot evict him until the end of the lease."

Al-Hakam, al-Hasan and Iyas ibn Mu'awiya said, "The lease lasts its term."

Ibn 'Umar said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, rented out Khaybar for half its yield. That was in the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Abu Bakr and the beginning of the khalifate of 'Umar." He did not mention that Abu Bakr and 'Umar renewed the rent after the death of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

2165. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, rented Khaybar to the Jews to work it and cultivate it on the basis that they would have half of what it produced." 'Umar related that the fields were rented for something [of the yield]. "Nafi' specified it but I do not remember what it was." Rafi' ibn Khadij said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade renting out fields."

'Ubaydullah related from Nafi' from Ibn 'Umar, "until 'Umar expelled them."