Book of Sureties (Kafala)

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 42. Book of Sureties (Kafala)

I: When people or other things are taken as surety for loans or debts

Muhammad ibn Hamza ibn 'Amr al-Aslami said from his father that 'Umar sent him to collect zakat. A man had had intercourse with his wife's slavegirl and Hamza took sureties from the man to ensure that he came to 'Umar. 'Umar gave him a hundred lashes. 'Umar confirmed their story and excused the man because of his ignorance.

Jarir and al-Ash'ath said to 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud about the apostates, "Ask them to repent and take sureties from them." They repented and their tribe was their surety. Hammad said, "When a person stands as surety for someone else who dies, he is absolved from his undertaking." Al-Hakam said, "He remains as a guarantee."

2169. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentioned that a man of the tribe of Isra'il asked another of the tribe of Isra'il to lend him a thousand dinars. He said, "Bring me witnesses so I can have testimony." He said, "Allah is enough as a witness." He said, "Bring me a surety." He said, "Allah is enough as a surety." He said, "You have spoken the truth," and he lent it to him for a fixed term. The man set out over the sea and accomplished what he wanted. Then he looked for a boat in which he could sail so as to arrive back to meet the deadline he had set, but could find none. So he took a piece of wood, bored a hole in it, put the thousand dinars and a note from himself to his friend inside it, closed up the hole and took it down to the sea. He said, "O Allah, You know that I borrowed a thousand dinars from so-and-so and he asked me for a surety and I said, 'Allah is enough as a surety,' and he was satisfied with You. He asked me for a witness and I said, 'Allah is enough as a witness' and he was satisfied with You. I have tried to find a boat to send him what he is owed, but I have not been able to find one. Therefore, I have entrusted it to You." He threw it into the sea until it disappeared into the distance. Then he left and began to look for a ship to return to his country. The man who had lent the money to him went out looking to see if a ship had come with it and lo and behold there was the piece of wood containing the money. He took it to use as firewood for his family. When he sawed it up, he discovered the money and the note. Then the one who had borrowed it arrived, bringing another thousand dinars. He said, "By Allah, I tried to find a boat to bring you your money but found none before the one I came in. He said, "Did you send me something?" He said, "I tell you that I found no ship before the one I came in." He said, "Allah has delivered for you that which you sent in the wood, so go in right guidance together with your thousand dinars."

II: The words of Allah Almighty, "If you have a bond with people, give them their share." (4:33)

2170. It is related from Sa'id ibn Jubayr that Ibn 'Abbas said about, "We have appointed heirs (mawali) for everything" that mawali are heirs. He said about "Those with whom you have a bond," "When the Muhajirun came to Madina, a Muhajir would inherit from an Ansari, rather than his own relatives, because of the brotherhood which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had established between them. When it was revealed, 'We have appointed heirs (mawali) for everything,' this practice was abrogated." Then he said, "Those with whom you have a bond,' referred only to help, co-operation and good advice. Inheritance was abolished but it was permitted to leave them legacies."

2171. It is related that Anas said, "'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf came to us and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, established a bond of brotherhood between him and Sa'd ibn ar-Rabi'."

2172. It is related that 'Asim said, "I said to Anas, 'Have you heard that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is no hilf alliance in Islam"?' He replied, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made a hilf alliance between Quraysh and the Ansar in my house.'"

III: Someone who makes himself a surety for the debts of a dead person cannot renege on that

Al-Hasan said that.

2173. It is related from Salama ibn al-Akwa' that a dead man was brought for burial to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for him to pray over and he asked, "Has he any debts?" They answerted, "No," and he prayed over him. Then he was brought another man for burial and he asked, "Has he any debts?" They said, "Yes," and he said, "Pray over your companion." Abu Qatada said, "I will take on his debt, Messenger of Allah." So he prayed over him.

2174. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'If the money from Bahrayn comes, I will give you such-and-such.' The money from Bahrayn did not come until after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had died. When the money of Bahrayn arrived, Abu Bakr commanded that it be announced, 'Whoever has a promise from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or a debt should come to us.' I came to him and said, 'The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told me such-and-such.' He gave me a double handful and I counted them and there were five hundred. He said, 'Take twice as much again.'" (Muwatta, Book 21, 51)

[This was the jizya tax.]

IV: The protection and promise granted to Abu Bakr during the time of the Prophet

2175. It is related that 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, "I only remember my parents following the deen."

It is related that 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, "I only remember my parents following the deen. Not a day passed by without the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, coming to us at the two ends of the day, morning and evening. When the Muslims were being persecuted, Abu Bakr departed for Abyssinia as an emigrant until he reached Bark al-Ghimad where he met Ibn ad-Daghina. the chief of the al-Qara tribe. He asked, 'Where are you going, Abu Bakr?' Abu Bakr replied, 'My people have driven me out. I am intending to travel in the earth and to worship my Lord.' Ibn ad-Daghina said, 'Someone like you should not leave nor be driven out. You help the poor, maintain your ties of kinship, give surety for orphans, give hospitality to guests and help people in times of trouble. I am your protector, so return and worship your Lord in your own land.' Ibn ad-Daghina travelled and returned with Abu Bakr and went around to the nobles of the unbelievers of Quraysh and said to them, 'Someone like Abu Bakr should not leave nor be expelled. Will you expel a man who helps the poor, maintains ties of kinship, gives surety for orphans, gives hospitality to guests and helps people in times of trouble?' Quraysh allowed the protection of Ibn ad-Daghina and gave security to Abu Bakr. They said to Ibn ad-Daghina, 'Tell Abu Bakr to worship his Lord in his house and to pray and recite as he likes but not to bother us with it, and he should not make it public. We fear that he will seduce our sons and women.' Ibn ad-Daghina told that to Abu Bakr and Abu Bakr began to worship his Lord in his house and not to do the prayer publicly or recite outside of his house. Then it occurred to Abu Bakr to build a mosque in the courtyard of his house and he began to pray in it and recite Qur'an, and the women and sons of the idolaters crowded around, admiring and looking at it. Abu Bakr was a man prone to weeping and he could not hold back his tears when he recited Qur'an. That alarmed the nobles of Quraysh who were idolaters and they sent to Ibn ad-Daghina who came to them. They said to him, 'We gave protection to Abu Bakr on condition that he would worship his Lord in his house and he has exceeded that and built a mosque in the courtyard of his house and has done the prayer and recitation publicly. We are afraid that he will seduce our sons and women. Go to him. If he wants to confine himself to worshipping his Lord in his house, he should do it. If he refuses not to do it in public, then ask him to return your pledge of protection to you. We dislike to break your pledge but we will not allow Abu Bakr to worship in public.'"

'A'isha said, "Ibn ad-Daghina went to Abu Bakr and said, 'You know the basis on which I gave you the pledge of protection. Either confine yourself to that or return my pledge to me. I do not want to hear the Arabs say that I broke my pledge to a man to whom I had given it.' Abu Bakr said, 'I return your protection to you. I am satisfied with the protection of Allah.' At that time the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was still in Makka. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I have been shown your place of emigration. I saw salty land with palm-trees between two lava-fields.' When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,mentioned that, some people emigrated to Madina and some of those who had emigrated to the land of Abyssinia returned from there to Madina. Abu Bakr prepared to emigrate and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, 'Take your time. I hope to be given permission.' Abu Bakr said, 'My father be your ransom, do you hope for that?' He said, 'Yes.' Therefore Abu Bakr kept himself back to accompany the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He fed two riding-camels he had on acacia leaves for four months."

V: Debts

2176. It is related from Abu Hurayra that when a dead man with debts was brought to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he used to ask, "Has he left any surplus to pay his debts with?" If he was told that he had left enough to pay his debts, he would do the prayer over him. Otherwise he told the Muslims, "Pray over your companion." When Allah granted him victories, he said, "I have more right to be the protector of the believers than themselves. If any believer dies leaving a debt, I will pay it. If anyone leaves property, it goes to his heirs."