Book of Authorisation (Wakala)

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 43. Book of Authorisation (Wakala)

I: A partner authorising another partner in respect of distribution and other things.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave 'Ali authorisation in respect of his sacrificial animals and then commanded him to distribute them.

2177. It is related that 'Ali said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered me to give away in sadaqa the cloths and skins of the camels which had been sacrificed."

2178. It is related from 'Uqba ibn 'Amir that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave him some sheep to distribute among his Companions. A lamb remained over and he mentioned it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, "You sacrifice it."

II: It is permitted for a Muslim to give authority to a harbi in the Abode of War or in the Land of Islam

2179. It is related that 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf said, "I wrote a document in conjunction with Umayya ibn Khalaf that he would protect my property in Makka and I would protect his property in Madina. When I mentioned "ar-Rahman", he said, 'I do not recognise "ar-Rahman". Write it for me in the name you used to have in the time of Jahiliyya.' So I wrote: ''Abdu 'Amr.' On the day of Badr, I went up the mountainside to give him protection when the people were asleep. Bilal saw him and went up to the group of the Ansar and said, 'There is Umayya ibn Khalaf! I would rather die than see Umayya saved!' A group of the Ansar went out with him after us. When I feared they were catching up with us, I left his son behind with them in order to distract them but they killed him. Then they insisted on coming after us. He was a large man and when they came up to us, I said to him, 'Kneel down' and he knelt down and I laid myself on top of him to protect him but they got their swords through under me until they had killed him. One of them hit my foot with his sword." He said, "'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf used to show us that mark on the back of his foot."

III: Authorisation in respect of money-changing and weighing

'Umar and Ibn 'Umar used to authorise others in money-changing transactions

2180. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, appointed a man as an agent in Khaybar who brought them some dates of a really excellent kind. He said, "Are all the dates of Khaybar like this?" He said, "We take one sa' of this kind for two sa's and two sa' for three sa's." He said, "Do not do that. Sell the worse ones for dirhams and then buy the good ones with those dirhams." He said the same thing about weighing.

IV: If a shepherd or a deputy sees a sheep dying, or something going bad, he can slaughter it or put right what he fears will be spoiled

2181. It is related from Ibn Ka'b ibn Malik from his father that they had some sheep which grazed at Sal'. He said, "One of our slavegirls saw one of our sheep dying. She split a stone and slaughtered it with it. My father said to them, 'Do not eat until I ask the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, (or 'I will send someone to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to ask him') and he asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about that (or he sent a message) and he instructed him to eat."

'Ubaydullah said, "I appreciated the fact that although she was a slavegirl she had slaughtered."

'Abda corroborated it from 'Ubaydullah.

V: It is permitted to authorise someone whether he is present or absent

'Abdullah ibn 'Amr wrote to his deputy who was absent to pay zakat on behalf of his family, both young and old.

2182. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, owed a man a camel of a certain age and he came to him to ask for it. He said, 'Give it to him.' They looked for one of that age, but only found one which was older. He said, 'Give it to him.' He said, 'You have given me full payment. May Allah give you full payment!' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'The best of you is he who is most generous in settlement.'"

VI: Authorisation in respect of settling debts

2183. It is related from Abu Hurayra that a man came to ask the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to pay his debts and spoke coarsely. His Companions wanted to attack him but the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Leave him alone. The one with a right can speak.' Then he said, 'Give him one the right age for the one he is owed.' They said, "Messenger of Allah, we can only find an older, more valuable one.' He said, 'Give to him. The best of you is he who is most generous in settlement."

VII: It is permitted to give something to a deputy or a people's mediator, going by the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to the delegation of Hawazin when they asked him for booty and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "My share is yours."

2184. It is related from Marwan ibn al-Hakam and al-Miswar ibn Makhrama that when the delegation of Hawazin came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as Muslims, he stood up. They asked him to restore to them their property and their people who had been captured. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them, 'The statement I love the most is the one which is most sincere. Choose one of the two - either the captives or the property. I have delayed distributing them.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had waited for them for about ten days after returning from Ta'if. When it was apparent to them that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, would only return one of the two to them, they said, 'We will take the captives.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up among the Muslims and praised Allah as He deserves and then said, 'Following on from that: these brothers of yours have come in repentance and I think that the captives should be returned to them. Any of you who are happy with this should do that. Any of you who want to keep their share until we can pay him from the first spoils which Allah brings us may do that. The people said, 'We are happy to do that in their case for the sake of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'We do not know which of you have allowed it and which have not. Go back so that your leaders can inform us of your decision.' The people went back and their leaders spoke to them and then they returned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him, 'They are happy with that and give their permission.'"

VIII: If one man authorises another to give something without making it clear how much, he should give according to what is common practice among the people

2185. It is related that Jabir ibn 'Abdullah said, "I was on a journey with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,and I was on a slow camel which was right at the rear. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by me and said, 'Who is this?' I said, 'Jabir ibn 'Abdullah.' He said, 'What is wrong with you?' I said, 'I am on a slow camel.' He said, 'Do you have a stick with you?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Give it to me.' I gave it to him and he hit the camel and chided it. It went from that place right up to the front. He said, 'Sell it to me.' I said, 'No, it is yours, Messenger of Allah.' He said, 'Sell it to me. I will buy it for four dinars and you can ride it to Madina.' When we drew near to Madina, I began to ride off. He said, 'Where are you going?' I said, 'I have married a woman who is a widow.' He said, 'Why not a virgin with whom you could sport and who could sport with you?' I said, 'My father died and left daughters, so I wanted to marry a woman with experience who was a widow.' He said, 'That's good.' When we arrived in Madina, he said, 'Bilal, pay him and give him extra.' He gave him four dinars and added a qirat to it." Jabir said, "That extra qirat from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has never left me." The qirat did not leave the pocket of Jabir ibn 'Abdullah.

IX: A woman giving the ruler authority in respect of her marriage

2186. It is related that Sahl ibn Sa'd said, "A woman came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, I have given myself to you (to dispose of in marriage).' A man said, 'Marry her to me.' He said, 'We marry her to you for what you know of the Qur'an.'"

X: If someone authorises another and the authorised person hands over something, and the authoriser allows that, it is permitted. It is also permitted for him to lend for a specified period

2187. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, put me in charge of guarding the zakat of Ramadan. Someone came to me and began to take handfuls of food. I grabbed him and said, 'By Allah, I will take you to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace!' He said, 'I am needy and have a large family and I am in dire need.'" He said, "I let him go and in the morning the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Abu Hurayra, what did you do with your prisoner yesterday?'" He said, "I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he complained of dire need and a large family, so I showed mercy to him and let him go on his way.' He said, 'He lied to you and he will come back.' So, from the words of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, 'he will come back.', I knew that he would come back. Therefore, I lay in wait for him and he came and once more began to take handfuls of food. I seized him and said, 'I will take you to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace!' He said, 'Let me go. I am in need and have a large family. I will not come back again.' I had mercy on him and let him go his way. In the morning the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, 'Abu Hurayra, what did you do with your prisoner yesterday?' I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he complained of dire need and a large family, so I showed mercy to him and let him go on his way.' He said, 'He lied to you and he will come back.' So I lay in wait for him a third time and he came and began to take handfuls of food. I grabbed him and said, 'I will take you to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace! This is the third time. You claimed you would not come back and then you came back.' He said, 'Let me go. I will teach you some words which will help you with Allah.' I said, 'What are they?' He said, 'When you go to bed, recite the Throne Verse, "Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining..." to the end of the ayat. You will have someone guarding over you from Allah and shaytan will not come near you until morning.' So I let him go his way. In the morning, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, 'What did you do with your prisoner yesterday?' I said, 'Messenger of Allah, he claimed that he would teach me some words which would help me with Allah, so I let him go his way.' He said, 'What are they?' I said, 'He said to me, "When you go to bed, recite the Throne Verse to the end: 'Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining'." He said to me, "You will have someone guarding over you from Allah and shaytan will not come near you until morning."' (They were exceedingly eager for good.) The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "He told you the truth even though he is a liar. Do you know whom you were speaking with on these three days, Abu Hurayra?'" He said, "No." The Prophet said, "It was Shaytan."

XI: If an authorised deputy sells something spoiled, his sale is null and void

2188. It is related that Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said, "Bilal brought some Barni dates to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, 'Where did you get these from?' Bilal said, 'We had some bad dates and I sold two sa's of them for one sa' so that we could feed the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then said, 'Oh! Oh! Usury itself! Usury itself! Do not do it. If you want to buy, then sell the dates in a seperate sale and then buy the (other dates).'"

XII: Authorisation in respect of a waqf and its administration. The administrator may feed his friends and eat reasonably

2189. It is related that 'Amr said about the sadaqa (i.e. waqf) of 'Umar, "It is no sin for the trustee to eat and give to eat so long as there is no gain of wealth. Ibn 'Umar was in charge of the sadaqa of 'Umar. He used to give some of it to people he stayed with in Makka."

XIII: Authorisation in respect of the hudud punishments

2190. It is related from Zayd ibn Khalid and Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Unays, go to the wife of this man and if she confesses, then stone her."

2191. It is related that 'Uqba ibn al-Harith said, "An-Nu'ayman or the son of an-Nu'ayman was brought in a state of drunkeness, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded those in the house to beat him." He said, "I was one of those who beat him. We beat him with sandals and palm fronds."

XIV: Authorisation in respect of sacrifical camels and looking after them

2192. It is related that 'A'isha said, "I plaited the garlands of the sacrificial animals of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with my own hands and then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, hung them round their necks with his own hands and then sent them with my father. Nothing was unlawful for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which Allah made lawful for him during the time until the sacrifice was made."

XV: When a man says to his authorised deputy, "Place it where Allah shows you," and the deputy says, "I have heard what you said."

2193. It is related from Ishaq ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abi Talha that he heard Anas ibn Malik say, "Abu Talha had more property than any of the Ansar in Madina. His favourite property was Bayruha' which was opposite the mosque. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to enter that property and drink its sweet water. When this ayat was sent down: 'You will not attain true goodness until you give of what you love,' (3:93) Abu Talha went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, Allah Almighty says in His Book, "You will not attain true goodness until you give of what you love." The property I love the best is Bayruha'. It is sadaqa for Allah whose kindness I hope for, and I hope that it will be stored up for me with Allah. Messenger of Allah, dispose of it in whatever way Allah shows you is best.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Excellent! That is a profitable property. That is a profitable property. I have heard what you have said about it and I think that you should give it to your relatives.' Abu Talha said, 'I will do that, Messenger of Allah!' So Abu Talha divided it up among his relatives and cousins."

Rawh corroborated it. Malik said "rabih" (rather than ra'ih).

XVI: A trustworthy person being given authority in respect of the treasury and similar things

2194. It is related from Abu Musa that Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A trustworthy treasurer, who pays (or he might have said, "gives") what he is commanded to, completely, fully and cheerfully to the one to whom he is commanded to give it, is one of two givers of sadaqa."