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I did not want it to be said that a Muslim was in need …

At the time of Umar Bin Khattab (RA) there was a boy who killed the father of two brothers. On being called to the court of Umar(RA) for trial, the boy explained how he killed him by accident. So Umar (RA) asked the two brothers “Will you forgive him?”

They both said “No we want retribution (qiyas – meaning this boy will be killed for manslaughter).”

So Umar (RA) asked the boy “Do you have any last requests?”

The boy said “Yes my father passed away and I have a younger brother and my father left some money for my brother, I would like three days to retrieve this wealth from a hidden place So that I could make sure my brother gets it when I die.”

Umar( RA) said “I can only give you permission to leave if you have a guarantor, so we can guarantee that you will return for judgement”.

The boy shouted out in the court… “Will someone not help me today?”

Everyone puts their head down and there was a hushed silence in the courtroom. Noticing there was no-one to support the boy, Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA), the noble companion who gave dawah to many tribes, raised his hand. He understood that a guarantor takes full responsibility for the one he vouches for and recognised that if the boy did not come back, he instead will have to face the capital punishment of retribution. Therefore, Umar (RA) released the boy in place of Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari(RA).

The first day passed by and the boy was nowhere to be seen. The second day passed by in the sam way. On the third day, as the day passed noon, the two brothers took Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA) to the courtroom and pressed for fulfilment of the judgement. However, they were reminded that the day does not end till maghrib (sunset)” and so crowds upon crowds all waited in the courtroom, shocked and worried that this famous Sahabi would be killed for a young boy who had betrayed him. As they entered late afternoon, there was still no sign of the boy and everyone was making dua and pleading for mercy.

As the final minutes before the Adhan of Maghrib approached, the door slammed open and the boy rushed in.

Umar (RA) was astonished and asked the boy “Oh boy why did you come back? I did not send anyone after you to call you and you could have gone renegade to save your own life and look after your orphan brother. What made you come back?”

He said “I did not want anyone to say that when a Muslim gave his word he did not fulfil I came back..”

Umar (RA) then turned to Abu Dharr (RA) and said “Oh Abu Dharr, what made you act as the guarantor of this boy, despite not knowing him or whether he would return?”

Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA) replied.. “I saw a Muslim in need and I did not ever want anyone to say that a Muslim was need and no one was there to help him, so I raised my hand to be the guarantor of this boy”

On hearing this the brothers shouted out “and we forgive the boy. When we have people like this, how can a Muslim ask for forgiveness and no one be there to forgive him?”

This was the legacy of Islam.

[Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala’i by Imam Dhahabi, Tabaqat al-Kubra of Ibn Sa’d]


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