Hazrat Hakim Ibn Hizam (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)

Hakīm ibn Hizām RA, Born within the Kaabah

Hakīm ibn Hizām is the major or main narrator of a hadith that has become very important in the development of contract law in Muslim nations. He is also known as one of the few to have been born within the Kaabah, the holiest site in Islam. His father was Hizām Ibn Khuwailid. Hizām was a merchant, who ask Rasulullah SAW whether it was permissible for him to sell to a customer goods that he doesn’t yet possess (short selling, options or futures contracts in Western parlance). Rasulullah SAW forbade that. (Please refer the notes with regards to the forbidding of short-selling being the basis of Islamic Financial System)

 
The hand on Top is better then the bottom.

History has recorded that he is the only person who was born inside the Kaabah itself.Together with a group of friends, his mother had gone inside this ancient House of God to inspect it. On that particular day it was open because of a festive occasion. She was pregnant and labor pains suddenly gripped her. She was unable to leave the Kaabah. A leather mat was brought to her and she gave birth on it. The child was named Hakīm. His father was Hizām who was the son of Khuwailid. Hakīm was therefore the nephew of the Sayyidatuna Khadijah RA, the daughter of Khuwailid, May Allah SWT be pleased with her.

Hakīm grew up in a wealthy and noble family which enjoyed a high status in Makkan society. He was also an intelligent and well-mannered person who was well respected by his people. He was held in such esteem that he was given the responsibility of the rifadah which involved giving assistance to the needy and those who had lost their property during the season of pilgrimage. He took this responsibility seriously and would even help needy pilgrims from his own resources.

Hakīm was a very close friend of Rasulullah SAW, before the latter’s call to prophet hood. Even though he was five years older than Rasulullah SAW, he used to spend much time talking to him and enjoying hours of pleasant companionship. Rasulullah SAW in his turn felt great affection for Hakīm.

Their relationship was further strengthened when Rasulullah SAW married his aunt, Sayyidatuna Khadijah binti Khuwailid RA.

What is truly amazing is that in spite of the close friendship between Hakīm and Rasulullah SAW, Hakīm did not become a Muslim until the conquest of Makkah, more than twenty years after the start of the Rasulullah’s mission. One would have thought that someone like Hakīm whom Allah had blessed with a sound intellect and who was so well-disposed to Rasulullah SAW, would have been among the first to believe in him and follow the guidance he brought. But that was not to be.

Before and after his prophet hood is a close friend of Rasulullah SAW, when the Quraish boycott of Rasulullah SAW, he was not included, because the honor of Rasulullah. He is new to Islam when the conquest of Makkah and famous as the man who many good services and charity.

Just as we are astonished at the late acceptance of Islam on the part of Hakīm, he himself later in life was also amazed. In fact, as soon as he accepted Islam and tasted the sweetness of iman (faith), he began to feel deep regret for every moment of his life as a mushrik and a denier of Allah’s religion and of His Rasul.

 

 
Hakim friend during Jahilliyah and Islam.

His son once saw him weeping after his acceptance of Islam and asked: “Why are you weeping, my father’?” “Many things cause me to weep, my dear son. The most grievous is the length of time it took for me to become a Muslim. Acceptance of Islam would have given me so many opportunities to do good which I missed even if I were to have spent the earth in gold. My life was spared at the battle of Badr and also at the battle of Uhud. After Uhud, I said to myself. I would not help any Quraish against Rasulullah SAW, and I would not leave Makkah. Then, whenever I felt like accepting Islam I would look at other men among the Quraish, men of power and maturity who remained firmly attached to the ideas and practices of Jahiliyyah and I would fall in line with them and their neighbors… Oh, how I wish I had not done so. Nothing has destroyed us except the blind following of our forefathers and elders. Why should I not weep, my son?”

Rasulullah SAW himself was puzzled. A man of sagacity and understanding like Hakīm ibn Hazm, how could Islam remain “hidden” from him? For a long time, Rasulullah SAW had dearly hoped that he and a group of persons like him would take the initiative and become Muslims. On the night before the liberation of Makkah, he, May Allah blesses him and grants him peace, said to his companions:

“There are four persons in Makkah whom I consider to be above having any dealing with shirk and I would dearly like them to accept Islam.” “Who are they, O Messenger of God?” asked the companions. “Attab ibn Usayd, Jubayr ibn Mutim, Hakim ibn Hazm and Suhayl ibn Amr,” replied Rasulullah SAW. By the grace of God, they all became Muslims.

When Rasulullah SAW, entered Makkah to liberate the city from polytheism and the ways of ignorance and immorality, he ordered his herald to proclaim: “Whoever declares that there is no god but Allah alone, that He has no partner and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, he is safe…

 

 
To give is better then receiving

Whoever sits at the Kaabah and lays down his weapons, he is safe. Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan, he is safe.

Whoever enters the house of Hakīm ibn Hazm, he is safe…” The house of Abu Sufyan was in the higher part of Makkah and that of Hakīm RA was in the lower part of the city. By proclaiming these houses as places of sanctuary, Rasulullah SAW wisely accorded recognition to both Abu Sufyan and Hakīm, weakening any thought they might have of resisting and making it easier for them to be more favorably disposed to him and his mission.

Hakīm RA embraced Islam wholeheartedly. He vowed to himself that he would atone for whatever he had done during his Jahiliyyah days and that whatever amounts he had spent in opposing Rasulullah SAW; he would spend the same amounts in the cause of Islam.

He owned the Dar an-Nadwah, an important and historic building in Makkah, where the Quraish held their conferences during the days of Jahiliyyah. In this building the Quraish leaders and chieftains would gather to plot against Rasulullah SAW.

Hakīm RA decided to get rid of it and cut himself off from its past associations which were now so painful to him. He sold the building for one hundred thousand dirhams. A Quraish youth exclaimed to him: “You have sold something of great historical value and pride to the Quraish, uncle.”

“Come now, my son,” replied Hakīm RA. “All vain pride and glory has now gone and all that remains of value is taqwa – consciousness of Allah SWT. I have only sold the building in order to acquire a house in Paradise. I swear to you that I have given the proceeds from it to be spent in the path of Allah Almighty.”

Hakīm ibn Hazm RA performed the Hajj after becoming a Muslim. He took with him one hundred fine camels and sacrificed them all in order to achieve nearness to Allah SWT. In the following Hajj, he stood on Arafat. With him were one hundred slaves. To each he gave a pendant of silver on which was engraved: “Free for the sake of Allah Almighty from Hakīm ibn Hazm.” On a third Hajj, he took with him a thousand sheep – yes a thousand sheep and sacrificed them all at Mina to feed the poor Muslims in order to attain nearness to Allah SWT.

 
Hakim bin Hizam RA – Sacrifices hundredth of camels 
 
Hakim bin Hizam RA – Sacrifices Thousands of Sheeps

While Hakīm RA was generous in his spending for the sake of Allah SWT, he also still liked to have much. After the battle of Hunain, he asked Rasulullah SAW for some of the booty which Rasulullah SAW gave. He then asked for more and Rasulullah SAW gave him more. Hakīm RA was still a newcomer to Islam and Rasulullah SAW was more generous to newcomers so as to reconcile their hearts to Islam. Hakīm RA ended up with a large share of the booty. But Rasulullah SAW peace be upon him, told him:

“O Hakīm! This wealth is indeed sweet and attractive. Whoever takes it and is satisfied will be blessed by it and whoever takes out of greed will not be blessed. He would be like someone who eats and is not satisfied. The upper hand is better than the lower hand (it is better to give than to receive).”

The kind words of advice had a deep and immediate effect on Hakīm RA. He was mortified and said to Rasulullah SAW: “O Rasulullah! By Him who has sent you with the truth, I shall not ask anyone after you for anything.”

During the caliphate of Saidina Abu Bakr Siddiq RA, Hakīm RA was called several times to collect his stipend from the Bait al-mal but he refused to take any money. He did the same during the caliphate of Saidina Umar ibn al-Khattab RA whereupon Saidina Umar Al Khattab RA addressed the Muslims: “I testify to you, O Muslims, that I have called Hakīm to collect his stipend but he refuses.”

 

 
Giving is all that matter.

Hakīm RA remained faithful to his word. He did not take anything from anyone until he passed away. From Rasulullah SAW, he had learnt the great truth that contentment is riches beyond compare.

Two additional inspiring incidents from Hakīm ibn Hazm RA life, firstly, from before he embraced Islam, at the time when the Quraish boycotted the Muslims.

(1) One day Abu Jahl, who was continually on the lookout for those trying to assist the Muslims, met Hakīm, with a slave carrying a bag of flour, and they appeared to be making for the dwellings of the Bani Hashim. He accused them of taking food to the enemy and threatened to denounce Hakīm before Quraish. While they were arguing, Abu l-Bakhtari, another man of Asad, came and asked what the matter was, and when it was explained to him he said to Abu Jahl: “It is his Aunt’s flour and she hath sent to him for it. Let the man go on his way.” Neither Hakīm nor Abu -Bakhtari were Muslims, but the passing of this bag of flour from one member of the clan of Asad to another could concern no one outside that clan. The interference of the Makhzumite was outrageous and intolerable; and when Abu Jahl persisted Abu l-Bakhtari picked up a camel’s jaw bone and brought it down on his head with such force that he was half stunned and fell to the ground, whereupon they trampled him heavily underfoot, to the gratification of Saidina Hamzah RA who happened to come by at that moment.

(2) And secondly after he embraced Islam:

Abu Hiam says that they had never heard of anyone in Madinah who provided more transport for people proceeding in the path of Allah SWT than Hakīm bin Hazm RA. Two Bedouins once came to Madinah to ask for someone to provide them with transport to proceed in the path of Allah SWT. When they were directed to Hakīm bin Hazm RA they approached him while he was with his family. When he asked them what they required and they duly informed him, he told them not to be hasty and to wait until he comes out to see them. (When he came out) He was wearing clothing that was brought from Egypt. It resembled a spider’s web and cost four dirhams. He took his staff with him and his slaves also accompanied him. Each time he passed by a rubbish dump he used the end of his staff to pick up any piece of cloth that could be used to patch the satchels of the camels going out in the path of Allah SWT. He would then dust off the cloth and hand it over to his slave saying: “Keep this piece of cloth to mend the satchels.”

One of the Bedouins said to the other: “Oh dear! Save us from him! By Allah! All this man has with him are pieces of cloth from rubbish dumps.” The other said: “Shame on you! Do not be hasty. Let us first wait and see.” Hakīm bin Hazm RA then took them to the market place where he saw two large, fat pregnant she camels. He purchased them along with their supplies and said to his slave: “Use the pieces of cloth to mend any of the satchels that need mending.” Thereafter he loaded on the camels some food, wheat and fat. Furthermore he gave the two men money for their expenses and made over the camels to them. The one Bedouin then said to his companion: “By Allah! I have never seen a better collector of cloth pieces than this man!”

 

 
Better to give!!

(Notes with regards to the forbidding of short-selling being the basis of Islamic Financial System)

Gharar is variously defined in English as ‘uncertainty’ or ‘deceptive uncertainty’. The Qur’an uses the word “al-gharūr” to mean “deceptive”. Ibn Taymiyyah writes that gharar exists in a contract when risk-taking is combined with the devouring of the property of one party by the other (see Kamali, M. H., Islamic Commercial Law, 2000, p. 151 for a more detailed discussion of these opinions.) In Towards an Objective Measure of Gharar in Exchange (Islamic Economic Studies, Vol. 7, Nos. 1 & 2, Oct. 1999, April 2000), Dr. Sami al-Suwailem uses simple game theory to argue that a gharar transaction occurs where one party can only benefit by the other’s loss, under conditions of uncertainty. Commercial insurance is given as an example of this, since either the insured pays a premium and receives no countervalue, or the insurer pays out much more on a claim than was received by way of premium. Professor Mahmoud el-Gamal states that gharar involves the trading of unbundled risk. For example, if a homeowner insures his home conventionally against damage by fire, then the homeowner can be said to have separated the risk of fire from the right of ownership of the house (in other words, to have “unbundled” risk and ownership). The insurance company is paid to accept the risk of damage by fire, while the homeowner retains ownership of the house.

Many commentators have argued that gambling shows gharar in its most extreme form. However, gharar can also appear in a number of other forms. For example, to sell a non-fungible asset (such as a horse) that one does not own (to “sell short”) is widely prohibited on the grounds of gharar since only the owner of the horse has the right to sell it. In the event that the seller cannot acquire the horse before it becomes deliverable to the buyer, harm of some kind may befall the buyer. Neither can one sell an item of uncertain quality, an unborn calf for example, since the buyer and the seller do not know the precise quality of the thing that they are trading. A third example of gharar can be seen where a contract document is not drawn up in clear terms. For example if a contract of sale states in one place that the price of the object of sale is £100 and in another place £200, then there is uncertainty as to the price at which the parties have agreed to trade.

Scholars generally distinguish between contracts containing minor gharar (which tend to be seen as valid) and contracts containing substantial gharar (which are generally prohibited). For example, it is not possible to know whether each nut in a sack of nuts offered for sale is of edible quality, yet this is a minor gharar (the buyer can of course test a few of the nuts before buying) and so the sale of nuts in a sack is generally permitted. The facilitation of ease is invoked as the justifying principle here, along with the absence of any clear inequality in the values of the exchanged items (in this case, money and nuts).

Evidence for the prohibition of contracts containing gharar comes in the hadith of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who prohibited the sale of fish in water on the grounds that it is a gharar sale. Hence, it seems clear that if an object of sale is not owned by person A, then it cannot be sold to Person B. Hakīm ibn Hizām asked the Prophet (pbuh):

‘Oh Prophet of Allāh! A man comes to me and asks me to sell him what is not with me, so I sell him [what he wants] and then buy the goods for him in the market [and deliver]’. And the Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘sell not what is not with you’.
Hadīth: Sunan Abī Dāwūd, No. 3503.

However, it is widely permitted for a seller to short-sell fungible items (wheat for example) for delivery to the buyer at a later date under the contract of bay` al-salam. For example, the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have allowed the farmers of Medina to sell-short dates for delivery two and three years after the time of contract. Since these farmers had not grown the dates in question at the time of concluding the bay` al-salam contract, they were clearly in the position of selling what they did not own. Following such evidence, many jurists have distinguished between the short-selling of fungible items (allowed in some cases) and the short selling of non-fungible items (generally prohibited).

Ibn Qayyim and some modern writers, including Hashim Kamali, argue that it is not a sale without possession (qabd) that is prohibited, but rather a sale in which the seller is unlikely to be able to deliver at the specified future time. Hence, Kamali argues that a futures contract (in which the seller agrees to deliver an object of sale which he does not presently own) may be permissible given the existence of a clearing house that guarantees delivery of the sold item to the buyer. In effect, the clearing house guarantees posession (qabd) of the object of sale at the future date.

Ibn al-Qayyim writes: “There is nothing in the Book of Allāh nor in the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) nor in the sayings of any of his companions to the effect that the sale of something non-existent is unlawful, neither by specific nor general reference. The sunnah admittedly bans the sale of some things which do not exist, just as there is a ban on some things which do exist. Hence the effective cause (`illah) of prohibition is not the existence or non-existence but uncertainty and gharar. This is when a thing cannot be delivered, whether existent or not. The essential element of a sale is delivery of the sold thing, and if the seller is unable to deliver, this is gharar, gambling and risk.”
Ibn al-Qayyim, I`lām al-Muwaqqi`īn, Vol. 1, p. 219 (cited by al-Amine, M. in Derivatives Instruments in Commodity Markets: an Islamic Analysis, International Islamic University Malaysia, undated).

Hence, the above-mentioned permission for a farmer to short-sell commodities using bay` al-salam. This contract has traditionally been used by farmers and other commodity producers to finance their production, since payment is received up-front and this allows the farmer to buy seed and pay his workers before harvest time. In modern times, the permission for bay` al-salam has been cited as evidence for permitting the short-selling of commodities in general. However, some jurists see bay` al-salam as an exception to the normal rules of sale and therefore do not allow a general permission for short-selling to be inferred from it.

It is sometimes proposed that business investment involves gharar because the outcome is unknown. Take for example a mushārakah investment in which two partners contribute a specified amount of cash in return for a known share of final profit. If the mushārakah partners agreed to share the profits of the venture in a ‘fair ratio’ without contractually defining what they meant by the word ‘fair’, major gharar would clearly be in evidence with respect to the contractual terms and such a contract is therefore likely to be judged void. But what if the profit-sharing ratios are defined clearly, at say 50% each? Is there not still gharar with regard to how much money each partner will receive at the end of the investment period? If one takes gharar to mean a lack of knowledge pertaining to a future outcome, then every act of man carries an unknown outcome. The outcome of a business venture is unknown at the outset, as is the quality of the unborn calf in the above example, yet business ventures are not generally forbidden under sharī`ah. The issue here is resolved by considering whether a gain is made by one of the partners at the expense of the other. So long as each partner’s contribution commands a freely negotiated percentage share of the final profit or loss, then neither can be said to have devoured the wealth of the other unjustly. There is certainly a lack of knowledge, but not of the type that benefits one party at the expense of another. Whatever profit or loss arises will be shared fairly between the partners. This is the essence of a contract of investment, in contrast to a contract of exchange in which each countervalue must be precisely known at the time of contracting.

Abridged from The Problem With Interest, 3rd edition, 2010.

 

 
Do good deeds, charity while you still have the time

HADITHS NARRATED BY HAKIM BIN HIZAM RA

Found in: Obligatory Charity Tax (Zakat)

Hadith no: 508

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

The Prophet said, “The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. he who gives in charity is better than him who takes it). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient.

Found in: Obligatory Charity Tax (Zakat)

Hadith no: 517

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

I said to Allah’s Apostle, “Before embracing Islam I used to do good deeds like giving in charity, slave-manumitting, and the keeping of good relations with Kith and kin. Shall I be rewarded for those deeds?” The Prophet replied, “You became Muslim with all those good deeds (Without losing their reward).”

Found in: Sales and Trade

Hadith no: 293

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

Allah’s Apostle said, “The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.”

Found in: Sales and Trade

Hadith no: 296

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

The Prophet aid, “The buyer and the seller have the option to cancel or to confirm the deal, as long as they have not parted or till they part, and if they spoke the truth and told each other the defects of the things, then blessings would be in their deal, and if they hid something and told lies, the blessing of the deal would be lost.”

Found in: Sales and Trade

Hadith no: 321

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

The Prophet said, “The buyer and the seller have the option of cancelling or confirming the deal unless they separate.”

Found in: Sales and Trade

Hadith no: 323

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

The Prophet said, “The buyer and the seller have the option of cancelling or confirming the bargain unless they separate, and if they spoke the truth and made clear the defects of the goods, them they would be blessed in their bargain, and if they told lies and hid some facts, their bargain would be deprived of Allah’s blessings.”

Found in: Sales and Trade

Hadith no: 327

Narrated: Hakim bin Hizam

The Prophet said, “Both the buyer and the seller have the option of cancelling or confirming the bargain unless they separate.” The sub-narrator, Hammam said, “I found this in my book: ‘Both the buyer and the seller give the option of either confirming or cancelling the bargain three times, and if they speak the truth and mention the defects, then their bargain will be blessed, and if they tell lies and conceal the defects, they might gain some financial gain but they will deprive their sale of (Allah’s) blessings.”

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