I am looking for a narration which states that a man was caught stealing during the Caliphate Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu). When ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) was going to mete out the punishment for stealing [i.e. cutting his hand], he begged for mercy and said that it was the first time he stole. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) told him that it could never have been his first time.
The narration in question is as follows:
Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports: “A thief was once brought to ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu). The thief said, ‘By Allah! I have never stolen before.’ Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, ‘You are speaking lies! Allah Ta’ala does not [expose] a person the first time he commits a sin.’ ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) then cut his hand.
(Kitabuz Zuhd of Imam Abu Dawud, pg. 171 and As Sunanul Kubra of Imam Bayhaqi, vol. 8 pg. 276)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has declared the chain authentic (qawiyy). Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has cited another version of this narration. He has declared the chain of this version authentic (sahih).
(At Talkhisul Habir, Hadith: 2160, Musnadul Faruq, vol. 2 pg. 370, Hadith: 701)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has also stated that although this narration is reported as the statement of ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu), it will be understood that he did not say this applying his own logic, rather he heard this from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) (موقوف حكمه الرفع).
(Ithaful Maharah, Hadith: 15201)
Also see here.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar