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Judging witnesses by their apparent condition

Question

Is this narration authentic?

Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said:

‘We judge people by what is apparent and leave their inner secrets to Allah.’

 

Answer

Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has recorded the following in his Sahih, in the ‘Chapter of Testimonies’:

Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) said:

‘People were judged by wahy (divine revelation) during the lifetime of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam), but now there is no longer any more new wahy.

Now we will judge you by the deeds you practice publicly. Hence we will trust and favour the one who does good deeds in front of us, and we are not responsible for what he is really doing in secret, for Allah will judge him for that; but we will not trust or believe the one who is an evil doer apparently, even if he claims that his secret/personal life is good.’

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2641)

 

This means that when adjudging someone to be reliable on a professional level, we are not responsible beyond our capacity. After investigating, if one is deemed reliable, we will go by it.

His personal matters are best known to Allah alone.

One should take note of this last part especially on a social scale, and understand that we would never really know the inner conditions of people, and we should therefore not be ‘judgemental’ of people.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar