in category Other People

What do you do when you receive food from someone you suspect is trying to harm you?

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In a nutshell: in principle, the Muslim is presumed innocent. One must have a favourable prejudice towards him in all cases and consider carefully all his acts and words and avoid having a bad opinion about him, as conjecture dictates the most untruthful speech. This should remain the rule as long as the Muslim does not prove otherwise.

Firstly, the Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He must love for his fellow Muslim what he loves for himself and hate for others what he hates for himself. When a Muslim offers us food, we must, in principle, think well of him until proven otherwise. One should not take into account intrigues and ill-founded doubts.

Al-Bokhari (5144) and Muslim (2563) reported from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings be upon him) said:

"Beware of conjecture for it is likely to inspire the most untruthful speech. Do not spy on others, do not pry into their secrets, do not engage in unhealthy rivalries, do not harbour jealousy towards one another, do not hate one another, do not turn away from one another, remain servant brothers of Allah."

The author of Awn al-Maaboud (9/2195-2196) says: "Beware of conjecture" means: avoid relying on conjecture or beware of the wrong opinion. This is based on a suspicion that arises in the heart without proof.

Al-Bayhaqui reported in ach-shu'ab (8344) according to Jaafar ibn Muhammad:

"When you are told bad news to the detriment of your brother, try to find from one to seventy excuses for him. Perhaps you will find some. Otherwise, say: perhaps he has an excuse that I do not know."

The scholar Ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) says: "What is instituted for the believer is to respect his brother in religion who apologises to him, to accept it if possible and to harbour a good opinion of him as far as possible, with a view to ridding hearts of hatred and out of a desire to bring everyone together around the same word and to foster cooperation in good. Omar (P.A.a) said:

"Do not misinterpret a word spoken by your brother in religion if it is possible to give it a correct interpretation. From Majdmou' fatawa Ibn Baz (26/365).

Eat with your brother and drink with him. Pay no attention to instigations and doubts. Do not harbour any bad opinion of him unless you have clear evidence or a strong presumption supported by signs that make you suspicious.

As for the mere fact of indulging in instigations and doubts, it is undoubtedly a weakness of certainty and a readiness to accept satanic intrigues among believers.

Secondly, certainty is that which is based on clear evidence about what is before man in scientific and practical matters and is the rejection of doubts and intrigues. This is why the jurisconsults formulated their famous slogan:

"certainty cannot be challenged by doubt".

The legal encyclopaedia (45/287) states: "Certainty linguistically means knowledge that excludes doubt and verifies the object of knowledge. It is the opposite of doubt. It derives from a tri-literary verb, since it is said yakina al-amr yakan (he knows the thing of a sure science). That is, he has clearly verified it. The term yakiine has the meaning of yaakin. The verb is sometimes used as a direct transitive verb and sometimes as an indirect transitive verb as one can say: yakantouhou or yakantou bihi and aykantout bihih.

In legal terminology the term refers to the certain knowledge of the existence or non-existence of a thing."

Thirdly, with regard to the case of the poisoned lamb, it is not verified that the Prophet (peace be upon him) continued to eat after knowing the presence of the poison. Rather, the opposite has been reported.

Abu Dawud reported (4512) from Abu Salamah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to accept gifts but he did not eat an alms. A Jewish woman offered him a grilled and poisoned lamb in Khaybar. The Messenger (peace be upon him) and his companions ate it. Then he said:

"withhold your hands for the lamb has informed me that it is poisoned. " (deemed authentic by al-Albani and the original version is quoted by al-Bokhari (3169) and by Muslim( 2190).

According to ad-Daarami (67):

"A Jewish woman offered him a roasted lamb in Khaybar. He ate it and Bishr ibn al-Baraa. Then the Prophet (blessings and salutations be upon him) held back his hand and said: this (lamb) has informed me that it is poisoned."

According to the version of al-Bazzaz (6675):

"One of the organs of the lamb informed me that it is poisoned. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and salutations be upon him) and his companions then stopped eating."

According to Ibn Isaac's version:

"when she put it back in front of him, he took the arm and was going to chew a piece of it but he did not swallow it." al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya (4/240). See dalail an-nubuwwa by al-Bayhaki (4/353).

To conclude
It is advisable to be polite and courteous to everyone, even those who have malicious intentions towards you. However, if you suspect that someone is trying to harm you through the food they have offered you, it is best not to eat it for reasons of personal safety.

It is also important to note that distrust of others is not an encouraged behaviour in Islam, so it is better to try to resolve disputes peacefully rather than distrusting others without good reason.

Allah knows best.

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