Treating His Debtor with Leniency and Respite – Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) – Part Twelve

Muhammed bin Abu Haatim (rahimahullah) narrates:

Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) had a certain debtor who owed him a substantial amount of money and was delaying in settling his debt.

Once, while Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was in the city of Firabr, he received information that his debtor had come to the city of Aamul. Hence, we suggested to Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) that he should travel to Aamul in order to recover the money he was owed from the debtor. However, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) replied, “It does not behove us to suddenly arrive there and frighten him.”

Thereafter, his debtor learnt that Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was in Firabr, and hence he fled to Khwaarzam. We then said to Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), “You should write a message to Abu Salamah, the governor of Aamul, and request him to send instruction to the governor of Khwaarzam to seize the debtor and take from him the money which he owes you.” However, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) replied, “If I ask them to write a letter for me, then perhaps one day, they may ask me to write a letter for them, and I am not willing to sell my deen for wealth.”

We tried our level best to convince Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) to request a letter from the governor, but he abstained from doing so. Eventually, without the knowledge or instruction of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), we spoke to the ruler and he wrote a letter to the governor of Khwaarzam. When Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) learnt of what we had done, he became extremely angry and said, “Do not try to show me more kindness than I show myself (i.e. you wish well for me, but I know what is better for myself compared to you).”

Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) then sent letters behind the letters of the ruler (explaining that he had not made the request, and asking that the debtor be left in peace), and also wrote to some of his associates in Khwaarzam, requesting them to not interfere with the debtor, and instead treat him with good conduct.

The debtor then left Khwaarzam and returned to Aamul, intending to travel to an area in Marw. Some of the business people then got together and sent a message to the ruler, saying that Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) had come out in pursuit of his debtor. Hearing this, the ruler immediately intended to apprehend the debtor and compel him to repay the money. However, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was not pleased with this. Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) disliked that the debtor should be subjected to harsh treatment due to the debt he owed him. Hence, an agreement was made with the debtor that he would pay Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) a meagre amount of ten dirhams annually – even though the total amount of the debt was twenty-five thousand dirhams.

Even then, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) did not receive any amount of the money owed to him – not even a single dirham.

(Siyar A’laamin Nubalaa 12/446)

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