The Burden of Proof is upon the claimant

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “If people were given what they claimed, men would claim the wealth and blood of the people, but the burden of proof is upon the claimant and the oath is incumbent upon the one who denies.”

[Hadith Hasan related by al-Bayhaqee]

Commentary:

His statement: “If people were given what they claimed” i.e. what they claim of others’ (possessions). Know that possessing something is of different types:

  1. To attribute something to himself that he has to someone else, such as saying, “So and so has this over me.” So this is an assurance.
  2. To attribute something to himself that he has over someone else, such as saying, “I have this over so and so.” So this is a claim.
  3. To attribute something to someone else over someone else, such as saying, “So and so has this over so and so.” So this is a testimony.

We are currently speaking about claiming. If a person claims something from someone else saying, “I request one hundred Dollars from you” for example. If his claim were accepted, he would claim the wealth and blood of the people. Likewise, if he said to another, “You killed my father” without any proof, but he claims his blood. This means that a claim is not accepted without a proof. Due to this, He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “But the burden of proof is upon the claimant.” If a person claims something over another, we say, “Present your proof”. Proof is anything that clarifies the truth, be it witnesses, actual events, or other than that.

“And the oath is incumbent upon the one who denies” i.e. whoever denies a claim is to be debated if he has no proof with his argument. If Mohammed were to say to Bilal, “I request one hundred Dollars from you”, yet Bilal says, “No.” We say to Mohammed, “Bring a proof” If he does not bring a proof, we say to Bilal, “Make an oath negating what he claimed.” If he makes an oath then he is free.

And from the Benefits of this hadith:

  1. The Islamic Legislation encourages preservation of the people’s wealth and blood due to his statement (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), “If people were given what they claimed, men would claim the wealth and blood of the people “
  2. If the claimant brings a proof of his claim then the verdict is in the favour of the claimant due to his statement, (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), “But the burden of proof is upon the claimant” The proof is everything that explains the truth and clarifies it – as has preceded us in the explanation – and it is not specific to one or two witnesses. Rather, everything that clarifies the truth is a proof.
  3. The oath is incumbent upon the one who denies, i.e. whoever denies the claim of the claimant.
  4. If he denies this and says, “I will not take an oath” then the judgement given is that he refused to testify. The angle of this is if he refuses to make an oath, he has refused to do what is obligatory upon him and the judgment goes against him.

And Allah Knows Best!

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