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Discharging mazalim

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Discharging mazālim or Radd al-mazālim (Arabic: رد المظالم) refers to discharge of properties and debts which a person is supposed to return. In Shia hadiths, discharging mazalim is mentioned among the conditions of acceptance of repentance by God. According to the fatwa of Shia jurists, discharging mazalim is obligatory. In discharging mazalim, properties with unknown owner should be given as charity to poor people, by the permission of the marja'. In jurisprudence references, discharging mazalim has been mentioned in discussions regarding khums, enjoining good and prohibiting the evil, rulings regarding a dead person, will and usurpation.

Different Definitions

Discharging mazalim refers to discharge of properties and debts which a person is supposed to return.[1] However, different definitions have been proposed regarding which the properties and debts are meant:

Asadullah Shushtari, among the scholars of 13th/19th century, wrote that, "mazalim is the plural form of mazlama meaning properties and debts of others upon a person to return; such as a property acquired through usurpation or theft. Nasir Makarim Shirazi considers mazalim as forbidden properties which are with a person, and he does not know the owner of them."

According to Aqa Muhammad Ali Kirmanshahi, son of Wahid al-Bihbahani, mazalim are those properties and debts mixed with a person's properties and neither their measure, nor their owner is known. Sayyid Ali Sistani defined mazalim as properties which a person has caused their loss or has acquired out of injustice, whether or not their owner is known.

In definition of Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani, mazalim refer to properties which are specified, but their owner is unknown.

Significance in Hadiths and Jurisprudence

In Shia hadiths, discharging mazalim is mentioned among the conditions of acceptance of repentance by God and abandoning it is considered among the sins which bring about afflictions. In jurisprudence references, discharging mazalim has been mentioned in discussions regarding khums, enjoining good and prohibiting the evil, rulings regarding a dead person, will and usurpation.

Religious Ruling

Shia jurists consider discharging mazalim obligatory, the same as khums and zakat. Some jurists including Muhammad Ishaq Fayyad have considered it immediate obligatory; but, some others including Imam Khomeini said that if the person sees the signs of [imminent] death in himself, he should immediately discharge himself of mazalim.

Method

According to marja's, if there is any property with the person, the owner of which is unknown or inaccessible, the person should get permission from the religious authority and give that property or its price (if it has been lost) to poor people as charity. The fatwa of some marja's including Safi Gulpayegani is that it should be given only to those who are not Sayyid.

There is no consensus among jurists regarding the ruling for the case when the owner is found after giving the property or its price as charity. According to Imam Khomeini's view, the obligatory precaution requires that the person pays its price to the owner; but, according to Ayatullah Khoei’s opinion, it is not necessary to give the owner anything.

According to the fatwa of marja's, if the amount of property is not known, the person should make sulh with the owner; meaning that they achieve each other's consent; but, if the owner does not give consent, only the price the person is definite of being in charge should be paid. However, recommended precaution requires to pay more.


Notes

  1. Kirmānshāhī, Maqāmiʿ al-faḍl, vol. 1, p. 105.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from رد مظالم in Farsi WikiShia.
  • Kirmānshāhī, Mūhammad ʿAlī. Maqāmiʿ al-faḍl. 1st edition. Qom: Muʾassisa ʿAllāma Wahīd Bihbahānī, 1421 AH.