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On Borrowing and Misappropriation

The above Tradition has been related with minor variations, by a number of other Companions as well. The substance of all of them, however, is that anyone who unlawfully occupies the smallest plot of land, even if it be only a Baalisht [1] of it,-as a report tells-, shall be sunk, in punishment of it, to the lowest part of the earth on the Day of Final Reckoning.

An awe,-inspiring incident has been quoted, in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, in connection with the usurpation of land, which has a bearing on the narrative under discussion. It is related that during the Caliphate of Amir Muawiya, a woman filed a complaint in the court of Marwaan, the Governor of Medina, against Sa’eed bin Zaid, who is included among the ten Companions of the holy Prophet about whom the tidings of Paradise were given, name by name, in their own lifetime, that he had wrongfully occupied her land. Hazrat Sa’eed feeling extremely hurt, exclaimed, “I will encroach upon the land of this woman and occupy it unjustly! Have ye not heard the dreadful admonition pronounced, in this regard, by the Apostle of God?” Hazrat Sa’eed spoke with such feeling that even Marwaan was moved by it, and he said to him, “Now, I do not call for any proof or argument from you.” Hazrat Sa’eed, then, made the following prayer from the depth of his heart: “Oh God: If Thou knowest that this woman has charged me with a false offence, deprive her of the vision of her eyes, and turn the land into her grave.” The narrator, Hazrat Orwah, goes on to say that “it happened exactly like that. I myself saw the woman; she became blind in old age and used to say that she had come to that state owing to the imprecation of Sa’eed bin Zaid, and, then, one day, she fell into a ditch as she was going over her land, and the ditch became her grave.”

[1] A span measured by the extended thumb and little finger.


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