There Is Neither Harm nor Reciprocal Harm
Fatwa No: 450925

  • Fatwa Date:22-11-2021 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 17, 1443
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Question

There is a hadith which says: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm”. Does that mean one has to prevent harm from coming to him or towards his family?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Hadeeth: “There is neither harm nor reciprocal harm.”, is a well-known Hadeeth among the scholars and it is an Islamic basis from the succinct and eloquent speeches of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). It was reported by Malik in Al-Muwatta’, Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak, and others, and many scholars have authenticated it.

Al-Hakim said:
This is a Saheeh Hadeeth with a chain of transmission according to the conditions set by Muslim, but it was not reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.” [End of quote]

Adh-Dhahabi said in at-Talkhees: “It fulfills the conditions set by Muslim.

Several meanings have been mentioned about the interpretation of the Hadeeth, all of which are correct and included in the Hadeeth.

Al-Hafith Ibn Rajab  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him from the Hanbali School of jurisprudence, summarized these meanings in Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wal-Hikam, as he said: “The meaning is that الضَّرَرُ the harm itself is prohibited in the Sharee’ah, as well as causing harm to others without right.

It was also said: “الضَّرَرُ Harm: means to cause harm to others in what benefits the person himself. الضِّرَارُ Reciprocal harm: means causing harm to others in matters of no benefit to him [to the person causing harm], such as the one who prevents that which does not harm him while the person who is prevented from it is harmed. A group of scholars have favored this meaning among whom is Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr and Ibn as-Salaah.

It was also said: الضَّرَرُ Harm: is to harm the one who does not harm him, and الضِّرَارُ reciprocal harm: is to harm in an impermissible way the one who has harmed him.” [End of quote]

As for what the questioner mentioned that a person is required to prevent harm to himself and his family, then this is true and there is no problem with it.

Allah Knows best.

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