Al-Muwatta Hadith - 21.16

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Booty from War in General

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that he heard Said ibn al-Musayyab say, "When people in military expeditions divided the spoils, they made a camel equal to ten sheep."

Malik said about the paid labourer in military expeditions, "If he is present at the battle and is with the people in the battle and he is a free man, he has his share. If he is not present, he has no share."

Malik summed up, "I think that the booty is only divided among free men who have been present at the battle. "

Things on Which the Tax of One Fifth (Khumus) is Not Obligatory

Malik said about enemy soldiers who were found on the seashore of a Muslim land, and they claimed that they were merchants and that the sea had driven them ashore, while the Muslims were not able to verify any of that except that their ships were damaged, or they were thirsty and had disembarked without the permission of the Muslims, "I think that it is up to the imam to give his opinion about them, and I do not think that the tax of one fifth is taken from them."

What It is Permissible for the Muslims to Eat Before the Spoils are Divided

Malik said, "I do not see that there is any harm in the Muslims eating whatever food they come across in enemy territory before the spoils are divided."

Malik said, "I think that any camels, cattle and sheep (taken as booty) are considered as food which the Muslims can eat in enemy territory. If they could not be eaten until the people had gathered for the division and the spoils had been distributed among them, that would be harmful for the army. I do not see any objection to eating such things within acceptable limits. I do not think, however, that anyone should store up any of it to take back to his family."

Malik was asked whether it was proper for a man who obtained food in enemy territory and ate some of it and made provision so that there was some of it left over to keep and eat with his family, or to sell before he had come to his country and make use of its price. He said, "If he sells it while he is on a military expedition, I think that he should put its price into the booty of the Muslims. If he takes it back to his country, I see no objection to his eating it and using it if it is a small insignificant thing."

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