In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Narrated ‘Abbad ibn Shurahbīl (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said: I was struck with famine and drought, so I entered a garden from the gardens of Madinah. I rubbed an ear of some grain, I ate it and carried some in my cloak. Then the owner came and beat me – he took my cloak from me. I came to the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) seeking his help against him. He sent for the man so they brought him. He said to him: “What made you do that?” He said: “O Messenger of Allah, he entered my garden and took some of the ears of grain and rubbed it (and ate it).” The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him: “You did not teach him if he was ignorant, and you did not feed him if he was hungry.“ He ordered him to return my cloak to me – and he gave me a wasq or half a wasq of food.”
(Combined narration of An-Nasā’i, no. 5409 and Abu Da’wūd, ‘Awnul-Ma’bood no. 2617, declared saheeh by Al-Albāni in Sunan Abī Dawūd, no. 2620)
Al-Khattābi said: The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) excused him due to ignorance when he took the food and he blamed the owner of the garden for not giving him food when he was hungry.
Ibn ‘Uthaimeen said: “A wasq is 60 sā’ in the measure of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).” One sā’ is both hands cupped together and filled. And Ibn Mudhir cited ijmā’ that a wasq is 60 sā’. (Majmū’ of An-Nawawi, 5/447)
There is also the hadeeth reported by Abu Dawūd under the Chapter (93): “Regarding the Wayfarer Eating Dates [or fruit] and Drinking Milk when he is Passing-by.” Samurah ibn Jundub (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “When one of you comes to the cattle, he should seek the permission of their owner if he is there. If he permits him, he should milk the animals and drink. If he is not there, he should call out to him three times. If he responds, he should seek his permission, otherwise, he may milk the animals and drink the milk, but should not take any away with him.” (Abu Dawūd, ‘Awnul-Ma’bood, 2616, declared saheeh by Al-Albāni, no. 2619)
Tirmidhi reported under the Chapter: “What has been narrated about Permission to Eat Fruit for the one Passing-by”. Then he reported with his chain of narration that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) was asked about hanging fruits (on the trees), so he said: “Whoever is in need and picks some of it without taking any in his garment, then there is no sin upon him.” (Tirmidhi, 1289 and graded hasan by Al-Albāni)
Al-‘Allāmah Muhammad Shamsul-Haqq Al-Adheemabādi (rahimhullāh) cites from a group of the Salaf who held that if one is compelled due to hunger or thirst (and is passing-by), he may eat from it without taking any of it away with him. As for taking milk, fruit from a tree or seeds of grain without any need and without calling out to the owner, then that is not allowed, and Allah knows best. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “One should not milk the cattle of anyone without his permission. Does anyone of you like that he approaches his grain store and finds it broken and grain removed? Likewise, the teats of their cattle are the store of their food. So none of you should milk the cattle of anyone without his permission.” (Abu Dawūd, 2623, see ‘Awnul-Ma’bood, 7/232 under the above-mentioned chapter.)
The eating of the wayfarer refers to crop in a field, fruit on trees and milk from grazing animals, and does not refer to breaking into stores, barns, warehouses or homes!
The wording of An-Nasā’i:
أَخْبَرَنَا الْحُسَيْنُ بْنُ مَنْصُورِ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مُبَشِّرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ رَزِينٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ حُسَيْنٍ، عَنْ أَبِي بِشْرٍ، جَعْفَرِ بْنِ إِيَاسٍ عَنْ عَبَّادِ بْنِ شَرَاحِيلَ، قَالَ قَدِمْتُ مَعَ عُمُومَتِي الْمَدِينَةَ فَدَخَلْتُ حَائِطًا مِنْ حِيطَانِهَا فَفَرَكْتُ مِنْ سُنْبُلِهِ فَجَاءَ صَاحِبُ الْحَائِطِ فَأَخَذَ كِسَائِي وَضَرَبَنِي فَأَتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَسْتَعْدِي عَلَيْهِ فَأَرْسَلَ إِلَى الرَّجُلِ فَجَاءُوا بِهِ فَقَالَ ” مَا حَمَلَكَ عَلَى هَذَا ” . فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ دَخَلَ حَائِطِي فَأَخَذَ مِنْ سُنْبُلِهِ فَفَرَكَهُ . فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” مَا عَلَّمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَاهِلاً وَلاَ أَطْعَمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَائِعًا ارْدُدْ عَلَيْهِ كِسَاءَهُ ” . وَأَمَرَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِوَسْقٍ أَوْ نِصْفِ وَسْقٍ
The wording of Abu Dawūd:
حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ الْعَنْبَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ أَبِي بِشْرٍ، عَنْ عَبَّادِ بْنِ شُرَحْبِيلَ، قَالَ أَصَابَتْنِي سَنَةٌ فَدَخَلْتُ حَائِطًا مِنْ حِيطَانِ الْمَدِينَةِ فَفَرَكْتُ سُنْبُلاً فَأَكَلْتُ وَحَمَلْتُ فِي ثَوْبِي فَجَاءَ صَاحِبُهُ فَضَرَبَنِي وَأَخَذَ ثَوْبِي فَأَتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ لَهُ ” مَا عَلَّمْتَ إِذْ كَانَ جَاهِلاً وَلاَ أَطْعَمْتَ إِذْ كَانَ جَائِعًا ” . أَوْ قَالَ ” سَاغِبًا ” . وَأَمَرَهُ فَرَدَّ عَلَىَّ ثَوْبِي وَأَعْطَانِي وَسْقًا أَوْ نِصْفَ وَسْقٍ مِنْ طَعَامٍ