This incident took place during the time of Imam Abu Haneefa (RA). There was a married couple very much attached to each other.
One day whilst sitting and talking casually, the wife made some offensive remark. This led to an argument. The husband became very upset. He swore: “By Allah, I will never speak to you unless you spoke to me!” Equally upset, she too swore that she will never speak to him unless he spoke to her.
True to their oaths, none spoke to the other. Each became a total stranger for the other. One faced this way, the other, the other way. But for how long?
It is said that time is a great healer. Soon, they began to regret having sworn such oaths. Both missed each other. They yearned to talk to each other, but how? No one seemed to know what to do.
When the man could bear it no more, he decided to approach Sufyan Thauri (RA). Being a great Aalim, he could show them some way out.
After narrating the whole incident, he pleaded: “Hazrat, please help us solve this problem without violating our oaths.”
Hazrat Sufyan (RA) said: “There is no easy way out. One of you will have to break the oath and give the kaffarah.”
Disappointed, the man went to Imam Abu Haneefa (RA). After hearing his story, he said: “There is no need for kaffarah. Go and talk to your wife. You will not be violating the oath.” Happily, the man went home and reconciled with his wife.
When Sufyan Thauri (RA) learnt about this he approached Imam Abu Haneefa (RA), reprimanding him: “Why do you give wrong fatwas to people?”
The Imam summoned the man and asked him to relate the incident. When he did, the Imam said: “I stand by my ruling. I believe it is correct.” Sufyan Thauri (RA) asked: “How? Explain!”
The learned Imam explained: “The husband said until you don’t speak to me, I will not speak to you. As soon as the wife swore similarly, she had in fact, spoken to him. Now if he speaks to her he will not be breaking his oath, so there will be no kaffarah on him. Similarly, the wife will not be breaking her oath if her husband speaks to her. Therefore, there is no kaffarah on any of them.”
Amazed by this reasoning, Sufyan Thauri (RA) congratulated the Imam profusely.
Excerpted from Wit, Wisdom and Humour (Part 1) by Hazrat Moulana Ahmad Muhammad Hathurani (RA)