Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
Question: Assalam alaykum,
My oil can was left open in the night by mistake.
Can I use the oil?
Answer: Wa alaykum salam
May Allah reward you for your concern.
The Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam strongly encouraged that food and drink vessels should be covered in general, specifically at night. The majority of scholars, including Imam al-Nawawi and ibn Hajar in their commentaries on Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari, considered the covering of vessels as recommended and not compulsory. The corollary of the recommended nature of covering vessels suggests that food or drink will not be spoilt should it have been left open during the day or night. Consequently, it will not only be permissible for you to use the oil, but you might be guilty of wasting were you to dispose of it.
Lastly, the Prophetic encouragement to cover vessels holds great benefit. He sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam told us that Shaytan cannot partake of a covered vessel and neither could waba or diseases settle therein. Thus one should always try to ensure that vessels of food and drink are always covered.
And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.