30 September 2008
By Dr Syed Bashir Ahmad
AMONG the things to which Islam calls with the aim of welfare of the humankind, is establishment of justice between all peoples. Justice of Islam is not for Arabs alone; it is for all peoples of the world without any exception.
While mentioning the objectives of heavenly religions, Allah says: “We sent aforetime our apostles with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice...” ( Al-Quran: Al-Hadid: 25)
Thus it stands established that deputation of the Messengers and revelation of the books were basically aimed at achieving a basic objective, which is that the people accomplish justice i.e. fairness to ensure that everyone, without exception, gets his deserved right.
Allah says: “God doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; And when ye judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice…” (Al-Quran: An-Nisa’: 58) The command is lucid in its message that when you judge between “people” — not only Muslims — that you judge with justice. Allah has commanded the believers to stand forth firmly for Justice. They should not be obstructed by emotion of love for the near ones or by dislike or hatred of those who may not be near or dear. Justice is above emotions of love and hate; it must be for Allah alone. Allah says: “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin,…” (Al-Quran: An-Nisa’: 135)
This is the justice to the loved ones, whether it is the parents or the nearest of kith and kin or even ones own self. Allah also says: “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do”. (Al-Quran: Al-Ma’idah: 8)
This is the justice to those, whom one might dislike for their hatred, abhorrence and animosity towards him. In spite of the dislike, faithful are not supposed to commit transgression, because Allah does not like those who depart from justice nor does He guide them to the right path, as such people never succeed — neither in this worldly life nor in the hereafter. Muslims applied this justice with all peoples; they applied it in the lifetime of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), during the time of the rightly guided caliphs and generally during the early centuries.
We know of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab ordering the aggrieved Coptic Egyptian to avenge from the son of the governor on Egypt — ‘Amr Ibn-Al-’Aas. The history then registered his historic statement: “Oh ‘Amr, when did you enslave the people whilst their mothers delivered them only free?” This concise spontaneous statement of Omar became the opening statement of the formal documents on human rights and of constitutions of advanced states in modern times.
During the caliphate of Ali Ibn-Abi-Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), the judge appointed by him passed his verdict against Ali himself — the Commander of the faithful — and in favour of a Christian subject, because Ali could not refute the claim against him. Upon seeing this Islamic uprightness and fairness of the Islamic justice, the Christian could not resist to declare publicly his faith in Islam and confess that Ali was right and had been framed, adding that such verdicts were nothing less than prophetic.
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