Ethics In Islam
"ADL"- Justice & Equity (II)
“ADL” – JUSTICE & EQUITY - (II)
In dealings and mutual transactions, disputes do often arise and are dragged to courts of Law for settlement. They are also resolved by the intervention of some elderly family member, an influential gentleman of the community or some respectable neighbour. So whether matters be decided by adjudication or by arbitration the importance of impartiality and fair play is supreme. Islam has laid great emphasis on upholding equity and justice. Islam has charged all concerned, whether they be parties to an action as plaintiffs or defendants, complainants or accused, or witness to transactions and occurrence or whether they be the legal spokesmen for the parties or be the judges, the arbitrators or the magistrates, seized of the matter, to fulfill in their respective spheres, their responsibilities truly, honestly, impartially and justly. They should also collectively help and contribute to emergence of the right and establishment to justice.
Liability for fair deal and justice is very sharp and excessively heavy particularly with the judge or the magistrate, since peace and tranquility can subsist in the society only upon vindication of the right, and availability of undiluted justice. Then actions also arise on the basis of some documents drawn up jointly between the parties or on the basis of the first information or initial report or complaint. In such cases the scribe of the document, complaint or oral report, has a serious liability of reproducing the terms agreed upon or facts as stated. The following verse of Qur’aan prescribes:
“……let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties…” (S. 11: 22)
In fact honesty, fairness and justice is the life-blood, core and kernel of Islamic life. It extends and covers all phases and aspects of life without exception. Islam has prescribed it for all situations. Adherence to it in all circumstances is obligatory and a necessary must, whether in the sphere of normal course of business deals or common place transactions or in a court of law and whether in the capacity of parties to a suit or criminal proceedings, of witness to a fact or occurrence or in that of an agent or attorney of a party. It has been specifically laid down in the Qur’aan:
“O you who believe stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allaah, even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin…” (S. IV: 135)
Thus if the matter in dispute is your own and you are the plaintiff you have the liability under Divine injunctions of presenting your claim truly and honestly. Similarly if you are the defendant, then your defence to the claim must also be based on true facts. So if you are called in evidence, you must be firm in attesting only, truly and correctly events which you have seen for yourself enacted before you and state accurately what you have for yourself heard some one say it. No consideration of friendship, love and regards should entice you to state what is not according to facts. Similarly wealth and position of a person, fear of harm from an officer or a man in authority, opportunity of exploiting the weakness of some one to your personal gains and advantage or excitement of pity, should not cajole you to speak what is false and untrue. You are also prohibited from distorting the truth and speaking out words of double import and uncertain meanings. It should, however, be known and thoroughly understood that Allaah has a superior title to your fidelity and devotion to that of a mortal being. All esteem and respect and all dignity and grandeur is appropriate of Allaah alone. He is the Lord and Master of the richest and the most powerful. He alone is the upholder and supporter of the weak and the poor and there is no else more compassionate and merciful and no person can pretend and assume to be more considerate and sympathetic than He. Qur’aan says:
“…Whether it be rich or poor, for Allaah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts) lest you swerve and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allaah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (S. 4: 135)
Allaah is All-knowing and All-perceiving, while man can but conceive of advantages in the immediate, temporary and ephemeral. Man is only selfish. The Divine Intellect holds in its purview both the individual as well as the collective good and well-being. Besides, Allaah sustains all that He has created and accommodates them in perfect balance, harmony and consistency. Therefore man, as a free agent, has explicit responsibility of speaking and verifying only the truth and should not disturb the equilibrium existing in this Universe by supressio veri.
“…Conceal not evidence; for whoever conceals it; - his heart is tainted with sin and Allaah knows all that you do.”
Therefore whether you appear as witness to attest to some fact in a court of law or that you speak and say something else where you must state the truth and nothing but truth. Nothing should vibrate from your mouth except what is absolutely fair just and equitable. It has been laid down in the Qur’aan:
“…Whenever you speak, speak justly…” (S. 6: 152)
Peace and tranquility endures and subsists on the just and equitable resolution of a dispute whether in a court of law or outside. When parties to a suit or other action have fulfilled their responsibility by presenting their case with propriety and witnesses have done it by disclosing only the truth the last liability for accomplishing justice falls on the shoulder of the judge or the magistrate. He has to sift the truth and weigh all the material produced before him. He should thereupon form an opinion in the light of his conscientious judgment impartially, uninfluenced by any feelings of friendship or sympathy, and un-affected by any tendency and susceptibility to hostility and animosity. He should then pass a verdict awarding what is fairly and justifiably due to one and punishing adequately the offender and the wrong-doer, if one is so found. This is what has been prescribed in the following verse of the Qur’aan:
“Allaah does command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice, verily, how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For Allaah is He Who hears and sees all things.” (S. 4: 48)
The last words of this verse are very significant. The attribute that God is All-seeing and All-hearing stirs up the consciousness of any one sitting in judgment that the realization that if an unjust decision is provoked by recommendation or is conceded to for bait and bribe, it may escape notice of all but cannot evade that of God, the Knower of all that is hidden and securely concealed. Therefore any one charged to resolve and settle a dispute or determine a right has to maintain equity and justice without fear or favour.
The last and benevolent Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-la-hu ‘alai-hi wa-sal-lam) has predicted a very high and honourable position in the world hereafter for a judge or an arbiter who has in this world dispensed even handed and square justice. He has been given the happy news that on the scorching hot Day of Resurrection, there shall be no cover, shade or shadow and respite except that under the ‘Arsh’ (The Vast Throne) of God to which shall be admitted only the seven classes or categories of persons, by the immense Mercy of God. Of them the class of persons filling the offices of justice, Imams, and kings who had maintained justice and equity in this world shall be at the top.
(Continued)..... “ADL” – Justice & Equity (III).
Continuation from: “ADL” – Justice & Equity (I).