Ethics In Islam
"ADL"- Justice & Equity (III)
“ADL” – JUSTICE & EQUITY – (III)
Respite and relief from the blazing heat on the Day of Resurrection, under the only shade of the ‘Arsh’ (Throne of Allaah) is promised to a just Ruler and judge in this world. The reason is that on equitable dispensation of justice alone endures peace and tranquility in the society. Relief and protection to the oppressed, immunity from encroachments upon others’ rights and eradication of chaos and anarchy is to be achieved in this world by vindication of what is right and just. On the other hand if the kings, rulers and others in authority charged to administer justice become unjust and unfair themselves and pollute their judgments with partiality and favouritism or become approachable by parties to the dispute or bring into play their own vindictiveness, there is none more wicked, atrocious and greater wrongdoer.
“And if they fail to judge by (the light of) what Allaah has revealed, they are (no better than) wrong-doers.” (S. 55: 48).
Of the emotional excitements which often provoke injustice, vanity and self-love is conspicuously prominent. Most often man is led astray from the balanced path of justice owing to his self-preference and egotistical tendencies.
If a person is to receive a share in some offering or gifts along with others and is at the same time called upon to divide and distribute them or that he is to get a share in the profits with other share-holders, but has to apportion priorities, the instinct of self-preference at once dominates him, and conveniently cajoles him to injustice and unfairness. This is a very delicate position. Resistance to such impulses and rigid and dispassionate maintenance of equilibrium in such situations is a manifestation of immaculate perfection of “Eiman” – belief in, and surrender to, God, while capitulation to temptations of desires, whims and fancies is ‘faith’ breached and cracked. We have a clear verdict of the last of the Divine Messengers on the point:
“None of you can attain to the sublime heights of “Faith and Belief” (Eiman) unless he elects and chooses for his brother-in-faith that which he would choose and elect for himself.” (Al-Hadeeth).
In other words, it is inconsistent with sound and perfect ‘faith,’ if a ‘faithful’ may seize and appropriate to himself the best and leave the inferior and worthless for others since this is undressed injustice and God abhors injustice.
The next cancer that eats into or corrupts justice and fair-deal, is a lure and temptation for bait and bribe. Corruption by bribery makes the rulers unscrupulous, and justice becomes a marketable commodity easily purchasable. Thus courts established to administer and uphold justice become the cock-pits of intrigues and machinations. Evil, oppression and wrong-doing raise their head and prosper in the society leading ultimately to chaos and anarchy. For this reason the Islamic code, the ‘Shariat’, has indicted bribery as a grave sin. Allaah has therefore ordained in the Qur’aan:
“Don’t’ eat up your property among yourselves for vanities nor use it as bait for the judges with intent that you may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) peoples’ property.” (S. 11: 188)
The doom that awaits both the giver and acceptor of bribe has been disclosed by the last of the Prophets in the following terms.
“The giver and taker of bait and bribe shall both find their abode in Hell. (Al-Hadeeth)
In resolution of disputes adherence to the standard of equity and justice attains solemn emphasis if the person sitting in judgment bears malice and hostility to one or the other of the parties to a dispute and would not lose its significance, if any one of them embraces a faith other than Islam. Islam enjoins and prescribes fair play and justice for non-Muslims not only in the ethical sphere but also in the political field. The relevant Divine Direction in this behalf in the Qur’aan is as follows:
“But say (O Prophet), I believe in the Book which Allaah has sent down and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allaah is our Lord, and your Lord.” (S. 42: 15).
So when God is the Creator, Cherisher and Lord of all the created beings and who all have one day to reappear before Him for ‘Accounts’, then any one found guilty of injustice or of depriving the other of his legitimate rights or of causing harm and injury, shall necessarily be held responsible for his misdeeds. The last of the Prophets had invariably and steadfastly dispensed even-handed justice amongst Muslims and non-Muslims and insisted upon others to uphold and maintain it.
Once a dispute about a piece of land between a Muslim and a Jew had come up for determination before the Kind Prophet. Both the parties were called upon to have produced evidence in support of their respective claims. Evidence to support the claim of the Jew was found stronger, more convincing and just. Verdict was pronounced in favour of the Jew, and against the Muslim. Considerations of religion could not weigh upon or influence his judgment. Strict impartiality, fairness and holding the scales even is the corner stone of good government. It is in fact the supporting pillar to maintain the edifice of a state. Stability of a government is procured only by vindication of right and justice. Islam had, therefore, made it obligatory that strict justice be observed and practised in all matters, whether judicial; religious or political.
In situations where a dissension between two persons or a rend between two factions flares up into a clash of arms, shutting out reconciliation, where passion for revenge and retaliation has paralysed discretion and discrimination and where all force of reason and good judgment is brought to bear on the piercing spear-head and on the hacking edge of sword, Islam ordains and calls upon its ‘faithfuls’ to resist and breast the wave of commotion and convulsion to fulfill their moral obligation with propriety, fairness and justice.
In case conflict and fighting start in the cause of Islam and a ‘Kafir’ – (enemy of Islam) has aggressively precipitated it, Islam commands its ‘Mujahid’ (the fighter in its cause) to strike and strike hard at the person who has risen in arms against him, but has strictly prohibited him from molesting or committing violence against the non-combatants, women, children, the old and the infirm.
There is also a code of conduct prescribed in case two factions of ‘believers’ fall out and clash. Other Muslims, not involved, have a liability to intervene, heal the breach and restore peace and harmony, on fair and equitable-terms. Yet if after pacification and reconciliation, one or the other group may take into their head to commit excess, infringe the terms of truce and re-attack the other party, the rest of the uninterested Muslims owe it as a duty to take up arms against the recalcitrant group and punish them to the extent necessary for correction and submission to the Commands of Allaah.
“If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make you peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allaah: But if it complies then make peace between them with justice, and be fair. For Allaah loves those who are fair and (just).” (S. 49: 9).
In short Islam prescribes for its followers to adhere to and maintain justice and fair play in all decisions they take or make and enjoins to deal with friends and foe alike, justly and impartially. Islam also calls upon its followers that no sacrifice is too great to establish justice and equity and judges should, in no case, be influenced by considerations of friendship and nearness when they sit to resolve a dispute or settle an affair, so that peace and harmony may prevail in the society and replenish it with its unending blessings.
We have it from the Kind Prophet:
“Those who adhere to and maintain justice with strict impartiality shall get an honourable position in the audience of Allaah and be placed on the right side of His Throne in luminous seats. Both hands of Allaah are right, for there be no laterality. The good and honest judges shall be those who had (in this world) dispensed justice strictly, even-handedly and in their personal affairs held the balance between their own kith and kin and themselves ungrudgingly.” (Al-Hadith)
Let us solicit Our Lord to grant us stability and firmness in doing justice in our own problems and in matters concerning others and grant His Protection against indiscreetness, bluffs of the Devil and be also pleased with us.
Continuation from: “ADL” – Justice & Equity (I), “ADL” – Justice & Equity (II).