JUSTICE IN ISLAM
ARTICLES: Concept of justice
JUSTICE IS THE CORE VALUE OF ISLAM
The concept of Justice can be said as the core value of Islam. The Physical dimension of the universe is in equilibrium mode while the spiritual dimension is subject to how humans act it out. If every one maintains that balance within oneself and with what surrounds him/ her, equilibrium is the outcome. In a equilibriumistic society, every human is a star and as each star has its own place (Tsunami like exceptions are a lesson for us to learn) in the Universe.
That balance can be called Justice as well. Injustice occurs when that balance is offed by disobeying the basic laws of the society - like stealing, lying, usurping, taking undue advantage etc. Each occurrence causes the un-just (real or perceived) to raise cane about it and upset the equilibrium for that moment of the time. Almost all problems of the society stem from imbalance or lack of justice.
It is in our interest to seek justice every time and every where. If not, it will boomerang and envelope us.
I invite articles on Justice, as a core value of Islam, please send the formatted article with the name of author, link, phone number and address to: WMCarchives@gmail.com
Concept of justice
By Sidrah Unis
MOST of the recent western legal concepts such as supremacy of law, equality before law, judicial independence and impartiality, juristic personality, non-retroactivity, legal representation, presumption of innocence, etc., were never alien to Islam.Muslims can take just pride in the fact that from the beginning their judicial system was placed on lines that in substance are no different from those of the best systems of today.
Let us take a brief look at some of the main features of administration of justice in Islam.
1. Supremacy of law: In Islamic legal system, no ruler and no official can claim to be above the law. No acts, procedures, and decisions of any authority, howsoever high it may be, can be valid and binding as to the people they affect, save to the extent they are in consonance with the law.
2. Equality before law: The Qur'aan and the Sunnah, which are the primary sources of Islamic law, put great emphasis on equality. Consequently, in Islamic legal system there cannot be one law for the ruler and another for the subject; one for the powerful and another for the weak; one for the rich and another for the poor. Government authorities enjoy no special privileges or immunities from the application of law. Even the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not consider himself or his family above the law. Instead of claiming any immunity from the law, he laid down the rule that even the head of the state may be challenged, in both official and private capacity, in the court.
The following statement of the Prophet, which he made while deciding the case of a noble woman who had committed theft, demonstrates it all: “Verily those who were before you were destroyed because when a noble man from among them committed theft, they passed no sentence on him".Also, during the course of his last sermon, the Prophet publicly offered to the community that if he owed anything to anyone, or had done any harm to anyone’s life or property, he was available to answer for it. One person came forward and demanded some money which was immediately paid.
3. Judicial impartiality: The Qur'aan says: “Surely We have revealed the Book to thee with truth that thou may judge between people by means of what Allah has taught thee. And be not one pleading the cause of the dishonest.” (4: 105) It is agreed that the occasion of the revelation of the above-given verse was a dispute between a Jew and a Muslim, in which the Prophet decided against the Muslim. The Muslim, supported by his tribe, had falsely accused the Jew of theft. At a time when help was sorely needed for the defense of Islam, a verdict against a man supported by his tribe meant the loss of that tribe. But such considerations did not carry any weight with the Prophet and he cleared the Jew of the charge. Thus, the verse lays down that dishonesty must be punished, and the balance of justice must be held equal between friends and foes and between Muslims and non-Muslims.T
he Prophet was known for his fair and impartial administration of justice. Along with Muslims, non-Muslims would also come to him for settlement of their disputes and he would adjudicate in accordance with their laws. He strictly observed the Quranic instructions regarding equality before law, and never made any distinction between litigants on the basis of religion or relations.The Qur'aan says: “O you, who believe, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for Allah, even though it be against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives—- whether he be rich or poor .... And if you distort or turn away (from truth), surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do.” (4: 135) “O you who believe, be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice; and not let hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty. And keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is aware of what you do.” (5: 8)
The extent to which impartiality is expected of a judge is also well illustrated in the story concerning Caliph Umar. He once had a lawsuit against a Jew. When both parties went before the judge, the latter rose in his seat out of deference to Umar. Umar looked upon this act of deference to one party as an unpardonable judicial weakness and dismissed the judge at once.
4. Judicial independence: In Islamic legal system, judiciary is independent of executive control. Judges can perform their functions without any interference and none can influence the course of justice with his authority or wealth. The following portion of a letter that was written by Caliph Ali to one of his governors, excellently explains the notion of independence of judiciary in Islam:“Select for your Chief Judge one from the people who by far is the best among them; one who is not obsessed with domestic worries; one who cannot be intimidated; one who does not err too often; one who does not turn back from the right path once he finds it; one who is not self centered or avaricious; one who will not decide before knowing full facts; one who will weigh with care every attendant doubt and pronounce a clear verdict after taking everything into full consideration; one who will not grow restive over the arguments of advocates; one who will examine with patience every new disclosure of facts; one who will be strictly impartial in his decision; one whom flattery cannot mislead; one who does not exult over his position.
But it is not easy to find such men...Once you have selected the right man for the office, pay him handsomely enough to let him live in comfort and in keeping with his position, enough to keep him above temptations. Give him a position in your court so high that none can even dream of coveting it, and so high that neither backbiting nor intrigue can touch him.”Since law, in Islam, stands at the apex of social organization, those who administer the law must likewise be elevated and kept free of all executive control.
5. Free administration of justice: In Islamic legal system, justice is administered free of cost. All citizens, regardless of their financial status, can get justice without incurring any expenses in the form of court fee, stamp duty, etc.Conclusion: In Islam, the concept of justice is more comprehensive, vital, and sacred than in any other system. It is one of the fundamental objectives of the Islamic state to provide justice. Not only justice is considered to be a trust, a sacred responsibility, which is to be performed in conformity with the provisions of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah; but the dispensation of justice also constitutes one of the most important acts of devotion.
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
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August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
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Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.