Ensuring timely justice
June 27, 2008
com/2008/ 06/27/ed. htm#4
AN honest and law-abiding citizen
serves the people diligently. He endures severe hardships to save some money in
the hope of providing post-retirement security to his family.
For instance, a poor person purchases a small residential flat, gives it on
rent to someone so that he could repay his loan and also use it after
retirement. But the tenant occupies the flat and refuses to pay rent. The owner
is advised by his friends to hire a gangster to deal with the tenant but he
chooses to go to the court to seek justice.
He keeps attending the court for, say, two years but fails to get relief. He
gets no rent; the loan keeps piling up; he retires and is forced to vacate his
official accommodation. Now he thinks he is left with only two options: either
to take the law in his own hands and kill the tenant or to put an end to his
own life. He is too weak to use the first option so he commits suicide and
finishes his own life.
Who is responsible for the loss of this innocent life and irreparable disaster
to his family: the person who illegally devoured his property or the system
that could not provide timely justice to the victim? The answer is obvious.
Justice or ‘Adl’ as it is called in the Quran is most vital for sustenance of
human society. The very basis of creating this universe is the divine plan of
trial and justice.
Allah sent the divine code of conduct through His Books and messengers so that
human race may enjoy the blessings of nature in this world and also become
entitled to the eternal life of peace and tranquillity in the world hereafter. At
the same time He granted the request of Iblees (Satan) and gave him respite
till the day of judgment to try misguiding man and prove his assertion that
human race is ungrateful and unjust and is inferior to Iblees.
According to Ayah 18, Surah Al-Aaraaf, Allah said, “Get out from this,
disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee’, hell will I fill with you
all”. On the other hand, Ayah 25 of Surah Al-Baqra promises due reward for
those who follow the code of conduct. Allah expects His servants, the human
race, to abide by the same principle of trial and justice in this world, to
ensure peaceful sustenance of life on earth.
According to the divine commandments the essentials of justice include:
• Timely justice on merit for all, rich or poor, friend or foe.
• No room for influence of wealth, position or recommendation (safarish).
• No concealment of witness or evidence.
• Enforcement of justice with an iron hand without delay.
Any violation of the above essentials of justice is akin to wilful disobedience
of Almighty Allah. No reason whatsoever including strikes, protests, vacations
etc. can justify any delay in providing timely justice to the aggrieved party.
Justice is an attribute of Allah and to stand firm for justice is to be a
witness to Allah. Very serious responsibility lies on the shoulders of those
servants of Allah who have been endowed with the duty of imparting justice. Any
delay or partiality in providing justice to the aggrieved party amounts to
betrayal of trust that Allah has imposed on the judges.
Ayah 58 of Surah An-Nisa says, “Allah commands 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 that He gives you! For
Allah is He who hears and sees all things”.
Ayah 135 of Surah An-Nisa says, “You who believe! Stand out firmly for justice,
as witness to Allah, even as against yourselves or your parents, or your kin,
and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.
Follow not the lust of (your hearts) lest you swerve, and if you distort
(justice), verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do”.
The Latin principle of justice is, “Let justice be done though heaven should
fall”. The Islamic principle of justice is even higher. Dispensation of
justice, without fear or favour, is a sacred trust and has been declared by
Allah, as an essential part of piety (taqwa).
Surah Al-Maidah, Ayah 1, categorically commands, “You who believe! Fulfil all
obligations”. Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his commentary on this Ayah has written
that this verse is so comprehensive that it forms a paragraph or a chapter by
itself. The Arabic word “Uqud” (translated as obligations) implies so many
things that a whole chapter of commentary can be written on it. There are
divine obligations that arise from our spiritual nature and our relations to
Allah. Then there are worldly obligations that govern the existence of human
society. Administering justice in this world is an important obligation for
ensuring the very existence of human society and is therefore even more sacred
than our spiritual relationship.
Ayah 152 of Surah Al-Anaam reads, “…whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a
near relative is concerned; and fulfil the covenant of Allah: Thus does He
command you, so that you may remember”. It is obligatory for us to support the
truth and provide immediate, unbiased justice to those who deserve.Ayah 119 of
Surah At-Tauba commands, “You who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are
true (in word and deed)”. Ayaat 32-35 of Surah Al-Muarij (70) promise rewards
and blessings for those who justly fulfil their worldly obligations. “All those
who fulfil their trusts and covenants, who uphold their testimonies, and those
who are mindful of their devotional obligations, they will live in gardens with
It is indeed important that justice should not only be theoretically announced
but it should be implemented with an iron hand. Timely compliance of justice
must be ensured with full force of law. Ayah 25 of Surah Al-Hadeed explains
this vital point in the following words: “When We sent Our apostles with clear
signs and sent down with them the books (code of conduct) and the balance (of
right and wrong) that men may stand forth injustice. And we sent down iron in
which is (material for) mighty war as well as many benefits for mankind that
Allah may test….. for Allah is full of strength, exalted in might”.
Allah has sent His code of conduct for the human race through his scriptures
and messengers. Timely justice in the worldly affairs without fear and favour
is in no way less important than the spiritual obligations. Persons entrusted
with the responsibility of administering justice among men (judges) have a huge
responsibility on their shoulders.
Delay in providing justice to the aggrieved party cannot be justified under any
pretext whatsoever and it amounts to betrayal of the sacred trust imposed on
judges by the Allah Almighty. Criminals, anti-social elements and violators of
law must be handled with a strong arm symbolised by iron in the holy Quran
ABDUL WAHID OSMAN BELAL