When Justice Becomes Personal Revenge

By Syed B. Soharwardy



The jubilant celebrations by few Iraqis and Iranians after the execution of

Saddam Hussein proved that currently Islam and Muslims face more danger from

Muslims compared to the non-Muslims".   These jubilant celebrations on a death (even the death of a worse enemy) highlight the level of ignorance of some Muslims about their own religion. It is important to know that some people who claim to be Muslim may not even know the very basics of Islam.


Just to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to highlight that I never supported Saddam Hussein. I wrote and spoke against him when he was a HERO for the West and for most of the Arab governments.  I called him tyrant, cruel, ruthless, opportunist, coward, etc. when he was funded and openly supported by the United States and all Arab countries except Syria.  Saddam Hussein killed thousands of Iranians and Iraqis. He

Punished anyone who stood against him.  Therefore, he had to face justice and he did face justice.


However, being Muslim we do have certain ethics and moral guidelines.  When a person claims to be a Muslim, it means that the person voluntarily made a commitment that he/she will abide by the guidance of Islam. Let me share with you some of the important teachings of Islam related to crimes, punishment, forgiveness and justice.


*When a person completes his / her punishment for the crimes he/she

Committed, he/she does not bear the burden of those crimes anymore.  The

Punishment removes the burden of the crime in this world.

* Allah alone will decide to forgive or to punish further a criminal

Who has already received justice from the courts of this world.

* People should not badmouth or curse a person who died after he or

She received death penalty from the court of law. The punishment wipes out

the sin / crime.

* No one has the right to call a Muslim, "going to hell". This is to

be decided by Allah alone.


Before the death, if a person says SHAHADAH (I bear witness that there is no

God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His Messenger), and then

dies, this proves that the person died in the state of EEMAAN (faith).


When a person repents and seeks Allah's forgiveness with sincere heart, Allah loves to forgive. After TAWBAH (repentance), a person becomes like a newly born baby without sins. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that Allah says, 'If the sins of my slave reach the sky, then he sincerely repents to me, I will forgive all his sins and this will

not matter to me.'(Tirmidhi Hadith 3540) .Allah says in the holy Qur'an, 'O my slaves who have transgressed against themselves despair not of the mercy of Allah. Verily,

Allah forgives all sins. Truly, he is oft forgiving, most merciful.'


Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet of

Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "He (a person) was directed to

a monk. He came to him and told him that he had killed 99 people and asked

him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and the man killed him too completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man on the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He [the murderer] told him that he had killed 100 people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. The scholar replied in the affirmative and asked, 'Who stands between

you and repentance?  Go to such-and-such land; there (you will find) people devoted

to worship of Allah. Join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place. Therefore, he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, 'This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,' and the angels of punishment argued, 'He never did a virtuous deed in his life.' Then the reappeared another angel in the form of a human being and the

Contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, 'Measure the

distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.' They measured and found him closer to the land (of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).


Both Shi' a and Sunni Muslims love and respect Sayyiduna Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah's peace upon him). Especially for Shi'a, he is the central figure of faith.  Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah's peace upon him) says," If you gain the upper hand on your enemy, let forgiving him be your way of thanking God for gaining the upper hand over him."


Imam Husain son of Imam Ali (May Allah's peace upon him) says, "The most

forgiving of all people is the one who forgives while being able not to."


Imam Ali (May Allah's Peace upon him) has said, "Shake hands with your foe

even if he hates to do so, for it is something which Allah, the most Exalted and the Greatest, has enjoined His servants to do saying; Goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better. Then that person, with whom there was hatred, may become your intimate friend! And no one will be granted such goodness except those who

Exercise patience and self-restraint, none but people of the greatest good fortune". (Qur'an 41:34-35)


Imam Ali (May Allah's peace upon him) says, "One who is not good enough to

forgive will be quite bad when avenging."


Imam al-Baqir (May Allah's peace upon him) says, "Be a candidate for mercy

and forgiveness from Allah by thoughtful consideration, and use the vehicle

of supplication and invocation to be good in upholding thoughtful consideration with regard to injustice.


Imam Ali (May Allah's peace upon him) said, "May Allah have mercy on one Who

knows his own value and did not go beyond the limits."


No doubt, for most of his life, Saddam Hussein was a bad person but his last two years in US captivity had shown a different Saddam. His behaviour and routines reported by the media tell us that he repented to Allah before his death. He remained defiant to Iraqi and American governments but he surrendered to Allah.   He read Qur'an and pondered on it.  He prayed five prayers and he must have asked Allah for forgiveness.

Above all, He recited SHAHADAH twice before his execution. 


It is every Muslim's lifelong desire to be able to say SHAHADAH before death.  Saddam Hussein was able to fulfil this desire. His death was better than his life.  No Muslim wants to die in the state of KUFR OR uncertainty. Saddam Hussein died in the state of EEMAAN and YAQEEN (Certainty).


In the heat of the battle, Imam Ali (May Allah's Peace upon him) found himself straddling his enemy. A skilled and stealthy warrior, the leader of the faithful (Ameer ul Mu'mineen) was always decisive in battle. Fighting only when the cause was just and necessary, he now held his sword high, ready to deliver the final blow. Then came the great insult. The enemy, seeing his end was near, spit violently into Imam Ali's face. The sword came down suddenly, not into the man's heart, but back into its sheath. Imam Ali (May Allah's peace upon him) quickly got up and withdrew from the fight. The

spared combatant looked relieved and exasperated. Why had the great Imam Ali let him live? I was fighting you for the sake of Allah, in the name of God, Imam Ali declared. When you spit in my face I felt anger rise up within me, he continued, and I realized that I was going to smite you, not in the name of justice, but out of revenge for your insult - that was something that could not do.


Those who shouted MUQTADA, MUQTADA, MUQTADA at the execution of Saddam and those who became jubilant at the death of Saddam Hussein did prove to the

world and to Allah that they do not deserve to be considered the followers of Ameer ul Mu'mineen Sayyiduna Imam Ali and his family (May Allah's peace upon them).  They do not belong to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his household.


May Allah's curse upon those who converted "justice" into personal revenge and hate.


Insha Allah, on the judgement day, Sayyiduna Ameer ul Mu'mineen Ali ibn Abi

Talib and the entire family of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will turn away their faces from those who enjoyed the death of a person who repented to Allah before his death.


Those bunch of people who enjoyed the death of Saddam Hussein showed cruel,

angry, revengeful and hateful behaviour.  The heart of a believer is very tender, kind and loving. Those who enjoyed the death of Saddam Hussein played in the hands of

Anti-Islam media and made fool of themselves. They showed an ugly side of their faces.  May Allah give them the guidance. May they truly follow the eachings of Ahlul Bait- the family of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).


Oh Allah! Shower Your mercy upon Muhammad (peace be upon him) and

Aal-e-Muhammad (his family) (Peace be upon them). Ameen