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Friday, January 16, 2009

Justice - a Quranic demand

"Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition." (16:90 - translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

There are 3 degrees of goodness which are demanded, as well as 3 degrees of evils which are forbidden. The first degree of goodness is to do justice (" 'adl"), which is returning good for good. The next is is to do good ("ihsan") where the doer of good does not receive any benefit in return. The highest degree of goodness is where goodness becomes second nature to a person, where he would do good to all humanity whom he treats as his kindred.

The first degree of evil is doing shameful deeds (or indecency - "fahsya"), which does not necessarily affect others. The next degree of evil is denying truth or the doing anything which is not agreeable with the truth ("mungkar"). This may affect others. The highest degree of evil is committing of acts of tyranny or oppression (rebellion -"baghy"), which affect many and numerous people, including a nation or state.

In short, justice is demanded while oppression and injustice are considered evil. God admonishes the people (or group of people) who commit the later. Let this be a reminder to all of us and to our Government.

10 comments:

Ti Lian Ker said...

I was shocked with some of our learned friends reaction on my statement in Star (Metro South East) that there are loopholes and Rapist may escape the law if PAS introduced Hudud. What if there was proof of rape witnessed by Non-Muslims? Can their testimony or evidence be accepted to convict?
Instead of getting a clarification to my queries that was silently in the mind of many..i was bombarded with accusation of encroaching into Islam.
I thought I am posing a question in the interest of justice. My oh My! I sure am in full support of your invitation for all to learn the Quran inclusive of Non-Muslims.
However , there are still many out there who thinks Quran is exclusive and Kafirs are forbidden to ask questions? They feel offended...I thought when Hudud is being proposed as the law of the land, the exclusivity (if any) is lifted as we are moving into the realms of laws and justice..how can justice prevail if we are forbidden to even raise our concern and worries of a possible miscarriage of justice or loopholes??

Good reminder "JUSTICE-a QURANIC demand"

art harun said...

Aiya...biasa la Lian Ker. That's the usual reaction! Stupid, if you ask me!
I agree with you. If hudud is implemented, there will be many acquittal. Hudud is not about chopping off hands etc. It is about a whole criminal jurisprudence and criminal justice. 4 male witnesses. If female witnesses, double that number. Witnesses will be on trial too. If it is proven that any of them have lied before or have not prayed even once, his/her credibility is gone. Society is on trial too. If a thief steals because society ignores his plights, then the society is punished, not the thief! That is Islamic and hudud justice.
What we are hearing is just the chopping off of hands; death by stoning and the likes. That is the sentences in hudud. But criminal justice is not about sentences or establishing the guilt of the accused person. It is about achieving justice for the society. To talk about hudud like it is being talked about now is shallow!
In all the Prophet's time, there were only 2 hudud cases. Any wonder why?

MeiWan said...

All I know is that every religion teaches its followers to do good things & be a good person. To me, I just feel that we shouldn't refrain ourselves to learn good points from other religions.

Btw, may I know what are the 2 cases? Mind briefly telling the stories?

art harun said...

Off hand I could only remember one. A woman came to see the Prophet (pbuh) and asked to be punished according to hudud as she had committed adultery and she was pregnant. The Prophet asked her to go home. She persisted twice more and on both occassions the Prophet asked her to go home. On the third time however, the Prophet asked her whether she was going to change her mind and she said no. The Prophet asked her to deliver the baby first and then to come back.
She did. After delivery she came back and told the Prophet that she had not changed her mind. The Prophet then sentenced her accordingly.
It was based on pure unequivocal admissions (not on any admissions such like the ones obtained by our police). And despite that the Prophet (pbuh) was reluctant to impose hudud on her. Such was his restraint that only after making sure that the woman was not ever going to change her mind that she was sentenced.
A thief was also caught stealing and it was found out that he was stealing because he was poor and hungry. In that case, if I remember correctly, the whole neighbourhood was sentenced instead for ignoring his plights.
That is the beauty of hudud. Currently, the beauty is not discussed.
If the whole hudud criminal system is implemented, I am sure many will complain that the criminals are being acquitted and let off in this modern society. The public makes such loud noises when the accused in some high profile murder cases are let off. Can you imagine what'll happen if hudud is implemented? The evidential burden is so high that I don't think it could be met in most cases.

Anonymous said...

There is no Ayat in the Koran that opposes the discrimmination against other religion.

If there is one, please quote the ayat.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Dear Art

You should direct your readers to read the piece by Ahmad kassim on Din's blog today. As you rightly pointed out Quranic justice is about doing good and not doing evil. It is as simple as that. In all my readings of the Quran I have yet to see any injunction by Allah that He will punish the evil doers. If you repent, no matter what your wrong doing He will forgive for He is "Most Merciful and Oft Forgiving". Again and again Allah makes it clear, it is better to forgive those who truly repent and seek forgiveness.

But we are humans and we live in a world where there are hardcore criminals who commit evil because they are evil. But by Islamic justice and without witnesses, we cant punish them based on secular evidence! Therefore we need universal secular laws to deal with such situations. This is not contradictory to Islam or the accepted universal laws that govern human behaviour.

The Quran never talks about hudud and therefore the arguments about hudud are meaningless. I cannot put it better than Ahmad Kassim and therefor I urge you all to read it.

art harun said...

Thanks for the link to Din's blog on Kassim Ahmad's thoughts. I have read it and indeed it gave a new dimension altogether to the concept of punishments in Islam. Although it is not one which is mainstream in nature, one should not dismiss such thoughts outright.

To the Anonymour who asked me about any verse in the Quran which opposes discrimination against other religion, please look at my latest verse on this blog.

lil ms d said...

dear art, a cousin was recently abandoned by her husband. the court demanded she bring in 4 male witnesses to prove his abuse. her male witnesses - dad, bro and uncles - were dismissed. because they were related to her! tak apa. she went and looked for non-muhrim male witnesses. the judge felt they were not credible. in the end, the judge told her to bring in FEMALE witnesses, in addition to all the witnesses she brought. after all the drama, she was able to divorce him.

so tolong tan sri, saya nak tahu, apa kejadah mahkamah syariah kita ni? bengong ke apa?

art harun said...

I think the Syariah Judge was more interested in adherence to the Islamic evidential rules rather than dispensing Justice. That's why. Justice is like a flower which is drawn on a really large wall. If we keep on coming too close to the wall to scrutinise all the details of the flower at a certain spot, of course we would miss the bigger picture of justice.
It is sad and indeed is unfortunate. But that is the general state of Islamic justice nowadays.

pah nur said...

We also need to remind the government that while Quran is used to swear upon, it is more useful when it is read, understood and practiced. Frankly, if any of the politicians were to decipher the Quran, they'd quit their day jobs....