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Aspects Of Islamic Faith - 102: Islam Abhors All Types Of Injustice

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

The Prophet (peace be upon him) often highlighted certain aspects of unfair dealings in order to stress how repugnant they are from the Islamic point of view.

Indeed Islam abhors all types of injustice, particularly when it is aimed at the weak and vulnerable. If one is given power or influence and uses it to deal unfairly with those who have no means to counter that, he stands in a very difficult position as God does not accept injustice, no matter who is the perpetrator. Reflect on the following Qudsi Hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah, in which the Prophet quotes God as saying: "Three types of person will find me their opponent on the Day of Judgment: a person who gives a pledge in My name and then acts treacherously, and one who sells a free person and pockets his price, and one who hires someone and gets the job done but defaults on paying his wages." (Related by Al-Bukhari).

Perhaps there is no more serious warning than the one expressed in this Hadith, as it quotes God's own words, threatening anyone who commits any of the three types of injustice with standing as opponent to God Almighty when all people are handed their judgments. What person can listen to this warning and afford to remain heedless of it? Just to imagine that one stands among those whom God looks upon as hostile to Himself should send a shiver into even the most arrogant and conceited of tyrants. Yet unfortunately, people continue to commit such injustices every day and in all societies. God will not let such injustice go unpunished; certainly not when He takes it upon Himself to stand for the recipients of such injustices to ensure that they get back their dues.

The first type mentioned in this Hadith is a person who gives a pledge and calls on God to be his witness but then reneges on his pledge. The same is the case of one who assures another that what he is telling him is absolutely true, swearing by God to that, but he knows that his assertions are untrue. Of course, the Hadith takes it for granted that the person concerned is aware of his breach of his pledge. If there is no deliberate treachery in the transaction, the situation is different. God certainly knows whether treachery has been committed or not. He is not unjust to anyone, not even to unbelievers.

The second type is that of a person who assaults a free person, enslaves him, sells him and pockets the price. Some people may think that this is no longer valid as slavery has been eradicated. Well, slavery was practiced until recently and there are reports that it continues in some parts of the world. No doubt there were numerous instances of people becoming slaves because of aggression by others. The Hadith applies to all such cases. However, the Hadith should be taken in a wider sense, so as to include any unfair restriction of the freedom of any person. Dictators imprison those who oppose their tyrannical rule, and leave them imprisoned for many years. There have been notorious prisons everywhere in the world, even in Muslim countries, where political opponents were unfairly imprisoned for life. The Guantanamo Bay camp is a stark example in our own time, where hundreds of people have been held for ten years without valid reason. All this falls under this heading, and the perpetrators will have to face God's judgment.

The third type is very common, even in Muslim countries unfortunately. Many people, individuals, companies and even ministries may be guilty of this. They hire people and then they do not pay them their wages, or their benefits, or their compensation at the end of their employment. They manage to do this because they are in the stronger position, or because they exploit a loophole in the law. Often the employee cannot prove his claims, perhaps because the agreement was verbal, or because he lost his copy of the agreement, or because the terms changed during his period of employment, or for any other reason. To be guilty of any such breach is a very serious offence, bringing God Almighty into the dispute as He takes over from the aggrieved party and stands as opponent to the unjust party.



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