Saturday 30 July 2022

Judge in accordance with Allah's Commandments - and do not dispute on behalf of the dishonest

No two people or a community can thrive peacefully unless justice is ensured equally to everyone without any prejudice to social status or position of opposing sides. Many a nations have been wiped out where the elite and so called socially highly placed few were given privileged decisions by the judges and the ordinaries were deprived to get their rightful rights. 
Justice is the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice. the moral principle determining just conduct.

Islam places justice at the highest pedestal of any society for which many a commandments of Allah mentioned in the Qur'an and upheld in numerous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ.  The essence of these justice related verses is that whenever a judge has to decide between two people, the basic criteria should be uphold of the righteousness and even an enemy of Islam is the aggrieved party, he should be afforded justice in an Islamic state and the opposing party though Muslim be punished for falsehood and malefice intentions. Although the verse points towards a special incidence, yet its implications and application are true for all times to come since then, even today!!

In this regard, we share the 105th verse of Surah 4. An Nisa, where in a case is mentioned in which a Muslim levied false accusation against an innocent Jew who could not prove his innocence. While the Muslim backed by his clan and forcefully put across his claim, though based on falsehood, hoping to get decision in his favour from the court of Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ. The details of the case are given in the explanation of the verse below:

اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ الۡكِتٰبَ بِالۡحَـقِّ لِتَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ النَّاسِ بِمَاۤ اَرٰٮكَ اللّٰهُ​ ؕ وَلَا تَكُنۡ لِّـلۡخَآئِنِيۡنَ خَصِيۡمًا ۙ‏ 
(4:105) (O Messenger!) We have revealed to you this Book with the Truth so that you may judge between people in accordance with what Allah has shown you. So do not dispute on behalf of the dishonest,
In fact, verses from 105 till 115 discuss very important issues concerning an event that occurred in the time of Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ about how to judge between two people and how to uphold justice no matter who is right or who is wrong. Justice must be upheld in its total and utmost purity, impartiality and neutrality.

The above said verse, and the following verses up to 115 were revealed before a case was to be decided by Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ:
There was in the Bani Zafar clan of the Ansar, a man known as Ta'mah or Bashir bin-Ubairiq. He stole the armor of another Ansari and hid it in the house of a Jew. When an investigation started into the theft, the owner of the armor placed the matter before the Holy Prophet and told him that he suspected Ta'mah of the theft. But the accused and his relatives and many other people of the Bani Zafar clan conspired and laid the guilt at the door of the Jew, who asserted that he was innocent of the thing. But Ta'mah's people went on pleading his case vehemently. They argued: "The statement of the Jew who is an enemy of the Truth and who disbelieves in Allah and His Messenger cannot be trusted; whereas we are Muslims, and, therefore, should be trusted." The Holy Prophet was naturally influenced by the seeming correctness of the argument and was about to acquit Ta'mah and give a warning to the plaintiff for bringing a false charge against a Muslim, and decide the case against the Jew, when this Revelation came and disclosed the reality of the matter.
It is true that even if the Holy Prophet had, as a judge, decided the case in the light of the evidence produced before him, he would not have incurred any blame, for judges have to give their decision according to the evidence that is presented before them and sometimes people do succeed in getting wrong judgments in their favor by misrepresentation. But the matter had another side: if the Holy Prophet had decided the case against the Jew at that time, when a bitter convict was raging between Islam and kufr, the enemies of Islam would have got a strong moral weapon against him, nay, against the Islamic Community and the Islamic Mission. They would have carried on a bitter propaganda against Islam, saying, "There is no justice among the Muslims; they practice prejudices and partisanship inspire of the fact that they preach against them as has been shown by this decision against the Jew". That is why, Allah directly intervened in the case to save them from this danger.

In this passage (vv. 105 - 115) on the one hand, those Muslims who tried to shield the guilty one of their own clan, have been strongly rebuked for their partisanship, and, on the other, the Muslims in general have been taught that they should not allow partisanship to stand in the way of justice. It is sheer dishonesty that one should plead the cause of one's own party man, even though he may he in the wrong, and oppose the man of the opposite party, even though he may he right.

For reference, we just share a few following verses that caution Muslim judges and supporters of wrongdoer for Allah knows the truth and does like the transgressors and those hiding the truth:
(4:107) Do not plead for those who are dishonest to themselves; Allah does not love him who betrays trust and persists in sin.
(4:108) They can hide (their deeds) from men but they cannot hide (them) from Allah for He is with them even when they hold nightly counsels that are unpleasing to Allah. Allah encompasses all their doings.
(4:109) You pleaded on their behalf in this worldly life but who will plead with Allah on their behalf on the Day of Resurrection, or who will be their defender there?
(4:112) But he who commits either a fault or a sin, and then casts it upon an innocent person, lays upon himself the burden of a false charge and a flagrant sin.
(4:113) (O Messenger!) But for Allah's favour and mercy upon you, a party of them had resolved to mislead you, yet they only misled them selves, and could not have harmed you in any way. Allah revealed to you the Book and Wisdom, and He taught you what you knew not. Great indeed has been Allah's favour upon you.

The explanation of Ibn Kathir is rather long and can be read here

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The "thou" in this and the following two verses - as well as in verse {113} - refers, on the face of it, to the Prophet; by implication, however, it is addressed to everyone who has accepted the guidance of the Qur'an: this is evident from the use of the plural "you" in verse {109}. Consequently, the attempt on the part of most of the commentators to explain this passage in purely historical terms is not very convincing, the more so as it imposes an unnecessary limitation on an otherwise self-explanatory ethical teaching of general purport.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
We skip the story which has already mentioned above. And share the summary of comments by Yususf Ali;
The general lesson is that the righteous man is faced with all sorts of subtle wiles; the wicked will try to appeal to his highest sympathies and most honourable motives to deceive him and use him as an instrument for defeating justice. He should be careful and cautious, and seek the help of Allah for protection against deception and for firmness in dealing the strictest justice without fear or favour. To do otherwise is to betray a sacred trust; the trustee must defeat all attempts made to mislead him.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
We have bestowed this book on you from on high, setting forth the truth, so that you may judge between people in accordance with what God has taught you. Hence, do not contend with those who betray their trust. Seek God’s forgiveness, for God is indeed Much-Forgiving, Merciful. And do not argue on behalf of those who are false to their own selves. Indeed God does not love those who betray their trust and persist in sinful action. They conceal their doings from men, but they cannot conceal them from God; for He is present with them when, in the darkness of the night, they agree all manner of sayings which displease Him. God certainly encompasses [with His knowledge] whatever they do. You may well argue on their behalf in the life of this world, but who is there to argue on their behalf with God on the Day of Resurrection, or who will be their advocate? (Verses 105-109)
The style here is very firm, smacking of anger in support of the truth. Real concern for justice is felt throughout the passage. The first aspect of this is the reminder to God’s Messenger of the fact that God’s book was, in truth, bestowed on him from on high so that he may arbitrate between people in accordance with what God imparted to him of true knowledge. This reminder is followed by an order requiring him never to defend those who betray their trust. He must not contend for them or argue on their behalf. He is further directed to seek God’s forgiveness for such arguments in their defence: “We have bestowed this book on you from on high, setting forth the truth, so that you may judge between people in accordance with what God has taught you. Hence, do not contend with those who betray their trust. Seek God’s forgiveness, for God is indeed Much-Forgiving, Merciful.” (Verses 105-6)

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the  Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible to make you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, You will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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