Showing posts with label Specific Subject: Justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Specific Subject: Justice. Show all posts

Monday 30 October 2023

Two main obligations of Muslim Community: Fulfilment of Trust – Maintenance of Justice

Nations rise and fall due to quality or otherwise of their leaders and the lead. A nation of stags lead by a lion can lead the stags to glory, while a monkey in chair can dismember the unity of the lions. We have seen nations rising when they were led by selfless, honest, bold and competent leaders. And we also saw the same nations falling apart when greedy, dishonest and selfish leaders were in chairs.

History is replete with such examples as mentioned and the vicious cycle continues till date. It is heart wrenching to note that there have been some Muslim rulers who have defied the public trust and the justice and dishonoured their own people by usurping their rights. Unless the people handover their trusts to the honest, they cannot be sure of development and protection of their rights. This is the very theme of the 58th verse of Surah 4. An Nisa (The Women) beings shared today:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاۡمُرُكُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤَدُّوا الۡاَمٰنٰتِ اِلٰٓى اَهۡلِهَا ۙ وَاِذَا حَكَمۡتُمۡ بَيۡنَ النَّاسِ اَنۡ تَحۡكُمُوۡا بِالۡعَدۡلِ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمۡ بِهٖ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ كَانَ سَمِيۡعًۢا بَصِيۡرًا‏
(4:58) Allah commands you to deliver trusts to those worthy of them; and when you judge between people, to judge with justice. Excellent is the admonition Allah gives you. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
Here the Muslims have been fore-warned that they should avoid those evils in which the children of Israel were involved. Their basic error was that during their degeneration they entrusted the positions of trust to incompetent people. They began to entrust positions of responsibility and religious and political leadership to inefficient, narrow-minded, immoral, dishonest and wicked people. As a result, the whole community became corrupt. The Muslims are being cautioned against this evil and enjoined to entrust positions of responsibility to qualified and competent people of good moral character.

Another evil that was prevalent among the Jews was injustice. They had lost the very sense and spirit of justice and become utterly unjust, openly dishonest, and sinfully obdurate and would commit acts of gross injustice without any pangs of conscience. The Muslims were personally having a bitter experience of this. The Jews were siding with the idolatrous Quraish against the Believers in one God though the lives of the two clearly showed "who was more rightly guided."On the one side, they saw the pure lives of the Holy Prophet and his followers; on the other, they witnessed the immoral lives of their enemies, who buried their daughters alive, married their step mothers and went round the Ka`bah in naked state. Still these "people of the Book" preferred the idolatrous people to the Believers and brazen-facedly declared that the former were more rightly guided than the latter. Allah warns the Believers against this sort of injustice and enjoins them always to say what is just and right and judge between the people with justice whether they be friends or foes.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (The Command to Return the Trusts to Whomever They Are Due) Allah commands that the trusts be returned to their rightful owners. 

Al-Hasan narrated that Samurah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«أَدِّ الْأَمَانَةَ إِلى مَنِ ائْتَمَنَكَ، وَلَا تَخُنْ مَنْ خَانَك»
(Return the trust to those who entrusted you, and do not betray those who betrayed you.) Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan recorded this Hadith. This command refers to all things that one is expected to look after, such as Allah's rights on His servants: praying, Zakah, fasting, penalties for sins, vows and so forth. The command also includes the rights of the servants on each other, such as what they entrust each other with, including the cases that are not recorded or documented. Allah commands that all types of trusts be fulfillled. Those who do not implement this command in this life, it will be extracted from them on the Day of Resurrection. 

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَتُؤَدَّنَّ الْحُقُوقُ إِلى أَهْلِهَا حَتَّى يُقْتَصَّ لِلشَّاةِ الْجَمَّاءِ مِنَ الْقَرْنَاء»
(The rights will be rendered back to those to whom they are due, and even the sheep that does not have horns will take revenge from the horned sheep.) Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Jurayj said about this Ayah, "It was revealed concerning `Uthman bin Talhah from whom the Messenger of Allah took the key of the Ka`bah and entered it on the Day of the victory of Makkah. 

When the Prophet went out, he was reciting this Ayah, (إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الاحَمَـنَـتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due). He then called `Uthman and gave the key back to him.' 

Ibn Jarir also narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "When the Messenger of Allah went out of the Ka`bah, he was reciting this Ayah, (إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الاحَمَـنَـتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due). May I sacrifice my father and mother for him, I never heard him recite this Ayah before that.' It is popular that this is the reason behind revealing the Ayah (4:58). Yet, the application of the Ayah is general, and this is why Ibn `Abbas and Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah said, "This Ayah is for the righteous and wicked,'' meaning it is a command that encompasses everyone.

 The Order to Be Just: Allah said, (وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُواْ بِالْعَدْلِ and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.) commanding justice when judging between people. Muhammad bin Ka`b, Zayd bin Aslam and Shahr bin Hawshab said; "This Ayah was revealed about those in authority'', meaning those who judge between people. 

A Hadith states, «إِنَّ اللهَ مَعَ الْحَاكِمِ مَا لَمْ يَجُرْ، فَإِذَا جَارَ وَكَلَهُ اللهُ إِلى نَفْسِه»
(Allah is with the judge as long as he does not commit injustice, for when he does, Allah will make him reliant on himself.) A statement goes, "One day of justice equals forty years of worship.' 

Allah said, (إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُمْ بِهِ Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you!) meaning, His commands to return the trusts to their owners, to judge between people with justice, and all of His complete, perfect and great commandments and laws. 

Allah's statement, (إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعاً بَصِيراً Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.) means, He hears your statements and knows your actions.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
(BEHOLD, God bids you to deliver all that you have been entrusted with unto those who are entitled thereto, and whenever you judge between people, to judge with justice.) I.e., in the judicial sense, as well as in the sense of judging other people's motives, attitudes and behaviour. - The term amanah denotes anything one has been entrusted with, be it in the physical or moral sense (Razi). If one reads this ordinance in the context of the verses that precede and follow it, it becomes obvious that it relates to the message or - in view of the plural form amanat - to the truths which have been conveyed to the believers by means of the divine writ, and which they must regard as a sacred trust, to be passed on to "those who are entitled thereto" - i.e., to all mankind, for whom the message of the Qur'an has been intended. This, of course, does not preclude the ordinance from having a wider scope as well - that is, from its being applied to any material object or moral responsibility which may have been entrusted to a believer - and, in particular, to the exercise of worldly power and political sovereignty by the Muslim community or a Muslim state, to which the next verse refers.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The word “trusts” is used for things which are entrusted to a person. Here they refer to the responsibilities and posts created in a collective system. The implication is that the people to whom this kingdom was granted before the Muslims had proved to be thieves; however, Muslims must not be like them. Their foremost responsibility is that after acquiring this great gift, they should hand over the trusts of the nation to people on the basis of merit and strive to establish justice in its ultimate form in every walk of life. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī comments on this verse in the following words:
… This is a delineation of the most important aspect of the trust referred to as well as an explanation of the responsibility attached to political authority. The foremost responsibility of those who are blessed with political authority by the Almighty is that they should decide all disputes that arise among their people with justice and fairness. Justice means that there should be no discrimination in the eyes of the law between the various classes of society like the rich and the poor or the upper and the lower class. Justice should not be a commodity that can be bought or sold. Partiality and bias should not creep into it nor should indifference and apathy arise in dispensing it. No power or influence, greed or fear of any kind should affect justice in any manner. Whoever is blessed with political authority by the Almighty in this world has been blessed so that he may discharge justice. Therefore, this is his primary responsibility. A just ruler will receive a great reward from the Almighty, and an unjust one will be punished grievously [on the Day of Judgement]. Consequently, the verse says that this is an excellent admonition from the Almighty to the believers, who, therefore, must not show slackness in following it. The attributes of the Almighty mentioned at the end of the verse (one who hears and sees all things) caution us that even the most concealed injustice is in His knowledge. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 323)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
These are the main obligations placed on the Muslim community and these sum up its moral code: namely, fulfilment of trust and maintaining justice. The basic and most important trust is that which God has implanted in human nature. This is the one which the heavens, the earth and the mountains refused to accept, but which man undertook. It is that of willingly and deliberately recognising Divine guidance and believing in God. This is the trust that God has given to human beings alone in their very nature. Other creatures have been given faith without the need for any effort on their part. Thus, they recognise their Lord and worship Him without having to make any choice or exerting any special effort. It is man alone who has been given this task to fulfil on the basis of his guiding nature, knowledge, reasoning, will and effort. He will always receive God’s help in that: “As for those who strive hard in Our cause, We shall most certainly guide them to paths that lead to Us; for, indeed, God is with those who do good.” (29: 69)

This is, then, the first trust man has to fulfil. It is that which gives rise to all other trusts which God commands people to fulfil. An important one among these being to give testimony in favour of Islam. This takes the form firstly of striving hard within oneself so that one’s life, feelings, actions and behaviour become a practical translation of faith. Thus, when people praise a believer’s behaviour, values and manners and moral standards, they realise that it is only because he believes in Islam that he is able to attain such high standards.

Another way of giving testimony in favour of Islam is the realisation of just how much more profound and superior Islam is to other human beliefs. With this knowledge, a believer begins to call on people to believe in Islam, explaining its values and principles. It is not sufficient then for a believer to keep his faith to himself. He must fulfil his task of making it known, calling upon others to accept it. That is part of his trust and as such he should discharge it.

Testimony is further given by taking steps to help implement Islam as a code of living for the Muslim community, and in human life in general. To do this, believers should make use of every means available to them both as individuals and as members of that community. Such a practical implementation is the most important trust, second only to accepting the faith itself. No individual and no group are exempt from this trust. The Prophet says: “Jihād” continues until the Day of Resurrection.” Jihād in this sense is a fulfilment of a specific trust.

Another trust which is implied in the above is that of dealing with people and delivering to them whatever they have entrusted to us. That includes honesty in daily transactions, giving honest counsel to rulers and ruled, taking good care of young children, protecting the interests of the community and defending it against hostile forces and observing all duties and obligations outlined by the Divine code. All these are trusts that must be fulfilled.

The order to maintain justice is stated in the most general terms so as to make it obligatory between all people. It does not mean that justice should be confined to Muslims only, or to dealings between them and the followers of earlier Divine religions alone. Justice is due to every individual human being. The requirement to maintain justice only takes into account the fact that people are human beings, and that that alone qualifies them for just treatment. Hence, justice should be extended to all: believers and non-believers, friends and enemies, white and coloured, Arabs and non-Arabs, etc. The Muslim community, whenever it exercises power, is responsible for maintaining justice between them all. In fact, humanity has never experienced such justice except under Islamic rule, when Muslims were the leaders of mankind. Once Muslims lost that leadership, humanity has been unable to experience any similar justice that applies to all people, simply because they are human beings. Such administration of pure and complete justice is the cornerstone of Islamic government, and delivering trusts to their rightful owners is the basic characteristic of life under Islam.

The verse makes it clear that orders both to be true to one’s trust and to maintain justice between people are part of God’s admonition. Good and greatly beneficial indeed is whatever God directs and admonishes us to do. Besides, this is not a mere admonition; it is an order. God only describes it as admonition because that makes it easier to fulfil. Hearts and consciences accept admonition more readily, because its implementation appears to be more of a voluntary nature.

The final comment in the verse attaches the whole matter to fear of God and hope for His reward: “God hears all and sees all.” There is perfect harmony between the duties God imposes on Muslims and the requirements to fulfil trust and maintain justice on the one hand and God’s seeing and hearing everything on the other. God is certain to hear and see all matters related to the fulfilment of trust. Justice, on the other hand, requires good attention, sharp vision and proper evaluation and judgement, as well as taking into account all the relevant factors and circumstances so as to evaluate them properly. Moreover, the order to do both comes from the One who hears and sees all things.
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' lives 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 for making 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.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Al Qur'an guides and helps those who sincerely seek Divine Guidance and Help.

You may refer to our reference page: Important DOs and Don'ts from Qur'an to read more directives on the subject.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Importance of charity in Islam

You may refer to our reference page: Faith in Allah to read more directives on the subject.

You may refer to our reference page: Believers!! Beware of the Rules of the Divine Court on the Day of Judgement to read more directives on the subject. 

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 | 5

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 the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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