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PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S ﷺ JUSTICE


Justice is a noble moral and a magnificent characteristic which is attractive to people, infuses hope in the hearts of the wronged, and for which the unjust pay utmost concern. By virtue of justice, matters return to their normal and right path, rights are returned to their owners, people are happy and life is rectified. Welfare is present as long as there is justice, and as long as justice is absent people will be miserable. Prophet Muhammad proved by his own example that no one could be more just and equitable than the Messenger of Allah.



Justice is a moral of those who are great, a feature of those who are pious, the want of the righteous and the way to success for believers in this worldly life and in the Hereafter. Justice was constituent in the character of the prophets, the righteous, leaders, mentors and above all the seal of the messengers, the master of humans, Muhammad (S) enjoyed the greatest share of it. [1]

 

Table of Contents

 

Quran

Justice was an aspect of the great character of the Prophet who practiced it before Allah The Almighty himself in his dealings with others, relatives and those who were not, his friends, antagonists and even his stubborn enemies. How could not he be fair having had Allah The Almighty address him in the ayath that says (what means): {O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do} Qur’an Surah Maidah 5:8

 

"If they come to you, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If you decline, they cannot hurt you in the least. If you judge, judge in equity between them. For God loves those who judge in equity." Qur'an Surah Maidah 5:45

 

Justice demands that it should be upheld in all circumstances, even if it goes against one's own self or one's family or relations. Allah said in Qur’an: "O You who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor." Qur'an Surah Nisa 4:135

 

Therefore the Prophet obeyed the orders of Allah in all of his affairs, adopting justice with his Companions and enemies. [2]

 

Hadith

He would never deny anyone justice, despite those who objected to him and showed an unfavorable attitude towards him. He would rather forgive them, as in this story. Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri said: "While he was in Yemen, ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, sent a gold-nugget to the Prophet who consequently divided it among four persons: Al-Aqra ‘Ibn Haabis Al-Hanthali, ‘Uyaynah ibn Badr Al-Fazaari, ‘Alqamah ibn ‘Ulaathah Al-‘Aamiri, a man from Banu Kilaab, and Zaydul-Khayr At-Taa'I, a man from Banu Nabhaan. Thereupon, the Qurayshis got angry because the Prophet bestowed gifts on the chiefs of Najd and ignored them. The Prophet justified this action by saying that he favored them to stimulate their hearts. Afterwards, a man with a thick beard, prominent cheekbones, hollow eyes, a domed forehead and a shaved head came to the Prophet telling him to fear Allaah. Thereupon the Prophet said,“Who then would obey Allah if I disobeyed Him? Does Allah the Almighty entrust me with your affairs on earth while you do not?" “[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

Incident of hitting

Such great character is clearly highlighted in a most beautiful manner when the Prophet asked a person to seek retaliation from himself. Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri narrated: "While the Prophet was dividing something among people, There was a crowd of people round him,  and a man came and attached himself to him. The Prophet slapped him with a date stalk or thin stick. The man went out and the Prophet called him to retaliate or take his revenge. However, he told the Prophet that he had forgiven him." [An-Nasaa'i]  [1]

 

Incident of Jews

Once Abdullah ibn Sehl went to Khaibar for the division of dates. He was accompanied by his cousin Muheesah. While walking in the street, Abdullah was murdered by someone and his dead body thrown in the ditch. Muheesah complained to the  Prophet. He asked him, "Can you swear that he was killed by the Jews?" He replied that he had not seen with his own eyes. The  Prophet said that the Jews should be asked to take an oath. Muheesah said, "How can we trust their oath? They will take false oaths a hundred times." There was no one else living in Khaibar except the Jews and it was indisputably one of the Jews who had killed Abdullah. But as there was no eye-witness, the  Prophet did not ask anything of the Jews and paid one hundred camels as blood-money from the state treasury.

 

Incident of a hypocrite

The Commentators explain this passage with reference to the case of Ta'ima ibn Ubairaq, who was nominally a Muslim but really a Hypocrite, and given to all sorts of wicked deeds. He was suspected of having stolen a set of armour, and when the trial was hot, he planted the stolen property into the house of a Jew, where it was found. The Jew denied the charge and accused Taima, but the sympathies of the Muslim community were with Tai'ma on account of his nominal profession of Islam. The case was brought to the Prophet, who acquitted the Jew according to the strict principle of justice, as "guided by Allah." Attempts were made to prejudice him and deceive him into using his authority to favour Ta'ima. When Ta'ima realized that his punishment was imminent he fled and turned apostate.

 

The general lesson is that the righteous man is faced with all sorts of subtle wil; 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. [2]

 

Incident of camel ride

Moreover the Prophet always showed justice and hated to be distinguished from his Companions. Instead he loved equality and endured difficulties from them. Ibn Mas‘ood narrated: "On the day of the battle of Badr, every three persons would ride on one camel in turns. The Prophet had to do so with his two companions: Abu Lubaabah and ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib. When it was the turn of the Prophet to walk, the two Companions offered to walk instead of him. However he refused and said that they were not stronger than him, and he was in need of Allaah’s reward just as they were in need of it." [Ahmad]  [1]

 

Incident of Killing

It is narrated by Tariq Muharbi that God's Messenger was delivering a sermon in the Mosque of the Prophet (Masjid An-Nabi), when an Ansari, seeing them, stood up and said, "O Messenger of God! These people belong to the tribe of Banu Thalba. Their ancestor killed a member of our family. We appeal to you to get one of their men hanged in exchange for that." The  Prophet replied, "The revenge of the father cannot be taken on his son."

 

The Prophet was so well-known for his justice that even the Jews, who were his deadly enemies, brought their suits to him and he decided cases in accordance with their law. He very strictly followed the Commandment of Allah.  [2]

 

Incident of Aaisha(R)

‘Aa'ishah the wife of the Prophet said, "If the Prophet wanted to set out on a journey, he would draw lots among his wives so that one of them would accompany him." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]



Anas narrated, "A wife of the Prophet sent to him food in a bowl as a gift. However ‘Aa'ishah hit the bowl so the food fell out and the bowl broke. Therefore, the Prophet said: "The spilled food has to be compensated for by other [food], and the broken bowl has to be compensated by another." [At-Tirmithi- Hasan and Al-Bukhaari (with different wording)]

 

Incident of camel

In passing judgment among quarrelling persons, the Prophet was perfectly fair and never committed any injustice. Haraam ibn Muhayyisah narrated on the authority of his father that a female-camel belonged to Al-Baraa' ibn ‘Aazib, may Allah be pleased with him, entered a garden belonging to a man and caused damage there. Thus the Prophet judged that protection of property was the responsibility of its owners during the daytime and the owners of cattle had to keep them during night. This is according to a Hadeeth narrated by Ahmad.  [1]

 

Incident of theft

Once a Quraish woman was found guilty of stealing. Some people wanted to save her from punishment in order to protect the honour of the family of the Quraish. They wanted to hush up the whole affair. They asked Asama bin Zaid, who was very dear to the Prophet, to intercede on her behalf. He requested the Prophet to forgive her. The  Prophet very furiously said, "Bani Israil was ruined because of this. They applied law to the poor and forgave the rich."

 

The Prophet did not approve suspension of the prescribed punishment set by Allah The Almighty to administer justice among people, even if the criminal was his relative or favorite. When a woman from Banu Makhzoom tribe committed theft, the Prophet rejected the intercession of Usaamah for her and said his famous words: "O people, what led to destruction of the nations preceding you was their acquittal of the noble person if he committed theft and infliction of the punishment on the weak if he committed theft. By Allaah, if Faatimah the daughter of Muhammad committed theft I would cut her hand off." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

 

Incident of rights upon worship and body

Also the Prophet used to order his Companions to administer justice in all matters and to achieve balance. Addressing ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibnul-‘Aas the Prophet said: "O ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, I have been informed that you observe daily fasting and perform voluntary night prayers the whole night. Do not do so, for your body, your eyes and your wife have due rights upon you." [Muslim]

 

Conclusion

Through this noble character, the Prophet could draw people's attention to him, stimulate feelings towards his sublime principles and set a unique method for the best nation - the Muslims - who guide all humanity to observe justice and through which they obliterate oppression and injustice. [1]

 

References

[1] https://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=189106

[2] http://www.pbuh.us/prophetMuhammad.php?f=Ch_Justice

 

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