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PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S ﷺ - JUSTICE AND EQUALITY


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.

 

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 ﷺenjoyed the greatest share of it.

 

The Prophet ﷺasked people to be just and kind. As the supreme judge and arbiter, as the leader of Muslims, as generalissimo of a rising power, as a reformer and apostle, he had always to deal with people and their affairs. He had often to deal with mutually inimical and warring tribes when showing justice to one carried the danger of antagonizing the other, and yet he never deviated from the path of justice. In administering justice, he made no distinction between believers and nonbelievers, friends and foes, high and low. From numerous instances reported in the traditions, a few are given below.

 

Table of Contents

 

Quran

Justice was an aspect of the great character of the Prophet ﷺ who practiced it before Allah, 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} Quran Surah Maidah 5:8 [1]

 

Justice with Jews

Abdullaah Ibn Sahl was deputed to collect rent from Jews of Khaybar. His cousin Mahisah accompanied him but, on reaching Khaybar, they had separated. Abdullaah was waylaid and done to death. Mahisah reported this tragedy to the Prophet ﷺ but as there were no eye-witnesses to identify the guilty, he did not say anything to the Jews and paid the blood-money out of the state revenues.  [Al-Bukhaari: 3173]

 

The Jews, in spite of their hostility to the Prophetﷺwere so impressed by his impartiality and sense of justice that they used to bring their cases to him and he decided them according to Jewish law. [Al Bukhari: 4556]

 

Equality in justice

A woman of the Makhzoom family with good connections was found guilty of theft. For the prestige of the Quraysh, some prominent people including Usaamah Ibn Zayd interceded to save her from punishment. The Prophetﷺrefused to condone the crime and expressed displeasure saying: "Many a community ruined itself in the past as they only punished the poor and ignored the offences of the exalted. By Allaah, if Muhammad's (My) daughter Faatimah would have committed theft, her hand would have been severed."[Al-Bukhaari: 3475 and Muslim:1688]  

 

Once, while he was distributing the spoils of war, people flocked around him and one man almost fell upon him. He pushed the men with a stick causing a slight abrasion. He was so sorry about this that he told the man that he could have his revenge, but the man said: "O messenger of Allaah, I forgive you." (Abu Daawood)

 

Equality with common man

Muhammad ﷺ asked people to shun notions of racial, family or any other form of superiority based on mundane things and said that righteousness alone was the criterion of one's superiority over another. It has already been shown how he mixed with everyone on equal terms, how he ate with slaves, servants and the poorest on the same sheet (a practice that is still followed in Arabia), how he refused all privileges and worked like any ordinary laborer. Two instances may, however, be quoted here:

 

On another occasion he was traveling on his camel over hilly terrain with a companion, Uqbah Ibn 'Aamir . After going some distance, he asked 'Uqbah to ride the camel, but Uqbah thought this would be showing disrespect to the Prophetﷺ. But the Prophet insisted and he had to comply. The Prophet himself walked on foot as he did not want to put too much load on the animal. [An-Nasaa'ee: 5437]

 

Equality in work

During a halt on a journey, the companions apportioned work among themselves for preparing food. The Prophetﷺtook upon himself the task of collecting firewood. His companions pleaded that they would do it and that he need not take the trouble, but he replied: "It is true, but I do not like to attribute any distinction to myself. Allaah does not like the man who considers himself superior to his companions."[Az-Zarqaani] [2]

 

References

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

[2] https://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=136181

 

 

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