Saturday, 28 April 2012

Truth and Justice

Truth, Haqq in Arabic, is totally opposite from falsehood and ignorance. Truth is hard to define as it has so many aspects, but broadly it can be defined as honesty and sincerity, facts and reality, accuracy and certainty.

In Islam, truth is given a very high position. One of the ninety-nine names of Allah is Al Haqq. Truth refers to the metaphysical realities of this world. That there is a Creator and that we are here to worship Him. That there is a life after death. That there are angels, revelation, messengers and prophets. The Ghaib (unseen) is part of this Truth. Muslims are required to be truthful and honest in every aspect of their lives. Truth is mentioned numerous times in the Quran, both as referring to the realities of this world and the importance of being truthful, for example:

“Verily, We have sent thee [O Prophet] with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: and thou shalt not be held accountable for those who are destined for the blazing fire.” (2:119)

“Thus it is, because God alone is the Ultimate truth, so that all that men invoke beside Him is sheer falsehood, and because God alone is Exalted, Great!” (22:62)

“O you who believe!  Have fear of God, and be among the truthful.” (Quran 9:119)

“And do not overlay the truth with falsehood, and do not knowingly suppress the truth” (2:42)

We can also find the importance of Truth in the Sunnah:

The Prophet (SAW) said, "Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to Al-Fajur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fajur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell)Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar." Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 116

Ibn Al Qayyim said: “Truthfulness is the greatest of stations, from it sprout all the various stations of those traversing the path to God; and from it sprouts the upright path which if not trodden, perdition is that person’s fate.  Through it is the hypocrite distinguished from the believer and the inhabitant of Paradise from the denizen of Hell.  It is the sword of God in His earth: it is not placed on anything except that it cuts it; it does not face falsehood expect that it hunts it and vanquishes it; whoever fights with it will not be defeated; and whoever speaks it, his word will be made supreme over his opponent.”

Our Prophet, peace be upon him, was always truthful. When he first called openly to the Quraish to testify to the Oneness of Allâh and believe in his Messengership and the Day of Resurrection, he was standing on the hill Al Safa.

 “The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) ascended Mount As-Safa and started to call: "O Bani Fahr! O Bani 'Adi (two septs of Quraish)." Many people gathered and those who couldn't, sent somebody to report to them. Abu Lahab was also present. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "You see, if I were to tell you that there were some horsemen in the valley planning to raid you, will you believe me?" They said: "Yes, we have never experienced any lie from you."(The Sealed Nectar, Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri)

Even though the Quraish did not initially accept the Prophet’s (SAW) message, they still recognized him as a very truthful man.

Truth is very important in our lives. If we did not know the Truth about this world, that Allah is our Master, and that we are His slaves, we would surely be lost. If people were not truthful, the world would be full of deceit and lies. You would not be able to trust anyone, and values such as mercy, compassion, generosity, would all vanish. Therefore, truth is a huge part of Islam.

Justice, or Adl, can be defined as fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made. It can also refer to the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law. Justice is also valued highly in Islam. Allah is the Best of Judges, He is always Just. He is  Al-'Adl.

Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing. (4:58)

Is not Allah the most just of judges? (95:8)

And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]. (2:188)

These are just a few of the numerous verses in the Quran that have to with justice, there are many Hadiths dealing with justice as well:

“There are seven categories of people whom God will shelter under His shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His. [One is] the just leader.”(Saheeh Muslim)

Allah spoke to His Messenger (PBUH) in this manner: “O My slaves, I have forbidden injustice for Myself and forbade it also for you. So avoid being unjust to one another.” (Saheeh Muslim)

As we can see justice is a very important aspect of Islam. If we look at the story of Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam), who Allah had granted justice and wisdom, we can see the way justice should be:

Once there were two women, each of whom had a child. One of their children was eaten by a wolf, and they both claimed that the remaining child was theirs. They brought the case to Dawood (alayhis salam) and he judged that the older woman should have the remaining child. Then they went to Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam). He called for a knife so that he could cut the child into two halves, one half for each woman. The younger woman, whose child it really was, didn’t want to see her child harmed, so she cried out that the child was the other older woman’s. Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam) then gave the child to the younger woman.
In the Quran (21: 78), the story of another judgement of Sulaiman’s is mentioned. A man’s flock of sheep went into a farmer’s field, and destroyed the crops. The case was brought before Dawood (alayhis salam), who gave the flock of sheep to the farmer as compensation for the damage. But Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam) suggested that the farmer would keep the sheep and use their milk and wool, until the herdsman had restored the damaged field to its original condition. When that had been done, the flock would be returned to the herdsman. In this way, the herdsman would not be ruined, and the farmer would be satisfied as well.
If there was absolutely no justice in the world, this world would be filled with even more chaos and corruption than there already is. To make this world a better place, each of us have to deal justly with others. Every little bit counts, and Inshaallah if every person on the planet were to deal justly with others, dishonesty, foul play, corruption, fraud etc. would all disappear. This is the power of Justice.
Many people say life is not fair. Some people have everything while others have nothing. Some criminals get away with the most heinous of crimes, while innocent people are punished. Some people have disabilities, while others don’t. Some people are wealthy beyond imagination while others are dirt poor. So it is true, life is not fair. It is not just. But Allah is Just. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will fully recompense everyone for all the injustices they suffered. For He is the most just of judges. 

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