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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Justice in an Islamic Court

During the khilafat of Ali (RA): Hadhrat Ali’s (radiyallahu anhu) armour had gone missing. One day, while walking through the market place, he recognized his armour in the possession of a Jew. He went up to the Jew and said, “This is my armour.” The Jew retorted, “Bring witnesses to prove it. Alternatively file a law suit!” Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) proceeded to Qadi Shurayh and laid a charge of theft against the Jew. The case came before the Qadi. Both plaintiff and defendant pre- sented themselves before the Qadi.

Qadi Shurayh (rah), without being overawed by the presence of Ameerul Mu’mineen, Ali (radiyallahu anhu), seated himself with the stature that the occasion demanded. Calmly, without any trace of discomfort or panic, he commenced proceedings. He asked the Jew, “Does the armour belong to Hadrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu)?” The Jew flatly denied it. Thereupon the Qadi turned to Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) and calmly requested, “Bring your witnesses to support your claim.”

Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) produced two witnesses. One was his son, Hadhrat Husayn (radiyallahu anhu) and the other was his freed slave, whose name was Qambar. In his opinion, the evidence of these two was in accordance to Islamic law. However Qadi Shurayh (rah) addressed Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu), “Bring another witness in place of Hadhrat Hasan (radiyallahu anhu). The evidence of your slave, (seeing he was freed) is accepted.” Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) replied, “I have no other witness.” Due to the lack of sufficient evidence – a second acceptable witness – Qadi Shurayh (rah) dismissed the case acting according to the Shariah and not according to his personal reliance on the truthfulness of Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu).

The Jew in the meantime was observing the entire proceeding with full attention. On leaving the courtroom, he watched intently to see the reaction of Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu). There was not the slightest bit of annoyance on the face of Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu). Not a word of displeasure regarding the verdict was uttered. The Jew, overcome by this sterling character addressed Hadhrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) thus: “The reality of the situation has become quite clear to me, your religion is certainly a true one, and your attitude is its effect on you.” The Jew continued, “Here, take it, the armour is yours! And I herewith proclaim that I bear witness, there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is his servant and messenger.”

Hazrat Ali (radiyallahu anhu) said, “I, in turn present this armour to you as gift!” The Jew remained in close association with Ali (ra) until he became Shaheed (martyr) in a battle.

An excerpt from Hayaatus Sahaaba by Maulana Zakariya Kandhlawi

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