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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Archive #47

"Holier than thou" - expelling the myth! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Salahaddin   
Thursday, 22 December 2011 19:40

(illustration image)

I have always wondered how close my relationship is with God and often I have wish for it to be closer than it was before. One thing I don’t wonder is the relationship of others with God. Frankly, it is none of my business. In fact, no one should think that he or she is closer to God than anyone else. That is straight forward arrogance or the malay word for it, “riyak”.

What a person displays in his/her behavior to the general public may not be the truth behind closed doors. A person who arrogantly shows their piousness does not mean that they are closer to God than any one of us and those who are humble in their stature does not mean that they are not in God’s favor. Piousness  or piety is a very subjective thing. Only one, that can be judge of a person’s piousness and that is God Almighty Himself and no other.

“The prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said, "Do not be envious of one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he look down upon or humiliate him. Piety is here (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is evil enough for a Muslim to humiliate his brother. All things of a Muslim are sacred for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property, and his honor.” {Related by Imam Muslim.}

Whatever my standing is before the God, one thing I know for sure is that I need to defend my religion when it is unreasonably come under attack. For years, my friends and I have been doing just that to the best of our ability. We realized that we are not the best scholars in Islam but with the little knowledge that we have, we still went for battle. Why do we do that? The answer is simple:-

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said (to him): Abu Sa'id, whoever cheerfully accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as his Apostle is necessarily entitled to enter Paradise. He (Abu Sa'id) wondered at it and said: Messenger of Allah, repeat it for me. He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa'id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah! (Sahih Muslim, 20:4645)

However, the sad part is, now, we are faced with a situation where we have to defend the Syariah system against the attack by our fellows Muslims. At first, I thought the complainers were just being petty but after years of experience and encounters, I’m afraid the complainers do have valid points.

First and foremost, we MUST admit to ourselves that our Syariah system and courts have flaws and these flaws must be rectified immediately. It irks me when the people who are supposed to be protecting and spreading the religion, are the one doing the most damage.

I notices that there myths surrounding the Syariah courts and system and I believe the time has come to expel those myths and put the hard truth across.

Myth #1- Syariah Officers/ judges/practioners are the holiest people or saints.

This is grave misunderstanding. A person holding office in the Syariah office or court is not the holier than the lay man in the street. He may be more knowledgeable but that does not mean he is without sin. He is human and he will make mistake. Knowledge alone does not secure us a place in heaven but piety and eaman will, but we must be careful, for having the knowledge without the wisdom can lead us to the fiery Hell.

Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman bin Samura: The Prophet said, "O 'Abdur-Rahman! Do not seek to be a ruler, for if you are given authority on your demand then you will be held responsible for it, but if you are given it without asking (for it), then you will be helped (by Allah) in it. If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better" - Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 260

Our beloved Prophet (s) did not go to any university or college, in fact, he was illiterate. When the Angel Gabriel instructed Prophet (s) to read, he told Gabriel that he could not read and this was when the 1st revelation was given to Prophet (s).

“Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-Taught man that which he knew not“ - (Surah Al Alaq 96:1-5)

Those with knowledge should not feel arrogant or proud of it but instead must strive to acquire wisdom in order to use the knowledge properly.

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Prophet (may peace be  him) said: Iman has over seventy branches, and modesty is a branch of Iman - Sahih Muslim Book 1, Number 0055:

For Syariah lawyers, they must not view Syariah cases as financial gains but as  an obligation to direct people in God’s Way. I am appalled to find that some Syariah lawyers are brave enough to advise their clients against Syariah principles so that they can open file and start charging fees.

We have to remember that in civil courts, any disobedience or distortion of the law, refers to man-made law. It’s a moral wrong. In Syariah, on the other hand, any distortion or disobedience to the law refers to God’s law and it is a sin. In Syariah, our source of authority is the holy Quran, which is the direct Commandment of God; and hadith, which are the teachings of our beloved Prophet (s). The severity and punishment of deliberate misconduct in Syariah is very much more than civil. There is one hadith that continues to haunt me everytime I give advice on Syariah matters:-

“Narrated Um Salama: The Prophet heard the voices of some people quarreling near his gate, so he went to them and said, "I am only a human being and litigants with cases of disputes come to me, and maybe one of them presents his case eloquently in a more convincing and impressive way than the other, and I give my verdict in his favor thinking he is truthful. So if I give a Muslim's right to another (by mistake), then that (property) is a piece of Fire, which is up to him to take it or leave it." (See Hadith No. 281 ) - Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 295

Myth #2 – Judges are accorded complete immunity for their wrongdoings in Islam

Wrong! No one is above God’s law and no one is accorded immunity for their wrongdoing. Everyone has to atone for their own sins in Islam. Qadi, Imams, Judges or Islamic Scholars and rulers had a higher degree of responsibility than the ordinary man in the street.

Narrated Ma'qil: I heard the Prophet saying, "Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise" - Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 264:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, "The first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who had died as a martyr. He will be brought forward. Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: `What did you do to express gratitude for it?' The man will reply: `I fought for Your Cause till I was martyred.' Allah will say: `You have lied. You fought so that people might call you courageous; and they have done so.' Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next a man who had acquired and imparted knowledge and read the Qur'an will be brought forward, Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. Then He will ask him: `What did you do to express gratitude for it?' The man will reply: `I acquired knowledge and taught it, and read the Qur'an for Your sake.' Allah will say to him: `You have lied. You acquired knowledge so that people might call you a learned (man), and you read the Qur'an so that they might call you a reciter, and they have done so.' Command will then be issued about him, and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell. Next a man whom Allah had made affluent and to whom Allah had given plenty of wealth, will be brought forward, Allah will remind him of the favours He had bestowed upon him and the man will acknowledge them. He will ask him: `What did you do to express gratitude for it?' The man will reply: `I did not neglect any of the ways You liked wealth to be spend liberally for Your sake'. Allah will say to him: `You have lied. You did it so that people might call you generous, and they have done so.' Command will then be issued about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell'' - [Muslim].

Myth #3 – Judges are allowed to be arrogant and display temper or anger whilst sitting on the bench.

This is one of the most common complaints. Judges hearing cases have been reported and seen to be harsh and rude to litigants as well as their counsels. Some had even displayed temper and anger. Some of the litigants feel dejected because instead of settling their disputes or woes, the judges inflict further verbal abuse upon an already troubled soul.

In olden time, judges or ‘Qadi’, as they used to be called, were looked upon as the primary source law. They were respected for their piety and knowledge and people turned to them because they are the most qualified person to settle any dispute in Syariah.

Now, it seems, the scenario has changed. Judges, in my opinion, must reflect true example of a Muslim leader.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, "Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)" - Bukhari vol.1book3, no.69

Narrated 'Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra: Abu Bakra wrote to his son who was in Sijistan: 'Do not judge between two persons when you are angry, for I heard the Prophet saying, "A judge should not judge between two persons while he is in an angry mood" - Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 89, Number 272:
Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin 'Amr mentioned Allah's Apostle saying that he was neither a Fahish nor a Mutafahish. Abdullah bin 'Amr added, Allah's Apostle said, 'The best among you are those who have the best manners and character' - Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 56:
It is narrated on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: None shall enter the Fire (of Hell) who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of Iman and none shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride - Sahih Muslim Book 1, Number 0165:

As much as we refused to admit it, we are at fault for the decay in our ummah. We are at fault as to why people are losing faith in the Syariah system. We are at fault as to why the Muslims choose to adopt a civil proceeding rather than a Syariah, How are we at fault?  We have failed to listen to constructive criticism, we have failed to follow sunnah, we have failed to correct blatant mistakes, we failed to quash our pride, we failed to control our anger, we are guilty of closing both our eyes to the wrongdoings and on top of all, we have failed to dispense justice……. May God have mercy on our soul !
*Note: writer wants to be known as Salahaddin. This is a second part after the first; “Thou shall judge...
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