On Oppression and Justice in Islam

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SHAFAQNA – In light of the tragic situation in the Middle East–with the systematic mass slaughter in Syria, the hypocritical stance taken by many organizations/individuals, and the truly shameful collective silence of many religious scholars–I thought it would be prudent to list some Qur’anic verses, hadith (traditions from both Sunni and Shiite sources) from the Prophet (SAW), examples/sayings of the Sahaba (RAA), and their successors to demonstrate the importance of justice and aiding the oppressed in Islam. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, I have lost all confidence in many of our so-called scholars to convey this information to the Muslims, instead they have become infatuated with declaring the sinfulness of opposing tyranny or the necessity of aiding tyrants if those they are oppressing happen to belong to a different sect than ourselves. In fact, the Prophet Muhamamd (SAW), addressed this phenomenon when he said: “The religious scholars are the honest satisfactory trustees of the Prophet so long as they do not look at the world. It was asked: O Messenger of God! What is the meaning of their turning toward the world? He replied: Following unjust and wrong rulers. So when they do so be careful and be afraid of them for the sake of your religion” 

“The way of blame is only against those who treat the people unjustly, and resort to aggression without provocation. These have incurred a painful retribution”– Qur’an 42:42

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor.” Sahih Bukahri: Volume 3, Book 43, Number 622

“We willed to show favor to those who were oppressed on earth, and to turn them into leaders, and make them the inheritors.”–Qur’an 28:5

Narrated Abu Ma’bad, that the Prophet (SAW) said, “… and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 24, Number 573.

“I shall take revenge on the oppressor in this world and the next. I shall take revenge on someone who saw the person being oppressed and was able to help him but did not”–Hadith Qudsi.

Narrated Abu Bakrah: The Prophet (SAW) said: There is no sin more fitted to have punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of relationship. Sahih Muslim: Book 41, Number 4884

“The best Jihad is to speak a word of truth to a tyrannical ruler”–Prophet Muhammad(SAW)

“Whoever assists an oppressor against an oppressed one always remains under Divine anger until he stops aiding the tyrant”–Ja’far al-Sadiq 

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Apostle said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 43, Number 624.

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allâh, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allâh is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allâh is Ever Well Acquainted with what you do.” – Qur’an 4:135

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah gives respite to the oppressor, but when He takes him over, He never releases him.” Then he recited, “Such is the seizure of your Lord when He seizes (population of) towns in the midst of their wrong: Painful indeed, and severe is His seizure.’ (11.102) Sahih Bukhari: Volume 6, Book 60, Number 208.

“…and do not help one another in sin and oppression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil.”– Qur’an 5:2

Narrated Abu Dharr: Allah’s Apostle (SAW) stated that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you

Prophet (SAW.) said: When the Day of Judgment rises an announcer announces: Where are the tyrants and their helpers this calling also includes those who even filled an ink-pot for the unjust ruler or sew his purse or sharpened a pencil for the oppressors. So gather them along with the tyrants.

“A tyrant and the one who helps an oppressor as well as the one who is pleased with such injustice all the three are accomplices in the sin”–Muhammad al-Baqir 

“And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touch you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped.”–Qur’an 11:13

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (SAW) supplicated: Help the oppressed and guide those who have lost their way {Book 41, Number 4799: Sunan Abu-Dawud}

Narrated Jabir: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “Beware of oppression, for oppression will turn into excessive darkness on the Day of Resurrection; and beware of niggardliness, for niggardliness destroyed your predecessors.” (Muslim)

 

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