The Statement of Justice
There’s an Arabic phrase that has its roots ascribed to early Muslim piety, if not the Prophet himself. It goes along the lines of, “Allah (SWT) will help the just state even if it is non-Muslim and will not help the unjust state even if it happens to be Muslim”. Whether historical critical rigour can successfully validate such an attribution is questionable but no one can deny that it has been used freely by Muslim theologians either. The overall objective of the Shar’iah, we are informed, is justice and mercy. Why should this not be the case then?
In any case, here’s part of a transcript from the Victorian Muhammed Marmaduke Pickthall’s lecture, ’causes of rise and decline’. It serves as a practical commentary of the phrase.
“But before I come to my conclusion, I must mention one great assertion of the universal nature of Islam which occurred in the darkest hour that Muslims ever knew. You will find it narrated in the first chapter of Kitab-ul-Fakhri, where the author speaks of the importance of justice as a quality of the ruler according to the teaching of Islam, that when Sultan Hulaqu had taken Baghdad and held the unfortunate but worthless person of the Abbasid Khalifa at his mercy, he put a question to the Ulama who had assembled at his bidding at the Mustansiriyah — a question calling for a fatwa of the Learned, a question upon the answer to which depended the fate of the Khilafat: “which is preferable (according to the Shari’ah) the disbelieving ruler who is just or the Muslim ruler who is unjust?”
The Ulama were sitting all aghast, at a loss what to write, when Rizauddin Ali ibn Tawas, the greatest and most respected Aalim of his time, arose and took the question paper and signed his name to the answer:
“The disbelieving ruler who is just.” All the others signed after him. All knew that it was the right answer, for the Muslims cannot keep two standards, one for the professed believer and the other for the disbeliever, when Allah (SWT), as His messenger proclaimed, maintains one standard only. His standard and His judgement are the same for all. He has no favourites. The favoured of Allah (SWT) are those, whoever and wherever they may be, who keep His Laws. The test is not the profession of a particular creed, nor the observance of a particular set of ceremonies; it is nothing that can be said or performed by anybody as a charm, excusing his or her shortcomings. The test is Conduct. The result of good conduct is good, and the result of evil conduct is evil, for the nation as for the individual. That is the teaching of Islam, and never has its virtue been more plainly illustrated than in the history of the rise and decline of Muslim civilisation.” [end quote]
By: Shaykh Uwais Namazi