By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
05 February 2020
Islam, as per Quran, obliges Ulil Amri Minkum – the State vested with Authority, to punish the convicted criminals proportionately, the instigators of Fitna and Fasad and to compensate equitably the innocent traumatised by it. But today many would argue that this is just a simple demand of natural justice.
From ancient times Justice is depicted by the Sword and the Scales in the hands of Lady Justice. Her sculpture is placed at many modern courts of Law. Various interpretations are given. The Sword as power for swift punishment of the guilty without fear or favour and the two pans of the balance-scale for equitable compensation for the innocent dependants of the guilty and the innocent victims of the crime. However, presently only the guilty is punished by the courts but the suffering victims often have to fight for their Rights in the courts separately. Not many victims can afford to do so as odds are often heavily stacked against them; therefore the State is obliged to take that as a part of its obligation.
Law, legality, justice, equality, equity, morality, fairness and myriads of legal terms notwithstanding, to a non-legal person it is enough to ask: What happens to the people who commit the crime of falsely accusing someone; who many years later is proved to be innocent? The world is replete with cases where such defendants and their dependants (victims) suffer unmentionable punishment and endure hardships for years on end, if they are lucky to survive for that long.
Reports are common of people, for example in USA, majority Afro-Americans who after spending decades on death-row are proved innocent of the crime they were charged with. In their case, thankfully, at least they still have their country to call home after being freed. This is not so in the third world countries. Take just one case of Asia Bibi's from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as reported recently!
Although, she was not deported out of the country as part of the punishment, but after being proved innocent of charges of blasphemy and freed from jail, her life and that of her dependants was certainly in danger at the hands of fanatical religious mob and bigoted leaders, so much so that the State's Authorities, very much to their credit acknowledged the fact, and had to whisk the victims out to safety and secretly dispatch them to an exemplary Humanitarian country, Canada. This earned both the countries international acclaim.
The question then is to be asked: (a) Was that act enough as a compensation from the State for years of untold suffering of the victims?
Then the important unanswered questions: (b) What was the punishment given by the Islamic State to the false witnesses who had put Asia Bibi and her family through this trauma on false charges?
The Quran puts emphases on being true witness, even if it goes against ones own kith and kin. So conversely it is a crime to give false witness, hence punishable by any State worth its salt, as natural justice.
The scripture also rates as serious crime to drive out innocent people, out of their land and make them homeless. Asia Bibi is an innocent person as proved by Pakistan's highest Law court, and a proud citizen of the country, even after so much suffering, and yet she was driven out under threat for her life:
"Pakistan Is My Country. I Love My Country But I Am In Exile Forever," she said in an interview.
It is therefore incumbent upon the State to compensate her equitably and importantly to bring those to justice who committed this serious crime and created this situation. Were they or will they ever be brought to justice?
Yet in the same context, the murderer of Salman Taseer, the killer bodyguard Mumtaz Qadir was rightly hanged on the gallows by the same Islamic State, under the Quranic Law- Life for life.
But there is no doubt that Asia Bibi would have been killed by the religious fanatics, but they are roaming the streets proud as peacocks, as protectors of their religion. To further add insult to injury, have built a shrine to a disloyal (Bay-Wafaa in Urdu) employee bodyguard, who shared the name of a pious Sufi? What would Sufi Abdul Qadir Gilani say if he was alive today?
The Islamic State is obliged to demolish the shrine of a killer on the grounds of it being a a pagan cult of a killer if not on the basis of Quran's reference to the divisive house of worship Dirrar.
The State of Pakistan had won admiration of the world by taking bold steps and protected the innocent's lives of its citizens; but has left the instigators of the Fitna Fasad unpunished and so the justice process is incomplete. Thus it seems to have applied graded and unequal justice.
This is not dissimilar to the high profile case of journalist Jamaal Khashoggi’s butchering in Saudi Consulate in Turkey and the treatment of his fiancée Hatice Cengiz. Many alleged State hired killers of his are on death row of Saudi Kingdom but there is no mention of even an apology by the State that claims to be custodians of Muslim religion; to Ms Hatice let alone any compensation given to her or Khashoggi’s family by the religious Kingdom. The real instigators of the crime, the world alleges, are enjoying life as if nothing has happened.
Here we have a case of many wrongs that have gone unpunished in an Islamic country. Adherence to Law and order is a universal value by which countries and its citizens are judged by the civilised world. It is not enough to attend to just one wrong and ignore many others in the same chain of events, if an Islamic State proclaims to govern by its tenets.
False witness must be brought to account according to Quran's command and to ignore it shows application of unequal Adal for its citizens or at worse fear of other than the only God. In this case the religious hierarchy seem to be the other gods, the Ilaahan Aakhar. The poet Iqbal has alluded to:
Sarwary Zebaa Faqat Uss Zaat Beyhamtaa Ko Hai, Sovereignty suits only the Incomparable,
Hukmaran Hai Ik Wahi, Baaqi Btaan-E-Azari. Only He is the Master, others Azarism's idols!
In this particular case of Asia Bibi, Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadiri and the False Witnesses as an example, there is no option for the State to choose between its obligations to punish the perpetrators, compensate the victims of crimes equitably, protect its citizen's from all threats and implement knowledge based education system so that its citizens are enlightened to distinguish Right from Wrong and so to form a nation based on equality, as commanded by the Scripture.
Although it is acknowledged that such a course of action for a State to take in the so called Muslim world where the religiously fanatical brigades have an upper-hand over their ignorant foot soldiers, it is easier said than done but that is the test of a sovereign State, particularly the ones that call themselves Islamic State.
A regular contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer
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