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What Happens to Society When Those of Higher Social Status Escape Punishment For Their Crimes, But Those of Lower Status Are Punished?

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Abu Muntafiq [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “I went to Makkah and enquired about Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], so they (i.e. the people) said that he was at Arafah. I approached him and drew close to him, but I was stopped; then he said, ‘Leave him’, so I drew close to him until the neck of his riding beast was next to the neck of my riding beast, then I said to him, ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! Inform me of that which will distance me from Allaah’s punishment and enter me into Paradise’. He said, ‘Worship Allaah alone and do not associate anything with Him; establish the prayers; pay the Zakaat, fast the month of Ramadhaan; perform hajj and Umrah; look at how you love to be treated by the people, then treat them that way; and how you hate to be treated, then do not treat them that way’”. [As-Saheehah Number 3508]

Abdullah Bin Amr [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Whoever would love to be delivered from Hellfire and admitted into Paradise, let him meet his end whilst believing in Allaah and the Last Day, and let him treat people as he would love to be treated”. (1) Imaam An-Nawawi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “This is from the Jawaami al-Kalim of the Prophet [i.e. precise speech with a comprehensive meaning] and his amazing wisdom. It is obligatory to pay close attention to this important principle and that a person must not deal with the people except in a way he loves to be dealt with”. (2)

Aa’isha [may Allaah be pleased with her] reported that the Quraish had been anxious about the Makhzumi woman who had committed theft, and said, “Who will speak to Allah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] about her?” They said, “Who dare it, but Usamah, the loved one of Allah’s Messenger?” So Usamah spoke to him. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said, “Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?” He then stood up and addressed (people) saying, “O people! Those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high status committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and if anyone of low status committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut of”. (2.1)

“Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?” Meaning, it is not permissible to intercede regarding the divine prescribed punishments.

“Those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high status committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and if anyone of low status committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him” – Meaning, destroyed by way of punishment due to their sins. They were destroyed due to this affair because they said, “This is a person of high status and it is not possible to cut his hand”. When a person of high status amongst them stole, they let him off, (but) when a person of low status stole, they established the punishment on him, so the implementation of Allaah’s prescribed punishments was carried out based on their desires. In this hadeeth is proof to show that the nations before us committed theft, and that there was much theft in their midst including the wealthy, the poor, the one of high status and the one of low status.

Then the Messenger made an oath – even though he is the righteous and truthful one without making an oath – that “By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut of”.

O Allaah! Send Your Salutations and blessings upon him (i.e. the prophet). This is how justice should be and the manner in which Allaah’s rulings are to be applied, and not through desires. He (i.e. The Prophet) made an oath that if Fatimah – who was of a higher status than that Makhzumi woman, both in nobility and lineage, because she is the leader of the women of paradise- the daughter of Muhammad stole, he would cut her hand. (2.2)

Imaam An-Nawawi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated that (Imaam) Muslim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] mentioned narrations in the chapter regarding the forbiddance of interceding in the divine ordained punishments and that this was the cause of the destruction of the Children of Israel. The scholars unanimously agreed that – due to these narrations – interceding in the divine ordained punishments – after the affair has reached the leader – is prohibited. As for before it reaches the leader, most scholars have permitted intercession if the one being interceded for is not an evil person and harmful to the people. As for the sins (or acts of disobedience) for which there are no prescribed punishments and what is obligated regarding them is to reinforce authority, then intercession regarding them is permissible whether the affair has reached the leader or not. Intercession in these affairs is desirable if the one being interceded for is not a harmful person and so on. (2.3) [End of Quotes]

In our era, many so called leaders of the free world claim that they are upholders of justice and fair play, however what they proclaim contradicts their actions. We witness the fact that some countries, especially the land where the neoconservatives reside, have what is called “The Hague Invasion Act” to protect their military personnel from prosecution, but they are the first to insist that others must be punished for war-crimes. The neoconservatives refuse to give any consideration to war-crimes allegations against members of their military and their “Hague Invasion Act” does not allow other nations to co-operate or assist in extraditing Americans accused of war-crimes. This injustice and blatant hypocrisy is manifest for everyone to see. Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Whoever ponders upon the state of affairs of the world will find that every affair of rectification is due to Tawheed (Pure Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Allaah’s Messenger (Muhammad). And every evil in the world, trial, affliction, scarcity (in livelihood), being overpowered by an enemy and other than that is due to (our) opposition to the Messenger and calling to other than (the way of) Allaah and His Messenger. Whoever truly ponders upon this and examines the state of affairs of the world- since its beginning and until the time Allaah will take it away and those upon it- will realise this affair regarding himself and others, in general and specific (circumstances). And there is no Might or Power except with Allaah –The Most High, The Most Great”. (2.4)

The Imaam also said, “Everyone with a bit of (sound) intellect knows that the corruption of the world and its ruin occurs due to giving precedence to opinion over the divine revelation and (evil) desires over sound intellect. These two corrupt motives are not entrenched in a heart except that its destruction becomes inevitable nor in a nation except that its affairs are completely corrupted”. (2.5)

Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “And even though there is something in the paths of analogical reasoning and reflection that will lead to knowledge, however sometimes it cannot give detail explanation in a dispute between the people of the earth due to the minute details and ambiguities [in that dispute], and at other times due to the fact the people differ when prioritizing necessities. Therefore, due to this Allaah [The Most High] commanded [us] to return to the revelation in times of dispute. Allaah [The Most High] said:

[كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ‌ۚ – Mankind were one community (i.e. upon Tawheed and Allaah’s Sharee’ah) and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed]. [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 213]

Therefore, Allaah [The Most High] designated the revealed Books [i.e. the Qur’aan being the final of them] as the judge between the people in matters wherein they differ”. (2.6)


[Ref 1: Ṣaḥeeh Muslim 1844]

[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Saheeh Muslim’. 12/196]

[Ref 2.1. Saheeh Muslim. 1688a]

[Ref 2.2: An Excerpt from Sharh Riyaadus Saaliheen Vol 6. Pages 525-530. slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 2.3: An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Saheeh Muslim’. 11/155]

[Ref 2.4: Source: Badaa’i Al-Fawaa’id 3/525-526]

[Ref 2.5:  I’laam Al-Muwaqqi’een 1/67-69]

[Ref 2.6: Dar Ta’aarud Al-Aql Wan-Naql: 9/17-18]