The Islamic System of Judiciary in the Qur'an 4

The Islamic System of Judiciary in the Qur'an 4

The Rules of Conduct for the Judge

It has been made clear that the judiciary is necessary to protect human society and that its criterion is nothing other than revelation. In this section, we wish to discuss its external realization and how it can exist in the desirable form that will afford the application of divine justice derived from revelation. The administration of justice in human society is possible through a judge who has knowledge of the divine criterion for judiciary and who believes in it and acts in conformity with it. If knowledge, faith, and action did not exist together, the criterion itself would not have any effect, for it would be like a lamp in the hand of a blind person who can neither benefit from it himself nor benefit others. He would not be safe from stumbling and the lamp would either break or be extinguished. Thus, the practicing judge has to be a just scholar (`alim `adil).

Man is controlled by three important faculties from which springs felicity or misery. They are: his intellect (`aql), through which he grasps matters; his Desire (shahwah), through which he seeks things and wants them for himself; and his Anger (ghadhab), through which he repels from himself what he dislikes. Knowledge and justice must inform these three faculties, so that the judge may not deviate in judgment or depart from the path of truth. His intellect should be directed towards acquiring and teaching that which has been brought by the prophets, so that desires (ahwd') do not affect him. There is no room for personal judgment (ray) in' religion, and whoever rules through his personal judgment perishes. He who abandons the Book of Allah, the Exalted, and the Sunnah of His Prophet, has disbelieved; he who relies on him­self when faced with a problem is led astray and he who relies on his judgment in ambiguous matters is as one who has made himself his own leader (imam).

Justice should inform his Desire, and he should not rule out of a liking for a particular matter or a specific person. Nor should he rule out of a desire for wealth, status, or position, or for other reasons springing from vain urges. His Anger should be temperate, and he should not rule out of hatred for a matter or hostility to a person, or out of fear of a threat or intimidation, or for any other reason related to anger, hatred, and the like. The person who is balanced in his intellect through the teaching of the divine revelation and his faith in it, and is balanced in his. Desire and Anger-since his love and hatred are in the way of Allah, the Exalted-such a person is suitable for judgment between people. Concerning self-discipline, particularly in relation to judiciary, the Noble Qur'an deals with the regulation of the three above-men­tioned faculties.

Firstly, it refers to the moderation (ta'dil, a derivative of `adl, justice; ta'dil means informing something with justice) of the intellect through the scriptural instruction and teachings of the prophets, peace be upon them. He who does not judge according to what Allah has revealed, is a disbeliever. This has been mentioned in the previous section, so we will not repeat it.
Secondly, it refers to the ta`dil of love. Almighty Allah the Exalted, says: O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for Almighty Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents and kinsmen ...(1)
Almighty Allah, the Exalted, has commanded the believer to be a `securer of justice', which is more important than upholding justice. He has com­manded that his testimony should be for Almighty Allah, even though it may be against himself, his parents, or his kinsmen, so that his love for him­self or his kinsmen does not prevent him from establishing justice or bearing witness for Almighty Allah. If he was required to make an admission, against himself; he should do so. If the establishment of truth calls for testify­ing against his nearest relatives, he should not hold back from it. Then his Desire would be just, and his love would be for Almighty Allah, and he would be attracted towards Almighty Allah. He would not desire anything that Almighty Allah was not pleased with, nor be tempted by something Almighty Allah disliked. He would not desire an unjust thing or incline towards vanity, and it would not be possible to influence or dominate him through his Desire. Thirdly, it refers to the ta`dil of Anger. As Almighty Allah, the Exalted, says: O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for Almighty Allah. Let not detesta­tion for a people move you not to be equitable; be equitable-that is nearer to Almighty Allah fearing. And fear Almighty Allah; surely Almighty Allah is aware of the things you do. (2)

In this verse, Almighty Allah, the Exalted, commands the faithful to be `securers of justice' for Almighty Allah and witnesses for justice. Like the previous verse this one is also concerned with justice and equity. Almighty Allah, the Exalted, also warns the believer - lest hatred of a people and enmity to them should lead him to abandon justice and lest hatred should influence his judgment. The judge must be-guided by the laws of Almighty Allah, the Exalted, so that his anger is only for the sake of Almighty Allah, and his hatred for a people must not cause him an unjust ruling. If the faculty of his `Anger' is regulated in this way, he will have no fear of anyone other than Allah and it will not be possible to influence him through the arousal of his `Anger'.

When man attains this kind of control over the self, and is pos­sessed of knowledge and justice, and his intellectual and behavioural faculties have been moderated, then it is in order for him to apply himself to adjudication and occupy the position held by none other than the prophet or his authorized trustee (wasi) for even if he is neither a prophet nor authorized as a trustee through a special trustee­ship (wisayah) as in the case of the Infallible Imams, peace be upon them-he is a trustee through a general trusteeship in accordance with the texts of appointment (nasb).

It is also proper that this judge should pave judgment through his knowledge, since all dicta are proved through knowledge whereas knowledge is a proof in itself. So if a just judge has knowledge of the truth, then he should judge according to his knowledge, so as to comply with the verses which command ruling with justice. In fact, if the evidence produced is contrary to his knowledge or the denier takes an oath asserting something contrary to his knowledge, he should refrain from judgment or refer the case, for example, to another judge. It is not permissible for him to rule contrary to his knowledge, even if the evidence or the oath is acceptable.

It is not right that his judgment should be revoked or refuted, since this would be like refuting the Infallible Imam, which in turn would be similar to refuting Almighty Allah, the Exalted. That would actually amount to unbelief and practically to polytheism (shirk), though it may not involve creedal unbelief, because creedal unbelief concerns the outright denial of one of the fundamental doctrines of religion.

One of the most important rules of conduct for the judge is to be on guard against bribery when passing judgment, because that amounts to unlawful gain, unfaithful conduct and transgression and has been forbidden by the noble Qur'an: Consume not your goods between you in vanity; neither proffer it to the judges, that you may sinfully consume a portion of other men's goods, and that wittingly. (3)

The Qur'an has forbidden the giving of money to judges in the hope of extracting an unjust judgment from them. The term idla' (proffering) means sending a bucket down into the well to bring out water from its depths. It should be noted that the use of this word here means that bribery is like a bucket sent down into the bosom of the judge to ex­tract injustice and wrong from his wicked heart. The inward must be pure and the heart unblemished, so that it does not incline towards wealth and is not influenced by coercion. The Qur'an has forbidden these two qualities in the following verse: So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price.(4)

Continue in the next article: ( The Islamic System of Judiciary in the Qur'an 5 )

NOTES:

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1. (4:135)

2. (5:8)

3. (2:188)

4. (5:44)