Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 1006 [Read full issue]
Justice is often obstructed by intercession on behalf of those who do wrong. When the wrongdoer is a person of high position in society, there will always be those who can speak strongly on the offender's behalf. Under a dictatorship, it is often easy to thwart justice when the guilty belongs to the dictator's family or circle or party. Even in free societies, attempts are made to help those who wield influence to escape punishment for their offences. The Prophet (peace be upon him) made it clear that Islamic society allows nothing of this. For example, during the Prophet's lifetime, a woman from the Makhzum clan of the Quraysh was found guilty of theft. Aishah reports that:
Many people of the Quraysh tribe were troubled by the fact that such a noble woman was to be punished. They wanted someone to speak to the Prophet requesting a pardon for her. It was suggested that the best person to do so was the one who was dearest to him, Usamah ibn Zayd. Usamah obliged and spoke to the Prophet. The Prophet was upset. He said to Usamah: "Are you interceding to suspend a mandatory punishment decreed by God?" He then spoke to the people: "People, know that communities before you came to ruin only because when a nobleman among them was guilty of theft, they left him alone, but when a person of no influence stole, they applied the mandatory punishment. I swear by God Almighty, if Fatimah, my daughter, is guilty of theft, I will have her hand cut." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
This hadith is very emphatic in requiring the Muslim community to ensure equality of all people before the law. None can be exempt from it on grounds of nobility, honour, social status or governmental position. Should a community allow such discrimination, it would come to ruin.
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi