Judicial system in Islam

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God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’aan: “We have sent Messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind can establish justice…” (Ch 57 : v 25)

Islam shows great concern for the judicial system and those appointed to carry out its responsibilities.  Islam prescribes for it many legal injunctions.  How else could it be, when Islam is the religion of mercy, equality, and justice?

It is the religion that comes to free people from worshipping creation (created beings and objects) and bring them to the worship of One Supeme Sovereign – God Almighty.

It is the religion that comes to remove people from oppression, injustice and iniquity and bring them to the highest degree of justice and freedom.

Muhammed (peace be upon him), God Almighty’s Last and Final Messenger was the greatest of judges.  He used to act in the capacity of judge in the city of Madeenah, which was the first capital of the Islamic community.

He had also appointed others, from amongst his trusted and noble companions, to be judges in other cities.

Islam sets down broad guidelines and basic principles concerning the affairs of life and rarely concerns itself with the particular details of life.

This is so these guidelines can stay relevant for every time and place.  One of these guidelines is that establishing justice among people is an obligation that has to be carried out and effected thoroughly.

The judicial system in Islam is a system for deciding between people in litigation with the aim of settling their disputes in accordance with the injunctions of the Divine Law – injunctions that are taken from the Divine Revelation (The Holy Qur’aan) and the Noble Prophetic tradition.

All of the Messengers of God Almighty (peace be upon them all) acted as judges in their communities. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’aan: “And remember David and Solomon, when they gave judgment concerning the field when people’s sheep had browsed therein at night, and We were witness to their judgment.  And We made Solomon to understand the case.

“And to each of them We gave good judgment and knowledge.” (Ch 21 : v 78-79)

The Almighty further says : “O David, verily we have placed you as a successor on Earth, so judge between people in truth, and do not follow your desires for it will mislead you from the path of God.

Verily, those who stray from the path of God have a severe punishment because they forgot the day of reckoning.” (Ch 38 : v 26)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who came with the final and eternal Message, was ordered by God Almighty to pass judgment in disputes just as he was ordered to spread the word of God Almighty and call people to total submission before The Almighty (Islam).

This is mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan in a number of places.

For instance, God Almighty says: “So judge (O Muhammad) between them by what God has revealed and do not follow their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you away from some of what God has sent down to you.” (Ch 5 : v 49)

God Almighty also says: “…And if you judge (O Muhammad), judge between them with justice.  Verily, God loves those who act justly.” (Ch 5 : v 42)

And He says:      “But no, by your Lord, they shall have no faith until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all their disputes and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission.” (Ch 4 : v 65)

It can be understood from theses verses that the duties of the judiciary include enjoining what is right, helping the oppressed, securing people’s rights, and keeping oppressive behaviour in check.

A sound judicial system is a necessity for the prosperity and development of nations.

It is needed to secure human happiness, protect the rights of the oppressed, and restrain the oppressors.  It is the way to resolve disputes and ensure human rights.

It facilitates enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and curbing immoral behaviour.

In this way, a just social order can be enjoyed by all sectors of society, and every individual can feel secure in his life, property, honour, and liberty.

In this environment, nations can progress; civilisation can be achieved; and people are then free to pursue what will better them both spiritually and materially.

For further information on Islam please contact:

Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars

Publications Department

P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare

Tel: 04-614078 / 04-614004    e mail: majliszw@yahoo.com