October 2006: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 2


Cont’d from page 1

The word zulm (tyranny and transgression) is very broad in its significance. It is of three kinds:

a) between humans and God, the greatest of which is shirk — idol worship and polytheism, and kufr or disbelief and this would include all wrong beliefs with regard to the Creator;

b) between humans and humans which would include all kinds of transgressions including a violation of the rights of others and

c) between humans and our own selves which would include all kinds of guilty actions detrimental not to others but to our own self by transgressing the limits imposed by God

[65:1] ….These are GOD’s laws. Anyone who transgresses GOD’s laws commits an injustice against himself.

Adam and his spouse were the first human couple to be cautioned:

[2:35] We said, “O Adam, live with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom generously, as you please, but do not approach this tree, lest you sin.”

[21:87] And Zan-Noon (Jonah, “the one with an ‘N’ in his name”), abandoned his mission in protest, thinking that we could not control him. He ended up imploring from the darkness (of the big fish’s belly): “There is no god other than You. Be You glorified. I have committed a gross sin.”

This is what Jonah cried out when realization dawned on him that his personal calamity of such a rare kind was the result of divine wrath invited by his own error of judgment as a human being despite his elevated position as a

prophet. We find the word zulm and its derivatives here as also in 28:16 (Moses); 6:63; 7:9; 7:103; 11: 117 and 17:59.

Despotism of the most reprehensible nature, according to the Quran, is that which is associated with the conduct of tyrants and ruthless oppressors like Pharaoh, Hamaan and Qaaroon. Pharaoh’s elders and courtiers were annoyed at the proselytizing crusade of Moses and Aaron. They complained:

[7:127] The leaders among Pharaoh’s people said, “Will you allow Moses and his people to corrupt the earth, and forsake you and your gods?” He said, “We will kill their sons, and spare their daughters. We are much more powerful than they are.”

Pharaoh had a genocidal campaign to eradicate the very roots of the Children of Israel who had found a foothold in Egypt since the days of Jacob and Joseph. It began long before Aaron and Moses were born and it intensified after their messengership during the reign of Rameses II. This carried on until God intervened at His chosen time and rescued them from the mass slaughter carried out by the state authority of that day. God reminds the children of Israel:

[2:49] Recall that we saved you from Pharaoh’s people who inflicted upon you the worst persecution, slaying your sons and sparing your daughters. That was an exacting test from your Lord.

[2:50] Recall that we parted the sea for you; we saved you and drowned Pharaoh’s people before your eyes.

This state sponsored cruelty was so sickening and shocking that even Pharaoh’s noble natured wife was disgusted and prayed to God.


[66:11] And GOD cites as an example of those who believed the wife of Pharaoh. She said, “My Lord, build a home for me at You in Paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his works; save me from the transgressing people.”

Next to state supported and state implemented totalitarianism and suppression are extra judicial killings, which in common parlance is called “police encounters.” The Quran warns:

[6:151] ….You shall not kill - GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand.”

To emphasize that killing, except in the course of justice, is extremely loathsome, the Quran mentions that God had prescribed stern and exemplary punishments to the Children of Israel. According to the Quran,

[17:33] You shall not kill any person - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.

Thus, although homicide is an offence of which cognizance is taken by the government or the state, the option to the heirs of the victim to claim compensation is there. This aspect of Quranic penal law is generally overlooked which, in spite of providing capital punishment for murder, leaves the door open for remission if the heir or heirs of the murdered person so desire. (See 2:178)

Cont’d on page 4