In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, the all-knowing, the all-seeing and we beseech Allah to send His noblest blessings on the Seal of the Prophets, Our Master and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam).
The first crime or sin we could say, committed on the surface of the earth was perpetrated by the son of the noble Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) whose name was Qabil RH. As it is known, the sin he committed was no ordinary sin; it was none other than murder and what degree of murder could be worse than murdering a family member, his own blood brother, Habil RH. So ever since that day, every person that gets killed unjustly, the burden of the sin not only falls on the killer, but also on Qabil RH as he initiated killings.
In this worldly life, we see many forms of oppression, and Almighty Allah allows this oppression. Many people, Muslim and Non-Muslim ask why? It is NOT because Allah is pleased to see his servants committing ‘dhulm’ , rather it is something termed as ‘al-Istidraaj’. Something you could loosely explain as Allah loosening the rope and giving respite to stop and repent. It is when Allah Almighty gives fortunes to someone despite Him not being pleased with him/her. Our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) explained in a Hadith (Prophetic Tradition), “When you see that Allah Almighty gives good fortunes to his slaves who are always committing sins (disobedient), know that the person is being given istidraj by Allah.” (At-Tabrani, Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi)
However, it is the duty of others to stop dhulm as is explained in the Prophetic Tradition (Hadith),“Help your brother; be he the oppressor or the oppressed.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, I shall help him if he is oppressed but how do I help him if he is the oppressor?” He said:”Prevent him from oppression, that is you helping him.” Bukhari and Muslim.
But what exactly is oppression? It is normally termed for what goes on in war and when one takes another’s right. The literal meaning of al-Dhulm is, ‘to place something somewhere it does not belong’. For example, if one were to place his shoe on his head that would be classed as al-Dhulm as that is not the correct place for the shoe. But dhulm (oppression) in Islam has a much broader and deeper meaning. We only need to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to see the oppression that goes on around the world, the young children suffering, the babies dying, women as well as the elderly tortured and their menfolk beaten and humiliated in front of them – the world accepts this as wrong, no matter which creed or race you are from and no matter which religion you follow.
But what I would like to shed light on is the dhulm you and I may commit; even though we would never like to be associated with dhulm or be called a ‘dhalim’ (oppressor), but sometimes we do commit oppression knowingly,or unknowingly. Because oppression is not just what we see in Gaza or Syria, oppression is also what goes on here, in the UK; a man who beats his wife is oppression, not treating your children fairly and equally is oppression, to show ingratitude and display disobedience to your parents is oppression, to deprive a sibling of their rights to inheritance is oppression, bullying and harassing someone weaker than you in school or college or at a workplace is oppression, taking one’s anger out on an innocent individual is oppression, showing favouritism at a work place to certain employees due to unjustified reasons such as family connections, being from the same race or same sex (sometimes the opposite sex simply because they are attractive) is oppression, being ungrateful to your spouse or not spending time with him/her is oppression, not letting a father see his child without a valid reason is oppression and relaying lies or slandering someone out of jealousy and spite is oppression! The list really can go on, unfortunately.
The very sad reality is oppression is everywhere and for many of us, our hearts bleed because others cause us to bleed. Usually it is those closest to us; a family member or a relative. Hence the title of this article has been named, ‘Dhulm: Oppression or depression?’ despite the fact dhulm is normally translated as oppression it can consequently ‘lead’ to depression. And this is what we see when we look around the world; people are either suffering from oppression or depression, they are either bleeding or weeping! My little message to every brother to every sister out there who is suffering, be it equal to a prick of a thorn or the weight of a mountain, “DO NOT DESPAIR IN THE MERCY OF ALLAH!” (39:53). “Indeed, Allah is with the patient ones” (2:249). We are promised time and again in Qur’an and Hadith that Allah will give us justice for the oppression we face in this world and the injustices we have to endure. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Give people their rights. Even the hornless sheep will take retaliation from the horned sheep (on Qiyamah)” (Adabul Mufrad).
Nothing is hidden from Allah, not even the black ant crawling on a stone in the darkness of the night nor its footprint! Let oppressors think not that Allah is unaware! Allah Almighty says, “And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror]” (14:42). In another verse, “And those who have wronged are going to know to what [kind of] return they will be paid back” (26:227). And to serve as a final reminder and warning, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Fear injustice. Injustice will appear as darkness on the Day of Rising. Fear avarice. Avarice destroyed people before you and led them to shed one another’s blood and to make lawful what was unlawful for them” (Adabul Mufrad).
To conclude In Sha Allah, we pray Allah protects us from committing dhulm and from being the victims of dhulm, as well as giving us the ability to help the oppressed and stop an oppressor, as the saying goes, ‘Evil spreads not because of the violence of bad people, rather because of the silence of good people’ .
Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (In dire need of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and pleasure).
27th Shawwal 1435