In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
A Pakistani Christian woman, Aasiya (better known as Asia Bibi), was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging in 2010.
In June 2009, Asia Bibi was involved in an argument with a group of women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women objected to a non-Muslim touching the bowl in which she fetched water. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him, a charge she has denied; she was arrested and imprisoned. In November 2010, a Sheikhupura judge sentenced her to death. If executed, Asia Bibi would be the first woman in Pakistan to be lawfully killed for blasphemy.
Islam was revealed to protect the natural human rights of all, their inalienable rights to life, property, and freedom. Violating these rights without a just cause is a major sin and a betrayal of Islam – if Muslims claim such injustice is legislated by the Quran and Sunnah.
Various petitions, including one that received 400,000 signatures, were organised to protest Asia Bibi’s imprisonment, and Pope Benedict XVI publicly called for the charges against her to be dismissed.
Asia Bibi has received less sympathy from her neighbors and Islamic religious leaders in Pakistan some of whom have called for her to be executed. Christian minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti and Muslim politician Salmaan Taseer were both assassinated for advocating on her behalf. Asia Bibi’s family is in hiding after receiving death threats,
We should be fearful of committing oppression as Allah always hears the supplication of an oppressed – regardless of who is being oppressed.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
وَاتَّقِ دَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَ اللَّهِ حِجَابٌ
Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 4090, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah said:
ثَلَاثَةٌ لَا تُرَدُّ دَعْوَتُهُمْ الصَّائِمُ حَتَّى يُفْطِرَ وَالْإِمَامُ الْعَادِلُ وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ يَرْفَعُهَا اللَّهُ فَوْقَ الْغَمَامِ وَيَفْتَحُ لَهَا أَبْوَابَ السَّمَاءِ وَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ وَعِزَّتِي لَأَنْصُرَنَّكِ وَلَوْ بَعْدَ حِينٍ
The supplications of three persons are never turned away: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and the supplication of the oppressed which is raised by Allah above the clouds, the gates of heaven are opened for it, and the Lord says: By my might, I will help you in due time.
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3598, Grade: Sahih
Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
اتَّقُوا دَعَوَاتِ الْمَظْلُومِ فَإِنَّهَا تَصْعَدُ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَأَنَّهَا شَرَارٌ
Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for it ascends to Allah as if it were a flare.
Source: al-Mustadrak 118, Grade: Sahih
Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
وَاتَّقِ دَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ فَإِنَّ دَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ مُجَابَةٌ
Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for the supplication of the oppressed is answered.
Source: al-Muwaṭṭa 1890
Those advocating for oppressing others need to simply ask themselves a few questions:
If I commit oppression against another, that person has a free supplication they can use against me:
Will that person ask Allah to punish me?
Will the person supplicate for evil against me?
When I oppress another, am I not turning myself to the mercy of the one I am oppressing?
If I am a victim of injustice, I take comfort in the fact that I have a supplication that is guaranteed to be answered by Allah The Most Powerful.
If in the position of being oppressed if I say now I will supplicate for goodness – I would be lying, because I do not know for I am not in that position.
The supplication of the oppressed is answered – whoever that person is.
Justice and the fulfillment of human rights are to be enjoyed by all people regardless of their religion or no religion.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
اتَّقُوا دَعْوَةَ الْمَظْلُومِ وَإِنْ كَانَ كَافِرًا فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ دُونَهَا حِجَابٌ
Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 12140, Grade: Sahih
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
دَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ مُسْتَجَابَةٌ وَإِنْ كَانَ فَاجِرًا فَفُجُورُهُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ
The supplication of the oppressed is answered, even if he is wicked for his wickedness is only against himself.
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 8577, Grade: Sahih
A person’s belief is no excuse to harm them in any way. Islam promotes truth and justice as a universal value through which human beings must relate to one another and forbids the oppression of others.
Allah The Most High said:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Verily, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and he forbids immorality and bad conduct and transgression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
Surat An-Nahl 16:90
And Allah said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
O you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah as witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness. Fear Allah, for Allah is aware of what you do.
Surat Al-Ma’idah 5:8
Al-Qurtubi comments on this verse, saying:
وَدَلَّتِ الْآيَةُ أَيْضًا عَلَى أَنَّ كُفْرَ الْكَافِرِ لَا يَمْنَعُ مِنَ الْعَدْلِ عَلَيْهِ
This verse shows that the unbelief of the unbeliever does not prevent him from enjoying justice.
Source: Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī 5:8
Abu Dharr: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
قال الله تبارك وتعالى يَا عِبَادِي إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي وَجَعَلْتُهُ بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا فَلَا تَظَالَمُوا
Allah the Exalted said: O my servants, I have forbidden oppression for myself and I have made it forbidden among you, so do not oppress one another.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2577, Grade: Sahih
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah said:
اتَّقُوا الظُّلْمَ فَإِنَّ الظُّلْمَ ظُلُمَاتٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
Beware of committing oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2578, Grade: Sahih
To oppress another under the cloak of Islam that the Last Prophet (Peace & Blessings Upon Him) taught shows weakness within the person calling himself or herself a Muslim.
True justice belongs to Allah The Most Merciful and if someone who calls themselves a Muslim is the name of Allah The Most Wise to persecute those who He specifically asked Muslims to protect (as per the teachings of the Last Prophet Peace Be Upon Him) then it is our religious duty to support those who are oppressed in His name even by those who call themselves Muslim.
Oppression shows weakness, and those oppressing whilst using the name of Allah The Most Powerful are placing themselves in a very precarious position for either they have not studied Islam or are not really fearful of Allah as all believers should.
Ibn Taymiyyah RA, said:
اللَّهُ يَنْصُرُ الدَّوْلَةَ الْعَادِلَةَ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ كَافِرَةً وَلَا يَنْصُرُ الدَّوْلَةَ الظَّالِمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ مُؤْمِنَةً
Allah will support the just state even if it is led by unbelievers, but Allah will not support the oppressive state even if it is led by believers.
Source: Majmū’ Fatāwá 28/63
Allah will answer the supplication of the oppressed even if the oppressed person is an unbeliever or sinner. People have the right to be protected in their lives, wealth, and freedoms.
If I fail to fulfill others rights, then I surrender my fate as a Muslim to their supplication – the supplication of the oppressed.
This is something I cannot do.
I hope as Muslims whether in Pakistan or in other nations we raise our voices for the oppressed – and raise our voice for Asia Bibi a Christian Lady and others who are oppressed.
May Allah Guide Us Towards Justice & Compassion for all his creatures and guide those who call themselves believers – towards a deeper understanding of the teachings of The Last Prophet (PBUH) they claim to hold dear.