Thursday, 13 December 2012

Concept of 'Meezan' and Essentiality of Sunnah

The term ‘Meezan’ mentioned in Quran is associated with justice. ‘Meezan’/justice includes both ‘adl’ and ‘qist’. Let us see how these two concepts i.e. ‘adl’ and ‘qist’, emphasize essentiality of Sunnah as a source of Islam.
First it would be pertinent to describe briefly the concepts of ‘qist’ and ‘adl’ which jointly formulate the concept of justice/ ‘meezan’ in islam.  ‘Qist’ is mentioned in Quran in situations which involve crimes/disputes, or which lead or may lead to crimes/disputes. ‘Qist’ is relating to dispensation of justice through legal process/laws relating to crimes/disputes.  (Compensation for deeds in 'ukhra' will also be according to divine laws; that is why word 'qist' has been used for compensation of deeds in 'ukhra' also). In other words, ‘qist’ is relating to adjudication/compensation of crimes/disputes . This is what has been mentioned in Quran as following:
 “And for every nation is a messenger/ ‘rasool’. So when their messenger/ ‘rasool’ came, it (matter) was judged (quziah) between them with qist/justice, and they are not wronged” (yunus-47).
We know every ‘rasool’/ messenger comes with his shriah/laws according to which he decides between the people. Laws are what are applied to crimes/ disputes and events/situations other than crimes/disputes. In this above mentioned verse, the matters under adjudication are crimes/disputes and the word ‘qist’ has been used to describe a situation in which crimes/disputes are decided upon under the laws; the word ‘quziya’/adjudication, used in this verse, is only used for such matters which involve crimes/disputes.   Briefly speaking, ‘qist’ is that component of system of justice which is relating to dispensation of justice through legal process/ laws.

The second concept regarding justice/ ‘meezan’ mentioned in Quran is ‘adl’. This concept is wider in its application than ‘qist’; ‘qist’ only relates to legal justice, but ‘adl’ may include both legal and non- legal justice. The sources of non-legal justice may include social behaviour and conduct, customs, values, way of living, professional ethics, business practices etc.  There are dozens of Quranic verses containing word ‘adl’ which states about legal and non-legal justice. Examples are sura al-anam-150; al-baqra-282; al-talaq-2; al-araaf-159; al-shura-15, and many others. Briefly speaking, justice revolves around two concepts i.e. ‘adl’ in which social justice is established not necessarily through legal tools; the second concept is ‘qist’ in which social justice is established essentially through legal means. 'Qist' involves crimes and penalty whereas 'adl' does not essentially involve crimes and  penalty.

It may be noted that both ‘adl’ and ‘qist’ reinforce each other; ‘qist’ helps in establishing ‘adl’ and ‘adl’ helps in establishing ‘qist’. Now we turn to the point how ‘adl’ and ‘qist’ emphasize essentiality of Sunnah as a source of Islamic ‘Shariah’. Quran says:
We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance/ ‘meezan’ that the people may maintain [their all affairs] in justice….” (al-hadid-25).

This verse states that Allah has revealed to His Messengers the Book and “meezan”/balance/justice so that people may establish justice (legal). It may be noted that the Book and ‘Meezan’ have been used side by side in this verse. Allah has revealed both things i.e. the Book and the ‘Meezan’. It means ‘Meezan’/justice revealed is not essentially confined to the Book [scripture/Book means written words; whole guidance is not confined to apparent/written words of Quran, though whole guidance may be adduced from Quran through written words and unwritten words/inferences/hidden meanings of Quran; Sunnah is actually hidden meanings of Quran revealed to our Nabi (saww)]. 'Meezan' is contained in the Book and in a source other than the Book. That other source is our beloved Nabi’s (saw) Sunnah.  
 We have seen above ‘adl’ and ‘qist’ constitute whole edifice of system of justice; ‘qist’ is legal dispensation of justice and ‘adl’ is legal and  other than legal dispensation of justice. It means justice/'Meezan' is to be maintained in all spheres (legal plus non-legal) of society. As 'Meezan'/Justice is contained in the Sunnah, it means Sunnah is not only source of Islamic Laws but also source of other than legal systems in Islam.
We may conclude that system of justice/ ‘meezan’ as conceived by Quran is to be established at all tiers of human society. This system has two components i.e. system of ‘qist’ (legal dispensation of justice) and system of ‘adl’ (legal and non-legal dispensation of justice). Our Nabi’s(saw) Sunnah is source of both these components of justice/ ‘meezan’. This fact underlines essentiality of Sunnah as a source of Islamic laws and Islamic systems.

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