Respect for Law
The worldly kings and their near and dear ones are normally considered above the law. In India, this was indeed the practice of local kings called Rajas and the Maharajas. Even today, to some extent, this continues to he the practice in England. The kings are considered to be above the binds and dictates of the law. On the other hand, the Holy Prophet of Islam did not consider himself to be above the law and its provisions. Once a Companion was slightly injured, because of the Holy Prophet. He immediately offered to pay the penalty to the injured Companion. (Abu Daud, Vol 4, page 182).
At the occasion of the Battle of Badar, the Holy Prophet’s uncle, Abbas was taken as a prisoner. All prisoners were freed by taking the appropriate payment from them. Some good intentioned Companions asked the Holy Prophet, Should we forgive the sum due for releasing Abbas? The Holy Prophet responded: I swear to you in the name of God that not a single dirham (a local coin) shall be forgiven! (Bokhari, Baab Fida-ul-Mushrekeen)
On one occasion a case came before the Prophet Muhammad in which a young woman belonging to a highly respectable tribe of Makhzoom, was found to have committed a theft. This caused great concern among his followers. They felt that if the normal penalty of theft was imposed upon the young woman, a leading family would be humiliated and disgraced. Many were anxious to intercede with the Prophet on behalf of the offender but were afraid to do so. Eventually Usama, son of the prophet’s adopted son was prevailed upon to undertake the mission. Usama went to the Holy Prophet, but the moment the latter perceived the trend of his submission he was much upset and said: “You should better desist from such recommendation. Nations have come to a bad end for showing favors to highly placed persons while pressing hard on the common people. Islam does not permit this and I will certainly not do it. Verily, if my own daughter, Fatima, were to commit an offence I would not hesitate to impose the appropriate penalty.” (Bokhari, Kitab al-Hudud).
Do we see in any worldly king or Caesar such respect for the law and justice? Do we see such conformity to the rules of law in the behavior of any king? This was the special distinction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah on him) alone and of no one else. It was his special character that under every circumstance and situation, he upheld the principles of justice and equity.