Oppression and Scheming… and the Expedited Punishment

Oppression and Scheming… and the Expedited Punishment
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 Author: Dr. Sa‘eed ‘Abdul-‘Atheem

In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) his family and Companions, and those who follow him.

The divine norms of Allah, The Exalted, have no scope for favoritism or flattery; He Says (what means):

·      {And you will not find in the way of Allah any change.} [Quran 33:62]

·      {And you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration.} [Quran 35:43]

The Islamic Sharee‘ah does not distinguish between the equals, nor does it treat unequals as equivalent. The (inevitable) destruction of schemers, oppressors, and renegers is only a matter of time. The passage of time is part of the solution, and the constants and standards should remain unshakable. Muhammad ibn Ka‘b Al-Qurathi,  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him, said: “Three qualities beset those who possess them: 1) (evil) scheming, as Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {Evil scheme shall not beset any save the authors of it} [Quran 35:43]; 2) reneging, as Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {So, he who breaks his word only breaks it to the detriment of himself} [Quran 48:10], 3) and oppression, as Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {O mankind, your oppression is only against yourselves} [Quran 10:23].”

Among the Causes of Destruction:

These qualities incur the destruction of the people who possess them. Evidently, there is a close connection between causes and effects and between premises and conclusions; your deeds are your own doing. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {Whoever does a good deed – it is for himself; and whoever does evil – it is against the self. Then to your Lord you will be returned.} [Quran 45:15] Similarly, He Says (what means): {If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves.} [Quran 17:7] In the same vein, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Do whatever you wish; you will be rewarded or punished accordingly.” It was also authentically reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah, The Exalted, Said: ‘O My slaves, indeed, I enumerate and record your deeds for you, and then recompense you for them accordingly. Therefore, anyone who finds good (reward), should praise Allah, The Exalted, and whoever finds otherwise should blame none but himself.”

A man once went to a scholar and said, “The people of such-and-such tribe colluded to harm me and united as one hand against me.” The scholar recited: {The hand of Allah is over their hands.} [Quran 48:10] The man further complained, “They devise wicked schemes against me,” so the scholar recited: {The evil scheme does not encompass except its own people.} [Quran 35:43] The man further said: “They are great in number,” so the scholar recited: {How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah.} [Quran 2:249]

The Evil Schemes of the Disbelievers Destroy Them:

If you wish to be saved from the evil scheming of the disbelievers and the wicked, be fully confident that their destruction will be inevitably incurred by their own evil schemes, oppression, and reneging. In fact, they destroy themselves before your weapon reaches them, and they alone suffer the consequences of their evil qualities. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And the disbelievers schemed, but Allah schemed. And Allah is the best of schemers.} [Quran 3:54] He also Says (what means): {And thus We have placed within every city the greatest of its criminals to scheme therein. But they scheme not except against themselves, and they perceive [it] not.} [Quran 6:123]

Evil Schemes Turn against the Schemer:

The Quran relates to us one of the evil schemes devised by the people of Thamood against their Prophet Saalih, may Allah exalt his mention, where Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And they devised a scheme, and We devised a scheme, while they perceived not. Then look how was the outcome of their scheme – that We destroyed them and their people, all.} [Quran 27:50-51] Commenting on these verses, scholars said: “It means: while they perceived not the angels that Allah sent down to protect Saalih from his people when they entered upon him to kill him, the angels pelted every one of them with a stone until they were all killed, and Saalih was saved from their evil scheme.” It was also said: “They schemed by pretending to embark on a journey, when, in reality, they hid in a cave to return at night to kill him. So Allah caused a rock to move and block the mouth of the cave; and this was His scheme against them.”

Similarly, the polytheists (of Makkah) hatched wicked schemes against the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) as Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And [remember, O Muhammad] when those who disbelieved schemed against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they scheme, and Allah schemes. And Allah is the best of schemers.} [Quran 8:30] Allah saved His Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and he safely migrated to Madeenah and later killed the leaders of the disbelievers in the Battle of Badr, including Abu Jahl, ‘Utbah ibn Rabee‘ah, and Shaybah ibn Rabee‘ah. Afterward, Allah, The Exalted, granted the Muslims triumph over them on the day of the Conquest of Makkah. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) passed away, Allah, The Exalted, had granted him triumph over them, enabled him to conquer them, and exalted him in status and reputation.

The hypocrites also schemed against the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {But they who scheme evil deeds will have a severe punishment, and the scheme of those – it will perish.} [Quran 35:10] Their wicked schemes were eventually thwarted, and their deception became evident to all rational and wise people. Verily, whoever conceals something within himself, Allah makes it evident in his facial expressions and slips of the tongue, and He dons on him its consequences; good or bad.

The Jews as well devised wicked schemes against the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and attempted to assassinate him. They colluded with the polytheists against him several times, as it is well known. As a result, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) killed some of them and evicted others. He was granted triumph over them, and his message was propagated to all people. As the Last Hour approaches, Allah, The Exalted, will cause the stones and trees, except Al-Gharqad (boxthorn), which is their shrub, to speak to his nation (to reveal the location of the Jews hiding behind them), saying, “O Muslim! O slave of Allah! There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!” Allah, The Exalted, will also enable the Muslims to conquer Jerusalem.

Therefore, beware of evil schemes, and do not be dazzled by the schemers. Qays ibn Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaadah, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said: “Had I not heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) say: ‘Evil scheming and deception are in Hellfire,’ I would have been one of the craftiest of people.” [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]

Meaning of “Makr” when attributed to Allah, The Almighty:

It is no secret that the Makr (Arabic for scheme or plan) that Allah, The Exalted, attributes to Himself is one that befits His majesty and grandeur. It indicates the way in which He inflicts punishment on those who scheme against His Allies  and Messengers by countering their evil schemes with His good scheme. Therefore, while their schemes are most vile, those of Allah, The Exalted, are most good because they constitute justice and fair recompense. The same goes for Mukhaada‘ah (stratagem) when attributed to Allah, The Exalted; it indicates His counter stratagem as a punishment for those who devise stratagems against His Messengers  and Allies . Verily, there is no scheme nor stratagem better than His.

Oppression too has an evil end:

Just as evil schemes incur adverse consequences on those who devise them, oppression as well entails the swiftest punishment. It was said: whoever draws the sword of oppression will be killed with it; an oppressor will inevitably have a taste of his own medicine; oppression defeats those who commit it; oppression always comes to a bad end; whoever digs a pit for his brother shall fall therein; shun oppression for it is indeed worthy of shunning. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with them, used to say: “If it happened that a mountain oppressed another mountain, Allah, The Almighty, would level the oppressive one.” He also said: “A king uttered a word of oppression while sitting on his throne; Allah, The Exalted, transformed him into another creature, perhaps a fly or something else. He was consigned to oblivion.”

‘Abdullaah ibn Mu‘aawiyah Al-Haashimi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him relates, “When he was on his deathbed, ‘Abdul-Muttalib asked his ten sons to assemble and advised them as follows, ‘Beware of oppression! I swear by Allah, He did not create anything with a swifter punishment than oppression. I have never witnessed people who survived despite their oppression, except perhaps your relatives from Banu ‘Abd Shams.’”

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “How strange is a human self; it combines the arrogance of Satan, the envy of Qaabeel (Cain), the insolence of the people of ‘Aad, the transgression of the people of Thamood, the audacity of Nimrod, the brazenness of Pharaoh, the oppression of Qaaroon, the ugliness of Haamaan, the sinful desires of Bal‘aam, the cunning of the people of Sabbath, the rebelliousness of Al-Waleed, and the ignorance of Abu Jahl... And of the beastly qualities, it has the keenness of a crow, the voracity of a dog, the vanity of a peacock, the vileness of a scarab, the ingratitude of a lizard, the grudge of a camel, the leaping of a cheetah, the hostility of a lion, the wickedness of a mouse, the maliciousness of a snake, the levity of a monkey, the persistent hoarding of an ant, the slyness of a fox, the lightness of a butterfly, and the laziness of a hyena. However, despite all that, striving and struggling (against such bad qualities) eventually pay off and eliminate them.”

Quranic Texts Dispraising Oppression:

There are texts in the Quran that denounce oppression without right; Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right. Those will have a painful punishment.} [Quran 42:42] Oppression incorporates arrogance, injustice, corruption, and commission of sins. It is one of the five things that all divine messages prohibit, as Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.”} [Quran 7:33]

The promise of Allah, The Exalted, to support the oppressed person should be sufficient for him. He Says (what means): {That [is so]. And whoever responds [to injustice] with the equivalent of that with which he was harmed and then is oppressed – Allah will surely aid him.} [Quran 22:60] The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “No sin is worthier of its doer’s punishment being hastened by Allah in the worldly life, in addition to what is stored for him in the Hereafter, than oppression and severance of ties of kinship.” [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi: Hasan Saheeh] He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also said: “No act of obedience to Allah has a swifter reward than upholding ties of kinship; and nothing prompts punishment swifter than oppression, cutting off ties of kinship, and perjury which incurs penury on the oath-maker.” [Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Albaani: authentic]

It was also narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Allah revealed to me that you should humble yourselves to one another until none shows arrogance towards another nor oppresses another.” [Muslim]

Lessons from the Stories of the Destroyed Oppressors

Reflect on the stories of oppressors and their fates in past and recent history, and you will find conformity between the pages of history and the pages of the Quran.

Consider Pharaoh, who committed oppression in the land without right, claimed Lordship and Divinity, and said, as cited in the verse (which means): {Does not the kingdom of Egypt belong to me, and these rivers flowing beneath me?} [Quran 43:51] He tried to apprehend Prophet Moosa (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention, and those who believed in him from the Children of Israel. Along with his army, he pursued them out of oppression and enmity. However, Allah, The Exalted, drowned him as an apt punishment for his actions. Later, the Egyptians saw his rotten corpse after they had earlier worshipped him instead of Allah, The Exalted, Who Said (what means): {So today We will save you in body that you may be to those who succeed you a sign.} [Quran 10:92]

The Quran relates the story of another oppressor, Qaaroon. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {Indeed, Qaaroon was from the people of Moses, but he oppressed them.} [Quran 28:76] He also Says that some people gave him advice, saying (what means): {And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.} [Quran 28:77] But he did not heed this advice, so Allah, The Exalted, destroyed him, and he was taken to meet his Lord, unlamented. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home.} [Quran 28:81]

The stories of the oppression of past nations against the Prophets and Messengers of Allah abound in lessons and admonitions for all those who are endowed with sound intellect. Allah, The Exalted, seized them with His might and power. The people of Prophet Nooh (Noah) and ‘Aad, Thamood, and many other generations lived and disbelieved in their Messengers and then perished. They will meet their Lord and their deeds will be presented to Him; He Says (what means): {And how many have We destroyed before them of generations? Do you perceive of them anyone or hear from them a sound?} [Quran 19:98]

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