Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) Approving of the Verdict of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) – Part Forty

Before Fat-he-Makkah (the conquest of Makkah Mukarramah), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had sent Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to Yemen as his governor over the people of Yemen. During the period when Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was in Yemen, a group of people in Yemen dug a pit in order to trap a lion.

Sometime thereafter, a lion fell into the pit and was trapped. After the lion was trapped, a few people came and stood around the pit, looking at the lion. However, the people around the pit began to push one another in order to see the lion. In this way, one of the men around the pit accidentally fell into the pit. As he fell in, in an attempt to save his life, he held onto the man next to him. However, this caused the second man to fall into the pit as well. As the second man fell, he held onto a third man, and he held onto a fourth man, and in this way, all four men fell into the pit.

The lion then attacked and mauled the four men, grievously wounding them and causing them to die. Eventually, another man used his spear to stab the lion and kill it.

After the four men had been killed by the lion, the family of the second, third and fourth man who were killed came to the family of the first man and demanded diyat (blood money) from them, as they blamed the first man for the death of all the other men. This led to a dispute breaking out, to the extent that weapons were drawn and they were on the verge of fighting with one another.

As soon as Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) learnt of what had transpired, he hastened to the disputing parties and addressed them saying, “Do you wish to fight with one another while Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is still alive?” In another narration, it is reported that Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said to them, “Do you wish to engage in battle among yourselves, thereby causing four people to be killed because of four people!”

Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then said, “I will pass judgment between you, and if you are pleased with my judgment, then it will be enforced. If you are not pleased, then you will be kept apart from one another until you go to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then he can pass judgment between you, as he is more worthy of passing judgment.”

Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then passed the judgment that the family of the first person who fell into the pit will receive one quarter diyat, the family of the second person will receive one-third diyat, the family of the third person will receive half diyat, and the family of the fourth person will receive a complete diyat. Those who had dug the pit and their families had to pay the diyat to the families of the four deceased.

Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter said, “If you are pleased with this verdict, then it will be enforced between you. If you are displeased, then you do not have the right to do anything until you go to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

On hearing the verdict, some of the people were satisfied while others were dissatisfied. Hence, they decided to take the case to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Accordingly, the following year, when they came to Makkah Mukarramah, they came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and found him at the Maqaam-e-Ebrahim. They then mentioned the incident to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), to which he said, “I will pass judgment between you insha Allah.”

One of the people present in the group then said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) has already passed judgment between us.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) enquired, “What judgment did he pass between you?” The man then explained the verdict of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) heard the verdict of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he had approved of it and said, “The verdict is (correct, and it is) as Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had issued between you.” (Majma’uz Zawaa’id #10724, #10725 and #10726)

Allaamah Ibnul Arabi (rahimahullah) has explained the verdict of Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) by mentioning that the four people had been pushed, the actual cause of their death was found through those who dug the pit to capture the lion. However, since the first person was also partially responsible for the death of the other three, through pulling them into the pit after they were pushed, his family will only receive one quarter of the diyat, and they will owe the other three-quarters in exchange of the three people he pulled in.

Similarly, the family of the second person will only receive one-third of the diyat, and they will owe two-thirds of the diyat in lieu of the two other people he pulled into the pit. In the same manner, the family of the third person will receive half the diyat, and will owe half of the diyat in exchange of the one person he pulled into the pit. Finally, the family of the last person will receive the entire diyat and will not owe anything as their family member, who was killed in the pit, did not pull anyone into the pit with him.

In this manner, the diyats paid according to the mentioned proportions were distributed among the families of the deceased.

(Tafseer Qurtubi 18/150-151)


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