Monday, September 06, 2004

Justice in Islam-How Islam conqoured hearts

Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah was the commander in chief of the Islamic army that routed the great armies of the Byzantine Greek Kaiser Heracleus. When he conquered a city, he would have someone shout out the Kahlifa Umar's commands to the Byzantine people. When he conquered the city of Humus in Syria, he said:

'O thou Byzantine people! By Allah's help, and obeying the command of our Khalifa Umar, we have taken this city, too. You are all free in your trade work, and worship. No one shall harm your property, lives or chastity. Islam's justice shall be practised equally on you, all your rights shall be observed. We shall protect you, as we protect Muslims, against the enemy. In return of this service of ours, we ask you to pay jizya once a year, as we receive zakat and ushr from Muslims. Allah Almighty commands us to serve you and to take jizya from you'.

The Byzantine Greeks of Humus delivered their jizya willingly to Habib bin Muslim, the superintendant of Bayt al-mal. When the Byzantine Greek Emperor Heracleus was recruiting soldiers throughout his country and making preperations for a huge crusading campaign against Antinoch, it was decided that the army in Humus must join the forces in Yarmuk. Abu Ubayda had his officials to announce the following satements;

'O thou Christians! I promised to serve you and protect you. And in return for this i collected jizya from you. But now, I have been commanded by the Caliph to go and help my bretheren who will be fighting jihad against Heracleus. I will not be able to abide by my promise to you. Therefore, take your jizya back from the bayt al-mal. Your names and amounts received are registered in our book.'

The same thing happened in most cities of Syria. Upon seeing this justice, Christians were delighted for having been saved from cruelty and oppression. Many of them volunteered to spy upon Byzantine armies for the muslim forces. However, we learn that spreading of Islamic states and their establishment was never based on agression or killing. It was the power of iman, justice and self-sacrifice that maintained power in the Islamic community.