Retribution Regarding Honors of Others

Retribution is also prescribed in cases of honors. If one cursed other person, or invoking evil upon him, then the person is allowed to do the same on him. Likewise if one scorned him with a scorn which is not a form of lies. However, forgiving is the best of all, since Allah the Exalted had decreed, which can be translated as,

“The recompense of evil is evil the like of it.  But he who forgives and makes amends, his reward lies with Allah. Surely He does not love the wrong-doers. There is no blame against him who avenges himself after he has been wronged.” (QS. Asy-Syura/The Council: 40-41)

The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Anything said by two people scorning each other, Will be carried out by one who started it among them, as long as one being oppressed hasn’t transgressed.”

It is also called as “self-defense”. Whereas the scorn without lie in it is, such as revealing one’s wickedness, or calling him names such as dog, donkey, and the like. As for him making lies, then it is not allowed for other to telling the same lies of him in return.

If one accused other of being an infidel, or wicked man, without proof, then it is also not allowed for the accused one to accuse or label him with the similar. Or if one cursed his father, his tribe, his people, or the like, then it is unlawful for him to do injustice to those uninvolved parties (by cursing his father, tribe, people, as a return) since they do not join him in doing injustice to him. Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,

“Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.” (QS. Al-Maidah/The Table Spread: 8)

After that, Allah commanded the believers to hold back their hatred, so that it wouldn’t cause them to do injustice towards the infidels. Allah decreed, “Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing.”

Although violating others on their honors is unlawful, it is allowed for one to retaliate the perpetrator with the similar. For example, invoking badness upon him, as what he did. As for the unlawful return, such as telling lies, such is strictly forbidden to do (that is to return with the similar lies). That is the opinion of some experts in Islamic laws; If one killed other people by burning, drowning,strangling him, or the like, then the perpetrator must be punished with the similar as his deed, as long as the deed isn’t an unlawful act, such as forcing him to drink alcohol, and sodomized him. If so, then it is forbidden to punish him with the similar act. Some of the scholars said, “No punishment on him but with sword.” But the first opinion is the closer to the Qur’an, sunnah, and justice.

Source: Fatwa Collection of Ibn Taimiyya, by Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taimiyya. Published by Darul Haq.

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