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Few cases relating to physics decided by Hazrat Ali (A)


Following are a few cases relating to physics decided by Hazrat Ali (A) :


1. Compensation Judgement in Case of the Loss of an Eye


Once a slave of Hazrat Othman (RA) hit the eye of a bedouin resulting in the loss of his eye. The Bedouin took the matter to Hazrat Othman, (AR) who tried to patch up the matter by offering full penalty of the eye of the complainant, but he would not agree.


Hazrat Othman (RA) then offered him the double of the amount fixed as penalty for an eye by the religious law, but the Bedouin would still not  agree to the offer but insisted on taking th eye of the slave out as an exchange of his eye which was lost by the hit of the slave.


Hazrat Othman (RA) was confused as what to do thereafter and referred the case to Hazrat Ali (A) who first tried to make the Bedouin to accept the offer, but when he would not agree despite all the possible efforts of even the Noble Imam (A), he sent for a patch of cotton put in the water and placed it in the eye of the slave, leaving the pupil open. Then, he sent for a mirror and put it in the sun and ordered the slave to see the sun therein with that eye till the sight thereof was lost, but the eye ball remained intact (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 99)


Cases of Theft and judgement

Allama Jazairi (need not remove the following explanation as it does not create fiqhi complications for common man)who has rendered the above story from Arabic into urdu has added the following explanation to it :- “In Islam the punishment for committing theft is the cutting


off  the  hand. This is such a nice commandment of Allah in the ‘Noble Quran’ that in almost all the cases the possibility of repetition of the offence ends   with it. Moreover a thief is always easily recognized thereafter and wherever this practice is in force people very seldom dare commit the offence.”


“However”, says the Allama, the question which arises with regard to the punishment itself is that whether the hand of the thief should be cut off from the wrist, the elbow or the forearm ? Because the ‘Noble Quran’ is silent after the main verse in this regard, i.e., “Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female.” “Those”, explains the Allama, “who argue in favour of cutting off the hand of the thief upto the wrist only cite the verse of the ‘Noble Quran’ wherein the word ‘hand’ applies upto that portion only, while some others cite another verse of the Noble Book regarding ablution the word hand precedes the words


“upto the elbow.”


‘Therefore, the second group of theologians have  recommended that the hand of a thief should be cut “upto” the elbow, which in the Arabic language, at times, means “including.”


There seems some major shortfall/mistake in quoting from the Urdu book. Since, I do not have the original Urdu book with me I cannot cross check. Please compare and correct.


Proceeding further with his explanation regarding the orders of Hazrat Ali (A) for cutting off the hand of the thief by which only four fingers were cut off as in the case of the negro, AlIama Jazairi of Lahore has reproduced (Abu Turab vol. 2, p. 113) the account of an incident from Muntahi-ul-Ama1 (vol. 2, p. 234) relating the same question, which once took place in the court of Motasim Abbasi, the Abbasiad Caliph.


The incident described by the author of Muntahi-al-Amal and reproduced by Allama Jazairi is as follows:


Once a thief was produced in the court of Motasim Abbasi and the thief admitted that he had committed theft.


“The Abbasiad Caliph turned to the theologians then present at the time in his court and asked them as to what portion of the thief’s hand should be cut off according to the religious law.”


“’One of the groups of theologians referred to the first verse of thc Noble Quran mentioned above and another, to the second also cited above. Then, the Caliph consulted Imam Muhammad Taqi (A) who also happened to be present at that time in his court, and asked him as to what he had to say in the matter.”


The Noble Imam (A) exclaimed:


“You have already heard what the two opposite groups of the theologians have said about it.” But the caliph said to him: “I want your opinion, Sir”


“Thereupon, the Noble Imam (A) referred to the order of Hazrat Ali (A) in that respect i.e.,  if only four fingers of the culprit are cut off, the commandment of Allah in the Noble Quran is fulfifled”.


When called upon to explain his claim, the Noble Imam (A) elaborated the point as follows ;


“In so far as the comments on the two verses of the Noble Quran by the theologians present here are concerned, they are correct and quite relevant in their respective places, but the words of the Noble Quran which were kept in view by Hazrat Ali (A) while awarding punishment to a thief were neither of the first verse  nor of the second but of another verse which, I submit, has escaped the sight of the honourable theologians present here.”

“The Noble Imam (A) recited the following verse of the ‘Noble Quran’ :


“The parts (of the body) with which Sajdah (putting of head on the ground while offering prayers to Allah) is performed are all for Allah.” Explaining the above verse of the Noble Quran, Imam Muhammad Taqi (A) said to Motasim Abbasi, the then Abbasiad Caliph :


“If besides the forehead, palms of both the hands are not used while performing ‘Sajdah’ the ‘Sajdah’ would be incomplete and consequently the prayers also. This is what is meant by th verse I have just recited and  followed by Hazrat Ali (A) when awarding punishment to a thief i.e., cutting off only four fingers of his or her hand”:


When enlightened by the Noble Imam (A) on the point of punishment to a thief, Motasim did not only agree with the views presented to him by the Noble Imam (A) but followed  them  and the thief concerned was awarded the punishment accordingly.


4. The One Whose Hand is Amputated as Punishment for Committing Theft


As reported by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (A) some thieves were brought to Hazrat Ali (A). The thieves admitted their crime and Hazrat Ali (A) ordered for cutting off their hands and when the order was carried out he said to them :


“Your hands have gone to Hell. If you offer penitence and abstain from committing theft in future, you can get them out, otherwise they  will pull you all there.” (Wafi,  vol.

9, p. 66).


7. Acquittal of  an Accused Who Admitted His Crime of Theft.


A  person came to Hazrat Ali (A) and admitted before him that he had committed a theft. Hazrat Ali (A) asked him if he could read the Noble Quran. The man said that he could read Surah Baqarah of Noble Book of Allah.


Hazrat Ali (A) said to him: “I acquit you of the crime for the sake of that part of the Noble Quran.”


Hearing these words of Hazrat Ali (A), Asha’s bin Qais who happened to be present there said to him :


“Ya Ali’. Do you want to suspend the order passed by Allah for this crime ?”


Hazrat Ali (A) replied :


“O’ye ignorant t You do not know that an Imam who is just can acquit the accused who admit their crime themselves, but if they do not and two witnesses who are  just and of good moral character are produced against each of them, he cannot.

(Wafi, vol. 9, p. 78 through Abu Turab (Urdu), vol. 2, p. 118)


10. Slave Trade  


A trafficker in children i.e., a man who used to pick up   children from the streets and then sell them as slaves was brought to Hazrat Ali (A). He punished that criminal  by cutting off his hand. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 67).


12. Punishment for a  Pickpocket


(2) A pick-pocket was once brought to Hazrat Ali (A) with the accusation that he had picked the pocket of another   person.  Ali (A) said to the people present before him,  :


“If he has picked the inner pocket of this man his hand should be cut off but in case he has picked the complainant’s outer pocket his hand should not be cut off. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 64).


Note :-Hazrat Ali (A) would order only beating them and sending them to prison.


Note by the Compiler


It would be interesting to note in this connection a discourse in Arabic poetry between Abulula Moarri and Syed Murtaza Ibne Huda, (brother of Syed Razi, the compiler of Nahjul Balagha,) which we have rendered in English prose for the benefit of our readers.


Abulula: How is that the hand, the penalty of which is five hundred Dinars is cut off for half Dinar only.


Syed Murtaza: The penalty has been fixed at a higher rate for the hand of an honest man, whereas a thief lowers its price by degrading it by dishonesty.


14. Committing Theft During Famine


It has been reported by Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) that Hazrat Ali (A) did not order for cutting off the hand of thief during a famine. ((Wafi, vol. 9, p. 64).




Allama Jazairi of Lahore has explained the above order as follows :


According to the meaning derived from reports recorded through some other Imams it has been calculated that such judgements mostly had been delivered by Hazrat Ali (A) only when somebody would have had stolen some articles of food only and that too, under compulsion of hunger during a famine otherwise he always awarded total punishment. (Abu Turab (Urdu) vol. 2, p. 126-27).



The Case of Three Dinars  


It has been reported by Suduq and Sheikh on the authority of Imam Jafir Sadiq (A) who reported it on the authority of his father and forefathers that a man had deposited two Dinars with a person and another man had deposited only one Dinar with the same person. One of the Dinars was stolen. When  the case was brought to Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A), he ordered one Dinar to be given to the first person and the equal division of the second between both the depositors.




The first man who had deposited two Dinars had one of his two Dinars still safe whether or not one of his own Dinar was stolen, while the other one, in case his only Dinar was stolen, had none. As the theft in each case affected the second Dinar the second man had to share both the loss and the gain. (Qaza,  p.29)


10. The Case of a Woman Who had Given Birth to a Child Within Six Months of Her Pregnancy and Hazrat Omar (RA) had Ordered her to be Stoned to Death


A soldier in the Army returned home. When he had stayed with his wife for only six months, his wife gave birth to a male child and claimed that it was his child. The soldier refused to accept her claim and brought her to Hazrat Omar (RA) who ordered the woman to be stoned to death. By chance Hazrat Ali (A) also happened to be there and he pointed out to Hazrat Omar (RA) that the Noble Quran had fixed the time of pregnancy and the time of nursing of a child as thirty months, and at another place the time of nursing as complete two years. These two years if deducted from the combined time of pregnancy and nursing, the time of pregnancy remained only six months, i.e., the minimum. Hearing this Hazrat Omar (RA) said: “Had not there been Ali, Omar would have gone to dust” and released the woman. (Qaza,  p. 35).


A Case Which was Decided Wrongly by Qazi (Judge)


It has been recorded in Ajaibul Ahkam that once when Hazrat Ali (A) entered the Mosque of Kufa, he saw a young man who was weeping pitiably. Hazrat Ali (A) asked him about the cause of such  weeping.


The man replied :


“Ya Amir ul-Momineen, I have come to you for appeal against the decision of Qazi in my case.”


Hazrat Ali (A) asked him  about the case The young man said : “My father had gone on journey with some persons. When these persons returned from the journey, I asked them about my father. They said: He died during the journey. When I asked them about the money my father had taken with him, they said he left no money, but I know for certain that he had a good amount of money with him.”


The young man further said to Hazrat Ali (A): “As I was certain about the money my father had carried with him, I reported the matter to Qazi Sharih and be sought a Judgement from him in the case.”


 The young man continued, “Qazi Sharih called those persons and took oath from them one by one. They all said unanimously on oath that my father had no cash at the time of his death. Therefore, Qazi Sharih ordered for their release.”


Relating the above story to Hazrat Ali (A), the young man said:


“Ya Amir ul-Momineen! I have now come to you for a righteous judgement.”


Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat All (A) said: “I shall deliver judgement in this case as none has ever before delivered in any case other than Hazrat Daud (David) (A).”


Hazrat Ali (A) then asked Qanbar, his personal servant, to call some men of shurtatul Khamees (a contingent of the officers in command of an Army). When these officers arrived, Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) ordered them to ask the young man the names of the persons who had accompanied his father on the journey and present them before him immediately. The orders of Hazrat Ali (A) were carried out forthwith.


When all those persons were brought before Hazrat Ali (A), he cast a glance over them all and ordered each to be tied with the pillars of the mosque separately and asked the people, present in the mosque to join him in Takbir (Greatest is God) loudly when he said it, Hazrat Ali (A) then called one of the persons and asked him as to what he had to say in the matter.


He said what he had said to Qazi. Qazi Sharih was also present there.


Hazrat Ali (A) said to the man:


“Don’t think that I do not know any thing about this case. Go ahead now; When did you all start on the fateful journey; tell me the year, the month, the day and the exact time when you all started on your journey with the father of this yolmg man ? And when was he taken ill, where and what day and at what time ? What was his disease ? Who treated him and with which medicine ? When did he die ? Give me the date and the time. Who gave him bath after his death ? Who wrapped him in the coffin ? How many people attended his funeral ? Name any of them, if possible. Who lowered him in his grave?.”


The man was first baffled by this volley of the most relevant  questions, but he tried to answer them one by one obviously at random. When he had finished, Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) said the Takbir aloud. All the other people present in the mosque repeated it as they were ordered before. Hazrat Ali (A) then sent the man to prison and called the second man.

The second man being now certain because of the Takbir of the people following Hazrat Ali (A) and his sending the first man to the prison that his companion had confessed, told Hazrat Ali (A) that he was from the very beginning against the murder of their companion, the father of the young man, and taking away his cash and that none of the others listened to him.


He then besought forgiveness and mercy at the hands of Amir ul-Momineen as he was only compelled to become an accomplice in the case. Thereafter, all the rest also had to confess their crime of murder and loot. Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) then made them to return the money of the deceased to his son, together with the penalty for the murder .


Qazi, who was called to attend the hearing of the case was reprimanded and warned to be careful in serious cases such as murder. Very politely rather humbly he asked Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) as to what the case decided by Hazrat Daud (David) (A) referred to by him as, a similar case was.


Hazrat Ali (A) described the case thus: “Hazrat Daud (A) was once passing through a lane when he heard some children playing  & calling one of their play- mates by the name of ‘Matat Din’. The boy was also answered to this name. Hazrat Daud (A) was very much surprised at hearing this queer name which meant, “religion diedl.” Therefore, prophet David (A) called the boy and asked him as to who had given him that name.” The boy said: “My father, Sir.” “Where is your father” ? asked the prophet. “He is dead”, replied the boy Hazrat Daud (A) then asked the boy to take him to his mother, which he did.


When asked about the name, the mother of the boy told the prophet that the name was given to the boy under the last will of his father . When asked about the details, she told him that the father of the boy had gone on a journey with some persons, but he did not return from that journey which was his last. When the mother of the boy enquiredabout her husband, his companions told her that he had died on his way back home.


She asked: “What about the money he had taken with him”,.


“He left no money”, they replied innocently.


Relating this much Amir ul-Momineen, Hazrat Ali (A) said to Qazi Shareh and the people then present in the mosque, that Hazrat Daud (A) had decided the case as he himself had decided that day. He also told them that after delivering the judgement in that identical case Hazrat Daud (A) asked the woman to call her son by the name “Ashad Din”, which meant the “religion has survived.” According to Kafi there also started a dispute between the young man and the murderers of his father regarding the amount of the money carried by his father from home for the journey.


The First Case After the Demise of the Noble Prophet (S)  


It has been reported by Kulaini on the authority of Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) that a case was decided by Hazrat Ali (A) in such a way that it was never decided before and that it was the first case after the demise of the Noble Prophet (S).


“During the caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) a man was found drunk and brought before the Caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA). The Caliph asked him as to whether he had drunk wine. In reply the man admitted to have drunk.


The Caliph asked him:


“Why did you drink when it has been prohibited in Islam ?”


The man replied: “I am residing in the neighbourhood of some pcople who are habitual drinkers. Although I am a Muslim,  I have never heard that wine has been prohibited in Islam.” Hearing this Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) looked at Hazrat Omar (RA) with a question mark in his eyes. Hazrat Omar (RA) said:


“This is just one of the cases that no one else than Ali could decide.”


When the case was referred to Hazrat Ali (A), he sent the man round in the city with some persons to ask the people as to whether anyone had recited to him the verse of the Noble Quran whereby wine was totally prohibited. And when it was proved that none had done so, the man was rleased with a warning never to drink in future. (also carried by Nasikhut Tawarikh,  vol. 2, p. 731; Buharij, vo1. 9, p. 483; Manaqib,  vol. 2, p.178).


March 23, 2008 Posted by Syed Mohamad Masoom | First imam Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib(600 CE-661 CE)


| accused, ali, faisla, history, imam, islam, judge, justice, maula, najaf, orphan, shee, shiia, shism | No Comments

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