Zalim

 
I've not written much from my own thoughts and words for a while and I must admit, I've been rather uninspired lately. All of my original posts have a story behind it that has prompted me to think and talk about a certain topic. Most of the time I probably won't state where the inspiration came from - that's something best kept to myself. So, today I want to talk about something that is actually not specific to Islam or the muslim faith. I am believer that islam is not just for muslims and some muslims show un-Islamic traits while some non-muslims show good traits that muslims should also have. So what we have is an example of the universality of Islam. Also one of the reasons why I believe that Allah is not just for muslims - but that's another story which I probably will never write about in public....

So what is this Zalim I wanna talk about. Well, like many other Malay words relating to Islam, Zalim is a term that has been loaned from the Arabic language. In my travels in Morocco last year, I witnessed the power of the word when used in arabic speaking lands. I tell you guys, it's like Kryptonite. "Nauzubillah...Nooo... no brother, I am not zalim..."... keeps you from being ripped off when traveling in arab lands. Well, I can only vouch for it's effectiveness when used in the markets of Marrakech... hehehe
Ok, back to the word Zalim. Though when certain Arabic words have been adopted by the Malays, the meaning of it may have been slightly narrowed or altered. Thank god for the internet, the Kamus Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 4th edition defines Zalim as:


tidak berperikemanusiaan, tidak adil, bengis, kejam: raja adil raja disembah, raja ~ raja disanggah; menzalimi, menzalimkan ark berbuat sewenang-wenang (kpd), menganiaya, menindas:suaminya benar-benar ~nya; terzalim dizalimi: umat Islam yg teraniayadan ~; kezaliman perihal (keadaan) zalim, perbuatanyg tidak adil, kebengisan: kekejaman dan ~ itu sebenarnya tidak ada jika tidakmanusia sendiri mengadakannya; penzaliman perbuatan menzalimi

or if translated to English:

Inhumane, unjust, tyrannical, cruel. - coincidently this is what Zalim means in Urdu too...

Though in Islam, the as defined by Islamic port (http://www.islamicport.com/islamic_terms/z.html), Zalim means:


Zalim
- Zalim is the wrong-doer, he who exceeds the limits of right, the unjust.

In Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) Zalim is a concept which is the opposite of the concept of 'Adil (roughly translated as Just)
According  to an article i found  this concept has 4 meanings: which stem from the meaning of the word which :


1) The word literally means "Darkness".
2) Darkness due to the lack of guidance (faith) of God
3) Not placing something to where it belongs
4) Misleading oneself and others that have seen the truth of the Holy Quran, Islam and the prophethood of Muhammad s.a.w.

So now that we've gone through the formalities of the official definitions of Zalim lets here my personal take on the matter. Please be remembered that these are my thoughts only and should not be taken as gospel right guys. Cool.

So, I once watched this movie - I can't remember which one but it was a Hollywood movie. one of the lines in the movie was something like

"There is only one sin that is stealing. When you steal someone's property you deny them their right to the profit from that property/item. When you kill a man you steal the right of a woman to her husband, a child to his father a child to his parents." and so on....( i can't remember the rest)

Though I do not believe that there is only one sin but i think he is describing Zalim very nicely. This is zalim as defined by it's third meaning. Not putting something to where it belongs. It has alot to do with the concept of 'Adil. My father always stresses the difference between 'Adil and Justice. He would state an example where a bag of gold is to be distributed amongst 2 people. One person is a poor person and the other is a wealthy person. Western Justice would give each a same amount of gold. Islamic justice would not. The needs of the persons involved will also be taken into account as the rich guy would probably not need as much gold as the poor guy. So Islamic concept of justice will ensure a balance society with checks on curbing greed and wealth disparity. It is apparent in the compulsory Zakat or giving to the poor. Ok, now we're getting into Islamic finance/economy which I will not get into here. ok, moving on.... 

Even in doing good one can be zalim also. Gosh, I don't have the book with me right now, but the book I've been reading told a story of one of the Prophet's companions. He used to fast for days and sometimes not break the fast and pray until misses his sleep. One of the other companions advised him. It goes something like this: "To you your body has rights, your family has rights over you, your parents have rights over you and God has rights over you." some thing like that lah.... So basically this "story" tells us to think of the consequences of your actions on others that have a right over you. Your parents, your own body, yourself, your family, children all have to be considered when you do something. So, muslims should not be selfish and should be considerate to others, even when you think you are doing the right thing. Moderation is the key. Thinking about the consequences of your actions is another thing. Thinking of how your actions may impact others is also very important. Even when you think u have a right over something or someone, ignoring the feelings and rights of the other party when making your decision/action might also be Zalim.

Wah... this is getting too long already. I don't intend on lecturing but Imagine how nice this world would be if everyone is not Zalim (a.k.a 'Adil) and takes into consideration the feelings and rights of others in their actions. Notice also how different the meaning of Zalim in non-islamic terms as compared to the Islamic concept of Zalim. May God keep us from being Zalim and from Zalim acts....Ameen.