(Qaseemud Dowlah, Aaq Sunqur Al-Bursuqi [rahimahullah] – Part One)
In the 5th and 6th century after hijrah, there was a very just and pious Turk ruler by the name of Qaseemud Dowlah, Aaq Sunqur Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah). He was known for his kind-heartedness and soft nature when dealing with people. He was also very fond of the pious and would be extremely punctual with his Fardh and Tahajjud Salaahs. Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) was instrumental in helping the Muslims of Aleppo reclaim their land from the Crusaders who took over the city with the help of the Shi‘ahs and committed atrocious crimes therein. His rule spread over ‘Iraq, Mosul, Aleppo and many other cities of Shaam (greater Syria). (Zubdatu Halab vol. 2, pg. 224; Diraasaatun Taareekhiyyah pg. 17; Bughyatut Talab pg. 1967 and Wafayaatul Aa’yaan vol. 1, pg. 418)
On one occasion, Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) said to the judge of Mosul, “I desire that you treat the high-class and the low-class equally in court and that people of position should not be given any special treatment or respect in court.” The judge obligingly asked, “And how should I go about doing this?” He replied, “There is only one way to achieve this; you should get a claimant who will challenge me in a case and summon me to court. I will (then) appear before you and you shall treat me just as you treat my opponent. (By doing so, a precedent will be set that if the leader is not shown any special treatment in court, no other person will be given special treatment and every person will be treated equally.)” He further said, “I will soon send a plaintiff who you will not even doubt (the fact) that he is my opponent. He will make a claim against me, after which you should summon me to court so that I may appear before you.”
Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) then went to his wife and instructed her to appoint a lawyer who will demand her mahr from him. She obliged and thus the lawyer proceeded to the court and exclaimed, “I have a case against Qaseemud Dowlah Al-Bursuqi and I demand that he be summoned to court.” The judge thus summoned Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) and he presented himself in court. Despite being the ruler, when he entered, the judge did not stand up in his honour. Rather, he treated Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) and his opponent both equally. Thereafter, the lawyer laid his complaint against Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) and established that he was truly appointed by his wife. Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) willingly confessed that he indeed owed her the mahr and was thus commanded by the judge to hand it over to the lawyer. Hence, Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) went to his safe and handed the mahr over to him. (Bughyatut Talab pg. 1968)
1. Justice is a praiseworthy quality that is universally accepted by all religious denominations. However, history bears testimony to the fact that Muslims and Muslim rulers have been second to none in upholding the highest levels of justice, even when dealing with non-Muslims and with their arch enemies.
2. People generally have the misconception that justice is a quality that is only to be practiced and implemented by the rulers and governments. However, this is such a trait that relates and applies to every person in various situations and different spheres of his life. One thus needs to adopt justice when dealing with every person, more especially with one’s subordinates – be they one’s staff, domestic workers, spouse, children, etc.
3. A believer gives preference to Deen over everything else; even over his own respect and honour. Therefore, Al-Bursuqi (rahimahullah) was prepared to be summoned to court and thereby sacrifice his reputation, so that a precedent could be set and this important injunction of Deen could be upheld.
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