Imam al-Ghazali – On the Prohibition of Oppression

Allah says:

وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنقَلَبٍ يَنقَلِبُونَ

“The oppressors shall soon learn by what kind of turning they will return.” (Surat ash-Shu`ara’, 26:227)

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Oppression will result in pits of darkness on the Day of Resurrection.”

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “He who oppresses even one span on earth, Allah will necklace him with seven earths on the Day of Ressurection.”

It is mentioned in some books that Allah says: “My wrath intensifies against he who oppresses the person who finds no helper apart from Me.”

A poet says:

لا تظلمن إذا ما كنت مقتدرا — فاظلم يرجع عقباه إلى الندم
تنام عيناك وألمظلوم منتبه  — يدعو عليك وعين الله لم تنم

“Do not oppress when you have the authority. For the consequences of oppression is remorse. Your eyes may be asleep while the oppressed person is awake, cursing you. And the eye of Allah does not sleep.”

إذا ما الظلوم إستوطأ الأرض مركبا — و لج غلوا في قبيح أكتسابه
فكله إلى صرف الزمان فإنه — سيبدي له ما لم يكن في حسابه

When an oppressor walks proudly on earth and persists excessivly in his abhorrent actions, then leave him to the passage of time. All that he did consider will soon be exposed to him.” [In other words, he will soon learn the consequences of his oppressive actions].

A scholar of the past said: “Do not oppress the weak or else you will be from amongst the worst of the strong ones.”

Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The bustard dies in terror in its nest because of the oppression of an oppressor.”

It is said that it is written in the Taurah: “An announcer will call out from behind the bridge (the sirat): ‘O assembly of tyrant oppressors! O assembly of wretched ones living in opulence! Allah will keep behind, by His might, from the oppression of any oppressor to cross this bridge today.'”

Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “When I returned from my emigration to Abyssinia to the Messenger of Allah, may bless him and grant him peace, he said: ‘Will you not inform me of the most astonishing thing which you witnessed whilst in Abysinnia?’ So Qutaybah who was among them said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! While we were sitting one day, one of their old women passed by us with a container of water on her head. She passed by a youth from among them. The youth placed one of his hands between her shoulders and pushed her. The woman fell on her knees and her container of water broke. When she stood up, she turned towards him and said: ‘O you wretched one! You will soon come to know when Allah places the Kursi, gathers all the past and future generations, and when the hands and legs will speak of all that man did. You will come to know the matter between me and you before Him tommorrow.’ So the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: ‘How can Allah ever give glory to a people when the strong are not taken to task of behalf of the weak?!'”

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “There are five people with whom Allah is angry. If he wills, He may give vent to His anger on them in this world or He may fling them into the Hell-fire in the Hereafter. [They are]: (1) The leader of a people who takes his dues from his subjects but neither deals with them with justice nor repulses oppression from them. (2) The leader of a people: they obey him but he does not treat the strong and weak equally. And he speaks whatever he desires. (3) A man who does not order his wife and children to obey Allah, and does not teach them matters of their Din [Islam]. (4) A person who employs a person, makes him do work, but does not give him his wage in full. (5) A man who wrongs a woman in her dowry.”

`Abdullah ibn Salam, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “When Allah created the entire creation and they all stood on their feet, they raised their heads towards Allah and said: ‘O Sustainer! With whom are You?’ Allah replied:’I am with the oppressed till his due is given to him.'”

It is said that when one of the Baramikah [a family that ruled in certain parts of the Islamic world] and his son were imprisoned, his son said to him: “O father! We have been imprisoned and confined after all the power which we enjoyed.” The father said: “O my son! It is due to the supplication of an oppressed person. The supplication reached Allah when we were unmindful of it but Allah was not unmindful of it.”

Yazid ibn Hakim used to say: “I never feared anyone as I feared a man whom I had wronged whom I knew has no helper except for Allah. He said to me: ‘Allah is sufficient for me. Allah will decide between me and you.'”

Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “The oppressor will come on the day of resurrection, and when he is on the bridge of Hell, the oppressed will meet him and remind him of the oppression that he committed against him. All those who were oppressed will continue reminding all those who oppressed them till they take away all the good deeds that they have. If they find no good deeds with them, they [the oppressors] will be made to bear their [the oppressed] evil deeds equal to the oppression which they committed against them. This will contin till they reach the lowest level of the Hell-Fire.”

`Abdullah ibn Anis, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying: ‘The people will be raised bare-headed, naked, uncircumcised, and without any defect. An announcer will call out a in a voice which will be heard equally well by those who are near and those who are far: “I am the King, the Sovereign. None of the inhabitants of Paradise may enter Paradise while a person from the inmates of Hell has a case of wrong against him, even if it is a slap or anything more than it. Your Sustainer does not wrong anyone.” We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! How is it that we will come bare-headed, naked, uncircumcised and without any defect?” He replied: ‘With good deeds and evil deeds, as a complete recompense. You Sustainer will not wrong anyone.'”

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “He who strikes with a whip unjustly will be made to pay back on the Day of Resurrection.”

It is related that Khosroes hired a person to teach his son manners and train him. When the son reached the limit of virtue and manners, the tutor summoned him and struck him severely without any reason or crime. The son harboured feelings of hatred towards the tutor till he grew up and his father passed away. The son then took over the reins of the kingdom after his father. The son then summoned the tutor and asked him: “What made you strike me so severly without any reason or crime [on my part]?” The tutor said to thim: “O King! When you reached the limit in virtue and manners, I wanted you to taste the pain of striking and oppression so that you may not oppress anyone thereafter.” The son said to him: “May Allah reward you well.” He then ordered that a prize be given to the tutor and handed it over to him.

(Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, Mukashafat al-Qulub: An Exposition of the Hearts, translated by Muhammad Muhammady and published by Darul Ishaat, p.385-388)

See also:



Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Character, Hadith, Islam, Poems/Quotes, Quran, Religion, Tasawwuf

7 responses to “Imam al-Ghazali – On the Prohibition of Oppression

  1. Nida

    jazak’Allah, I needed to read something of such to benefit my wounded soul…i am going through a very difficiult time..from my estranged husabnd and his family. They have kept everything of mine..including all of my islamic kitaabs..that i have great number of..and i have nothing left in my i search online ( Alhumdillah) for ilm and advise and ease…dua’s to read during this difficult time. Please remember me in your noble prayers, for ease for my family and me in this difficult test. jazak’Allah.

  2. Ron Low

    So, what’s this about being raised up “uncircumcised and without any defect” ?

    I guess this accords with these passages from the Glorious Qur’an:

    – 82:7-8 The One who created you, designed you, and perfected you. In whatever design He chose, He constructed it.

    – 95:4 We created man in the best design.

    It seems man and woman are made perfect by Allah and need no alteration by genital cutting.

  3. Circumcision is part of ‘fitra’ i.e., natural disposition. There’s a prophetic saying to this effect also: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The (characteristics of) the fitrah are five: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the fingernails and plucking the armpit hairs.”

    Circumcision shouldn’t be confused with genital mutilation; the two things are different.

    You can read up on it here:,q,a

    ibn ayyub

  4. Izache

    I wanted to know…(that’s the second time I heard that…referring to the plucking of the armpit hairs)…are we not allowed to “shave” it instead?

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