An announcement was made high in the heavens. It was from the Mightiest of all kings, The All-Powerful and from the One who holds absolute power over every creation of His. It was from Allah Ta’ala Himself. He said:
“O My servants, I have made Zulm HARAAM upon Myself, so do not make Zulm on others!” (Hadeethul Qudsi)
The burden of the word is almost tangible. This act is so heinous in the sight of Allah Ta’ala that He Himself has made it HARAAM upon Himself. So grave and vile it is that it carries the potential of dragging one into the pits of the blazing fires of Jahannum. So evil is this act that all barriers are removed when the victim of Zulm cries out to Allah Ta’ala. The immense gravity of this act can be gauged by the fact that Allah Ta’ala listens to the cries of the victim even though he may be a Kaafir-one who rejects Allah Ta’ala.
Zulm is the Arabic word used interchangeably for cruelty or unjust acts of exploitation, oppression and wrong doing, whereby a person either deprives others of their rights or does not fulfil his obligations upon them.
The world we live in today is dominated by this cowardly act of oppression. In fact is has become a social phenomenon prevalent in current times. The weak have become victims of the strong and zulm continues relentlessly without the slightest of guilt, regret or remorse on the part of the oppressor. On almost every level oppression has plagued the lives of many. Beginning from within our homes and right under our noses in small forms and ways right until the highest levels of authority, zulm reigns. A tyrant husband who turns his weak and powerless wife into his servant and silences her cries by instilling in her a mortifying fear by beating her up mercilessly every time she tries to defend herself. A father who evades the responsibilities he carries over his children. An employer, who fails to fulfil the true rights of his employees by underpaying them and over working them. A family that stands back and silently watches the wrongs done unto family members without making any attempt to intervene. A society who turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the vices perpetrated within their communities. And at the highest of levels where those who hold power in a country abuse these powers and snatch away the rights of its citizens. In all of the above zulm exists in many different variants. At the end, these are all eggs of the same basket.
Primarily zulm is of two categories. The zulm we make on ourselves when we violate Allah Ta’ala’s commands and the second is the wrongs we do unto others. Both the forms pose great dangers to this wordly life as well as the life of the hereafter. However, the latter’s consequences go far and wide.
In the Quraan we are reminded time over and over again of the oppression we make upon ourselves. Allah Ta’ala says:
“ And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah.- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. (Sura Ale Imraan, Verse 135)
And then the dua we make just before the end of every salaah. We say,
O Allah I have indeed wronged myself to a great extent so forgive me for indeed there is no one Who forgives sins besides YOU.
In both the above are inferences to the injustices upon ourselves. In the first is Allah Ta’ala’s assurance that no matter how much we have sinned we still have a chance by tawbah. The second instance is our own acknowledgement of our self-inflicted oppression. But with the above there is still light at the end of the tunnel by turning to Allah Ta’ala and making right ones relationship with Him. We can start reading salaah after all the years of neglecting it, we can start back paying our zakat of all the past years and like that we can make Qadah of all the fasts that we’ve deliberately chosen not to keep. We can make Tawbah for the neglectful past .And, if this tawbah is sincere and from the depth of our hearts then Allah Ta’ala will surely accept.

From the former zulm we might escape but from the latter there isn’t an escape altogether. If not in this world then surely in the hereafter we will be caught! The reason is simple. The first type of zulm is attached to the rights of Allah Ta’ala whilst the second is attached to both the rights of Allah Ta’ala as well as His creation. For the latter forgiveness from both parties is the requirement. Minus one party and a person still retains the burdening title of Zaalim.
And if there is anything that should stop us dead in our tracks from committing an act of zulm then it is the hadeeth of our beloved Prohet Sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam wherein he issued a grave warning to every oppressor. The hadeeth is as follows:
“Fear the supplication of an oppressed person for indeed between him (i.e. his duaa) and between Allah Ta’ala there is no barrier.” The concluding part of the hadeeth is even more frightening and should put an immediate end to even the thought of zulm. The Prophet Sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Even though the oppressed is a non-believer.” This means that Allah Ta’ala accepts the duas and cries of an oppressed person even though he is one the does not believe in Him. When Allah Ta’ala removes all hindrances and barriers in responding to the cries and duaas of a non-believer
encountering zulm, can one now imagine the seriousness of zulm on a believer? Do we need any other warnings? Is just this one not harsh and severe enough?

So as the world continues living and witnessing acts of oppression in a countless number of ways and methods, it is us Muslims who should be most guarded against this vile act. We have been warned clearly. For this it becomes incumbent that we watch and monitor every step of our dealings and interactions with those around us. Zulm is zulm regardless of how big or small it is. The price we will pay for it is an extremely heavy one-some acts of zulm bring Allah Ta’ala’s punishment in this very world whilst others are reserved for the hereafter.
May Allah Ta’ala always protect us from this heinous crime and grant us the ability to be always wary of falling prey to this act. After all zulm also camouflages itself in an almost perfect way so that it does not appear as zulm. More often than not perpetrators of zulm usually call it exercising their ‘rights’! Most of the time it is more a wrong than a right!
And do not think that Allah Ta’ala is unmindful of the acts perpetrated by the oppressors. He only prolongs it i.e. the punishment till a certain period of time which is the Day of Judgement. Thus if in this world you get away scot free, remember that in the hereafter there is no escape!

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