My Legal Point
By Atty. Bayan G. Balt
Why call for unity and solidarity failed in many instances, simply, justice is not served.
Rev. Kaji Douša senior pastor of Manhattan’s Park Avenue Christian Church, (NYC) echoed the same words he said “In this divided country, it’s no surprise that there are already calls to bypass justice, there will be no unity, there will be no reckoning, until justice is served”.
Corollary, Islam teaches how Islamic justice is served, it requires its followers not to take other people’s rights. Betrayal of human rights, even to other religions is a sin and contrary to the teachings of Islam as in Allah’s commandment which means: “O you who believe, stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Maidah: 8), Cited in “Unity Concept from Islamic Perspective and the Reality of Unity in Malaysia”, Sulaiman Md. Yassin and Dzuhailmi Dahalan.
Human oppression and suppression of economic and political rights among the Moro Muslims were prevalent in the past decades, they constitute the crying demands of organized Moro movements since the 60’s. A reading of the history of the Moro Muslims struggle will lead us to understand, that the Maranao of the Lanao provinces were among the most politically and economically oppressed nation in the country. Among the major documented abuses involving violation of its political and economic rights are repeatedly cited and mentioned in our previous column to wit, (1). Environmental hazard produced by the Agus HEPP resulting to the loss of livelihood of farmers and fisherfolks, flooding of low-lying areas, contamination of the lake waters, pollution and eutrophication caused by the construction of Dams obstructing the free flow of waters from the lake to the Agus River. While the National Government (PSALM) collected annual P45B power revenues from the Agus HEPP, yet the Maranaos got peanut or none at all as compensation for environmental losses, (2). Loss of lives, homes and livelihood following the Marawi Siege in 2017. The tragic man-made event produced thousands of Maranaos victims living in tents, scattered in various parts of the country begging for foods and livelihood, (3). Inequitable distribution of wealth, funds, infra. by the regional and national government and (4). Lack of representation or under- representation of the Maranao in running the regional and national government affairs due to tribalism, factionalism and or patronage and greed of powers.
Unless, the government address these issues, no unity or solidarity maybe achieved, the same as it was in the previous administration, who kept blinded and deaf in our quest for justice. Otherwise stated, the call for unity and solidarity is ridiculous. Unlike in a Muslim State, thus during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Christians, Jews, and pagans were all treated equally. The Prophet (pbuh) abided by the verse [There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned] (Al-Baqarah 2:256), explaining the true religion to everyone, but leaving them free to make up their own minds. An important example of justice is the Compact of Madinah, signed by the Muslim immigrants from Makkah, the indigenous Muslims and Jews of Madinah. As a result of this constitution, which established justice between communities with differing beliefs and ensured the protection of their various interests, long years of enmity were brought to an end. One of the most outstanding features of the treaty is the freedom of belief it established.
In Islam, unity is inseparable with justice, likened to a human being the Hadith says, “Verily, the believers are like a structure, each part strengthening the other” [al-Bukhari]
How justice is served in Islam, the Qura’an says,
‘Stand up firmly for justice, as a witness to God, even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor. Surah 4:135
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Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015) and President of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).