“And by the witness and what is testified to! », advances the Koran as an oath (Al Bourouj 85: 3). However, the witness, throughout the Koranic text, is at the same time God, the prophets, but also any believer and believer, called to be witnesses. “There is indeed a reminder there for anyone who has a heart, listens while being a witness”says the Quran (Qaf 50: 37)
A verse often used to show the primacy of the Muslim community over others is in fact an appeal to this testimony: “And also We have made you a community of righteous people, so that you may be witnesses to the people, as the Messenger is witness to you” (Al-Baqara 2:143).
What testimony is this? In Arabic, the same term is used for testimony and for martyrdom. The first witnesses of Islam are the first people to die for the faith. The first martyr was a woman, Sumaya, who died under torture for her faith in Mecca at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission.
Equity and Justice
But testimony means something else too. He is most often wedded to fairness and justice: “O you who believe! Be upright before God, bearing witness with equity. May hatred towards certain people not incite you to show yourselves unjust. Be fair! In this way you will come closer to godliness” (Al Ma’ida 5:8), or “O believers! Strictly observe justice and be witnesses (truthful) as God commands, be it against yourselves, against your father and mother or near relatives. (Al-Nisa’4:135).
In the words of the Prophet too, witness is a courageous stand against injustice. A hadith states that “the best jihad is to say what is right in the face of unjust power” (reported by Tirmidhi).
Dealing with the stronger ones who are the cause of the problems
Nowadays, in the age of populism, where counter-values are promoted in the name of religious or national identities, where fear takes precedence over hospitality, hatred takes precedence over love or mercy, where the dignity of some is trampled on in the name of the dignity of others, this form of testimony is increasingly in demand. Believers need to demonstrate this before any form of power, be it political, religious authority, or the power of the masses.
In Lebanon today, a great wave against Syrian refugees has invaded the whole society, manipulated by political and religious authorities, resulting in forced deportations and acts of violence. Anyone who opposes this wave is seen as a traitor, not defending the interests of the Lebanese who are suffering from the economic crisis and do not receive the same international aid as the Syrians.
But even if we suffer injustice, the religious compass commands us to face those stronger than us who are the cause of the problems, not the scapegoats who suffer more than us.