Rare Justice: Judgements, Decisions and Answers to Difficult Questions part 2

A Strange Cruelty on an Orphan Girl and Hazrat Ali’s Judgement
Therein

It has been stated by Kulaini and Sheikh Suduq as also incorporated in
Sahih Bokhari on the authority of Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) that a slave
girl was brought to the court of Hazrat Omar (RA) with the accusation that
she had not proved loyal to her master. Her story is narrated thus:A man had given shelter to an orphan girl. As he often had to goout of
his home town on business trips, he had given the girl in the care of his
wife. When a few years passed like this, the girl became mature and also
looked extremely beautiful. The wife of the man with the aimthat her
husband should not marry the girl, once got her intoxicated, , with the help
of some woman from the neighbourhood and also got removed the sign of
her chastity with the help of the same woman.
When the man returned from his business tour abroad, he asked his wife
about the girl. Thereupon she replied with complete innocence:
“She has eloped with a young man in the neighbourhood.” Then the man
went out in search of the girl, caught hold of her and dragged her to the
court of Hazrat Omar (RA), who was then a Caliph.
Hazrat Omar (RA) finding the case to be considerably difficult, referred
it to Amir ul-Momineen (A), as he had invariably done previously in such
cases.
Hazrat Ali (A) sent for the man, his wife and the girl, together with the
witnesses, if any. The man and his wife related the same story before Amirul-Momineen (A) also, which they had previously related in the court of
Hazrat Omar (RA), and also produced the four women who had been named
by the wife of the appellant as witnesses.
Hazrat Ali (A) called the first witness, unsheathed his sword and keeping
it between the woman and himself, said to her: Do you know, I am Ali (A)
Ibne Abi-Talib? Tell me the truth, the truth and nothing but the truth.” The
woman who was exceedingly clever gave the same false evidence she had
given in the court of Hazrat Omar (RA) and insisted thereon.
Hazrat Ali (A) seeing this, ordered her to be kept in confinement,
separate from other witness. He then caned the second witness before him
and pointing to his sword, said to her: “Do you see this sword? If you do not
tell the truth, I shall behead you with this sword. And remember that the
woman who has just gone out has told me the truth and, therefore, I have
given her pardon. If you tell me the true story, the same you shall get.”
Hearing this, the second woman related the true story of the case, out of fear
of her life.
Having heard the truth from the second witness Amir-ul- Momenin (A)
said, “After Daniel, the Prophet, I am the first man who has forced different
statements from two witnesses.”
Thereafter, he ordered punishment to be accorded to the wife of the man
in question. He also ordered the man to divorce his wife and marry the
innocent girl. When his orders were carried out, he paid the dowry to the girl
from his own pocket. He also fined the four women who had stood
witnesses in the case, one hundred Dirhams each, and gave the whole
amount of penalty to the girl.

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