Rare Justice: Judgements, Decisions and Answers to Difficult Questions part 15

Four Persons who Fell Pray Prey to the Paws and Jaws of a Lion.

It has been reported by Ali bin Ibrahim Qurni on the authority of Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) that when the Holy Prophet (SA) sent Hazrat Ali (AS) to Yeman a very extraordinary case was brought to him there which he decided wonderfully.

The residents of Yeman had dug a deep hole like a well in the ground in the vicinity of the town to corner a lion, who had become a danger for them and the herds of their cattle and the lion fell therein one night as was intended by them. The next morning a huge crowd gathered together near the deep hole to, see the lion caught therein. The crowd was willing to have a glance of the lion before everyone else with the result that the first man who was ahead fell in the hole. He caught another man behind him to save himself from falling in the hole and escape the jaws of the lion caught therein. The second man in turn caught hold of another one behind him and similarly the 3rd one also caught hold of another for the same purpose resulting in the fall of all the four in the deep and big hole and a prey to the angry lion.

Consequently the relations of the first man demanded penalty from the relations of the second man and those of the second from those of the third and similarly those of the third man from the relations of the fourth man and all of them put the blame on the other turn by turn.

As the matter could not be decided by argument they were about to decide it by swords. Then some one among them said:

“Let us go to Hazrat Ali (A) and get the case decided by him.” So they all came to Hazrat Ali (A), who decided the case as follows:

The relations of the first man should be paid 1/4 of the penalty from the crowd, the second 1/2, the third 3/4 and the crowd should pay full penalty to the relations of the fourth one.

A part of the crowd agreed to the decision of Hazrat Ali (A), whereas others did not. Therefore, Amir ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) said to them:

If you do not accept my decision unanimously let the Holy Prophet (SA) decide the case at the time of the next pilgrimage at Mecca. To this they unanimously agreed. But when the case was presented before the Holy Prophet (SA) at Mecca, and he was about to give his judgement, one of, the parties told him that it had already been decided by Hazrat Ali (A). On asking as to what decision was previously given by Hazrat Ali (A), the party informed the Holy Prophet (SA) of the decision given by Hazrat Ali (A) to which the Holy Prophet (SA) said that it was the only righteous decision which could be given in the case.

According to some other report the Holy Prophet (SA) had said that the decision given by Hazrat Ali (A) was the one commanded by Allah. (Zakhair-ul-Uqba: p. 84; Manaqib Shehr Ashob: vol. 2, p. 176). Kulaini has also reported this with some difference. Explanation

There were four causes of the death of the first man: The push of the pressure of the crowd and the fall of the three other persons on him, But had he not pulled the second man, he and the other two would not have fallen on him. Thus he was himself responsible for 3 cause of his death, hence 14 of the penalty. Similarly the causes of the second man were three: the push of the crowd and the fall of two persons on him, hence 3 of the penalty. The causes of the death of the third person being two, i.e. the push or pressure by the crowd and the pull by the second man, hence the amount of penalty ordered to be paid to him was fixed at // .

The cause of the death of the fourth and the last man was only the push or the pressure of the crowd and in view of the fact that he did not pull any body, the crowd and only the crowd was responsible for his death. He therefore, deserved full penalty. “

It may, however, be argued that the crowd was responsible for the death of all the four persons why then a part of the penalty should be deducted proportionately from the full amount of penalty due to each of them. The answer is that the first and the two other persons had on their parts created a cause for their deaths while the fourth had not. Therefore, the amount of responsibility for the cause of death rested proportionately on

their own shoulders, hence the proportionate deduction. The fourth has no such cause except the push or the pressure of the.v crowd. Therefore, his relations were duly ordered to be paid full amount of the penalty of his death.

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