JUDGES AND JUDGEMENTS OF SHARI’AH COURTS IN ZAMFARA STATE: ANALYSIS FROM ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVES

JUDGES AND JUDGEMENTS OF SHARI’AH COURTS IN ZAMFARA STATE: ANALYSIS FROM ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVES

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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION


1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

In The name of Allah the most beneficent the most merciful. All praise is due to Almighty Allah the Lord of the world may his peace, mercy and blessing be upon His Noblest prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), his family, his companions and those who follows them with righteous deed till the day of judgment. It is a well known fact that Islam is a complete way of life that encompasses all aspects of


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Muslim endeavour of which judicial processes is a type. In this regard Allah the Almighty says:

--- We neglected nothing in the Book1


It equally means a total submission to the wills of Allah the Almighty. This submission should be a continues act until death. Allah say:

---And worship your Lord until those comes to you the certainty (i.e death)2

Shari’ah has been described as “corpus Jurist in Islam” in other words it is a collection of laws3 it distinguishes between what is Halal and Haram (lawful and unlawful), as well as punishments and rewards of rightful and wrongful actions. It is a path through which mankind reaches a mutual existence with God, Himself and rest of mankind.4

Glorious Qur’an and sunnah are the two primary sources of shari’ah, once any law contradicts the above two primary sources of shari’ah such a law is regarded as null and avoid to the extent of its in consistency. In fact it carries no weight in Islam and should be done away with.

Allah says:


Then We made for you law, follow it and do not follow the fancies of those who have no knowledge.5


Islam as a religion, comprehensively deals with all aspects of life. Its rules and regulations are based on the commandments of Allah as contained in the Glorious Qur’an and sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), every Muslim is under any


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obligation to run his entire life in accordance with the teachings of the Glorious Qur’an and sunnah of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

The Judicial system of Islam is a system which aims at deciding between litigants justly with the aim of settling their disputes in accordance with the injunctions of the divine law.6

All messengers of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all) were sent as teachers, messengers as well as judges. For example prophet Dawud and Suleiman gave judgment to the concerning the field.

Allah Says:


And remember) David and Solomon when they gave judgment in the case of the field in which the sheep of certain people had pastured at night and we were witness to their judgement7

And we made Solomon to understand (the case), and to each of them, we gave good judgment and the knowledge8.


The above verses pointed out the duties of Judge (Qadi) are obligations that must be carried out by the entire society. But if some members of the society carryout this duty, it is sufficient for everyone, if everyone neglect it, then every one in the society would be regarded as having committed sin9.

The work clearly shows the geographical location of zamfara state, the History of Zamfara state the genesis and development of Islamic courts, historical development of Islamic courts from the Prophet’s period to date. The work, at the Judicial principles as enunciated y caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab (R.A) the second caliph.
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The work also tries to show the historical development of shari’ah courts in Zamfara state, establishment of shari’ah courts in Zamfa state and other related issues.

The purpose upon which this work is based was the need to draw the attention of the people to the challenges that face them as far as this phenomenon is concerned. it is against this background that I feel it as a heavy burden upon myself with the little knowledge I have to bring into light the duties of the state and courts administrators towards dispensation of justice in line with the teaching of Islam (by following the glorious Qur’an, sunnah of the prophet (S.A.W) and imitating the administration of the four guided caliphs, visa-viz the duties of the followers is to abide by all the rulings and verdict they gave, in as much as they do not contradict the teaching of Islam.10

Again to understand what a court is, various definitions were provided to serve the purpose.

Section 2 of the evidence act defines a court to include all Judges and magistrates and except arbitrators, all persons who are legally authorized to take evidence: it is also seen as a place for the settlement of dispute between individuals or between organizational and individuals and or authorities and to further execute the judgment it delivers in accordance with the principle of natural justice, equity and good conscience enshrined by the law.

Similarly, it is not free from doubt whether all the judges of the shari’ah courts are especially trained men who are vast in clowned of shari’ah and righteous in character as well as Gidfearing that are the basic requirements for the appointment of Judges. In addition the judges should bear to tell Allah on why they accept the post

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knowing fully that they cannot discharge the duties properly. The Noblest prophet (S.A.W) said that:

(one who is given this responsibility to be a Qadi (judge) as if he is slaughtered without a knife11.


The above hadith signifies that, if one accept the post of a judge while he knows that he is incompetent or competent but follows his personal caprices and whims thereby adjudicating in total disregard and contradistinction of pure sources of shari’ah then such a person, as exemplified above, resembles the one that is slaughtered with out a knife.

Therefore, it I always preferable for one to refuse to accept the office is he knows that he can not discharge such duties properly, or he is even incompetent.12








1.2 SCOPE AND LIMITATION


The scope and limitation of this research work is only going to analyse the judges and judgments of shariah courts in Zamfara state from Islamic perspectives. It should be pointed out that the Judges (Qadi) performs on important role in Muslim society, therefore requirements for the post are carefully discussed. It was considered a religious duty for the authorities to provide the administration of Justice through the appointment of Judge (qadi). Hence, the research will limit itself to the administration and application of Shari’ah in Zamfara state.

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1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY


The research works brings enlightment on the relevance importance and variability of the Judges and judgments which encompasses what is known as shari’ah courts that act as the best legal system for mankind. By so doing we will come to realize the concept of judges and Judgment in the shari’ah courts.

The research topic is important to the Muslim and non-Muslim alike this is because it will be helpful to both of them in proper evaluation of the various mechanise employed as well as the principles behind various provision of the Shari’ah to the mankind.

It will give an insight to the present form (position) that judges and Judgments hold in the eyes of the populars right from the laymen upto the professionals.

In general, the study will add more light to the existing stock of knowledge and to carry works available on the shari’ah courts in Islamic perspectives as a whole let alone judges and judgments.

By creating awareness of the subject, the professionals and the laymen are expected to be alert with the concept that give a very good sense of responsibility to each of them as ordered.

1.4 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM


For any research embarked upon, there must have been a foresight of the giants to be expected. Since the formal implementation of shari’ah legal system in Zamfara state in



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the year 2000, people are alerts to see the changes brought upon by the said Shari’ah particularly as it affects the court administration.

However, the first problem I noticed as far as this issues is concerned was the inability to execute punishment after passing judgments (conviction). Also the hiding formula of the ruling class toward this shari’ah is another problem. In the first place they are not serious with the shari’ah, because they are fully aware that shari’ah disturbs their immoral behavior and mismanagement of public funnels.

Another important factor was the issue of appointing the judges. The proper channel of appointing knowledgeable, capable, competent and qualified people is lept. Many of the judges are only holding a certificate of Higher Islamic studies (H.I.S) from Sheikh Abubakar Gummi memorial college, and the higher qualification is a certificate of a diploma in law, shari’ah and civil law of the state college of legal and Islamic Studies or Diploma in hausa, Arabic and Islamic studies in Sokoto State polytechnic. All the above mentioned certificates are not enough to qualify one as a competent judge.

1.5 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


As far as this research work is concerned, certain aims and objectives were targeted. One, to enlighten the Muslim Ummah and the ruling class in particular on the rights of Allah upon them as it affects their Shair’ah.

It is also aimed at giving my own contribution, as Islamic studies students, to the existing materials and literature available in the area of courts administration, in


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addition to the above the work served as a challenge to all Muslim to regard Shari’ah as not only the Court affair, but individual right and responsibility to safeguard.

1.6 METHODOLOGY


This work is largely based upon the series of Oral interviews and materials collected from different people ranging from learned lecturer, Ulama down to judges and litigants where necessary, as a primary sources of this work.

However, library can also be regarded as second source. There in, references were made to some materials like books and Journals dealing with the subject matter. By this, we can concluded that, the work is a combination of both field and library.

1.7 STRUCTURE


Chapter one is little general introduction and it contains the Background of the study, it also contains scope and limitation, significance of the study, statement of the research problem, aims and objectives, methodology, structure, literature review and end notes.

Chapter two also encompasses the Geographical location of Zamfara state, and History of zamfara state, Historical principles as enunciated by caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab (R.A), characteristics of Islamic courts and end notes.

Chapter three equally contains the establishment of shari’ah courts in Zamfara state, shari’ah Courts in Zamfara state, Shari’ah implementation in Zamfara state, the administration and application of shari’ah in Zamfara, composition of shari’ah courts, Qualification of Judges, appointment of Judges and end notes.



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Chapter four items like code of conduct for Judges, Judges and judgments of Shari’ah courts in Zamfara state, cases that Sheri’ah Courts entertained in Zamfara state,Bail and appeal, lawyers appearance before shari’ah courts, summary, conclusion, end notes.

1.8 LITERATURE REVIEW


Literature review deals with the Shari’ah as a legal system would be reviewed. This in the Glorious Qur’an and Ahadith of the prophet (S.A.W) urge Muslims to take shari’ah as their legal system to be used in directing their lives and activities Almighty Allah Says:

Then we made for a law so follow it and do not follow the fancies of those who have no knowledge.13


Therefore, every Muslim who surrenders himself whole heartedly to the wills of Allah must follow the Shari’ah of Islam. Other wise he is not a true and sincere Muslim.

However, the two main sources of Islamic law are the Qur’an and sunnah of the prophet (S.A.W) Different kinds of information have been revealed in the Qur’an and explained by prophet (S.A.W) According to the glorious Qur’an, the hand of the thief must be amputated following the verse of the Glorious Qur’an. Allah says:

As for theif both male and female cut off their hands punishment by way of example from Allah for their crimes14


Shari’ah (Islamic law) also ensures the establishment of Justice among the people, it curtails an unjust oppression nd punishment.

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The following books are relevant to this research and therefore would be consulted one of such books is “Al-WAJIR FIL AL_FIQH AL_SUNNAH WA ALKITAB AL-AZIZ”. This book provide for the code of conduct for Qadi (Judge) and many other things related to this subject matter. As for the code of conduct, the author said: “It is prohibited for judge (Qadi) to take a gift and let alone bribe” this means that, a judges (qadis) is not allowed to take gift except from his relatives who did not present gift except from his relatives who did not present gift to him so as to judge in their favour.

Criminal procedure code synoptic guides, 2004, is also consulted for the reference of constitutional evidence of Shari’ah courts.

Zamfara state of Nigeria. Shari’ah criminal procedure code, law 2000. As reference for historical establishment of shari’ah courts in Zamfara state.

1999 constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria and fundamental Right, as reference for the qualification of Qadi of Shari’ah courts.

For instance, it is said that: “A person shall not quality to hold an office as

Qadi of shari’ah court of a state unless:


He is a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of less than 10 years and has obtained a recognized qualification of Islamic law from an institution acceptable to the National judicial council…15









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“Al-Qawanin  al-fiqhiyyah  is  another  material  book  which  provides  many

things relevant to my work, such as qualification of Qadi (Judge), code of conduct for

Qadi and many other things.


The article titled “the essential of good  government and the obligation of

leadership” by Shehu Uthman bin Fodiyo. Nigeria world. Com/299.hym. is also used

in this work. This article provides:


The caliph must be an his guard and refuse to listen to mischief makers. He should keep his voice law and watch what he say, he must never lie and never break promise. If he makes a law he must ensure it is kept.16


It is relevant to this work because all what he said are required to be performed

by Qadi.


1- The Islamic and challenge of history. Ideas, policies and operation of the

Sokoto caliphate.

2- The Journal of Islamic and comparative law.

3- Wikipedia.org/wiki/Qadith history.

4- Islamic law in Nigeria, monograph series no,1 law years, legal education and

Shari’ah courts in Nigeria

5- The development and application of Shari’ah in Northern Nigeria: issues and

challenges.


A Muslim leader must do justice according to the Qur’an and sunnah. If he does so, a

person against wom judgment is given will accept it.



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Finally, sake Adegbite in his book titled:


“gwandu Emirate in the 19th Century with special reference to political reality” has

said:


The caliph had the power to appoint Judges in the caliphate and also he was the head of judiciary. In many cases court proceeding took within the palace of the emir particularly whenever he was present, and he had appeal from other courts within his emirate.17
























END NOTES


1-  Qur’an, 6:38

2-  Qur’an, 15:99

3-  B.A Lemu, Islamic studies for Senior Secondary Schools, Islamic Publicaiton Bereau, Zaria, 1989, P.3

4-  Ibid

5-  Qur’an,45:18

6-  A.I. Doi, The Basic of Shari’ah, centre for Islamic law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1982, P.2

7-  Qur’an, 21:78

8-  Qur’an, 21:79




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