Eyas bin Mu'awiya - The Reluctant Judge
Muslim Knights - Volume 1

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Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a man named Eyas bin Mu'awiya was faced with a great personal calamity: He had been appointed as a Judge by order of the Calipha Omar bin Abd Al-Aziz. When faced with public office, most devout Muslims fear that they will overlook an injustice, great or small, and thereby fail in their responsibility towards the people. Unfortunately for Eyas, he was not given the option to refuse the position and so he did his utmost day-in and day-out to live up to his responsibilities.

As time passed, Eyas' cleverness and sense of justice earned him a sterling reputation. Because of that, his court was often full of citizens with serene faces, convinced they would gain the justice they so desired in this, if in no other, worldly court.

Following are two tales illustrating both Judge Eyas' cleverness and his honesty:

One day, there came before Judge Eyas two friends asking for a judgment. The first man claimed he had given the second man all of his money for safekeeping while he went traveling. Upon his return, he had asked his friend to return his money. To his consternation, his friend said he had been given no such money.

The second man claimed that the first man, who had gone traveling, had left no money in his keeping and was now unjustly attempting to extort money from him after an unsuccessful business trip. Arguing did not settle their dispute, so the two men had come before Judge Eyas in the hopes of finally putting the matter to rest.

Unsure which of the men was telling the truth and which of them was lying, Eyas silently pondered the matter for a minute. Finally, he began asking questions, "Where were you when you gave him your money?" he asked the first man.

The first man described the area where the men were when the money had allegedly changed hands.

"Was there a memorable landmark in the area such as a tree, a house, a rock or a well?" Eyas pressed.

"Yes," the first man said with reluctance, "A tree."

"Then return to that tree and search around it. Perhaps God will aid you and you will find your missing money. Or perhaps you buried your money there and forgot about it and the sight of the tree will jog your memory," Eyas suggested to the first man.

Unconvinced, but willing to follow the Judge's directions, the first man departed.

Eyas turned to the second man, "Please, remain here until your friend returns."

Obligingly, the second man sat down and made himself comfortable while Eyas continued to hear other cases. From time to time, Eyas would glance at him but say nothing. Finally, Eyas turned casually to the second man and said, "Do you think your friend has reached the tree yet?"

Bored and unwary, the second man replied with a sigh, "No, not yet."

Eyas frowned and began scolding the man, "You are the liar! How could you come here and accuse your friend when you are the one who betrayed him?!!"

The man leapt up to leave but Eyas ordered his court guards to seize him and hold him until the first man returned. Later, when the first man arrived back in Eyas's court, he was told about his friend's inadvertent confession and that judgment had been passed in his favor. Accordingly, under the supervision of Eyas’s court guards, the second man was forced to return the money he had unjustly kept to its rightful owner.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Before traveling to distant Hijaz, a man left his money for safekeeping with Judge Eyas's court treasurer. Upon returning, he went to the treasurer's home and asked for his money. The treasurer put on an innocent face and claimed no knowledge of the money, and then he had the man unceremoniously kicked out.

Furious and sick with worry, the man went to Judge Eyas and told him what had happened.

Eyas asked the troubled man in a quiet voice, "Did you tell him that you would see me about this matter?"

"No-o," replied the puzzled man.

"Have you complained to anyone else about his dishonesty?" Eyas continued.

"No," the man said, unsure what the famously-honest judge was thinking.

"Excellent!" Eyas said with a smile, "Go home and tell no one about this. Then come see me again tomorrow at the same time."

Still puzzled, but with complete faith in Judge Eyas, the man went home reassured that he had left the matter in capable hands.

No sooner did the man leave than Eyas summoned his court treasurer before him, "We have been entrusted with a great deal of money," Eyas said confidingly, "and I wish it to be delivered to you for safe keeping. Is your home safe and well defended?"

"Yes," said the treasurer, envisioning shimmering riches lying undefended in his home.

"Then prepare your home and find trustworthy men to carry the money there tomorrow," Eyas instructed his treasurer as he watched the man’s face closely for any sign of guilt or treachery.

All faithful obedience and absolute honesty, the treasurer agreed and quickly went on his way.

The next day, the man returned to court and Eyas spoke quietly to him, "Go to the treasurer and ask him to return the money you entrusted him with. If he claims not to know what money you speak of, tell him you will come to me and complain."

Relieved, the man left Eyas's court and sprinted to the home of the treasurer. When he arrived, he breathlessly demanded, "Give me my money or I will complain to Judge Eyas about this!"

At the man’s words, the treasurer's visions of wealth seemed to crumble before his eyes. If Judge Eyas heard of this, the money would never be delivered to the treasurer and he wouldn’t be able to pilfer it at his leisure. Fearing the Judge's reaction and wishing to trade a little ill-gotten gain for a lot of ill-gotten gain, the treasurer immediately returned the man’s money.

Stunned and overjoyed by the return of all his money, the man hurried back to Judge Eyas's court and told him what had transpired. Eyas congratulated the man on the return of his hard-earned money and saw him on his way.

Later that same day, the court treasurer appeared before Eyas and obsequiously asked for the funds he was to transport to his home.

"Never show me your face again, you traitor!" Eyas retorted angrily, stung by the man’s betrayal and use of his court to defraud the people they were supposed to serve. The disappointed Judge then had the treacherous treasurer thrown out and removed from his position.

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Eyas bin Mu'awiya: إياس بن معاوية
    • Omar bin Abd Al-Aziz: الخليفة عُمر بن عبدالعزيز.

  1. Ibrahim, M., Al-Mowla, M., Al-Bajawi, A. (2011 AD, 1432 H). قصص العرب [Stories of the Arabs]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Volume 259-261.

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