If a person who saw a murder were threatened not to bear testimony, what should he do?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Our religion orders man to be honest, just, fair and sincere in his belief, heart, words, intentions, deals, business, in short, in all deeds and acts. It prohibits cheating, lying, hypocrisy and fraud. In Islam, it is haram to do forbidden things; it is also haram to shut your eyes to the forbidden things that are committed. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

"When you see a mischief, change it with your hands if you can; but if not, try with your tongue; if it does not work either, disapprove it with your heart. It is the weakest level of belief." (Muslim, Iman, 78; Tirmidhi, Fitan. 11; Nasai, Iman 17; Ibn Majah, Fitan, 20)

In short, it is a sin to tell lies. It is necessary for a Muslim to tell the truth in any case. As a matter of fact, a believer is ordered to tell the truth when he bears testimony even if it is against himself, his parents, or his relatives. (an-Nisa, 4/135)

It is clearly stated in verse 36 of the chapter of al-Isra that man will be held responsible for every act of hearing, seeing or feeling in the heart.

Human communities need protection, order and justice; state organization originated from those needs. Along with binding legal rules, the administrators and judges who apply those rules and witnesses who prove the rights or crimes play an important role in the realization of justice.

It is necessary for everybody, especially judges, prosecutors and witnesses, to fulfill their responsibilities truly for the realization of social justice. Otherwise, if people evade this responsibility by considering some material or spiritual gains or worries or if they neglect their duty, they will be held responsible for preventing the realization of justice and causing parties to suffer.

Therefore, it is contrary to justice for both judges and witnesses to tend to the wrong party, or to evade witnessing and making a decision in order to prevent the realization of justice, to do things that will temporize the court along with false testimony and decrees that are contrary to law; the religion of Islam forbids them and emphasizes that it is possible to hide certain things from the public but it is impossible to hide them from Allah.

Therefore, a person should inform the relevant authorities in an appropriate manner about an incident he has witnessed – without bowing to the pressures threats and blackmails. Besides, he should file a criminal complaint about the threats aiming to prevent him from this lofty duty, being aware of the fact that he lives in a state of law.

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