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The policeman- Last part

Riyatullah Farooqui

The writer is a senior journalist.

The caliphate during the reign of Hazrat Ali Karamullah began at a stage when the Islamic state had expanded to more than 2.2 million square miles. And this growth continued. Therefore, the responsibility of protecting the life and property of the citizens was greatly increased. So Hazrat Ali paid special attention to the police department. Not only did he recruit on a large scale, but also turned it into a paramilitary force. The police chief was also included among the government officials who were always close to Hazrat Ali in the capital itself. Who were being given instructions and orders all the time.

Like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Hazrat Umar (RA) Hazrat Ali also personally participated in the responsibilities of the police. That is, it was not only that he only issued orders as Amirul Momineen and left the matter to them like today’s rulers. For example, a young man came to Hazrat Ali and complained that his father had gone on a journey with such and such persons. Those people returned but his father did not return with them. I asked him about my father and got the answer that he had died and we buried him on the way. I said, where is my father’s stuff? So they replied that they did not have any equipment. Hazrat Ali issued an order to arrest and bring these people. When they were brought to Hazrat Ali’s service, he ordered that all of them should be kept separate from each other, that they should not be given a chance to talk to each other and that their messages should not be given to each other. After that, Hazrat Ali seated a Muharr and ordered him to hand over the entire investigation. And started summoning these accused one by one for investigation. During the interrogation of the first accused, Hazrat Ali started questioning in full detail. For example, what time did you start your journey, how many people were there, where did you pass through, where did you stay? What did you eat, what did you drink?

And then the questions related to the missing partner, where did he die? What was the cause of death? When did the death occur? Who else was there on the occasion? Who gave bath? Who wore the shroud? Who taught the funeral? Where was the burial? When the investigation of the first accused was over while sending him back to the lock-up, Hazrat Ali ordered the police to take him out and shout “Allahu Akbar” enthusiastically as if the accused had confessed to the crime. So, when the rest of the accused heard these noises and slogans, they were easily offended, they came under such psychological pressure that their colleague confessed. And so when the rest of the accused were called, they thought that the case has already been solved, what is the use of denial now? So he confessed to the murder. On this, Hazrat Ali also received the dowry of the belongings of the deceased.

A special thing of the era of Hazrat Ali is the expansion of the police department. The size of the police department in this period can be estimated from the fact that only in Egypt its personnel consisted of 12 thousand. And the police chief of Egypt was also appointed by Hazrat Ali to Hazrat Qais bin Saad bin Ubada Ansari, who had great historical significance for this role because he was the first police officer in Islamic history. He had fulfilled the responsibility during the Prophethood. Hazrat Qais had no equal in this work. It has been stated in the previous line that Hazrat Anas bin Malik has described him as “Sahib al-Sharta” of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. And Hafiz Ibn Hajar has clarified that there was neither a regular police department nor the term Sahib al-Sharta in the blessed life of the Prophet. But it is worth noting that the term “Sharta” has acquired the status of a formal name for the police department only from the command of Hazrat Qais bin Ubadah. And since this force was formed as a paramilitary force, it used to be on the front line in wars when needed and was ahead of the main army. Therefore, due to this military role, this force was known as Sherta in the battlefield. And as a result of his active and good reputation, this name was permanently given to the entire police department.

If you think about it, during the last twenty years, our police has also performed the same responsibility as the police of Hazrat Qais bin Saad bin Ubada (RA). In the war fought against terrorism, our state was facing an enemy who was a guerrilla and guerrilla warfare was fighting, so these guerrillas suddenly came out with a strategy of city warfare instead of a two-sided war of borders and when they came out, the first thing they would face was our police. The decision to call the army or not would have been made later after seeing the situation. The first encounter with terrorists was with our police force. There is no doubt that our police faced this for twenty years in such a way that this force did not even have the weapons that the terrorists had. For example, terrorists are armed with rocket launchers, hand grenades, suicide bombers, remote-control bombs, car bombs, and even truck bombs. Whereas the police force had only rusty Kalashnikovs. And yet this force never fled the field. It continued to perform both responsibilities like the force of Hazrat Qais bin Saad bin Ubada (RA) with whatever resources were available to it. It also continued to fight frontline war against the enemy and also continued to do policing work in cities and towns. During this entire period, the situation was actually that an officer was doing a routine police duty like investigating a crime, then a few hours later he was martyred while fighting against terrorists.

The question is, have we as a nation appreciated this unprecedented role of the police in the way it had the right to appreciate? Let alone praise, do we even understand the role of the police that it has played after 9/11? If you think about it, the police is the only institution we have that we have probably decided to focus only on scandals. When a scandal comes, we postpone it for weeks and months, but we take at most 48 hours to forget any act of bravery. Thus, to maintain its good name, the police needs a feat every 48 hours, but two or three scandals are enough to disgrace it for a whole year.

Our conscious injustice stands at the point that even the honest services of police officers like Aftab Sultan, Afzal Shagri, Tariq Khosa are made their personal achievements. We are not used to seeing his good name associated with the police force. And we testify to their trust and honesty when they retire. As long as they are in uniform, their status is just that of a “policeman” to us.

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