Written By: Rais Muhammad Umar
"After the evidence and completion of the proceedings of the case, the court has reached the decision that Sheeda, son on of Aarif, did not murder his wife. She died a natural death. He is innocent. So the court acquits him of murder," the judge was still pronouncing the verdict when a very old woman wearing a white burqa entered the court room and shouted,
"Stop, judge sahib. I am the only eye witness of this case."
All the people in the court room were surprised. The judge stopped and looked at her. A lawyer advanced towards her and said, "Who are you old woman?"
"I am the unfortunate mother of Sheeda and eye witness of the murder," said the old woman.
There was uproar in the court. The judge said, "Order, order" and asked her to come into the witness box. A police man came forward and guided her to the witness box. She had a stout stick in her hand to support her in walking. Standing in the witness box, she recited the Kalimah Tayyabah and said, "Whatever I say in this court, will be the truth." Her voice was full of grief. Now the judge said, "Do you know that this is a murder case?" "Yes, yes, I know that this is a murder case. I even know that this is not a single murder case but this is a double murder case. This cursed, I mean my son Sheeda has murdered two souls. He has not killed only his wife but also the child of seven months which was in in the belly of his wife. His wife was pregnant of seven months when he killed her. I swear by Allah (Subhanu wa Ta'ala) and His book the holy Quran that he has murdered two souls. He must be hanged."
Sheeda’s lawyer quickly came forward. "Are you really Sheeda’s mother? How can you accuse your own son? Your honour, it seems this old woman is not in her senses. If she is really his mother where has she been through so many hearings and proceedings?"
"Objection, Your Honour! My witness must be permitted to speak," the prosecuting lawyer spoke up.
"She may be permitted to speak," the judge ruled.
"Amman, please go on. But first tell us why you have come to the court on the last day of the case."
"Today, for the first time I managed to catch a bus to come here. I mean I have travelled in a bus for the first time in my life. I have never come out of my house unnecessarily. I didn’t know the way to the court even," she said, trying to control her voice. "Today, I had to go through all the trouble, I had to come and talk to na-mehrum people all because of him," she said, pointing to Sheeda.
"Your Honour, she is so old. She claims that she has never travelled in any vehicle and has never seen or talked to any na-mehrum. I doubt that she is telling the truth. In this day and age how can that be possible? She is not Sheeda's mother as she claims to be but someone out for cheap popularity. Maybe someone has offered her a large amount of money to give false evidence and get Sheeda hanged. She must be asked to take off her burqa and show her face for identification because this is not an ordinary case but that of murder," Sheeda's lawyer spoke up.
Hearing his lawyer's demand, Sheeda cried out, "No, no, she cannot remove her burqa. She is my mother. She observes Shar'ee parda. We are Syyed and whatever she is saying, she is speaking the truth. Please let her talk."
The old woman continued her statement. "Yes, judge sahib, this cruel man has murdered two souls." She then narrated the whole story. "One day, after breakfast he got ready to go somewhere. He told his wife that I shall not come home before sunset so don’t cook lunch for me. I shall have lunch at my friend's place. Having said this he left the house. My daughter in law got busy in the household chores. After finishing her work she began to wash clothes. She was still washing the clothes when Sheeda returned home unexpectedly at noon. And as soon as he entered the house he demanded lunch. It is a weakness in him that he cannot tolerate hunger. My daughter in law left the clothes and started cooking the meal. When he came to know that the meal was not ready, he became furious. He took up a brick and threw it with his full force towards her. The brick struck in her stomach and she fell on the ground, crying painfully. When he saw what he had done, he ran out of the house. My husband is dead and so there was no one to help me take her to the hospital. And in this way my innocent and pregnant daughter died helplessly before my eyes."
The old woman could not control her tears and broke down. Recovering herself, she further said, "He always got his meals on time. That day too it was his own fault. He himself told his wife that he would not return home before night and she was not to cook anything for him. Now in prison when he will not get the food of his choice and on time he will know what his wife was. I say hang him. Now he is not my son. He is a murderer."
All the people in the court were surprised that such God-fearing people were still present in the world.
Sheeda's lawyer said to him, "Sheeda, please speak up. If you do not speak today, you will be hanged."
Sheeda covered his face with his hands and said, "I have nothing to say. Whatever my mother has said is the truth. A pious mother has earned paradise by giving true evidence. She has also saved my hereafter through her courage. I have nothing to say."
The judge sentenced Sheeda to twenty years in prison for killing his wife unintentionally. He praised his mother for having come to the court to testify against her own son which was an extremely courageous act indeed.