Haqq al nas and Haqq Niesek: Do they stand for the same Muslim expression?

This series of articles was brought about by the controversy over whether Ian Borg used Ħaqq Alla or another expression. This led me to explore the origins of this phrase in Malta after the Church’s digital newspaper tried to ridicule my stand for stating that the phrase is not blasphemous.

So far I have shown that the expression Ħaqq Alla is also to be found in Islam and is still used till this day in the form of Haq Allah. I have also published an article, taken from Wikisharia which gives us the verses in the Koran where this phrase is to be found. Wikisharia interprets or translates the phrase Ħaqq Alla as the Right of God. I prefer to stick to the Maltese meaning – the Judgement of God.

Nevertheless, what this entry on Wikisharia highlights is that whenever the phrase Haq Allah is used, one finds in tow another expression Haqq al nas. The equivalent in Maltese would be Ħaqq in-Nies. I don’t believe that in Maltese such an expression is still in use or that it is used disparagingly. I have no recollection of people using Haqq in-nies but I do recall hearing persons exclaim Ħaqq niesek. However, I will be grateful to those who can give me information about whether the expression “Ħaqq in-Nies” is still in use in the current Maltese language

There is no doubt that the term niesek stands for your people, your clan – the pronoun suffix is attached at the end of this word to stand for “your people”. If this is the right conclusion, then this word in Maltese has suffered or undergone changes over the passage of time. In Maltese, Haqq niesek is slightly different from the Arabic expression “Ħaqq in-Nies”. As for Haqq in-nas, this is in the construct state. It stands for the rights or the judgement of the people. In Maltese this form has changed. The article was dropped and instead the suffix pronoun was introduced. Normally when this happens, the word preceding it, is a verb and not a noun. It should be noted that the word “Ħaqq” in the phrase “Ħaqq niesek” in Maltese is a noun and not a verb as would be expected in such phrases having a suffix pronoun attached.

I strongly believe that the presence in Maltese of the expression of Haqq niesek is derived from the Arabic expression Haqq al-nas. This continues to confirm that Ħaqq Alla is not a blasphemy in Maltese. It was wrongly interpreted as a blasphemy for the reasons explained in my previous articles.

It seems that in Maltese, we had both expressions that one finds in Arabic, in particular among the Muslim community that inhabited the island in the distant past, i.e. Ħaqq Allah and Ħaqq al-nas. In other words, in Malta’s  judicial system, especially  during Arab rule and even later, there existed two forms of judgement and legal structures. There was the judgement that was considered to derive from the Lord and was delivered by God. This was called Ħaqq Alla but there was also judgement delivered by the people which was called Ħaqq in-Nies.  

The existence of these expressions go to further confirm another reality that has now become an undeniable historical fact. In the past, Islam was heavily present in Malta. The existence of these expressions indicate the presence of a strong community of believers. If, until recently, the Maltese were considered  staunch Catholics, when the archipelago was under Muslim rulers, our ancestors seem to have observed their religion and were staunch Muslims.

Therefore, the existence of the expression Ħaqq Alla rather than affirming how blasphemous the Maltese are, expresses how staunch Muslim the islanders were during the period that Malta was under Arab rule in the early decades, or better still  centuries of the first millenium. 

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