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What Does Islam Teach About Justice

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'Neither love nor hatred can be allowed to
compromise justice.
'


 

By Khalid Baig
Source : http://www.albalagh.net


 

There is one word that captures the essence of
all Islamic laws and all Islamic teachings; one word that describes the
overriding value that permeates all Islamic values. Justice. The Qur'an says:


"We sent
aforetime our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and
the Balance, that men may stand forth in Justice."
[Al-Hadeed
57:25]


 

The sole purpose of sending the prophets was
to establish Justice in the world and end injustice. Broadly speaking, doing
justice means giving everyone his due. But this simple statement camouflages all
the complexities of life in their myriad and ever-changing relations; all the
temptations; all the apprehensions and concerns; all the conflicts and dilemmas.
To guide the people, Allah sent down the prophets with clear signs, the Book,
and the Balance. The Book contains the revelations that spell out what's fair
and unfair or right and wrong. The Balance refers to our ability to measure and
calculate so we can follow the path shown by the Book and explained by the
Prophets.


 

Together these sources taught us what are the
rights of Allah, of other people, and of our own persons on us and how to
balance them. A life lived in obedience to Allah, then, is a continuous
balancing act, both individually and collectively.


 

Under normal circumstances many people can be
just. But Islam commands its followers to be just even in the face of strong
conflicting emotions. In dealing with other human beings, two major impediments
to justice are love and hatred. See how the Qur'an teaches us to overcome the
first impediment when we are dealing with our closest relatives or even
ourselves.

 

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for
justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or
your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect
both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort
(justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all
that ye do.
" [An-Nisa 4:135]


 

Here is the resolution from the Qur'an of the
perennial conflict between self-interest and justice. Be just, even if it is
against your narrowly defined self-interest or of those very close to you.
Ignorant people think they are protecting their self-interest by being unjust to
others. Their decision to be just or unjust may be based on a cold calculation
of self-interest. But real faith in Allah elevates one beyond that

narrow-mindedness. These verses remind us that the real protector of interests
of all people is also Allah and He will protect us when we follow His command to
be just. The justice demanded by Islam permits no favoritism.


 

The other equally potent impediment is hatred.
Here again Qur'an commands:

 

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for
Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you
make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to
Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.
"
[Al-Maidah 5:8]


 

In other words you cannot do injustice even
when you are dealing with the enemy. The natural, uneducated, and uncivilized
tendency is to treat the enemy as less than a human being; one who has no rights
and deserves no justice or fairness. It was as true in the pre-Islamic tribal
jahilya (based on ignorance) society as it is today. See how Islam directly
curbs it. It is a command to the believers, with a reminder that Allah is
watching you, that enmity of others cannot be used as an excuse for committing
injustices against them.


 

Justice does require retribution and Islam
does call for, "an eye for an eye." But it does not mean an innocent eye for an
innocent eye; it means the eye of the perpetrator for the eye of the victim. It
is amazing how those who call the latter as barbaric, actually rally for the
former when a real crisis develops.


 

Fourteen hundred years ago these commands
created a society where rich and poor, friend and foe, Muslim and non-Muslim,
the ruler and the ruled, were all treated equally and all of them could count on
receiving justice. The qazis (judges) were independent and no one, including the
khalifah was above the law. If a dispute arose between the Khalifah and an
ordinary person, both had to appear in court and provide their evidence. Islamic
history is full of stories of this justice that filled the earth wherever
Muslims ruled in their golden era.


 

Even during their period of decline, we find
sporadic incidents that are just unparalleled. One example from recent history
may suffice here. During the British Rule in India, once a dispute arose between
Hindus and Muslims over a piece of land. Hindus claimed it belonged to a temple
while Muslims claimed it to be mosque. Emotions were high on both sides and the
possibility of a riot was real. The English judge could not find any means of
ascertaining the truth. It was one group's words against the other's. Finally
the Judge asked both groups if they could trust the testimony of any person.
They could. It was a particular Muslim imam (religious leader) who was known for
his piety. The person was requested to come to the court as a witness in a very
charged atmosphere, with the entire community urging him to help them win the
case through his testimony. His testimony was brief. "The Hindus are right," he
said. "The Muslim case is baseless." He had not betrayed the community. He had
once more affirmed its unflinching commitment to truth and justice above all
else.


 

That is the justice the world needs
today.


 

"Allah doth command you to render back your
Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when ye judge between man and man,
that ye judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives
you! For Allah is He Who hears and sees all things."
[An-Nisa 4:58]

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Asslamo Allaikum,

 

The other way to look at the situation is through the eyes of the victim. Sayyidina Yusuf (AS) was slandered and accused of something which he didn't commit so he refused to come out of Jail until his character was cleared. He didn't simply "Forgive & Forget"!

 

Today, people give lessons of forgiveness to the victim but forgiveness is enocuraged for the victim but justice is his/her right (due) so if the victim has been wronged its his/her right to seek justice.

 

In Islam we are supposed to refute the oppressor and ensure that he/she moves away from oppression whether it is verbal or physical abuse.

 

Very important point.

 

Many people in our times have no regards to these matters.  We asked Shaykh (Mufti) Zubair Dudha (RA) to summarise Tassawuff and he stated Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) said its to prevent usurpion of rights of others and not necessarily just Dhik'r and every other paraphanalia which goes with it.

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