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30 - الْعَدْلُ

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الْعَدْلُ  is translated as The Just and The Equitable. 



The One Who is Just and from Whom just actions emanate. He is the epitome of justice and equity. The true meaning of  عَدْل  is to be equal, to be proportioned. It connects with  الْحَكَمُ as a judge is supposed to be just. Both words are used in Surah Nisaa’ (part of verse 58),


أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ - judge with fairness – i.e. you should judge with fairness in terms of people


The word اعتدال (I’tidaal) comes from this name. It means not to be excessive in any way, to be equal. 


عَدْل is not just equality in the external form but it includes the internal as well i.e. when a person says something or presents one’s self a certain way, then the way he is on the surface, is the way he should be internally, in the heart. It is to have equality/balance in the Dhaahir (External) and the Baatin (Internal) forms. There is no excess when dealing with anyone i.e. excessively nice or mean. The balance should be such that the deepest of love and the most extreme enmity cannot tip the scale. Unfortunately most of us do not have this عَدْل and even with our own children we are not equal. We are unfair and show favouritism and the balance tips over due to an emotional attachment. 


The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam told parents to fear Allah ta’ala and to be fair with all their children. When we are affectionate with one child the others feel it.


It is part of Taqwa to be Just

Being just is a means to attain Taqwa. It is a spiritual condition of the heart and part of it is to have عَدْل which is to treat friend and foe with justice, and not to look at who did favours for us. We are often more loyal to people than to truth and justice. To have this trait of being just is an effective way of attaining Taqwa. In Surah Maidah (verse 8) Allah ta’ala says, 


اِعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ - Be fair, it is closer to God consciousness


We think Taqwa is to pray a lot and how we dress etc. but being just is also Taqwa. It is how we live and how we treat people even if it’s someone we do not like. If you want to know the true personality of a person, then do not look at how they treat their elders or people in power. Look at how they treat those below them i.e. the janitor at the workplace or helpers in the office, maids etc. A Muttaqee is a person who practices such عَدْل that no friendship or enmity can change it and it is fear of Allah ta’ala which leads to this. The more fear of Allah ta’ala, the less fear of people. Sometimes you have to choose the truth over a person you are loyal to and in doing so, you may lose the person but you still choose the truth. That is Taqwa.


‘Umar RA was known for عَدْل. He did not care if people liked him or not. He had great fear of Allah ta’ala and that is why people feared him, yet his fear of Allah ta’ala made him cry.


Two things are necessary to be a person of justice:

•    One has to be dominating - a decree is made and implemented which no one can go against.

•    One has to be Hakeem – to be able to judge with Hikmat and intelligence


One of the ways Allah ta’ala can punish a person is in a hidden way where the person does not realize he is being punished for some injustice he may have done. Their conscience will tell them that Allah ta’ala is showing His justice i.e. Poetic justice - they are getting what they deserve as they have been getting away with for too long. There is no true justice in this world. That will come in the Aakhirah, Allah ta’ala being   


Justice is Manifested through actions

Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) says one cannot know one who is just without knowing his justice and one cannot know his justice without knowing his actions. Therefore justice is manifested through actions. 


Balance in the Creation of Allah ta’ala

To comprehend this Sifat we have to understand the actions of Allah ta’ala – To see the balance in the creation of Allah ta’ala from the heavens to the earth. Allah ta’ala tells us in the Qur’an to see again and again and we will find no faults or rips or weakness because of the harmony and regularity of the whole universe. When you see this you see the justice of Allah ta’ala i.e. there is  a balance, proportion in the whole universe, in the planets and how the earth is not too far or too close to the sun.  


Justice with Your own self (Nafs)

This is another concept of justice. How?

•    A person should show justice between his Nafs and his Lord – to keep Allah ta’ala’s rights and His pleasure over one’s own desires. Allah ta’ala takes precedence over anything else, to follow His commands and refrain from prohibitions. 

•    A person should stay away from all things which cause him physical and spiritual ruin. To be content and have Sabr and not to take responsibility which cannot be fulfilled. 

•    A person should be just between his Nafs and the rest of creation – to be a well-wisher for all creation and not to do any type of Khiyaanah in major or minor matters and to demand justice for one’s own self and for others i.e. as a mother to be fair to all children, male or female, as a teacher to be fair to all students etc. 


All this will balance the Nafs. 


Injustice cause Allah ta’ala’s Punishment to come

When a person is unjust, it affects all aspects of his life i.e. if he is a businessman, the business will be conducted in the wrong way for more money and sooner or later the injustice will affect his business as when a person does major injustice, Allah ta’ala will punish. It is mentioned in Hadith that when injustice becomes common the earthquakes, typhoons, epidemics etc. will increase. This is a physical result of Dhulm (Injustice). 


When injustice occurs and other people do not stop it they are also regarded as unjust (Dhaalim). It is mentioned in Hadith regarding a town that Allah ta’ala commanded Jibra’eel AS to destroy this town. He asked Allah ta’ala regarding a person in that town who worshiped Allah ta’ala constantly and Allah ta’ala told him to annihilate that pious man first, since he did not bother to guide his people.


Therefore we should not be complacent to injustice as we would also be regarded as unjust. 


The concept of being unjust is the opposite of عَدْل – the definition of being unjust is putting something where it does not belong and Dhulm is unrightfully possessing something; acting like you own something you don’t.


In the Qur’an

It is mentioned 22 times in the Qur’an.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ - Allah commands doing justice, doing good to others [Surah Nahl: 80]


اِعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ - Be fair, it is closer to God consciousness [Surah Maidah: 8]


وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ - Allah commands you to give back the trusts to their rightful owners, and when you judge between people, judge with fairness. [Surah Nisaa’: 58]


In a Hadith it is mentioned that the first people to be under the shade on the Day of Judgement will be those who, when truth came before them they accepted immediately and when asked, they would spend their wealth and when they were asked to make a decision, they would decide with justice. 


Therefore this is an important trait; to have such sincerity that you decide for someone as though you were deciding for yourself on a major issue. When seeking advice from someone, it should be a person with certain traits and one of them is this one. 



We have to practice justice and I’tidaal in all matters whether they are personal matters and interactions with people or business matters. Justice is not just in disputes but all matters i.e. to be just when we are eating, sleeping, talking, in our ‘Ibaadah, in our beliefs and actions, in our emotions, our relations and also with ourselves. We should not use our body in any un-Islamic activity. We should be balanced in times of difficulties by not saying words of ingratitude, not despairing or getting angry. We should be balanced in good times by not having Takabbur or be miserly. 

Therefore emotional balance, health, family balance and spiritual balance, this is all part of عَدْل and this is the counsel for us. 



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