Islam the Religion of Justice and Equality
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Islam is a religion which commands Justice and demands equitable treatment for all irrespective of their race, gender, color, creed or social status. God says in the Quran:
“Indeed God commands Justice and good conduct…” (An-Nahl, 16:90)
Consider that in this verse God did not specify the one commanded to be just, nor did He indicate to whom justice should be done, nor did He stipulate a specific situation or circumstance in which one should be just. From this, the scholars of Islam understood that Justice and good conduct are required of all, toward everyone, in all matters.


Defining Justice

In an effort to define justice, a number of meanings have been presented: “…integrity, impartiality, the use of authority to uphold what is just; the administration of law; the awarding of what is due…”
Islamic scholars generally define justice (al-‘adl) as being the opposite of (adh-dhulm) tyranny or oppression which is termed in Islam as: “Putting something in other than its proper place,” and literally means “decrease” i.e. giving someone less than that which they are entitled.
From this, one can conclude that the closest of the above meanings to the Islamic one is: “the awarding of what is due”. However, this entails “integrity”, necessitates “impartiality” and in some cases requires “the use of authority and the administration of law to uphold what is just.”
Therefore, the Islamic definition of Justice can be said to comprise all of these meanings.
A common error committed by many is that they consider justice and equality to be synonymous and that if one has not equated between two individuals, he has not been just or behaved justly. This is not correct. Although justice and equality may have their similarities and justice may require equal treatment at times, this is not always the case. Sometimes justice is achieved through inequality.
In Islam, the inheritance of males is twice that of females. These and other regulations have been legislated by God, Who has described himself saying:
“…and your Lord treats no one with injustice.” (Al Kahf, 18:49)
So, we can be certain that there is no injustice in these regulations although they lack equality.This is because man in Islam is required to provide for his wife,children, and parents, while woman is not. This clearly indicates that justice and equality are not identical, rather they may be, at times, two very different things2.


Islam’s call to justice

Islam has called upon its adherents to uphold justice and to strive for its achievement in a number of ways:
By ordering that Muslims be just
God says:
“O you who believe, be persistent in your pursuit of the establishment of justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against your own selves or your parents or your close relatives…” (An-Nisa`4:135)
And He says:
“O you who believe, stand firm for God, witnesses to justice, and do not let your hatred for a people cause you to be unjust. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear God; indeed God is well aware of all that you do.” (Al-Ma`idah5:8)
By informing Muslims that justice is a trust (a duty that they will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment).
God says:
“Indeed, God commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice…” (An-Nisa`4:58)
Some of the Qur`an scholars have said: “The reference to justice which immediately follows the command for fulfillment of trusts indicates that (establishing and upholding justice) is one of the most important and obligatory of all trusts.”
By informing that the establishment of justice was one of the main reasons for sending the messengers and revealing the scriptures.
God says:
“We have indeed sent Our messengers with clear signs, and we have revealed the scriptures to them and sent down the balance so that people would see that justice is served…” (Al-Hadid,57: 25)
Some of the Qur`an scolars have said: “The phrase ‘Our messengers’ shows that justice has been the goal of all revelations and scriptures sent to humanity. The verse also shows that justice must

be measured and implemented by the standards and guidelines set by revelation.”

This last sentence is significant in that it points to a matter which is very important for mankind to realize:
“Justice is of two types:

1- General and unrestricted; the intellect naturally condones it and deems it acceptable and it is viewed as such at all times and in every place and it is never perceived as unfair or imprope o matter how you look at it. Like being kind to those who are kind to you and refraining from harming those who have done you no harm.
2- Legal Justice which cannot be recognized except in light of legislation and may be abolished or repealed in some instances because a greater benefit can be achieved.
Should the first type apparently conflict with the second, justice as defined by religion must be given precedence, because mankind has been created to serve God and do His bidding and this entails establishing justice the way He intended.
Informing Muslims of the virtues and merits of justice makes them eager to uphold it in order to achieve these virtues. These virtues include:
1- To be loved by God, since God loves those who are just
God says:
“And if you judge between them, then judge between them with justice. Verily, God loves those who are just.” (Alma`idah, 5:42)
2- To be included in the God`s mercy and forgiveness in the Day of Judgment; God will shade the just ruler on a day when there will be no shade except His shade.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Seven people will be shaded by God on a day when there will be no shade except His shade. They are: a just ruler…” al-hadeeth
3- To join Paradise in the hereafter; the people who act justly will be in Paradise in the company of God seated on platforms of light
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Indeed the just and fair will be seated in the company of God on platforms of light. They are those who deal justly with their family members and in all affairs entrusted to them.”
4- Preventing oppression; by prohibiting oppression; the opposite of justice
The Prophet that he related from his Lord that He said: “O my slaves, I have forbidden oppression for Myself, and I have made oppression prohibited amongst you, so do not oppress one
By informing Muslims of the evil effects and perils of oppression so that they would abandon it and thereby behave justly. These perils include:
1- God has cursed those who commit oppression
God says:
“Then a herald will proclaim between them: ‘Indeed the curse of God is upon the oppressors.’” (Al-A`raf, 7:44)
2- God does not love those who commit oppression
God says:
“And God does not love those who oppress.” (Al-Imran, 3:57)
3- God will not guide the oppressor
God says:
“And God guides not those who behave unjustly.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:258)
4- God has declared that the reason He destroyed the previous nations was because of their tyranny and oppression
God says:
“And those previous nations We destroyed them when they oppressed, and We appointed a fixed time for their destruction.” (Al-Kahf, 18:59)
5- Hell is the final resting place of the unjust
God says:
“Indeed We have prepared for the unjust a fire whose walls will surround and encompass them.” (Al-Kahf, 18:29)
And He says:
“…then you will be one of the inhabitants of the fire, and that is the recompense of the oppressors.” (Al-Ma`idah, 5:29)
In this way God and His Messenger have made it evidently clear that Islam is a religion of justice and it is therefore the obligation of all Muslims to strive for the attainment of justice for all.
Specific examples of Islam’s demand of justice
Although Islam has “generally” commanded the establishment of justice in all matters, it has in some cases been quite specific especially in those cases where oppression frequently occurs, goes unrecognized or is unlikely to be scorned.
1- Just treatment of orphans
God says:
“Indeed those who unjustly devour the wealth and property of orphans under their care, they only eat fire into their stomachs, and they will burn in the blazing fire!” (An-Nisa`, 4:10)
And He says:
“And come not near to the orphan’s wealth except with that which is just or to increase it until he or she obtains the age of full strength and maturity…” (Al-An`am, 6:152)
2- Justice in business dealings and trade
God says:
“…And give full measure and full weight with justice…” (Al-An`am, 6:152 )
3- Justice between wives
God says:
“…marry women of your choice, two, three up to four women, but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly between them then (marry) only one…” (AN-Nisa`, 4:3)
Consider that polygamy is a highly encouraged practice in Islam as indicated by this and other texts, but when injustice is feared this highly encouraged act becomes forbidden. This indicates the great importance that Islam has assigned to justice, even in personal matters.
4- Justice in punishment Al-Bukhari and Muslim have collected on the authority of ‘Aaishah that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Indeed that which destroyed those who came before you is that if a
person of nobility and status was guilty of theft they would set him free without punishment and if a commoner did the same they would cut off his hand. As for me, I swear by God, if Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad committed thievery I would cut off her hand.”
So this is a summary of Islam’s view of justice. May God make us from the just and allow us to reap the fruits of justice in this life and the hereafter.

1 Webster’s 2005 2 Men are given twice as women if they are brothers and sisters or sons and daughters, because men are responsible to provide to his family, while women are not.

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