I recently attended a lecture on the concept of justice in Islam, the very basics of which focuses on individuality and self-conduct, with piety and righteousness being the ultimate goal.
He began by saying, Islam as a way of life is the climax of man’s effort to exercise the moral code. This would mean that you may have acquired every other good quality; wisdom, good temperament, generosity and so on, but you may not necessarily be just. and as long as we are not just, we are not fully practicing Islam as a way of life.
“Allah commands justice” [16:90]
The principles of justice are permission and prohibition. These have been shown as early as during the time of Adam and Eve in Paradise, where they were prohibited from nearing a certain tree. When this law was broken Allah dealt appropriately with Adam and Eve and He dealt appropriately with Shaitan, as a lesson for the generations to come. A lesson to teach that there are laws, and every individual is equal in the eyes of the law, so nobody is excused and nobody is superior over others when justice is dealt.
Brothers and sisters, we should feel honored because Allah has demanded of us what He has made obligatory upon Himself, which is being just. One of the 99 names of Allah is Al-Hakeem which means The Just.
Of course, upholding justice and being fair in your actions comes with its challenges. For this Allah has said,
“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just; that is next to piety” [5:8]
Allah says that being just is next to piety, hence it is key on the path to righteousness. Let this be a motivation for us to strive towards righteousness so that we will be able to stand before Allah on the Day, with bright, smiling faces. If we have been wronged then it is not just for us to seek revenge on our own accord, for fear that we transgress the limits of what is equal of that wrongdoing. Instead we should seek justice through appropriate mediums – like, say, the law.. or if it is something too trivial for the law to deal with (as with most cases, I think) , we should leave the matter with Allah to deal with because He is All-Knowing, All-Wise. In fact we should be thankful to the person who wronged us, for giving us the chance to further exercise and improve on our patience and tolerance.
“Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight; that is the most fitting and most advantageous in the final determination” [17:35]
This verse tells us that the fulfillment of justice must be guided by a sense of responsibility beyond the conformity of setting rules. Constant God-consciousness is essential in implementing justice, so that we will bear in mind that The Just is watching us, so we must keep within our limits, and not infringe on others’ rights for that is injustice.
Allah has warned us against acts of injustice and has explained a few examples of such acts in the following verses:
“and do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people’s property” [2:188]
“They are (men) whom Allah hath cursed, and those whom Allah hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help. Have they a share in dominion or power? Behold, they give not a farthing to their fellow men” [4:52-53]
Some may tend to use their material blessings to express their superiority over others. In a world where money means power it is very easy to be mislead into corruption and injustice. As stated in the Qur’an, eating even a little of other’s rights is dangerous.
So how do we protect ourselves from misusing Allah’s blessings upon us? Allah has said:
“but if one exhorts to a deed of charity and justice, or conciliation between men; to him who does this, seeking with the good pleasure of Allah, we shall soon give a reward of the highest value” [4:114]
So give without hesitation to others what is due to them, and let the attainment of Allah’s pleasure be the goal in all that you do. Be constantly in check of all negative aspects to your personality as Syaitan is constantly searching for your weak spots. Know yourself well, and keep focused because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
So let’s hold fast to the rope of Allah, and strive to be just in all we do. Remember:
“Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you” [49:13]
The scholar whose lecture I learnt this from has a blog too J checkitout! http://drwaffie.blogspot.com