Justice and Equity in Islam

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According to the Book of Allah (SWT) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) Justice and Equity is one of the basic and essential aims in the sending of the Prophets and in revealing the Divine Books and Scriptures. The just ones are loved by Allah (SWT) while the unjust will face the Fire of Hell. As Muslims we consider justice in its common context to be one of the most important, obligatory and necessary obligations, since our Lord commanded it in His Holy Book saying:

“Verily, Allah enjoins Al-Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsan [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet SAW in a perfect manner],” (An-Nahl 16: 90).

Allah the Supreme informed us that He loves those who uphold and act upon justice when He said:

“And act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al-Hujurat 49:9).

The meaning of equity is that of the justice, and “the equitable” means “the just.” Allah (SWT) commanded justice in speech as well as in judgments. He said:

“And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned,” (Al-Anam 6:152).

And He (SWT) says:

“And when you judge between people to judge with justice.” (An-Nisa 4:58).

Therefore, the Muslim is just in his speech and judgments, his every single affair is attended to with justice, to the degree that being just becomes a trait he is described with, not denied of him. His sayings and actions are based upon justice with no degree of discrimination, oppression or tyranny. He abides by justice without giving in to any type of desires, thereby deserving Allah’s love, acceptance, honor and help. For Allah has informed that He loves the equitable, and the Prophet (PBUH) has informed of position of honor before their Lord, saying:

“The equitable (those who are fair and just) will be near to Allah on thrones of light, at the Right Hand of the Most Merciful, Glorified and Exalted is He, and both of His Hands are Right, those who are fair and just in their rulings and towards their families and those who are under their authority.” (Muslim 1828).

The justice and fairness means to restore the right of every rightful owner, and to behave with people in accordance with their rank and station; whether it is the chair of justice, or the throne of a ruler, whether it is a home on abroad whether it is a mosque or a school.

And he (PBUH) said:

“Seven shall be shaded by Allah under His shade on a day in which there is no shade except His shade: A just Imam (ruler).” (Muslim 1031).

The seven human qualities and attributes recounted in the Hadith are so loved and valued by Allah that, on the Day of Judgment when there will be no shade; Allah will provide those faithful servants of His with the shade of Arsh (Allah’s Throne). The shade provided by this Throne has been described as Allah’s own shade in order to bestow honor upon it and the just ruler or anyone else will be benefited from such shade and this hadith outlines the great honor and statues of those who act justly.

Categories of Justice:

There are many categories of justice and we will list down some of them in following lines:

  1. Justice with our Lord the Almighty: By worshipping Him Alone without ascribing any partner with Him in His worship, in His Attributes or otherwise. And that He is the One to be obeyed sincerely, not disobeyed; remembered, not forgotten; and that one is grateful to Him, not ungrateful.
  2. Justice in judgments between people: By giving every rightful person his due.
  3. Justice between wives and children: By not giving one preference over another.
  4. Justice in speech: By not testifying falsely, nor saying what is false or a lie.
  5. Justice in what is believed: By not believing other than the truth and not lending faith to what is not realistic or what did not occur.

An Example of Just Judgment:

Deviation from the way or path of justice is not allowed in Islam, even when it regards one’s enemy or opponent. The ruler and the one who is ruled, the rich and the poor, the black and the white, all should be dealt and treated equally in accordance with the law, without any difference and distinction of race, gender, color, language, religion, political relationship, birth or other status. The following incident clearly illustrates how intensively this model was religiously maintained in the first and early period of Islam in harmony with Islamic Monotheism and commandments.

It is narrated from Hazrat ‘Aishah (RA) that:

“Quraish were concerned about the case of the Makhzumi woman who had stolen. They said: “Who will speak to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) concerning her?” then they said: “Who would dare to do that but Usamah, the beloved of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)?” so Usamah spoke to him, and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Are you interceding about one of the Hadd punishment of Allah?” then he stood up and delivered a speech in which he said: “O people, those who came before you were doomed because if a nobleman among them stole, they let him off, but if a lowly or weak person stole, they carried out the punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.” (Muslim 1688).

Destruction here signify destruction in the Hereafter and in this temporal world as well, because crimes increase if prescribed legal penalties are not implemented, and the abundance of crimes becomes the cause of the destruction of communities. Besides, disobedience brings punishment in its wake.

The Positive and Good Results of Justice:

One of the best results of justice in judgment is that it instills tranquility and peace in the hearts of the people. The good example of this is that, when Caesar sent a messenger to monitor the activities of Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA). He searched for him in Al-Madinah but did not find him, so he went outside of Al-Madinah looking for him and discovered him sleeping on the sand using his stick as a pillow. When he saw him sleeping like that, he sensed humility and tranquility in his heart and said to himself:

“This is the man whom all the kings are worried about, yet look at his condition. O Umar, you have been just so you can sleep. While our king is a tyrant, so there he stays up the whole night in fear.”

Moderation has a vast meaning than justice. Moderation affects every part of the Muslim’s life. It is the method of seeking the middle way between two extremes. Moderation in worship means it should be free from any kind of extremism or negligence.

Moderation in spending means the good that is between way evils, not spending irresponsibly nor being stingy, but the position in between the two.

Moderation in clothing means that it should neither be the clothing of arrogance or pride, nor should it be patched or ripped.

As for moderation in walking, it is to walk in a manner between arrogance and haughtiness, and humility and subjugation. Moderation in every circumstance is the middle between two extremes.

Moderation is the brother of uprightness. It is one of the most noble virtues and traits, since it is that which stops a person from transgressing Allah’s set limits, promoting the performance of the obligatory duties, without falling short or exaggerating. It teaches him to be abstinent, taking what is lawful over that which is not.

A Comprehensive guide about the rulings of Islam on Criminal Procedures is available as an eBook ‘ Criminal Justice in Islam ‘ also the misconceptions propagated against Islam are addressed logically in ‘ The Light within Islam.

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