Justice is the maintenance or administration of law. The social, economic and political system of Islam is based upon the strong sense of justice system. Without justice, it is impossible to think about any civilized nation where rule of law is supreme.
Allah (SWT) says in the holy Quran, “Allah enjoins justice, performing duties for only Allah’s sake, giving help to kith and kin, forbidding evil, obscenity and oppression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed.” (Al-Nahl 16:90). This verse of the Holy Quran forms the part and parcel of the Friday prayer sermon. The Muslims listen to this verse every week of the month but unfortunately very few ponder on its purpose and meaning. This only happens when worship is considered as an ordinary ritual, without its spiritual purpose. Any act of worship done, should inculcate the sense of divine message and its purpose.
The above verse of the Holy Quran encompasses or summarizes an encyclopedic statement of conduct and is full of decree. The very first of the divine command is to do justice. The Holy Quran does not go into the meticulous details of any particular form of justice rather its directive is in the absolute, general form. The message is for the general masses that they should practice justice and do well.
When it comes to giving of any financial help, the Glorious Quran however demarcates a line. One should help one’s kith and kin. It includes giving wealth, visiting, looking after them or any other kind of help. Allah (SAW) ordains that the ties of kinship include one’s relations with one’s family, neighborhood, countrymen and one’s associates or coworkers.
The next command is to evade or avoid anything that is forbidden, i.e. all evil deeds, adultery, disobedience of parents, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without any valid right. One should abstain from bad conduct as well. All these directives are issued for caution and for one’s admonition. Allah (SWT) admonishes us, so that we all may take heed.
In today’s world, the disbursement of justice has become very selective. We ignore justice for others and seek it only when it concerns our vested interest. Material benefits have shaken the essence of justice. We have turned the concept of justice into a cacophony of arguments and give a cold response to the actual demands of justice. In implementing justice, we are driven by nepotism and by the concerns of our near and dear ones only.
It has become very difficult to implement justice based on equality and in accordance with divine commands. Allah (SAW) commands us to do justice without any discrimination, and no one should be above the law of the land whether king or a pauper. However, for a person whose whims are driven by worldly gains only, it may still not be easy for him to act on this. But for those who fear Allah (SAW) and His Prophet (SAW), they are the ones who have the capacity and the caliber to deliver justice without any delay and as per the divine commands.
One of the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) mentions that all creatures belong to the family of Allah (SAW). By taking this statement as a yardstick of justice, it brings the entire human civilization in one page of the same family. This is a very important point which can make us realize that nobody is superior in the eyes of Allah (SWT) except for those who fear Him and do justice without any prejudice.
That is why Abu Zarr Ghafari notwithstanding his position as a high ranking companion of the Prophet (PBUH), when, once in a rage called Bilal “O son of Negress”, the Prophet (SAW) did not tolerate this much of intemperance on his part, admonished him and said, “you still smack of the evil traits of Jahiliyah, that you tried to disgrace him by lowering the dignity of his mother on the basis of colour”.
Islam considers all the human beings, irrespective of their colour, faith, and country of origin, race, as one family of Allah (SWT). His most favored servant is not the one who only worships him most but the one who does good to his family members as well. Allah’s designation encompasses all human beings, without any distinction of faith.
The duty of dispensation of justice lies with everyone and Allah (SWT) has not charged anyone with this particular duty. It is an important obligation on everyone. Furthermore, the real virtue is justice and does not need any tag or label if it shows the right intent. The Justice of Allah (SWT) is equally beneficial for anyone on the face of this earth. This opens up the concept of universalism in the Quranic assertion that justice and good should be done in an absolute sense. The Prophet (SAW) has said, “People are as if they were the children of God. So the person most loved by God is he who is of utmost beneficence to His children.”
Islam draws man’s psyche towards justice and righteousness by saying that in righteousness and good lies his own benefit, and the doer of good and justice shall be the first to be benefitted by it. He will be the beloved of the people, shall be praised everywhere and shall be the topic of the people’s talk. And in the Hereafter, he shall be rewarded for it. No Muslim is allowed to do any kind of injustice to anyone on the basis of his personal differences towards any community or group. Whenever a Muslim is commanded to dispense justice, he must fulfill it with honesty and piety to win the Allah’s (SAW) blessings and pleasure.
Justice should be available to anyone without any bottlenecks and loopholes. The freely available justice is the hallmark of any civilized society, no matter to which faith they believe in. Justice is the command of our creator, the Lord of the worlds.
Muslims in particular should always give preference to justice without any delay. Apart from doing justice, they should give more than expected. Even if someone acts unjustly towards us, it should not deter us while delivering the justice to anyone. We must deliver justice to all with sincere intention in any given situation come what may.
This is the point, which marks the line of demarcation between knowledge and ignorance. In other words it demarcates the real human civilization based on justice and God consciousness and the civilization of the ‘Might is Right’.
(Author is Research Scholar in Islamic Studies and Teacher by profession)