Among the moral characteristics that the Qur’an focuses on, and glorifies so much is “Justice.” The sense of justice seems to comprise a very big portion of one’s faith. Those who are just, are very likely to have faith even if they don’t profess so; while those who are unjust, are very likely to be hypocrites even if they don’t waste any of the rites and rituals of religion. Those with just hearts, are the true soldiers of faith without any regards to their color, age, rank, race, etc. In the Qur’an Allah confirms many times that believers must be just and He confirms that He loves those who are just. He says in the Qur’an:
“Allah commands you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, judge with justice.” [The Qur’an (4:58)].
Being trustworthy is interconnected to being just. Actually, the two attributes are considered complementary to one another; a just person would never betray his trust, and a trustworthy person could never be unjust. This is why Allah connected them both in the same verse, and commands Muslims to observe those qualities attentively. He further stresses this in the same chapter where He says:
“O believers, stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be [against] rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Do not follow the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do. O believers, Believe in Allah and His messenger, and the scripture which He has sent to His messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denies Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, and the Day of Judgment, has gone far, far astray.” [The Qur’an (4:135-136)].
The above verses make it crystal clear that the kind of justice required in the Islamic teachings is the ultimate kind. The Qur’an urges every person to stand firm for what’s right, and make it victorious, even if he or she has to testify against one’s own parents, children, relatives, closest kin, or against one’s self. This comes first before faith as clearly organized in the above verses.
Allah also says in the Qur’an:
“O believers, Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to what’s wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. Verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.” [The Qur’an (5:8)].
The previous verse is followed by very few people, not only among Muslims, but among all people. Rarely do we see a person who would testify with the truth in favor of his enemies, or those who hate him. Rarely do we see the sense of justice prevail in people’s hearts to that extent. A just person is not only the one who would testify with the truth and what’s right against those whom he loves, but also in favor of those who hate him. If your beloved ones do something wrong, you should defend those whom they have wronged by testifying to the truth. On the other hand, if your enemies do something right, you should also testify honestly to their good deeds without any underestimation.
More verses stress the same ideas, and confirm them in different wording:
“Say [O Muhammad], ‘My Lord has commanded you to act justly. Turn your faces up toward Him at every time and place of worship, and call upon Him, making yourselves sincere towards Him in religion. As He brought you into being, so you shall return.’ ” [The Qur’an (7:29)].
“Allah ordains upon you justice, kindness and showing liberality towards kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, injustice and transgression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed.” [The Qur’an (16:90)].
Some people misunderstand “showing liberality towards kith and kin,” they think that it’s a permission to overlook their beloved ones’ unjust acts; this contradicts the Islamic teachings manifestly. The famous companion Anas Ibn-Malek reported that: “The prophet P.B.U.H. said, ‘Be at the aid of your brother whether he is oppressive or he is oppressed.’ The companions said: ‘O prophet! It is all right to be at his aid if he is oppressed, but how should we be at his aid if he is oppressive?’ The Prophet then said: ‘By preventing him from oppressing others.’ ” [Recorded by Bukhari]. Hence, if any of your closest relatives, kith or kin do something that is against the natural disposition of pious people, you should deny such an act, even if it were your own parents or sheikhs who are doing it, or ordering you to do it. This was a common practice among the companions. The mentioned authentic tradition makes this very clear; when the prophet ordered them to do something that primarily seemed to contradict the logic of piety and righteousness, they immediately inquired about what it meant, and the prophet explained the matter to them.
I would like to conclude the above with this verse:
“Allah does not forbid you as regards to those who did not fight you on account of faith, and did not expel you from your homes, that you deal justly and kindly with them. Verily Allah loves those who maintain justice.” [The Qur’an (60:8)].
This verse confirms that justice in Islam is of a universal nature; it is not restricted to a certain race, nationality, ethnicity, etc., the only scale here is fair just interaction with no transgression. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O mankind, We have created you from males and females, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest among you in Allah’s sight are those who are most pious. Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [The Qur’an (49:13)].
Hence, Allah teaches us that we should get to know one another without any restrictions. The noblest people in Allah’s sight are not Arabs, Asians, Europeans, nothing of that sort, the noblest are those who are most pious, those who have good manners and noble characters, those who are honest, and just.
Prophet Muhammad said, “Those who are just in this life, shall be resurrected standing upon pulpits of pearls on the judgment day.” [Recorded by Al-Hākem].
He also said, “Allah shall throw shade on seven kinds of people on the judgment day, the first one of them is just rulers.” [Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].
From this, one may conclude that the second pillar upon which the methodology of reformation in Islam was built is: “Rooting the sense of Justice.”
By: Ehab Shawky.