Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
3 August 2016
is one of the central values of Islam. Any system that is not based on justice
is not acceptable to
Islam. It is equally applicable to the entire humanity, regardless of religion,
caste, culture, country and race. Islam has categorically and universally imposed
the obligation of justice upon Muslims in all contexts.
Arabic equivalents for justice are the words ‘Adl and Qist that are more
comprehensive, represent two of ninety nine beautiful names of Allah Almighty
and are extensively used in the holy Qura’n. The words ‘Adl and Qist, in their
several forms, have been used in the Quran about twenty seven times each.
the root meanings of the word ‘Adl or Qist include the sense of justice,
non-discrimination, equity, putting the things in their right order and place,
giving equally just treatment to others, genuine respect for people, moral
virtue and attribute of human personality. The word ‘Adl frequently translated in
English as ‘justice’ captures the essence of all Islamic laws and teachings.
Almighty has commanded Muslims to do justice to all mankind including Muslims
and non-Muslims. He says:
Allah commands justice and benevolence (towards everyone), and giving away to
the kindred, and forbids indecency, evil deeds, defiance and disobedience. He
admonishes you so that you may remember with concern”. (16:90)
another verse, He says,
you, who believe, be upright for Allah and (be) bearers of witness with
is unequivocal from the above that justice is an obligation of Islam and
injustice is forbidden [Haram].
sole purpose that Allah Almighty sent the prophets was to establish justice in
the world and eliminate injustice and oppression. Allah Almighty says: “We sent
Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the
Measure in order to establish justice among the people....”.(57:25)
normal circumstances people can be just only with their friends, nations and
country. But, Islamic standards of justice go beyond the considerations of
race, colour, nation, religion, creed, relatives and non-relatives. Islam has
commanded Muslims to be just towards their friends and foes alike.
believers! Become tenaciously firm on justice, bearing witness (merely) for the
sake of Allah even if (the witness) is against your own selves or (your)
parents or (your) relatives. Whether the person (against whom is the evidence)
is rich or poor, Allah is a greater Well-Wisher of them both (than you are). So
do not follow the desires of your (ill-commanding) selves lest you swerve from
justice. But if (whilst giving evidence) you twist your statement or evade (the
truth), then Allah is indeed Well Aware of (all the works) that you are
verse of the Quran makes firm resolution for Muslims facing the enduring
conflict between self-interest and justice. It commands them to be just, even
if it is against their narrowly defined self-interest or against their relatives.
Some people protect their self-interest by doing injustice to others. But Islam
forbids this sort of so-called self-interest, as these verses remove
narrow-mindedness, reminding us that the true protector of interests of all
mankind is Allah Almighty and He will protect our interests when we follow His
command to be just.
in Islam is Compulsory even towards the Enemy
is clear from the above that Islam does not permit any favouritism when doing
justice between relatives and non-relatives. According to another verse of the
Quran, Muslims are not allowed to do injustice even when they are dealing with
their enemy. The common tendency of uneducated and uncivilised people is to do
injustice towards the enemy. This tendency was as true in the pre-Islamic
period (Jahiliyyah) as it is today. But Islam categorically forbids this
tendency as an unprecedented example for all mankind in terms of doing justice.
you, who believe, Stand firm for Allah, giving testimony with justice- and do
not let the enmity of anyone tempt you not to do justice. Be just; that is
nearer to piety [Taqwa] and fear Allah; indeed Allah is Well Aware of your
deeds. It is Allah’s promise to those who believe and are righteous, that for
them will be forgiveness and a great reward, and those who disbelieve [i.e. who
do act of kufr] and deny Our signs - it is they who are the people of the hell.
(Surah Maidah5: 8-10)
speech of Allah has been directed towards those who are believers. Stand firm
for Allah means stand firm for acting according to the commands of Allah. Do
not let the enmity of anyone prevent you from doing justice.
Al-Qurtubi explained this verse: “وَدَلَّتِ
الْآيَةُ أَيْضًا عَلَى أَنَّ كُفْرَ الْكَافِرِ لَا يَمْنَعُ مِنَ الْعَدْلِ عَلَيْهِ”
meaning “This verse shows that the unbelief of
the unbeliever does not prevent him from enjoying justice”.(Tafseer Al-Qurtubi
Qurtabi further said, “This phrase “La Yajrimannakum [do not let…prevent
you]” means that you should not let your hatred of a people cause you to
transgress the truth and engage in falsehood or swerve from justice to
oppression” (Jamiul Ahkam fi Al-Quran by Al-Qurtabi)
any command of Allah is an act of Kufr [disbelief] that will take its
perpetrator to the eternal hell. So, doing justice even towards the enemy is a
command of Allah, even if the enemy are non-Muslims or unbelievers. Those who
disbelieve this command of justice will have to face the torment in the Hell.
The command of justice mentioned in the Quran is a categorical statement for
all cases; the application and the meaning of which can’t be changed in any
Quran says, “Allah does not forbid you to be good to them and treat them with
equity and justice who did not fight against you on (the question of) Din
(Religion), nor did they drive you out of your homes (i.e., homeland). Surely,
Allah likes those who conduct themselves with equity and justice”.
scholars, Ulema and exegetes of the Quran have concluded that this ruling
applies to all nations, adherents of all religions, as a matter of fact to the
is a compulsory obligation. That is why
the Prophet was told:
if you judge, then judge between them (too but) with justice (i.e., their enmity
should not restrain judgment based on justice). …” (5:42)
Glorious Messenger!) Surely, We have revealed to you the Book based on Truth so
that you may judge between the people in accordance with (the Truth) which
Allah has shown to you. And (never) become a contender on behalf of the
treacherous ones”. (4:105)
keep calling them to this (Din [Religion]), and hold fast (to it) as the
command has been given to you. And do not give any heed to their desires and
say (this): ‘I believe in every Book that Allah has revealed, and I have been
commanded to do justice between you”. (42:15)
holy Quran considers itself as a divine scripture devoted to establishing the
principles of faith and justice. According to the Quran, justice ought to be done
for all, regardless of religion, country, caste and nation, and that it is
immutable right of all human beings under Islamic Sharia.
Almighty says, “And the Word of your Lord has been perfected in truthfulness
and justice. There is no one who can change His Words. And He is All-Hearing,
All-Knowing”. (Quran 6:115)
Allah commands you to entrust the belongings to those who are worthy of them;
and when you judge matters amongst people, give judgment with justice. What an
excellent advice Allah gives you! Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”
Almighty also says:
when you say (something pertaining to somebody), do justice even though he is
(your) near relative. …” (Quran 6:152)
of Justice in Ahadith [the plural of Hadith]
Ahadith have enjoined justice, mercy and pardoning, even in the state of enmity.
I am reproducing here some of them, hoping this will impact on the readers.
Ibn ‘Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon
عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَلَى مَنَابِرَ مِنْ نُورٍ عَنْ يَمِينِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
وَكِلْتَا يَدَيْهِ يَمِينٌ الَّذِينَ يَعْدِلُونَ فِي حُكْمِهِمْ وَأَهْلِيهِمْ وَمَا
“Surely, those who were fair will be in the presence of Allah upon pulpits of
light, near the right hand of the Merciful, the Exalted, and both of His sides
are right (being equal in honour); those who practiced justice in their rulings
and with their families and in all that they did”. (Sahih Muslim 4493, Grade:
Ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him, said:
فَإِنَّ الظُّلْمَ ظُلُمَاتٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَاتَّقُوا الشُّحَّ فَإِنَّ الشُّحَّ
أَهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ حَمَلَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْ سَفَكُوا دِمَاءَهُمْ وَاسْتَحَلُّوا
“Guard yourself from oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of
Resurrection. Guard yourself from greed, because greed destroyed those before
you. It caused them to shed blood and to make lawful what was unlawful”. (Sahih
Muslim 2578, Grade: Sahih)
bin Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him, said:
الْمَظْلُومِ وَإِنْ كَانَ كَافِرًا فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ دُونَهَا حِجَابٌ"
of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is
no screen between it and Allah”. (Musnad Ahmad 12140, Grade: Sahih)
Ibn al-Asqa reported: I asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is tribalism?” The
Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
"أَنْ تُعِينَ قَوْمَكَ
“It [tribalism] is that you help your people in wrongdoing”. (Sunan Abu Dawud
5100, Grade: Hasan)
has prohibited all kinds of tribalism in the strongest tone, equating such
thought with the pre-Islamic ignorance [Jahiliyah], as the following Hadith puts
Abdullah al-Bajali reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him, said:
"مَنْ قُتِلَ تَحْتَ
رَايَةٍ عِمِّيَّةٍ يَدْعُو عَصَبِيَّةً أَوْ يَنْصُرُ عَصَبِيَّةً فَقِتْلَةٌ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ"
“Whoever is killed under the banner of blind following, calling towards
tribalism or supporting tribalism, then he has died upon ignorance. (Sahih
Muslim 1850, Grade: Sahih)
reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,
"لَا تَكُونُوا إِمَّعَةً
تَقُولُونَ إِنْ أَحْسَنَ النَّاسُ أَحْسَنَّا وَإِنْ ظَلَمُوا ظَلَمْنَا وَلَكِنْ
وَطِّنُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ إِنْ أَحْسَنَ النَّاسُ أَنْ تُحْسِنُوا وَإِنْ أَسَاءُوا فَلَا
“Do not let yourselves become blind followers, saying that if the people are
good then we will be good, and if they are unjust then we will be unjust.
Rather, make up your own minds. If the people are good then be good, but if
they are evil then do not be unjust”. (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2007, Grade: Hasan)
has laid great emphasis on justice, despite that, Muslims are recommended to be
forgiving and merciful when injustice and oppression is committed against them.
For instance, Islamic gives the family of the murder victim the right to seek
legal retaliation. However, Islam suggests that it is better to replace this
right by way of mercy and charity.
فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنفَ بِالْأَنفِ
وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ
بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ"
“In that (the Torah) We had prescribed for them: a life for a life, an eye for
an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and in
the case of injuries (too) there is a requital. But the person who (forgoes)
this (requital) by way of charity, this will serve as atonement for his (sins).
And he who does not judge (and rule) in compliance with the commandments sent
down by Allah, it is they who are the transgressors”. (5:45)
to Ahadith, whenever any issue of legal retaliation was brought to the Prophet,
he would always recommend his Ummah for being patient and pardoning the
bin Malik reported:
النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رُفِعَ إِلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ فِيهِ قِصَاصٌ
إِلَّا أَمَرَ فِيهِ بِالْعَفْوِ"
“I never saw a case involving legal retaliation being referred to the Messenger
of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, except that he would
command pardoning the criminal. (Sunan Abu Dawud 4497, Source: Sahih)
the reason is that all human beings are in the habit of committing sins and in great
need of the mercy of Allah Almighty. If Allah sought complete justice for all
of our wrong doings and sins, we would be severely punished. Instead, Allah’s
mercy prevails over His wrath.
Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon
"لَمَّا قَضَى اللَّهُ الْخَلْقَ كَتَبَ فِي كِتَابِهِ فَهُوَ
عِنْدَهُ فَوْقَ الْعَرْشِ إِنَّ رَحْمَتِي غَلَبَتْ غَضَبِي"
“When Allah decreed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His
Throne: My mercy prevails over My wrath”. (Sahih Bukhari 3022, Grade: Sahih)
explored the afore-mentioned verses of the holy Quran and Ahadith of the
prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), it is obligatory
upon us Muslims to stand for justice for all people including Muslims and
non-Muslims. Besides, we Muslims are recommended for forbearing, mercy and
pardoning when any sort of injustice is committed against us and our rights are
(والله ورسوله أعلم بالصواب)
A regular Columnist with New
Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic
scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He
completed the Classical Islamic Sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic
seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith
and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia
Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He did his
graduation in Arabic (Hons) and post-graduation (Arabic) from Jamia Millia
Islamia, New Delhi.
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This article has highlighted a
significant teaching of Islam called justice. It is good to know Islam has
given such a beautiful guidance of justice towards all people regardless of
religion, caste, culture and country, while it is worse to know that most of
Muslims are not acting according to the teachings of Islam. They commit
injustice, discrimination and imbalance towards their brothers, family members,
relatives and neighbours, not to speak of non-Muslims.
The verses of the Quran 16:90, 5:8,
57:25, 4:135, 5:42, 4:105, 42:15, 6:115, 4:58, 6:152 and sayings of the prophet
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) should be memorized by
every Muslim, and accordingly they should exercise them in their daily affairs
with all people in all places.