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Islamic Ideology (02 Oct 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)

The Importance of Rendering Justice in Islam

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

2 October 2015

Is there any other duty of greater importance in the sight of Allah than rendering perfect (secular) justice in all matters? Let us examine the evidence.

(3:18) There is no god but He: That is the witness of Allah (Shahedullah), His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.

The above verse can also be read as: Those endued with knowledge about God, His Oneness, His Exalted Power and Wisdom, provide proof or evidence of such knowledge (witness) by standing firm on justice.

Also consider:

(4:135) O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah (Shuhadalillah),  even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

What is stressed in the verse above is perfect secular justice disregarding every other consideration as witnesses to Allah from whom nothing is hidden – not even the innermost thoughts, desires, prejudices, rancour, love or hatred for those being judged.

There is a slight variation in 5:8 where the term could easily have been Shuhadalillah but the term Shuhadabilqist has been used and the context is again rendering exemplary justice standing out firmly for Allah.

(5:8) O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing (Shuhadabilqist), and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

It is made amply clear that justice cannot be comprised for any extraneous consideration and must be rendered in a manner that can be justified to Allah from whom nothing is hidden regarding your motives or the facts of the case and in turn providing evidence (witness) of your submission to Allah and His divine attributes of Oneness, Exalted Power and Wisdom.

The attribute of Oneness make all equal in the sight of Allah which must be reflected while rendering justice. The reminder of Allah’s attribute of Absolute Power helps to resist the pull of every other extraneous consideration. ‘Justice’ rendered by allowing extraneous consideration to influence is oppression.  The opposite of justice is oppression and an oppressor witnesses or provides evidence of evil or Iblis/Satan. Rendering perfect justice provides evidence of Allah and His attributes as well as of the judge’s submission to such a deity.

The attribute of Wisdom requires rendering justice tempered with compassion since Allah has inscribed for Himself the rule of mercy. The rule of mercy makes the objective of justice promoting the greater good of the society while protecting the rights of the individual. 

The word Shuhada (witness) has been used in the normal sense of witness otherwise in the rest of the Quran except in one other verse:

(3:140) If a wound hath touched you, be sure a similar wound hath touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks Shuhada (witnesses to Truth). And Allah loveth not those that do wrong.

We understand from the verse that apart from rendering exemplary secular justice, a person provides proof of being a true believer by remaining constant in his devotion and dedication all through the days of varying fortunes which test his faith to the limit. Many of the translators have translated Shuhada in this verse to mean a “martyr” but clearly this is not what is meant. A wounded person’s faith is tested to a greater degree than that of the slain. The verse only talks about how a true believer gets separated from those who are found to waver when trouble afflicts them.

What about the "martyrs" then? The Quran does not use the word "shaheed" or a grammatical variation for the martyrs. There are other verses that explicitly talk about those killed in the cause of Allah but the word Shuhada or Shaheed has not been used and may not be used since such usage distorts the meaning of the Quran.

Those who fight in the cause of Allah and are slain are rewarded, but they have not been called either Shaheed or Shuhada. This may be because fighting is not a normal state but a duty only under exceptional circumstances. Also, there could be other reasons for which people fight such as the love of booty or women, glory, hatred or an escape from the tribulations of life. Thus being slain even in a just war does not by itself provide proof of the person’s intention and motives. In any case, contrary to popular usage and perceptions, the Quran does not use the term “Shaheed” for the slain.

A true believer, worthy of being called a witness to Allah and a witness to the people about the attributes of Allah is therefore a person who renders perfect secular justice and one who remains constant through all his trials and tribulations. These are therefore the defining characteristics of a Muslim.

If the highest virtue that provides evidence of being a Muslim (witness submission to Allah) is standing firm for secular justice, then what is its opposite that provides proof of a contumacious rejecter of the “truth” (kafir)?  The opposite of standing firm for justice is the oppression of people in any form.

Fighting is ordained against the oppressors until justice and faith in Allah prevail, for tumult and oppression is worse than slaughter. But if they cease their oppression cease your fighting against them. (2:191 to 193)

The highest virtue or act of faith in Allah and His divine attributes is rendering perfect justice and the most obvious sign of a contumacious rejecter of Allah is an oppressor.

Again, contrary to popular perception, fighting in the cause of Allah is restricted to ending oppression in any form where the faith of the oppressor and the oppressed are irrelevant. This is covered in greater detail in my article:

The Much Discussed and Debated Medinian Verses Relating To Fighting


So shouldn’t rendering justice be called the central pillar or pole of Islam and the remaining five pillars, the outer pillars or the outer poles of the tent? Remove the central pole and the tent collapses taking down the remaining five poles also. The five pillars of Islam are no less important because the central pole cannot stand by itself either. The five pillars however only provide the necessary hygiene factors and what is central to Islam that defines a true Muslim who is both a witness to Allah and witness to the people of the divine attributes of Allah to whom he submits, is the quality of justice he renders and upholds. An oppressor is simply a contumacious rejecter of Allah and His attributes and a representative of Iblis.

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/the-importance-of-rendering-justice-in-islam/d/104770


  • Dear Naseer Shb,

    Thanks for the suggestion, will consider on it.

    By Mahound Observer - 10/7/2015 3:46:53 AM

  • Mr M Observer, Can you rewrite verse 5:8 using love instead of fear?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/7/2015 1:41:35 AM

  • Love and fear are both emotions. What is there to reason about anyone's emotions.?You feel what you feel and others feel what they feel. Why should you wonder about what others feel? 

    The question is whether you are comfortable or not with what you feel. You seem to be happy about what you feel but not content. To feel.content stop worrying about others.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/7/2015 12:42:05 AM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed Sahab,
    Indeed, I don't know whether you are wrong or right. thanks for the Article.
    Dear All,
    I have one question to all of you that why God want people should fear to him? Whenever I read, I tried to fear to God but unable to fear him but LOVE, when I observe the universe, I begin to love and exalt to him. I have no word to explain, as much I do study whatever is near to me. I can see the quality of creation of God. 

    (5:8) O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing (Shuhadabilqist), and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

     I don't understand, what is the role of fear, when God love us more than our Mother.

     As much I know when I was in love with a girl when I was 19, whom I did not see her yet. I used to fear if she would not talk to me over phone, what I will do, that was my stupidity, but I learnt one thing that when you love someone then only you fear to him or her. The same rule is applicable for God also, I tried hard to fear God but I couldn’t, so I have decided to do some king of wrong things then I would feel fear to him again I fail to fear him, not exactly may be I used to fear little.

     But when I started struggling for making my carrier and even I was trying to forget my first stupid but useful love. Gradually I developed my skills the same way my love and fear from God developed.

     Even now I am unable to decide which is much stronger, love or fear, or else i fear due to love?

    one more thing, their is no any power exist who can make me fear excluding Supernatural power.

    By Mahound Observer - 10/6/2015 8:27:00 PM

  • Dear Naseer Ahmed Sahab,

    I fully agree with you that upholding 'justice' is a very fundamental commandment of God, that as declared by Caliph Umar is next to worship of God (my jt publication, Ch. 21.4).  I also agree with you that the commandment is directed at all humanity and not only to those who administer justice. You have demonstrated this with illustrations from the Qur'an and most verses are also covered in my jt work under different headings. Actually the Qur'an establishes the significance of justice at an early stage in its passage bearing the  10-mandatory (harrama) Commandments as follows (6:151-152):

    1.      Not to associate anything with God

    2.      To be Kind (ihsan) to one’s parents

    3.      Not to kill one’s children on account of poverty

    4.      Shun all forms of abomination (fawahishah) - whether open or secret

    5.      Not to kill any person as God has forbidden this - except when lawful

    6.      Not to manipulate the property of an orphan before his full maturity - except for its betterment

    7.      To give full measure and use true scale

    8.      Not to burden a human being beyond his capacity

    9.      To uphold justice (fa‘dilu) even if it concerns a relative.

    To fulfil the covenant of God.’

    As for the inadequacy of the Pillars of Faith in covering the commandments of the Qur'an I am copying below from my last comment to GM Sahab in this thread (extracted from my jt publication, Ch. 44.2):

    "Most Muslims take the shahadah, as a mere oral declaration, and regard the other four pillars Salat (prayer), Zakat (traditionally, obligatory charity), fasting, and hajj, as sufficient to cover all their religious rites and obligations. This is oversimplification because at the time of the Prophet, the commandments (ahkamat) of the Qur’an were regarded as the sole criteria of ones deeds ('amal).3 Moreover, the Qur’an does not provide any basis to justify reducing its holistic message to only four elements or pillars besides the shahadah."

    By muhammad yunus - 10/5/2015 8:16:59 AM

  • Dear Yunus Sahib, Both Bush and Blair were first class fools who by invading Iraq and hanging Saddam only brought untold misery which is now prevailing in Iraq and Syria.  However, thank God, both are now out of the picture.
    By Satbir Singh Bedi - 10/5/2015 6:40:56 AM

  • Yunus sahib, the concerns you express are valid. With the internet and other mass media, so much material is competing for attention that it is difficult to capture a steady audience. Original articles tend to do well in Huffington Post and Critical Muslim, but even they cannot compete with Zakir Naik's telecasts of utterly regressive ideas.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/5/2015 3:22:33 AM

  • Yunus sb., I have spoken highly of your book in the comments section of Outlook.com as well as in Facebook and shall inshallah continue to do so. 
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 10/5/2015 1:33:51 AM

  • Dear Bediji, Wisdom is not measured in terms of knowledge, information or promotions. Tony Blair may have got high grades in all his exams and great many promotions but he was a fool to claim that Saddam Hossain had WMDs and readily deployable tiny missiles that could bombard Europe undetected by radars. You know the cost of his foolishness. Most perceptive people in the world do become suspicious of God and contemplate suicide at one or the other moment of life when they get utterly frustrated by the way things happen. So you no exception. But you have once exception that should make you feel proud. You are a direct descendant of Guru Nanak - who in the words of Iqbal sang the song of Unity in the garden of hind: 'Nank ne jis chaman may wehdat ka geet gayaa" And this makes you a man of indomitable courage and unmitigated honesty - a combination that stands in the way of promotion in service life.
    By muhammad yunus - 10/5/2015 1:08:55 AM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab, Copy Moin Qazi Sahab A spark in a pan vanishes in a flash while you cannot win a hand in the game of cards with 2 of Clubs. My personal position in Islamic scholarship in the backdrop of the work done, time spent, books written, sacrifices made over the past 14 centuries, and the number of scholars, Ulama and educated people engaged in Qur'anic study today is like a spark in the pan and whatever I write, no stronger than 2 of Clubs. My joint publication has so far received only four comments in the Amazon book section of which one is from a known source (yourself), one from my son and only 2 others - and that is over the past six years. Hardly a couple of scores of people have posted comments to my hundred or so articles posted over last four years at NAI mostly aimed at ijtihad and reform. This again shows the obscurity of a Muslim writer this day. No doubt a popular televangelist has thousands of times more listeners and followers but all his victories are pyrryhic for he is doing more harm by apparently winning his hands - he is misguiding rather than guiding his audience. So, for anyone of us to try to bring about any doctrinal change like changing the Pillars of Faith is a futile exerise but we can always reinterpret the doctrines. The Pillars of Faith relate to faith - huquq allah - and that is only the spiritual part of Qur'anic message. The body of the message lies in the core commandments of the Qur'an - the dynamic vectors of Islam that relate to huquq al ibad. This is captured as blow in the concluding statement of Chapter 45.3 of my jt. publication: "Prayer is somewhat like the fragrance of a flower (the soul of Islam), and the dynamic forces of Islam its body. Without fragrance the body may not have any value in the court of God and without the body, it is a piece of fossil on the desert sand." Bottom - Line. If we challenge the fundamental tenets of Islam upfront, we have no listener. We loose the game before starting it. We vanish away like a spark in the pan. We are like a player with a Club of 2 in his hand with no chance to win. We must enter the arena at the back of the eternal flame that set the whole intellectual world ablaze and with the Aca of Spade in our hand - the Holy Qur'an and tailor all our arguments accordingly. As my secular readers will be shocked at this rhetoric, let me quote one of the greatest scholars of Arabic Qur'an from the Secular world: “What happens in the Qur’an is deeply related to the travail of our time, and we need the Qur’anic word in the face of it. This would be true, of course, if only for the reason that multitudes of mankind, to be guided or persuaded about modernity at all, will need to be guided and persuaded Qur’anically.....Even where secularism has gone far among them or irreligion presses, their judgments and their sanity, their priorities and their ideals, will always be in large measure within the mind of the Qur’an.” – Kenneth Cragg (1913-2012) [The Event of the Qur’an, Oneworld Publications, USA 1974, p. 22/23]
    By muhammad yunus - 10/5/2015 12:50:47 AM

  • Yunus Sb,   From your several comments, I am unable to figure out whether you agree or disagree with the conclusions that I have drawn.
    1. Justice delivered in accordance with the verses cited viz 3:18, 4:135 and 5:8 will entitle a person to join the ranks of the shuhada and therefore this virtue is of the greatest importance in the sight of Allah. It is a defining characteristic of a good Muslim besides constancy and fortitude through the trials and tribulations of life. Justice is not only for the ruler but also for every individual.
    2. The opposite of justice is oppression which is most abhorrent in the sight of Allah as evidenced by verses 2:191 to 193 and many more verses which command fighting to end all oppression. Oppression is a sign of extreme kufr.
    What are called pillars of Islam are only the basics of Islam or its foundation.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/5/2015 12:48:26 AM

  • Good Bediji that you agree that it is God who runs this world. He gives us just enough freedom to either make our lives happy or miserable. That limited choice is ours.

    Everything God does is however as if it is by acting according to  a law decreed and therefore predictable. You may therefore easily think that there is no God!

    You have however experienced God's several direct interventions in your life. You are blessed !

    Man however does not have God's perspective to judge His actions or inaction.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/5/2015 12:16:25 AM

  •                              A Summary of the Prophet’s Last Sermon

    The importance of justice is also clear from the Prophet’s last sermon

    Rights, Duties, Obligations And Justice

    Life and property of every person is made sacrosanct.

    Honour your trusts and return what you owe to others

    Harm no one

    Shun usury

    Neither should you inflict iniquity on others nor suffer it. Be just to each other.

    Honour your mutual rights

    Piety and Good deeds is the sole criteria to rank people. All people are otherwise equal irrespective of race, colour etc.

    The Five Basics Of Islam

    Worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month ofRamadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

    Need To Remain United

    The Muslims constitute a single botherhood.

    Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

    Source of Guidance

    I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these you will never go astray.


    All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people".

    By Naseer Ahmed - 10/4/2015 11:18:20 PM

  • Naseer Sahib,  Who am  I to ask God to take over and run the world?  He has already done it.  I wanted to become an author and a journalist while my father wanted me to become an engineer but God had other designs for me.  I could never become an author or a journalist nor could I score enough mark in my B.Sc. exam to enable me to go for engineering.  So, I read an advertisement in a paper and went for Asstt. Grade Exam.  On the first day of Exam., I did poorly in Maths and wanted to quit the Exam., then an idea came to me why not go for the 2nd day of Exam.  So, I appeared in the 2 day exam and forgot about it.  Then my uncle through his recommendation got me the job of  a clerk in the bank which I never liked.  However, after a few months, I received a communication from UPSC that I had been recommended by them for appointment as an Assistant.  Then I was 23 years old.  On entering 24th year, I became fed up with the world and took a large overdose of medicines but God saved me while doctors wondered at my survival.  When I  was 52 years of age, again I tried to commit suicide by taking a huge amount of sleeping pills but God saved me again.  And now I am 70 years of age.
    I may also tell you that I was very aggressive and often annoyed my officers but still I got three promotions to retire as Dy. Secy.
    From the above, it should be very clear that God runs the World.  You may not agree with me but it is God who puts ideas into our minds.

    By Satbir Singh Bedi - 10/4/2015 10:49:31 PM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab,

    You last comment: "if three of the pillars promote ritualism, that is not a proper appreciation of Islam, especially in the modern age." simply echoes the concluding remark under Chap. 44.2, the Shahada (my jt publication)
    which reads:

    "Most Muslims take the shahadah, as a mere oral declaration, and regard the other four pillars Salat (prayer), Zakat (traditionally, obligatory charity), fasting, and hajj, as sufficient to cover all their religious rites and obligations. This is oversimplification because at the time of the Prophet, the commandments (ahkamat) of the Qur’an were regarded as the sole criteria of ones deeds ('amal).3 Moreover, the Qur’an does not provide any basis to justify reducing its holistic message to only four elements or pillars besides the shahadah."

    You will bear with me that practically all the questions that you raised with me from time to time - I have answered to your satisfaction by quoting from the book. The question is how many people have really read the book that was published more than six years ago. You and I know the reason - people get overload of religious knowledge from televangelists - Zaki Naiks of the era who can keep them mersmerized with their detailed knowledge of theological sciences and barrages of quotes that eclipse the essentials of Islam's teachings and intoxicate the Muslim listener with a feeling of pride and victory that his faith is the most pure and set to prevail over the world. He remains perhaps more ignorant of the essentials of Qur'anic message after listening to these people than he was before listening to them. Hence there is an urgent meed for massive propagation of our work. Sultan Shahin Sahab has now put the whole work under Book Section for free access. Now people like you and Moin Qazi Sahab have to take over the role of its ambassadors if you wish. MoinQazi Sahab has promised to assiat in this mission and things are inching forward.   

    By muhammad yunus - 10/4/2015 8:57:08 PM

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