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What Does Islam Teach About Justice?

07 January, 2022
Q With all the news that we hear of injustice committed in Muslim countries, one wonders if there are any teachings about justice in the Muslim faith.

Answer

Short Answer: “The core message of Islam is all about justice and establishing it among all people on earth.” In both the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, we see examples of the seriousness with which Allah takes justice and injustice toward any person.


Salam (Peace) Carl,

Thank you for your question.

The core message of Islam is all about justice and establishing it among all people on earth.

One of the Divine Attributes of God (Allah) is the Most Just. We read in the Quran:

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Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Quran 3:18)

Justice, in simple words, means giving every person his due share.

It also means putting things in the right place.

Moreover, justice also denotes giving others equal treatment.

Justice, in Islam, is a divine command

We read in the Quran:

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. (Quran 16:90)

In another verse, we read:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do. (Quran 5:8)

Justice was the message with which all prophets came to promote. Allah says in the Quran:

We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice […] (Quran 57:25)

And Justice for All…

Justice is to be applied to all people regardless of their race, color, or religion. We are told in the Quran:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, acquainted. (Quran 4:135)

Examples from Prophet Muhammad’s Teachings

As for the value of justice in the Prophetic traditions, we read the following hadiths:

The just will be seated upon pulpits of light, those who are fair with regard to their judgement and their family and those who are under them. (Muslim)

The people of Jannah will be of three kinds: A just successful ruler, a man who shows mercy to his relatives, and a pious believer who has a large family and refrains from begging. (Muslim)

There are seven whom Allah will shade in His shade on the day on which there is no shade except His shade: a just imam, a youth who grows up worshiping Allah […]) (Muslim)

Glorifying Allah involves showing honor to a grey-haired Muslim and to one who can expound the Quran, but not to one who acts extravagantly regarding it, or turns away from it, and showing honor to a just ruler. (Abu Dawud)

`Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah sent me to the Yemen as judge, and I asked: Messenger of Allah, are you sending me when I am young and have no knowledge of the duties of a judge? He replied: Allah will guide your heart and keep your tongue true. When two litigants sit in front of you, do not decide till you hear what the other has to say as you heard what the first had to say; for it is best that you should have a clear idea of the best decision. He said: I had been a judge (for long); or he said (the narrator is doubtful): I have no doubts about a decision afterwards.

Treat your children fairly, treat your children fairly. (An-Nasa’i)

`A’ishah narrated that a man came and sat in front of the Messenger of Allah and said:

O Messenger of Allah! I have two slaves who lie to me, deceive me, and disobey me, and I scold them and hit them. So what is my case because of them?” He said: “The extent to which they betrayed you, disobeyed you and lied to you will be measured against how much you punish them. If your punishing them is equal to their sins, then the two will be the same, nothing for you and nothing against you. If your punishing them is above their sin, some of your rewards will be taken from you and given to them.” So the man left, and began weeping and crying aloud. The Messenger of Allah said: “You should read what Allah said in His Book: ‘And We shall set up the Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything […]’ to the rest of the verse (Al-Anbiya` 21:47). So the man said: “By Allah, O Messenger of Allah! I see nothing better for myself, than me parting with them. Bear witness that they are all free. (At-Tirmidhi)

We hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.


(From Ask About Islam’s archives)

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/research-studies/zakah-and-distributive-justice/
About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.