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4 Ways to Stand For Justice

During the brutal siege of Gaza in 2014, I attended a protest in New Orleans, Louisiana. Not surprisingly, our protest did not receive much media coverage.

But thousands of Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Atheist of all ethnicity came together to show the people of Palestine that there are good and conscious Americans who will not stand by silent, watching the tragedies, indignities, and injustices that are done to them.

Since this time, I have been thinking about the maxim that is often chanted at protests of this kind- No Justice: No Peace! Know Justice: Know Peace! And a very simple truth occurred to me. That if, in a society, you feel that there is unrest: it is not without cause. If in a community, there is no safety: it is because injustice is taking place. If a society has committed a wrong, then that society will lose its sense of peace.

This seems so obvious to me now. But in the society from which I come, blame is always being shifted from the victimizer to the victim. Victim blaming is a major theme of the politics of misogyny and racism. And because of this, victimized communities suffer twice.

If we fear a people it is not because they are inherently violent or backward. It is because they have been oppressed and unheard, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “a riot is the language of the unheard.”

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So, how do we solve this huge issue facing nearly every society in existence today? When nearly no community is free from blame of oppressing another, how do we establish social justice?

We move forward with Allah’s words as our tools of mending:

{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)

In this verse, Allah directs us to do many things:

1- Persistently Stand Firm for Allah in Justice

By using a word (persistently) that means to have determination and ever renewed purpose, this implies that it will not be easy and that we need to remain on guard. In the case of justice, we know that it can very easily slip from our hands. And we, as human, get swept up into unexamined dogmatic claims that may not promote equity for all. Only by being persistent in our pursuit of justice will it have a chance.

2- Be a Witness to Justice in the Face of Injustice

In this day and age, many people have an agenda to sell oppression for profit, while packaging it to look like it is in fact fairness. But Allah is telling us it is our duty to open our eyes and witness the truth of injustice, to not be fooled by the packaging, to not blindly follow those in power. But to use our God-given common sense to see inequity where ever it may be.

3- Be Just Even with Those You Hate

It is a human impulse to sweep inequality under the rug when it is done to those we do not care about, those we deem not as important, and especially those we hate. Allah knows that our human desires incline toward this. And He is calling us out on it. The consequence of this is that if we do not see that justice is truly for all, then we will not know peace for ourselves.

4- Know that Allah Knows when we Do and Do Not Follow these Commands

Allah is ever watching. Anything we do to another is in reality done to our own selves. If we do or do not establish justice, Ultimate Justice will be established with us by The Most Just. And we will see what we have done. We will see our injustice come back to us. Or we will be rewarded for seeking justice for all.

And Allah tells us that:

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)

It is only by following the examples of the prophets that we will know peace.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)

About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.