5 Names to Understand God’s Justice

God – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names. (Quran 20:8)

When we communicate with God, it is vital to call on Him by the names that He has given Himself. He instructed us to use these names when asking for His help with our needs and desires.

Using God’s names in our worship and supplication is a characteristic that God admires and it enables us to ponder God’s nature.

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As we enter the second decade of the twenty first century, the state of the world appears to be anything but just. The great discrepancies that exist between people and countries seem glaringly unjust. Thus, it is fitting to contemplate the Names of God that relate to justice.

Justice in Islam

Justice is at the core of Islamic teachings. God’s words in the Quran pertaining to justice remain as relevant today as they were when first revealed.

In the United States of America, Harvard Law School posted the following verse from the Quran at the entrance of its faculty library. It was part of a 2014 Words of Justice exhibition affirming the power and irrepressibility of the concept of justice.

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even though it might be against yourselves, or your parents, your kin, or against the rich or poor, God protects both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid justice. And if you distort your testimony or refuse to give it verily God is well – acquainted with what you do. (Quran 4:135)

God expresses these same sentiments in another oft quoted verse about justice when He says:

O you who believe, stand out firmly for God as just witnesses. Let not enmity and hatred make you avoid justice. Be just, for that is nearer to righteousness. Fear God, for verily, God is aware of what you do. (Quran 5:8)

True righteousness fulfills the rights of God and the rights of the people. If we fail to be righteous, we are in fact committing oppression. Prophet Muhammad advised us to guard against such oppression and his warning remains relevant today when injustice and oppression can be seen in every direction.

Guard yourself from oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Guard yourself from greed, for greed destroyed those before you. It caused them to shed blood and to make lawful what was unlawful.” [1]

God is the Most Just and among His most beautiful names are Al Hakam, the Judge, and Al Adl, the Inherently and Absolutely Just.

Al Hakam, The Judge

The word hakam comes from the Arabic root ha-kaf-meem. It refers to the attribute of judging, being wise, passing a verdict or restraining others from wrongdoing. This root appears in the Quran in several forms including, hakama (to judge), al-hukm (the command, wisdom, judgment), and hikmah (wisdom).

The name of God, Al-Hakam, refers to the immensity of Allah’s power to judge and to arbitrate with perfect justice. It is far above and beyond the judgment and arbitration of any created being. Al-Hakam Himself says:

Shall I seek a judge other than God when it is He who has sent down to you the Book explained in detail? (Quran 6:114)

The Judge makes some deeds lawful and others unlawful; He gives instructions and imposes prohibitions. God has complete legislative power and no one can overthrow His decrees.

His is the creation and His is the command. (Quran 7:54)

What God legislates is not burdensome or unfair; His perfect rules protect everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. The Judge is wise, His decisions deliver justice. In His Wisdom Al Hakam has decreed a person does not have to bear the sin of any other person. In addition to this a person is never punished more than he deserves, nor does he lose the benefits of his good deeds.

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Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit; and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged. (Quran, 6:160)

Al Hakam, the Judge, delivers justice and arbitrates all disputes. Thus, we are able to call on Al Hakam to protect us from injustice at the hands of others and ask Him to make us just in all our affairs.

It is also advisable to ask God to make it easy for us to adhere to whatever He has legislated for us.

Al Hakam is the One and Only true Judge, who delivers justice to every situation. He is the One whose judgments and decrees cannot be over-turned; and He is the One Who makes the final decision in all matters.

Al Adl, the Inherently and Absolutely Just

The concept of Adl implies fairness and equity in everything a person says or does. It covers the comments we make, the judgments we pass, the way we handle our responsibilities and obligations, and the way we deal with any and all people.  This includes not only our family and friends, but also strangers or enemies. Fairness, equity and justice must underpin all of our behavior.

Dividing something into exactly two parts, so that there is no disparity between them, is the literal meaning of Adl. It also contains, as part of its root meaning, the idea of being in balance.

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In Islam we are taught that the whole universe is established on the basis of a harmonious balance. Thus, the establishment of justice and equity within human society is in harmony with what God has already established in the universe.

Al Adl is the One who is entitled to make all the judgments He makes. He is the embodiment of justice. Al Adl, the Just, is equitable, and He is impartial.

We sent our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, that men may stand forth in Justice. (Quran 57:25)

God expects us to emulate His Justice; and during the times in which we are called upon to make judgments, we should call on Him by the names that stand for justice, Al Adl and Al Hakam.

Note – Names Related to Al Hakam and Al Adl

Al-Fattah

While Al Fattah is the Opener, the One who opens all the doors of mercy, profit and sustenance, this name also implies the One who judges between people with perfect justice. God is the One who uses His most perfect judgment to decide what will be opened.

Al Muqsit

The Equitable.  God is both fair and impartial. He is the One who defends the oppressed and helps them face their oppressors. It is said that Al Muqsit is the One who makes those who offend aware of their transgressions.

… those who have the greatest share in this name are those who insist first of all on justice from themselves for others, … but forebear demanding it from another for themselves.” [2]

Ad Dayyan

The Judge.  Linguistically, dayyan means to judge. Ad Dayyan is the One who judges our deeds and rewards or punishes accordingly.  

“Ad Dayyan is the One Who takes account and recompenses. He Who recompenses the good with good and evil with evil, and never He will allow the work of anyone male or female, to be lost.” [3]

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[1] Saheeh Muslim

[2] Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058- 1111 CE)

[3] Al Halimi (939 -1012 CE)

About Aisha Stacey
Aisha Stacey is the mother of three adult children. She embraced Islam in 2002 and spent the next five years in Doha, Qatar studying Islam and working at the Fanar Cultural Centre. In 2006 Aisha returned to university for a second time and completed at Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Writing. Aisha is also a published writer in both internet and print media and in 2009 -10 she was the Queensland editor at a national Australian Islamic newspaper ~ Crescent Times.