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JUST SPEECH AND CORRECT CONDUCT

The chapter Al-Ma’idah (The Table) of the Qur’an gives guidance on correct conduct in matters of justice. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows: Believers, be steadfast in the cause of God, and bear witness with justice. Do not let your enmity for others turn you away from justice. Deal justly; that is nearer to being God-fearing. Fear God. God is aware of all that you do. (5:8)

It is good to observe moral standards in whatever you have to say in normal situations. But that is not enough. The real test comes when the situation is adverse in the sense of being abnormal or provocative. It is how you conduct yourself in such a situation that proves whether you are one who speaks with justice or not.

In a normal situation, anyone can adhere to moral values, but the real test of a worthy person is his having the capacity to speak with justice even in very difficult situations. In provocative situations, people generally react unjustly. They take the provocative aspect of situations as an excuse for their unjust speech or their unjust behavior, but this kind of excuse does not measure up to the Qur’anic standard of morality. The Qur’anic principle in this regard can be formulated in these words: “If you have a good excuse, don’t use it.”

Society can be torn apart by differences and undesirable situations. Even the best of things may turn out to be bad for others and this is what arouses anger and provocative behavior. This disrupts normalcy, and if people get into the habit of making excuses for their own bad behavior, every society will become a morass of hatred and intolerance. If the members of society figure as Mr. Excuse or Ms. Excuse, society will be a permanent jungle. So, the above criterion of justice is not simply a bastion of morality but is also the sole factor that can maintain a reasonable degree of normalcy in human society.

In a normal situation, anyone can adhere to moral values, but the real test of a worthy person is his having the capacity to speak with justice even in very difficult situations. The adoption of this principle is a sign not of passivity but of maturity. When a member of society speaks out for justice, even when this could favor his enemy, he is not showing a passive attitude but is demonstrating his maturity. It means that he is a wise person who can control his negative emotions. Avoiding enmity is not simply a piece of a strategy designed to outwit your enemy. It is a positive mode of conduct that enhances your spirituality and is a sign of high moral standards. It helps in developing your personality, gives you fresh experiences, and increases your creativity.

After conducting yourself in this way, you will emerge as a healthy mind. To speak with justice is the only option in this world. Any other option is disastrous. It is not a matter of choice; it is a matter of compulsion. Our world is controlled by the law of nature, and the law of nature does not allow any other kind of behavior: you cannot afford to go against the law of nature. When you speak with justice in a negative situation, you only have to control your emotions, but when you go against the law of nature, you are on the path to destroying your life.

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