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JUSTICE FOR THE SAKE OF GOD

The ideal social system, as set forth in the Qur’an, is based on justice. Indeed, justice is the central idea of all the social teachings of Islam. In the chapter Al-Nisa’ (Women) of the Qur’an, there is a  particularly apt and detailed verse on this subject. Its translation is as follows: Believers, be strict in upholding justice and bear witness for the sake of God, even though it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kindred. Be they rich or poor, God knows better about them both. Do not,  then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice. If you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that God is well aware of all that you do. (4:135)

According to the Qur’an, a good society can be established only on the principles of justice. Justice has an absolute value and a person should uphold justice, even if the outcome goes against him or his relatives and friends. No excuse whatsoever is acceptable in this regard. The above Qur’anic verse does not say: “O believers, establish the system of justice on earth.” It simply urges believers to follow the principles of justice in their own lives. In other words, this verse is to be taken in the intransitive rather than the transitive sense. If you give people the target of either establishing justice on earth or implementing the laws of justice in society, it will lead to confrontational situations. This kind of target divides people into two categories: those who want to establish justice and those who are the subjects of justice. This kind of target is bound to create conflict between two groups, ultimately leading to war between them.

The Qur’an does not ask its followers to pursue such ends. According to the Qur’an, believers must follow the principle of justice in their personal lives, that is, they must think with justice, speak with justice, behave with justice and in all their dealings they must follow justice. What it really advocates is self-discipline. No hate or strife is involved in this notion. Then, the above Qur’anic verse says that a believer must uphold justice, even if it runs counter to his own interests. This means that Qur’anic justice is absolute justice. Believers are not allowed to compromise on anything relative to justice. They are not allowed to succumb to anyone who may hold different views in this regard.

According to the Qur’an, believers must follow the principle of justice in their personal lives, that is, they must think with justice, speak with justice, behave with justice and in all their dealings they must follow justice. Justice is absolute in every situation: it must be followed by all believers. Justice literally means fair treatment of people and is the appropriate way of dealing with all members of society. This kind of behavior is just behavior and it is such behavior that makes a person a true human being. Without this kind of behavior, a person is worse than animal.

According to the Qur’an, this kind of just behavior guarantees a double success: success in this world and also success in the world hereafter. Justice being the absolute good, the injustice of any kind is inexcusable. Justice is the key to Paradise as well as to all kinds of success.

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