1. Articles
  2. The importance of ethics and values in Islamic Civilization - Rageb El sergany
  3. Justice in Islam...Its Importance and Reality

Justice in Islam...Its Importance and Reality

Article translated to : العربية Español

the value of justice in islam

justice is one of the basic human values established by islam and made it one of the main pillars of individual, family and social lives. the quran made the establishment of al qist – justice – among people the main objective of all the heavenly messages. allah exalted he is says: {we sent aforetime our apostles with clear signs and sent down with them the book and the balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice} [iron: 25]. nothing in the illustration of the high value of justice could be greater than making the establishment of justice the main and first objective of all allah's apostles and books. books were revealed with justice. apostles were sent with justice. the heavens and the earth were built with justice.[1]

in a stark and direct statement of the importance of establishing justice even if we hate whom we judge, allah exalted he is says:{o ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin} [women: 135]and says: {o ye who believe! stand out firmly for allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. be just: that is next to piety: and fear allah. for allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do} [the table: 8], ibn kathir[2]said: “this means hatred of someone should not a motivation not to establish justice toward them. rather, justice must be applied with all and anyone, be them friends or enemies."[3]                         

therefore, love and hatred do not mar the establishment of justice in islam. justice does not discriminate on the grounds of family and lineage, or authority and wealth. justice also does not discriminate between muslims and non-muslims. justice is the right of everyone living on an islamic soil, be them muslims or non-muslims and whether or not those people like or dislike one another.              

situations on justice in islam  
a situation illustrating the meaning mentioned above was usama ibn zayd's story with a lady from makhzum tribe. when usama tried to intercede for the lady, who belongs to a high-class family, in order to prevent the punishment of cutting off her hand after she had committed theft, allah's apostle got angry, got up and delivered a well-spoken sermon to indicate the line and justice of islam and its establishment of justice and equality among members of the society, be them rulers or ruled people. in his sermon, the prophet (pbuh) said: "what destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict allah's legal punishment on him. by allah, if fatima, the daughter of muhammad stole, i would cut off her hand."[4]          

imam ahmed quoted jabir ibn abdullah, may allah forgive the two of them, as saying: allah has given khaybar as booty to his apostle so the prophet divided that booty between people and himself. the prophet assigned abdullah ibn rawaha to calculate and estimate the size of the booty, and then abdulla ibn rawaha said: "oh jews, out of all the creation i hate you the most; you have killed allah's prophets, may peace be upon them, and lied about allah, and my hatred of you shall not cause me to be unfair with you. i have calculated twenty thousand bunches of dates so if you want to take them all, then take it, and if you refused, i will take them." they said: thus the heavens and earth were built, we will take them.[5]               

despite abdullah ibn rawaha's hatred of the jewish, he was not unfair to them. but he announced that he does not do wrong to them and that they can take whatever they want to take from the distribution of dates.     

reality of justice in islam
the reality about justice in the islamic religion is that justice is allah's balance on earth, with which the weak get their rights and the wronged take their rights from the unfair. justice enables people to get their rights the simplest and easiest way. justice is a part of the creed of islam and under the umbrella of justice in the muslim community; no one would be wronged.          

if islam orders the establishment of justice with people – all people as we see in the abovementioned verses – that kind of justice which is not motivated or moved emotionally; islam commands justice with one’s self. islam orders each muslim to balance between his own rights, his god’s rights and other people’s rights. this was clear in allah’s apostle’s approval of salman al farisi’s comment on abu ad-darda, who prejudiced his wife’s right by departing her, performing fast everyday and praying every night. this is the complete story: the prophet made a bond of brotherhood between salman and abu ad-darda. salman paid a visit to abu ad-darda and found um ad-darda' dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. she replied, "your brother abu ad-darda is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world." in the meantime abu ad-darda came and prepared a meal for salman. salman requested abu ad-darda to eat (with him), but abu ad-darda said, "i am fasting." salman said, "i am not going to eat unless you eat." so, abu ad-darda ate (with salman). when it was night and (a part of the night passed), abu ad-darda got up (to offer the night prayer), but salman told him to sleep and abu ad-darda slept. after sometime, abu ad-darda again got up but salman told him to sleep. when it was the last hours of the night, salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. salman told abu ad-darda, "your lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who has a right on you."[6]abu ad-darda came to the prophet and narrated the whole story. the prophet said, "salman has spoken the truth." islam has also ordered justice in speech. allah exalted he is says: {whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned} [cattle: 152]. islam also commands justice in judgment. allah exalted he is says: {allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when ye judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice} [women: 58]. islam commands justice in peacemaking among people. allah exalted he is says: {if two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of allah; but if it complies then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for allah loves those who are fair (and just)} [the private apartments: 9]


banning of injustice in islam
islam commands justice and encourages its establishment. identically, it prohibits injustice strictly and resists injustice strongly, either injustice toward oneself or toward others, particularly the strong people’s injustice toward the weak, the rich people’s injustice toward the poor and rulers’ injustice toward the people they rule. the weaker the person wronged is, the guiltier the unfair[7]. the sacred hadith reads: “o my servants, indeed i have prohibited injustice for myself, and i have prohibited it amongst you, so do not do injustices to each other”[8]and the prophet told mu’az: “be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person as there is no screen between his invocation and allah”[9]. the prophet also said: “three men whose supplications are never  rejected (by allah) are: the fasting person until he breaks his fast, the just ruler and the one who is oppressed, whose prayer is taken to heavens and heavens’ doors are opened for it and allah says to it: i swear with my honor i will uphold you (the supplication) even after a while”[10]. thus, this is justice…the heavenly balance in the islamic community.          




[1] yusuf al qaradawi: characteristics of the muslim community we seek, pp. 133

[2] ibn kathir: abu al fida ismail ibn kathir ad-dimashqi (701-774 ah/ 1302-1373 ad) was a memorizer of quran, historian and jurisprudent. he was born in a small village in bosra, syria, and died in damascus. al bidaya wan-nihaya (the beginning and the end) is one of his books. look: al husseini, zayl tazkirat al hoffaz, pp. 57, 58         

[3] ibn kathir: the interpretation of the holy quran 2/43

[4]al bukhari: kitab al anbiyaa (book of the prophets), chapter “or dost thou reflect that the companions of the cave and of the inscription” (the cave: 9) (3288), and muslim: kitab al hudud (book of prescribed punishments), chapter cutting off the hand of a noble man who commits theft (1688)   

[5]musnad ahmed (ahmed's hadith collection) (14996), ibn hibban (5199) and shuayb al arna'out said: its attribution is right, al bayhaqi: as-sunan al-kubra (7230), at-tahawi: sharh ma'ani al aathar (interpretation of the meanings of traditions) (2856), abdel raziq: al musannaf (the classified) (7202), and it was corrected by al albani, look: ghayat al murad (459)                 

[6]al bukhari: kitab as-sawm (book of fasting), chapter he whoever vows on his brother to break his volunteering fasting (1832), at-tirmizi (2413)    

[7]look: yusuf al qaradawi: characteristics of the muslim community we seek, pp. 135

[8]muslim from abu zar’s hadith: kitab al-birr was-salat-i-wa'l-adab (the book of virtue, good manners and joining of the ties of relationship) chapter prohibition of injustice (2577), ahmed (21458), al bukhari in his al adab al mufrad (490), ibn hibban (619), al bayhaqi in his branches of faith book (7088) and as-sunan al-kubra (11283)      

[9]al bukhari: kitab al maghazee (book of the military expeditions led by the prophet), chapter the dispatch of abu musa and mu’az to yemen before the farewell pilgrimage (4000), and muslim: kitab al eman (book of faith), chapter calling people to ashihadatayn and laws of islam (27)      

[10]at-tirmizi: kitab ad-da’wat (book of supplications), chapter on forgiveness (3598) and said: this is a right hadith, ibn maja (1752), ahmed (8030) and shu’ayb al arna’out said: right.    

Previous article Next article
Supporting Prophet Muhammad websiteIt's a beautiful day