Allah is al-`Adl. This word comes from the root `a-d-l (ع-د-ل) which is the opposite of transgression, and thus means to act justly and fairly.
To know Allah is Most Just enables us to feel tranquillity and prevents us from objecting to God’s judgment or cursing Fate. We know that He is the Most-Merciful as well as the Most-Just.
“And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?’ And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one,” (Qur’an, 18:49).
We are also told in a beautiful hadith (narration):
“O my servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and I have made it forbidden among you, so do not oppress one another.” (Muslim)
The Qur’ān repeatedly reiterates the balance of justice,
”And the Heavens He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of justice); in order that you may not transgress (due) balance. So establish weight with justice, and fall not short in the balance.” [Quran 55:7-9]
Justice is the fundamental value of any civilized society. More than any other element, arguably it is justice which has been the cornerstone, and bedrock of all great civilisations. Without justice, the entire bulwark of society would crumble. There would be utter chaos and confusion and people would have to live in constant fear and mental distress if justice were to fade away from society.
The fact that the commands to do justice and shun inequity have been repeated more than 55 times in the Qur’ān, gives an idea of the overriding importance of justice and equity.
As a measure of special caution, the Qur’ān exhorts Muslims to be just in dealing with all non-Muslims who do not indulge in injustice and persecution:
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Al-Qur’ān 60:8]
Quran the Book of Justice
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that you may receive admonition.” (Surah An-Nahl: 90)
Justice, as defined in the Qur’an, commands mankind to behave in a fair and just manner. Allah (swt) has commanded us to protect the rights of others, to be fair and just with people, to side with the one who is under oppression, to help and be fair with the needy and orphans, and to be just and not go beyond the boundaries set by Allah. We are required to be fair and just in all circumstances, and in all situations. We must establish justice in society. This is the law of our Creator.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
“Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All Seer.” (Surah Nisa: 58)
Establishing justice is the law of Allah (swt). It is part of the balance which Allah has created. In Surah Ar-Rahman, Allah (swt) describes how He has created a balance of justice, and why:
” And the Heavens He has raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of justice). In order that you may not transgress the balance. So establish weight with justice, and fall not short in the balance.” (Surah Ar-Rahman: 7 – 9)
Upon examination of these ayaat, we can understand three different points.
- Allah (swt) has created the balance of justice in this world. This is His Divine Law.
- We are not permitted to transgress against the system of balance that Allah has created.
- Allah (swt) has commanded us to establish weight with justice, and ordered us to refrain from falling short in keeping this balance.
Amongst the Great Names and Attributes of Allah (swt) is Al-Hakam, which means, “The Judge”. Allah (swt) is the Most Just, and He judges the affairs of His beings with full justice. There are several ayaat in the Qur’an which describe the justice of Allah (swt). Among them are the following:
“Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves.”
(Surah Yunus: 44)
“Surely Allah does not do injustice to the weight of an atom, and if it is a good deed He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.” (Surah Nisa: 40)
“And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favors of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (Surah Ibrahim: 34)
We understand from the above ayaat that Allah is just, and He does not do injustice to mankind. It is men who do injustice to themselves. Not only is Allah just and fair, but He (swt) is so just, that He will not even do the injustice to the weight of an atom. On top of that, Allah will only multiply our good deeds, and will reward us for that. SubhanAllah, how Merciful Allah is! He (swt) gives us ALL that we ask for, and there is no way we could possibly count all of our blessings. It is mankind, who is unjust, and ungrateful to the bounties of Allah.
Allah Has commanded us to be Just and Fair:
“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah; even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a better protector to both (than you). So follow not your lusts, lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witnesses or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever well acquainted with what you do.”
(Surah Nisa: 135)
In Surah Ma’idah, verse 8, Allah explains the wisdom behind the command to establish justice in society.
“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as just witnesses, and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety: and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is well-acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Ma’idah: 8)
We understand from the above verse that Allah (swt) has commanded us to be just, because that is closer to piety.
Throughout the Qur’an, Allah has given us numerous guidelines on how to act justly in various situations. Here are a few examples:
Allah (swt) says in Surah Al-Hujraat, verse 9:
“And if two parties among the Believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the Command of Allah. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).” (Al-Hujraat: 9)
This ayah gives us the answers to four important points:
What to do when two believers are fighting?
- First, try to make peace between them.
What if that doesn’t work?
- Then fight against the one who is transgressing.
What to do if the transgressor straightens out?
- Then if the one who was transgressing complies with the Command of Allah, once again, try to make reconciliation between them with justice.
- Because Allah loves those who are fair and just.
Allah says in Surah Al-An’am, verse 152:
“And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence), say the truth, even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah. This He commands you that you may remember.” (Surah Al-An’am: 152)
This ayah gives us the answers to three main points.
What to do with an orphan’s wealth?
- Nothing. Stay away from it. Don’t come near it.
- If you must do something, do so only to improve it in a way that it will benefit the orphan.
- When the orphans attain the age of full strength, give them their wealth in full measure and in full weight with justice.
How should you give your word?
- When you judge between men or give evidence, say the truth! Say the truth even when a relative is concerned.
- We must fulfill the Covenant of Allah (swt). This is His Command.
In Surah S’ad, verses 20 – 26, Allah (swt) tells us the story of Daawud (as), and when Allah tested him to see how he would judge between two people. We can take good lesson from this story.
Allah (swt) says:
“We made his (Daawud’s) kingdom strong, and gave him wisdom, and sound judgment in speech and decision.” (Surah S’ad: 20)
“Has the story of the disputants reached you? When they climbed over the wall of the private chamber.” (Surah S’ad: 21)
“When they entered in upon Daawud, he was terrified of them. They said, “Fear not. (We are) two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other. Therefore, judge between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, and guide us to the Right Way.” (Surah S’ad: 22)
“Verily, my brother has ninety-nine ewes, while I have (only) one ewe, and he says: “Hand it over to me, and he overpowered me in speech.” (Surah S’ad: 23)
“Daawud said, (immediately without listening to the opponent): “He has wronged you in demanding your ewe in addition to his ewes. And verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and they are few.” And Daawud realized that We have tried him, and he sought forgiveness from his Lord, and he fell down in prostration, and turned (to Allah) in repentance.” (Surah S’ad: 24)
“So We forgave him for that, and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good place of (final) return (Paradise).” (Surah S’ad: 25)
“Oh Daawud! Verily, We have placed you a successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice), and follow not your desire – for it will mislead you from the path of Allah. Verily, those who wander astray from the path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning.” (Surah S’ad: 26)
We learn from these ayaat the importance of hearing both sides of the story before passing any judgment between two people. Sometimes, the truth is not spoken by one party, and the one who is judging can get misled without hearing the voice of other side. Allah (swt) tested Daawud (as) by sending him two disputants. When Daawud (as) heard the story from one side, he passed his judgment, without realizing that he should have heard what the other person had to say first. He then realized his mistake and turned to Allah in repentance. In order to pass a fair judgment, one must listen to both parties, evaluate the situation, and then, come to a conclusion. This is a fundamental crux for judging between two or more people or groups.
“Verily Man is in loss. Except those who have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (Al-asr: 3 – 4)
These ayaat tell us that mankind is lost. Only those who have true faith in Allah, do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience have saved themselves from this loss. The wisdom behind having a Khalifah in Islam to rule us is that we always have an authority that will stand for the truth, and rule people with justice in accordance to Allah’s Commands. Unfortunately, we do not have a Khalifah in this day and age. Often times, there are situations that need to be dealt with justly on a higher level, and our leaders are not willing to take that step. When we ourselves are not capable of taking the lead of establishing justice at an upper level, what can we do? We should always stick to the truth, and have patience. We must do our part in trying to bring about a change, but until that change comes, we must be patient. Patience is the key to success.
As Allah Himself created the balance of justice as His law in this world, Allah will not allow any injustice to happen, without bringing that person to account. Those matters which are not resolved in this world, Allah (swt) will deal with them in the hereafter…on the Day of Judgment. Every one of us was created by Allah, and every one of us will return to Him for final judgment.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And We shall set up Balance of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account.” (Al-Anbiya: 47)
Here, Allah (swt) tells us that He will set up a balance of justice on the Day of Resurrection. On that day, no one will be dealt with unjustly. If there is a matter that will be as small as the weight of a mustard seed, Allah (swt) in His Manifest Wisdom will take account of it. Allah will be our Judge.
Allah (swt) has prepared a great reward for those who lived their lives in righteousness, worshipping Him, and obeying His Commands, and doing good deeds:
“And whoever does righteous deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer, such will enter Paradise, and not the least injustice, even to the size of a ‘Naqira’ [speck on the back of a date stone], will be done to them.” (An-Nisa: 124)
Remember that the greatest injustice in the sight of Allah is shirk. There is no forgiveness for those who live their lives committing shirk and die in that state. For such people, the punishment after judgment will be very severe.
“Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! Join not in worship (others) with Allah. For false worship is indeed the greatest injustice.” (Surah Luqman: 13)
When Allah is the Judge, who can dare try to get away with their crimes and evil doings? They will never be able to do that. Truly Allah is the Best and Most Wise of all Judges.
“Is not Allah the wisest of Judges?” (Surah At-Tin: 8)