SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –After we have dealt with the Justice of Allah we now switch over to social justice. Since the subject of social justice has a wider range we confine ourselves to quoting relevant matters from the Holy Qur’an, the traditions, and Nahjul Balaghah, and have at the same time given explanation of every verse and tradition because these will help project our view-point on relevant matters and their knowledge will be beneficial to the people in general.
The purpose of our discussion on social justice is to mention those verses of the Holy Qur’an and the traditions through which the Holy Qur’an and our infallible Imams have given lessons of equality of mankind in the eyes of the law and of preservation of their rights. They have also forbidden undue discrimination, cruelties and exploitation. Apart from this we have cited the examples of just distribution of wealth, Islamic brotherhood and fraternity set by the Holy Prophet of Islam and his Holy Ahlul Bayt (peace be on them).
Justice in All Islamic Laws
Islam is an institution of justice and moderation. It is a straight path and the Muslim fraternity is the nation which practices moderation and justice. The Islamic system is based on justice. If there are tears for the oppressed then there are swords for the oppressors. If it gives importance to preservation of physical health, it also stresses on our spiritual enlightenment and moral upliftment. If it ordains the offering of prayers, it also orders paying zakat(religious tax). If it asks us to love and respect the pious people, it also insists on hatred against the enemies of Allah. If it lays stress on acquiring knowledge it also considers the performance of noble deeds as compulsory. If it commands us to have faith and trust in Allah, it also advises us to make efforts to achieve our objects. If it allows acquisition of personal wealth and property, it also forbids taking undue advantage of ownership and damaging the interest of other people. If it recommends exlcusiving an offender it also insists on enforcement of punitive laws and making no remissions in punishments.
When Imam Ali was told by the people about the piety and devotion of a person offering his prayers, he asked about the intention and the character of a person.
Hence it means that if a person is a devout worshipper of Allah, we should judge him by his views and behavior.
Social Justice and Divine Outlook on the Universe
In a society unless the high sounding slogans take strength from their roots they do not go ahead of slogan mongering. The slogan of social justice is raised by every government but you will not find even a slight tinge of social justice there. The reason is that such slogans are not based on sincerity.
In Islam equality and freedom have a sold base, for example,
(i) The entire universe is under the care of the All Wise Allah and there is no irregularity in it. Being a part of this world, I cannot do what I like and that too with selfish motives.
(ii) Our ways of doing things and deeds and even our mode of thinking are under surveillance of our Lord, who knows everything about us without our awareness. After all we shall have to present ourselves before Him for the accountability of our deeds.
(iii) All of us have been raised from dust and we shall be reduced to dust. There s no difference among the particles of dust; hence why should there be any difference between some body else and me?
(iv) Everybody is the servant of Allah and to treat everyone with love and affection becomes the source of Allah’s pleasure and the best man is he who is the best well-wisher of others.
(v) Allah’s creatures cannot exceed the limits and the unlawful rights which the Creator has set for them.
(vi) We are all the offspring of the same parents.
This description and outlook on the world and man is the most potent basis of accepting the principles of justice and equity, but corrupt environment and avarice pull down its foundation.
Seeking Justice is a Natural Thing
Allah has endowed man with the knowledge of right and wrong things and their resultant results. The Holy Qur’an says:
And We inspired the soul with knowledge of evil and piety. Those who purify their souls will certainly have ever lasting happiness and those who corrupt their soul will certainly be deprived of happiness. (Surah ash-Shams, 91:8-10)
Take an example of a child who kept his apple with you. After a while he comes back and he finds that you have eaten a small portion of it. He becomes displeased and looks at you with an accusing eye as if he is saying that you are guilty of a breach of trust. This is certain that even a child knows about injustice even though he may not tell you so with his tongue. Therefore, misappropriation is an evil which is teacher need not teach a child. It is but natural that man considers misappropriation as a bad thing.
Similarly justice is a thing which man considers by himself considers it a good thing and its proof is that the oppressor himself justifies his action by saying that he has not been unjust!
Sometimes several people commit theft jointly but when the question of distribution of the booty comes they talk of making a just and equitable distribution. Such a thing does happen and the fact that consciously or subconsciously they mean equitable distribution. And if anyone of the group wants to take the lion’s share, the other partners become annoyed.
Its has been a general rule that whenever a person is killed while safeguarding his rights and upholding the cause of social justice or takes a firm stand against the tyrants he is praised by the people in general. It is in human nature that man supports the cause of injustice and wages war against injustice.
By: Muhsin Qara’ati