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Islam Teaches Justice vs. Injustice

Sikander Ziad Hashmi, sunniforum.com

The dehumanizing abuses at Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israeli occupation of and aggressions in the Palestinian territories, the loss of basic human and civil rights, foreign troops in the Holy Lands, unwanted foreign involvement in internal affairs, and the list goes on and on.

There’s no question that there’s more than enough to make Muslims really angry and seriously hurt. Naturally, people tend to react to anger in different ways.

Some are so furious that they want to wipe out entire nations off the face of the earth, while others want to exterminate their leaders. Others are content with whomsoever they can lay their raw hands on, while others just resort to feisty and fiery verbal bursts. Many resort to silent hope and prayer.

All these are very basic, human reactions, and any human, be it a Muslim or non-Muslim, can understandably react in such ways when in a super ticked off mood, as many Muslims find themselves these days.

However, as Muslims, it’s our duty to ensure that our actions are in-line with the teachings of Islam – not only in good times, but even when we find ourselves as victims and underdogs.

While many of the injustices that fuel the anger and outrage are undoubtedly appalling and abhorrent, we must not forget our sense of fairness and justice in our actions and responses.

Allah, the Most High, has said:

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do." [Quran, 4:35]

Allah tells us to stand out for justice, even if it is against ourselves, our families, or against the rich or poor. Hence, we are expected to be just (and fair) all the time.

As the victim, we can naturally find ourselves hating the oppressor or the victimizer. But even that shouldn’t stop us from being just. Allah 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." [Quran, 5:8]

Thus, we must be fair and just all the time, even in dealings with the enemy and the oppressor, which is no easy task by any means. In fact, we must fight for justice, but without perpetrating injustices of our own.

Justice does mean making one pay for his/her actions, and Islam does agree with the concept of "an eye for an eye." Yet, we must be careful not to take that to mean “an innocent eye for an innocent eye”, because if we do, there will be nothing to differentiate us (the victims) from the perpetrators. We must take into account the true meaning; the eye of the perpetrator for the eye of the victim.

As victims, the worst thing we can do is fight back with injustices of our own. Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Beware of injustice. Injustice will be darkness on the Day of Rising. Beware of avarice. Avarice destroyed those before you and prompted them to shed each other's blood and make lawful what was unlawful." [Reported by Muslim]

Things are gloomy enough for us these days. Let’s make sure we don’t end up making the Day of Resurrection dark for ourselves as well.



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