Rahimia Magazine (May, 2014)
One of the most discussed topics in our social lives is the concept of justice and its opposite i.e. injustice. In spite of this dialogue process, we generally remain unaware of the true spirit of these concepts and their importance in social life. In Islamic teachings, justice means to put everything at its right place and to fulfill due rights of everyone. It also stands for abstaining from extremist viewpoints in individual and collective affairs and to follow a path of modernity among all matters pertaining to human life. True spirit of social justice demands a system of human rights which is based on equality of mankind and discourages all sorts of discrimination which can divide humanity on the basis of color, race, ethnicity, locality, caste or religion. This system rejects superiority of any faction of society over the others and safeguards rights of all individuals. Such a society will start its journey towards collective progress and prosperity.
Antithesis or opposite of justice is injustice and oppression. In Urdu language, it stands for darkness and obscurity. To deny someone of his rights, punish anyone without a reason, abstain from the path of impartiality or to put something away from its proper and designated place are some of the literal meanings of injustice. Social interpretation of oppression and inequality depicts a situation in which social institutions start to work on the basis of discrimination and favoritism of a particular class. As a result of this prejudice, majority of the citizens start living their lives on the behest of a particular class. Practically, there is no mechanism left for safeguarding the basic human rights of the society as a whole. A society with the aforementioned attitudes can be regarded as a cruel and unjust society. Progress and prosperity of such a society is only a farcical dream.Holy Quran has discussed a number of societies which were perished from the face of the earth due to total dominance of oppression and impartiality.
Islamic teachings of justice and equality have engraved deep effects on human societies. Islam binds the whole humanity into universal brotherhood. Thus, it demands a social, political and economic system in which justice is provided to all shades of humanity and everyone enjoys equal social status. Islam rejects all sorts of discrimination and prejudice. Quran has ordered to establish justice and righteousness in the society (Surah Nehl). Muslims are taught: “Enmity of a nation or an individual should not incite you to act unjustly. Hold to justice steadfastly since it is nearest to being righteous and God-fearing.”(Surah Al-Maida). Holy Prophet said “When a nation abandons justice and fairness in its affairs, failure and destruction becomes imminent for it.” During the last pilgrimage of his life, he declared: “Listen O People! Your Creator is one. All of you are the children of the same father. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, a non-Arab over an Arab, of a black over a white or a white over a black. There is only one criterion to move ahead in the eyes of Allah and that is to fear Almighty in all affairs (and to work for the establishment of justice in society).”
Three major spheres of social life include ideology, economics and politics. Islam advises every individual and society as a whole to establish justice and balance in all aspects of personal and collective life. Justice in terms of ideology demands that human society should be prevented from sectarian and class based divisions and should be established on the principles of unity, equality and collectivism. Allah says in Surah Al-Baqra:”We have created people on the basis of oneness of humanity.” Similarly, equality of opportunities for everyone is the ultimate principle of Islamic economic system. Quran states in Surah Al-Hashar: “Make sure that wealth should not be confined among those of you who are affluent.” In terms of political system, Islam considers all sorts of authoritative and dictatorial governments as oppressive and unjust and orders in Surah Al-Shura: “Your collected affairs should be decided after discussion and mutual participation.”Islam invites humanity as a whole to establish their societies on the principles of collectivism, fairness and impartiality. Today, major reasons of our decline are dominance of oppression and violence and the scarcity of justice in our society. Implementation of teachings of Islam to ensure justice and equality in the society should become supreme priority of our collective life.
Translation: Muhammad Usman, Faisalabad