“Allah commands you to deliver trusts to those worthy of them; and when you judge between people, to judge with justice.88 Excellent is the admonition Allah gives you. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”
(The Qur’ān – 4:58)
This ayah forewarns the Muslims against the evils which had afflicted the Israelites. One of the fundamental mistakes committed by the Israelites was that in the time of their degeneration they had handed over positions of trust (i.e. religious and political leadership) to incompetent, mean, immoral, dishonest and corrupt people. The result was that corruption spread throughout the nation. The Muslims are directed to take heed of this, and to entrust positions of responsibility only to those who are capable of shouldering the burdens of such positions.
The other major weakness of the Israelites was that they completely lost their sense of justice. In their pursuit of either personal or national interests, honesty and good faith were often sacrificed. The Muslims, in the time of the Prophet ﷺ, were themselves subjected to gross injustice at their hands. On the one side were the Prophet ﷺ and his followers, to whose purity of life and conduct the Jews were themselves witnesses. On the other side were those who worshipped idols, buried their daughters alive, married their step-mothers and circumambulated the Ka’bah naked.
After informing the Muslims of the iniquity of the Jews, God now warns them against committing similar injustices. They should rather declare what is right in the face of friend and foe alike, and judge between people with equity and justice.