By Sikandar Azam
God created man and gave him a code of life to live by. This code of life is complete in the sense that it covers the entire range of human life and is meant for all times and climes. It is called Islam: “The true religion with Allah is Islam.” (The Qur’ān – 3:19) God communicated with man through His chain of Prophets and Messengers, right from the very first man and first Prophet Hazrat Adam till the Last Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and taught him this true way of Islam. In this process of Divine communication, God enjoined people to run their affairs on the bases of the truth, equity and justice, and mould their social structure accordingly. And this should be for the sake of God, for each and every person is to go back to Him and will be accounted for what he/she has done during his/her stay on earth.
This is the entire Divine scheme. The Qur’ān (4:135) says: “Believers! Be upholders of justice, and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah.” While upholding justice and bearing witness to truth, man is directed to do so irrespective of friends or foes, relations or strangers: “…even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor.” This is so because if you support someone known to you, say your relation, friend or partyman who is in the wrong, you are in fact involving yourself in the wrong done by him. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud relates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever supports his people in oppression is like a camel that falls dead into a well and is pulled out by its tail.” (Musnad Aḥmad) Thus there is no room for bias or prejudice in the deliverance of justice.
This upholding of justice in a fair and proper manner is also necessary, argues the Qur’ān, “for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are.” Then comes the prohibition: “Do not, then, follow your own desires lest you keep away from justice.” This is so because following one’s own desires, whims and inconsistencies leads one onto the wrong path, the result of which will be punishment from God: “If you twist or turn away from (the truth), know that Allah is well aware of all that you do.”
The truth, equity and justice is in fact the bedrock of human society. It is not enough for us to uphold justice ourselves; we are expected to be its standard-bearers. We are supposed not merely to practise justice in our own dealings but to make tireless strivings to see to it that justice prevails in the society. We have to do all within our capacity to ensure that injustice is eradicated and replaced by equity and justice. Despite this, if a person does not get justice on earth, he shall get it in the hereafter.
In a Hadith-i-Qudsi (a hadith in which the message is from God but is not part of the Qur’ān) Prophet Muhammed ﷺ said: “O my slaves, I have forbidden injustice for myself and forbade it for you also. So avoid being unjust to one another.’ (Muslim)