Do equality and justice mean the same thing? If not, what are the differences between them?
Most often, we see that the concept equality is mistaken for justice. Equality means the state of being in equilibrium for two things in all respects. Justice, on the other hand, is described as giving every owner of right his right and punishing the unjust.
In giving man two legs and the sheep four, there is an inequality but no injustice. This suits man the best and that the sheep.
The absolute equality, in other words everything being the same in all respects, is against justice.
Let us observe human arts: A poet writes every letter in his poem by taking into account the whole word. S/he inserts every word by considering the entirety of the poem. S/he composes every line in relation with the whole poem. Here, there is no absolute equality but justice. The first line comes first, the last one goes to the end, but all serve the same purpose.
A manufacturer orders every part of his factory from the size, sections, engines, furnaces to the smallest screw with wisdom and justice. And a wonderful factory comes into being. Absolute equality destroys this orderliness.
The same thing is true for a painter, too. He draws every design in every one of his paintings in its proper place. He spreads colors, shapes not with absolute equality but with justice. Whichever color suits something, he paints it with that color. Whichever shape is best suited to something, he shapes it that way. And there comes into being a wonderful work of art.
The actions of Allah in this universe take place based not on equality but on the principles of justice. If there were absolute equality amongst people, could we, before all, talk about the notions of mother, father and child? If all the people were equal in all respects, there would be no social life anymore. According to that supposition, prophets, their followers, commanders, soldiers, fathers, children, employers, employees, teachers, students all these social concepts would cease to exist. I wonder if such a society could be imagined!
Let us have a look at other beings: If there was absolute equality, there would be neither the earth nor the sky.
If the lightning occurs, this is because the electric charges of clouds are not the same.
Let us think about our souls and bodies. If there were absolute equality, which one would dominate the other?
Could we survive if all our organs were hands or hearts?
It is evident that the sparrow and the cat are not equal. However, on both of them the Divine justice is clearly read. Whatever is necessitated by being a cat, from disposition, to the structure of teeth and nails, and to the agility of body, are all given with justice, and nothing is left incomplete. In the same way, whatever is necessitated by being a sparrow, is also given to it with all capabilities and body structure suited to it, without anything lacking.
That is the justice. Nobody has the right to ask why it was a sparrow and that a cat. If asked, the answer will be: Allah willed so. If He had willed the opposite, this question would have still been asked.
Neither this sparrow nor that cat was put to a test in another world so that they would think their status lacking as a reward for their success. Just a short time ago, they were looking forward to the blessings of Allah in the darkness of nonexistence. Although they had no right, Allah bestowed on them these present bodies of theirs and their souls. And they continue their lives, as if they consciously knew, satisfied with their conditions. In their souls, there is no one atom of objection to Allahs Ordination (Qadar-Preordination).
All these are the wonderful reflections of the divine justice. We should contemplate these reflections, and evaluate the different tests people are put to in this fleeting life of the word accordingly. We should not hasten to object to the differences the wisdoms of which will only be understood in the Hereafter.