What is the importance given to justice by Islam?
God says in a verse:
God enjoins justice (and right judgment in all matters), and devotion to doing good, and generosity towards relatives, and He forbids you indecency, wickedness and vile conduct (all offenses against religion, life, personal property, chastity, and health of mind and body). (An-Nahl Surah, 16:90)
So, God is not pleased with cruelty and vile conduct.
God who is the Ultimate Just One is not oblivious of what cruel people do; and whoever performs cruelty and treachery will surely account for it before the Divine justice to the finest point.
In another verse, it is explained that even being inclined to the cruel from heart and tolerating their offences are how dangerous, let alone supporting them:
And do not incline towards those who do wrong (against God by associating partners with Him and against people by violating their rights), or the Fire will touch you. (Hud Surah, 11:113)
Still in another verse:
God commands you to deliver trusts (including public and professional duties of service) to those entitled to them; and when you judge between people, to judge with justice. (An-Nisa Surah, 4:58)
Here, what attracts attention is the point that it is said people in the verse about the issue of justice, not believers, which means without discriminating between friend and foe we must approach everybody with justice.
Likewise, this verse also gives the same lesson:
And so, whoever does an atoms weight of good will see it; And whoever does an atoms weight of evil will see it. (Az-Zalzalah Surah, 99:7-8)
Another principle of justice in Islam is that for the sin of a person, others, his relatives and friends, nation and state cannot be held responsible. God Almighty states in Quran:
And no soul, as bearer of burden, bears (and is made to bear) the burden of another. (Fatir Surah, 35:18)
Everybody bears the burden of his or her own sins. Whoever committed the murder; he/she must bear the punishment; and he/she will. Only, if someone caused someone to perform a sin, then both the performer of the sin and the one who caused it will be punished.
God Almighty determined many limits in Quran in order for his slaves not to encroach upon each others rights and called them the limits of God. He gave us the lesson through warning that whoever trespasses these limits will be cruel and will be subject to Divine punishment.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also states in one of his Hadiths: God makes those suffer who make people suffer in the world.
In many verses, God Almighty explains that the future of cruel communities who do not rule with justice will be very bad. I present two of them here as an example:
How many a township have We destroyed because it was given up to wrongdoing: so they all lie in ruins, with their roofs caved in, wells and fountains deserted, and towering, lofty castles collapsed. (Al-Hajj Surah, 22:45)
How many a community that did the greatest wrong (by associating partners with God) and thereby wronged itself have We shattered, and raised up another people after them. (Al-Anbiya Surah, 21:11)
Islam also commands complying with the rights of the people who are followers of other religions. In peace, their rights are also guaranteed and under protection just like those of Muslims. Likewise, in the sect of Hanafi, in peace, a Muslim who murders a non-Muslim unjustly is retaliated i.e. he is sentenced to death.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) warns such people in one of his Hadiths:
Whoever torments a non-Muslim, I am the enemy of him. Whomever I am the enemy of; I will grasp him from the collar in the Hereafter. (Keşfül Hafa, II, 218, hadith no: 2341)
This being the truth, the source of some Muslims resorting to terror and cruelty must be attributed to their ignorance and weakness in will power, not to the religion.
As is known, man is not exempt from mistakes; any mistake he makes sentences only him. It would not be fair to try to accuse his religion.
I want to mention a very important point about this issue:
The people who hinder Muslims from learning Islam from its essential sources and from living it, who take them away from religion by urging them into debauchery, and who lead them into poverty by exploiting their lands without fairness are directly responsible for these people falling into the disaster of anarchy. It would be more appropriate if these circles of interest made a self-questioning and questioned their consciences rather than accuse others.
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