Justice is a foundational principle upon which our religion is built. It maintains the balance of all things in our lives. As Muslims we are taught to be just in all affairs of our lives. Discrimination or any other form of injustice is forbidden in Islam. Allāh commands the believers, in Sūrat’l-Nisā’, āyah 135, to stand for justice in any and every way possible. Not only are we told to rudimentarily demonstrate it, but we are to do whatever it takes to stand up for truth at all times. Instead of saying, “stand” (قُمْ), the Qur’ān commands the believers to “be of those who deliver justice” (كونوا قوّامِيْنَ). Allāh is not asking us to do an action once; He is commanding the believers to mold their lives around justice and make it their motto to live and die.
Allāh uses the word قوّام—the hyperbolized version of قُم— to make us understand how far we need to go to establish justice. Stand up, go out of your way, take all necessary means to stand for justice! Allāh ends the verse with “even if it be against yourselves, your parents, or your relatives.” No one is exempt. Justice must be done in every scope of life.
To drive the message home, directly after this verse, Allāh commands the believers to believe! We may think our faith is complete, but Allāh is telling us that there is a deficiency in our faith if we lack the spirit of justice.
We may seek to restore or preserve our own rights, but there’s a problem if we are not concerned for the rights of others. Allāh clearly outlines that our faith has not fully matured if we have not prioritized and implemented justice in our lives. Whether it is as mere as replacing a borrowed item if we broke it or rallying for a person wrongfully imprisoned, we need to stand up for each other and give what is due.
Recently many of us were upset with the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. Though proper justice may not have been served, it behooves us to ask ourselves if the ‘not guilty’ verdict against George Zimmerman is a reflection of our own situation. We purposely cheat in our business dealings, lie on our resumés, wrong each other, and hide behind our power and wealth on a daily basis, and then suddenly have our social media outlets flaring with “Justice for Trayvon.”
What can we expect from our society if we ourselves are not just? Our fad-following, sensationalized Facebook statuses and tweets would be better matched if we sought to be just with the everyday people in our lives through the best manner that Allah and His messenger have taught us. I am not seeking to antagonize or blame anyone, I simply want to open up a way through which we can think at a more holistic level about the concept of justice and how we can implement it in our lives daily.
May we be given the ability to be agents of justice in all scopes of our lives. Ameen.