Justice And Equity

Indeed, no one can deny that the civil society must not only have complete freedom of expression, but must also uphold righteousness, truth and goodness; it must condemn evil. If the members of a society do not raise their voices against injustice, lawlessness, corruption, vulgarity, immorality and vice, it results in these evils and will progressively make inroads into the very inner fabric of the society. In this regard, Allah Almighty’s states: “And from among you there must be a party who invite people to all that is good and enjoin the doing of all that is right and forbid the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success” (Al-Imran 3:104).

When there is complete apathy in the enforcement of law, some members of the society will in disgust start taking the law in their own hands sooner or later without realising that the end does not justify the means. This is exactly what happened in Karachi when three robbers were burnt alive by an aggressive mob, which should be an eye-opener. However, the enforcement of law has to be through legal and constitutional means. So, it is the duty of those responsible for enforcing the law to not just make statements, but also act justly and in accordance with the Islamic principles to demonstrate that all illegal activities are being stopped without any distinction.

In order to achieve this objective, the judiciary, along with the law enforcement agencies, must be independent, fearless, honest and just. Justice and equity are the cornerstones of all civilised societies. One of the fundamentals of Deen-e-Islam is that one is answerable for all of one’s acts in this world in the Highest Court on the Day of Judgment. The Quran and Sunnah provide us the yardstick to shape our life in conformity with Deen-e-Islam. One finds that to act with justice is a fundamental principle of Islam, which has to be universally applied in all of one’s dealings, even with enemies. It is obligatory for Muslims to be just and equitable because the Quran states: “Allah commands doing justice and good to others” ­(Al-Nahl: 16-90). Therefore, it is incumbent upon every Muslim, who believes in the Hereafter when one will be accountable for his/her deeds in this world, to be just and equitable. In any case, this is particularly important for those who are responsible for administering justice, i.e. the judges and lawyers.

It is an accepted Islamic principle that those who are guilty of committing injustice will not be redeemed, because it is the Command of Allah:­ “If every person that has done injustice possessed all that the earth contains, he would be willing to offer it all in ransom to redeem himself if he could. They will regret in their hearts when they see the punishment of hell. The decision between them will be made with justice and no wrong will be done to them” (Surah Yunus: 10-54). This admonition tells us the importance of justice and the consequences of doing injustice.

The Quran states:­ “O’ believers! Stand firm for justice and bear true witness for the sake of Allah” (Al-Nisa: 4-135). This ayat tells the Muslims to stand firmly for justice, which means that justice must be done under all conditions irrespective of whatever pressure or inducement to do the contrary. It also makes it incumbent to bear witness truthfully.

It is also stated in the Quran that to do justice is akin to piety: “O’ believers! Be steadfast for the sake of Allah and bear true witness and let not enmity of a people incite you to do injustice; do justice; that is nearer to piety. Fear Allah, surely, Allah is fully aware of all your actions” (Al-Maida: 5-8). This injunction tells us not to do injustice even to one’s enemies and justice is equated with piety.

Needless to say, Allah Almighty loves those who practise justice. “Allah loves those who judge with fairness” (Al-Maida: 5-42; Al-Hujarat: 49-9; and Al-Mumtahanah: 60-8); this shows the importance of justice and equity in Islam. It needs to be re-emphasised that to do justice is as much obligatory as praying five times a day, paying Zakat and performing Haj.

The Holy Quran always presents both the positive and the negative aspects of all its moral injunctions. For instance, those who practise injustice are warned of damnation in hell, while those who are equitable and just are told that it is nearer to piety and that Allah loves the just.