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Types of Justice

The arabis word of Justice is From the root ayn-dal-lam (ع د ل), which has the following classical Arabic connotations: to act justly, fairly, equitably, to adjust properly, to make even, to straighten, to rectify, to establish justice or balance. To make equal, uniform, to turn one away from something, rightly, direct, to make comfortable with what is right.

In Islam, justice is a foundational principle that permeates all aspects of life. There are several types of justice emphasized within Islamic teachings:

Divine Justice (Al-‘Adl al-Ilahi): This refers to the absolute and perfect justice of Allah. It encompasses the belief that Allah is just and fair in His actions and decisions, rewarding righteousness and punishing wrongdoing. We believe in the Day of Judgment, where ultimate justice will be served, and every individual will be held accountable for their deeds.

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍۢ ۖ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةًۭ يُضَـٰعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِن لَّدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًۭا

“Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.”

(Qur’an 4:40)

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًۭا يَرَهُۥ

So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.

(Qur’an 99:7)

وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍۢ شَرًّۭا يَرَهُۥ

And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.

(Qur’an 99:8)

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِى بَيْنَهُم بِحُكْمِهِۦ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ

Your Lord will certainly judge between them by His justice, for He is the Almighty, All-Knowing.

(Qur’an 27:78)

Social Justice (Al-‘Adl al-Ijtima’i): Social justice in Islam entails ensuring equity, fairness, and equality among members of society. It involves addressing social inequalities, protecting the rights of individuals, and providing opportunities for all to thrive regardless of their background. This type of justice includes economic justice, legal justice, and environmental justice.

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِٱلْعَدْلِ وَٱلْإِحْسَـٰنِ وَإِيتَآئِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلْفَحْشَآءِ وَٱلْمُنكَرِ وَٱلْبَغْىِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”

(Qur’an 16:90)

Legal Justice (Al-‘Adl al-Qada’i): Legal justice refers to the fair and impartial application of Islamic law (Sharia). Islamic legal principles aim to establish justice in all matters, including family law, criminal law, contracts, and business transactions. The Islamic legal system emphasizes the protection of individual rights, due process, and the avoidance of oppression or injustice.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ شُهَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ ٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ وَٱلْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًۭا فَٱللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلْهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعْدِلُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن تَلْوُۥٓا۟ أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًۭا

O believers! Stand firm for justice as witnesses for Allah even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or close relatives. Be they rich or poor, Allah is best to ensure their interests. So do not let your desires cause you to deviate ˹from justice˺. If you distort the testimony or refuse to give it, then ˹know that˺ Allah is certainly All-Aware of what you do.

(Qur’an 4:135)

إِنَّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَلَى مَنَابِرَ مِنْ نُورٍ عَنْ يَمِينِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَكِلْتَا يَدَيْهِ يَمِينٌ الَّذِينَ يَعْدِلُونَ فِي حُكْمِهِمْ وَأَهْلِيهِمْ وَمَا وَلُوا

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said”Verily, those who were just will be in the presence of Allah upon pulpits of light, near the right hand of the Merciful, the Exalted, and both of His sides are honorable. They are those who practiced justice in their judgments and with their families and in all that they did

(Sahih Muslim 1827)

Restorative Justice (Al-‘Adl al-Tajdid): Restorative justice focuses on repairing harm and restoring relationships between individuals or groups in conflict. In Islam, forgiveness, reconciliation, and seeking pardon are highly encouraged as means of resolving disputes and healing social divisions. The concept of tajdid (renewal) emphasizes the importance of rectifying wrongdoing and promoting reconciliation.

وَٱلصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌۭ ۗ

Reconciliation is the best

(Qur’an 4:128)

Environmental Justice: Environmental justice involves preserving the natural environment and ensuring the sustainable use of resources. Islam teaches that humans are stewards of the Earth and are responsible for protecting the environment from harm and exploitation. Environmental justice in Islam includes principles of conservation, sustainable development, and responsible stewardship of natural resources.

وَٱلسَّمَآءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ ٱلْمِيزَانَ

As for the sky, He raised it ˹high˺, and set the balance ˹of justice˺

(Qur’an 55:7)

أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا۟ فِى ٱلْمِيزَانِ

so that you do not defraud the scales.

(Qur’an 55:8)

وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلْوَزْنَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا۟ ٱلْمِيزَانَ

Weigh with justice, and do not give short measure.

(Qur’an 55:9)

Overall, justice in Islam is comprehensive, encompassing spiritual, social, legal, and environmental dimensions. It emphasizes fairness, compassion, and accountability in individual and collective behavior, with the ultimate goal of creating a just and equitable society in accordance with the teachings of Islam.


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