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World Day of Social Justice

Social Justice In Islam

Social justice is a fundamental principle in Islam, deeply rooted in the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of Nabi Muhammad (SAW). In Islamic theology, social justice is viewed as a moral obligation and an integral part of fulfilling one’s faith. Here are some key aspects of social justice in Islam:

Equality before Allah: Islam emphasizes the equality of all individuals before Allah, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, or social status. The Quran states,

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍۢ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًۭا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۭ

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you”

(Quran 49:13)

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.

(Quran 4:135)

Economic Justice: Islam advocates for the fair distribution of wealth and resources within society. It promotes charity (zakat) and almsgiving as obligatory acts of worship to support the less fortunate and address economic disparities. Additionally, Islamic teachings encourage ethical business practices, prohibit exploitation, and emphasize the importance of fulfilling financial obligations.

وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍۢ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌۭ

Establish prayer, and pay Zakaat. Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you will ˹certainly˺ find ˹its reward˺ with Allah. Surely Allah is All-Seeing of what you do.

(Quran 2:110)

Social Welfare: Islamic principles emphasize the importance of caring for the vulnerable members of society, including orphans, widows, and the poor. Muslims are encouraged to provide support and assistance to those in need through acts of charity, kindness, and social welfare programs.

عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” أَنَا وَكَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ كَهَاتَيْنِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ ” وَأَشَارَ بِالسَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى، وَفَرَّقَ بَيْنَهُمَا قَلِيلًا

Sahl bin Sa’d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan”. Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of illustration.

Legal Justice: Islamic law (Sharia) aims to establish justice and equity in all aspects of life. It provides guidelines for resolving disputes, ensuring fair treatment under the law, and protecting the rights of individuals, regardless of their social or economic status.

The concept of justice in Islam is rooted in Allahs Divine nature. The Qur’an states,

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍۢ ۖ

Indeed, Allah never wrongs ˹anyone˺—even by an atom’s weight.

(Qur’an 4:40).

Nabi Muhammad ﷺ quotes Allah as saying,

يَا عِبَادِي: إنِّي حَرَّمْت الظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي، وَجَعَلْته بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا؛ فَلَا تَظَالَمُوا

“O My Servants, I have forbidden injustice upon myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not commit injustice.”

(Sahuh Muslim 2577).

In this saying of the Prophet, we see a connection between how humans ought to act and our knowledge of Allah Divine qualities. In fact, it is a principle of Islamic theology that our quest in life is to come closer to Allah by emulating His Divine Names. One builds a relationship with Allah by building virtues within oneself.

Environmental Justice: Islam teaches the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation. Muslims are instructed to be responsible caretakers of the Earth and are prohibited from engaging in activities that harm the environment or waste natural resources. Preserving the environment is seen as a form of worship and a means of ensuring social justice for future generations.

Overall, social justice is a central theme in Islamic teachings, guiding Muslims to uphold principles of fairness, compassion, and equality in their interactions with others and in their efforts to create a just and equitable society.

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