Justice First, Then Love

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By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

“Say: ‘My Lord has commanded justice…'” – Quran, Surat al-A‘raf, 29

Some people speak of love as it if it is the answer to all the world’s ills:

“All you need is love”… “God is love”… “Jesus loves you.” And so on.

But Islam chooses instead to focus on justice, because when people perceive that they are being treated fairly and justly, everything else becomes possible. The Quran does speak of love, but it emphasizes justice more strongly.

“You who believe! be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do.” – Quran, Surat an-Nisa’, 135

What does it mean to speak of love while at the same time oppressing people? What does it mean to speak of love while harboring racial prejudice, or while supporting the occupation of another country, or engaging in oppressive labor practices? On a personal level, what does it mean to speak of love while abusing one’s spouse or children?

No. Be just and give people their rights. Harm no one, cheat no one, and oppress no one. Be kind and compassionate to friends and strangers alike. Do that, and everything will follow: peace, harmony, love, and progress. That’s the Islamic way.

If we do not see justice being practiced in the Muslim world today – and we do not, for the most part – it’s because many Muslims are not  living Islam. They are infected with un-Islamic ideologies and behaviors such as tribalism, sectarian hatred, and misogyny. We have lost our way as an Ummah. The last few centuries have reduced us from kings of the earth to squabbling children, and now we have to grow up all over again.

Read that verse again. Be upholders of justice even against yourselves. Carry the torch of truth. Judge yourselves before others. Be fair, be kind, and help the ones sitting in the dust, crying for a morsel of food, or for safety from the guns. Think of your spouse’s needs before your own. Fulfill your duties to your children: not only financially, but the duties of time, care, playing, hugging, and always being honest.

And here’s something you may have realized: justice practiced at this deep level begins to look a lot like love. The difference is the starting point: not flowery words, but the practical expression of justice on a societal and personal level.

Justice and kindness are the rich soil from which loves grows. Be just.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , Read 266 articles by
One Comments Post a Comment
  1. KN says:

    Excellent article. Justice and love are basically one and the same. Without one, the other can not exist. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before.

    JazakAllah.

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