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.