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Islamic Manners: Justice (Insâf)

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  • Othman bin Awang
    Islamic Manners: Justice (Inŝâf) ... by Brother Abû Rumaysah Allâh, Exalted is He, says: You of faith! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allâh
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17 11:48 PM
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      Islamic Manners: Justice (Inŝâf)

      by Brother Abû Rumaysah
      Allâh, Exalted is He, says:

       "You of faith! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allâh Alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allâh is more worthy of both. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth; if you distort or turn away, Allâh is aware of what you do."

      "You of faith! Show integrity for the sake of Allâh, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just – that is closer to taqwâ. Have taqwâ of Allâh, Allâh is aware of what you do."

      "…give full measure and full weight with justice – We impose on no self any more than it can bear; be equitable when you speak – even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfil Allâh's contract. That is what He instructs you to do so that hopefully you will pay heed."


      Al-Ĥâfiż al-Munâwî said,

       'Inŝâf and `Adl are two terms for the same thing, they result in lofty ambitions and aspirations, high-mindedness, and the freeing of legal responsibility by taking on board righteous characteristics and abandoning vile traits.' [1]

      The whole of the Islamic Law is just and stands for justice, it promotes it and prohibits its opposite: injustice and wrongdoing ( żulm). Allâh, Exalted is He, says,

       "Say: my Lord has commanded justice.";

      "Allâh enjoins justice.";

      "Those who have faith and do not mix their faith with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe; it is they who are guided."


      Faith, its foundations and its branches, its inner and its outer, is pure justice and the opposite of faith is żulm. The foundation of faith is acknowledgement, making ones Tawĥîd sincerely for Allâh Alone, having faith in His Names and Attributes, and making the religion and worship sincerely for Him Alone. The greatest form of żulm is to commit shirk, as Allâh, Exalted is He says, "Associating other with Him is a terrible wrong." [2] Bukhârî records that `Ammâr said,

       "Three qualities, whoever combines them has gathered together faith: being just, spreading the salâm to the people, and giving in charity despite poverty."

      Al-Ĥâfiż ibn al-Qayyim said in commentary to this ĥadîth,

       'These words comprise the foundations and branches of all good. Inŝâf leads a person to fulfil the rights of Allâh completely and the rights of other people completely such that he does not ask them for what is not due him, or burden them beyond their ability, that he deals with them in the way that he would like to be dealt with, forgives them for what he himself would like to be forgiven for, and that he judges them in the same way that he would judge himself: both for or against. Included amongst the ranks of inŝâf is a person being just to himself such that he does not claim for his self that which is not deserving for it; nor that he denigrate it by abusing it; nor that he dishonour and humiliate it by disobeying Allâh, Mighty and Magnificent. Instead he should cultivate it, increase it in magnitude, and raise it through obedience to Allâh and actualising His tawĥîd, love of Him, fear of Him, hope in Him, absolute reliance in Him, turning to Him in penitence, and preferring what pleases Him to what pleases the creation… A person's being just to himself leads him to have knowledge of his Lord and His right over him; and knowledge of himself and the purpose for which he was created…' [3]

      Ibn al-Qayyim also said,

       'Ţûbâ for the one who is just to his Lord and recognises his own ignorance, the great deficiency in his actions, his defects, his transgression of His rights, and his oppression in his daily affairs. Hence if He takes him to account for his sins, the servant sees this to be from His justice; and if He does not take him to account, he sees this to be from His beneficence. If he performs a good action, he sees that it arose due to His blessings and gift. If He accepts it, the servant sees this as a second blessing and gift; if however, He rejects the action, it is because the likes of this action does not deserve to be directed to Him. If he commits an evil deed, he sees that it arose due to his relinquishing Him, his forsaking Him and His withdrawing His protection from him. This occurred due to His justice and through this he recognises his dire need of His Lord and his oppression of himself. If He forgives him then it is purely due to His beneficence, kindness and generosity.

      The point of this discussion and the secret behind it is that the servant does not see his Lord except as One continuously bestowing goodness and he does not see himself except as one who is sinful, and excessive or deficient. Therefore he sees every good that becomes easy for him to perform to be as a result of His Lord's generosity and beneficence; and he sees everything that he dislikes being a result of his sins and His Lord's justice.' [4]

      A striking example of justice can be seen in what Aĥmad records that the Messenger of Allâh (SAW) sent `Abdullâh bin Rawâĥah to Khaybar to estimate the amount of produce it would yield and its inhabitants tried to bribe him. `Abdullâh said, 'Company of Jews, you are the most despicable of creation in my eyes: you killed the Prophets of Allâh, Mighty and Magnificent, and you lied against Allâh; however my hatred of you does not allow me to wrong you or be unjust towards you.' The Jews said, 'It is upon this that the heavens and the earth are established.’

      Al-Ĥâfiż ibn `Abdu-l-Barr said,

       'This narration shows that a believer, even if he hates someone for the sake of Allâh, this should not lead him to oppressing the one he hates.' [5]

      And as some of the scholars said, justice is exemplified in the famous ĥadîth of Anas recorded by Bukhârî and Muslim,

       "None of you truly believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."

      1 Al-Munâwî, at-Tawqîf `alâ Muhimmât at-Ta`ârîf [p. 64]

      2 as-Sa`dî, Bahjah Qulûb al-Abrâr [p. 82 #19]

      3 ibn al-Qayyim, Zâd al-Ma`âd [2/408-409]

      4 ibn al-Qayyim, al-Fawâ`id [p. 49]

      5 ibn `Abdu-l-Barr, at-Tamhîd [9/140]


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