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The Laws of Justice

His mercy is before His wrath.Thus the justice of the Hereafter is the ultimate justice without an iota of oppression. “O He whose punishment is just” (Du’a Jawshan Kabeer) Such a realization makes us wonder what we have sown for ourselves in the next world, and fear what God’s Justice may mean for us: “And from Your Absolute Justice do I flee.” (Du’a Arafah)

His mercy is before His wrath.

Before you read on, make sure to check out the earlier articles in this series: Divine Law: Discovering the Secrets of Our Universe and The Laws of Forbearance.

“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice.” (6:115)

Mankind naturally and inherently praises and admires justice, and dislikes and criticizes injustice. In fact, the goodness of justice is the basis on which our system of practical ethics is founded. Justice, among humans, can mean to give each their full rights, and not to deprive any of their rights.

However, no one has a right over the Exalted and Absolute Creator, so can Allah be Just? Justice can have another meaning, and that is to give to each according to their potential. This meaning of justice applies to Allah, the Exalted, because one of His greatest Divine practices and laws is that He gives each of His creatures according to their potential.

“He sends down water (rain) from the sky, and the valleys flow according to their measure.” (13:17)

The blessings of Allah flow towards His creatures, and each creature takes according to its measure. The sea can take a huge amount of water, and so it takes what it can hold, whilst a small stream would be destroyed by a large amount of water, so it takes the little it can. Similarly, the rest of the creatures of God take of His blessings what they can hold and what they can cope with. The prophets and trustees of God take a major share of the spiritual blessings and the difficult trials that He sends forth, while the rest of us take smaller measures, according to our individual potential.

There is always, though, the certainty that each will be given enough to fulfill their potential. It is another of the divine laws that fulfilling this potential comes through passing trials and surviving afflictions, which allow us to bring into actuality the potential that we have. Without these trials we would not “earn” our perfections, and these perfections – even if given to us out of sympathy – would not be a part of us and our essence. We grow and develop through passing these tests and trials, and thus we elevate ourselves towards the heavens.

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say ‘we believe’ and not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.” (29:2-3)

Thus the world we live in is a world of tests and trials, which can often lead to situations that seem unfair or evil. However, these seemingly evil clashes and conflicts are but small pieces of a larger puzzle. If we were able to take a step back and look at the whole of creation, we would see a world moving towards its ultimate perfection, wherein each creature battles through tests and trials in order to reach its individual perfection. At times, there are clashes between creatures, and these lead to situations which are apparently evil. However, when looked at from a broader perspective, such clashes are necessary in a world of tests and trials, and in fact, lead to the ultimate perfection of the world and all its creatures.

“And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to the Aalameen (the world and its creatures).” (2:251)

Above all the clashes and seeming evils, there remains God’s Absolute Justice, in matters great and small, a justice that is swift in this world and the next. It is another of God’s Divine practices that every action, great or small, good or evil, whether performed by an individual or a community, has a consequence that its doer will meet with firstly in this world.

“And if the people of the towns had believed and had Taqwa (piety), certainly We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn.” (7:96) “The sin that changes the blessings is oppression, the sin that withholds sustenance is adultery, the sin that shortens life is cutting the bond of relation…” (Al-Kafi)

Then in the Hereafter, where this action takes its real form and becomes embodied in one form or another and accompanies that person in his journey in the afterlife: “The one among you whose prayers are more in this world, enjoys more partners in Paradise.” (Wasail ul-Shi’a)

The rewards and punishments in the Hereafter are not prescribed arbitrarily (like the prescribed fines for different levels of speeding in a car) but are in fact the direct realities of our actions. In the Hereafter, we will meet not with the consequences of our actions, or with their prescribed punishments, but with the reality of our actions: “On that day, each soul will find the good it did present” (3:30)

Thus the justice of the Hereafter is the ultimate justice without an iota of oppression. “O He whose punishment is just” (Du’a Jawshan Kabeer) Such a realization makes us wonder what we have sown for ourselves in the next world, and fear what God’s Justice may mean for us: “And from Your Absolute Justice do I flee.” (Du’a Arafah)

Thus we plead to Allah to temper His Justice with His Mercy when it comes to the Day of Accounting, and ask him to resort to the Mercy He has prescribed upon Himself: “Your Lord has prescribed Mercy upon Himself.” (6:54)

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