The Concept of Justice
Shaykh Safraz Bacchus
Safraz is a graduate of The Faculty of Islamic Law of Al Azhar University (1993-2004) in Cairo, Egypt. Diploma in Arabic and Islamic Finance. He is currently employed with the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG) as the Assistant Director of Education and a member of the Orphan, Zakaat and Halal Committee.View all articles by Shaykh Safraz Bacchus
In Light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah
Justice is a dominant theme in the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition. It is not only mentioned explicitly in many verses, it is implicit as well in the subtext to the narratives, for example, relating to Prophets and communities before the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Justice is so central to the Qur’anic worldview that it is impossible for anyone to overlook it. It is glaringly evident in the life of Prophet Muhammad and his administration of the city of Madina 1400 years ago. Not surprisingly, justice has also been a dominant theme in Muslim societies from the years of the Khulafa Al-Rasihidun and beyond. From the administration of the state down to the regulation of weights and measures in the market place, justice has always been the desired objective of Muslim societies, even as it has been elusive.
In this essay I will attempt to outline the Islamic view of justice. I will begin with a brief overview of the concept of justice as it is conceived among western philosophers. This will be followed by examining the concept of justice through the lens of Muslim philosophers. Turning to the Qur’an and ahadith, I will examine three important and interrelated dimensions of justice. The final part of the essay will cite examples from the Prophetic and post-Prophetic traditions to demonstrate how Muslims have interpreted the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah in order to bring about what we today might describe as ‘a just society'.