Justice and Civilisation
Justice is the foundation of civilization. The status of justice in a nation is almost a parameter to measure its social cohesion, progress and prosperity. In the Quran, it is interesting to note that justice is specially emphasized in the chapter titled “The Women” (Surat An- Nisaa). It is as if the Quran is telling us that justice towards women is at the heart of justice in Islam. It is as if the verses are telling us that justice starts within our homes. It could be argued that for justice to be successfully implemented in a nation, it has to be implemented from the bottom up, starting from the home. If we establish justice in our homes, justice will grow and flourish in the nation.
Having compassion towards our loved ones is essential in raising future generations, that will make this world a better place. It is reported that Prophet Mohammad PBUH was very gentle and kind. He used to let his grandchildren climb on his back while he was praying. He also used to do chores and help his wife in whatever she is doing. He said to a man who doesn’t kiss his children: “‘He who has no compassion will receive none.’"
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) also said: "The Merciful One (God) shows mercy to those who are themselves merciful (to others). So show mercy to whatever is on earth, then He who is in heaven (God) will show mercy to you." (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
We should all engage in introspection and reflect on our behavior.
Are you merciful and just towards your wife and children, employees, employers, country, the ummah, humanity?
The great companion Omar Ibn Al-Khattab was known for being just. Even his enemies acknowledged this. When Omar RA was a Caliph, he got sick. He was advised to take a certain kind of Yemeni honey which wasn’t available. There was only one jar of this honey in the treasury (Bayt Al mal). After he finished the Friday speech, he asked the masses to grant him permission to use some of the honey. He expressed gratitude when the masses allowed him to use some of the honey in the treasury. He was the first to establish courts. He established independent judiciary. He established courts in Mosques. (The role of Mosques in the times of the glory of Islam, was far superior to the role of Mosques now. Mosques back then served as community hubs; centers of enlightenment, education, political debates etc. We need to reform our mosques.)
Caliph Omar RA separated between the executive and the judicial powers and designated a judge for each territory. He basically made governors answerable to judges, thus making judges more independent and guaranteeing that the rule of law will apply to all. He created courts in all cities. He hired many judges and said that he doesn’t want people to travel to seek justice; he wanted justice to find people. He raised the salaries of judges and set criteria for selection of judges: 1. Kind, yet not weak, 2. Stern, yet not violent. 3. Frugal (prudent saver), but not stingy. 4. He needs to be lenient and smiley with moderation.
These principles that were implemented by figureheads of Islam like Omar RA were laid long before the birth of the Western enlightenment. Omar Ibn Al-Khatab wrote a letter to Abu Mussa El-Ashâri, which is considered to be the constitution of judiciary till now.
We shouldn’t sit and wait for a charismatic leader to save this ummah (Muslim nation). We need to build generations that implement the values of Islam, such as; justice, excellence, success, initiative, good manners etc. If a charismatic leader were to appear and finds us in the state we are in, we would, currently be disappointing, Muslims are not capable yet of helping any leader reach the success that this ummah needs. We need to raise Muslim generations that will produce many leaders, scientists, reformers, artists, doctors, intellectuals, lawyers and entrepreneurs who will add major contributions to Islam and all of humanity.
This article is adopted from Dr. Amr Khaled’s lecture here.
Reviving the Muslim mind: The pursuit of science and knowledge
Capsules of faith: Truth
Capsules of faith: Good manners in Islam
Islam means justice for all
Why Islam is based on Justice