Justice is rooted in Allah’s Divine Nature
Allah tells us in Chapter 3, Verse 104 of the Divine Book:
“And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful ones.”
The word used to describe “good” is rooted in the word “عرف” : ‘arafa- “To know, to recognise, to be acquainted with.” The word also shares roots with the word, ‘arf’ – “Perfume, fragrance, scent”. As-Sufyaan (RA) said, “When a person is about to commit a good deed, the soul emits the scent of musk”. What we can gather is that doing good is something innate. Our souls recognise it and are settled when we engage in it. Beyond this, our souls rejoice at the mere idea of a good deed.
Sheikh Omar Suleiman said, “the one who deals with someone unjustly is losing his natural spirit of love, mahabbah.” Actively employing justice is an innate human quality- this is why we feel for one another and why we are able to shed tears in response to pain that is other than our own. Rasoolullah ﷺ said that, “this (crying) is a rahmah.” We are beings who are inclined towards the Divine. And the Divine is Ultimate Goodness.
Though an ever-present problem, there has been a reemergence of consciousness of the plight of our black brothers and sisters, both locally and beyond our borders. The #BlackLivesMatter Movement continues to “campaign against violence and systemic racism towards black people.” The term is coined not to discredit non-black lives but rather to draw attention to the global neglect of black lives both historically and systematically. The current climate demands that we shift our perspectives, learn, unlearn, read, listen, talk, become conscious of our own implicit biases and racist tendencies, that we evaluate our language and the language we tolerate- do we or family members use racial slurs in jest? And thereby we make the choice to undo what needs to be undone- for His countenance and pleasure, because He loves justice and because He tells us that being “persistent in standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice” is closer to God-consciousness (5:8).
It is imperative that we come to the table and join the conversation. Our first and ultimate teacher and exemplar, Rasoolullah ﷺ was an advocate for social justice and in his way, we find the best of ways, “Indeed within the Messenger of God is an excellent example for those who place their hope in God.” (33:21)
A scholar once said that “the concept of justice in Islam is rooted in God’s Divine nature.” The Qur’an beautifully states that, “Verily, God does not do even an atom’s weight of injustice” (Qur’an 4:40). He goes on further to note that, “in fact, it is a principle of Islamic theology that our quest in life is to come closer to God by emulating His Divine Names. One builds a relationship with God by building virtues within oneself.” We are amidst a social crisis and are faced with an opportunity to emulate the virtue of being just and righteous and thereby hoping to attain closeness to God by emulating his Divine Names, اَلْمُقْسِطْ “The Just” and اَلْبَرُّ “The Fountain-Head of Truth.”
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It is thus a duty in being just towards ourselves and others that we ask Him to purify our hearts of the ugliness which causes divide and hatred. We give life to our word by actively striving against what is blatantly unjust. We use the privileges we hold. We side with and stand for our black companions. We pray to Him, who is the Source of all Peace. We call out the names #CollinsKhosa #PetrusMiggels #SibusisoAmos #AdaneEmmanuel #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery. We sign petitions. We undo and unlearn. We accept and stand by the truth even if it is against the grain. As Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad teaches us, we appreciate His signs by loving all of mankind as witnesses to the Divine Creative Power. We take action and concurrently and foremostly place our hopes and trust in His Divine system of Justice.