Justice in a Plural Society


Taofiq Adesina Azeez

Department of English, University of Abuja

Text of a Lecture delivered at the 90th Birthday Programme of Pa Justice Gabsiyu Ademola Bakre on Saturday 17th July,2021 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria


Introduction

The basis of creation and the fulfilment of the WORDS of Allaah is Justice. Without it, Religious activities are fake and of no value.
Al-An’am 6:115

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًاۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَٰتِهِۦۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ

“And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in TRUTH and in JUSTICE. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.”

The terms used for JUSTICE in the Qur’an are: ‘Adl, Qist and Haqq. ‘Adl is the commonest term especially when dealing with social Justice and state matters. Qist is also used especially when dealing with emotional issues while Haqq seems to be the strongest and most fundamental as it permeates the whole essence of man.

  1. Justice is the basis of human interaction and therefore, transactions. That is why the longest Ayah in the Qur’an is about Law of Contract and has three instances of Justice in it.
    Al-Baqarah 2:282

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا تَدَايَنتُم بِدَيْنٍ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى فَٱكْتُبُوهُۚ وَلْيَكْتُب بَّيْنَكُمْ كَاتِبٌۢ بِٱلْعَدْلِۚ وَلَا يَأْبَ كَاتِبٌ أَن يَكْتُبَ كَمَا عَلَّمَهُ ٱللَّهُۚ فَلْيَكْتُبْ وَلْيُمْلِلِ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيْهِ ٱلْحَقُّ وَلْيَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّهُۥ وَلَا يَبْخَسْ مِنْهُ شَيْـًٔاۚ فَإِن كَانَ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيْهِ ٱلْحَقُّ سَفِيهًا أَوْ ضَعِيفًا أَوْ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُ أَن يُمِلَّ هُوَ فَلْيُمْلِلْ وَلِيُّهُۥ بِٱلْعَدْلِۚ وَٱسْتَشْهِدُوا۟ شَهِيدَيْنِ مِن رِّجَالِكُمْۖ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُونَا رَجُلَيْنِ فَرَجُلٌ وَٱمْرَأَتَانِ مِمَّن تَرْضَوْنَ مِنَ ٱلشُّهَدَآءِ أَن تَضِلَّ إِحْدَىٰهُمَا فَتُذَكِّرَ إِحْدَىٰهُمَا ٱلْأُخْرَىٰۚ وَلَا يَأْبَ ٱلشُّهَدَآءُ إِذَا مَا دُعُوا۟ۚ وَلَا تَسْـَٔمُوٓا۟ أَن تَكْتُبُوهُ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلِهِۦۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَأَقْوَمُ لِلشَّهَٰدَةِ وَأَدْنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَرْتَابُوٓا۟ۖ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَ تِجَٰرَةً حَاضِرَةً تُدِيرُونَهَا بَيْنَكُمْ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَلَّا تَكْتُبُوهَاۗ وَأَشْهِدُوٓا۟ إِذَا تَبَايَعْتُمْۚ وَلَا يُضَآرَّ كَاتِبٌ وَلَا شَهِيدٌۚ وَإِن تَفْعَلُوا۟ فَإِنَّهُۥ فُسُوقٌۢ بِكُمْۗ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ ٱللَّهُۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in JUSTICE. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in JUSTICE. And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her. And let not the witnesses refuse when they are called upon. And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its [specified] term. That is more JUST in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you conduct among yourselves. For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it. And take witnesses when you conclude a contract. Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you. And fear Allah . And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things.

  1. Justice is also conceived as Qist and is used discuss deep matters of spiritual and emotional transactions:

a. Knowledge of God is predicated on its propensity to facilitate Justice.
Aal-e-Imran 3:18

شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِۚ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

b. Allowance prohibition of POLYGAMY is also predicated on JUSTICE (Qist):
An-Nisa’ 4:3

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا۟ فِى ٱلْيَتَٰمَىٰ فَٱنكِحُوا۟ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَٰثَ وَرُبَٰعَۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا۟ فَوَٰحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُكُمْۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا۟

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].
We may read it along with this👇 for scholarship support:
An-Nisa’ 4:127

وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِى ٱلنِّسَآءِۖ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِيهِنَّ وَمَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فِى ٱلْكِتَٰبِ فِى يَتَٰمَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ ٱلَّٰتِى لَا تُؤْتُونَهُنَّ مَا كُتِبَ لَهُنَّ وَتَرْغَبُونَ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ وَٱلْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلْوِلْدَٰنِ وَأَن تَقُومُوا۟ لِلْيَتَٰمَىٰ بِٱلْقِسْطِۚ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمًا

And they request from you, [O Muhammad], a [legal] ruling concerning women. Say, ” Allah gives you a ruling about them and [about] what has been recited to you in the Book concerning the orphan girls to whom you do not give what is decreed for them – and [yet] you desire to marry them – and concerning the oppressed among children and that you maintain for orphans [their rights] in justice.” And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is ever Knowing of it.

And this👇 for the sake of argument:
An-Nisa’ 4:129

وَلَن تَسْتَطِيعُوٓا۟ أَن تَعْدِلُوا۟ بَيْنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْۖ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا۟ كُلَّ ٱلْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَٱلْمُعَلَّقَةِۚ وَإِن تُصْلِحُوا۟ وَتَتَّقُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

And you will never be JUST (i.e.able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging. And if you amend [your affairs] and fear Allah – then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.

  1. Allaah commands JUSTICE and TAQWAH by all means:
    An-Nisa’ 4:135

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ شُهَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ ٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ وَٱلْأَقْرَبِينَۚ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَٱللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَاۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلْهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعْدِلُوا۟ۚ وَإِن تَلْوُۥٓا۟ أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا۟ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

Al-Ma’idah 5:8

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِٱلْقِسْطِۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا۟ۚ ٱعْدِلُوا۟ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

Al-Ma’idah 5:42

سَمَّٰعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّٰلُونَ لِلسُّحْتِۚ فَإِن جَآءُوكَ فَٱحْكُم بَيْنَهُمْ أَوْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْۖ وَإِن تُعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ فَلَن يَضُرُّوكَ شَيْـًٔاۖ وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَٱحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِٱلْقِسْطِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ

[They are] avid listeners to falsehood, devourers of [what is] unlawful. So if they come to you, [O Muhammad], judge between them or turn away from them. And if you turn away from them – never will they harm you at all. And if you judge, judge between them with justice. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.

Al-An’am 6:152

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ مَالَ ٱلْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُۥۖ وَأَوْفُوا۟ ٱلْكَيْلَ وَٱلْمِيزَانَ بِٱلْقِسْطِۖ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَاۖ وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَٱعْدِلُوا۟ وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰۖ وَبِعَهْدِ ٱللَّهِ أَوْفُوا۟ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّىٰكُم بِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember.

Al-A’raf 7:29

قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّى بِٱلْقِسْطِۖ وَأَقِيمُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَٱدْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَۚ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ

Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord has ordered justice and that you maintain yourselves [in worship of Him] at every place [or time] of prostration, and invoke Him, sincere to Him in religion.” Just as He originated you, you will return [to life]
An-Nahl 16:90

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِٱلْعَدْلِ وَٱلْإِحْسَٰنِ وَإِيتَآئِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلْفَحْشَآءِ وَٱلْمُنكَرِ وَٱلْبَغْىِۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

  1. Creation and Revelation come with Truth.

Ibrahim 14:19

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ بِٱلْحَقِّۚ إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَأْتِ بِخَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ

Have you not seen that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He wills, He can do away with you and produce a new creation.

Al-Isra’ 17:105

وَبِٱلْحَقِّ أَنزَلْنَٰهُ وَبِٱلْحَقِّ نَزَلَۗ وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَٰكَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا

And with the truth We have sent the Qur’an down, and with the truth it has descended. And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a bringer of good tidings and a warner.

However, those of knowledge of and call for and dispense JUSTICE have always been persecuted and even killed:
Aal-e-Imran 3:21

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ ٱلنَّبِيِّۦنَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَيَقْتُلُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

Those who disbelieve in the signs of Allah and kill the prophets without right and KILL THOSE WHO ORDER JUSTICE from among the people – give them tidings of a painful punishment.

  1. At the point of distribution of a deceased estate, Justice is ordered:

An-Nisa’ 4:9

وَلْيَخْشَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُوا۟ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةً ضِعَٰفًا خَافُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُوا۟ قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا

And let those [executors and guardians] fear [injustice] as if they [themselves] had left weak offspring behind and feared for them. So let them fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.

  1. Trust (responsibility) and judicial system is ordered to be with JUSTICE:
    An-Nisa’ 4:58

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤَدُّوا۟ ٱلْأَمَٰنَٰتِ إِلَىٰٓ أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ ٱلنَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُوا۟ بِٱلْعَدْلِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُم بِهِۦٓۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًۢا بَصِيرًا

Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.

These and others are certainly the reasons muslim leaders are JUST matter how we look at it even today.

,8. CASE STUDY

  1. Umar and the hypocrite thief leading to the Revelation of Q4:65.
  2. Umar and the strange caravans leading to repeal of state policy and institutionalization of children upkeep allowance.
  3. Umar and the crying children
  4. Umar and the old weak jew leading to institutionalization of PENSION.
  5. Umar and his son who got drunk and committed Zina. Umar ordered the last (100th) stroke even after the man had died.
  6. Beneficial INJUSTICE AND TYRANNY that the world is avoiding or afraid to even mention.
  7. Paper Education without which I may neither be relevant not competent to do what I’m doing.
  8. Paper Money without which this Programme would have been a blink in the dark.
  9. Democracy without which the right to advocate for Justice would not have been known.
  10. Imperialism without which the preceding three might not have been possible.
  11. Knowledge economy without which there would have been no imperialism.
  12. Moving forward
  13. Freedom to choose a legal and judicial system suitable to people’s FAITH is the first way to if we want social Justice.
    Justice demands individual freedom to live according to his beliefs without any encumbrances.
  14. Deregulation of the UNO and its affiliates may guarantee social justice as individual people will be FREE to determine which other people they want to live and associate with without permission or cohesion from other human beings.
    Justice demands that we engage in all transactions (economic, political and social) on equal basis. A situation where coloured paper exchanges for gold(with which the value of the paper is tied), oil, rubber, tin and iron ore etc is INJUSTICE especially as these resources come back in new forms and are used to collect the coloured paper back. This is vicious recycling of paper is gross Injustice.
  15. Resource control and management by those the Almighty has given is a way to go to get social justice and bring down violent crimes. It is Injustice for a few people in the name of government to own all natural resources and use as they deem fit giving real owners what they choose.
  16. We should deregulate Democracy if we want social Justice. The natural and spiritual leaders should be directly involved in ruling and administration of their people so as to dispense justice according to the people’s beliefs and cultural orientation. It is Injustice for a subject of a King, a follower of a priest (Christian, muslim etc) to determine the wellness, the tenure and modalities of operations of the God and man given authority of the King and Priests for a term or two.
  17. We should think of, discuss and fight for FUNCTIONAL EDUCATION if we want social Justice. It is Injustice to waste the time and life of our children by keeping down away and down in schools while doing nothing else and where there is nothing for them after school.

These are my young old man’s view. Change begins with talk and later we work and walk the talk. I’m sorry for my inadequacies. I’m still growing. When I get old, I would know how to speak in the public. I thank you for enjoying the good part of it which came from Allaah.

Taofiq Adesina Azeez
July 17th, 2021.


Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *