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The story relates to the time when Makkah was conquered. A lady from Quraish committed theft and got caught. The Messenger of Allah () ordered to impose Allah’s decision and cut off her hand. The family of the woman became anxious to hear this. They approached Usama bin Zaid, whom the Prophet () loved very much, and persuaded him to intercede for her. When Usama spoke about that to Allah’s Apostle (), the colour of his face changed and the Apostle () said, (to him), “Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah’s Prescribed Punishments?” Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying, Translation of Meaning: “What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand.” [Bukhari]

Another occurrence took place during the caliphate of Hadrat Umar bin al-Khattab. An Egyptian came to Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) and complained to him about the governor of Egypt, Hadrat Amr bin al-Aas (Radhi Allahu Anhu). He said, “I entered a horse race with the son of Amr bin al-Aas (Radhi Allahu Anhu). I won the race and he lost. Through his anger Amr’s son whipped me.” He also said that he belonged to a noble family. Thereupon, Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) sent for Amr and his son to appear before him. Upon appearing before him, Umar asked the Egyptian to whip Amr’s son as he had whipped him.

Another happening took place during the caliphate of Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu).  A respected Arab leader embraced Islam and went to Makkah for performing Hajj. While he was performing tawaf (the rounds around holy Ka’ba) his garment happened to be trampled by someone. The Arab leader became furious and slapped the man. The man complained to Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) who said, “Beat him the way he has beaten you.” The Arab leader was dumb seeing this and said, “Is he and I equal?” Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) said, “Yes, Islam has made both of you equal.”

Another happening is narrated that a fisherman was returning back home with a fish when he encountered the governor of the region, who snatched the fish from him. The sad fisherman cursed and prayed against the governor. He requested Allah to punish the cruel for his cruelty. The governor entered his castle with the fish and handed it over to the servant. A finger of the servant slipped into the mouth of the fish and got bit. He raised a hue and cry. Finally the doctors were called for who told the teeth of the fish are poisonous. Now, a decision was made to cut the finger for stopping the poison going up. In the meantime the poison had done its work. It was a matter of life and death. Seeing this the governor recalled his cruelty. He went out searching for the fisherman and sought his forgiveness.

Such happening regarding justice is narrated about Hadrat Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhu). A battle shield of Hadrat Ali was lost. One day, it was discovered that a Jewish dealer had the shield in his possession. Caliph Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhu) demanded the shield from the Jew as his property stolen from him. The Jew refused to part with it. The Caliph sought the protection of the court of justice, and the Jew was summoned to appear in court before the judge. The Jew insisted that the shield in his possession was bought by him and belonged to him. The judge turned to the Caliph and asked him whether he had any witnesses to testify that the shield belonged to him. Caliph Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhu) replied that his son Hasan would testify that the shield was his. “His evidence cannot be accepted,” said the judge, “because the Prophet’s law was that evidence of a son in favour of his father was inadmissible.” Ultimately the judge decided in favour of the Jew. The Jews was much impressed. He came to Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhu) and said, “It is but your shield. You were riding your camel when it fell down. I kept it. I am deeply impressed by justice system of Islam and I embrace the religion.” Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhu) became very happy with his accepting Islam and gifted the shield to him.

The Qur’an is full of instructions regarding justice. Allah has encouraged people to do justice and instructed them to be steadfast on it. So He said:

« إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ (90)» [النحل:90]

Translation of Meaning: “Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness.” [An-Nahl:90]

At another place He said:

« وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُمْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَنْ تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ (58)» [النساء:58]

Translation of Meaning: “[Lo! Allah commandeth] and if ye judge between mankind, that ye judge justly.”[An-Nisa:58]

Translation of Meaning: ‘Adl’ [justice] is one of the names of Allah and a great attribute of Him. There are several occasions of justice in human life.

Kinds of justice:


  1. 1. Doing justice between two fighting people: In this regard, the Messenger of Allah () is the best example. Once two companions from the Ansar fought over something. They came to the Prophet () and requested him to do justice between them. The Prophet () said, “One who snatches the right of his brother takes a piece of fire.” Listening to this both of them started weeping and renounced their rights for the other.
  1. 2. Justice in weighing and measuring: It means to weigh and measure the full and avoid weighing short or measuring less. Usually when taking people try to take more but when giving they give less. Allah warns sternly over this. So He said:

« وَيْلٌ لِلْمُطَفِّفِينَ (1) الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ (2) وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ (3) أَلا يَظُنُّ أُولَئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ (4) لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (5) » [المطففين:1-5]

Translation of Meaning: “Woe unto the defrauders: Those who when they take the measure from mankind demand it full. But if they measure unto them or weight for them, they cause them loss. Do such (men) not consider that they will be raised again unto an Awful Day.” [Al-Mutaffifeen:1-5]

At another place Allah said:

« وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ (9)» [الرحمن:9]

Translation of Meaning: “But observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof.” [Ar-Rahman:9]

  1. 3. Justice among the wives: If someone has more than one wife he must do justice with them all. He should give equal share to all of them in food, residence, and garment. He should even establish equality in time allotted to each of them. The Messenger of Allah () said:

«مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ امْرَأَتَانِ فَمَالَ إِلَى إِحْدَاهُمَا جَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَشِقُّهُ مَائِلٌ»  [ابوداؤد، نسائي ،ترمذي ، ابن ماجه]

Translation: “When a man has two wives and he is inclined to one of them, he will come on the Day of resurrection with a side hanging down.”[Abu Dawood, Nasa’I, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah]

The practical life of the Messenger of Allah () is a shining example in this context. It is narrated that he () always did justice to his wives and pray Allah: Translation of Meaning: “O Allah, this is my division concerning what I possess, so do not blame me concerning what You possess and I do not.” [Abu Dawood, Tirmizi , Nasa’i, Ibn Majah]

  1. 4. Justice among the children: Justice among the children is necessary for their good training. Otherwise, a hate atmosphere is created among them. They start rearing envy and malice towards one another. This destroys the peace of the house and the future of the children, too. Also children distance further from Allah.

An-Nu’man bin Bashir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) said, “My father gave me a gift but Amra bint Rawaha (my mother) said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah’s Apostle  () as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah’s Apostle  () and said, ‘I have given a gift to my son from ‘Amra bint Rawaha, but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Allah’s Apostle!’ Allah’s Apostle  () asked, ‘Have you given (the like of it) to everyone of your sons?’ He replied in the negative. Allah’s Apostle said:

«فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ أَوْلاَدِكُمْ » [بخاري]

Translation: “Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.”

  1. 5. Justice with all: It is a duty of all Muslims to do justice with each and every person whether he is his relative or not, whether he is a Muslim or not because Allah has ordered to do justice with all. He said:

« وَلا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلا تَعْثَوْا فِي الأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ (183) » [الشعراء:183]

Translation of Meaning: “Wrong not mankind in their goods, and do not evil, making mischief, in the earth.”[As-Shuara:183]

At another place he said:

« وَلا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى (8)» [المائدة:8]

Translation of Meaning: “And let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty.”[Al-Maedah:8]

Regarding justice there is no friend, no enemy, no close relative or just relative. In the eyes of justice all are equal.

Virtue of justice:


* Justice is valuable to Allah: Allah said:

« وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ (9) » [الحجرات:9]

Translation of Meaning: “Act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable.”[Al-Hujrat:9]

The great companion Hadrat Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) says that the act of a just ruler with his subjects is better than 100 years of worship of a worshipper.

* Justice is base of peace in the world: It is narrated that an ambassador came to meet Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu). He found Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) sleeping fearlessly under a tree. He was surprised that without any guard or solider to protect, Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) was sleeping fearlessly. He spoke out:

«حَکَمْتَ فَعَدَلْتَ فَأَمِنْتَ فَنِمْتَ»

 “You have established your government over the principles of justice; you have no fear at all; therefore you are sleeping without any fear.”

* Justice is base of government: A governor of the Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (may peace be with him) requested a huge amount for constructing a fort. Hadrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz replied, “The forts wall cannot protect you. Protect yourself by establishing justice. Keep the streets free from cruelty and oppression.”

* Justice also protects the weak and protects their self-respect. It rears in them the passion for respect and pride.


* Justice nourishes mutual love and it brings the ruler and the ruled ones close.


* Justice stops from oppression, strikes at the root of greed and guards people’s rights.


Allah has ordered to abstain from cruelty. He said:

« وَلا تَحْسَبَنَّ اللَّهَ غَافِلاً عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الأَبْصَارُ (42) » [ابراهيم:42]

Translation of Meaning: “Deem not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but giveth them a respite till a day when eyes will stare (in terror).” [Ibrahim:42]

He also says:

« فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمٍ أَلِيمٍ (65)» [الزخرف:65]

Translation of Meaning: “Then woe unto those who do wrong from the doom of a painful day.” [Az-Zukhruf:65]

Allah has cursed the oppressors.

« أَلا لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ (18)» [هود:18]

Translation of Meaning: “Now the curse of Allah is upon wrong−doers.” [Hud:18]

The Messenger of Allah () said:

«اتَّقُوا الظُّلْمَ فَإِنَّ الظُّلْمَ ظُلُمَاتٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ» [ مسلم]

Translation: “Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]

In another hadith he said:

« ثَلاثُ دَعَوَاتٍ مُسْتَجَابَاتٍ لا شَكَّ فِيهِنَّ : دَعْوَةُ الْوَالِدِ , وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ , وَدَعْوَةُ الْمُسَافِرِ» [البیھقي]

Translation: “Three supplications are answered without doubt: the supplication of the one with fast, the supplication of the traveller and the supplication of the oppressed.” [Baihaqi]

There are various occasions of oppression, too:

  1. 1. Oppression of man with his Lord: And it is that instead of believing in Him man denies Him. Allah has termed polytheism as the greatest oppression.

« يَا بُنَيَّ لا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ (لقمان:13)» [لُقْمَانُ:13]

Translation of Meaning: “O my dear son! Ascribe no partners unto Allah. Lo! to ascribe partners (unto Him) is a tremendous wrong. (the greatest oppression)”[Luqman:13]

  1. 2. Oppression of a man over another: It is to take someone’s life unjustifiably, occupying their wealth illegally, disgracing them, and depriving someone of his life. In short, various are the kinds of oppression of a man over another man.
  1. 3. Oppression of a man over himself: It is that a man starts committing sins fearlessly and becoming negligent towards his Hereafter. Deviating from the way of Allah & adopts the way of the satan.

The Punishment for oppression: One day the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked his companions:

Translation: “Do you know who is the bankrupt?” They said: “The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money with him nor any property”. He (ﷺ) said, “The real bankrupt of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasts and charities, (but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted the good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account and he would be thrown in the (Hell) Fire.” [Muslim, Tirmizi ]

The Messenger of Allah has emphasized over paying the rights of others and warned of accountability on the Day of Resurrection if one fails in doing so. He () said:

« لَتُؤَدُّنَّ الْحُقُوقَ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حَتَّى يُقَادَ لِلشَّاةِ الْجَلْحَاءِ مِنَ الشَّاةِ الْقَرْنَاءِ» [مسلم]

Translation : “The claimants would get their claims on the Day of Resurrection so much so that the hornless sheep would get its claim from the horned sheep.” [Muslim]

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

« مَنْ ظَلَمَ قِيدَ شِبْرٍ مِنَ الأَرْضِ طُوِّقَهُ مِنْ سَبْعِ أَرَضِينَ ‏» [متفق علیہ]

Translation: “Whoever usurps even one span of the land of somebody, his neck will be encircled with it down the seven earths.”

A man may get benefited through his oppression in this world, but on the Resurrection Day it will trap him in difficulties. Due to his atrocities, he will surely have to face the punishment of the Hereafter for his oppression. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Translation of Meaning:“Indeed Allah gives respite to the wrong-doer until, when He seizes him, and he cannot escape.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

After saying this He () recited the verse:

« وَكَذَلِكَ أَخْذُ رَبِّكَ إِذَا أَخَذَ الْقُرَى وَهِيَ ظَالِمَةٌ إِنَّ أَخْذَهُ أَلِيمٌ شَدِيدٌ (102)» [ ھود:102]

Translation of Meaning: “Even thus is the grasp of thy Lord when He graspeth the townships while they are doing wrong. Lo! His grasp is painful, very strong.” [Hud:102]

Here is a Qudsi hadith:

« يَا عِبَادِي! إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ اَلظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي, وَجَعَلْتُهُ بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا, فَلَا تَظَّالَمُوا » [مسلم]

Translation: “O My slaves, I have made oppression unlawful for myself and I have made it unlawful among you, so do not oppress one another.” [Muslim]

We must always avoid being cruel and never should we help the oppressor.