Justice — An Essential Part Of Faith

A Quranic Reflection on Justice

4 min readNov 29, 2023

The more you read the Quran through the lens of justice, the more you realise how much our religion is grounded in standing up against oppression.

There are so many reminders through stories, through commands and warnings reminding the believers to stand up for justice.

I came across this verse today while reciting my hifdh portion.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّٰمِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا۟ ۚ ٱعْدِلُوا۟ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O believers! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to justice, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. (Surah Maida: 8)

My fist reflection from this verse was how similar it is to a verse in the Surah before (Surah Nisa: 135). I usually struggle to remember the minute differences between the two for my hifdh. So today I decided to understand why they were different. I sat down with the tafsir and honestly, I fell in love with the Quran a bit more.

So similar yet so different

The verse from Surah Nisa has the same beginning but with a slight alteration in the order of the words. The verse begins as follows —

“O you who believe, stand out firmly for justice — witnesses for Allah, even though against (the interest of) your selves or the parents, and the kinsmen…”

The verse from Surah Maida talks about standing up for justice even if people hate you for it. And this verse from Surah Nisa talks about standing up for justice even if its against yourself and family.

That is why the ordering of the words at the start differ.

For Surah Maida, Allah says ‘stand firm for Allah and be witnesses to justice’, while the order swaps in Surah Nisa — ‘stand firm for justice and be witnesses for Allah’.

In Surah Nisa, when it is about your own personal interest and your family, Allah tells us to ‘stand for justice’. Why? Because it becomes easy to use the excuse that caring about your family is beloved to Allah so justice needs to be kept to a side. But Allah tells us no. Stand for justice because that is more important.

But in the verse in Surah Maida, Allah say to ‘stand for Him’ instead. In this case, the fear of the hatred and the enmity might be too big to overcome the reasoning to just stand up for justice. So Allah tells us to stand up for Him. This gives the believer a newfound strength to ignore the backlash he might receive because hearing those words reminds you that you are standing for The All Powerful and The All Mighty. And The One who will never let you down.

Standing up for Allah against hatred

After comparing the two verses, I continued to sit and reflect on the verse from Surah Maida – the verse that tells us to stand firmly for Allah even if people hate you for it.

I continue to reflect on this verse because of the way Allah describes justice. He tells us — do not let the hatred of people stop you from standing for justice. Be just, because that is what is closer to taqwa.

It’s the way Allah interlinks standing up for justice to taqwa that really strikes me.

The concept of Taqwa

Taqwa can be loosely translated as being mindful or constantly aware of Allah.

We see taqwa as this abstract concept of being mindful of Allah by increasing our salaah, our recitation of the Quran, our fasting. But how often do we link taqwa to standing up for the truth, regardless of the hate around us? But Allah is linking standing up for justice to taqwa.

This verse specifically sticks out to me today because of all whats happening around us.

Its a reminder that standing up for the liberation of Palestine, for the suffering of our brothers in Gaza, is not just because its the ‘right’ thing to do. Its because its the Islamic thing to do.

The antidote to the fear of backlash

And if you are fearful of the backlash you’ll receive because you sent that letter to your company head, or because you called out the bias of your teacher at school, or you unmuted yourself in that all-staff meeting, trust me my friend, there’s nothing to worry about.

Why? Because remember what Allah tells us about those who have taqwa in Surah Talaq?

وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُۥ مَخْرَجًۭا (٢) وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ

‘And whoever is mindful of Allah (has Taqwa), He will make a way out for them and provide for them from sources they could never imagine.

This verse is for you. He will make a way out… for you.

It might be difficult for you to see how, when it seems like all the odds are against you — when the world leaders are pro-zionist, when our freedom of speech has been clamped down by making phrases illegal to say, when our media is spreading their propaganda.

But the promise of Allah is true. So be a person of taqwa, stand up for justice, and leave the rest to Him.

Thank you for reaching till the end of this reflection.

I hope we get to meet each other in that post. Until then, if you have any thoughts about what you’ve just read let me know (in the comments or any other way). I’d love to start a conversation!

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I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself. Reflecting on life and faith through fiction and daily happenings. Instagram: @tas.neemuu