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Just as with adultery, the meaning of justice in Islam differs from the modern/secular and Biblical understandings of the word. This article critically examines Islamic justice both in the theology of Islam and the practical aspect of Islam--shari'ah law.

Definition of Justice


• (n) justice, justness (the quality of being just or fair)
• (n) justice (judgment involved in the determination of rights and the assignment of rewards and punishments)
Definition - Justice
Princeton University's WordNet
1. The quality of being just; fairness.
a. The principle of moral rightness; equity.
b. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.


a. The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law.
b. Law The administration and procedure of law.
4. Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason
Definition - Justice
TheFreeDictionary by Farlex
1 a : the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments
b : judge
c : the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity

2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness c : the quality of conforming to law

3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : correctness
Definition - Justice
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

According to the Torah

What the Torah says about justice is important considering the Qur'an claims to confirm the Torah (Qur'an 2:40-41 and Qur'an 2:89) and explicitly commands that people should adhere to its laws (Qur'an 5:43).

Judgment must be given fairly, and partiality cannot be shown to the poor or favoritism to the great.[1] In lawsuits, favoritism should not be shown to the poor.[2] When giving testimony in court, one must not pervert justice and side with the crowd in doing wrong.[3] To show partiality and to accept a bribe are considered perversions of justice.[4]

Scales of Justice

Scales can be considered a universal sign for justice. Even the ancient religions had such a concept. Maat, the Egyptian goddess of truth, right, and orderly conduct holds the scales which weigh the human heart in the judgment of the dead. Iustitia, the Roman's Lady Justice, is another goddess of justice who carries measuring balances. And the book of Daniel refers to scales being used to judge a man just as with other ancient religions.[5]

In the Qur'an

We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least, and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account.
Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide.
Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light,- Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to thee what this is? (It is) a Fire Blazing fiercely!

The Law of Honest Scales

The Tanakh codified the law that scales and measuring balances be honest. Such a rule and similar statements can be found in the Torah[6] and the book of Proverbs[7][8]. The Qur'an does the same:

Give just measure, and cause no loss (to others by fraud). And weigh with scales true and upright.

The Dishonest Scales of Allah

The evil deeds of a rich man, when placed upon Allah's scales of judgment, will weigh more than had he been a poor man. We know this because the atonement (the good deed required to make up for the evil deed) is different depending on one's income level.

Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were sitting with the Prophet a man came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I have been ruined." Allah's Apostle asked what was the matter with him. He replied "I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was fasting." Allah's Apostle asked him, "Can you afford to manumit a slave?" He replied in the negative. Allah's Apostle asked him, "Can you fast for two successive months?" He replied in the negative. The Prophet asked him, "Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?" He replied in the negative. The Prophet kept silent and while we were in that state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet . He asked, "Where is the questioner?" He replied, "I (am here)." The Prophet said (to him), "Take this (basket of dates) and give it in charity." The man said, "Should I give it to a person poorer than I? By Allah; there is no family between its (i.e. Medina's) two mountains who are poorer than I." The Prophet smiled till his pre-molar teeth became visible and then said, 'Feed your family with it."

On the surface it would appear that a rich man's penalty should be more than a poor man's because a poor man cannot afford to pay as much as one who is wealthy, and the hardship suffered by exacting equal payment will be unequal--the poor man will suffer more than the rich man would.

However, one must ask this important question: Why is the man poor or rich in the first place?

Wealth can be accumulated by luck or dishonest means, that is true. However, wealth is often-times acquired through perseverance, hard work, and intelligence. In the same token, poverty can occur due to bad luck or being the victim of unjust acts, but it can also occur because of laziness and poor decision-making.

The scales of Allah violate not only the concept of justice in modern, developed nations but they also violate the concept of justice in the Torah by showing partiality to the poor.

True justice demands punishment based on the transgression...not the income level of the transgressor.

The Dishonest Scales of Shari'ah


The punishment for murder depends on the religious status of the killer and his/her victim.

Narrated Ash-Sha'bi: Abu Juhaifa said, "I asked Ali, 'Have you got any book (which has been revealed to the Prophet apart from the Qur'an)?' 'Ali replied, 'No, except Allah's Book or the power of understanding which has been bestowed (by Allah) upon a Muslim or what is (written) in this sheet of paper (with me).' Abu Juhaifa said, "I asked, 'What is (written) in this sheet of paper?' Ali replied, it deals with The Diyya (compensation (blood money) paid by the killer to the relatives of the victim), the ransom for the releasing of the captives from the hands of the enemies, and the law that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for the killing of (a disbeliever).

The vast majority of Muslim scholars hold the above view, while others believe that a Muslim can be killed if he kills a non-Muslim Dhimmi who is under the "protection" of the Islamic community.[9][10]

The value of the life of non-Muslims is less than that of Muslims, and the value of the life of a woman is less than that of a man.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As:

The value of the blood-money at the time of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was eight hundred dinars or eight thousand dirhams, and the blood-money for the people of the Book was half of that for Muslims.

He said: This applied till Umar (Allah be pleased with him) became caliph and he made a speech in which he said: Take note! Camels have become dear. So Umar fixed the value for those who possessed gold at one thousand dinars, for those who possessed silver at twelve thousand (dirhams), for those who possessed cattle at two hundred cows, for those who possessed sheep at two thousand sheep, and for those who possessed suits of clothing at two hundred suits. He left the blood-money for dhimmis (protected people) as it was, not raising it in proportion to the increase he made in the blood-wit.
The maximum amount of Death Compensation (Diyya) generally admissible in Saudi Arabia, in respect of road/traffic/fire accident, murder, etc. is as under:

Death Compensation in respect of a male person:

i. Muslim - SR. 100,000/-

ii. Christian/Jew - SR.50,000/-

iii. Other religions : such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. - SR 6666.66

In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion. Further the amount of compensation admissible, is based on the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer e.g. if the causer is held 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the death of a Muslim, the amount of Death Compensation admissible will be SR 50,000 only.


A woman's witness testimony is worth half that of a man's.

"O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things."

A woman's inheritance is half that of a man's.

"Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; then if they are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt; your parents and your children, you know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise."

Islamic Scholar on Justice and Human Rights

The Muslim should not be deceived by the so called western and European “human rights” organizations, because although they outwardly appear to support the oppressed and to take a stance against torture and undermining of human dignity in prisons and detention centres – which in general terms are good ideas – they also play other roles, and support other principles which are aimed at destroying the family, and opening the door to slander against Islam and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and all his fellow-Prophets. They are opposed to the rule of sharee’ah which enjoins hadd punishments such as stoning for the adulterer, execution for the apostate and cutting off the hand for the thief, becoming part of legislation and being implemented, which is in fact very rare. These organizations are also opposed to the shar’i rulings that have to do with women, such as the necessity of her wali’s consent for marriage, the command to observe hijab, and the prohibition on her mixing, in addition to other principles where they claim that they want to liberate man from religious obligations and to make man free in the way he conducts his affairs, not restricted by good morals or sublime shar’i rulings.

To sum up what these organizations promote: it is that man should be able to do whatever he wants, no matter how perverse. They support lesbians, homosexuals and bisexuals, and religious deviance. They regard it as a human right to disbelieve in whatever religions one wants and to express one’s opinion – even about the Prophets – without any fear or shame, and they also support the liberation of woman from the control of her father, husband or religion.


There follow some of the articles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which was approved by the United Nations on 10/12/1948 CE, which we are quoting from their website: [Quotes from Articles 2, 18, & 19]

These so called rights and freedoms which they call for all people to enjoy regardless of religion make the monotheist and the polytheist equally entitled to these rights and freedoms, so the slave of Allaah and the slave of the Shaytaan are placed on the same level, and every worshipper of rocks, idols or people is given the complete right and freedom to enjoy his kufr and heresy. This is contrary to the laws of Allaah in this world and the Hereafter. [Quotes Qur'an 68:35-36, Qur'an 38:28, & Qur'an 32:18]

It is a call to abolish the ruling on apostasy, and to openly flaunt the principles of kufr and heresy. It is a call to open the door to everyone who wants to criticize Islam or the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and to have the freedom to criticize and express oneself with no restrictions. These are corrupt principles. Even if they suit their lives, values and religion, they do not suit us and they are contrary to our pure sharee’ah, which brought rulings that are suited to individuals and societies, and establish noble morals, and protect minds, honour, physical well being and wealth, and show people the religion which Allaah loves and is pleased with.

[Quotes from Article 3] It is from this Article that the calls of these organizations come to protect criminals against execution, and started to give bad publicity to the nations which carry out the hadd punishments of Allaah by stoning married adulterers and executing bandits and those who spread mischief in the land. Now these organizations proudly claim that they have convinced many nations to abolish the death penalty for killers, rapists and criminals. This is contrary to sound human nature, reason and sharee’ah, and it is a message that gives peace of mind to those criminals that their lives will never be lost because of their deeds, which is a way of spreading mischief on earth.
They claim that the individual has the right to life and liberty, even if it is a bestial life, and even if that freedom leads to corruption, sicknesses and loss of security for the family and society.

[Quotes from Article 16] This article annuls the role of the woman’s guardian (wali) which is to protect the woman’s rights in marriage, and to help his daughter or sister to make a good choice, and to ask about the religious commitment and character of the suitor. It is by His wisdom that Allaah has prescribed this. If marriage was left up to the woman without her guardian’s consent, you would see most girls marrying those who enchant them of the wolves of men, who are eager to rob them of their chastity then throw them aside.
They also give the wife the same rights of divorce as the husband has. This is something that causes women to turn against their husbands and leads to the break up of their families. The one who knows the nature of men and women will not be able to agree to such nonsense. Western families are not so intact that we can say: Look at how they were destroyed. The call for homosexual rights and the rights of women to form any relationship she wants and women’s rights in marriage and divorce – what families can be built on such shaky foundations?

It is worth noting that these organizations are used for political purposes to put pressure on the Muslim states that care about virtue, modesty and morals, or that apply all or some of the rulings of sharee’ah. Some Muslim nations have abolished the death penalty, and they have introduced strict laws about marriage at an early age for both genders, but they pay attention to woman’s rights to khula’ and maintenance, etc, which causes widespread mischief and evil in many areas of life.

See Also

External Links


  1. Leviticus 19:15
  2. Exodus 23:3
  3. Exodus 23:2
  4. Deuteronomy 16:19
  5. Daniel 5:27
  6. Leviticus 19:36
  7. Proverbs 11:1
  8. Proverbs 16:11
  9. Killing a Muslim in punishment for killing a non-Muslim - Islamweb, Fatwa No.92261, August 1, 2006
  10. Fatawa: Killing a Muslim for a Non-Muslim - Islamic Science University of Malaysia, November 6, 2003