The Concept Of Social Justice In The Qur'an

...Islamic text and Persian language. After spending a year at Damascus University, consolidating her knowledge of the Arabic language, she went on to pursue further Islamic studies and Farsi at Jamiat al-Zahra Seminary in Qum, Iran. She has translated and edited numerous publications from Arabic into English and edits, academic works for publications on a regular basis. She has also worked on the English subtitling of various Arabic films and documentaries. As a lifelong student, her current areas of interest include Islamic ethics and spirituality, interfaith relations and parenting. Please welcome her with a loud naare Salawat [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

Surat ul-Mubarakat ul-Fatiha. 'A'udhu bil-Lahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim. Bismi-Llahi, Al-Rahmani, Al-Rahim. Wa as-salat wa as-salam 'ala asharaf al-Anbiya'i wa al-Mursalin, wa 'ala aalihi at-tayyibin at-taahirin, al-ma'sumeen al-madhlumeen. As-salamu 'ala al-Husayn, wa 'ala Ali ibn al-Husayn, wa 'ala awladi al-Husayn, wa 'ala as-habi al-Husayn jamee'an, wa Rahmat Ullahi, wa barakatuh. “Rabbi shrah li sadri" (20:25), "wa yassirli amri" (20:26), "wa-hlul 'uqdatan min lisani" (20:27), "yafqahu qawli” (20:28). Salawat [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

Sisters and brothers, salamun alaykum, wa Rahmatullahi Wa barakatuh. Al-Hamduli-Llah, I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity by SICM to inshaAllah continue in the thread of social justice that Professor Iqbal Asaria began a few nights ago. And while we await his last instalment in the series, where he looks at the quest for social justice in our modern context, I'd like to retrace our steps right back to the time of Revelation, and remind ourselves of the Qur'anic injunctions for social justice.

I'd like to especially look at the language that the Qur'an uses and to look at the concept of social justice, the way that the people of the time would have understood it, the way that they would have read the Qur'an and the way that it would have appealed to the people of the time, because they also had the standard bearers of social justice, the people, the interpreters of the Qur'an who lived among them.

So my aim is to highlight the gravity and weightiness of the subject purely through the linguistic aspect, and the linguistic analysis, and to highlight that for people who understood that principal message of the Qur'an, standing by and watching the injustice leading up to the events of Karbala would have been unbearable.

So when you look at justice in the Qur'an, when you look at justice in the Arabic language, there's, I'd say about three words and their various derivatives that are there for justice. So you've got the word "Insaf", for example, which is translated as justice, the word 'Qist', and the word "'Adl". Now, "Insaf" is used in it's borrowed from Arabic and it's used in Urdu, in Persian, in Turkish, in Farsi, of course, and in other languages.

But "Insaf" is not actually used in the Qur'an. So it comes from the word Nisf to mean half and to share things equally. And it can mean equality. But the Qur'an doesn't use "Insaf" for justice. So Qur'an uses mainly "'Adl" and 'Qist', and they're much more comprehensive. But so much is lost in translation. So when they're translated into English, they're translated interchangeably as justice or equity or fairness, one for the other. But they're actually quite different when you break it down and when you look at their usage in the Qur'an.

So each of them is mentioned about twenty seven times, but there's general distinctions. So when you look at how the word 'Qist' is used in the Qur'an, you find that it's used in practical things, in practical procedures, it's used for weights and measures, Allah uses it to talk about dealings with people. When he talks about orphans, he talks about dealing with 'Qist'. When he talks about anything that requires meticulous procedures, he talks about 'Qist'. Was the means to justice he talks about 'Qist'. "'Adl" is used in a much more general sense, so when to speak with justice, for example, to judge with fairness, to pass fair judgments, etcetera.

So some people have said the "'Adl" is substantive justice, and 'Qist' is procedural justice, etc. There's another word as well that Allah uses, He uses the word Mizan in the Qur'an. So he says, for example, "Was samaa'a rafa'aha wa wada'a al-mizan" (55:7), "An la tukhsiru al-mizan" (55:9). So mizan is the general balance in creation that Allah has created everything balanced and things shouldn't go out of sync and shouldn't go out of balance. And our aim is to restore that balance.

Now, when it comes to divine justice, Allah uses both words for Himself. He uses the word, Muqsit to call himself just, and he also also uses the word Adil. And the fact that these are two separate names shows us that these are two separate things that merit two separate positions. Even when we've got the famous hadith of when the 12th Imam reappears, that - yamla'ul arda qistan wa 'adla - that he will fill the earth with Qist and Adl - kama muli'at dhulman wa jawra - as it was filled with injustice and oppression. So again, people will translate it as injustice and equity or or justice and equity, etc.

But there's, you know, there's actual meaning to both of them, which we will uncover as we look at the actual Ayaat of the Qur'an. So Allah in in surah 21 ayah 47, he says, "wa nada'u mawazina al-qisti li yawm il-qiyamah, fa la tudhlamu nafsun shay'a" (21:47). He says "and we lay out; we will lay out the scales of 'Qist', of justice on the Day of Judgment so that no soul is treated unjustly, says "la yudhlamoona fateela" (4:49) - They're not going to be treated unjustly by even as much as the thread that you find inside a date stone. So that groove inside the date stone, the thread that's found found inside there, they're not even going to be treated unjustly by that much. That's how His 'Qist' is. So it's a very meticulous justice, 'Qist'. So where "'Adl" is a general justice, 'Qist' is where no injustice is done, right. It's almost - I wouldn't say it's the opposite - but it's ensuring that in getting justice there's no injustice in every step of the process.

Now, when Allah of talks about Himself, when he refers to his names, it's there for us to adopt those names. So we've been created as Khalifat Ullah. We have a mandate on our shoulders to adopt those names and then to reflect them, to manifest them in society. That we have them in us and to activate them and you see in the Qur'an the way that Allah is addressing us with this mandate of justice, it's quite a heavy and weighty thing. So in the first ayah, if you could just pull up the first slide for me, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in Surah Hadeed in Ayah twenty five He says: "laqad arsalna rusulana bil bayyinaat, wa anzalna ma'ahumu al-kitaab... Liyaquma an-nasu bi 'l-qist" (57:25). OK, He says "We sent our messengers with clear signs and the scripture and the balance the Mizan, so that people would uphold justice".

It doesn't say so the messengers can uphold justice, the prophets can uphold justice, or the leaders, or the judges, or anybody else, but so people can uphold justice. It spells out that the point of revelation, the point of guidance, the point of divine guides is there to activate something within us, that people can bring about in this world.

And it reminds us that there's an inner compass that we have, an inner moral compass and that justice is very innate inside us. If you look at children, for example, from the minute they can talk, one of the first things they'll say is it's not fair. You know, they're sticklers for fairness. As much as they love to share, they're also sticklers for fairness. They'll count every chocolate chip in their half of the cookie to make sure that you've been fair because it's innate in us to want fairness.

You will see even the most oppressive tyrant will still believe that he is just. He may be oppressive and his moral compass is skewed, but he likes to be called just. These tyrants, they like to be called peacemakers, even if it's after their death but, you know, this is how they tout themselves. Thieves, you know, they may they may rob something all together and their sense of morality is skewed, but they want a fair share of the proceedings of the lootings because they have that innate sense of justice.

So that's something that's one of the most primordial things in us, is that sense of fairness and justice. And as per the verse of the Qur'an, the prophet's main function was to inculcate belief in Allah, belief in a Day of Judgment, in some kind of accountability, but to activate that spirit of justice and equity towards our fellow human beings. Now Qur'anic commandments, as we will see, have been very, very specific and very emphatic when it comes to justice. Allah does not mince His words when it comes to justice.

So if you look at the second slide. The first ayah that - ooh, the second ayah I'd like to look at is from Suratun Nisa, ayah number 135 Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala addresses the believers so He is addressing anyone who professes belief, people who call themselves believers. He says, "ya ayyuha al-ladheena amanu" - I hope it's big enough - "ya ayyuha al-ladheena amanu, kunoo qawwameena bi 'l-qist" (4:135). OK, so He says - it's been translated as - "uphold justice", but that does absolutely no justice to the Arabic. So He says "kunoo qawwameena bi 'l-qist". The word qawwam in Arabic is from the pattern fa'a'aal, ok. Fa'a'aal is an adjective called mubalagha. It's used to describe any action or a person who does an action repeatedly, repeatedly, every day as a profession.

OK, so what's the Arabic word for bread? Khubz, right? So somebody who makes bread day in, day out as a profession is called a Khabbaz. OK, someone, tayr, for example, is a bird. Taa'ir is anything that flies, but someone who flies as a profession every day a pilot is called a tayyaar. Ghusl or ghasala is to wash, right. Someone who washes as a profession, washes clothes, is called a Ghassal. So from that pattern of fa'a'aal, Allah is saying qawwameen, "kunoo qawwameena bi 'l-qist". So not uphold justice, not be just. Be, keep on maintaining justice. Be upholders of justice. He doesn't say: aqeemu al-qist', like a aqeemu as-salat. He says "kunoo qawwameena bi 'l-qist". Be constant, persistent maintainers of justice as a matter of course. This should be your daily grind daily, meticulously, you have to adhere to justice. There's no one offs have to keep on doing it, keep on revisiting it. Make it your purpose, kunoo qawwameena bi 'l-qist". Be constant standard bearers of justice.

Then he says, "Shuhada'a li-Llah", witnesses before God. Now this has got two, two meanings. First of all, we are witnesses in that we are witnesses of our own actions. Do we have confidence in our own sense of justice that we can stand before Allah and say, you know what, I've done my best? I, you know, judge this with fairness or I treated this person fairly.

So he said he's saying not only maintain justice, but be able to bear witness in front of Allah that you did that you did it. So that's the first meaning. The second meaning is that we're shuhada over the people, just like the prophet was this living example of moral rectitude and fairness among us, among us. So are we believers. We have this mandate to be witnesses for that to reflect that in our behaviour too. The Prophet, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, said, each one of you is responsible towards all other people. So it's a huge thing to be "Shuhada'a li-Llah" what Allah is asking us to do.

It continues "Shuhada'a li-Llah, wa law 'ala anfusikum, wa al-waalidayn, wa al-aqrabeen" (4:135), even if it be against your own selves that you're having to be just, or tell the truth and in spite of your parents and close ones. Now that's a really heavy thing because in the Qur'an, other places were Allah has mentioned parents. It's all to do with ihsan, lower the wing of humility, be kind to them. Don't don't reproach them, don't do anything. But when it comes to justice, when it comes to meting out justice and judging fairly, says "wa law 'ala anfusikum, wa al-waalidayn".

So when it comes to justice and this is where people falter the most, actually, this is where your sense of justice becomes perverse, or you know, where you don't know anymore what's right and what's wrong is when loyalties come into question, when family ties come into question. So essentially it's saying when it comes to justice, there's no such thing as family comes first. You know, my brethren, there's none of that. It's all you know, it's all about justice in the sight of Allah. It's not that close associates come first. I can bend, I can bend the truth. I can bend the law, I can look the other way if it's my parents doing something, I can look the other way if it's my family doing something.

So again, it's very clear cut here and Allah is saying exactly - what the what the - where people falter. There's no room for partisanship, there's no room for nepotism. And we know from what Iqbal uncle said, that these were things that, for example, Mu'awiya used. He created bonds of family to pervert justice. He created nonexistent bonds of family between himself and Ibn Ziyad, to to pervert that within someone, to make them question, you know, what what's right and what's wrong and where loyalty lies, for example.

So he says, wa al-aqrabeen - even associates, colleagues, people we consider our own, sometimes we side with our own, even though our own are wrong. Now it's natural to want to socialise with our own. It's natural birds of a feather flock together, right? Sometimes when you go to remote parts of of British countryside and you see a brown face, you get really happy because you know this, you know, you long to be with your own.

But when it comes to justice, there's no room for that. There's no room for my own or. To put filial relations or associates before the course of justice.

So Allah is very clear about that, then He continues. He says, "in yakunoo ghaniyyan aw faqeeran", regardless of social class, regardless of wealth, whether he's rich or poor, Allah is above, Allah is above them both. Allah deals with them both. So are rich and poor really equal before the law in our systems? Are response times to how the rich and the poor are treated the same? Are people who are high profile treated the same as people who are not so high profile. Are victims marginalised even further in the justice system because they can't afford decent legal representation. Right now, as we can see from from the Black Lives Matter movement, you know, the way that a white man speeding in a in a nice car in a nice neighbourhood is treated is very, very different to the way a black man driving in a not so nice neighbourhood is treated, where one is let off with a warning, the other one shot, you know.

So how is our system of justice perverted just because the other person is rich or poor so Allah makes that very clear. And there's several examples actually within the life of the Ahlul Bayt and as well as in the Qur'an where this is disparaged.

There's an anecdote that the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam at the start of his mission, he would sit with Ammar and Bilal and these people who are known as, you know, nobodies really, simpletons, outcasts in society. And he would sit with them and certain people of the Quraysh or the the newbies, the newly converted people who thought, you know, they'd done a great thing. They would come and say, you know, if you you know, if you didn't kind of associate with them, it would raise your image a little bit, you know, you need good PR so more people get attracted to the deen. You know, why don't you kind of not not hang out with these people so much, you know, sit, sit with other people. And, you know, once Umar came to him and said, why don't you at least try to humour the Quraysh. It's just a test to see if they are sincere in wanting to convert, you know, for a few days, don't sit with with these people.

And the verse is revealed in the Qur'an. "Don't turn away from those who implore him night and day, otherwise you'll be unjust"(6:52). So it's seen as, you know, a very grave thing to turn away from people just on the basis of their social class. And this theme of marginalised people mustad'afeen or fuqara', it crops up in the Qur'an and the prophets were condemned by their people for associating with the poor. For example, we've got the Prophet Nuh who the chieftains of his time or his society say to him, "wa ma taraka taba'aka illa aradhiluna"(11:27) - we don't see anyone following you apart from the simpletons, apart from the despicable people.

And we see in the Qur'an the Quraysh after the conquest of Makkah, when they would go for Hajj and the people who saw themselves as custodians of the Ka'ba would kind of camp or go to a different place to Arafat where the rest of the people were. They would camp on higher ground or towards Muzdalifah. And that addresses them and says "thumma afeedhu min haythu afaadha an-nas" (2:199) - surge down from where the people surge down. Who do you think you are that you think you're better than the people just because you're custodians of the Ka'ba, you think you can have, you know, different accommodation to them? So He says afeedhu min haythu afaadha an-nas. So you get these recurring themes in the Qur'an about the marginalised people not to be, to be, to be sidelined and for the prophets, that the prophets were doing a good thing by sitting with them.

Then the Ayat continues "fa la tattabi'u al-hawa an ta'dilu" (4:135) - don't follow your desire. Don't let your desire turn you away from doing justice, right. The Qur'an is acknowledging that there is implicit bias. There is such a thing as personal bias. Of course you have your desire. Of course you have something that you naturally lean towards.

But it says, don't let that don't let that turn you away from doing justice and don't let it stop you. So it's very, very subtle and at the same time, very specific in what it's saying and in this particular verse, it's saying that the reason why people end up being unjust is because of their unrestricted love, because of their bias for close ones, for sucking up to the rich, whatever it may be, favouritism. So this verse is to do with that aspect of why we're unjust.

The second verse I'm going to look at looks at the other reason for why people are unjust. In Surah Ma'ida, verse number eight, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, it's a very similar ayah. If you can just move to the next slide. It says again: "ya ayyuha al-ladheena amanu", oh you who believe, "kunoo qawwameena li-Llahi shu'ada bi 'l-qist" (5:8), very similar, it stats off the same. And then it says: "wa la yajrimannakum shana'anum qawmin 'ala alla ta'adilu" (5:8), it says, and do not let hatred or aversion for a people for a particular group cloud your judgment. Just because you don't like a community, you don't like a group of people, don't let that stop you from being fair.

And it acknowledges that there may be people who have hostility against, there may be people you have grudges against, there may be people that you don't like, but do not let that stop you in the face of justice. And we see this all the time, people's phobias getting in the way of administering justice properly, letting it get the better of them. Now, here as well, if you look at the language where Allah says: "wa la yajrimannakum", He uses a very emphatic tone. First of all, you've got the "la", which is a "la" of prohibition. Then you've got the nun, you've got "yajrimannakum" that nun shadda is very special. It's called "nun at-tawkid" in Arabic, which means the nun of emphasis. You add it onto the end of a verb and it makes it very emphatic. So it's not just do not let it cloud your judgment. It's absolutely do not let it cloud your judgment.

So Allah is very emphatic here. Do not let aversion for a people cloud your judgment. And it doesn't just say "alla ta'adilu", that don't do this. It emphasizes it further and says "i'adilu" be just! So it's not just saying don't do something, saying the opposite as well. So it's it's a triple emphasis on the "la yajrimannakum", "alla ta'adilu", "i'adilu". It's like He is putting an extra exclamation mark there, that make sure you are just, even if you don't like people, that's no reason to be unfair, that you don't like them.

So, just to just to sum up the two Ayat that you've got the concept of 'Adl, of being just that's there throughout, but Qist has its own special place that make sure you are not unjust every step of the way in every little thing, make sure you are not unjust. And this is very, this is reflected very well in Nahj al-Balagha when you read Imam Ali alayhi as-salam's sermons, he talks very much about equitable procedures and equitable processes.

When you read his letters that he would write his advisory, letters to his counselors in different places, he talks, he goes into meticulous detail about how these processes should be. He is not so concerned about the outcome. Right. Because in a world where there is free will, you are not going to be able to guarantee a just outcome necessarily or perfect outcome that, yes, justice has been done. But at least what's in your control, Imam Ali advocates that. And the Ahl Al-Bayt, as we can see from from stories about their lives, they were masters at being able to separate personal matters from justice.

There was once at the time when the Prophet was in Medina, there was a theft that occurred in a Muslim man's house, there was a Muslim man called Qatada, and his armor was stolen and there was a trail of flour leading to to the man who had stolen it. But at the end of the day, there were two people charged with the theft, because they weren't sure which one of them had stolen him. So there was a Muslim man and a Jewish man. And the Muslims were worried that if the Jewish man was found innocent and the Muslim man was found guilty, that would I mean, that would really humiliate the Muslims in front of the Jews that the Muslims had thieved, that this man had committed a crime and the Jewish man would be found innocent.

So the Muslims came to the Prophet and said, look, you know, let the Muslim guy go, you know, let him be acquitted. This is going to be such a disgrace for the Muslims if the Jew is found innocent, I mean, this is you know, Islam will look so bad. And the Prophet refused. He considered an unjust verdict to be a disgrace for Islam. And then the people came back and they argued and they said, well, look, the Jews have done so many things. They've been so cruel to us. You know, they've done lots of bad things to us. Now, if we say this Jew is convicted wrongly, so what? They've done a lot worse things to us. Let just convict, you know, the Jew can be guilty and let the Muslim go because they've done way worse things to us.

And the Prophet said justice, an honest decision, have nothing to do with past sufferings. It seemed humiliating to the people at the time, but it immortalized high ideals and justice of Islam when the Prophet took that stance and the Jew was found innocent and the Muslim was found guilty, but it wasn't for the Prophet to pervert the course of justice, just so Islam would look good. So the commandment to us is not just to uphold justice, but not to let justice happen on our watch, not to let justice happen anywhere around us, even if it comes to non-Muslims. So to be that meticulous.

In in Surah An'am, ayah fifty-two, Allah says: "La yanhakumu Allah 'an il-ladheena lam yuqaatilukum fi id-deen, wa lam yukhrijookum min diyaarikum, an tabarroohum wa tuqsitooo [ilaihim]. Inna Allaha yuhibbu ul-muqsiteen" (Surah Al-Mumtahanah, 60:08). It says 'Allah doesn't stop you from respecting those who are not at war with you on account of your religion. And you should show them kindness and deal with them equitably'. With Qist. "Inna Allaha yuhibbu ul-muqsiteen". So this is where Allah says: Allah loves those who do good, regardless of religion, regardless of who the people are. To be that meticulous and conscientious with your justice.

So I may not be racist, but do I put people in check around me who make racist comments? Do I protest discrimination in institutions or is it simply that, well, I'm not you know, that's what's required of a believer to not let any injustice occur on their watch. So this fairness is a minimum requirement of the Qur'an on an individual level, on a family level, on a society level, regardless of color, creed or religion.

And our role models, the paragons of the Qur'an, were so sensitive to injustice. I mean, when you read some of the anecdotes from their lives, it makes you wonder how they had such a such a sharp radar for injustice. That was once a man who came and who was a guest of Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, at his house. So he was staying with Imam Ali. And then in the course of conversation, he mentioned that he wanted Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, to represent him in a case that he had and he wanted Imam Ali to solve it for him. And Imam Ali immediately said, well, if that's the case, then you can't be my guest anymore. You'll have to leave because the Prophet advised that unless the other man, the other guy is also my guest, I can't have you as my guest and also represent you. He said: to make an impartial decision is one thing and hospitality is another thing. One is based on Divine Law and the other is based on sympathy. So I can't have that.

We know that the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, when he with his companions, even just sitting with them, he would make sure to glance at them all equally, so nobody felt ignored. To that level was he just, an even as glancing at all his companions fairly. You look at Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, circular to one of his officials and he says: sharpened the tip of your pen. Don't leave any spaces between the lines. Avoid writing in a slanted ornamental style, keep to brevity and save paper. Don't waste any paper because that comes from the public treasury. So to that to that level of justice and fairness and meticulousness about not wasting, about not wasting people's money.

There's another anecdote that once Imam Ali's, his shield went missing, and he saw it in the marketplace being sold. So he went to the man and said, well, that's my shield. And the guy said, well, no, it's mine. And eventually the matter reached the court. And this was at the time of doing the caliphate of 'Umar. So some people say that the case was taken to 'Umar, some say it was Al-Qadi. In any case, the case is taken to the court and the judge addresses Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, and calls him Abu 'l-Hasan, and he calls the other man by his name. And Imam Ali straightaway, before the proceedings have even started, the Imam Ali stops and threatens to walk out because he said before this has even started, you've been unfair. You called me by a more respectable name. You called me Abu 'l-Hasan and you called him by his name. That's not fair.

So even when it was in his favor, the man was respecting him, but still, he was so meticulous that fairness had to be meted out before the proceedings had even started, the man had to address, the judge, had to address them both equally. So he was that sensitive to injustice being done. They were so sensitive that even with those who wish to kill them, we know that even after Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, has been struck, it still occurs to him that his his his assailant should be, you know, his chain shouldn't be too tight, and he should be fed, and quenched. I mean, you know, when does that ever occur to people?

Same with Imam Husayn, alayhi as-salam. You know, the man who's apprehended him and stopped him in his tracks, and stopped him from going to Kufa, it occurs to him to treat him with dignity and give him his right of water and his animals and everything. They were that careful with their duty to their fellow human beings. So as as paragons of justice, what we see in them, we see that even though in society, the slogan of social justice is raised by every government, by every system, everybody thinks they're just. But unless the strength of it comes first from the roots of eradicating injustice, you may sing about justice, but if you are not committed to the 'Qist" side of things, of first uprooting the injustice, then it doesn't go very far.

You have the slogan mongering of of, you know, a country for all people, and a party for the working people, whatever it is. But again, unless the injustice is rooted out from within, it doesn't get very far. And you see that in by contrast, the slogans of these paragons of justice who walk the talk, and were embodiments of these Ayat, you had slogans such as, Hayhat min adh-Dhilla, that never would we succumb to the humiliation of condoning injustice. Or Mithili la yuba'iha mithluhu. And it's not just I will not pay allegiance to Yazid. It's the likes of me would never pay allegiance to the likes of him. The likes of me would never pay allegiance to an unjust system. And Imam Husayn's parting or his final words, as we know from Imam as-Sajjad, alayhi as-salam, and Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, he said: "iyyaka wa dhulma, min la yajidu alayka nasiran illa Allah". Beware of oppressing or being unjust to anybody who has no helper save Allah.

So these are, you see that the impetus that Imam Husayn's stand gives to people who are marginalized, or people who are downtrodden in society, is especially poignant, because it comes from this place of eradicating injustice, and this place of Qist, of being meticulous and conscientious, where they actually walked the talk. And it gives power to the individual. It gives power to the common man. It gives power to the few. When you look at Ayat like this, that put the mandate on each of our shoulders. Thank you for listening, Jazakum Allah [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

Any questions from the ladies' side? Any questions from the gents side? I want to thank you for that excellent presentation, I am happy that I was able to persuade you to do this, so. You talked about social justice, and that is quite correct, but as we move on, we are looking at certain patterns of injustice, which perhaps sometimes we are not aware of. So, for example, in a society where racism is prevalent, people who are practicing racism may not be aware that they are doing anything wrong. So here, perhaps there is another aspect that if you become aware, it becomes your duty to make others aware that look, although you may think is a normal, but it is not, it is unjust. In a similar way, when we go behind the, what is apparent, we find that the way society operates, certain things happen, which are unjust. So, for example, if you look at France, it says that because we are a secular state, we don't consider religion, we don't take it into account, we are completely neutral. But when you look at Paris, for example, you see that the poor Muslims are concentrated in a ring of very poorly ghettos around Paris.

Now. Clearly, there is something here to sensitize the people that by your actions, although you profess not to care, something unjust is happening. And so many other circumstances, we see that across the area. So is it any reflection on that kind of injustice here? The covet underlying injustice in institutions. It's not perceived by the people who are living it, but surely by the people who are doing it. Yeah, well, obviously they, everybody thinks they're just.

So you see, for example, when they took a large number of slaves across the Atlantic, right. They were thinking this is the right thing to do for them. They didn't have they didn't think of the consequences of the places which they raided for slaves. Or the other thing which happens sometimes is that you try to demonize the people, so in the Crusades or in slavery, you try to show that really these people were savages, and so we are doing them a favor by taking them across. Now, that's a very difficult narrative to challenge and defeat in real time. Yeah, but then you find champions coming up slowly say, look, guys, this is not what it is. This is unjust. And then slowly, whole whole battle starts same way with apartheid and things like that.

This is something which obviously also we find in Muslim history that a certain points in time, a lot of scholars say, look, these guys are in power and you should respect them full stop. Now, it takes a lot of courage to say no. This is where Imam Husayn alayhi as-salam's contribution comes, that there is a limit to how much you will condone.

How much you will condone. And also I feel that I mean, these days it's maybe the power of the common man is being harnessed in real time, as you say, through the power of things like social media. You know, now you find movements gaining impetus much faster, like the Black Lives Matter thing or like, you know, other injustices, the refugee crisis, because they gain impetus very fast, and spread very fast where, you know, they're not they're not as they're not maybe concentrate, their concentration to a certain geographical location isn't limited there or the case, so, maybe things like that are empowering the common man to be able to have that courage to to speak out.

If I can add to what Iqbal is saying, I mean, you know, he talked about slavery and Paris, maybe a little far removed. But, you know, for us, for example, I can walk into what we call a Costa or a Starbucks and pay it three or four dollars for a latte or cappuccino. And I have a little consideration for the few pennies the coffee farmer may have got. And I know the coffee farmer probably doesn't have running water, dependable electricity yet. You know, this little thinking I have got about what's gone into that thing.

Now Al-Hamduli-Llah that we have choices like here, we have choices or, you know, how far the fair trade thing goes or, you know. So again, again, as you know, as when you look at what Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, wrote or even what the Qur'an says, it starts with the little things. I don't think there's room to belittle things as small or insignificant when it says, for example, antu haddu al amanat ila aliha, you know, something as simple, like, you know, giving back trust to their to their rightful owners or Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, he defines 'Adl as "antada'u al-'umura mawadihaha", to put things in their rightful place.

I mean, these as they may seem tiny things sharpen the tip of your pen and write small and write, you know, but every little thing that we do makes a difference. And I think if people realize that, that as as Khalifat Ullah, it's not just about the big ripples you have in society or the big, you know, the the protests that you attend or things like that. But in every little aspect from buying the coffee and making sure that it's fair trade or whatever, whatever the case may be, it has, you know, at least from the procedural aspect, you can say that, you know, you are muqsit that you had Qist than in in what concerned you.

Thank you for that lecture. I have quite a specific question. It's often when we give charity, we are told to prioritize our own people first be a Shi'a charities, Muslim charities, so that can be quite confusing when it comes to being just. Can you tell me how we would approach that? See if you if you live in a society where you are making use of the resources of that society, you are aware of the problems of that society, you know of, to know for example, of homeless people who are sleeping in the cold in my own town. It doesn't make sense then to keep the resources you have at hand now and keep them aside and say, well, tomorrow I'll send it elsewhere, when there are need in your locality or when there are when a hand is stretched towards you, it doesn't make sense to say no. You know, so. There's no, when it comes to when it comes to giving, when it comes to charity, there's nowhere that says, you know, prefer your own.

There's so many instances we have in a hadith when people would come to the A'immah and ask, for example, we have we have such a thing as a harvest festival. In the Qur'an it talks about yawm al-hasad, when you harvest your crops, people are told to give out handful by handful to do any needy that passed on the day of harvest, and they were told actually don't harvest, don't reap your crops at night because then people won't know what you've harvested and there won't be people who come to get from you.

So harvest during the daytime, so when people come, you can give out and whoever comes, give them handfuls. Right. And people would ask, does it you know, does it matter if we don't know the person or they're not from our creed, they're not Shi'a? And the Imams would say, no, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you don't know them. It doesn't matter if that, so long as they are needy and they come to your door, you have a duty to give to them.

So it doesn't say anywhere that there should be preferential treatment or that you should prioritize your own or send the money, you know, I don't see why we can't do both, frankly, with the amount we have Al-Hamduli-Llah that you know. But if a hand is outstretched towards you and if you know of neediness around you, there's no reason why not.

Any other questions? Final question, a thank you very much. I personally, I have found that in my formal or informal counselling, the the thing that I find most difficult is when two apparently good conscious individuals. Both have a mindset inbuilt that what they are doing is just and yet there is there is, if you like, a difference of opinion there.

And for someone else to come and arbitrate or help with the decision making, it almost put yourself into a very awkward position. You tend to understand both sides. And yet at the same time, you want to make sure that you do not make a judgment or be judgmental. I find that the most difficult part in my life, that where do you draw the line? Things aren't sometimes very clear. Is this side just or is this side just, do you want to comment on that? Have you experienced that?

I'm sure we all go through moral dilemmas of some kind daily. I don't know what kind of moral dilemmas you go through, but you know that it's Al-Hamduli-Llah we've got guidance, and that we have to have recourse, and the fact that the Qur'an gives us the opposite sides, is it, is your is their personal bias or is that not personal bias or is it, you know, the way the procedure it outlines for us? I guess that's something that's that probably would be there on a case by case basis, but, no, unfortunately, can't comment.

As-salamu aleykum, I have a question. We have charity generally as money giving. What about giving your time where does giving your time come as far as you know, islam is concerned? Does that count as charity as well and where, what guidance is there? If we say, oh, we've given money, that's enough. Are we encouraged to give of our time as well and helping the needy or so?

Yeah, we've got we've got ahadith say: "li kully sha'ian zakat", like every single thing has a zakat that you take out from it. Every single thing has a notion of charity or purification for it. That's, you know, we may not brand it charity, but something that purifies that. So from our from our wealth to give out of it is a source of it's a sense of purification for our wealth that we give out of our wealth.

And similarly, for any, for everything that we've been given, for our bodies to use them in to please Allah, for our, for the energy that we have, for the time that we have, all resources at our disposal for us to give out of them, is a source of purification increase, so anything that we give out of, increases and I can't see why that would not be the same with time, I'm sure there's I'm sure there's somewhere that says all I can think of right now is "li kully sha'ian zakat". Thank you.

I have a question here on this charity, and justice, and discrimination. So when you look at for example at the institute of Khums, that we send to Sadat and you have the situation whereby, for example, in some of the African countries where we originated, the hardly any Sadat yet, there's a lot of poverty in these countries. We see money that leaves that country to find Sadat, which are hard to find, and people in the country are deprived and impoverished. So how do we think of justice in that situation?

I can't say that I'm in a position to comment on how funds of Khums and all that is administered in in real life, you know, and and where it goes and where it shouldn't go and and all that or transparency or account. So there's you know, there's accountability and things like that. This there's a whole discussion in its own right. So when there's poverty in that country, Khums is separate to Sadaqah, which is then separate to Zakat. Zakat is, you know, we've we've kind of disregarded Zakat, so to speak, simply because, you know, it was outlined that it was on crops and gold and silver, whereas it's on any any assets or any anything that we have. But that's a separate issue. But we've got other than Khums, we've also got Sadaqah. So and the charity that we give Khums is just the prescribed minimum tax, if you like. But as far as charity goes, there's no one to stop us from doing charity or giving extra, or giving of our, qawamina bi 'l-Qist.

Sister sorry, can I ask you a question? You mentioned about just an injust and injustice and justice. The murderers of the Ahl al-Bayt family, should they be perpetually condemned? So where is justice or just or unjust there? Can you explain further on that issue? Perpetually be condemned? As in, are we talking about la'ana? You are talking about justice, where you exemplify how justice is there?

So, because they are condemned because they were flagbarers of injustice, because of the actions that they committed against the Ahl al-Bayt, but not just against the Ahl al-Bayt. The thing we have to remember is that these stories aren't just, they're not tit for tat. They did this, so we're going to do this. They did this, so we're going to curse them. It's there so that people learn a lesson and they can, you know, essentially see and take a moral lesson from that so they don't perpetuate the same thing. So when when we when we criticize them, when we condemn them, we'll talk about them. It's not, oh, they did this to Ahl al-Bayt, so we're going to say this. It's not that. It's so that that same injustice is not perpetuated. So people's eyes open.

The Qur'an says [inaudible] human being from that point of view that I was asking the question, where does the two sentences of the ayat you mentioned, how do they come to this effect? You know, it's not an easy answer, but I want you to know more from you, because you brought up the topic. So just, I mean, that's looking at Divine Justice. Divine Justice is something that we can't we cannot comment on. Allah is Al-Muqsit, is Al-'Adil, but He is also Al-Rahman and He is Rahim and all the rest of it. So the way He deals with these people is not for us to to. [inaudible] Of how we deal with them? So, that's up to Allah's Justice, it's not up to us. Thank you very much. Thank you.

As-salamu aleykum Nazmina, thank you. I sometimes feel that our greatest injustices of our time are systematic, apartheid, systematic, slavery, systematic, even the way Imam Husayn was asked for ba'iah y was very systematic of its time. And I think we as human beings, we are creatures of habit, we are creatures of system, we, and that is why systematic injustice is very prevalent and leads to great atrocities. Does the Qur'an have anything to say about alleviating systematic injustices? The Ayat that you've given are very personal on a one on one basis. But when we're talking about a greater system, what does it say about alleviating systematic injustices?

So again, when you when you look at when you look at Nahj Al-Balaghah for example, and what Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, says about that, because obviously he experienced first hand systematic injustice. As to everything that happened from, you know, under his own nose. Things were, you know, as systems were put into place, which he had no say over. But again, he singles out certain, he is very specific when he singles out, you know. Even in the Qur'an, I feel like because it talks about these little things, it's hard, it's easy for us to ignore them, as in they are little things. But I think it starts with the small and, you know, it has to start from a grassroots, and go up. But that's just my two ps worth, I'm not qualified on any level. We call it a day?

Thank you very much for giving us your time. Salawat [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].