The Issue Of Justice

And tonight InshaAllah, I'm going to touch upon the theme of justice: justice in this world. Because we know that as a quality Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, is just and particularly the path of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, believes that the application of justice is one of the pillars of this deen.

Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, said that justice means putting everything in its rightful place. Someone even asked Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, "What is better, generosity or justice?" And he said, "Justice is better, because generosity may come and go". Sometimes we may feel generous and sometimes we may not feel generous. We may also not make the right decision as to whom to be generous to or not, whereas justice always ensures the correct application of what should be given to whom, when and where and how.

And so, inshaAllah, we're thinking of these coming nights of how we ourselves can be more just as people beyond the Majalis and beyond the crying for the tribulations that came to the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam. We must not forget that we are on our own personal journey through this existence. We have been given this soul, which is, as Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, has said, an inner universe, a universe within us to reflect upon.

And we need to think about our own personal characteristics, our own personal journey, our own personal faults that need to be reformed, and ways in which we ourselves may not be just in our own lives, perhaps unjust to our own selves as well as unjust to those around us.

Of course, those coming to Iraq, those watching the news will know that there is tremendous injustice that has been inflicted upon the innocent people of this country due to the long term plans that have been made for over a decade, even two decades, about how the Middle East is going to be reshaped. And we saw also, as an example in Syria, the injustice that has been meted out to ordinary people there as well, all in the name of so-called reshaping the Middle East, the attempts to break up and divide the Middle East, the Muslim world, to try to stir up conflict and hatred and rancor and disorder so that the other powers coming in can simply take over economies here and and get wealthy out of these lands that have treasures buried in their grounds.

And so one can feel quite frustrated because we know that there are so many orphans in Iraq. There are many orphans now in Syria, there are many orphans in Pakistan. So much poverty has accrued in these lands. There are many orphans now also in Afghanistan, Hazaras are suffering also and lovers of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, in Africa also have been persecuted and killed and put under pressure because of their allegiance and love for the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam. Not forgetting also that this love for the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, is entangled in very complex politics as well.

And so we see this injustice going on around us and we can feel helpless as to what to do about it. But this is not the only injustice that we see in this world today. We know that we have a lot of injustice going on within our own families and within our own communities as well. There are injustices being committed on micro levels.

We could say that one such injustice is the forcing of marriages. So the forcing together of a young man and a young woman, often for material benefit or material gain on the part of both families, or perhaps because both families want to augment their social status. And so they want to join together their families through a particular marriage, regardless of whether the young man and young woman are compatible and whether they consent to the marriage or not. And this is really a fundamental injustice that is taking place at the heart of our communities and is leading to long term instability within our communities because such marriages now are known to break down after one or two years. Often there are children involved, and this causes instability and upset within our own communities.

We have other such injustices, as we know, unfortunately. Financial misappropriation of funds or misapplication of funds as well within our communities so that those who really need those funds are not getting it. Iraq, again, is a prime example where a very hard-line free market model has been imposed upon Iraq by the United States when it was administering Iraq. But nevertheless, this was accepted to be applied to this country and it has had a devastating effect upon economies here.

So we see a lot of injustice going on and we may ask ourselves what we can do about it. And I think this is a key question and one of the reasons for the disintegration of our communities around the world, particularly among the lovers of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, is perhaps not so much the failure to apply justice, but more the apathy that is eating away within the hearts of the lovers of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, the reluctance to speak up, the reluctance to take action when we see injustices being committed in front of us.

Of course, at this time we know other injustices that exist and which are talked about, have been talked about over the last few years, are those injustices that are meted out to our own brothers and sisters in faith who are of a different racial background or a different social background. And perhaps we can say that all communities around the world think that they are the best community. All nations think that they are the best nation and better than anybody else, better than any other nation. But this kind of attitude, this 'Asabiya, as we know, this instinct for tribal protection and the promotion of one's own type of people over another type of people, has actually been prohibited in Islam.

The Holy Prophet (S) and Imam Ali, alayhum assalam, spoke out very strongly against it, particularly Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, spoke out against this concept of receiving honor just because of who your ancestors were. This was an old Arab tradition that personal merit did not count for anything. One's own merit came from one's ancestors. And so there arose the tradition for reciting one's genealogy and for saying who one's ancestors were.

Islam did away with this system of tribal supremacy, and it brought into being a supremacy through virtue, supremacy upon an individual level, through piety and supremacy through the application of justice to other human beings around us. We need to get right back to the grass roots, to to the core of this message and look to ourselves about the kind of racial or class pride or sense of superiority that we may have over others around us.

I have heard that there are people who have not had their salaam returned by other Muslims; when they are at an event or at a convention, they will say salaam to a fellow lover of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, but because they are of a different background, they will not have their salaam returned to them. This is not only an astonishing insult to your fellow lover of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, it is also an act of injustice. And it is an act of oppression.

And when we look at the Holy Quran, when we reflect upon Ayatal Kursi, we can see that Imaan is placed opposite Tughyaan. Imaan - belief in Allah and his Holy Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt and this message of Islam - is put as a diametrically opposed position to Tughyaan, Tughyaan being inordinate oppression.

Those who engage in acts of oppression are, as the Holy Quran has said and as the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, have said, are minions of the Shaytan. They are minions of the Shaytan. If we engage in an act of oppression against someone else, we are actually serving the Shaytan. We may not actually actively engage in an act of oppression: let's say, going out of our way to oppress somebody else.

Another form of oppression is inaction: simply to allow oppression to take place and to look the other way. And I have heard so many reports of people within our communities who have suffered from acts of injustice in one way or another, and they have sought help within our communities. They have sought some kind of support and some kind of redress for what has happened to them. And what they have found is that their families don't want to get involved, the wider community doesn't want to get involved, and they are ultimately left on their own to pick up the pieces of their lives.

And these people who don't want to get involved, who don't want to take that step to support someone when they are oppressed, be it financially oppressed, whether they are oppressed in a marriage, whether they are being oppressed by other family members, or whether they are being oppressed by a government, whether they are under some kind of political oppression.

These community members or family members who will stay silent and look the other way are still those who are very judiciously attending majlis, keeping tabs of the right a'maal on the right day, in the right night, keeping tabs of the right to du'a to make, but one thing that they will do is very carefully step aside from speaking up when they see that they are facing an oppressor or an act of oppression.

What has happened to the hearts of the lovers of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam? What has happened to those who simply cannot be bothered to take a stand or to speak out or to do something to revive the message of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam?

If we don't speak up, if we don't take action, if we don't try to give some kind of support, be it verbal, financial, any other kind of speaking up, we are actually going to dishearten other brothers and sisters.

Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, warned one of his companions about Muawiya. Now we are remembering what Yazeed (la'natullah 'alayh) did to Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, but of course, we would not be here if it had not been for the inactive response of those who stood on the side of Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, for different reasons. I will not call them Shia, they were not Shia, but they were those who stood on the side of Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, for a variety of reasons.

And when they saw the threat of Muawiya, who was intent on destroying Islam, they looked the other way and they did not want to stand up to assist Imam Ali, alayhi assalam. And he says to one of his companions, "I have learnt that Muawiya has written to you to deceive your wit and blunt your sharpness. You should be on guard against him because he is a shaytan who approaches a believer from the front and from the back."

So, those who do not want to take action when they see acts of injustice, whatever it may be, those who prefer to keep silent and hide away, even from their own family members, their own flesh and blood, who they will not call to see how they are, who they will not check to see what their condition is, but who prefer to stay away when they see the suffering even of their own flesh and blood, let alone someone who isn't of their own flesh and blood, is actually allowing the shaytan to move into our communities and to destroy our communities.

And so if we do see injustice in front of us, we need to go back to reflect upon whether we have that courage within our own hearts or whether we have cowardice and weakness within our own hearts.

We actually just cannot face up to the fact that we just don't have that strength of faith to be able to stand by Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, we don't have that conviction to say I am going to go out on a limb and I'm going to perhaps even be pointed at by people and maybe even accused by people because I decided to defend somebody who was being wronged. Everybody is very busy trying to protect whatever reputation they feel they may have, and they will go to such lengths to protect that reputation by not actually speaking out when it's required.

And the Imams of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, have said: such people are the minions of the Shaytan. They are the servants of the Shaytan, and they will see their destination in the Akhira.

So we must not be comfortable - just because we are not taking action and yet we are still going to Majlis and reciting the required ziyaraat - we must not be comfortable that we are not going to, God forbid, take our destiny in the Akhira to where the Shaytan has actually God forbid, led us.

The Holy Quran says, "Surely Allah commands justice doing of good and providing for close kin and forbids the abominable, the reprehensible and transgression" (16:90). It also says, "Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. O you who believe! Stand firm for justice as witnesses to God, even though it be against your own selves, your parents, your close kin, where the rich or poor, for Allah is closest to them both. Do not follow passion in place of justice."(4:135) Do not defend wrongdoing within your own family just for the sake of trying to protect the reputation of your family or your own reputation.

And if you are at the risk of being accused and of being slandered and of being wronged because you stood for justice, that should not be a reason for not standing for justice. The slander and whatever people say about you because you stood for justice means nothing in the sight of Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, was called the one who does not fear reproach. The Holy Quran talks about those who do not fear reproach because they have stood firm in the way of Allah. We should not fear the reproach of human beings, even our own family members, even our own community members.

And we ask Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, to give the courage to place that courage within our hearts so that we do not fear the reproach from other human beings, which may pressure us into not taking a stand when we should take a stand. And I'm just going to again remind our viewers that we are taking donations to help to keep this channel going Inshallah, of course, al-Hamdulillah, thanks to your generosity, we are running now and we are very well able to, again, broadcast to you eight years on from the city of Karbala.