Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere
Sabeen Ijaz Ahmed
B.B.I.T. (Hons) 4th Year, GIFT University
This article won the first prize (Rs. 25,000 cash) in the 2nd Annual All Pakistan Essay Writing Competition held by Quaid-e-Azam Law College.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." These powerful words were penned in a letter from a prison cell of Birmingham Jail in 1963, by one of America's best known advocate of equal rights - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. According to him, all humans are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Hence injustice with one individual of a society can affect the life of other individuals of the society.
Before we make society understand the need of justice in this essay lets first talk about what justice really is. Justice is the ideal, morally correct state of things and persons. Justice is action in accordance with the requirements of some law. Whether these rules are grounded in human consensus or societal norms, they are supposed to ensure that all members of society receive fair treatment. Justice is distinguished from other ethical standards as required and as, overwhelmingly important: justice can be thought of as distinct from, and more important than, benevolence, charity, mercy, generosity or compassion. All of these things may be valuable, but they are supererogatory rather than required. We need to know more than this: we need to know what justice is, not merely what it is not, and several answers to that problem have been proposed..
Justice is linked, both etymologically and conceptually, to the idea of justification: having and giving decisive reasons for one's beliefs and actions. So, attempts to understand justice are typically attempts to discover the justification - the source or basis - of justice, and therefore to account for (or disprove) its overwhelming importance. Justice becomes more essential for Islamic country like our due to the emphasis of Islamic teachings on justice. As it is said in Quran:
"God enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbids indecency and abomination and wickedness." [Surah Nahl; 16:90]
Justice is perhaps the most important of the supreme values of Islam. In fact, it can be said that the main purpose of revelation and the tasks of Prophets (alayhum salam) has been to establish Justice. Thus, one of the early scholars of Islam has said that:
"Where the signs of Justice appear and its face is shown in any way that is where the Law of God and His religion are found."
Justice is the first principle of social life. It can be shown to govern all relations in life: between ruler and ruled, rich and poor, husband and wife, parents and children.
In all our dealings, we are required to stand firmly for justice even if it is against our own self and our kith and kin, for love too can lead to injustice.
"O you who believe! Be firm in justice as witnesses for God, even in cases against yourselves, your parents or your kin" [Surah Nisa; 4: 135]
"And if you give your word, you must be just, even though it be against your kin, and fulfill the covenant of God. For that is what He has commanded you that you may remember." [Surah An'am; 6: 152]
The fear of committing injustice may even prevent the doing of an act that is otherwise permissible. In fact one of the derived principles of the Shar'iah is that all permissible things are permissible provided that no damage or harm results to others from their practice and that in the event that such damage or harm is -suspected or confirmed, the permissible shall be prohibited to avert such damage or harm.
Issues of justice arise in several different spheres and play a significant role in causing, perpetuating, and addressing conflict. Just institutions tend to instill a...
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