Principles of Justice in the Quran

Principles of Justice in the Quran

Judging in accordance with qis’ṭ (قِسْط)

The first principle of justice given in the Quran is, to judge people according to qis’ṭ (قِسْط), in such a way, that there is no bakhs (بَخْس), khus’rān (خُسْرَان)/ khus’r (خُسْر) or ẓul’m (ظُلْم) to anyone, i.e., giving everyone his due (right), and putting everyone and everything at their rightful place and time.

وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِالْقِسْطِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Al-Quran Surah 5: Verse 42

One particular aspect of the term qis’ṭ (قِسْط) is ‘to render to each his due’ or ‘to give each what is rightfully his’ or ‘giving people their due rights’. An example usage of this aspect in the Quran is as follows:

وَيَا قَوْمِ أَوْفُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ

Al-Quran Surah 11: Verse 85

the term qis’ṭ (قِسْط)  is used in the opposite sense of bakhs (بَخْس), which means ‘diminishing to someone his right or due’; or ‘depriving someone of his rights’.

the term qis’ṭ (قِسْط) is also used in the opposite sense of khus’rān (خُسْرَان) or khus’r (خُسْر), which means “(causing someone) any loss”.

وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ

Al-Quran Surah 55: Verse 9

the term qis’ṭ (قِسْط)  is also used in the opposite sense of ẓul’m (ظُلْم), which primarily means, ‘putting a thing in a place not its own; putting it in a wrong place; misplacing it; putting a person, place, thing, quality, idea, word or action at a wrong space and/or wrong time’. ظَلَمَهُ حَقَّهُ means “He made him to suffer loss, or detriment, of his right, or due; or defrauded, or despoiled, or deprived, him of it”.

وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْقِسْطِ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

Al-Quran Surah 10: Verse 54

We can say that qis’ṭ (قِسْط) is the absence or undoing of bakhs (بَخْس), khus’rān (خُسْرَان)/ khus’r (خُسْر) and ẓul’m (ظُلْم).

Judging in accordance with ʿadl (عَدْل)

The second principle of justice, given in the Quran is, to judge people in accordance with ʿadl (عَدْل), which means: dealing fairly, impartially and equally with all the concerned, without any kind of bias or favoritism.

 وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُوا بِالْعَدْلِ

Al-Quran Surah 4: Verse 58

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَن تَعْدِلُوا وَإِن تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

Al-Quran Surah 4: Verse 135

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

Al-Quran Surah 5: Verse 8

Judging in accordance with ḥaqq (حَقّ)

The third principle of justice, given in the Quran is, to judge people in accordance with ḥaqq (حَقّ), i.e. the truth, facts or reality; and not according to hawā (هَوَىٰ) or anyone’s desire, liking, wish or whim.

فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ

Al-Quran Surah 38: Verse 26

Judging in accordance with Allah’s Law

The fourth principle of justice, given in the Quran, is to judge people, in accordance with the Laws enshrined in Allah’s revealed Book.

فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ

Al-Quran Surah 5: Verse 48

كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ

Al-Quran Surah 2: Verse 213

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَكُن لِّلْخَائِنِينَ خَصِيمًا

Al-Quran Surah 4: Verse 105

Summary of the Four Principles of Justice in the Quran:

بِالْقِسْطِ: بِالْعَدْلِ: بِالْحَقِّ: بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ

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