What is social justice? This question has several different aspects: social, economic, political, religious, and legal. A General Assembly resolution of the United Nations mentions: “Unlike justice in the broad sense, social justice is a relatively recent concept, born of the struggles surrounding the industrial revolution and the advent of socialist (and later, in some parts of the world, social democratic and Christian democratic) views on the organization of society. It is a concept rooted very tenuously in the Anglo-Saxon political culture. It does not appear in the Charter, or in the Universal Declaration, or the two International Covenants on Human Rights. Frequently referred to in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development in 1995, social justice was scarcely mentioned five years later in the United Nations Millennium Declaration” (1).
Social justice requires granting all individuals equal rights and opportunities. Serving and being mindful of the rights of our fellow man necessarily helps spread goodwill and fosters what rich and poor long for, inner peace. We are our brother’s keeper (2). The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), declared, “To fail to help a brother in their time of need or difficulty is utterly immoral and wrong” (3).
Islam offers teachings and guidelines to establish social justice in society and addresses issues of color, race, and lineage as well as provides solutions to create a society that is independent of socioeconomic factors. If mankind were to take proper care to impose equality and justice for all and to ensure that no party is allowed to become too deprived or to lose hope, then it would ultimately lead to social peace. Islam shows the responsibility of the individual within a community and of communities within tribes and countries. The message is that we all have a duty to look after our families and neighbors and that charity while considered an act of righteousness, is also a duty (3).
The Holy Qur’an’s code of justice is built on humans dealing with each other on the basis of fairness and equity. It calls for not merely the justice that is provided through legal means in a court, but also that quality that must be the foundation of the character of a true Muslim. Building a just character within oneself is essential if one is to be just to others.
In this issue of the Muslim Sunrise, we present articles that address the issue of social justice and the guidance that Islam provides to achieve it, especially through the timeless example of the Prophet Muhammad (sa).
A. Bushra Salam Bajwa
1. “Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations,” General Assembly resolution 55/2 of September 8, 2000.
2. “Fundamental of peace, Service to Humanity,” https://trueislam.com/fundamentals/service-to-humanity/ [Accessed: May 10, 2022]
Fazal Ahmad, “The Road to Social Peace,” P. 58, Review of Religions, May 2002, https://www.reviewofreligions.org/398/the-road-to-social-peace/ [Accessed: May 10, 2022]
Last modified: June 2022