Justice is also known as “Adal” is ranked as a basic principle of Islam after Tawheed (oneness of Allah). The definition of justice can be framed as “master of virtues and course to peace”. Allah has revealed many verses regarding the justice in one the important verse is quoted as;
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ – 16:90
Translation: “Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”
Imam Ali as throughout his life focused the justice to be an integral part of society. He had a firm belief that justice plays a role in maintaining peace and love in society. There are multiple numbers of events where Imam Ali as can be seen educating people about justice. His famous letter which he wrote to Malik Ashtar after he was made governor of Egypt. This letter is still part of Nahjul Balagha and will surely stay ultimate guidance for the rulers coming till the end of the world. The words for justice and its obedience are mentioned as,
“Do justice for Allah and do justice towards the people, as against yourself, your near ones and those of your subjects for whom you have a liking because if you do not do so you will be oppressive, and when a person oppresses the creatures of Allah then, instead of His creatures, Allah becomes his opponent, and when Allah is the opponent of a person He tramples his plea; and he will remain in the position of being at war with Allah until he gives it up and repents. ”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).
Justice shouldn’t be compromised
Favoritism, nepotism and shutting the mouths have always been a useful tool for politicians. When Imam Ali as was in his rule, he never used these tools to make his position strong among the people. He chooses the way of justice as mentioned in the Quran and hadiths. He educated the people and make his rule period role model for upcoming rulers. The establishment of such a rule turned out to be horrible for the politician of that time. They never expected the way Imam Ali as was ruling with the full power of justice. They advise showing some flexibility in his policies.
When the people ask for the flexibility he replied, if they wanted him to support injustice. Imam Ali as told them he will do justice until the existence of the universe.
This is the example that how highly Imam Ali as valued justice and what status was held in his opinion.
The Incident of Candlelight
Imam Ali as was once busy recording the revenue and the expenses of the treasury. A candle was enlightened. Meanwhile, Talha and Zubair reached in the service of Imam. Imam Ali as knew that they wanted some authority and positions in Imam’s rule. After they were settled Imam Ali as put out the candle and lit another one.
Talha and Zubair asked the Imam about putting out the first candle and lighting another one. Imam Ali as replied, “That was a candle bought of State Treasury (Baitul Mal) funds. As long as I worked for the treasury, I used it. You are for personal work, so I use the candle which is bought of my personal fund.”
Talha and Zubair left after saying any other word.
Imam Ali’s whole life is full of such experience where he highlighted the importance of justice through his sermons and actions. Justice has a premium place among the principles of Islam. Peace, generosity, happiness and much more can be restored in society and we have to just deal with justice at every step of life.