Establishing Justice In Society
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
What God is saying to us in the above verse is that for a people to be qualified to establish justice in society, they must be willing and strong enough to correct themselves when they find they are in the wrong. If they are not strong enough to execute the same justice on themselves as they execute it on others, then they are not qualified to establish justice.
Notice that the scripture says, "though it be against yourselves..." Now your ownself could be your own individual soul as well as your body. It goes on to say, "though it be against .... your parents or your kin." These are persons nearest to you. Normally the ones nearest to us are our relatives—mother, father, children, brothers and sisters, but that is not always the case. Sometimes a cousin or grandchild will win our hearts more than any other relative in the family. Furthermore, someone who is not a blood relative, perhaps an associate will become so beloved by us that almost all of our affections go to that person.
We should be constantly aware that God is truly the friend on whom we can depend at all times and in all situations. If we realize and act on this, then we will have the strength to administer justice. God says that He is closer to man than his jugular vein, and you cannot get any closer than that? So who should you want to please. If you want to do good by the One who is closest to you, then you should favor God.
It goes on to say, "Though it be a person rich or poor." Now isn't it true that a lot of people will bend the rules to favor someone rich. Perhaps they are dependent upon the rich for their livelihood or sustenance. Also, there are others who are too soft for justice. Whenever some pitiful looking creatures are facing justice, they say, "Oh, let them by. They are so miserable. They are so poor." No! The ones God wants to administer justice must be able to do what is right in all situations. When your own interest is at stake, when a close relative's or close friend's interest is at stake, or when your heart is inclined to show mercy on the weak because they are weak, the same justice must be applied.
To find out how God wants justice administered, we have to read the Qur'an and look into the practices (sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to see what God says and what the Prophet indicated in his obedience to God. If what we find does not dictate that we favor or be lenient to a person, then we should execute justice on them without shedding a tear.
It is among the African-American people that we find this weakness in favoring the poor and miserable among us. Most of us will stand up to a rich person. We are ready to send them to hell right away. It is probably because most of us are poor. But when it comes to the poor and the weak, we want to show them favors. We want to be easy on them. We might say to others, "Oh, leave him alone. He's poor and without a family..." Maybe this person just came among us and severely mistreated a woman or damaged some property. Yet we want to be easy on him because he looks pitiful after being caught. If we are to serve God, we must please him and do what is right.
Who do we depend upon ultimately for help? Take the child for instance. A child will depend upon himself as long as he can manage, but cries out for momma as soon as it gets into serious trouble. This is because the child knows by nature to depend upon his mother. The mother has always been the rescuer, the friend by his side. Now God is man's rescuer. He is the friend constantly by the side of all people. When we get in serious trouble, we naturally call on Him. Sometimes we put ourselves in that serious trouble because we forget how much we depend on God. We might say, "Oh, I don't have to worry about God. My business is more important than God. I'm trying to make money, man." And then he suddenly gets news that he is bankrupt. Instantly he cries out, "Oh, God, Oh God. Please help me. If you will just help me get over this one." The Qur'an says, "When man falls into misery, then he cries out to God."
'O Allah, bless Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad
as You blessed Abraham and the followers of Abraham"