Social justice in a developed system is inevitable. Thus social justice and development are indivisible integral wholesome. They compliment each other for the healthy development of a morally just community. In such a model ideal society, development is to lead to social justice where the most impoverished and marginalized are reached, their basic needs are met and also have access to resources as any other dignified, independent and free human being of same society. Issue like social philanthropy where giving and volunteering are geared to achieving social justice and social stability by reaching the most marginalized and enabling them to enhance their status and depend on themselves is necessary. It becomes more essential when policy changes and shifting peoples’ perception towards peoples’ giving habits are involved. This is exactly the kind of ideal model society Islam has come to put in place as exemplified in the life time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the rightly guided caliphs after him.
The term ‘social justice’ is of recent terminology. It was first used in recent times by some political thinkers in political debates like John Stuart Mill and has since become widespread. Social justice connotes that the overall pattern of distribution in a society is supposed to be brought into line with the principles of justice itself. However, there seemed to have been two major conception of this social justice. One goes for the notions of merit and desert, while the second is of need and equality. The first maintains that each person’s social position and material rewards should as far as possible correspond to their place on a scale of Merit. This implies the ending of hereditary privilege and an open society in which the chance to display desert is open to the people. The second understanding entails that goods should be allocated according to each person’s various needs. This in turn is in ally with the idea of equality, since a program which successfully satisfies need makes people materially equal in one important respect.
THE ISLAMIC UNDERSTANDING:
Islam is the religion of nature. It could not have deserved anything less to be called “The Perfect Religion”. Being this the nature of our religion Islam, it understands the deepest innate of mankind. After all, the “Maker” is to know the “made” better. This is the true position of the religion Islam. Thus, Islam recognizes all the varying gifts human beings are granted with. As people differ in their bodies and features, so they differ in their mental and other endowments. Everything about them, their environment, circumstances, hereditary gains etc all differ. In this case, the possibility of a balanced and equal society is void and impossible. But Islam has provided absolutely at all levels the necessary prerequisites for such a model balanced social justice. These are the absolute freedom of conscience, the complete equality of all men, and the social interdependence among members of the society.
Looking at the first element, which is freedom of conscience, social justice can no way be achieved except with a totally free human conscience that is imbibed with that pristine believe that there is no superior authority over any individual except Allah. Power is only in the hand of Allah, which He gives to whomsoever He wishes; and nobody can mediate between Him and His creatures, even if he is a prophet. So everyone keeps his secrets between him and Allah, and in times of needs, just pick up your phone and dial the direct uninterrupted line of your Creator. You need no mediator to reach Him.
Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, said concerning Prophet Mohamed, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam,
“Say: ‘It is not in my power to cause you harm, or bring you benefit (or guidance)”
and also said,
“Say (O Muhammad (SAWS)) ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we shall worship none but Allah (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.”
(Al Imran: 64)
With such a free soul, man lives with no fear of any other creature like himself, since nobody but Allah can benefit or harm his life, livelihood, or position. However, this attempt to totally free the man’s soul from the fear of any object or creature except Allah cannot be realized in totality since humans are still bonded to basic instinctive needs, the most important of which is food. Therefore, for this freedom to be realistic in life, Allah put a set of social rules that provides mankind with his basic needs. It also, in turn, guarantees the liberalization of the human soul. This is an instance of the basic law of Islam that complete equality is achieved among human beings. Nobody can assert his superiority over the others by having blue or noble blood running in his veins or by claiming that he is coming from the race of gods. This is why Islam categorically taught the unity of the human race in origin and in history, in life and in death, in privileges and in responsibilities, before the law and before Allah, in this world and in the world to come. This is manifested in the Qur’an when Allah said:
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam), and from it created its mate (Eve), and from them both He created multitude of men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever All-Watcher over you”.
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah, is that who has taqwa (i.e. the fear of Allah) . Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Acquainted (with all things)”
Therefore, human dignity is preserved for every human being; the only difference among them is in their fear of God that is displayed in their ways and conducts, not their race nor their colors. He said:
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge”
The other important law that guarantees the human freedom is the social interdependence. Social interdependence refers to the fact that none can live in isolation. Thus the man’s sense of duty and responsibility towards his society becomes paramount here. It doesn’t only mean the emotional sympathy towards the others, but it also means taking pragmatic actions to help the needy in the society to the degree that sufficiently covers their basic needs. This is what the compulsory annual due for the rich (zakat) is meant for. Being richer than others does not make one a superior being. In fact it is all trials from Allah. He said:
“Your wealth and your children are only trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward (Paradise)”.
If societies can be built on foundations of these kind, it will be of no doubt that such society would reflect the best model for a social just society.