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The first responsibility to another person

Islam requires a believer to be a just witness and to deal with others justly. There are a number of verses that strongly emphasize this behavior in the treatment of others. Believers are required to quell their human emotions (hatred for others in the verse below, love for your family in verse 004:135) in an effort to be completely just when dealing with others.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ


005.008 O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.


Key elements:

  • The verse is meant for those people who already believe (i.e. in God, the Hereafter, etc.)
  • Be witnesses not for your own interests, but for Allah
  • Be just – the word, الْقِسْطِ, means “justice”, “fairness”, “correctness”
  • It recognizes that we may be tempted by our emotions, e.g. dislike of another, love of our family over others
  • But the command is repeated, this time using the word, اعْدِلُواْ, also meaning “justice”, “fairness”, impartiality” and from the root ع-د-ل
  • Justice is then described as being near “God consciousness” / “self-restraint from prohibited acts” – a virtue that this verse (and others) exhort believers to have
  • The verse concludes by reminding the believer that Allah is aware of their actions


- Mujtaba Khambatti, November 2006

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