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In the Name of God بسم الله

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  • Veteran Member

One of the five ‘Usul al-Din (foundations of the faith) is the concept of Al-Adl (The Justice of God).

Shi’a theologians differ from their Sunni counterparts in that they hold that this belief in God’s necessity to act justly is a pillar of the faith and believe it is a crucial element of al-Tawheed. Whereas the Sunni theological schools have generally argued that it impossible to delegate certain obligations upon the nature of God and that therefore it is not compulsory that Allah necessarily acts justly.

This entry shall analyse what the doctrine of Al-Adl entails according to Imami theologians as well as the scriptural and rational basis of the doctrine.

Al-Adl According to Shi’a Theologians

Shi’a theologians have generally accepted that God in his nature must be just due to justice being one of God's attributes of beauty (Jamal). There are several Qur’an verses which allude to the necessity of God acting in accordance with justice and forbidding injustice from himself, namely:

“Verily Allah does not wrong Mankind in anything” (Surah 10: 44)

“Verily Allah does not wrong even the weight of an Atom” (Surah 4: 40)

These verses clearly demonstrate that God in his revelation has firmly distanced himself from the ability to do wrong, namely injustice to others.

Alongside these verses, the faculties of reason would not permit for the greatest conceivable Being, namely God, to be associated with injustice as it’s an attribute of imperfection and moral deficiency. As the Islamic theologian and jurist Ja’far Subhani summarised most succinctly; injustice and oppression within the realm of creation are always a consequence of the following factors:

1) Ignorance

2) Incapacity and need

3) Absolute foolishness

This can be observed through the following explanations provided by Sobhani. In the first category, the individual committing the injustice is one who commits injustice due to a profound ignorance or lack of awareness about the ugliness of injustice.

In the second example, the individual may be aware of the injustice they are committing, but may be unable to enact justice or are in need of the fruits of the injustice he is committing.

In the third circumstance, the one who commits the injustice is both aware of the ugliness of injustice and is able to enact justice, however due to his extreme lack of wisdom, simply does not care about the moral deficiencies of acting unjustly.

Given that all of the above mentioned circumstances would be blasphemous to attribute to God, it is quite clear that he is not bound by any of those constraints and therefore does not act unjustly.

The Shi’a theologians have always held that good and evil can be distinguished through intellect. Whilst good encompasses acts which are associated with perfection; evil encompasses acts which highlight imperfection. Given that Allah is the greatest conceivable Being and a Being of pure perfection, it would not make rational sense that Allah would act unjustly.

The some Sunni theologians on the other hand have argued that there is no intrinsic status for good and evil or justice and injustice. Rather, if Allah would choose to place all the disbelievers in heaven and place all the believers in hellfire for an eternity then this would not in any way reflect negatively on Allah. According to Sunni theologians, this would actually fall under the definition of good and justice since Allah is the higher standard through which good and evil are understood, known and perceived.

Some Sunni theologians would argue that the theological position of the Shi’a is actually a deficient view of God as it means the Shi’a are holding God subject to their own moral standards, whereas since God is the greatest Being, he cannot be held accountable by anything which is lesser than himself.

In response to this, Imami theologians have responded that Allah in his attributes is described as the “All-Wise” and therefore cannot commit any act which is not in its very nature good and just due to the fact that wisdom is inseparable from good actions and is contrary to committing evil.

The Realm of Allah’s Justice

God acts justly in the realm of creation which is described in the Qur’an verse cited below:

“Our Lord is he who gave unto everything its nature, then guided it aright” (Surah 20:50)

This verse clarifies that God does not jest in the realm of creation but rather creates everything in nature in the form in which he intended for it. This means that any deficiencies within a person’s character are due to the straying of that individual and not due to an inherent fault created by God within the individual.

Justice in the Legislative Realm

God can also be observed as being just within the realm of religious legislation where he advises mankind in how they should conduct themselves in this life, through the sending of Prophets, Imams and revelation. Yet God also legislates divine law which does not unjustly overburden the believer with obligations which are overwhelmingly difficult to follow, nor impossible for the believer to implement in his daily life.

As God states in the Qur’an:

“And we task not any soul beyond its capability” (Surah 23: 62)

Justice in the Realm of Recompense

God likewise acts in accordance with divine justice and judges each and every individual in accordance with their circumstances and deeds. He does not judge them randomly in accordance with favouritism but rather judges either rewards or punishes each individual in a manner which is just.

“And we set a just balance for the day of resurrection so that no soul is wronged in anything.” (Surah 21:47)

God has made clear that even in the realm reward and punishment, those who have not been fortunate enough to receive divine guidance through being taught a religious moral code via a messenger shall be exempted from punishment:

“We never punish until we have sent a Messenger.” (Surah 17: 15)


Whilst the subjection of Divine Justice remains a point of contention between the Shi’a and non-Shi’a schools of theology, it is clear that according to the Qur’an and rational discourse that the greatest conceivable Being must be one which acts in accordance with justice, therefore Allah must act justly.

For Imami theologians, to stipulate otherwise would be in direct contradiction with the Qur’an as well as in direct violation to rational theology.

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I respect Imam Ali a.s...but how can you relate him to this ?

Allah swt is the most just.

We may see a lot of moral and natural evil, but if a God can create humanity and existence from nothing, and says he will not wrong us, he won't.

Although...his justice may not be our justice.

I.E i would never want hell to exist, and would pefer human-like methods of suffering for those who are evil for a long time. I.E physically / mentally suffer what they caused , with extra.

But what do i know ? perhaps having a hell where you drink pus, and thorny fruit, and when you call out for mercy you receive none is better.

Allah swt knows best i guess.

What i love about my shia school of thought: in jurisprudence, and logic and philosophy, we are very very top.

What i dislike: zanjeer, the belief that people have been given power by Allah swt to hear and grant dua's , the lack of Quran teaching at my mosque, azadari quite a lot of the time (i believe it is needed, but not on every possible occasion)

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May Allaah Grant us the sincere intentions and a good ending aameen

Injustice is to disobey the one who deserves to be obeyed. The owner of a particular thing is the one who has the right to be obeyed regarding it. for example how would you jusdge the following two cases?:

1. If I borrowed a shirt from someone to wear but instead of wearing it I cut it up and trod on it and stained it with mud

2. If I got my own shirt, cut it up and trod on it and stained it with mud

Now how about the following two cases?:

1. Allaah Who Owns the disbeliever that spent his life doing charitable works sends him to Hell-Fire for eternity.

2. Allaah Who Owns the Muslim that spent his life killing, raping, stealing and wronging others sends him sooner or later to Paradise for eternity.

Allaah determined that kufr is not going to be Forgiven whilst all other sins will be. He is Just and due to His Justice He will Punish who He Willed and by His Mercy He will Reward who He Willed. Allaah Owns the whole of creation. By definition injustice cannot apply to Him. He Has Promised Mercy to those of His slaves that obey Him and He may Forgive the same sin from one person and not from another and He does not wrong anyone.

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  • Basic Members

Salam Alaykum,

I hope everyone is in the best of health and good faith by the grace of God.

The topic of justice is not simple and has its twist and turns when we dwell deeper into it. From what i understand of justice is placing a thing at its right place, e,g; a shoe can not be worn on the head which will be a form of a insult to the shoe and result in injustice but if the shoe is placed on the foot then this will be justice because it is used for the right thing.

Allah is All just we believe and he will never place a thing in its wrong place for example a person who is a disbeliever in to hell and a believer in to heaven it just does not make sense at all, otherwise the purpose of creation would be questioned and have life would have no meaning because if we do alot of good and keep up our prayer and everything else then at the end God places us in hell would be a form of injustice to us, which then will point out God being deficient which is not true as one of the brothers quoted a quranic verse in support of it.

If I borrowed a shirt from someone to wear but instead of wearing it I cut it up and trod on it and stained it with mud.

You would be doing injustice to the guy from whom you borrowed if sought permission and you would also being injustice to the shirt for not using it in the correct manner to wear.

If I got my own shirt, cut it up and trod on it and stained it with mud.

You would be doing injustice to the shirt again by not using it correctly and destroying it.

Edited by faisal786
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  • Advanced Member

Although...his justice may not be our justice.

I.E 1) i would never want hell to exist, and would pefer 2) human-like methods of suffering for those who are evil for a long time. I.E physically / mentally suffer what they caused , 3)with extra.

1) One of God's orders is to fear him. So hell is there as a warning. Just like you have jails in this world to prevent the majority from 'sin'.

2) You wouldn't say that if you saw what God saw. Some are mentioned in the Quran others are mentioned in daily news(media).

•Pharaoh slaughtering fresh born babies while their mothers are watching, is everything but human.

•Rebels in Africa raping 5 year olds, chopping limbs, beheading a whole village then move to the next one to commit the same is everything but human...

Simple examples to prove you that human-like methods would cause injustice when you implement them on these kind.

3) You're not allowed to punish 'with extra' according to the Quran, you have to punish with the same amount.


And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

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