Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 8

The Necessity of Observing Justice

There are usually two causes which hold people back from doing justice and then make them do the unjust and the oppressive. The first one is taking the side of your own self, or that of your friends and relatives [we read about this in Surah An-Nisa]. Enmity with someone is the other cause.

Addressing the believers Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

يَـأَيُّهَآ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ للَّهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice.”

So the essential message is that when it comes to doing justice, let nothing affect you, neither your own self, nor your parents or your relatives. If the demand of justice happens to be against them, stay with nothing but justice. Hostility against an enemy should not affect your sense of justice to the limit that you start working against the demands of justice to harm your enemy. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands us to be just with everyone, whether a friend or an enemy.

A person who stands for justice will stand for none but Allah, and one who stands for none but Allah will do nothing but justice. But, when it comes to protecting personal interest or favoring friends and relatives, one may be tempted to justify the thought that the act of caring for relationships here is also for Allah.  Therefore, by using the word lillah [for Allah], the chances of sentimental attachments overpowering human nature have been taken away. The point is, when you stand for Allah, the inevitable outcome should be an equal justice with enemies as well.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends this ayah by saying,

 اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ 

“Be just, that is nearer to taqwa; and have fear of Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

He will reward or punish you according to your actions, whether good or evil.


– We learn the obligation of standing up for the right of Allah. Sometimes we are persistent with Salah, but ignore the recitation of the Qur’an. When we recite the Qur’an we ignore the adhkar. Allah’s rights must be honored at all times. Sometimes we love talking to someone so much that we will neglect the Salah. Sometimes we are so busy in our meal that we forget all about the Salah.

– Justice must be supported and that too only for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Standing up for justice in every situation is obligatory whether it is one’s personal life, professional life, social, economic or political life.

It is recorded in the two saheehs that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said,

“My father gave me a gift, but Amrah bint Rawahah, my mother, said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah’s Messenger as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah’s Messenger to ask him to be a witness to his giving me the gift. Allah’s Messenger sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam asked,

أكل ولدك نحلت مثله؟

‘Have you given the like of it to everyone of your offspring?’ He replied in the negative. Allah’s Messenger sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

اتَّقُوا اللهَ وَاعْدِلُوا فِي أَوْلَادِكُم

‘Have taqwa of Allah and treat your children equally.’ And said;

إِنِّي لَا أَشْهَدُ عَلى جَوْر

‘I shall not be witness to injustice.’ My father then returned and took back his gift.”

– We learn about sincerity. If a person does something sincerely for the sake of Allah and not for compliments and praise by people, only then he will be not biased.

– When we our overwhelmed by emotions, we neglect our rights. Whether these are our own rights, rights of Allah or rights of other people.

– Enemity should not lead one to biasness.

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