Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) embodied justice, practically applying this trait in his life
"The Prophet practically applied the sense of equality and brotherhood that he (peace be upon him) established among members of the Islamic Society, even on himself"
Carra de Vaux
French baron and orientalist
And I ordered you to be just between yourselves Surah Ash-Shura: 15.
When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was inspecting the rows of the Companions before the battle of Badr, the past one Companion that was slightly protruding from the line, so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) pushed him back to be in line with the others. As a result, the man left complaining about this and wanted to take retribution from the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) allowed the man to take retribution from him. Consequently, the Companion asked the Prophet to uncover his stomach in order to retaliate. The Prophet complying with the Companions wishes shows how he (peace be upon him) was a physical representation of great justice with both his relatives and non-relatives; a justice that is based on the truth and gives people their rights. But all the Companion did was to embrace the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and kiss his stomach; the Companion wanted that to be the last thing he did before entering the battle. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) supplicated Allah for the Companion to receive good.
The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Hesham
Prophet Muhammed’s justice, even against himself
Abdullah ibn Masoud said,
During the battle of Badr, three of us would have one camel to ride. Abu Lubabah and Ali ibn Abu Talib were with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and it was the Messenger of Allah’s turn to walk. Consequently, the other two said, ‘We will walk instead of you and let you ride.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, ‘You two are not stronger than me, and I am not in less need of rewards than you.’ related by Ahmed.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked to receive different treatment from his Companions, and wanted to bear the same difficulties and hardships as them; moreover, he gave this reply to make sure justice was upheld and all were treated equally.
Prophet Muhammed’s justice, even against his close relatives
The story of the woman from Bani Mukhzum who stole highlights this point. Her family sought the help of Usama ibn Zaid in order for him to intercede for them with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). But the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not accept such intercession, replying with words that history has preserved for all time,
What destroyed the nations before you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, stole, I would cut off her hand related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
Prophet Muhammed’s justice, even against his Companions
One of the Muslims called Ta’mah stole a shield from his Muslim neighbour. The shield was in a bag of flour and a track of flour fell from a hole in the bag until it stopped at a house.
After that, Ta’mah hid the shield in a Jew’s house. Ta’mah was accused of stealing the shield, so he swore by Allah that he did not take it. The owner of the shield said, “We saw some traces of flour in his (Ta’mah) house.” And after he took an oath that he did not steal it, they left him and followed the track of flour to the Jew’s house where they found the shield. The Jew stated, “Ta’mah hid it in my house!” Consequently, Ta’mah’s family went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked him to defend their relative. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was about to punish the Jew. However, the revelation was revealed indicating that the truth was otherwise, but the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not hide any of this revelation. In fact, he announced that the Jew was innocent and that the Muslim had stolen the shield.
Tafsir of Ibn Katheer.
Prophet Muhammed’s justice between his wives
Another example of the Prophet’s justice was clear inside the Prophet’s house as the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be totally fair when dividing matters between his wives, both when travelling and when resident in Medina.
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said,
When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) wanted to travel, he used to draw lots to decide which one of his wives would go with him, and he would take the one whose name was drawn related by Al-Bukhari.
In fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned his followers about giving one wife preferential treatment over another one. He (peace be upon him) said,
Whoever has two wives and favours one of them over the other, he will come on the Resurrection Day with one of his sides leaning related by Muslim.
Is it possible to love one’s wives or children equally? Does the Islamic legislation require this from us?
What is your reply to the one who thinks that Islam oppresses women and does not give them their rights?
Prophet Muhammed’s justice between his children
One example of this was related by Amer. He (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
I heard An-Nu’man ibn Basheer (may Allah be pleased with them), when he was standing on the pulpit, say, ‘my father Abu ‘Atiyah gave me a gift.’ His wife, Amra bint Rawahah, said, ‘I will not agree to this until the Messenger of Allah bears witness to it.’ So my father went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and said, “I have given my son from Amra bint Rawahah a gift, but she ordered me to ask you to bear witness to this, Oh Messenger of Allah.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Did you give the rest of your children a similar gift?’ He replied, ‘No.’ So the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Fear Allah and be just to your children.’ He (peace be upon him) continued, ‘So go home and give back the gift.’ related by Al-Bukhari
Prophet Muhammed’s justice
The religion of Prophet Muhammed is a religion of justice
"If the world wants to free itself from evil, they should follow this religion. It is truly a religion that entails cooperation, peace, and justice which is implemented by a legal legislation"
Justice and mercy are some of the basic features of Prophet Muhammed’s character
"In his character are two qualities which are some of the most beautiful qualities that a human can have; these are justice and mercy"
Prophet Muhammed’s justice when allotting wealth and judging between people
The Prophet’s justice is clear when he (peace be upon him) judged between people who had a disagreement. And how can this not be the case when he (peace be upon him) is the one who said,
If Fatima, the daughter of Muhammed, stole, I would cut off her hand related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
When one of Bira’ ibn ‘Ajib’s camels entered a man’s field and ruined it,
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered the owner of the crops to look after the field during the daytime, and for the owner of the camels to look after the field at night related by Ahmed
Similarly, the narration that related that a man called Dhal-Khawaysarah from Al-Tamem came when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was distributing money. He said,
“Oh Messenger of Allah, be just”
Consequently, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
Woe to you! Who is just if I am not just? You would have been ruined and have failed if I were not just related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us about the opposite of justice, that is oppression. Mention some reports in Islam that indicate how great a crime oppression is.
Prophet Muhammed’s justice with the polytheists
This was clear from how the Prophet (peace be upon him) dealt with Safwan ibn ‘Umayyah after Mecca was liberated. Safwan was still a polytheist at that time. The Messenger (peace be upon him) needed some shields for the battle in Hunayn. Safwan used to trade in weapons in Mecca, and he had a large stock of weapons, so the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to him,
“Oh Safwan, do you have weapons.” He replied, “Will it be a loan or are you taking them by force?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered, “No, [it is] a loan.” Therefore, Safwan lent him just over thirty shields, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used them in the battle of Hunayn. When he defeated the polytheists and gathered Safwan’s shields, they found that they had lost one of them. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to Safwan, “We lost one of your shields, should we pay you for it?” He replied, “No, Messenger of Allah; as there is something in my heart today that was not present the other day [when I lent you the shields]” related by Abu Dawood
Abu Dawood said, “Safwan lent them before he entered Islam, and after that he accepted Islam.”
The Prophet’s noble qualities
The manners of Prophet Muhammed indicate that justice was a basic feature of his character
The willingness of this man to suffer persecution because of his beliefs, as well as the lofty manners of those who believed in, followed and considered him to be their master and leader, and him also attaining other great feats, all of that indicate that justice and fairness were inherent features of his character
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not take the shields from Safwan by force, although the liberation of Mecca meant that he (Safwan) was in the position of one who had been conquered. Safwan was even surprised that the Prophet wanted to borrow the shields when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the strong, victorious conqueror. That is why he asked, “Will it be a loan or are you taking them by force?” To which the Prophet replied, “No, [it is] a loan.” And when one shield was lost, the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to pay its price!
Prophet Muhammed’s justice with the People of the Book (Jews and Christians)
If you were surprised about the justice of the Messenger (peace be upon him) in the previous situation, you will be extremely surprised about the incident when he (peace be upon him) judged between a Muslim and one who professed a different faith. A Jew had lent money to Jabir ibn Abdullah, but when the time came for him to pay the debt, he was not able to pay it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the Jew to ask him to give Jabir more time to pay the debt. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him many times, trying to persuade him to let Jabir pay later, but the Jew refused to give him more time, so the Prophet ordered Jabir to pay the debt.
[related by Al-Bukhari; Chapter about food].
Does being just to a non-Muslim mean that the religion is weak, or that it is strong and adheres to noble principles?
Prophet Muhammed’s justice in declaring others’ rights
The Prophet (peace be upon him) determined the rights of those who were frail, and warned the people against not giving them their rights, as he said,
Your servants are your brethren (that is, those who serve you are your brethren) Allah placed them under your hands. Whoever has a brother under his control should feed him with what he (the master) eats, clothe them with [the same type of] clothes he (the master) wears, and not ask him to do more than he is able to perform. However, if you ask him to do something burdensome, help him with it related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
He (peace be upon him) used to also order his Companions to be balanced in their actions (to be a middle nation [not too extreme or too lenient]) and give everyone their rights. He (peace be upon him) said,
Oh Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, I heard that you fast during the day and pray all night. Do not do that, as your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, and your wife has a right over you related by Muslim.
Mention three examples that illustrate the justice of the Islamic legislation with which the just Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent?
How can we follow the Prophet’s example?
1. Always follow the truth and always judge fairly, even if it is against yourself, your parents or your relatives.
2. If you are given some responsibility, do not make your enmity against a certain person a reason to oppress and take other’s rights. Allah (Glorified is He) says,
Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to righteousness Surah Al-Ma’idah: 8
3.Do not oppress anyone, no matter what the reason may be or whoever the person may be, and give everyone their rights.
4.Follow the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and be wise and just with your family, and be fair when dividing things between your children. Moreover, teach them to follow the Prophet’s guidance concerning being just.