Saturday 20th of July 2024
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'Adl (Justice)

'Adl (Justice)

God the Almighty is not unjust to anybody, nor does He commit any action which could be considered bad by man's primordial sense. This is what is known as, 'adl (justice). Justice is one of the attributes of Almighty God, existence of which is necessary. It is essential, like all the other attributes of Oneness. The Ash'arites differ greatly in their beliefs from the Imamiyah and the Mu'tazilah (the Imamiyah and the Mu'tazilah are both called "Adliyah") The reason for this opposition is that the Ash'arites reject "goodness and badness" as rational concepts, and affirm rather that "goodness" is that which is called "good" by religion, and "badness" that which the code of religion calls "bad". They regard knowledge of the Creator and recognition of the prophets as being outside the scope of the intellect; they accept miracles according to the dictates of religion, and they completely discard the dictates of wisdom. Consequently they are in perplexity.

The "Adliyah" (that is, the Imamiyah and the Mu'tazilah) maintain that Islam is in accordance with reason.

Reason considers some actions ggood and some actions bad, and it is reason too which considers a bad act to be impossible for God the Almighty: He is All-wise and a bad action would be contrary to the dictates of His wisdom.

To chastise an obedient person is unjust, and injustice is a bad action; reason assures us that the Creator of the world could not unjustly chastise obedient Muslims as this would be a bad action.
The Imamiyah sect have paid special attention to the problem of 'adl and hve included this attribute among the fundamentals of religion. (It is worthy of note here that the Ash'arites do not themselves deny justice; their faith in this respect is that whatever God the Almighty does cannot affect justice and goodness; they are of the view that wisdom is so insignificant that it cannot decide as to whether one thing is appropriate for God and another thing inappropriate.) The Imamiyah have clearly demonstrated that the best criterion for testing goodness and badness is wisdom. It is through this means that we have come to the conclusion that the All-perfect Being (God) must have all good attributes and be free from all imperfections.

On the basis of this view of goodness and badness, and faith in the justice of God, certain other beliefs have formed: the notion of "lutf" (God's all-permeating benevolence and blessing), and the belief that it is the duty of a Muslim to thank God, Who has given him everything. The notion of "jabr" and "ikhtiyar" (the coercion of man by God and the freedom of man to act as he wishes respectively) are closely connected to the ideas of goodness and badness. Absolute destiny and freewill have always been a major subject of discussion in every philosophy or religion. The Ash'arites believed in "jabr", and the Mu'tazilah and the Imamiyah held and still hold the view that every man is free and independent: he can do everything voluntarily, and perfrom all his actions with his own will. Like the existence of self, the faculty of volition is also a gift from God. The Creator of the universe created people and gave them freedom of action; absolute authority is God's alone, but in his day-to-day speech and actions man is quite independent. God, the Almighty, neither forces anyone to some action, nor restrains him from doing it; the sons of Adam do as they please. It is for the same reason that the intellect demands that a crime be punished and a good act rewarded or praised.

If we do not follow this basic rule, reward and punishment, the sending of the prophets, the revelation of the Books, and the promise of Gehenna or Paradise in the hereafter becomes meaningless.

There is, unfortunately, no further room for discussion within the restricted framework of this book. We would refer the reader to part I of our book "ad-Din wa 'l-Islam". In short the Imamiyah religion believes that God is "adil" (just) and that man is independent and free to act.

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