Justice in Islam and Christianity: A Comparative Study

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies and Political Science, ISU

Abstract

One of the most fundamental subjects relating to humankind’s social life is justice. From the early days of human civilization, this topic has been intertwined with the most basic philosophical and sociological thoughts developed by the human mind. The great intellectuals of human history-whose contributions in the field of knowledge should truly be viewed as humankind’s collective heritage, not merely tied to the pride of a particular region or nationality-have all sought to address this topic in some way-in view, of course, of their peculiar social, ethical, philosophical, and political considerations-in an attempt to offer a precise definition of it and an accurate description of its role in the general arena of the human being’s social life. Divine and monotheistic religions have also been champions of justice in human societies. The Qur’an-as the final heavenly book revealed to God’s final prophet-enumerates three objectives in Surah Jum‘ah for which God appointed His prophets: to purify the human being’s soul from vice, to teach him God’s decrees and signs, and to edify him with knowledge and wisdom so as to enable him to uphold social justice. This demonstrates clearly that, in their religious endeavors, all the prophets pursued the same end, for the above-cited Surah does not restrict these objectives to Prophet Muhammad’s ministry; they are put forth as the objectives of all previous prophets as well.
In this light, the comparative study of the principles that the monotheistic and Abrahamic faiths-particularly the two great faiths of Islam and Christianity-share in common or at least come very close to sharing is an especially important interdisciplinary field of study. In this article, I attempt to examine, in summary fashion of course, the tenets Islam and Christianity posit with regard to the concept of justice. (I should note in advance that my study of the Christian doctrine rests mainly on the thought and works of Saint Augustine.) This article should be viewed as a preliminary work, an introduction to a more extensive study on the principles these two faiths define regarding justice and, more particularly, social justice.

Keywords


The Noble Qur’an

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