Equality and Justice in Islam


Edited by: Ann Ronayne


  • Islam teaches us that all humans are equal regardless of their race, color, or nationality.
  • Islam prohibits all forms of apartheid, class-based discrimination, and racism.
  • Islam commands us to maintain security, spread peace, and live in peace and harmony on Earth.
  • Islam instructs us not to transgress against others or to steal their money or property.
  • Islam prohibits the killing of innocent people.
  • Islam instructs us to avoid hatred and hostility towards others.


Equality in Islam:

{O humankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God (Allah) is the most righteous of you. Indeed God (Allah) is Knowing and Acquainted.} (The Quran 49: 13)

Islam teaches us not to hate or disparage others based on their race, skin tone or eye colour, or nationality. Islam is a practical remedy for the scourge of racial conflict and discrimination which the world witnesses. In Islam, people of all colors are brothers and sisters in the same human race. We are all descended from the same father, Adam, who was created from dust; thus we are all from the earth and we will all go back to the earth and turn into dust again. Confirming this ideal concept of equality in Islam, Prophet Muhammad declared in his last sermon, during the Hajj pilgrimage:

“O people, your God is One, and your father is One. You are all from Adam, and Adam is from dust. An Arab is not superior to a non-Arab, and a non-Arab is not superior to an Arab. A white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have superiority over a white. You are all equal. No one has superiority over others except through piety and good action.”

When Malcolm X (Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) made the same pilgrimage to Makkah more than 1300 years later, he wrote back to his colleagues in Harlem:

“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors…


“There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.


“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white – but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color…


“During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug – while praying to the same God – with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.


“We were truly all the same (brothers) – because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude.


“I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man – and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their ‘differences’ in color…


“Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black and white. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities – he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth – the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.


“Never have I been so highly honored. Never have I been made to feel more humble and unworthy. Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped upon an American Negro? A few nights ago, a man who would be called in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a companion of kings, gave me his hotel suite, his bed. Never would I have even thought of dreaming that I would ever be a recipient of such honors – honors that in America would be bestowed upon a King – not a Negro.”

There is no doubt that Allah is perfect, as is His religion of Islam – but of course, Muslims themselves are imperfect human beings. It is important for Muslims to continually evaluate ourselves to ensure that our attitudes and behaviour reflect true Islamic teachings, not negative customs from our various cultures.

So why do some people feel false pride or act arrogantly towards others?

Bilal was one of the first converts to Islam and one of Prophet Muhammad’s closest companions; his mother was from Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) and his father was an Arab slave. Due to his beautiful voice, the Prophet chose him to give the first call to prayer, and he continued doing so until after the Prophet died.

It was reported that another early Muslim, Abu Dharr, once scornfully called Bilal, “son of a black woman.” When Bilal told Prophet Muhammad what had happened, the Prophet became angry and scolded Abu Dharr, telling him he still had some of the pre-Islamic ignorance in him. Abu Dharr was ashamed and apologized profusely.

Justice in Islam:

{O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.} (5:8)

Islam teaches us to be just with everyone, whether friend or foe, at all times, whether at peace or at war. It teaches us to conduct ourselves with unconditional justice and morality, free from individual whims or the idea that moral values change over time due to changing social and cultural circumstances.

{Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice.} (4:58)

As a practical manifestation of its beauty and its eternal values of mercy and justice, Islam commands us to protect what Muslim scholars call ‘The Five Necessities’:

  1. Religion.
  2. Soul.
  3. Mind.
  4. Honour (dignity).
  5. Money and property.

Beautifully, the Glorious Quran points out that if one kills an innocent soul:

{It is as if he had killed humankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved humankind entirely.} (5:32)


Concerning the freedom and protection of faith, the Glorious Quran states: {There is no compulsion in religion…} (2:256)

Thus, Islam honours humankind and commands us to be honest, objective, and fair when judging others. Let’s remember what Allah tells us in the Glorious Quran:

{…and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.} (5:8)

In many sayings, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) told us to be just, merciful, beneficial, and kind when treating others:

ž  “The Compassionate One [God] has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in Heaven will show mercy to you.”

ž  “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

ž  “The powerful is not he who knocks the other down; indeed the powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger.”

ž  “God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.”

ž  “The best of Islam is to behave with gentleness and tolerance.”

ž  “The best people are those most beneficial to [other] people.”


Prophet Muhammad also practiced what he taught; his dealings and behaviour towards others reflected his special and unique personality in his morals, mercy, honesty, sincerity, kindness, truthfulness, humbleness, generosity, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, and many other virtues.


The stories and evidence of the Prophet’s magnificent personal attributes are too numerous to mention here, so let us take just one example.

After his Makkan opponents rejected him and his message of Islam…

After they persecuted and mistreated him, trying to kill him many times…

After they tortured and killed many of his followers and loved ones…

After they fought him and his companions, driving them out of their homes and seizing their properties and land…


How did Muhammad treat these enemies when he entered Makkah and liberated it from idolatry and paganism?


In the wake of this momentous victory for Muhammad and the Muslims, at the climax of their joy, rapture, and happiness at coming back home to the sacred city of Makkah… Prophet Muhammad gathered together the Makkans, who were afraid that he would harm or even kill them in revenge for their past abuse and killing of Muslims.


Muhammad asked them, “What do you think I am going to do with you?”

They answered, “You are a generous brother and the son of an honourable brother of ours.”

Then the kind, tolerant, generous, and merciful Prophet forgave them. He announced, “No harm will come to you. You may go. You are free.”

Have you ever seen such a scene? Have you ever heard such a story? Can you sense the Prophet’s mercy?


Be Creative

Science cuts two ways, of course; its products can be used for both good and evil. But there's no turning back from science. The early warnings about technological dangers also come from science.

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