Freedom, Equality, and Justice in Islam by Mohammad Hashim Kamali
FREEDOM, EQUALITY, AND JUSTICE IN ISLAM
The subjects that are addressed in this volume are the concern of every legal system, and are not, therefore, peculiar to the Shari‘ah.
Their relationship to one another and the general theme of human rights hardly need elucidation. Justice and equality are closely interrelated insofar as the one cannot be meaningfully implemented without the other.
Justice often means equal treatment and the equal distribution of advantages and burdens, or a commensurate correction of an imbalance that is caused by deviant behavior. Similarly, neither equality nor justice can be a meaningful reality without freedom.
Justice presumes the moral autonomy of individuals and their liberty to act as they will.
Justice can, therefore, have little meaning if it is applied to a person or a group of persons who are deprived of their freedom, or compelled to a course of action that is beyond their control. Equality also acquires much of its substance only in an environment where freedom is a reality.
To treat two prisoners equally does make some sense but equality before the law in different situations and among people of different caliber and status is where equality becomes more meaningful.
A perusal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or any chapter on the basic rights and liberties enshrined in a contemporary constitution will show that numerous and varied as they are, almost the entire range of these rights and liberties are predicated on freedom, equality, and justice, the most fundamental, so to speak, of all the recognized rights and liberties.