From within the family to the community to the broader world stage, issues of injustice and oppression have always existed. The ugly face of injustice and oppression can take on many forms, whether it looks like domestic abuse within the household, bullying, crimes, or imprisonment for adhering to one’s faith, culture or identity, systemic racism leading to debilitating cycles of poverty, or politics and policies that eventually transform people’s homes into warzones.
The silver lining behind such injustices is that they are often a source of motivation for people to come together and mobilize their efforts in bringing about change in the world. The past two years have precipitated many global movements for social justice, with what some argue to be a rekindled consciousness for the value of life, human rights, and equality. There is a growing sense of urgency to act and advocate for those who are not able to stand up for themselves.
This weekend, we celebrate the man who represents a revival of justice in the world. Narrations tell us that The Mahdi (atf)’s reappearance will be a major catalyst for global change, and that under his governance, all individuals, communities, and nations will understand and enjoy what it means to live in an ideal society – a society that is established on the platform of true justice.
Justice, or Adalat, is an usool-e-deen, one of the five integral roots upon which Islam stands and flourishes. There are several verses in the Quran that emphasize and instruct us on dealing with others fairly:
“… Be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both.” (4:135)
“And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.” (55:9)
Many communities write areezas around the time of the Imam (ajtf)’s birth anniversary, the 15th of Shaban. In these letters, they express their hopes and desires to the Imam, not only for their own personal lives, but also for the lives of others who are suffering and experiencing oppression in different ways. But celebrating the Imam, reciting prayers, sending him letters, and awaiting his reappearance are only small steps towards becoming his and Islam’s ambassadors. To really believe in and be a part of his mission means to imbue those qualities in ourselves today. To think about what justice looks like today. To raise our voices today. And to act with justice in everything thing we do – from the way we interact in businesses and relationships to whether we choose to remain passive in a situation that demands our action.
The Zahra Foundation was established on the basis of serving humanity to provide the less fortunate with a chance to thrive, a chance at more equitable opportunities. This is how we are acting alongside the Imam (ajtf) towards justice today. How will YOU act for justice?