A Sufi Perspective on Divine Justice

May 24, 2012 | Divine Names

Justice in the Sufi way is a big topic and it is not easily understood in our culture.

What is Divine Justice from a Sufi perspective?

1. Justice is a Divine Quality From God

Understanding justice begins with understanding that God is Just (al Adl). This divine quality refers to God’s absolute wisdom, judgment and discernment. God is the All Wise and the All Knowing (al ‘Alim). God applies wisdom with perfect understanding, discernment, with the highest mercy and the highest outcomes (al Hakim).

2. Divine justice (‘adalah) means putting each thing in its proper divine place or purpose.

Everything in creation is assigned a place or a level. Every thing and person is given a different potential, and Allah has different expectations of each one. For example, animals aren’t given the same capacity as humans. Animals don’t have free will and the consciousness that humans have. God’s expectation of them is different from Allah’s expectation of us.

Consider a potter who creates a set of dinnerware. The bowl has a different function from a plate, goblet, or serving dish. Each item is created for a different purpose which is also true within the human realm.

This is demonstrated in how we talk to children at different ages and stages. For example, a two-year-old asks the parent, “where did I come from?”   The answer the parent gives is scaled to the 2 year-old’s understanding. The parent gives a different answer to a six-year-old. If a pre-teen asks, the parent may answer with the truth about the sperm and the egg. In the same way, Allah scales the knowledge and expectations for each of us according to our place in creation.

For the human being, justice relates to our God-given purpose and deepest capacity on earth. Allah calls us to become like Adam, a trustee of the earth who cares for the earth and all of her creation. That’s the potential for each of us, and that is why we are put here.