Balance and
Justice on Earth

The Egyptian Society for Spiritual and Cultural Research

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In our earthly life, we cannot live alone; we live together in groups that are called societies. The history of humankind is the history of how we develop to live together in peace and harmony within ourselves and with our fellow human beings and with nature.

Throughout history, man has been learning how to see beyond the immediate goals of survival. When individuals, groups, or societies are imprisoned in fulfilling their needs to survive, they tend to think that their survival and prosperity cannot be realized unless they conquer others or make use of them. Naturally the Earth is up to witness wars, shedding bloods, oppression and mischief. Revelations came to provide man with the basic principles according to which s/he can live in peace within her/himself and with all creatures in the natural world. Those principles guide her/him to live a spiritually fruitful life by experiencing and respecting the unity of life in all its manifestations. Following those principles lead to the establishment of a balanced and just life on earth.

Like other Revelations, the Teaching to The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) guide man to see the earthly life from the perspective of the spiritual eternal life.

"Do for this world as if you are living for ever and do for the hereafter as if you are dying tomorrow".glossary

By following this wisdom, man can enjoy a balanced life. The Prophet's life was an example of that balance. His devotion to the spiritual message he was commanded by the Divine to convey did not contradict with his role as a ruler. He taught humankind how to make their mundane activities in harmony with their ultimate goal of life. That lesson was not learnt through his sayings alone, but also through his behavior, and the way he organized the Islamic community through well defined principles of a legal system, called Al Shari'a. Allah’s love to man is represented through the guidance that were included in the general rules revealed in the Holy Qur’an and according to which Al Shari’a as a divine path was/is followed. On the other hand the life of The Prophet (PBUH) including his sayings and deeds “Sunna” have been and will always be source of inspiration and as such part of Al Shari’a.

If considered mainly, or reduced into a mere legal system or literal rules and orders, Al Shari’a would negate its main goal as a supportive tool for man to deal with her/his earthly problems. Therefore, Al Shari’a is not a set of laws that could be mechanically implemented, or rules that can be simply followed. It is a “method” rather than explicit orders. To follow Al Shari’a correctly requires the conceptual base that we have discussed earlier. Those concepts emphasize the necessity of believing in the Divine Law, knowing the purpose of life, directing oneself to that purpose and making sure that there are Teachers of humanity who preceded us along the way, and that we have to expose ourselves to their guidance.

In other words, there is no such rigidity in the implementation of Al Shari’a. It is the task of legislators to probe into the underlying messages of the legal system and make the best out of it, and that is what is called al Ijtihad. Al Ijtihad is part of a wider discipline that is called al Fiqh (jurisprudence). Al Ijtihad is the creative mental and spiritual effort that we should exert when in order to come up with new understanding or new implementation out of the general principles of Al Shari’a when we want to handle a new case in life. In order to encourage people to exert these efforts, The Prophet (PBUH) says that those who try to find solution by working their minds in certain problems out of pondering upon Al Shari’a will be rewarded for their effort, even if they make mistakes. And those individuals whose conclusions are correct, God will double their rewards.glossary

To discuss all the legal system in Al Shari’a is beyond the objective of this book, and deserves a research of its own. We are mainly interested in the role of the guidance embedded in Shari'a in establishing an order of justice, based on the main beliefs. Al Ijtihad (the human efforts to be in harmony with the divine guidance) is accomplished through understanding the holy text as well as driving conclusions from the explicit rules in the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunna. Al Ijtihad and al Fiqh are continuous endeavor, which will continue as long as man lives.

Although this section deals partly with some of the problematic issues in Al Shari’a, it does not focus on them from the legal perspective. The interest in herein is to show partly some of the underlying principles of Al Shari’a. The main goal, however, is to find out how to live a balanced life on all levels, and guidance of Islamic Shari’a in that respect.

In order to achieve that goal, there are four levels that are dealt with in this section. The first level is the relationship between man and her/himself; how s/he would perceive the meaning of life and turn her/his understanding into a workable plan, and how her/his faith would put her/him on the right track in the Universe, so that s/he would be fully aware that her/his life ties earth and heaven together in perfect harmony.

The second level of balance and harmony is that which relates man to the Natural World. S/He encounters her/his body as part of that world and s/he should respect its needs and care for it in order to keep it in good condition. It is her/his tool to fulfill her/his mission on earth. In that process s/he comes across nature and interacts with it. On that level, unity of life prevails, where the Natural World could be seen as part of ourselves as much as we are part of it. Science and art emerge as outcomes from human’s interaction with this world. While science developed in an attempt to understand the natural order, art is the offspring of dealing with nature as source of inspiration. Artists read their own selves in nature and open their hearts to respond to its call.

On the third level, experiencing the oneness of humankind and accepting differentiation at the same time create balance in human relationships. Each individual is part of the whole humankind and reflects the whole. With the growing awareness of this unity, it is more likely that a person is able to achieve balance and seek justice. Man and women would understand that they complement one another, not compete with each other. Within the community, that realization would support each individual to overcome the egoistic tendency.

On the fourth level, seeking justice is the expression of balance in a given society and then in the whole world as one big society. Injustice is an outcome of hidden idolatry. Within each human being there is this tendency to give values to what is perishable and fake. Humans would use, exploit, control, cheat and even kill in order to achieve their goals, their perishable deities. How to guide man to resist this tendency is what is discussed on that level. Economic and political systems that are oriented by the principle of the oneness of Allah would protect the weak and punish those who transgress. Next >>>

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