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The Role of Religion in Fighting Oppression and the Oppressors

Adopted from the Book : Youth and Morals

The Holy Quran announced the inevitable severe punishment of oppressors when Allah the Almighty said:

"And (as for) these towns, We destroyed them when they acted unjustly and We have appointed a time for their destruct ion."

(18:59).

The leaders of religion have all believed in the continuity of human society, therefore they made the establishment of justice their main goal in life. Whenever they noticed disarray in human development, they endeavored to change such disarray by revolting against the oppressors misconduct. In many cases, the leaders were able to overpower and eradicate the oppressors.

According to the Holy Quran, the conduct of the leaders of religion is an important factor in awakening people against oppression:

"Certainly We sent Our apostles with clear arguments. and sent down with themthe book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity."

(57: 25)

Since the ultimate goal of Islam is collective justice, it commands all its adherents to implement justice and equality fully amongst them and others regardless of titles or personal considerations. It also prohibits oppression and depriving any group of people of their rights.

"O you who believe! Be upright for Allah bears Witness With justice and let not hatred Of a people incite you not to act equitable; act equitably, that is nearer to piety.''

(Quran 5: 8)

And:

"And that when you judge between people you judge with justice ..."

(Quran 4:58)

Islam gives special importance to justice in that it disqualifies unjust individuals from occupying the position of judge, even if he enjoys all other qualifications. Islam has also made it the duty of the parents to observe justice between their children, so as to condition them to accepting this vital trait and refuse oppression and enmity. Besides, one of the bases for bringing up children is to be just in all circumstances when dealing with them, for when they witness oppression being applied in the father/mother relationship they can not be expected to be just or fair in their conduct with others. If children are exposed to oppression it grows into their natures, thus they become destructive elements in society. The acquired unfairness will eventually affect their societies, or further move their parents.

The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) brought the attention of his followers to this important point when he said:

"Be just to your children with gifts if you would like them to be just to you in kindliness."

Nahj al -Fasahah p. 66

Professor Bertrand Russell said:

"The human spirit is like a stream, constantly expanding. And, the purpose of an adequate upbringing is to make external pressure appear in the form of thought, habits and affection, not in the form of torture or punishment. The idea needed here is the matter that we have to gradually implement in the minds and habits of children.

"The correct method of teaching children justice is possible when children associate with others. The competition which takes place among children over toys which can be used by only one person at a time (bicycles) can bring us hope of teaching them justice. It is amazing how children abandon their selfishness when the oldest child displays justice by offering his toy to other children. At first I did not believe that justice was a natural or instinctive human feelings, I was surprised to find that the sense of justice can easily be brought about in children When training children, it is essential to implement truthful justice. In other words, not to prefer any child over another. If you love one more than the others, be mindful not to let your preference adversely influence the distribution of happiness and felicity between them.

"It is a generally accepted practice to grant children toys of the same quality.

Any attempt to invalidate children's want of justice, in any manner, is a mistaken one. On Education The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "Fear Allah and be just between your children as you like them to be kind to you. Nahj aI-Fasahah Imam Ali (A.S.) wrote the following advice to Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr when he appointed him as the governor of Egypt: "The Divine ambassadors arc the true establishers of justice in society. They are the ones who have planned the course of human perfection for mankind." Imam Husain (A.S.) also manifested the true meaning of justice and human belief when he rose against oppression. The pages of history still shine on the story of this man's life as it will be forever.

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