For more on this topic, see Justice in Islam


There is an urgent need to revitalize the concept of justice specifically as a virtue since the focus in the Islamic and Western worlds has been more significantly on the juridical and political aspects of justice. Since the European Enlightenment, the classical philosophical conception of justice has been replaced by individualistic conceptions of human nature, focusing on human rights. But for a society to operate with full justice we need righteous humans. For peace and justice to prevail in society, we do not require only laws of justice, but also people of justice. That is to say, justice as a virtue of political institutions should be brought in relation to justice as a virtue of character. Justice is the only one of the four virtues that is inherently good. Wisdom, temperance, and courage are good when they serve virtuous ends, but justice surpasses all of them because it is concerned with the quality of the soul and society. Justice is concerned with both an inward quality of the soul and an outward quality of virtue. We have to be just to ourselves and with everything else and everyone else around us.  
Qur’anic justice must be seen in the context of the age of ignorance (jāhilīyah) in which it was first revealed. Ignorance implies the ‘reckless temper’ of pagan Arabs who were prone to violence. In the name of manliness (murūʾah), they sought violent revenge for the smallest slights, inspiring blood feuds that sometimes went on for generations.[1] The Qur’an made them aware that the essence of morality comes from moral responsibility, not tribal loyalty and preservation. The Qur’an taught them that every person is responsible for his or her actions, and thereby transformed tribal loyalty into a personal morality: “No burdened soul shall bear the burden of another, and every person will be accountable on the Day of Judgment for himself” (Q. 13:89; 31:32). A universal personhood governed by justice and kindness is more important than tribal custom and law. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ responded to the challenges of his time, curbing the violence and cruelty of the pagan Arabs. The Qur’an devotes two hundred verses to admonishing those who are guilty of injustice and oppression.
The Qur’an provides the principles of justice, but scholars have differed as to how they should be implemented. I will discuss the example of one classical scholar, al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī (d. 1060), who integrated the philosophical knowledge available to him in his time into a Qur’anic framework. This is an indication of how classical Muslim philosophers, such as al-Iṣfahānī, were open-minded representatives of Islam and were not averse to knowledge from foreign sources. Al-Iṣfahānī’s theory of justice is not absolute, but only an attempt at ijtihād. We may not agree with it entirely, but we can learn from his method of integrating  contemporary knowledge into the Islamic worldview.  

The linguistic meaning of justice (‘adl) in the Qur’an

Natural justice

Ethical justice: Justice of the self

Legal justice

Justice and benevolence