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Justice Theory

A General Look into the Theory of 'idalah (Justice)

in Ancient Times and Modern West


First Discourse


Concepts and Theories of 'idalah in the Orient

1.   Development of attitude to 'idalah in history and man's primitive civilizations

Some researchers believe that the birth of rational and deductive approach to subjects and phenomena oiginate rom ancient Greece. Naturally, the birth and emergence of political philosophy became perceptible at a specific time ater the fall of the monarchical dynasty. Consequently, the product of Greek civilization and its evolution is traceable to the 5th and 6th centuies B.C. However, despite this conviction,

civilization is the product of man's rational outlook. And rational and deductive outlook and attempt to discover the Truth is a human affair associated with his life on the planet earth and thus not pivileged by a certain group, race or tibe. This type of outlook has not emerged at a given time or location on the earth either, but is rather a human process, formation of which has been gradually actualized.

The question of 'idalah is, on the one hand, an issue the understanding and implementing of which man, as an intelligent and truth-seeking being and at the same time ree and autonomous, has constantly been in pursuit of while on the other hand, his human nature rom within his self pushes him towards 'idalah and 'idalah-seeking. He has always detested and abhorred oppression and injustice, and loved 'idalah like a beloved would.

For this reason, the subject of 'idalah is in the depth of man's rational outlook and in the heart of the nature of 'idalah -seeking and instinct of philanthropy, altruism, seeking order and even the instinct of self-love (egoism) in man who has hated the feeling of inequality and injustice or oppression against himself or others.

And his inequality with others and the prevalence of discrimination between him and other fellow human beings has been intolerable to him. And this is a human subject in the sense that for all human beings enjoying a healthy nature and sound intellect is perceived in more or less equal form.

Therefore, in the same way that the approach to the subject of 'idalah and the tendency and attempt to realize it has been a human and public drive, in man's pimary civilizations attention and invitation to 'idalah in all its different dimensions and the struggle to materialize it in cities and societies are among the affairs that have engaged the attention of thinkers and informed individuals. Based on the extant literature in clay tablets dating back to 3000 BC, Orokajina who was in command in Lagash,1 issued commandments in which signs of the instances of 'idalah were found. For instance in one of them the following commandment stipulated:

"The chief piest is not hereinater entitled to enter the garden of the poor mother and pick wood therein or collect taxes on its fruits."

      Also in Orangor Law Book, the first book of laws in known history, we read:

"I laid the foundation of 'idalah for the good based on the competent and just laws of Shemesh."

Around 18th century BC, Hammurabi carved one of the greatest collections of law on a tablet with the aim of establishing social 'idalah in

Babel community, still extant today, and in which there are laws commenting on the methods of attaining 'idalah1 In the preamble to the Hammurabi Code we read:

"So that I can dispense and ensure 'idalah on the land and eradicate evil and inequity, lest the strong would colonize the weak."


2. 'Idalah in Zoroastrianism and ancient Iran

In Zoroastianism, the question of 'idalah and its realization in the land is propounded, perhaps for the first time, in the rame of an integrated theory regarding past history. Based on this religion, Ahura Mazda is the One God, Creator of the world of existence and its Sustainer, and is absolutely 'adil (just) and Righteous, 'idalah is both His Attibutes and His Action. Ahura Mazda is just in the essence of creation and has created the world based on 'idalah.

He is just in both the administration of the world and in sending Zoroaster and revealing His injunctions and instructions, in the next world and in rewarding the deeds of men. Above all, Ahura's 'idalah is the origin of the 'idalah pleaded by His servants. Therefore, His 'idalah (justice) is regarded as a pattern for Zoroastian servants.

The Gats or Gahans, which are, in one version, the most authentic and intact religious text of Zoroastianism, attaches noticeable significance to the issue of 'idalah and upightness. The law of Ashah - as the path leading to the Truth or the law of uprightness and 'idalah and the abstract of Zoroastrianism and will of Ahura Mazda6””for implementation of 'idalah on the land states:

"Ashah is a manifestation of Ahura's 'idalah. Ahura Mazda has granted people ree will to select his path in consultation with wisdom and conscience and has warned that every thought, word and deed is liable to reward or punishment in accordance with the law of Ashah."

There are few paragraphs in Gutian in which no hint has been made of Ashah.

In the rivalry between good and evil, the forces of good seek to give reality to 'idalah and ighteousness and the earthly world is the arena of the struggle between ight and wrong, 'idalah and the absence of 'idalah , good and evil. The term Arta, which some people have taken as Ashah, is expressive of existence of moderation and perseverance or movement in the course of the temperance in individual and social life and has been regarded as equivalent to 'idalah , upightness, order, truthfulness and virtue:

In the viewpoint of Iranians, ighteousness, Arta, whose meaning is closer to 'idalah than to the true word, has been deined as harmony with moral and social order, and oppression and lie as breaking and disturbing this religion.

Cornford in his valuable book entitled "From Religion to Philosophy", has defined Arta or Arshah in the following words: "The principle of a sublime orderly life and maintaining 'idalah as a prerequisite for its attainment, because creation and attainment to 'idalah is the ultimate goal of the evolution of the world."

Also in this school of thought,the mateialization of 'idalah by the chosen servants of Ahura Mazda, who enjoy Divine Light, is accomplished and they attempt to give reality to 'idalah by correcting the affairs and placing everything under the laws of Ashah and on this basis the value and supeioity of the servants of Ahura Mazda depend on their plea for 'idalah, generosity and ighteousness:

The Farrokh Fereydun was not an angel Nor did he wear goatskin and ambergis

He obtained goodness by 'idalah and generosity Mete 'idalah and be generous, then you are Fereydun.

Also in the tablets of ancient Iran, particularly in the Achaemenian era, 'idalah was deined as putting everything in its proper place. The realization of truth and ighteousness has been raised time and again. For instance, in one of the inscriptions of Daius, the First we read:

"It was by the will of Ahura Mazda that I subdued all. One man beat the other. It was by the will of Ahura Mazda that I decreed that no one should hit the other. Everyone should take his own place. They are scared of my law. The powerful cannot oppress the weak and vanquish him." '

In this writing putting everyone in his own place and the fact that no one can domineer and tyrannize the other signifies the realization of 'idalah ; the duty of the king is to give expression to 'idalah and order and provide secuity under the shadow of 'idalah.


"Justice Theory" book by The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works

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