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Justice Theory

Idalah in Judaism and Christianity


3. 'Idalah in Judaism and Christianity

The question of 'idalah and its realization has been given the special attention in Judaism and Chistianity. Since these religions have been founded on monotheism they cannot fail to view 'idalah as the axis of their religion. Therefore, in these religions 'idalah is regarded as the most important attibutes of the exalted God. And He is the God of 'idalah. On this basis, any unjust relations tiggeing poverty and wretchedness of man is in conflict with His will as the Creator of the good. The Old and the New Testament conspicuously hint at the conquest of injustice and tyranny. God is just and His 'idalah serves as a point of departure for man and for reflection on 'idalah in society and its realization.

Considering the viewpoint of the sacred book, which regard man as the image of God, man has been obliged to be actively engaged in the administration of the world and this active participation should be based on God's 'idalah.

Moreover, in this outlook, breaking the yoke and bonds of oppression, liberating the slaves, helping the poor, clothing the naked ones and ... are all maintained as instances of 'idalah in society. In the Torah, the Book of Jacob, the prophet, we read:

"Nay, the fasting I like is the fasting that I desire: to break the bonds of the unjust, rend the yokes, liberate the slaves, break all yokes, distribute bread among the hungry people, provide shelter to the homeless poor people.1

On the Resurrection Day, God will also treat with 'idalah and people will realize 'idalah in that world. Therefore, people will expeience 'idalah on the Day of Resurrection and the homeless attain their ights. In the Bible, too, stress has been laid on 'idalah. For example:

"And my judgment is just because I do not seek my will.'"

On the other hand, setting foth canonical laws in the Holy Scipture comply with the effots to the dispense "idalah so as to preclude disregard for 'idalah and the poverty of the weak and low-income strata of people by presenting social and ciminal laws. On this basis, the injunctions and canonical laws of the Holy Book aimed at utilizing 'idalah and the truth. The Psalms of David4 also reiterated God's 'idalah, human 'idalah and its necessity.

For instance; in the fouth hymn we read:

"O, God of 'idalah ! When I call you, respond to my prayer." Or, "O, God! I am for 'idalah and the perfection within me. Grant me 'idalah, eradicate the wickedness of the evil-doers and perpetuate the just one, because the searcher of hearts and veins is the just God."

In the eyes of Saint Augustine, absolute 'idalah””that is, 'idalah conforming to the generality of order””applies irst and foremost to the celestial macrocosmic system. However, this 'idalah in its limited scope may also apply to society and the limited terrestrial order in case when society and the temporal order are in conformity with that order and the celestial macrocosmic society:

"Real 'idalah of every government depends on its conformity with a universal and global system.

And Augustine's City of God's society seeks no objective except the realization of two main and great human aspirations, that is, 'idalah and peace. Of course, in his words and works, he considered 'idalah in conformity with order, an order, which every society had within it for its survival and, in fact, that which brought moderation to that society and system.

From the perspective of Thomas Aquinas, too, unjust relations are in conflict with God's will and individuals obey Him without an intermediary and receive His commands through natural or divine laws. Therefore:

"Man's duty for obeying the mundane commandments is as far as the limit the spiit of 'idalah requires such obedience."


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

Other Links:

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Islamic Solidarity: Necessity of defense of Palestinians’ uprising

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