The search for justice in a world of inequality
As I was pulling out of the parking lot of a local mall in Virginia, I noticed a woman sitting on a bench with a shopping cart full of belongings. She seemed homeless. All the stores were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Needless to say, it was a cold day in November. I felt something break in my heart. For many people, homelessness is a regular sight. Here in Virginia, we rarely see them, not that they don’t exist. I open Youtube and before I can watch the selected video, the ad showing hungry children appears. I am desperately hoping to skip the ad as the view is unbearable for me.
I wonder; I’m better than them… If not, why are they left outside in the rain and cold while I have a roof over my head? Why are these innocent babies starving and dying while an average person like me can choose from hundreds of food items? Are they children of a lesser God? Or maybe we are more loved by God? But then what could we have done to deserve special treatment from Him?
Is there justice in the afterlife?
I keep reflecting until I come to the same conclusion each time; that life on this earth is just a test and not always fair. There has to be a day when everything is reconciled and the result of each fact must be announced. Isn’t that what happens at school? They test us how much we have learned over time. At work there is also a performance review and the result is shared with the employee and the person receives a return on a par with their performance.
So is it possible to live our life and just die in old age and there is no result, no performance review, no reconciliation? Are we to believe that the innocent suffered without reason and the tyrant got away with his tyranny and injustice? The logical mind demands that there be some mechanism by which a victim can be claimed. Suffering whether social, economic or personal can be addressed and the perpetrator is punished in exactly the same way the victim was subjected to.
The Inner Desire for Justice: Why We Need a Judgment Day
If we analyze ourselves and the environment around us, we find that we can easily spot injustice when we see it happening. If we did not have the concept of justice within us, the lack of justice and fairness would not attract our attention. Human beings have an inner desire for justice and anything less than that leaves us frustrated and resentful.
how do we approach tort, injury and mistake? Do we have a mechanism in this world that would prevent injustice or give retribution to the perpetrator in a measurable amount? One could argue that man-made laws are enough to control human behavior. I for one would argue that such an argument is, in fact, giving more credence to the need for a doomsday.
The limitations of the justice system: can we ever achieve true earthly justice?
Every country has an established legal system, so why is there no peace? For example, it could be said that the United States has an effective justice system. True… for the most part. It is much better than most countries in the world. Is it perfect though? When this system fails, it creates victims who suffer and have nowhere to go for relief from miscarriage. Take the case of the prison system in the United States. The legal system punishes criminals, but there are also many wrongful convictions. Where do people who are wrongfully imprisoned go to get justice? They are just as much a victim as any other wronged person.
According to the Innocence Project, which advocates for wrongfully convicted inmates, approximately 20,000 inmates in the US prison population are falsely convicted. Some of these people serve decades. Even if he is proven innocent at some point later, justice can never be served to the full extent. Because? Well let’s say a young man he was falsely accused of murder in his teens and is sentenced to 80 years, but then he gets lucky and is proven innocent and is released at just 16. Should he be happy that he at least got his freedom, albeit a little late, or should he look back on the lost 16 years of youth and grow bitter? To me it seems more like a judicial error than justice itself. Does this world have a tool to undo the damage in someone’s life or give back the lost years?
Justice in an imperfect world: is there ever true retribution?
In this world justice can only be carried out in a limited way. We will have to recognize the limitations of man-made laws and the biases of human judgment. Take the notorious cases of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy, both of whom killed numerous times. Dahmer despite taking 17 innocent lives only got life in prison. What was the fault of his victims who died while the law kept him alive? Ted Bundy had confessed to 30 murders, although the actual victim count is believed to be much higher. He was ultimately executed via electric chair. The argument here is that he, despite torturing and killing at least 30 humans, was only killed once. That essentially means that he only paid the price for killing a single person. So where is the justice for the other 29 victims? Is that really “Justice Served”?
My motivation for writing this article was to allow humans to reflect on the fact that it would not be logical to assume that this world is complete with its imperfect justice. We can all see the disparity between people; some suffer endlessly while others rejoice, some have so much while others starve and there is no relief for the victims as their pleas go unanswered.
The Purpose of Judgment Day in Islam: Eternal Divine Justice
It seems rational that there must be some responsibility somewhere for those who transgress and take the rights of others. Since this world does not have it, therefore, there must be a continuation, more like a second part, where things will become clear and the scales of justice will not tip towards the powerful; where the smallest of errors will be addressed and compensated by a precisely measurable amount.
It is exactly at this point that one realizes the limitations of science that it can say something about the end of the world but cannot say definitively how or when. Furthermore, he can’t even be sure what will happen after the destruction of the world and what will happen to the humans who have turned to dust. So now we have to turn to the religious texts, as they discuss this aspect to varying degrees. Islam actually discusses the destruction and aftermath of the universe in great detail. It is by design that it will all end here and the next phase will be established where the facts will be assessed and matters resolved. In short, the purpose of judgment day in Islam is to let justice prevail, as it is the inner desire of humans.