Lesson Six: Do Not Judge Too Quickly! An Introduction to Adl (Justice) – Part 1

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Principles of Religion for Children

The “Principles of Religion” course has been collected and edited by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Office for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8-12. The course aims to help students gain basic knowledge on Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine.

The course literature differs as the age group of students changes (e.g., eight years-old when compared to twelve years-old) allowing teaching attitudes and course structure to match with the students capacity for learning while the course objectives and learning outcomes remain the same.

  


Lesson Six: Do Not Judge Too Quickly!

An Introduction to Adl (Justice) – Part 1

Zahra Moradi, Zahra Entezar Kheyr and Sara Entezar Kheyr

Translated by: Shamsi Nasiri and Mohammad Jahani

Edited by: Marzie Salehi and Ali Mansouri


     

Instructive Note: Let's not rush to judgement.

   

Content:

Let's review what we have learned in the previous sessions. First, we explained that Islam is a tree and that the roots of this tree are the principles of Islam. Just like a tree will wither away without its roots, a person’s belief in Islam will wither away without a firm belief in its principles. How many principles of faith have we discussed so far?

{At this point, the teacher asks the students to name each of the principles by showing the sign for each}.

During the last few lessons, we dived into the first principle, Tawhid, and also mentioned the Divine Names of Allah. Today, we are going to learn about Adl, the second principle of Islam.

Does anyone remember what Adl means?

{At this point the teacher waits to see if any of the students remember the definition}.

As you remember, Adl, means that Allah is not cruel, does not treat any creature unfairly, and will never commit injustice.

There are many times that we may experience something that does not seem fair. However, if we are patient, we will often realize that we made too quick of a judgement, and that within the bigger picture that situation is morally right and fair. Let me tell you all a story that shows this.

Once upon a time, there was a school similar to this one filled happy students and teachers. One day, during recess, the teacher called a student named Maryam back into the classroom. She gave Maryam a banana and a box of juice. Some students, who were nearby and saw what happened got upset. Why did the teacher only give Maryam a snack? That was not fair!

During recess, some of the other students started talking to each other.

“This is so not right! Why does Maryam get a snack and not us?” Yasmine told her friends. “That’s not fair!”

“Why is the teacher playing favorites? Either we all should get something, or none of us,” Leila said sadly. “She can’t just treat us differently!”.

After recess, the students returned to the classroom feeling sad and disappointed. The teacher immediately noticed this and asked them why they were so upset.

"You always have told us that like all of us”, Leila said passionately. “But today we saw this is not true. You gave special treatment to Maryam and discriminated against us by only giving her a snack. That’s not fair!"

"My dear students, you have judged too quickly! We should be careful about making a judgement before we have enough information. It’s easy to reach the wrong conclusion when we rush to comment on the situation before thinking. Yes, you are correct. I did give Maryam a snack today. But do you know why I did that?”

At this point, the teacher turned to Maryam and asked her, “Dear Maryam, may I explain what happened yesterday?"

Maryam silently nodded. 

The teacher continued, "As you all know, Maryam and her family have recently moved to our city and live on the same street that I do. Last night when I was heading back home from shopping, I saw an ambulance taking Maryam’s mother to the hospital. It left just before I reached Maryam’s house. The neighbors told me that her mother suffers from heart disease. She was unwell last night and asked for an ambulance.

This morning at school, I asked Maryam about her mother. She replied that her mom needs to stay at the hospital for a few days. I then asked if Maryam had brought any snacks for recess. Maryam told me that she not only had not brought any snacks, but did not even have breakfast this morning, because all she can think about is her mom. That's why I gave her my snack to eat during recess. Do you still think that I did something unfair?"

The students felt sorry for what has happened to Maryam’s mother and for their rush to judge what they had seen. Everyone apologized to Maryam and wished her mother a speedy recovery.

The teacher smiled and continued, "On the bright side, what happened today can teach us all an important lesson: do not rush to judge. Most times, we are only aware of part of a story. Our immediate understanding of a situation we have seen may not be completely accurate".

Just like the students in our story judged too quickly, our limited perception can lead us to make mistakes about how God runs the universe. We may face something which initially seems to be an injustice, but must remember that we may not see the full picture.

We, as Muslims, believe that Allah is Adil (Just) and never treats His creation in an unfair, immoral, or unjust manner. Being able to truly determine what justice entails requires having complete and comprehensive knowledge about everything.

Think about a court. With insufficient knowledge, it may make an immoral judgement. That is why full investigations with detailed collections of evidence and information are required to help a court judge fairly and justly. And even then, despite all these efforts, there might be yet something unnoticed which can lead the court to make wrong conclusions.

What about God? Can any evidence or detail be hidden from Allah, Who we called Basir? Can His knowledge about something be incomplete and wrong?

Of course not! The One Who designs, creates, and manages all the beings in the universe must be aware of everything! In a previous lesson, we explained that Allah is Basir. Thus, incomplete or inaccurate knowledge - that can lead to unjust commands - cannot be attributed to God, the Basir.

There are no faults in His judgement and can be no appeal against His judgement.

Anything Allah does and decides for His creations, stems from His Infinite Knowledge. He thoroughly oversees all things to the smallest detail. He is also aware of His servants' intentions and thoughts. If we believe that God was unfair to us, we should remember what we discussed today and remind ourselves that He is the only one aware of all things. On the other hand, we only have limited knowledge of things. Allah is the most kind and just.

    

Main Source: Mohammad Foundation

   

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