Dr. Mohanad Yousuf
New Iraq Center Advisor
There is a misunderstanding among some people about the concepts of equality and justice, when they associate them with one term and meaning. This is a big step away from the reality of the two concepts; the difference varies for the people of thought whether they are members of religion or secularists.
Justice is not only about wealth and its perfect distribution because it does not give equal weight to the equality among people in its distribution. People of religion do not see that there is any relationship between justice, especially social, and economic matters.
For them, justice is an application of the religious systems in society, and religion wants to establish justice rather than equality in distributing wealth whether natural or human. Justice shall be establish through moral teachings in the society. The social system is based on the relation between the poor and the rich; the inequality in wealth distribution. The religious system is divided into a poor class and a rich class; there is no middle class.
If society wants justice, it must fully understand religion, as it wants it or love it, and realize the image of justice. Then this society can apply and implement it in its economic and social system.
Therefore, the application of justice in any society is linked to people’s understanding of religion. If people think of religious sectarianism for oppressed, the image of justice here applied by this society is to rehabilitate of these oppressed more than any other ones, without equality. This is what we see very clearly in the application of sectarian justice in the Shiite community today in Iraq, or even the justice demanded by the Sunni community in the 2014 sit-ins but they could not achieve.
As an actual application of the image of this justice and fairness of the followers of these doctrines, we see that the political system ruling today in Iraq has established special governmental institutions to redress them such as the institution of martyrs and political prisoners, Rafha and the former regime victims group and other institutions and legislations. These are open for official financial compensation, to be distributed to their followers exclusively without the rest of society, which suffered years of siege. Many of these have many salaries and official grants as well as salaries for the official positions they occupy, which exceeds thirty jobs for some of them at the same time as it officially announced.
Also, one of the biggest mistakes is to use social justice as a Western concept in Islam, regarding using this word in a new sense, consistent with the meaning of justice which is the purpose of religion. Some people say that religion has social justice; this is an unfair saying. Religion is justice in itself, according to religious people. Justice is nothing more than religion, but religion is justice and the application of religion and the establishment of justice is one thing.
Based on this perception, the definition of justice in fact is determined by the freedom of understanding of the religion of each individual, family, tribe, party, and nation.
This freedom balance will bring justice. It is achieved by making the individual belonging to a sect, party or group the center of the social order. The system helps the group members to develop their personalities and promote their talents, without restricting their freedom of ownership and disposition. This system will be religious system, if justice achieved under it.
Politicians are trying in today’s Iraq to apply this reconciliation between the concepts of Western civilization and religion. Although in the literature of the Islamists over the past century, and in any way the sectarian rising that we are witnessing today in Iraq, it must rely on the doctrine of pure Shiite. It relies on what can be presented or how it is presented, through writings and articles in detail, and distinguish between what is taken and what is left from Western civilization matters. The most important is what can be provided to the world through the doctrines of the original Shiite doctrine. Thus, all the sectarian justice we are witnessing today in Iraq from the distribution of wealth among people is a vivid, full and comprehensive embodiment of the justice of the Twelver doctrine.
Justice in Iraq today is the justice and revenge of the victor and not the justice of the defeated. Therefore, its goal is to rearrange the balance between the components of Iraqi society. The Shiites have dominated the country’s capabilities as an application of the historical justice of oppressed as well as the Kurds and Armenians. Social justice determination for the right of individual ownership of this justice will achieve justice between effort and penalty, which is for the individual as well as for their parties. Its goal is to control the society, by providing social and political sectarian justice in it. Thus, justice, for them, will be taking into consideration their rights in the distribution of wealth and spending, so that justice takes its proper course.
Whereas equality, which is a human thought, not related to religions, in terms of existence and influence, has been known for human beings after long experiments of classification and differentiation between human beings based on sex, race, form and religion. Equality values have been clearly reflected in the modern democratic system where votes are equal in giving power to their representatives in the elections, in the proper distribution of labor and wealth, and in the emergence of an equal middle class and majority in advanced industrial societies today.
People are equal in public rights, but absolute equality is a myth, absolute equality is injustice. Public rights can be counted, and respected laws are established to protect them, but there are special rights that must be determined and equality cannot be accepted in them. These rights follow the natural differences in people and things.
In other words, equality is not absolute among human beings except in some rights of political, moral and economic aspects. However, equality in its general sense opens doors of opportunity for all and without any restriction, whether those restrictions are economic, religious, ethnic or sexual. Everyone can progress according to his ability and diligence. This is the ideal situation for society to benefit, to invest its energies and to give its members maximum happiness, growth and efficiency to build their future.