Sura Nisa (the Women): Section 13 the landmark Verse about Justice

 4:135. You who believe, be strict in observing justice, and bear witnesses only for the sake of Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against parents or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Therefore, follow not low desires so that you may be able to act justly. If you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّـهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّـهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَن تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِن تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

4:136. You who believe, believe in Allah and His Messenger, and in the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger, and the Book which He revealed before it. And whoso disbelieves in Allah and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers, and the Last Day, has surely strayed far away.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا آمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا

4:137. Those who believe, then disbelieve, then again believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor will He guide them to the way.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَّمْ يَكُنِ اللَّـهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلًا

4:138. Give to the hypocrites the tidings that for them is a grievous punishment

 بَشِّرِ الْمُنَافِقِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

4:139. Those who take disbelievers for protectors rather than believers — do they seek might or honor at their hands? Then let them remember that all might or honor belongs to Allah.

الَّذِينَ يَتَّخِذُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِندَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ فَإِنَّ الْعِزَّةَ لِلَّـهِ جَمِيعًا

4:140. And He has already revealed to you in the Book that, when you hear the Signs of Allah being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they engage in some other discourse; or else you will surely become like them. Surely, Allah will assemble the hypocrites and the disbelievers in Hell, all together.

 وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الْكِتَابِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يُكْفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلَا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚإِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ جَامِعُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ فِي جَهَنَّمَ جَمِيعًا

4:141 Those who wait for news concerning you. If you have a victory from Allah, they say, ‘Were we not with you?’ And if the disbelievers have a share of it, they say to them, ‘Did we not get the better of you, and protect you against the believers?’ Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection; and Allah will not grant the disbelievers a way to prevail against the believers.

الَّذِينَ يَتَرَبَّصُونَ بِكُمْ فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ فَتْحٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ وَإِن كَانَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ نَصِيبٌ قَالُوا أَلَمْ نَسْتَحْوِذْ عَلَيْكُمْ وَنَمْنَعْكُم مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ فَاللَّـهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا


This Quranic verse has been applauded as a Landmark Contribution to ‘Words of Justice’ by the Harvard University’s  Law School. The Quranic message is fundamentally about human compassion and absolute justice among the one big human family now comprising some 7 billion inhabitants of the planet earth.

But, is life sentence for blasphemy justice or killing the apostates and the homosexuals the justice of the Quran? We have the audacity to say no to all of the above. So, how do we know what is “Justice.”  Any teaching can be bent to serve parochial or ulterior motives.

But, we believe human conscience and a refined sense of justice does help us find what is truly justice. A wide learning from every culture, every country, every religion, every denomination and last but not the least, application of the Golden rule to all aspects of human life does help.

We need to try our recipes for others on ourselves. If we were on the receiving end, if we were the followers and not the leaders, if we were among the haven’t and not the haves, we would find that our views change dramatically and very rapidly. Such exercises will help us see the reality in true colors.

Additionally, trying to understand each and every verse of the Quran in the light of the broader message of compassion and justice, makes the Quranic message very enlightening, inspiring and consistent. Please also read Quran 4:82.

Now we link two articles to highlight the Quranic emphasis on justice:

Prophet Muhammad recognized as a great law-giver by US Supreme court, since 1935

Justice: The Most Important Quranic Theme

Human thought process has evolved under the guidance of human conscience and revelations from the All-Knowing, Gracious and Merciful God. We believe that now the best ideals of justice are encapsulated in the thirty articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which we believe has borrowed from every culture and every religion.


There could not have been any clearer announcement that there is no worldly punishment for apostasy in Islam.  There are several other verses that can quoted to support that. For example the commonly quoted verse about religious freedom: There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (2:256)


This verse clearly shows that there is no worldly punishment for blasphemy. The believers are advised to stay away from those who are blaspheming but this is not a permanent boycott and is only a dissociation, when such ridicule is being committed. There are several other verses which strengthen such an interpretation rather than the medieval understanding of punishing blasphemy with imprisonment or even death sentence in some Muslim majority countries.

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