Q:Fox News commentator Glenn Beck claims that faith-based calls for “social justice” are really ideological calls for “forced redistribution of wealth . . . under the guise of charity and/or justice,” and that Christians should leave their churches if they preach or practice “social justice.”
Rev. Jim Wallis disagrees, saying social justice is a faith-based commitment “to serve the poor and to attack the conditions that lead to poverty,” central tenets of the teachings of Jesus and at the heart of biblical faith.
Who’s right? How does the pursuit of justice fit into your faith? Is ‘social justice’ an ideology or a theology?
Social Justice is an integral part of the religious life of the Muslim. While faith alone may get one into heaven (the Qur’an says in various places that the only unforgivable sin is setting up partner with God), it is clear that the faithful are not supposed to spend their days purely in worship and contemplation of the Divine, but rather to get out and make the world a better place.
This principle is enshrined in chapter 16, verse 90: “God commands justice, doing good, and generosity towards your fellow man and He forbids what is shameful, blameworthy, and oppressive. He teaches you, so that you may take heed.”
This is further clarified in chapter 16, verse 71: “And on some of you God has bestowed more abundant means of sustenance than on others: and yet, they who are more abundantly favored are unwilling to share their sustenance with those whom their right hands possess, so that they might be equal in this respect. Will they thus deny God’s blessings?”
And the Prophet Muhammad has expanded on it multi-fold:
“What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.” (Sahih Bukhari)
“The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.” (Baihaqi)
“No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that, what he desires for himself.” (Abu Hamza Anas: Bukhari & Muslim)
“They are your brethren, these dependents of yours whom God has placed under your authority . Hence, whoso has his brother under his authority shall give him to eat of what he eats himself, and shall clothe him with what he clothes himself. And do not burden them with anything that may be beyond their strength; but if you [must] burden them, help them yourselves.”