Jews, Christians, and Muslims I. Ideas About Justice & Charity 1.1 In Judaism The term Tzedakah, a Jewish word which means charity, considers giving as part of their way of life wherein traditional Jews give 10% of their income. Donations will be for the poor or those considered in need of help…
Thus, wealth and/or influence may not be utilized under Jewish Law, to provide an advantage prior to judgements. Jews refer to Leviticus 19:15 for the right way to judge any case. (Spiro, K. 2012) Even the king is not above the law. A king should be a good example for the fulfilment of the law. 1.2 For Christians From the point of view of Catholics (Knight, Kevin 2009), charity is a supernatural virtue given by God for the soul seen whenever a person gives to the poor or needy believing in the Words of Jesus who said in Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” For those who have never heard of these biblical words or who do not know Jesus and his teachings, the act is recognized as natural charity. For other Christians, charity can simply mean love or compassion for the poor, and the calling to show the way taught by Jesus Christ, through acts of kindness and generosity (All About God 2012) Justice, to many Christians, is the obligation of the church to inform the people about the proper criteria for judgements based on “the divine standards to which man and society must conform if civilization is to endure” (Mouw, R.J. 2010, p.3). For the individual, however, justice is taking the right stand based on the understanding about church teachings and the laws. There are times when man’s justice will not conform with God’s justice, in which case, divine retribution will follow at an unknown time. 1.3 Muslim Charity and Justice Benevolence of Muslims to others by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and educating the ignorant constitutes charity of “zakat”. With reference to the Koran, giving a part of a person’s wealth to specific persons is a way to cleanse one’s self. Ibrahim, R. (2009) cites Koran 9:103 to defend this statement. However, the giving should be to fellow Muslims in order to be called “zakat”. There has been a question of funding to terrorists who were identified as jihadists. Will that constitute a qualified “zakat”? This is presently being clarified to the Muslim world as misguided charity, because the Koran does not promote terrorism. Baig, K.(2002) teaches that prophets were sent precisely to “establish justice” and to end injustice. He even states justice as “the sole purpose of sending the prophets…” For Muslims, justice is simply giving whatever is due each person or group of people based on what is right and wrong, fair and unfair, characterized by no hatred or favouritism for relatives, loved ones, or neighbours. Justice, in Islam, requires retribution calling for the eye of the evildoer for the eye of the victim. Judgements should be based on the truth even if the truth favors the enemy. 1.4 Differences Of Ideas In Each Tradition For the Muslims, charity involves giving to fellow Muslims, whereas for Jews and Christians, charity refers to any poor and needy regardless of religion or no religion. Justice is based on the truth for all three religious traditions. Impartiality is also a common factor for all three. The difference in defining justice is in a very narrow interpretation understood by Muslims by their belief that the only solution or right thing to do to establish justice is to practice the tradition of retribution—“an eye for an eye”. Christians believe in forgiving although the law should be enforced and the corresponding punishments should be imposed. Jews also believe in the ...
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