When it comes to the law, both legislation and implementation are deemed relative. But the same can't be said for justice as by definition it is the offering of what is morally fair and right. As we know, the law should seek justice and Harvard knows exactly how Islam is doing so.
Harvard Law School, one of the world's most prestigious institutions (No. 7 in the world, to be exact), actually speaks of justice at the entrance of its faculty library. In doing so, it references a verse from the Quran, regarding it as one of the greatest expressions of justice in history.
The phrase at hand is Verse 135 of Surat Al-Nisaa (The Women), which is posted on a wall facing the faculty's main entrance, a wall that portrays some of the best phrases with regards to justice. The first media reports of the news date back to February 2014, but the news resurfaced on our newsfeed this week. We thought it's worth a reminder especially in the age of rising Islamophobia in the U.S., particularly.
Surat Al-Nisaa is known for its empowerment of women. Islam generally has championed women's rights since day one. The religion was among the first to tackle female infanticide, encourage women to work, and spread equal treatment between the sexes in marriage and Islamic duties. It has been credited for being the first religion to give women inheritance rights.
But as the world progressed, some Islamic laws - that differ between the sexes - remained unchanged. One such law is the one governing inheritance as Muslim women inherit half of what their brothers do, a discriminatory law that many have been challenging in recent years.
Despite this, Harvard Law School has decided to highlight Islam's fight for justice. Here is a part of the verse posted on the wall:
"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both."
Established in 1817, Harvard is the oldest continually-operating law school in the U.S. and hosts the largest academic law library globally.
The Words of Justice exhibition, a collaboration between students, faculty, and staff at the university, is a testimony of the endurance of humanity's yearning for fairness and dignity through the law, as stated on its website.
"The words on these walls affirm the power and irrepressibility of the idea of justice," it adds.
"It reflects a hope that the aspirations and ideals expressed here will continue to inspire all who struggle for laws that are just."