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 Introduction

The great religions of the world, owing to their capacity for rallying large numbers of people around a particular belief, partake of social dimensions. However, this social aspect is not of uniform intensity in all of them. Islam is among the religions in which social reform is accorded a central role. In the Quran, the objective of sending prophets along with the Book and Scale is said to be the establishment of justice (qist) among people (Hadid 57: 25). Here by qist is meant practical justice, or that which is commonly referred to as social justice. 

A great proportion of religious rules in the Quran and the prophetic sunnah, as well as a major part of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) are devoted to social issues. They include general rules, i.e. governmental rules, whose subject is the society as a whole, as well as private rules, which deal with relations among the individual members of the society. Though at first glance the latter appear to be limited in terms of their scope, in reality, they relate to all people and are de facto social affairs. On the other hand, certain social responsibilities of a Muslim – either financial, such as zakat, or political, such as jihad – have religious dimensions and are therefore considered as `ibadat (religious acts) in the Islamic fiqh. 

It is safe to say that throughout the course of development of the science of fiqh, apart from religious acts which are accorded special significance, issues relating to individual law are discussed more extensively than those pertaining to public and governmental rules. The science of fiqh has a specific classification of issues in terms of their significance, among which issues relating to social relations occupy a central place, without their social content having been considered per se. That is why these types of discussions are found in all major classes of Islamic fiqh, i.e. `ibadat, `uqud (contracts), iqa`at, and ahkam (rules), in their specific connotation.

* source: Gorji , Abolghasem "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.412

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