Social Justice in the Ancient World

By K. D. Irani; Morris Silver | Go to book overview

7
Social Justice in Ancient Iran

FARHANG MEHR

Social justice, with definable features, has an indeterminate domain. Its main features received recognition even in antiquity. In general terms, social justice is associated in substance with human rights, political liberalism, and economic equity, and in form with the authority of the law and the due legal process. This chapter is concerned with social justice in ancient Iran. Ancient Iran refers to pre-Islamic Iran and a phase of Iranian history that ended by Arab invasion in the seventh century.

The key aspects of social justice were rooted in Zarathushtrian culture and Indo-Iranian tradition. Hence, Zarathushtrian literature, classical historical writings on Iran, and the stone inscriptions of ancient Iran provide the main sources for the present inquiry.

The essential features of social justice may conveniently be discussed under four headings: political justice, administration of justice, economic equity, and human rights.


POLITICAL JUSTICE

In his first sermon, Ashu Zarathushtra proclaims: (Irani 1924)

Hearken with your ears to these best counsels: Gaze at these beams of fire and contemplate with your best judgment; Let each man and woman choose his/her creed with that freedom of choice which each must have at great events;

-75-

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