Justice for all through collective action
“Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burden; and Allah has power over all things.” – Holy Qur’an (4:85)
Azzad Asset Management stands in solidarity with the Black American community. As a socially responsible, faith-based financial firm, social justice is not a new cause for us. Azzad works to promote financial inclusion, votes our clients’ shares to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and seeks to hold companies’ managements accountable when they refuse to elevate marginalized communities.
In short, we understand the importance of redressing wrongs and giving a voice to the voiceless. That is the focus of much of our work. We recognize, however, that business as usual is simply not enough anymore.
Today, we commit to examine and address systemic racism and inequality within our industry, in our investments, and in our own work. Re-doubling our efforts to root out structural injustice, taking our partners and colleagues to account, and collectively holding ourselves to a higher standard is not something we do lightly—nor is it enough. We believe, however, that it is a necessary part of the formula for change.
As we reflect on many of the challenges our society faces these days, from disparate health outcomes to income inequality to racial violence, we take inspiration from the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a man whose life was a model for how to help repair an unjust world.
In his farewell sermon, he reminded us that ” … a white has no superiority over a black nor a black any superiority over white, except by piety and good action.”
Famously, he joined the Hilf-ul-Fudul, or Pact of Virtue, a social justice agreement whose tribal members pledged to help—without discrimination—anyone who had been wronged in the city of Mecca, to aid the weak and downtrodden against the powerful. Its objective was justice for all through collective action.
One of the most important clauses in the pact was a call for “equity in society.” This meant that even the humblest of citizens would be able to challenge and demand redress from the most powerful, a radical goal in practically lawless seventh century Arabia and one that seems unattainable for many in America today.
The Pact of Virtue is recognized by many as the beginning of a system based on the establishment of peace and equity through social justice. For Azzad, it is a constant source of inspiration for our corporate activism and our work with investor coalitions to promote the common good. We think there are important and powerful lessons here for businesses and individuals alike.
America stands at a crossroads, faced with the now urgent question of how to respond to the ravages of inequality, both short and long term. The response will take different forms, but each must do their part, never faltering as we pursue a common goal: justice for all through collective action. Look for more from us on this subject in the coming weeks.
We have an opportunity to heal our society, and to turn toxic prejudice into renewal and progress. Let’s get to work.