“In this verse, the Qur’an is addressing the importance of truthfulness in testimony,” the exhibition’s curators explained.
Rabat – Harvard University, one of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in the world, has chosen to showcase a verse from the Quran at the entrance to its law faculty.
Verse 136 of Surah Al Nisa (The Women’s Chapter) can be seen on the wall of the American university’s renowned law school as part of its Words of Justice exhibition:
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” Surat An Nisa 4: 135
The exhibition is an exploration of the human history of justice and its timeless importance. Quotes on justice and law cover the faculty, with the three most important quotes showcased at the faculty entrance.
Dean of the law school, Martha Minow, noted: “The words on these walls affirm the power and irrepressibility of the idea of justice. They give testimony to the endurance of humanity’s yearning for fairness and dignity through law.”
The Quranic verse explores the universality of justice and the power of truth. The exhibition’s curators wrote on the official website: “In this verse, the Qur’an is addressing the importance of truthfulness in testimony.”
The exhibition also outlines the history of each quote, saying: “According to Islamic tradition, this surah (chapter), was revealed in Medina after the Prophet’s hijra (migration) from Mecca in 622 CE.”
From 150 contributions made by law school staff and students, curators of the exhibition selected the verse from the Quran, a quote from the Magna Carta, and a text by St Augustine to be showcased at the faculty entrance.
A Harvard student from Saudi Arabia named Abdullah Jumma shared the news on Twitter with a photograph of the law faculty entrance.
“I noticed that the verse was posted by the faculty of law, which described it as one of the greatest expressions for justice in history,” Jumma tweeted.
Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636. In 2019, the university’s law school ranked number one internationally, according to global ranking website Top University.