Just World Hypothesis, Prophet Job and Victim

Just World Hypothesis – Idea that people need to believe one will get what one deserves so strongly that they will rationalize an inexplicable injustice by naming things the victim might have done to deserve it.

There are different versions of Prophet Job’s story- Jewish, Christian and Islamic (in Koran he is called as Ayyub), but common theme is – Job is a rich man, who is leading a happy life with his wife and children. Suddenly one day he loses everything- his wealth, children, servants etc. Now he and his wife are struggling to survive. He is visited by three friends, who start discussing reasons for his misfortune. They conclude that he must committed some sin, that’s why he was punished by God.

Later God appears and tells Job that he was testing Job’s faith in him and returns his wealth to him (more than earlier)


In psychology, there is concept of just world hypothesis, which states that your current condition can be attributed to some action of yours i.e. if you are poor, then it must be because of some action of yours- You reap what you sow. This hypothesis does not take into consideration that there could be factors other than personal which could have resulted in present condition.


This theory is very useful in explaining many events ex. if poverty is high it is because people are lazy (it could also be because of corruption and lack of opportunities), if a girl is raped then it is because of her dress (they don’t blame law and order) or if something bad happens, we blame our own actions (ignoring situational factors).

Job’s story is good example of this. His three friends find it easy to link his poverty to his sins (though he never committed any sin) – Just world hypothesis. They never explore the situational angle i.e. God could be testing him.





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