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Home » Columns » Social Teachings of Islam

Social Teachings of Islam

Publishing Date : 12 September, 2017

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



In the Islamic value system, good social conduct and commendable manners are what should occupy a prime position in the daily life of a Muslim built on the foundation of our full and undivided on submission to Allah.  


Islam teaches us some basic values, commitments and principles that are universal because they also contained and form the basis of the fundamental teachings of most religions and faiths. These go further and are included in our own traditional and cultural value systems and upbringing.  Muslims are expected to adhere to and live by them and putting them into practice into our daily lives.

It is the basic article of faith for a Muslim that requires that our first duty and obligation is to declare and affirm our full submission to the Lord and Creator of the universe, Allah. This right to be worshipped and obeyed belongs to Allah and to Him alone. Allah is the centre of our life and He is our total and ultimate concern. His commands and injunctions have to be observed and obeyed by a believer in all situations. A Muslim’s life is nothing but total commitment to Allah. A Muslim does not recognise nor pay homage to any other deity.


‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him’. (Quran: 17:23). And ‘…do not join in worship others with Allah; for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing (Quran 31: 13). ‘….Worship none but Allah’ (Quran 2:83). Even for our Christian brothers the Bible says: ‘The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love him with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment’  (Mark 12:30).


In Islam the responsibility to fulfil the commands of The Almighty applies equally to all regardless of race, colour or creed – male and female, leaders and the led, wealthy and the needy, literate and the illiterate. We are all equal in front of the laws and regulations -what is allowed is for all people and what is forbidden, is so upon all people. Each one has a personal responsibility for his/her actions and deeds and will be dealt with accordingly by The Almighty:

“Whoever practices a good righteous deed so it will be to his own benefit and whoever does wrong/ bad then that will against his own self, and surely your Creator (God Almighty) is in no way unjust towards the worshippers.”  (Qur’an 41: 46). The Almighty further declares “Whoever practices righteousness man or woman and has faith, verily to him will We give a good life, (that is good and pure) and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.”  (Qur’an 16:97)


After our duty to Our Creator, a Muslim must discharge his duty to his fellow human beings. We have to be aware of the duty that we owe to other human beings beginning with parents, relatives, neighbours and going on to the community at large and our interaction with them. Regrettably in this world of today we seem to have developed a culture of ‘me first’ in other words it is all about me, me and me. We tend to leave very little time for those around us and the needs of others.


Islam requires us to maintain cordial relations with each other and to render all help and support to those who may be in any form of hardship, difficulty or distress.  Great reward awaits those who help their fellow humans who are weak, disadvantaged and suffer any hardship. Allah Almighty says: “And do good, that you may prosper”. (Qur’an 27:77).


We have to start with our immediate family because respect and kindness to our parents is a duty and an obligation for each one of us. : ’We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents…show gratitude to Me and your parents’. (Quran 31: 14). And: ‘….and that you show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour……’ Quran 17: 23-24. And The Bible is also clear about respect for parents; in the Ten Commandments the instruction is ‘honour thy father and thy mother’ and further, ‘Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord’ (Col 3:20)


In Islam we cast the net wider in our social responsibility to include to relatives, to the poor, to neighbours and to the travellers and the society at large. We are all in need of each other and we are all fellow travellers in this path through life. ‘And render to the kindred their due rights, as also to those in want and to the wayfarer…’ (Quran 17: 27)


Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:  ‘one who fulfils the need and removes the difficulty of another, will get Allah’s help in his own difficulty’. Muslims see themselves as one ‘Ummah’ (a united brotherhood) and we are urged to show kindness and assist our fellow Muslims wherever possible.  “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” The Bible says: ‘… and to love his neighbour as himself’ (Mark 12:33). ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have a treasure in Heaven’. (Matt 19:21)


As Martin Luther King Jnr. Said: An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Another area that some of us tend to overlook is that of taking good care of children. In Islam children are to be loved and regarded as a valuable gift and a trust (amanah) from Allah and we should give grateful thanks to Allah for that Blessing.


In raising those children we should always remember our obligations and responsibilities placed upon us by our Creator.  Our children are our future therefore they should be taught Islamic morals, characters, and etiquette from an early age so that it becomes part of their habits: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Quran 66: 6)


Hence children must be taught the principles of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioural traits so that they become morally responsible children. Our commitment should be to raise them in safe and healthy Islamic environment to protect their life as well as their spirit and mind, their morals and manners. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’. The Bible also says: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it’. (Proverbs 22: 6)


Islam requires us to render help and support to the poor and needy and those who are in distress.  Great reward awaits those who help their fellow humans who are weak, disadvantaged and suffer any hardship. Helping the needy is considered a form worship, and we get great reward in this world as in the next, it helps remove our problems of this world as well as those of the next.  “And do good, that you may prosper”. (Qur’an 27: 77).


Allah also declares in the Quran, “And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw (yourselves) into destruction (by refraining from spending in the cause of Allah).  And do good; indeed Allah loves the doers of good.”(Qur’an 2:195). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “Every one of you has a responsibility and every one of you is accountable for his responsibility.” Therefore in life each one has general responsibilities in their particular field, profession, business, family etc. according to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Everyone is rewarded for their contribution towards promoting virtue and goodness within community and for the positive development of mankind in general.

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