Islam, Humanity and Human Values 3

Islam, Humanity and Human Values 3

Society in Islam

The structure Islam proposes for the society of the faithful is among the most important cultural elements of Islam and is the most effective support for human values. In Islam, society is to be a united body where conflict and ranking based on social class has no place. It consists of people having different skills and capabilities who at the same time are connected, exchange services, and collaborate with one other. Every one of these members becomes complete and grows through interaction and exchange with others.

Society is made from them and for them. Thus, it is a model of a human being and not just made of one of a human’s dimensions. It is not a model of one individual or social dimension. If only one of his dimensions improved, that dimension would become a means of dominance and considerable pressure over one specific dimension and would lead to the distortion of human’s reality and disfiguring of his real face. The society is a system formed of different kinds of people. In an Islamic society, no one has any advantage over another. No class has superiority over another, no race has any advantage over another, and no group has any advantage over another. Even the majority has no advantage over the minority or vice versa; the society is simply for the human being.

Such a society is built for all people and it is not set up such that only some of man’s dimensions and potentials grow. This society pays attention neither just to individualism and nor to social issues only such that it gives up on individual issues. It neither ignores the body nor the soul. Therefore, there is no monasticism in Islam. The society is equivalent to all people. It enables the improvement of their skills and provides the opportunity for everyone’s positive capabilities to develop. In the Islamic view, the difference and variety of nations in the world is to know each other to foster collaboration: this leads to the perfection of human beings in the world and nations' difference is exactly like people’s difference in the society. The human being’s dependence on the things around him or those belonging to him restrains him from feeling any form of superiority, whether it is racial, hierarchal, and so forth.

Nationality, tribe, and family are not worthy of worship and must not become like idols. One cannot develop one of them and ignore other people’s interests as a result. Wealth, like other facilities, is available to people and it is not meant for ruling over anyone. Wealth is a trust and gift from God for the benefit of mankind and therefore, what is the most fundamental is the human being and not wealth or means of production.

Thus, in Islamic economy, human resources are the primary and most important factor of production. The labour can share in the profit made without being liable to any loss, while the investor has liability for losses. Also, labour may have a fixed wage, but setting a fixed increment for the capital is considered as usury and is forbidden. Islamic rulings in social economics are full of humanistic directions. At the same time, Islam tries to prevent money from controlling human beings or just remaining among the rich ones.

With respect to dominance, Islam rejects any kind of natural or hereditary dominance of some people over others except the dominance of legitimate guardians over the weak and unable ones. The only legitimate dominance is the one that originates from God or is based on agreement and consensus of people themselves. Government is a trust and not a privilege. Furthermore, when people entrust power to a government this will be valid only if all conditions of a contract are provided such as freedom of choice, maturity, and awareness. People must not be forced to choose a government or be misinformed about the performance of governors, etc. An Islamic society is the one in which a very productive ground for preserving human values and their promotion exists.

Morality in Islam

Morality is the great goal of religious teachings and the main factor in forming a religion. In the Islamic moral system, there is a severe opposition to those factors that inhibit people from connecting with other creatures, such as fear, and those which prevent people from communicating and interacting with one another, such as cruelty, hard-heartedness, and vanity.

These qualities cause a sense of self-sufficiency that prevents one from interacting with others. It also produces an arrogance that creates a barrier to receiving divine blessings and makes it difficult for others to benefit from an arrogant person. The Islamic moral system includes foundations of human values and the paths to achieve and preserve them.

Islamic Rulings safeguard Values

Islam does not ignore human needs. Nor does Islam ask people to ignore or oppose them. There is no monasticism in Islam. Islam considers the way and means of meeting such needs as divine blessings and fulfilling them with good intentions as worship. Islam has regulated and defined limits for meeting these needs so that all dimensions of a human being are considered and his capabilities are protected; otherwise, God has created all creatures on earth for human beings and rejects the inhibition of ornaments and the halal (permitted) sustenance He has created for them.

On the other hand, one can call the categorization of the above-mentioned needs as permitted and prohibited as Islamic mysticism (tasawwuf). A person would not take a step to fulfil his needs unless he is sure of divine satisfaction about his act. In doing so, he would be kept safe from going astray by following his own desires, which are mostly reflections of the surrounding material world.

In fact, this mysticism is completely different from the known mysticism which is based on disregarding all desires in order to purify the self and perfect the soul. This mysticism keeps the human being safe from getting used to follow his own desires and whims. The human being is asked to be active and effective in his environment rather than passive and to be the driving factor of development and promotion. Achieving this goal is not fulfilled by drowning in desires.

In addition to the cases and causes of permitted and prohibited issues in Islam, what is interesting is that Islam interprets the permissible as the pure and pleasant and the prohibited issues as loathsome. This shows that the human being by himself is considered as an honoured and pure being. It is difficult to represent Islamic rulings and investigate their effects on preserving human values in this short paper. So, I suffice to bring some examples and end this discussion. Acts of worship, obligations, and prohibitions are conditional upon one’s power and ability. When severe distress and intolerable difficulties are involved, legal issues may be cancelled, and the same can be understood from the rule of negation of harming and being harmed (lā ḍharara wa lā ḍhirāra fi’l-Islam).

Unawareness, force, emergency, mistake, and forgetfulness can all be factors that absolve someone from responsibilities. Working is considered as an act of worship; so is communication and fulfilling family and social tasks in order to keep their sanctity and human-orientation. Interactions among people and groups in all forms become humane and these issues are even demonstrated in rulings of war.

The items mentioned here are just examples of how Islam protects human concepts and values which I humbly offer here. I stress that fact that every headline of this article is by itself a topic in the holy Qur’an that can be studied separately and that the unity of Islam with humanity and human values confirms the expansion of this discussion. Indeed, it proves the necessity of investigating this topic in Islamic sciences in the form of a complete encyclopedia. I hope that God, the One who established the legislation of Islam and created man, accepts this effort of mine which has a very little value in His presence.