Man's Duty towards the Society (1)

Man's Duty towards the Society (1)

As we know, human beings work with joint effort. They take advantage of each others' endeavors to eliminate the needs of their life. The society established by these individuals is similar to a "great man" and each individual is like an organ of this great man's body. Each organ of the body performs its own specific function and makes up for its own weaknesses by benefiting from the functions of other organs; that is, in its sphere of activity, each organ provides its interests while providing the interests of other organs and continues its life in the light of the life of other organs.

If some organs acted selfishly and were of no use to other organs; for example, if while the hands or feet were functioning, the eyes did not cooperate with them or if the mouth only contented itself with chewing and enjoying the food without swallowing it to satisfy the needs of the stomach, man would die and, as a result, the same self-centered and self-seeking organ would also die. The duty of the members of a society is exactly like the duty of the organs of a body, i.e., man must look for his interests within the framework of the interests of the society. He must consider what benefits the society would derive from his efforts so that by his efforts all are benefited and he also gets benefited. He must defend the rights of others so that his own rights would not be violated.

This is a fact which we realize with our Allah-given nature. The holy religion of Islam, which is established on the basis of nature and creation, does not have the commandments and views other than these on this matter. The Holy Prophet (S) states: "A Muslim is one from whose hand and tongue Muslims are safe." He further states: "Muslims are brothers and are like a single-hand, single-heart, and single-direction against aliens." He also states: "Whoever does not care about the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim."

For the Battle of Tabuk when the Holy Prophet (S) set out with the army of Islam for the frontier of Rome, three Muslims did not participate in the battle. After the return of the army of Islam, when these three persons welcomed and greeted the Holy Prophet (S), the Prophet (S) turned his face and did not answer their greetings. In the like manner, the Muslims also turned their faces from these three men. No one, in Medina, not even their wives, talked to them. Consequently, they became helpless and sought refuge in the mountains of Medina and engaged themselves in repentance and contrition until Allah accepted their repentance after several days and then they returned to the city.


In the Qur'an and the ahadith of the religious leaders, justice is of two kinds: individual and social. Both are highly regarded by the holy religion of Islam.

Individual Justice

The individual justice means that the man should abstain from falsehood, backbiting, and other major sins. He should not insist on committing other sins. He who is endowed with this quality is called 'Adil (just). According to the Islamic regulations, if such a man has educational ability as well, he can take charge of judicial and governmental positions, or he can become a religious authority or maintain other social positions. But the one who is deprived of this religious personality cannot enjoy these privileges even though he may be a scholar.

Social Justice

Social justice means that man should not trespass upon the rights of others. He should consider all the people equal by the divine laws. He should not exceed justice in implementing religious laws. He must not be influenced by feelings and sentiments. He must not deviate from the right path. The Almighty Allah states: "Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice...."(1)
Again He states: "...And that when you judge between people you judge with justice...."(2)
Orders have been issued in many Qur'anic verses and ahadith to consider justice in words and deeds. In several cases, the Almighty Allah has explicitly cursed the oppressors.

Tyranny and Oppression

The Almighty Allah has repeatedly mentioned about tyranny in His Divine Book and has reproached this indecent quality which is a characteristic of the beasts (in two-thirds of the number of Surahs of the Holy Qur'an, which are 114, there is a discussion on tyranny). There is no one who has not felt the badness and unfairness of tyranny by his own nature or who more or less does not know what painful calamities have come upon human society, what bloodsheds have taken place, and what a large number of houses have been demolished due to tyranny and oppression.

It has been proven by experience that the palace of tyranny will not last long no matter how strong it may be and sooner or later, it will collapse on the heads of the oppressors. The Almighty Allah states: "...Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."(3) Religious authorities have also stated: "Monarchy and kingdom will last with blasphemy, but these will not stabilize with tyranny and oppression."


Being bound to live in a society, man has no escape from the company of people. Undoubtedly, man associates with other people to protect his own social status, to further h is material and spiritual advancement day by day, and to solve the difficulties of his life better and with greater ease. Thus he must behave with other people in such a way so as to attain endearment, to augment his social honor day by day, and to add to the number of his friends. If people see unfriendliness or bitterness in the behavior of others, their hearts will be filled with abomination and anguish.

Finally, a day will come when everyone will escape from the company of such a person and he will be hated and disfavored by others. He must then live all alone and as a stranger in his native land. This is one of the most bitter and most unpleasant examples of man's misfortune.

This is what the holy religion of Islam has enjoined its followers to have good social behavior and has prescribed the best etiquettes and instructions in this respect. For example, Islam has ordered Muslims to greet when they meet one another and has considered the person who greets first to be superior to the other. The Holy Prophet (S) took the lead in greeting others. He even greeted women and children. If someone greeted the Holy Prophet (S), he would in turn greet him better.

The Almighty Allah states: "And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it... ."(4) Allah has also stated that man should show humbleness and modesty in his association with people and should respect others commensurate with their social status.The Almighty Allah states: "And the servants of the Beneficent Allah are they who walk on the earth in humbleness... ".(5)

The point that should be mentioned is that humbleness and modesty do not mean that man should degrade himself before the people and thus hurt his personality, rather these mean that man should not show off his superiorities and honors to the people and should not associate with himself other extraordinary privileges. One must not consider the people degraded and insignificant. Similarly, respect to the people does not mean that one should respect others to an extent bordering on flattery and buttering, rather it means that one must value everyone according to his religious and social status. One should respect the dignitaries commensurate with their rank and status. One must also respect the others according to their observation of human qualities.

Again paying respect to people does not mean that m an should keep mum and overlook the indecent acts of people. Neither it means that man should associate with the people in a gathering in which all act against human prestige or carry out an action against religious principles. It doesn't mean that man should go with the stream for the fear of defamation either, for the people should, in fact, be respected on the basis of their human dignity and their religious and moral values, not because of their physique and stature. If a man loses his human dignity and religious value, there will be no reason for his being respected by the others. The Holy Prophet (S) stated: "One should not commit a sin before Allah for the sake of obeying others."

Continue in the next article: ( Man's Duty towards the Society (2) )



1. (The Holy Quran 16:90)

2. (The Holy Quran 4:58)

3. (The Holy Quran 6:144)

4. (The Holy Quran 4:86)

5. (The Holy Quran 25:63)