Human dignity in Islam

Islam blessed humans with superiority over other creatures based on their faculty of thinking and reasoning.  Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran,” Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority” (Surah Baqara) [1]. Similarly, Allah (SWT) ordered the angels to prostrate before Adam in order to honor him, being the vicegerent of Allah and the guardian of intellectual progress on the earth.

On the intra-human plane, Islam completely transformed the Arab and the whole human society by its revolutionary ideas within a short span of time, challenging the old cultural and religious dogmas. Among them, one of the most prominent that Islam took head-on was the discrimination based on caste, sex and wealth. Islam abolished this discrimination by reminding humans about their very common ancestry, Adam and Eve.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) in his last speech addressed people with these words,” All mankind is from Adam and Eve”.

 The Holy Quran says,” Certainly, we have honored the progeny of Adam” (Surah Bani Israel).
Islam gave huge importance to the human life by saying,” Whoever kills one person has killed whole humankind and whoever saves one life has saved whole humanity” (Surah Maidah). In order to put an end to the cruel practice of killing, the concept of “Qisas” or proportional retribution was introduced. Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran,” O believers! Legal Retribution has been prescribed for you” (Surah Baqarah).

The legal recompense prescribed by Allah is in different forms depending on the conditions and will of victim’s heirs in cases of murder. If the heirs of a victim demand same treatment for the murderer then he will be hanged otherwise the heirs can pardon the killer in return for blood money. The thief’s hands will be amputated in the case as a legal punishment. These punishments are just to save the dignity of human life and his possessions from violators and oppressors.

These are not just recommendations rather these are what the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) practiced during his life. A woman from the tribe from Bani Makhzum was proved to be involved in the theft. When the case was brought before the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), he ordered the amputations of one hand as deterrence. The elders of this powerful tribe approached the Holy Prophet Muhammad through his adopted son, Usama bin Zaid (r.a). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) rejected intercession and said,” I swear by Allah, if she was the daughter of Muhammad (s.a.w), her hand would have been amputated”.

Similarly, the sanctity of woman has been made the core part of Islamic scripture in a society which was devoid of any such moral values. Daughters once considered to be a curse from Allah were exalted to the status of Allah’s mercy upon the parents. Similarly, both men and women were advised to avoid illegal sexual relations and immoralities but also proposed a strict punishment as a deterrence in case anyone tries to inflict damage to another person’s reputation by blaming him/her for being involved in sex outside the institution of marriage. The Holy Quran says, “And those of you who blame chaste women and do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not ever accept from them testimony again. And those are the clearly disobedient.” (Surah Nur) [2].

Similarly, Islam severely discouraged many immoralities which can cause harm to other human’s lives, wealth or reputation. These include backbiting, hypocrisy, lying and racial prejudice etc.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)’s  circle of closest companions consist of people across different nations, races, and cultures without any feeling of racial prejudice. Take the example of Hazrat Bilal Habashi (r.a), who was a black African slave but of high status in sight of Allah, his prophet and other companions of the prophet. Similarly, other companions like Sohaib (r.a) from Rome and Hazrat Salman (r.a) from Iran were treated with an equal respect as he treated his family members.

These principles of equality, dignity, tolerance, and justice laid down the foundation of a society which became an example for the rest of the nations and coming generations to follow in letter and spirit. These teachings written down in the Quran and Hadith are not just mere pieces of paper but a complete guide for all of us to follow. We as Pakistan as a nation must find a way to rebuild our institutions on these principles if we want to progress as an honorable nation. I would like to wind up my writing by quoting Farooq-e-Azam (r.a), who says, “Even if a dog dies on the bank of River Euphrates, Umar (r.a) will be responsible for that”. Now judge Islamic teachings for yourself….!



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About Muhammad Asim

Muhammad Asim is a passionate blogger and the founder and editor of the
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