Characteristics of Islamic Civilization

Every civilization like a human being has to stand upon two very things; Soul and the body.  In civilization the material welfare, economy, industry and scientific achievements can be categorized as the body of that civilization. Whereas the set of concepts, ideologies and ideas form the other component of this combination and that component is called the soul of a civilization. Now if we look at the Islamic civilization, the material welfare attained by the Muslims during the Rashidun Caliphate and early Muslim Empires can be called as the body of the Islamic Civilization and on the other hand, the spiritual and moral teachings of Islamic religion can be categorized as the sole of this entity.

Center of Islamic Civilization
Kabba, the Center for Islam

Now we discuss some of the basic characteristics that define the Islamic Civilization.


Tauheed forms the very core distinction of the Islamic Civilization from other civilizations. Its concept of oneness of God lifts human beings from degraded status they had experienced during earlier civilizations. If we look back into the history, the common human beings were mostly considered slaves due to the alteration of teachings of earlier scriptures or due to the influence of royal families. Islam totally destroys the concept of slavery on the basis of religion or royalty and takes humans to a plane of moral enlightenment.

Islam has given so much importance to this concept that it says that Allah will forgive any sin except Shirk or Polytheism.


The other main character of the Islamic Civilization is self-purification or Tazkiyah Nafs. This concept clearly states that the purpose of a human should be to purify its soul or inner-self before asking anyone to follow the teachings of this true religion. Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was returning from Jihad with his companions, he said to them that we are returning from a smaller form of Jihad to a bigger form of Jihad- Tazkiyah Nafs. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) once said,” I was appointed for the prophethood so that I may accomplish the important task of Human perfection”.

Dignity of man

The center of attention of the Islam is human and human life. All human beings are equally dignified as per the rules set by Allah in the Quran but some people have been given better stature due to their commitment to the message of Allah and to the welfare of the fellow humans. Once a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was standing in front of the Kabba and was saying that the Prophet once said that,"indeed Kabba! You have a great sanctity but the sanctity of a human being is greater than your sanctity".


A very important element of the Islamic civilization is the equality or equity. In Islam, everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah as a human being but it also distinguishes bad deeds from good ones.  In Islamic teachings, the element that makes a human superior to other is piety or Taqwa. In his last address, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said that an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab and non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black and a black has no superiority over a white except by piety alone.

When Makkah was conquered by the Muslim Army under the leadership of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w).  He ordered a  black slave from Africa to ascend the roof of Kabba and say Adhan. This was a unique experience in the history of the world when all were standing below and listening to a black African saying Adhan from the rooftop of Kabba.

Social justice

One of the main element of the Islamic civilization and the chief driving force for the development of society both in material and spiritual terms is Social Justice. In Quran and in the sayings of the Prophet it has clearly been mentioned that every of Muslim should abide by the rules of social justice. In Quran, Allah (SWT) says, “ No doubt, Allah (SWT) commands you to deposit trusts to whom they belong and when you judge, judge with justice” (Surah Nisa). Islamic teachings had laid a complete model of how to attain social justice in a society. It has ordered its followers to give Zakat to the poor and needy of the society. Islam also designates some specific proportions of wealth that should be given to a person’s heirs when the appropriate time reaches.

Moral values 

Some people claim Islamic as only the religion of prayers and rituals but is not the case clearly. One of the main topics of Islamic civilization is how to reach a higher level of morality. Islamic teachings are a clear manifestation of the fact that Islam attaches high importance to the moral values that distinguish good from the bad and vice versa.

Some of the moral values that I mention here are patience, truthfulness, truthness to the promise and abstaining from backbiting and from using bad language. Allah says in the Quran,” Indeed, Allah is with the patient”. (Surah Baqara).Regarding truthfulness, God says in the Quran,” Talk straight and with Truthfulness” (Surah Ahzab). Similarly, Quran gives instructions to follow morality in every walk of life.


One of the most important teachings of the Prophet of Islam was tolerance as displayed practically by him during his life. There is a famous story of a Jewish woman who used to throw garbage on the Prophet’s clothes when he would go to pray. The Prophet though experienced this situation almost daily but with tolerance and moral courage. When one day the woman, became ill the Prophet himself visited the woman. This clearly shows that how much tolerance the Prophet of Islam displayed during his life.

Quran also tells us to be tolerant and in the Surah Baqara, it says that Allah is with those who are patient. The exemplary tolerance showed by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) during his social boycott and during the victory of Makkah are some glaring examples of the level of tolerance he had.

Rule of Law

Islamic stresses highly on the rule of law in every field of life.  The Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) are clearly the manifestations of those teachings. There is a famous story of a woman from an influential tribe who had stolen something. When the case was brought to the holy prophet (s.a.w) and Hazrat Usama wanted to save her from the punishment. The Holy Prophet replied that nation before you were destroyed because in them if any influential would do bad deed he would have been spared and if a poor would do the same thing he would have been punished. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) then ordered the same very punishment for that woman.

Once a person stole the armor of the fourth CALIPH OF Islam, Ali (r.a). The Caliph went into the court against him and presented his son and his slave as the people who argued in favor of him. The court rejected the testimony on the basis that both of them have close relationship with the caliph and the armor was given to that person.This is the level of rule of law in Islam.

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