Human dignity has been one of the central themes in Islamic teachings. Islam has given a distinct position to humanity by viewing humans as the noblest of creatures and man as the vicegerent of God on earth. Islam has identified different aspects of human life which are considered crucial for maintaining human dignity. Respect is an attitude of honouring people and caring about their rights. Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا
“We have certainly dignified the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created with definite preference.” (Surat Al-Isra 17:70)
Man is born with a heart of compassion that reacts to the feelings of fellow humans. Compassion, love, affection, and care are the innate qualities that make a human. These qualities define a man. The development or suppression of these qualities entirely depends on the man himself. Islam teaches us to treat all beings with respect, honour, and dignity. Allah says:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. Adhere to the nature of Allah upon which He has created all people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:30)
Islam has given high value to human life and health. It has put significant emphasis on caring for the sick and disabled and articulated it as a duty. Good health is termed a divine gift. The sanctity of human life is highlighted by equating the saving of one life with the saving of all of humanity. Respect begins with loving and obeying the commandments of Allah(s.w.t) and from this respect flow all the manners and high standards of morality that are inherent in Islam. Allah says:
مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا ۚ
“Thus, We decreed upon the children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless as legal punishment for murder or corruption in the land, it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one soul, it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” (Surat Al-Ma’idah 5:32)
Spiritual uplift is viewed as a very important area for human development. Human beings are a combination of the body and the soul. Hence we are linked to the Creator while we have an association with fellow beings and other creatures.
Here is some Importance of Respect in Islam Must Know:
- Human rights teach us to practice in our daily life
- Human rights are considered as an examination
- Human rights lead to a balanced way of living
- Human rights are to know the purpose of life
- Human rights see you will be accountable
- Human rights benefitting the community
- Human rights enrich respecting parents
- Human rights earning an honest living
- Human rights taking care of orphans
- Human rights opposing oppression
- Human rights put your trust in God
- Human rights speaking the truth
- Human rights provide for all family
- Human rights have a noble purpose
- Human rights standing up for justice
- Human rights kindness to neighbours
- Human rights to personal responsibility
- Human rights to protection of reputation
- Human rights having mindfulness of God
- Human rights mean everything is from God
- Human rights to participate in public affairs
- Human rights to struggle for just social order
- Human rights to sanity and intellectual freedom
- Human rights to enjoin virtue and eradicate evil
- Human rights intimate next life as well is our faith
According to Islamic teachings for spiritual development, one has to strengthen both relationships. To strengthen the bonds with the Creator one needs worship, and to strengthen the relationship with fellow human beings one needs to fulfil his or her social responsibilities. To realize the multiple dimensions of human beings, requires a society that provides an opportunity for people to nurture and actualize their gifted potential and use it for the benefit of society.
How to show respect:
- Respect the property of others. If something belongs to another person, do not steal it, or damage it.
- If you are lent it take good care of it and return it as soon as you have finished with it.
- Respect the feelings of others.
- Do not bully or tease; do not frighten them, or upset them without reason.
- If you have bad news to tell them, tell them gently.
- Respect their privacy.
- Do not enter their homes without an invitation
- Do not demand their news but allow them to offer it instead.
- Treat everyone you meet with good manners to show that you recognize that they are as important as you.
- Respect yourself. You are valued by God
- Have a duty to care for yourself. Keep yourself healthy and fit.
الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ النَّاسُ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُ مَنْ أَمِنَهُ النَّاسُ عَلَى دِمَائِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ
“The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one people trust with their lives and wealth.” (Sunan An-Nasa’i 4998)
Every Muslim should be generous with their time and their money to help those around them. Even smiling in the face of a fellow Muslim is considered sadaqah (charitable act). And this charity naturally extends to non-Muslims also, whether they be neighbours or colleagues at work and so on. Allah says:
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ ۚ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ ۖ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
“Have you seen the one who takes his desire as his god? Then would you be responsible for him? Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not but like cattle. Rather, they are even further astray from the right path.” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:43-44)
Humanity is one such aspect that has been stressed in all parts of the world. “Service to Mankind is service to God” is a proverb highly prevalent all over the world. Serving and treating fellow human beings with courtesy and kindness is an essential part of good moral conduct. All world religions share and support this concept.
لَنْ يَزَالَ الْمُؤْمِنُ فِي فُسْحَةٍ مِنْ دِينِهِ مَا لَمْ يُصِبْ دَمًا حَرَامًا
“The believer continues to be safe in his religion as long as he does not unlawfully spill blood.” (Sahih Bukhari 6469)
Humanity is the ability to trust, the ability to connect, the ability to touch. To be human means we can move, create, love, share and laugh. One example to inculcate the ability to serve mankind in humans is about the “Good Samaritan” who has helped a sick man and did not even care to reveal his identity to the people. Allah says:
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ
“He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Maker of images. To Him belong the best names.” (Surat al-Hashr 59:24)
Therefore, it is permissible and perhaps recommended for Muslims to stand as a sign of respect when local customs consider it to be good manners, but such standing becomes disapproved or forbidden when it leads to arrogance and exaggeration.
There are numerous examples in the Quran which highlight the high status of human beings and stress on upholding it:
- “Do good to the near relatives.” (Quran, 4:36)
- “Allah loves those who are patient.” (Quran, 3:145)
- “Serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience.” (Quran, 39:2)
- “Do good to others, surely Allah loves those who do good to others.” (Quran, 2:195)
- “And whosoever obeys God and His Messenger, fears God, and keeps his duty (to Him), such are the successful ones.” (Quran 24:52)
- human beings have been inspired by the divine spirit, therefore their status is unique among the creatures (Quran, 38:72)
- “O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful people.” (Quran, 9:119)
- “It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you do not do.” (Quran, 61:3)
Therefore, in Islam seeking knowledge is viewed as abundantly good and every Muslim must seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. In the Islamic tradition, knowledge has been viewed as light, ignorance is darkness. When the human being is not developed through education then ignorance prevails. Consequently, the individual, as well as society, suffers. Allah says:
وَيْحَكُمْ أَوْ وَيْلَكُمْ لَا تَرْجِعُنَّ بَعْدِي كُفَّارًا يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ
“Beware! Do not return to unbelief after me by striking the necks of each other.” (Sahih Bukhari 6403)
The dignity of the human being, as envisioned by Islam, seems like a major challenge. Hence, serious reflection is required particularly on governance and leadership practices to develop a society that can help the people actualize their gifted potential to uphold the dignity of human life. The Muslim community shows respect to each other and carries out its religious duties and good actions.