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Human dignity in the Glorious Qur'an

Abdul-Hakim Darqawy
5/8/2012
19416 views

Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) singled out mankind among His Creation with honor and excellence. Man is different from other creatures because Allah (may He be Exalted) created him with His Own Hand, blew in him from Himself, and made His Angles prostrate to him out of honor and respect.

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) chose of mankind: His Close Friend, the interlocutor, the pious people, the elite, and scholars, and made man the storage of His Secrets, Wisdom, and Reward.

 

This paper is just explanation to some noble gifts of Allah (may He be Exalted) to that man, which can be extracted from the Glorious Qur'an as follows:

 

First, honoring humans:

Verily, honoring humans in the Glorious Qur'an is honoring for humanity itself: "And He shaped you and made good your shapes. And to Him is the final Return." [Surat At-Taghabun: 3], and honoring for his role in constructing the earth: "He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein." [Surat Hud: 61].

This honor is a collective name for every goodness, honor, and virtue.[1].

 

Second, creation:

Allah honored man by creating him out of nothing. Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says: "Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was not a thing worth mentioning?" [Surat Al Insan: 1].

The meaning is: Man was a shaped body out of dust and clay and he was not mentioned, known, and did not know his name or what he should do. Then He blew soul into him, then he became something.

 

Yahya ibn Sallam said: Man was not something before creation even though he was something in the sight of Allah.[2].

 

Third, creating man and instilling natural disposition inside him:

Part of honoring man is that Allah created man and gave him natural faith. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "So set you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) your face towards the religion (of pure Islâmic Monotheism) Hanîf (worship none but Allâh Alone). Allâh's Fitrah (i.e. Allâh's Islâmic Monotheism) with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq-illâh (i.e. the religion of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism): that is the straight religion, but most of men know not." [Surat Ar-Rum: 30].

 

The meaning is: He (may He be Exalted) equaled between His Creation in the natural disposition, so all people are born on the natural disposition and there is no difference between people in that.[3].

 

Moreover, having faith in Allah should not be imposed, but it should be an individual action out of free will, and by a divine guidance: "And say: "The truth is from your Lord." Then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve." [Surat Al Kahf: 29].

 

"There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path." [Surat Al Baqarah: 256].

 

"Allâh guides to His Light whom He wills." [Surat An-Nur: 35].

 

To confirm the human freedom, the Glorious Qur'an states many Ayahs in which they remind the Prophet (peace be upon him) of his boundaries in Da`wah (call to Allah). Of these Ayahs:

"He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), has indeed obeyed Allâh, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) as a watcher over them." [Surat An-Nisa': 80].

 

"Verily, proofs have come to you from your Lord, so whosoever sees, will do so for (the good of) his ownself, and whosoever blinds himself, will do so to his own harm, and I (Muhammad peace be upon him) am not a watcher over you." [Surat Al An`am: 104].

 

"So whosoever accepts the guidance, it is only for his ownself, and whosoever goes astray, he goes astray only for his (own) loss. And you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) are not a Wakîl (trustee or disposer of affairs, or guardian) over them." [Surat Az-Zumar: 41].

 

"So remind them (O Muhammad peace be upon him) - you are only one who reminds. * You are not a dictator over them * Except the one who turns away and disbelieves." [Surat Al Ghashiyah: 21 – 23].

 

Fourth, caliphate and the construction of Earth:

The caliphate of man on earth is the most sublime divine honor. "And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You." He (Allâh) said: "I know that which you do not know."" [Surat Al Baqarah: 30].

 

Fifth, subjugating what is in the universe for the service of man:

To achieve this caliphate, Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) subjugated the Heavens, the Earth, and what is in between for man. "Allâh is He Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down water (rain) from the sky, and thereby brought forth fruits as provision for you; and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and He has made rivers (also) to be of service to you. *And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you. * And He gave you of all that you asked from Him, and if you count the Blessings of Allâh, never will you be able to count them. Verily, man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, who denies Allâh's Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allâh, and by disobeying Allâh and His Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him)." [Surat Ibrahim: 32 – 34].

Allah (may He be Exalted) also says: "See you not (O men) that Allâh has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden [i.e. One's Faith in Allâh (of Islâmic Monotheism) knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise]? Yet of mankind is he who disputes about Allâh without knowledge or guidance or a Book giving light!" [Surat Luqman: 20].

 

He mentioned His Favors on the children of Adam and reminded them of what He subjugated for them: Heavens, the sun, the moon, stars, and angels who surround them and drive them to benefits.

 

What is on earth is general and includes: Mountains, trees, and fruits. "And perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden [i.e. One's Faith in Allâh (of Islâmic Monotheism) knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise]." [Surat Luqman: 20] i.e., the most perfect and complete.[4]

 

Sixth, assimilation of human to worldly sciences:

Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says: "And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said: Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." [Surat Al Baqarah: 31].

 

It seems that the names which Adam knew were expressions to the things which man needs to know.

 

So, the meaning of names is the names of things, such as figures, the names of animals, plants, stones, and planets of the things which man sees such as: heaven, angel, Adam, Eve, Satan, tree, and fruit; all these were taught in the first language of mankind.

 

The teaching of Adam was of two ways: Oral reception by reviewing things to him, and when he sees it, its name was said by an audible voice, so he knew that the voice indicates to that thing.

 

Or the teaching was by throwing the essential knowledge in the soul of Adam so that he may detect the name of things when they are reviewed to him, therefore he would place a name for it each item so as to benefit others by creating a voice for him and made him able to use the language as Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "He created man. * He taught him eloquent speech." [Surat Ar-Rahman: 3 – 4].

 

All these were kinds of education because teaching is the source of his knowledge. Knowledge and expressing oneself were the reasons for giving preference to man over other kinds, moreover they were a cause for giving preference to a person over other individuals.[5]

 

Seventh, having the keys of knowledge and perception in man:

 

In order that man receives and learns sciences, Allah (may He be Exalted) placed inside him some keys of knowledge: (meditation, thinking, reason, sight, the heart, and mind).

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allâh has created; and that it may be that the end of their lives is near. In what message after this will they then believe?" [Surat Al A`raf: 185].

 

"Do they not think deeply (in their ownselves) about themselves (how Allâh created them from nothing, and similarly He will resurrect them)? Allâh has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term." [Surat Ar-Rum: 8].

 

"Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand."[Surat Hajj: 46].

"And none receive admonition except men of understanding." [Surat Al `Imran: 7].

 

These knowledge keys raise man to obedience and submission for Allah (may He be Exalted):"It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allâh." [Surat Fatir: 28] and freeing him from absolute dependence and blind imitation.

 

Thinking, pondering over, reasoning, and using the proofs which Allah set in order to know Him are of the obligatory duties which a person should know after having the natural faith.

 

This is the view of Al Bukhari (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) where he classified in his book: (Chapter on having knowledge before saying and action because of Allah's Saying: "So, know (O Muhammad peace be upon him) that, Lâ ilâha illallâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh)." [Surat Muhammad: 19)].

 

Eighth, cancelling meditation between a person and his Lord:

To confirm the respect of human dignity and freedom, the Wise Law-Giver (Allah) cancelled any mediation between Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and His Servants.

 

Mediation ruins devotion to Allah and the definitive belief in Allah (Glory be to Him) such as the action of the Makkahs when they worshipped idols and said: "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh." [Surat Az-Zumar: 3].

 

Allah spoke to His Servants in a dialogue between a questioner and a respondent: "And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright." [Surat Al Baqarah: 186].

 

Abu Ja`far said: Allah (Glory be to Him) means: O Muhammad, when My Servants ask you about Me: where am I? I am close to them, hear their invocations and respond to them. There is a disagreement regarding the reason of revealing this Ayah, some people said: The Ayah was revealed concerning a questioner who asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: O Muhammad, Is our Lord near to speak to him secretly? Or far, so we can call Him? Thereupon, Allah revealed: "And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor)." [6].

 

Ninth, human rights:

The matter which conserves the dignity of humans in Islam is that Islam guarantees his rights, and set a group of prescribed punishments in case he transgresses the proper limits, of these rights:

 

The right of equality:

Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwâ [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqûn (the pious)]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, Well-Acquainted (with all things)." [Surat Al Hujurat: 13].

 

The right of life:

Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "If anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 32].

 

The right of ownership:

Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off (from the wrist joint) their (right) hands as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allâh. And Allâh is All-Powerful, All-Wise." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 38].

 

The right of freedom:

Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "The recompense of those who wage war against Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter."[Surat Al Ma'idah: 33].

 

The right of honor:

Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says: "The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allâh, if you believe in Allâh and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime, but if married persons commit it (illegal sex), the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allâh's Law)." [Surat An-Nur: 2].

________________________________________

[1] Abu As-S`adat Al Mubarak Al Jazry, An-Nihayah Fi Gharib Al Hadith Wal Athar, verified by: Tahir Ahmad Az-Zawy, Mahmoud At-Tanahy, Al Maktabah Al `Ilmiyyah, Beirut, edition 1399 AH, letter K (Chapter on K and R(

[2] Muhammad ibn Ali Ash-Shawkany, "Fathul-Qadir Al Jami` bayna Fannay Ar-Riwayah Wad Dirayahaccording to Tafsir" (5/482)

[3] Isma`il Ibn `Umar Ibn Kathir Abu Al Fida', "Interpretation of the Glorious Qur'an" (4/572).

[4] Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surat Luqman: 20.

[5] At-Tahir inbn `Ashur, "At-Tahrir Wal Tanwir" (1/233) and the next.

[6] Muhammad ibn Jarir At-Tabary, "Jami` Al Bayan Min Ta'wil Ay Al Qur'an" (2/164).

 






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