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The Concept of Respect in Islam.

Respect is one of the virtues and good values that a person should be committed to, so that he shows respect, care and commitment to a person or something value. This virtue is one of the most important values that Islam gives special attention and places it in high esteem.

In Islam it is the responsibility of each individual to treat all of Allah’s creation with respect, honor and dignity. The most deserving of respect is the Creator Himself.  Respect begins with loving and obeying the commandments of Allah and from this respect follows all the manners and high standards of morality that are inherent in Islam.

This value has emerged in many situations of the Islamic history. Among of which is the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) address to the king of the Romans, when he sent a letter inviting him to the religion of Islam. He (peace be upon him) started the letter by saying: (from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to Hercules the great king of the Romans). The holy Prophet (peace be upon him ) was keen to place people on their ranks, and respect them.

Forms of respect in Islam:

Self-respect of a person:

It means respect for the self-image of the human being. The Islamic religion has stressed the need for self-esteem in many instances, such as the prohibition of committing sins, evil deeds and deeds that may reduce the self-esteem of the person, such as: drinking alcohol, drug abuse, as well as adultery.

The legislation of Islam has urged the need to preserve human dignity, by recommending good treatment and respect for others, and not to trespass them.

Respect for the parents:

Islam has also stressed the need to respect parents and to show kindness to them and take good care of them. Allah says:

{وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا}.

{And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him, and to show the parents  good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [as little as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them noble word}. (Qur'an17: 23-24).

Respect for women:

Islam came to refute all the ideas that were common to women at the time of ignorance (i.e before the advent of Islam) that the women were not human creatures, and that they were created to serve man, and that they were a creature of no value that are meant for selling and buying like any other commodity. It is known that the Arabs used to bury their baby girls alive.

Islam came and honored women and gave them their rights to inheritance, respect and stressed in many texts and teachings on the need to treat them in the best manner, and use the method of compassion and love in dealing with them because they are weak.

Respect for society:

Such as respect for the young, and the old, and respect for the place where people sit.

Among the forms of respect for society also are the prohibition of backbiting, gossip, provocation, and all the things that may break apart the society and its cohesion. Allah says:

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ}.

{O you who have believed!  Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins.  And spy not, neither backbite one another.  Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?  You would hate it (so hate backbiting).  And fear God.  Verily, God is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful}. (Qur'an 49:12).

Respect for the scholars:

Islam has raised the scholars to a very high standard and ordered to give respect and regard to them. Allah says:

{...يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ...}.

{…Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees…}. (Qur'an 58:11).

Respect for non-Muslims:

Through respecting them for been humans as well as respecting their religion and not to be aggressive to them and their temples, nor their dignity.  

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